Author Archives: Skies of Escarnum

A proactively inclusive, shounen-anime flavoured, and distinctly furry post-dungeon adventure setting for 4e D&D.


Descendants of darkness, forgotten but never gone

Shar Heritage Traits

Except as specified below, game mechanics for the shar are identical to the shadar-kai race detailed in the D&D 4e official rulebooks. For all other mechanical purposes (including feats, paragon paths, etc.), shar is simply an alternative name for shadar-kai.

Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Intimidate. This replaces the shadar-kai’s normal skill bonuses.
Languages: Sorana, plus any one.

Trance: You have the same trance feature as the eladrin.

Strange eladrin infused with shadow, the shar are among Alm’s most mysterious people. Cautious and secretive, they have no nation of their own, but rather owe their existence to Sorairo’s most dreadful secret. They are the children of the Aganai—a labyrinthine prison that, by some terrible misfortune, found itself bleeding into the shadowfell.

A maze of deadly traps and puzzles, the Aganai lies hidden within the island of Sorairo, its very existence known only to the empire’s most powerful authorities. Such records as exist describe it as a teaching tool, supposedly a means to reform dangerous prisoners through shared penance and cooperation. Perhaps to no great surprise (and perhaps also by design) this rehabilitation failed to eventuate.

It is unclear when the entropic energies of the shadowfell begin to seep into the prison—and unclear whether the planar fabric was eroded by chance, or by intent. However it happened, it gradually became clear that the inmates of the Aganai were suffused with shadow, to the point it had warped their very essence. The Empire ordered the prison sealed, condemning those within to whatever dark fate awaited them.

Today the Aganai’s existence is long buried—yet, its inhabitants persist. Though the original inmates are long gone, their descendants have lived their entire lives in shadow, suffering for the sins of some long-forgotten ancestor. Their very existence an act of rebellion, these embittered survivors live for the day they can make their escape—or more often, die trying.

Those who did escape would eventually be identified by surface scholars as “shar”—a corruption of the Sorana “sha”, itself though to be an archaic word meaning “them”—and their origin attributed mistakenly (or not) to “The Agony”.

Play a shar if you want…

  • to be a newcomer to the surface world.
  • to be a lone wolf, slowly learning to trust your friends.
  • to explore individual responses to trauma in a safe and heroic context.

Physical Qualities

Shar look much like eladrin, but with skin of muted blue hues and red, purple or yellow eyes. They tend toward more wiry builds, though this is most likely due to the unforgiving environment in which most develop, rather than to biology. Shock-white hair is overwhelmingly common, though individuals frequently dye this as a matter of practicality (in the Aganai) or self-expression (on the surface world).

Without a deep connection to any surface culture, an escaped shar has little choice but to define their own aesthetic. Many develop an eccentric sense of style that strongly serves their particular self-image, while others have tastes constantly in flux. In either case, they tend toward extremes—either shaped by the grim pragmatism of their homeland, or indulging the sort of hedonism that can only be embraced in relative safety.

Shar longevity is a double-edged sword. While they remain close to the shadowfell, their aging slows to a crawl, making them almost immortal—if they could retain the will to live. In practice, it rarely takes longer than 30 or 40 years before apathy starts to overcome them. A shar who escapes to the surface loses this longevity—living a similar lifespan to a human—but can stretch their remaining years by once again exposing themselves to the shadowfell.

Playing a Shar

Although the shar have existed for many generations, they have never escaped in large enough numbers to form any distinct community. Thus, shar born on the surface world are almost unheard of, and most adventurers are still Aganai escapees. They grow up in a world of bitter need and ruthless pragmatism, but also intense determination and ferocious bonds. Living between condemnation and oblivion, survival itself is their constant act of rebellion.

Nonetheless, even a child of the Aganai cannot resist entropy forever. Sooner or later, those who survive but do not escape will sink into apathy—the most terrible fate of all. Thus, every young shar comes to their ultimate rite of passage: seeking the path of escape.

