There exists many an adventurer who claims to have encountered beasts of different sorts. Sorting fact from fiction in these cases is quite a difficult task and made even more so by the innovations in magic research. Animated statues in particular have given me trouble in the past. However, with that said, it does appear that I have observed something that I cannot explain away so easily.
I have come across quite a few different forms of shadow creatures I have called “Shadow Hands”. As the name suggests, they are hands formed of shadow. The first time I came across one was in an underground cavern. At the time it caused nothing but a minor inconvenience since all it did was grab and hold my leg. It did however hold on tightly enough to prevent my movement. I was quickly able to disperse it with a simple spell and continue on.
It seems that there are multiple different types as I had a nastier experience later on. The area I found this particular specimen was in what appeared to be the crypts of an old temple. Based upon my research the temple itself must have been destroyed about 300 years before my arrival. While I was exploring the relatively small area I once again I failed to notice the Shadow Hand until it got hold of my foot. Once again I dispersed it but this time I noticed a sensation in my foot after taking a step. After examining my foot I noticed a dark hand print and felt considerably worse than when I entered. It took me about a day or so to recover afterwards.
After my two experiences I tried to do more research and was able to deduce that there is a great amount of diversity within these creatures. Some forms will disperse after getting sunlight cast upon them. Others will still retain their form but become considerably fainter and weaker. I also feel that I was quite lucky in my first two encounters as it is far more common to come across these things in groups. I will be recording all of my notes below. What concerns me most is why are they trying to grab someone? Are they trying to drag me down or are they trying to pull themselves up?
Example provided for 5th edition D&D based on the “Shadow” creature. For stats, refer to the Monster Manual entry (preferred) or the Princes of the Apocalypse supplement as only differences are noted here.
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Stats
Small Undead, Chaotic Evil
Challenge 0 (10XP)
Hit points 1 (1d6 – 3)
Armor Class 12
Differences from Shadow
- Replace attack with a grapple action using regular grapple rules.
- In sunlight, the Shadow Hand dissipates and dies.
- The Shadow Hand can try to hide in the shadow cast by a creature by entering its square and attempting the “Hide” action.
Variant 1a: Attack does 1d6 + 2 necrotic damage and reduced strength as described under “Shadow”.
Variant 1b: Attack is the same as “Shadow”.
Variant 2a: Use the rules presented for “Shadow” to determine result of being in sunlight.
Variant 3: If the Shadow Hand is able to kill a living creature it can use the life force it drained to pull itself into this world (optionally, roll a D20 with 11 or above meaning the shadow will pull itself into the world). Replace the Shadow Hand with a Shadow.
Variant 4: Increase hit points to 1d6 (3).