Shadar-kai?

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So the art preview has these new Shadar-Kai.

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/art_preview/20080516_114853_0.jpg

they can be sen at the above link. Does anyone like them or their art? We already had Drow and Teiflings but now these guys? I looked at them and was under the impression that some of the new humanoid races have taken a turn for the Exalted.

I don't know. I just saw them and I don't like them so I was just wondering what everyone else thought.
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They're just shadowfell humans, what's the problem?

They can fight the tieflings.
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I like them. I very much like the Raven Queen as an aloof and mysterious death diety of unknown motivations, neither reliably good nor reliably evil. I like that a servant of the Raven queen could create an undead horde to exhault the power of death, while another might destroy that same undead horde to preserve death's sanctity.

I like the Shadowfell, I like that the Raven Queen lives there instead of the Astral Sea, and I like that she has a subrace of blessed/damned humans who she brought to the Shadowfell to serve her. I like the idea of the Shadow power source, and I like the idea of a monster/PC race infused with its energy.

I like purple and blue and black - so while I am in general not a fan of excessive tatoos or piercings, I still like the look of Shadar-Kai in general. I like their characterization, society, and motivations in this article.


If at all possible, my first character will be a Shadar-Kai, using rules from the back of the monster manual. If my DM doesn't go for it I'll happily play something else. Either way, hopefully they'll get a full PC write up in the PHBII, along with classes for the Shadow power source (necromancer & illusionist archetypes), so that my second character can be a Shadar-Kai Necromancer.


So, I guess you could say I'm a fan at least. ;)
Creature Type: Goth

Only kidding.
I'll wait to see the MM write-up before saying any more.
Playing Scales of War

Rogue.jpg

When I saw the picture, my first thought was "INCARNUM?!" They all have bluish clothing or weapons seemingly made from an unearthly material. With the new unified structure of the game, and the fact that monsters use different rules, they could have introduced incarnum users in the MM without too much trouble. Worst case scenario; we end up with a problem similar to the Psionics (SP) in 3.5e.

Anyway, Shadar Kai do nothing for me. Why are they even a separate race? I'll probably be ignoring them completely when I run a game. They'd just get in the way of awesome Synads.
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When I saw the picture, my first thought was "INCARNUM?!" They all have bluish clothing or weapons seemingly made from an unearthly material. With the new unified structure of the game, and the fact that monsters use different rules, they could have introduced incarnum users in the MM without too much trouble. Worst case scenario; we end up with a problem similar to the Psionics (SP) in 3.5e.

Anyway, Shadar Kai do nothing for me. Why are they even a separate race? I'll probably be ignoring them completely when I run a game. They'd just get in the way of awesome Synads.

I thought Kalashtar. Then I checked it and saw they were Shadar-kai, from the FF. I hope they put at least a tidbit into the MM about Incarnum. Like the Skarn or Dusklings.
I'm stoked to see the Shadar-Kai! Yeah, they're a little emo, but I actually like them. The art ain't half bad, either. A little cartoony on the weapons, but it's nice to finally see some variety in these guys.
They can fight the tieflings.

Hurhurhur, such a battle should be called the Angsty War!

Arrr, that aside, I can't decide whether I likes them freakish Shadar-Kai from Roll vs. Role better than 'em "Goths from Outer Planes" or not. A tad tame the preview Shadar-kai seem in comparision t' what I read yonder.

Sorry, thar be a mistake of mine in the above paragraph: That be Goths from coterminious/coexistant planes. The Shadowfell didn't change much in that case, did it. Ye 'ave t' love the plane o' shadow - even if it 'll become a Goth hangout given time.

Goth bashing aside, I rather like the ruthless and ambitious Shadar-Kai, tho' like most NPCs in me campaigns I prefers 'em t' be evil instead o' that new-fangled "just morally different" (most institutions and power groups in the world me campaign is set in are at best neutral)*. Then again, all that angstyness aside, the Shadar Kai 'ave become more fleshed out and more dimensional. Thus there 'll more more options to stop them, even tho' the accursed bunch o' munchkins what be me D&D crew will probably slay 'em anyways.

Cheers!

Captn M.

* Fer it 's 'ard t' be truly altruistic in any world and it 's up to the PCs to make a difference.

Better to fight windmills than become a miller!

Just angsty immortal humans with a serious obsession with piercings, tattoos, and a serious case of masochism (it's required to keep going apparently.)

