Alternate Traits and Actions
The following changes allow GMs to alter a shadow giant without modifying its challenge rating.
Confer Glimmering Curse (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). The shadow giant temporarily relieves itself of its Umbral Glimmer by passing it on to an adjacent creature, which must succeed on a DC 18 Charisma saving throw to avoid gaining the giant’s Umbral Glimmer trait. The target becomes disorientated by the effect and has disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws until the effect ends. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns (just before rolling the d20 to determine if it enters the Plane of Shadow), ending the effect on itself on a success.
The shadow giant’s Cold Shadow action now recharges only on 6. If it possesses both this action and the Innate Spellcasting trait, it loses its Cold Shadow action.
Grasping Talon. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d6 + 7) slashing damage, plus 9 (2d8) necrotic damage. If the target is a Large or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 18). The shadow giant can grapple only one target this way. If the shadow giant enters the Plane of Shadow with its Umbral Glimmer trait, it takes the target with it. The shadow giant can use its reaction to release the target, stranding the target on the Plane of Shadow. The stranded target can attempt a DC 18 Charisma saving throw at the end of each of its turns, returning to the Material Plane in the nearest unoccupied space on a success.
The shadow giant can only make two attacks with its Tenebrous Talons when using Multiattack.
Innate Spellcasting. The shadow giant’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 18). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
- At will: major image, phantasmal force, silent image
- 3/day each: hypnotic pattern, mislead, programmed illusion, seeming
- 1/day each: maze, project image, weird
The shadow giant’s Cold Shadow action now recharges only on 6. If it possesses both this trait and the Confer Glimmering Curse action, it loses its Cold Shadow action.
New Magic Items and Spells
The following magic items and spells are inspired by the shadow giant.
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
While lit, this hooded lantern sheds darkness, reducing the illumination in a 60-foot-radius sphere to dim light. You and any creatures you designate benefit from darkvision within the lantern’s range. Magical darkness can’t impede this darkvision. Additionally, you can see 120 feet into the Plane of Shadow.
The lantern provides a total of 3 hours of illumination. It refills its oil reserve, regaining 1d3 hours’ worth of illumination, daily at dusk.
4th-level illusion (wizard)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (a shadow giant talon)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
You create a 20-foot-radius sphere of strobing shadow. Any creature in the area at the start of its turn who sees the strobing shadow must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is unable to make more than one melee or ranged attack on its turn and unable to use bonus actions or reactions until the start of its next turn. If a creature is maintaining concentration on a spell, it must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creature loses concentration.
As a bonus action, you can move the orb up to 30 feet.
6th-level necromancy (sorcerer, warlock, wizard)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (60-foot cone)
Components: V, S, M (part of a shadow giant’s horn)
When you cast this spell, you extend your shadow out in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 8d10 necrotic damage and has disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws until the end of its next turn. On a success, a creature takes half damage and doesn’t have disadvantage.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 7th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d10 for every slot level above 6th.
2nd-level conjuration (bard, sorcerer, warlock, wizard)
Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you are hit by an attack or caught in an area effect
You enter the Plane of Shadow. You return to the space where you vanished or the nearest unoccupied space at the end of your next turn.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 6th-level spell slot, you return at the beginning of your next turn.
Umbral Leather Armor
Armor (leather or studded leather), rare (requires attunement)
While wearing this armor, you flicker in and out of view. Creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against you.
Curse. The armor is cursed, a fact that is revealed only when an identify spell is cast on the armor or you attune to it. Attuning to the armor curses you until you are targeted by the remove curse spell or similar magic; removing the armor fails to end the curse. While cursed, at the beginning of each of your turns, you must roll a d20. On a roll of 11 or higher, you enter the Plane of Shadow. At the start of your next turn, you return to your previous plane in an unoccupied space of your choice that you can see within 40 feet of the space where you vanished. If no such space is available within that range, you appear in the nearest random unoccupied space.
Shadow Giant Adventure Hooks
- A cabal of three shadow giants has researched a ritual to end the curse plaguing all shadow giants. However, the completed ritual causes the Shadow Realm to overtake the Material Plane. A raft of incursions by never-before-seen creatures from the Shadow Realm portend the imminent catastrophe.
- A shadow giant’s presence has caused its curse to spread to a nearby village, causing the villagers to disappear into the Shadow Realm at random, even if they have left the village’s confines. One of the villagers promises a considerable reward to anyone who can end the affliction, which in part requires the shadow giant to leave the area.
The Tome Unbound series fleshes out monsters from Tome of Beasts 2, giving GMs ways to modify the existing monsters to surprise well-prepared players or to introduce monsters to a campaign.
Celebrate this week of monsters with us and join our Tome of Beasts 3 Kickstarter now!