Shadow Dancer, by Mike Burnett

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

The illustration of the Shadow Dancer is ‘Leah’ by Kaitlynn Peavler, and from the Prismatic Art Collection. It is under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported licence. <>

Each dance has its own rhythm, the beat that plays in the hearts of its adherents. You dance to a sacred beat that few can hear, and even fewer can comprehend. You flit from shade to shadow, a dervish of speed and elegance, a wonder to behold, a terror to confront. Your motivations may seem like the shadows cast from a flickering candle; others are unsure where your true loyalties lie. Sometimes you’re not sure yourself, but you are sure that you will live to dance again, flashing blade in pitched shadow.


  • Elf: Amer’eid, Balanchine, Cecchetti, Coralli, Esbrez, Fokine, Lazzarini, Orinska, Savion
  • Halfling: Abdou, Baras, Frisco, Jitters, Hawkins, Horton, Moriah, Shabba, Weaver
  • Human: Butler, Caron, Joaquin, Forsythe, Fuller, Jackson, Malika, Twyla, Torres


Choose one for each:

  • Pure Black Eyes, Heavy Lidded Eyes, or Cat’s Eyes
  • Greasy Hair, Thick Hair, or Thinning Hair
  • Dark Clothes, Tight Clothes, or Splendid Clothes
  • Lithe Body, Bony Body, or Beefy Body


Your maximum HP is 6+Constitution.

Your base damage is d8.

Starting Moves

Choose a background and gain the corresponding move:

The Artist: Your grace and poise is legendary. When you shadow dance, you choose two options, even on a miss.

The Sensate: Your clever ears can overhear the thundering whispers of the less refined. When using eavesdropper, you may ask one additional question regardless of your roll.

The Improviser: Your adaptability suits you. When you are in your element, you both increase your bonus and reduce your penalty by 1 (+2, 0).


You start with these moves:

In Your Element

As a shadow dancer, you have an affinity with the shadows cast by light. All of your powers work when you are in shadow. When there is no light present, you are not considered to be in shadow.

When you attack from the shadows, deal +1 damage. When you attack while bathed in light, natural or otherwise, deal -1 damage (minimum 1).

Shadow Dance

When you are under duress and dance from one shadow to another shadow you can see, roll+DEX. On a 10+, you shift to the other shadow in an instant, ready to act immediately. On a 7-9, choose two. On a 6-, choose one and the DM shows you how dangerous a dance in the dark can be:

  • You shift to the shadow you intended.
  • You shift to the shadow in an instant.
  • You shift to the shadow and are not disoriented.

If you are not under duress, you can dance between shadows you can see freely.

Lost in the Dark

When you steal a distant object from within a shadow you can see, roll+DEX. On a 10+, you get the object without incident. On a 7-9, choose two:

  • You don’t make any noise
  • No one will notice it’s missing for a while
  • You don’t damage the object

On a miss, you still get the object, but your theft has been detected.


When you gather information in a place where many people meet and share indiscretions, you can roll+DEX for Discern Realities, and add the following questions to the list:

  • What are the people in this area worried about?
  • What strange events have happened nearby?
  • What secret did this person let slip?
  • What are the dominant factions in the area?



Path of the Defender: Protect an innocent from dark and mysterious forces.

Path of the Delver: Steal a worthy item of famous lineage.

Path of the Dervish: Dispatch multiple foes in a brutal, consequential fashion.


Your Load is 8+Str. You start with one dungeon rations (4 uses, 1 weight) and leather armor (1 armor, 1 weight).

Choose your weapon:

  • Dagger (Hand, 1 weight)
  • Short sword (Close, 1 weight)

Choose one:

  • A piece of chalk
  • Adventuring gear (1 weight)
  • Healing potion


Fill in the name of one of your companions in at least one:

  • I first encountered __________ while robbing the merchant’s guild.
  • __________ casts a long shadow, but I will surpass them.
  • I have vowed to help __________ achieve their darkest dreams.
  • When _________ confronted me, we came to blows.
  • The face that haunts my nightmares is _____________.

Advanced Moves

When you gain a level from 2-5, choose from these moves.

Well of Shadows

When you perform the dance of Shadar-danasi, describe the intricate dance steps and roll+INT. On a 10+, choose 2 effects. On a 7-9, choose 1 effect.

  • The well blinds any creatures near it when it goes off.
  • The well creates an column of darkness for a minute
  • The well extinguishes any sources of light near it when it goes off.

Moment of Opportunity

When you defend someone or something from the shadows, you may use 1 hold to shadow dance as if you had rolled a 10+ and you may roll+DEX instead of +CON.

Veil of Shadows

When you stand still and silently in the shadows, you are impossible to detect by the naked eye. Any movement or noise breaks this effect.

Time in the Spotlight

When you help someone without claiming credit or acknowledgement, take +1 to aid.

Light as a Shadow

While you are unburdened and your mind is free and clear, you may reduce the weight of your body and belongings down to nearly nothing.