I'm sick and tired of humans, when I want to play a human, I'll play a human, if I want to play a human from a culture of angsty flesh altering masochists I can do that too, same with creating monstrous civilizations of humans like that. We don't need a new monster for every human type. Nor do we need humans with special powers and slightly altered physical traits. We have way too many already.

No more stinking humans, please, I'm begging you WOTC, no more.
Just angsty immortal humans with a serious obsession with piercings, tattoos, and a serious case of masochism (it's required to keep going apparently.)

I'm sick and tired of humans, when I want to play a human, I'll play a human, if I want to play a human from a culture of angsty flesh altering masochists I can do that too, same with creating monstrous civilizations of humans like that. We don't need a new monster for every human type. Nor do we need humans with special powers and slightly altered physical traits. We have way too many already.

No more stinking humans, please, I'm begging you WOTC, no more.

I would venture to say that you are in the minority here. There have been many studies about creature types in video games, as a parallel, and it turns out that most people want to play humanoid things that are attractive by human standards. That's not a hard-and-fast rule, some people want monstrous or ugly characters, but a large majority of players, when given the choice between say, an elf and an orc, will choose the elf.

So most humanoid-like creatures are going to be attractive and humanlike, differeing in one or two noticeable ways.
I would venture to say that you are in the minority here. There have been many studies about creature types in video games, as a parallel, and it turns out that most people want to play humanoid things that are attractive by human standards. That's not a hard-and-fast rule, some people want monstrous or ugly characters, but a large majority of players, when given the choice between say, an elf and an orc, will choose the elf.

So most humanoid-like creatures are going to be attractive and humanlike, differeing in one or two noticeable ways.

Very true when the other options are ugly monstrosities with no consideration for aesthetics. Something can both look non-human AND pleasing to the eye, and that's where the most mistakes are made. Most of these non-humans in these games are poorly done and purposely made repugnant. No wonder no one wants to play them.

When done well though: Take Red from final Fantasy 7, a large number of people I knew loved Red, he was well done, and he wasn't even humanoid at all. If done well a lot of people will flock to play this to do something different. I've known numerous players that beg to play monstrous pcs just because they find the regular races too bland and boring. The usual response: "I'm a human in real life, I want to be something different."

Some even want to be quadrupedal so they can be even more non-human. So say what you will about being in the minority, from the people I've met and played with, we are a damn large minority, but then again, I suppose since we are a "minority" we don't matter, and should be ignored.

Also you need to consider something very important here, in video games EVERYTHING is visual based. You're going to be looking at the character all day. I've known guys that played female characters in video games for the only reason that they think the character is hot and would rather stare at a cute chick all day, not because they empathize with the character or anything of that sort.

D&D is VERY different from a video game, and such studies are mostly irrelevant. It also hurts when the females of these repugnant species are given overtly human traits like breasts. Which causes both males and females to see them as ugly girls and not as entirely separate species. The first thought is female, the next thought is ewe. People don't have that reaction when they see female dogs, hippos, lions, dolphins, bovines, ect, and do you know why? It's because they lack breasts, which for our species is a human sexual cue, and causes us to judge the whole in a sexual feminine light. We don't judge the sexual appeal of cows, dogs, and emus, because we instinctively recognize them as separate species first and there sex is a secondary characteristic. Put breasts on them, and the trend reverses, and we judge them as sexual creatures first and other species second. In fact adding breasts as a "sexual" cue to a lot of species is most likely counter productive to people playing them.

Another thing to consider are that there are different reasons for playing. Escapism is a major reason for playing. Some play women while men, because they like the idea, and want to escape from life as a man. They want to be an attractive woman of course. Some women carry their negative self image into the game, and want to be the attractive person they don't feel they are in real life, so they too will want to be an attractive woman. Some are sick of life as a human entirely, including our appearance standards, they won't want to play anything human at all, but they still want the picture to look good.

The reason I emphasize on the appearance of females, is males can play anything from big orcish lummox and not be bothered by it being ugly, and thanks to half-orcs they ignore that there are female orcs entirely. You'll also notice, that in almost all cases a half-orcs parentage is orc father, human mother, unless purposely trying to be different. We need to stay away from overtly human sexual cues with anything that won't look attractive to our eyes with them. Males are taught their worth comes from action, that enough money and skill can get them any women regardless of looks and are taught to judge women by appearances. For women, our looks matter a lot more than many of us like to admit, and few of us are going to play something so overtly ugly by our standards of beauty. Now is something falls outside our standards of beauty entirely by being in a whole different category of appearance, it will be judged separately because the sexual cues are lacking.
So the art preview has these new Shadar-Kai.

