#RPGaDAY 8: Shade

Day 8 of #RPGaDAY 2020. Today’s prompt is ‘Shade’.

This prompt is probably meant in terms of ‘throwing shade’, but I’m not too much into that. So let’s talk about shadow, as it also ties back to the prompt of ‘forest’.
Darkness has always been interpreted as dangerous, because of our reliance on vision as our primary sense. It’s interesting that of all the D&D ancestries, only Halflings, Humans and Dragonborn do not have darkvision — the rest does. In RPGs, darkness is not necessarily dangerous, because most characters can see fine in total darkness!
Which is why it’s kind of weird that there are monsters in many settings that are based on shadow, like D&D’s Shadow or even Pokémon’s Marshadow. They’re often undead, restless spirits that hide in shadows — sometimes even the shadows of people. They hate the living and seek to feed on them or possess them to do some foul deed.
Most are not that frightening numbers-wise and you need a whole group of them to threaten a group of capable characters. But what having darkvision would mean you also don’t see the shadows? After all, dim light is as if it was brightly lit for characters with darkvision. Imagine playing the only character who doesn’t have darkvision, who has to call out the shots for the others because they can’t see the attacking shadows!

2 thoughts on “#RPGaDAY 8: Shade

  1. I’ve not often seen darkness used well in D&D at all. It’s like ammo for bows—usually one of the first things we just forget about when we play. In reality, it could be an amazing thing to work with though. I’d never considered the idea of people with darkvision having trouble seeing shades, which would make perfect sense!

    Another interesting twist might be adaptation to light or darkness. I can see really well in darkness (almost just shy of reading a book if there’s some ambient light), but if I’m walking around late at night and Tracy flicks a light switch, it really hurts and I have to take quite a few seconds to recover. If I imagine somebody with night or darkvision having to deal with torchlight, or coming out of a cave, surely there’d be interesting things to do?

    Maybe also culturally that would result in interesting changes. A lot of real-world mythology comes out of the fear of darkness (deep caves, dark forests, nighttime terrors, and so on). I wonder what would happen to a culture where “darkness” practically wasn’t really a thing you run into.

    1. A hooded lantern in the right hands could act similar to a flash-bang grenade — that makes total sense! Something to keep in mind next time you’re up against Drow…

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