The Dark Powers seek those who are guilty of deliberate, passionate, evil…often done with full knowledge that the deed was wrong.
About[edit | edit source]
Oathbreakers, Tyrants, and murderous monsters fall in the ranks of the Dark Protégées. Dispassionate or accidental evil never attracts them. They reward evil acts with more power, promising them their own demiplane on which they can become a god in the afterlife. The size of the plane depends on how corrupted and destructive they become.
The Dark powers subtly manipulate fate itself in the material realm to make their wishes and intents known. Many Darklords tell stories of the powers bringing them endless cycles of frustration, where success seems right on the horizon, but the cynical powers force a failure.
Sometimes the Dark Powers seek to punish, but sometimes they seek to utilize, pulling mortals from the material plane out into demiplanes to accomplish tasks beyond comprehension. Those who complete the tasks join the ranks of the Darklords, a title that brings with it endless power, and endless pain.
Very few have ever been contacted by dark powers, but those few have gone down in history as the most unholy and powerful manifestations of evil. The Oathbreaker Lady Nidalia, Azalin, the lord of Falkovia, Harkan Lucas, or the Darklord of Blutspur….all ancient entities that the School of Shadows teaches its pupils about, to keep them from falling into the same shadowy trap that falls upon so many Shadowfell seekers.
Those who fall into its powers may embrace them, or fear them and become trapped…like the temporal lord Sithicus. A trap that brings torture and insanity.
Dark Powers tend to seek those who knowingly and gleefully take the lives of others. As a result, assassins guilds and other organizations of killers tended to be magnets for the mists of the Dark Powers.
The Dark Powers never operate in a pattern, and the way they kidnap murderers, promise them power, curse them, trap them, and do various subtle manipulations that don't always make sense...but somehow each time the Dark Powers act out, it has driven the realm into various directions that seem to always work out in their favor.
Dark Powers is a term often used hyperbolically but in the history of the many planes, only one malevolent force can canonically be known as THE Dark Powers. These Dark Powers hail from the Shadowfell. Their exact nature and number are vague, and all known recorded information comes second hand from Shadowdancers, Shadar-Kai, and others who frequent the Shadowfell. As such, these stories are considered second hand sources from other planes.
The Dark Powers are noted only by what they do to and for others, and that is, they reward evil acts with more power, but at a price of less freedom. Sufficiently corrupt individuals find a chunk of the Shadowfell altered to become their own personal hell, called Demiplanes of Dread.
The Dark Powers most frequently concern the Dark Lords, powerful shadow benders, oathbreakers, hexblades, shadowdancers, and others who often deem themselves the de facto visible rulers of the Demiplanes of Dread.
One thing is certain, all of those who have faced Dark Powers are outclassed and outnumbered by unknowably evil forces beyond their control.
Dark Lords are tormented and opposed by the Dark Powers in combats that never seem to find end. As the Dark Powers are immeasurably evil, it is assumed these skirmishes are all for the enjoyment of the powers . Updated information: Two stories now have received an end, and the darklords Vlad Drakov and Mother Zarovich appear to have been devoured by the Dark Powers, and their Demiplanes destroyed. This may be a hint that the dark powers are done playing with their food.
While not directly confirmed, survivors of visitors to the Demiplanes of Dread report being approached by mists that seemingly appear from nowhere, only to pick them up and take them to the Shadowfell (or specifically a Demiplane of Dread).
Not all Dark Lords acknowledge the Dark Powers. Vlad Drakov, whose military expeditions in the Shadowfell are doomed to constant failure, seems even to be totally oblivious of any non-mortal factors in his repeated defeats. Update: Vlad Drakov has been defeated for the final time, reports from the fields of his Demiplane of Dread report total collapse of the endless battlefields of Umbra.
The Dark Powers themselves continue to be eternal unknowns, an array of mercurial, unforeseeable, and inscrutable wills whose motives and actions we cannot hope to understand. One thing is certain though, their toys in the Shadowfell are losing their interest and only the gods can tell us what other force of nature may be attracting them now.
History[edit | edit source]
In 11 PR, the effects of the Curse of Life had been ongoing for decades, and the realm was now being flooded with invisible and unnoticeable necrotic energies that had snowballed from every death-but-not-dead event that any "Living" creature endured.
Thanks to all the deaths of The Holy War and following Realm War, more and more the Dark Powers found themselves creeping from the shadows and invading Quelmar more and more often, in the form of gaseous clouds that stole souls away to various demiplanes of dread.
Offerings[edit | edit source]
To seduce individuals pulled into The Mists, the Dark Powers often granted boons (also called Gifts) and curses (also called Costs) to reward and punish the behavior of those chosen individuals. A selection of those gifts and penalties can be found below.
Boons[edit | edit source]
- The Boon of the Chameleon: As an action, alter your clothing to resemble (identically or similarly) the clothing of a creature within 120 feet. When wearing the altered clothing, you speak any and all languages shared by the creature, including druidic, thieves cant, or other methods of conversation. If the creature speaks telepathically, you duplicate the telepathy language and ability. When disguised in this manner, other creatures have disadvantage on insight checks against you, and you gain advantage on charisma based checks against them.
- The Boon of the Long Sight (Psions only): Your passive perception increases by 5. When performing Psionic Investigation on an object, person, or place, you can view 24 hours of information from the object's perspective, pulling from any point of time from the last 100 years of the object's existence. Psionic sensors implanted into objects linger for an additional 30 days, and can be viewed from other planes of existence.
- The Boon of the Piper’s Sight: Turn up the sound to see all around. You gain a magical blindsight of 120 feet when concentrating on a spell with a verbal component, the sound of your magic echoes off the chambers and allows you to see your way.
- The Boon of Night Spirit: While completely in an area of dim light or darkness, you can become invisible as an action. You remain invisible until you take an action or a reaction.
- The Boon of Shadow Dancing: As a bonus action, teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. The space must be in dim light or darkness.
- The Boon of Night Martial: Replace any piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage from a weapon, or any damage type from a spell, with necrotic damage.
- The Boon of the Frozen Volley: As an action, slow time and make one ranged attack against every opponent within 10 feet. After the last target has been attacked, time resumes as normal and all hits or misses take effect.
Curses[edit | edit source]
- The Curse of Illiteracy: All texts will require a DC 20 insight check to decipher, and even when deciphered, will not give a translation but just an idea of what it says.
- The Curse of Blindness: The Character takes on the permanent condition of Blinded (can't see with their eyes and automatically fail any check that requires sight, attacks have advantage against them, their attacks have disadvantage.)
- The Curse of the Undead: The Character takes on the permanent creature type of Undead.
- You can be turned by powers that Turn Undead.
- Spells and attacks that have advantage or other effects on the Undead work as intended on you.
- Upon a death, you may retain your life but take on a deathly appearance.
- The Curse of the Utter Failure: You find yourself messing up opportunities twice as often. Critical fails apply to rolling either a 1 or a 2.
- The Curse of the Unnamed: Attempts to talk about you will be magically restricted as if under a Geas. Referring to you using your proper name becomes impossible unless the curse is broken. Your name will be wiped from books and forgotten from time.
- The Curse of Reputation: Characters interacting with you are put into a permanent state of discomfort. Persuasion checks become disadvantaged as something off about your person makes you strange and esoteric.
- The Curse of Infertility: You cannot produce children.