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/art_preview/20080516_114853_0.jpg

they can be sen at the above link. Does anyone like them or their art? We already had Drow and Teiflings but now these guys? I looked at them and was under the impression that some of the new humanoid races have taken a turn for the Exalted.

I don't know. I just saw them and I don't like them so I was just wondering what everyone else thought.

Meh. Don't like the art, but the creature as a race in D&D is fine by me.
Color me flattered.

Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

So Shadark-Kai are core now? Cool, emo goths are a good way to attract people to DnD (you know who you are).
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One of the most memorable encounters I ran in our 3.5 game happened when the party got stranded on the Plane of Shadow thanks to making a bet with a demon (long story). Of course, I had already sort of made the Plane of Shadow a lot like the Shadowfell by combining it with the ethereal plane and calling it the Ghostlands, but I digress. The party got mixed up with the Shadar-Kai, whom I portrayed as decadent hedonists willing to give just about anything a try to stave off the killing apathy they suffered from. Naturally, the party got...involved with a few of them, and a great time was had by all, because it was clear that while the Shadar-Kai were not actively evil, they were certainly amoral and weren't above taking their entertainment from the party in any way they wanted to, which made for great tension.

So seeing the Shadar-Kai back and the changes to the Shadowfell are very welcome, because I enjoyed using them so much and really, it's not all that different from what I had before.

When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray 

I liked them in 3.5 and I like them now. But then I really like peircings and tatoos.
I looked at them and was under the impression that some of the new humanoid races have taken a turn for the Exalted.

You know, I didn't make the Abyssal Exalted connection before now.

I'm not big on the Shadar-Kai. They don't exactly have the "traction" that WotC thinks they do as far as I'm concerned. They were just an obscure MM fey race that got made into a self-cutting goth kid race. They're the only thing that detracts from what fluff we've seen of the Raven Queen so far.

Also, my first thought from seeing the latest picture was, "Oh no, you did not just rip off Ivy's whip-sword.. thingy."
Although the Shadar-Kai as a concept are awesome, the art looks bland and uninteresting, unlike those picture that look awesome:
You know, with all the monsters I prefer to use, and even create... these never even blipped on the radar. A CR 1 humanoid... did I really need another one? It was useful as a plot hook, but I wasn't about to start a new campaign for it.

While I know that some people have the love for them, I don't need another weirdo humanoid race. I got goblinoids, I got the Gensai, I got the Warforged, I got half a dozen other things. I just don't need a spiked chain weilding race. I just don't.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
Although the Shadar-Kai as a concept are awesome, the art looks bland and uninteresting, unlike those picture that look awesome:

...

xXOblivionXx, you forgot this picture from Worlds & Monsters:



I don't understand... All shadar-kai pictures from the previews were awesome... The description of the shadar-kai on Worlds & Monsters is awesome (for those who haven't read it, yes, they are far more than "goth humans")

So, WHY THE MM WILL HAVE SUCH A HORRIBLE PICTURE?

They could just have used the same pics from the other previews...
That picture is awesome, how could I have not seen it before?!
So, it seems that, just like anything else, some people like them and some people don't. For some people they fill a niche for a race aligned with the Shadowfell / Shadow Power Source / Raven Queen, and some people's campaigns don't have a niche there to be filled, or would rather fill that niche with something else.

In my early thoughts on 4e I was leaning towards taking the Drow out of the underdark in my campaign and slotting them as the primary humanoid race of the shadowfell. But I like the new Shadar Kai for that better, because of the connection to the Raven Queen - you'd have to ditch Lolth to do the same thing with drow. For my own games, I don't see another race that would serve that role as well.

And frankly, I don't see a problem with throwing in a race that appeals to goth/punk/etc types. D&D fans have always include a number of people who appreciated that aesthetic. The new SK may be a bit over the top in that regard, but so be it.
I have to admit that I like the new picture better than the old ones, but I am probably in the minority. Either way, are we sure that all of these pictures are coming from the Monster Manual, or possibly other source material being released this summer/fall?
I actually like some aspects of that MM art, although parts of it are just awful. The girl on the left looks fine as does most of the girl in the center except for that awkward, side-ponytail...thing. The one in the back looks out of place and the one with the whip looks sort of bland.
Animation looks like the same guys who did Metal apocalypse
Art is meh. I have tattoos and piercing and am not impressed.

