The Player's Handbook on favored enemy says, "If the ranger chooses humanoids or outsiders as a favored enemy, he must also choose an associated subtype, as indicated on the table" (47). The PH then goes on to list some available outsider subtypes like air, chaotic, earth, and evil. A ranger can't pick just outsiders and stab better every outsider from tritons to titans, for instance.

The prestige class shade hunter (Champions of Ruin 58-63) has as a special requirement for entry shades as a favored enemy. The Races of Faerûn description of shades says, "As creatures of the Plane of Shadow, shades are considered to be of the outsider type" (148), but that text doesn't mention shades as having any subtypes! Published characters seem to be of little help. For example, neither Anaruoch's shade Keevosen Nihili (31) nor City of Splendors: Waterdeep's Alauneth “the Black Viper” Orrane (69-70) has a subtype that would allow shades as a ranger's favored enemy pick.

Did shades ever receive one or more subtypes? If not, is there an official way that a creature can gain shades as a favored enemy so that a creature can enter the prestige class shade hunter, or must the DM make a house rule so that a creature can meet this prestige class's requirements?

Note: I know, "Who cares?" right? A level 4 shade hunter gains the relatively unique and seemingly natural ability tools of the trade, allowing the shade hunter to root around in his gear and "find" mundane items of his choosing that were previously not recorded among the shade hunter's gear, a special ability of which I am particularly fond. While a similar ability can be gained from the Dragon #354 feat Packrat (56) (with its hard-to-get-by-the-DM prerequisites) and from the extraordinary ability resourceful search of the Races of Destiny prestige class menacing brute (123-6), the shade hunter's is the more versatile and interesting. Alternatives to these three options for being able to mundanely produce gear instantaneously are appreciated but beyond this question's scope.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just in case anyone else puts a bunch of work into it before realising it doesn't matter, since shade is a template, the creature has the subtypes it had before it acquired the template, along with the Augmented subtype. The problem is, that doesn't make it possible to choose shades as a favored enemy - if you choose Outsider(Augmented human), some shades will be your favored enemy, but you won't have shades as your favored enemy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is shades a race? Races provide racial subtypes, at least according to some WotC authors. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chemus
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chemus Sort of? I mean, shades are, so far as I can tell, closer an ill-defined kind of outsider, much like a slaad or an arrowhawk is a kind of outsider. Unlike those creatures, though,—and, like I said, so far as I can tell—a typical shade doesn't usually doesn't have any subtypes at all! (This is different from, for example, a subrace like sun elf or a whisper gnome.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any reason to believe that shades are not a native outsider? \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 3:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fectin The text says that shades are "creatures of the Plane of Shadow" and doesn't say they have the subtype native. Further,—I just checked—neither published example has the subtype native, and both date to after the 3.5 revision. However, there's probably an argument to be made that Races of Faerûn dates to before the term's system-wide implementation and that later writers just—I dunno—forgot or something. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2020 at 3:46

2 Answers 2


A 3.5e ranger can't, but a 3.0 ranger can. The trouble is that Races of Faerûn is a transitional product, having started development when the game was still D&D 3rd edition, and published the same year (2003) that D&D v3.5 was published. WotC has a history of letting these kinds of production pipeline problems just kinda… happen.

(The business alternative is to hold up a bunch of products, seriously messing with their delivery schedules, making distributors very unhappy and messing with everyone's cash flows. So it's understandable that they would let these kinds of transitional problems just slide.)

In D&D 3e, rangers simply choose a “type” of creature, with the following explanatory wording indicating that this wasn't any kind of game-rule type being invoked, just the fuzzy-logic human conceptual ability to tell kinds of things apart:

At 1st level, a ranger may select a type of creature (dragons, giants, goblinoids, undead, etc.) as a favored enemy. (A ranger can only select his own race as a favored enemy if he is evil.)

This loosely-defined ability didn't survive the .5 update, but Races of Faerûn wasn't updated. In 3.0 it's trivial to have shades as a favoured enemy — you just choose “shades” — which is why the PrC is worded that way.

Porting this properly to 3.5e will require some judgement and shimming. You could simply say that the existence of the PrC somehow magically allows 3.5e rangers to select shades as a favoured enemy somehow, as some kind of backwards-working addition to the ranger's set of selectable favoured enemies. More complex would be to house rule that the shades template adds the subtype shades. Either way, the PrC just isn't fully 3.5e-compatible and needs some work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ While Races is a 3e book, Champions of Ruin isn't, and that's this prestige class's source. In fact, Champions of Ruin appears 2 years after the 3.5 revision. Further, almost all of Faerûn's 3e creatures were updated by a Player's Guide to Faerûn Web enhancement, but, seemingly, not this creature, and I want to make sure that I didn't just miss it or that an update isn't lurking in a sidebar or online or something. (That's not to dismiss your answer but to encourage others to keep looking!) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 2:10

A DM using a variant rule from Masters of the Wild may allow a ranger to have unsubtyped outsiders as a favored enemy

As d7's answer mentions, Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition has slightly different rules for the ranger's favored enemy than does the 3.5 revision of the ranger's favored enemy, Third Edition expecting a ranger to pick, for example, barbed devil or pit fiend rather than a subtype like baatezu, evil, or lawful. Probably already in progress while the 3.5 revision took place, the Player's Guide to Faerûn was still likely working from Third Edition rules, expecting PCs to pick shades instead of, for example, ice devils. Why Champions of Ruin—published over a year after the 3.5 revision—does not explain how a 3.5 ranger can gain shades as a favored enemy, however, is a mystery.

That said, Masters of the Wild—a Third Edition text—describes Variant Favored Enemy Rules, saying

Some favored enemy choices have significantly less utility than others—namely outsiders and those types that are immune to critical hits. The variant rules presented here make these choices more appealing. As with all variant rules, a player wishing to utilize these must first get the DM’s consent.

Favoring Subtypes of Outsiders

In this variant, the ranger can choose a subtype of outsider as a favored enemy. The available options are air, chaotic, earth, evil, fire, good, lawful, water, and no subtype. A ranger… who chooses outsiders with no subtype gains bonuses against aasimars, half-celestials, half-fiends, jann, ravids, and tieflings. (18)

(Emphasis mine, and reformatted for clarity.) As the 3.5 revision already incorporates most of this variant, it's trivial for the DM to include among the 3.5 revision's ranger's favored enemy the option to pick as a favored enemy outsiders that have no subtypes, like the (confusing and inconsistent) shade.

Note that the 3.5 revision to the Monster Manual adds the subtype native to the aasimar (209), janni (116), and tiefling (209-10), and the subtype extraplanar to the ravid (213-4), and says under the templates' Type and Subtype that creatures possessing the template half-celestial (144-6) or half-fiend (147-9) are "normally native outsiders." This means, I guess, that, technically, abnormal half-outsiders without the subytype native and shades will be some of the only creatures such a ranger's favored enemy bonuses will apply to if the ranger is allowed to pick—without subtypes—favored enemy (outsiders).

Since that sucks, this DM would likely allow a ranger that picked favored enemy (outsiders) to gain his favored enemy bonus against any creature that possesses both the type outsider and either no subtype or the extraplanar or native subtypes so as to include those creatures listed in Masters of the Wild as well as, for example, the shadow mastiff (MM 222). Really, specializing in killing such creatures makes about as much sense as specializing in killing, for example, aberrations or magical beasts—both of which are already available and impossibly diverse—, so this shouldn't be that big of a deal.


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