With the prison sealed for millennia, the only way to escape the Aganai is to explore the endless tunnels in search of a one that emerges beyond the labyrinth—either to the island’s underside, or through the foreboding dark of the shadowfell. Either path is perilous, and most do not survive—but what choice do they have? Those who wish not to fade away must be willing to burn.

With all this in mind, shar adventurers tend to remain self-reliant, careful and opportunistic individuals, who forever carry the trauma of their imprisonment. Whatever their nature may be, they tend toward intense personalities, unable to shake the fear that tranquility will lead to oblivion. Some embrace a giddy hedonism, desperate to feel anything and everything with new intensity, while others find they must take care to avoid regular sensory overload.

With a general lack of familiarity with social norms, shar often come across as odd or intimidating to strangers, which leads to frequent misunderstandings. This is perhaps why they often lead solitary lives, even if they inwardly crave the company of others.

Shar are perceived as... weird, cunning, bitter, intense, pragmatic, resilient, fierce, rude, solitary.

Names: Most shar are given Sorana names, though they have little use for more than one. Escapees frequently give themselves new names, leading to an eclectic mix based mostly on personal taste.

  • 2 years ago Add Initial version published
  • 3 weeks ago Update Changed skill bonuses
  • 3 weeks ago Add Added trance feature

Hoof Slam

The armoured fists and feet of an equitarn warrior, capable of crushing armour and enemies alike.

Natural two-handed melee weapon
Damage: 1d12
Proficient: +2

Brutal 1

Hammer, unarmed


Beast Claw

These fearsome claws are a natural gift to many gnolls, who use them as effectively as any sword.

Natural one-handed melee weapon
Damage: 1d8
Proficient: +3


Light blade, Unarmed


Beast Claws

Prerequisite: Gnoll

Benefit: You gain proficiency with the beast claw natural weapon.

Your beast claw is a natural one-handed melee weapon in the light blade and unarmed groups. It has a +3 proficiency bonus and deals 1d8 damage, and has the off-hand property. Whenever you do not wield another weapon or hold a shield in one of your hands, you are considered to be wielding a beast claw in that hand.

You can enchant and disenchant a beast claw like a normal weapon, except that when you disenchant it, it does not turn to dust. (Each hand is its own weapon and has its own enchantment, just as if you were wielding two manufactured weapons.)

[This feat is intended to replace the existing claw fighter feat.]


Bestial Charge

Bestial ChargeGnoll Heritage Power
You lunge toward the enemy with all of your considerable might.
Standard Action Personal
Effect: You charge and deal an extra 1[W] on a successful attack. If you are bloodied, double the extra damage and gain an equal number of temporary hit points.

1.0—Initial version
  • 2 months ago Add First version published

Bestial Surge

Bestial SurgeGnoll Heritage Power
You are revitalised by the scent of impending victory.
Free Action Personal
Trigger: You bloody an enemy or reduce an enemy to 0 hit points.
Effect: Spend a healing surge. If the amount healed would exceed your maximum hit points, you gain temporary hit points equal to the excess.

1.0—Initial version
  • 2 months ago Add First version published

Gecko Toes

Prerequisite: Kobold

Benefit: You gain a climb speed equal to half your speed.

At level 11, this increases to be equal to your speed.


Bestial Covenant

Prerequisite: Wilderskin, beast of battle power, invoker

Benefit: When you hit with an encounter or daily attack power while your beast of battle power is active, you can shift a number of squares equal to your Wisdom modifier instead benefiting from your covenant manifestation.


Agile Magic

Prerequisite: Wilderskin, any arcane class

Benefit: When you use a close or melee arcane attack power while your beast of battle power is active, you can shift 1 square as a free action before or after the attack.


Urban Beast

Prerequisite: Wilderskin

Benefit: When you roll a Streetwise check, you can roll twice and choose which result to use. When you roll an Athletics check while your beast of battle power is active, you can roll twice and choose which result to use.