Concept gets a "meh+"
For a race whose entire survival seems to depend on them making extreme body modifications, they look rather tame to this punk rocker. Everybody and their mom's got piercings these days. Unless you're dumb and stick one where it will get infected (I'm looking at you, teen girls with navel and tongue piercings), it's not a very invasive body mod. Where are the implants? Scarification? Chipped ears, split tongues? Self amputations? Body mods that only a race entirely devoted to this sort of thing would come up with, and no sane human would try? (Though I would suggest self amputations are not something sane humans try either...)

Oh right, this is the PG-13 version of the shadar-kai, I suspect. ;)
No DnD is now PG.
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I suppose a race into really heavy body-mods wouldn't be much good at combat - what with no limbs and their faces melted off and no eyes and stuff. And without tongues or ears they'd be pretty useless traders or diplomats and they certainly couldn't reproduce. Oh, well, could always house-rule that.

And they'd really fear Rust Monsters!!!
Playing Scales of War

Rogue.jpg

Well, even without amputations... Little baby punk piercings are mainstream and tame as hell. Scarification is where it's at now.

And regarding piercings appropriate for Shadar-kai... I'm thinking Return of the Living Dead 3 here.

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4099710720/tt0107953
http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4185233664/tt0107953
These Shadar-Kai are somewhat more wild-looking:

The more I see the Shadar-Kai, the more I think about the Yuuzhan-Vong(sp) from Star Wars.
I was thinking of the Necris from unreal tournament.
I was thinking of the Necris from unreal tournament.

I could see that, honestly, being a huge UT fan:

Akasha:

Color me flattered.

Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

She is really awesome. Although she does not have piercings, it gets that feel that Shadar-Kai should have.
Edit: I also remembered the Nightmare, the are probably the most close to Shadar-Kai.
Well, I much prefer the grittier Shadar-Kai art from Worlds & Monsters; I'll still be imagining them that way
Yeah, I'm seeing them as Vong.
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Well, even without amputations... Little baby punk piercings are mainstream and tame as hell. Scarification is where it's at now.

And regarding piercings appropriate for Shadar-kai... I'm thinking Return of the Living Dead 3 here.

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4099710720/tt0107953
http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4185233664/tt0107953

I'm suddenly very glad that I haven't seen that movie.
I guess what I'm really saying about the Shadar-kai is that, a dark race of people form the Shadowfell planes who have lived a life of tourment and blah, blah, blah... I really don't care.

As for how they look, just because you come form the relm of shadows doesn't mean you have to try your hardest to look badass with tatooes and piercings.

I would actually prefer a Ravenloft style of atire, very intricate and beautiful and expensive looking, what with the Raven Queen and all.
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As for how they look, just because you come form the relm of shadows doesn't mean you have to try your hardest to look badass with tatooes and piercings.

Uh, yeah, they kind of do.

From Wizards Presents: Worlds & Monsters:
Every shadar-kai knows that to give in to the ennui of the Shadowfell is to face physical disintegration and nothingness. (...)

Dread of this fate forces the shadar-kai to combat it by keeping themselves in continuous pain, thereby anchoring themselves to reality. They wear bracers of shadow iron that perforates their flesh, and they adorn themselves by piercing and branding their skin in gruesome and painful ways.

I just had a little bit of problem with the graphic depiction of this in the released preview material. The sort of alterna-goth piercings they show in the preview art? Not exactly 'continuous pain'. More like 'short-lived discomfort'. Really, it hurts a lot less than it looks.
eh, The whole "pain is my anchor" thing is so played out. Why couldn't they come up with something more interesting for a need to constantly reassure themselves they exist? Pain isn't any better at proving existence than any other sensation, especially in a game where powers that screw with your mind are relatively common. I like the idea of a race bound to the raven queen and I like that they most always maintain focus and awareness or they lose cohesion and cease to be. I'll just change them a bit so they aren't as silly.
I'm suddenly very glad that I haven't seen that movie.

Yeah be glad. It sucked. Wasted 1h30 of my life. At least I got a decent 'Hey, this is how shadar-kai should look like' moment out of it. I guess that's something.