Your can stand on any shadowed surface, even if it is vertical, as if the shadow was your center of gravity. You will remain on the surface as long as it is in shadow or until you disengage from it.

Right through Me

When you attempt to dodge a ranged attack by phasing through it, roll+DEX. On a 10+, the attack phases completely through you and you may shadowdance as if you had one hold. On a 7-9, you mis-time the phase and take half damage from the attack, and the attacker can react to you. On a miss, you take full damage and are stunned.

Creature of the Night

You can see clearly in shadow and complete darkness and your powers work in pitch black. You become nearly blind in complete brightness, and bright lights hurt your eyes.

Shadow Clones

When you draw on power of nearby shadows to create clones of yourself, roll+INT. On a 10+, create up to three shadow clones of yourself in any shadows you have line of sight to. The shadow clones look exactly like you, but are do not make noise and cannot leave the shadows. They are considered to have 1 HP, will do class damage on a hack and slash roll, and may be freely dismissed at any time. On a 7-9, you can create up to two shadow clones, but the concentration leaves you frazzled and you take a -1 forward until the clones are dismissed. On a miss, you create one shadow clone, but you take -1 forward and the DM will show you why most people are afraid of the darkness.


When you gain a level from 6-10, choose from these moves or the level 2-5 moves.

Grasping Shadows

When you take a moment to inscribe the runes of the grasping shadows on any surface, roll+WIS. On a 10+, choose 2 effects. On a 7-9, choose 1 effect.

  • The shadows grasp and hold the first creature to come near it.
  • The shadows absorb any projectiles that pass near it.
  • The shadows lash out at close creatures, dealing 1d4 damage

Piercing Shadow

You may use a mêlée weapon to volley, as long as you and your target are in shadow. You do not lose your weapon when doing so and cannot select the option to reduce your ammo on a 7-9.

Silent Shadow

While you hold your breath and concentrate, you muffle any sounds originating from the shadows or darkness.


You have an affinity with creatures of the night. Nocturnal creatures will not treat you as hostile unless you are aggressive towards them first and they will follow simple commands unless it works against their self interests or instincts.

Five O’Clock Shadow

When you steal a living person’s shadow from their physical body and attach it to your own, roll+DEX. On a 10+, you can disguise yourself as that person for an hour, as long as you remain in partial shadow. On a 7-9, choose one. On a miss, choose two:

  • The person’s shadow will attempt to affect your behavior, the DM will tell you how and when.
  • The person’s shadow will attempt to escape at an inopportune time, the DM will tell you how and when.

After an hour, a person’s shadow automatically returns to them.


When you make a target you are in contact with forget something important, roll+INT. On a 10+, the target will not remember so long as they are not explicitly reminded. On a 7-9, the target’s memory will be hazy, but they will know that you did something to them. On a 6-, your target knows what you did, remembers everything, and the target is immune to future erasure attempts. They might also feel upset at you.

In the Valley of the Shadow

When you mark a living creature with the shadow of death after dealing damage with hack and slash, roll+INT. On a 12+, that creature is marked for death, and any additional damage will be fatal to that creature. On a 10+, the creature takes double damage until it spends an hour basking in sunlight. On a 7-9, you and the creature receive double damage until you spend an hour in the sun. You may only apply this power to one creature at a time.

Dark Whisperings

When you know the secret of someone in high society and attempt to parley with them using exposure as leverage, they will agree to any deal you offer that won’t expose them to immediate danger.

Shadow Beast

Requires Shadow Clones

When you combine and empower all three of your shadow clones with all the shadows in an area, roll+INT. On a 10+, hold 3, on a 7-9, hold 2, and on a 6-, hold 1.

All your shadow clones and all the shadow and areas of darkness in the room disappear and create a shadow beast (d10, 8 HP, large, reach, shambling). The creature resembles a beast from your nightmares; describe it. Spend hold 1-for-1 to use any of the creature’s moves:

  • Pounce and hold
  • Rend and tear
  • Envelop and suffocate
  • Howl and scream
  • Bash and shatter
  • Chase and corner

Once your hold is spent or the creature is enveloped in bright sunlight, the shadow beast is dismissed. You cannot create a shadow clones or a creature of darkness again until you have another nightmare while sleeping.


Requires Creature of the Night

When you call forth all the shadows of your heart to blot out the sun, you take 1d6+2 damage and a dome of shadow 30 feet wide centered on your location erupts forth from your torso. The area under the dome becomes pitch black, even in a well lit area. Creatures in the dome cannot see or hear unless they have an effect which counteracts blindness or deafness. Before you make any other moves, you must sustain the penumbra by paying 1d4 life. The effect lasts for 5 minutes, until you dismiss it, or until you fall unconscious. A penumbra cannot be called again until you have rested in the shadows for an hour.

The Shadow Dancer (PDF)

The Shadow Dancer (ODT)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s