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Where do shadows and shadow magic belong to in the world of the Forgotten Realms? I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is the undead 1/4 CR creature called "Shadow".

I know that Shar has merged the Negative Plane and the Shadow Plane, which in my opinion merges shadows and necromancy into one. This is also made me to think about the fact that some gods do not like the Raven Queen, since a stream of souls passes through her kingdom, which she uses.

In conclusion, Shar called her weaving "Shadow", and it was used mostly by necromancers (not only them, of course, but nevertheless).

I also noticed an interesting detail regarding the undead 20CR - Nightwalker. In the description of this creature it is written that it lives on the plane of negative energy. But according to the logic of all the above, there is no negative plane in 5e, or for some reason it is not described. But from the description of the same monster, we learn that the negative energy plane is a Shadowfell subplane... Which is even more misleading to me.

We know that different classes such as Sorcerer and Monk have archetypes associated with shadows. A related question will be whether or not those two subclasses are connected with the Shadowfell.

Is there an unambiguous answer on what shadows are in Forgotten Realms lore?

  • Are shadows on the Material Plane related to the Shadowfell?
  • And are shadows related to necromancy?
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have edited this to make it clearer that you are trying to resolve the transition from 4th edition to 5th edition in lore. As you had it originally written, it came across as opinion based. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2023 at 12:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WillemRenzema This is stated in Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide 2008. I read it here forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Shar#cite_note-FRCG4e-50-31 \$\endgroup\$
    – Kasoda
    Feb 13, 2023 at 19:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WillemRenzema Mentions of the negative plan are present on page 69, but there the negative plan is called the energy of death. But in any case, that's not what I'm interested in. Souls flow through the plane of shadows and this is a fact. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kasoda
    Feb 13, 2023 at 21:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I also noticed an interesting detail about the undead Nightwalker and added it to the question \$\endgroup\$
    – Kasoda
    Feb 13, 2023 at 21:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kasoda: Also, that's 4E setting material, which 5E has often ignored. Standard planar arrangement in 5E includes a Negative Plane separate from the Shadowfell (though not a part of the Inner Planes like it was back in 2E). See 5E PHB, page 300. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2023 at 23:12

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By 5E lore, Shadows make Shadows. That's it. Nothing about their ultimate origin.

The 4E lore you're referencing to say the Negative (Energy) Plane no longer exists is not replicated in any 5E setting material I can find; I suspect they ignored it along with a lot of other stuff from 4E. If anything, aside from the addition of the Feywild and Shadowfell, the default planar setup is much closer to the 2E default than the 4E setup.

The 5E PHB (pg. 300) explicitly states that the Positive Plane and Negative Planes surround all the other planes, and the latter is described separately from the Shadowfell. It's given extremely short shrift though; I'm not surprised you missed it.

4E was the only edition in which the Shadowfell was explicitly the source of necrotic energy and shadow magic. In 5E, as the Nightwalker description you mention indicates, the Shadowfell has connections to the Negative Plane, but the Shadowfell is not the source of necrotic energy.

In 2E, the Negative Energy Plane had Shadows living on it. The Shadowfell, introduced later, has them as well. But there's never been any relationship between Shadows and Necromancy specifically, aside from Necromancy being associated with all undead (with Shadows being one of the undead you could create permanently in earlier editions, but it doesn't seem to be the case in 5E). It seems like you're looking for some grand framework here, but it just doesn't exist.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your reply. He opens my eyes to many things. But I never got the answers to the main questions. -Are shadows on the Material Plane related to the Shadowfell? -Are shadows related to necromancy? -And what are shadows in general? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kasoda
    Feb 14, 2023 at 8:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kasoda: Shadows make Shadows. That's all the lore of 5E says. Nothing about their ultimate origin. In 2E, the Negative Energy Plane had Shadows living on it; the Shadowfell has them as well. There's never been any relationship between Shadows and Necromancy specifically, aside from Necromancy being associated with all undead (with Shadows being one of the undead you could create permanently in earlier editions, but it doesn't seem to be the case in 5E). It seems like you're looking for some grand framework here, but it just doesn't exist. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 14, 2023 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast: Done. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 14, 2023 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ golf clap 😊... \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15, 2023 at 2:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot for the answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Kasoda
    Feb 15, 2023 at 5:43

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