Content of the article: "Need help with a Shadowfell Corruption system"
Hi all, I've been tinkering around with this system for the shadowfell, and I need a new set of eyes/ears/antennae on it.
basically, for those who don't know, the Shadowfell is a mirror to the material plane, in a similar way as the Fey Wild is. in the Fey Wild, emotions are heightened, euphoria, rage, lewdness, all are magnified by the plane. the Shadowfell is kind of the opposite, where all emotions are muted. rage fades to annoyance, euphoria fades to fleeting amusement, and so on. I want my players to experience this firsthand, so I've come up with a type of system, and I would love some feedback on it, and suggestions on how to improve it.
Each day spent in the Shadowfell begins to wear down those who aren't protected against it. After every hour a creature has been in the Shadowfell, that creature must make a Charisma saving throw. (alternate for nicer GMs, every long rest). depending on the emotional state of the creature when it entered the Shadowfell, it may have a number of hours before it needs to begin making these saves. generally, if a creature willingly goes into the shadowfell, or is otherwise aware of the effects of it, the creature does not need to make saving throws for a number of hours equal to their level (or CR).
the DC of the save is equal to 10 + 1 for every day they have spent in the Shadowfell (ie, after every long rest), + the number of Apathy points they have.
on a success, nothing happens, but on a failure, a creature gains a point of Apathy. Apathy functions similar to Exhaustion, in that a long rest (while away from an effect that would attempt to apply it) reduces it gradually, and magic that would restore points of exhaustion similarly reduce it.
if a creature is sleeping, they need not make the save, but will need to do so when waking up, if they would have had to make a save while conscious (so, 1 save when you finish a long rest, but not if you're made to sleep for a minute with a spell like Sleep).
each point of Apathy gradually darkens a creatures' outlook on life while in the Shadowfell, and has the following effects.
|Points of Apathy||Effect|
|1||The creature's vision begins to shift into shades of gray. this does not impose any penalty unless color would otherwise be required, such as painting a portrait or identifying a plant by its leaves|
|2||The creature's heart grows hard. the creature has disadvantage on any ability check made with Charisma|
|3||The creature's feet get heavy. the creature's speed is reduced by 10 ft, and the creature has disadvantage on Initiative checks.|
|4||The creature's skin gets colder. anytime the creature would recover hit points, they recover only half as many. on a long rest, they recover no hit dice, although their hit points recover to full if they would otherwise do so|
|5||The creature's hope begins fading. anytime the creature falls to 0 hit points, they automatically fail 1 death saving throw. additionally, any form of vision they have is limited to 60 feet. beyond this radius appears to be fog, concealing anything beyond.|
|6||The creature's arms feel like they're made of lead. attack rolls made by the creature are at disadvantage, as are Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws|
|7||The creature is getting lost in despair. fog fills the creature's vision. any creature more than 5 feet from you is concealed from you,|
|8||The creature gives up all hope. the creature lays down and accepts their fate. they are considered to be incapacitated, will not eat, drink, or speak, will not defend themself from danger, and are at risk of death by starvation, dehydration, and other such dangers|
a creature can try to delay the effects of Apathy on another creature with an appropriate activity, such as a rousing speech, a joyful tune, or other activities that might bring positive emotion to a creature. the GM is an arbiter on what might be successful, although a creature might be more receptive to certain tactics, depending on their history, personality, and so on. a devout member of a faith might be assisted by a holy text that speaks of comfort, or they might be led further into despair as they feel detached from their deity.
generally, an ability check will be required, with a DC of 10 + twice the receiver's number of Apathy points. if this ability check is successful, the creature makes their next Apathy save with advantage. if the check is unsuccessful, they make the check as normal. unlike normal ability checks, this ability check can critically fail or succeed. if the ability check rolls a natural 1, then the next check is made with disadvantage. if the ability check is a natural 20, the activity is so successful, the creature can remove a single point of Apathy. a creature can only remove 3 points of Apathy through such activities until it is no longer under the influence of the Shadowfell. (if a creature recovers from all their Apathy and returns to the Shadowfell, they begin again anew)
I'd love some advice on how you think the system can be improved. is 8 points of apathy too many? should there be points that don't increase the mechanical effects? should it only be every 4/8 hours instead? are there any effects you would swap around, such as swapping the "skin gets colder" with the "feet get heavy" effect?
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