Phaethonic Shadowdancers of Sirrion
D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
Where there is fire, there is shadow. They are intrinsically connected, and eternally inseparable. And as the fire dances, so does the shadow.
The Phaethon are a reclusive race of winged elf-descendants that live in the mountainous regions in Goodlund and neighboring areas. A race of farmers and monks, the Phaethon wish nothing more than to be left alone in their habitats. Owing to their fiery natures, the Phaethon worship the Flame of Creativity first and foremost among the gods, with the Risen Phoenix and Vengeance's Wing close behind. Those who worship Sirrion tend to go to the highest mountaintops, where monasteries exist and creative expression rules the day. This is, of course, for the Lawful of the Phaethon. Those with a more primal edge choose to worship the Flame's inverse aspect--the Dancing Shadow.
Certain Phaethon are called to the service of Sirrion's Dancing Shadow aspect at an early age. They are granted visions of flickering, pulsing light and rhythmic drum beats, and are carried through a shadowy dreamscape through the night. Upon waking, if they responded correctly to the events in their dream, the chosen Phaethon receives a small, smoky ceramic bowl full of warm, black sand and ashes. The Phaethon then applies these ashes in ritualized marks on their body according to patterns seen in their dreams, which become permanent skin decorations.
Soon after, they are contacted by the current Head Dancer, and trained in the ways of the Shadow's Dance.
Upon reaching the 5th level of the PrC, the shadowdancer is given the ability to manifest their wings as a dark, wispy smoke instead of the standard flames. This is a free action, and must be chosen when the Phaethon manifests his wings. (The normal fire wings are still available, but they cannot swap between the two, and may only chose fire or smoke once per day.) The smoky wings do not add bonuses to grapple checks, but may be used to add +2 to a Hide check, and a -2 modifier to opponent spot checks to see the Phaethon in shadowy conditions.
The Phaethonic Shadowdancers do not congregate and have no formal organization, but are taught by mentors in private sessions. Trained shadow dancers perform rituals and stories for the Phaethon community, and act as the bards and historians of the tribe, performing legends and myths in dance performances. When not performing, the shadowdancers wear jeweled anklets with silver bells dangling from them, and do not hide their presence. Adventuring shadowdancers may use their discretion, but in a community setting, they are always prepared to present a performance when called upon.
Each village has at least one or two such characters, fulfilling the necessary functions, though bigger communities may have entire dance troupes.
The Shadow Dancers are welcome in the monasteries, due to their relationship to Sirrion, but are often uncomfortable in the silent, bright buildings.
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