Today marks the halfway point in the “30 Days of D&D” blog challenge.
I can’t honestly say I’ve used a lot of undead beyond what was in published modules. Sure I’ve had some Skeletons and Zombies about, but they are not really interesting.
How about Shadows?
In Classic D&D, Shadows are not actually classed as undead, although they are in some other editions. I think they are clearly inspired by Ged’s shadow from A Wizard of Earthsea.
Being incorporeal and looking just like actual shadows, they surprise on 1-5 on a d6. They can just appear at any time, even through walls. They cannot be damaged by non-magical weapons. They cannot be Turned by a Cleric.
A Shadow can stalk anyone venturing into its lair, striking suddenly to drain Strength points. Those who run out of Strength turn into Shadows themselves. If damaged, they can retreat, only to return to strike again later.
A Shadow is a good monster to introduce players to the idea of fighting an intangible opponent. Although often overlooked in favor of Wights or Wraiths, that drain Experience Levels, I feel Shadows can be played as pretty terrifying as well.