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The Dungeon Master's Guide description of the shadowfell says:

It is a place of darkness that hates the light, where the sky is a black vault with neither sun nor stars.

I don't quite understand this. If it is a place of darkness that hates light, then everything should be pitch black.

If everything is pitch black, then only creatures with darkvision can see their surroundings.

But I also read a lot of evocative descriptions of things that you can see on the shadowfell "far away" (jagged mountains, castles, wretched villages, etc), which makes no sense, because your vision would be limited to 120 ft.

So, how does illumation work in the shadowfell? Are creatures without darkvision blinded on this plane (unless they have light sources)?

How did earlier games handle this plane?

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The closest official answer comes from page 51 of the 4th edition Manual of the planes, where it states approcximately that:

All light sources are reduced to 50% functionality.

However until an official 5th edition companion is released, there is no correct answer outside of


It's Up to the GM


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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have my copy of Curse of Strahd handy, but I know that the 50% illumination rule's in effect in Barovia, as well. I'm not entirely sure of the demiplane of dread's relation to the shadowfell in 5e, though, so it'll be worth checking that source. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Oct 20 '16 at 22:50

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