Posted by : David Guyll April 30, 2013
They just seem so comically grim, skulking in a realm of perpetual shadow that literally tugs at their soul, which they can only delay through constant pain (including, but not limited to, an armband that impales you while you wear it). Their high concept reads like the kind of angst-y poetry that a teenager would write.
I cannot decide which origin story is sillier, the one where I guess an entire race of fey is on board with a nebulous dark entity bargain that ultimately (and not-so-surprisingly) goes south, or the one where they beg the god of death to help them cope with death, who does so by promising to protect their souls after they die, except when she transforms them into undead soul-reapers.
|Thanks Raven Queen, this is much better than eternal bliss.|
For example, it does not make sense for an entire race of fey to bargain with a dark power. I could see a group of them doing it and being cursed, but not all of them. Similarly, why did the Raven Queen respond to a whole bunch of humans? Does she still do this, or was it a one-time deal? Why did she just do it for humans? Why would she not warn them against hanging around in the Shadowfell, especially when it is so much more hostile than the natural world? Why would they stick around?
The new story has similar problems.Why would they make a deal with a god of death or despair? What was so important that they would risk their souls (and, I guess the souls of their children)?
This is a part where I think a magical cataclysm would suffice: some necromancer was dabbling in forces beyond his understanding, crossed the streams, and now people are beginning to fade into the Plane of Shadow (where they might become shades). This could make it applicable to any race (or at least more than one), and it could be a kind of sub-race or feat tree that anyone could pick up.
I could also see a culture, or a region where the planes bleed over (like Eberron's manifest zones) where instead of aging the people are gradually pulled into the Plane of Shadow. Or maybe they do age, but when they die they are sucked there. There could have been a war or disaster, and the priests prayed to the god of death, and it "spared" them by drawing them there, marking their souls. What if a whole nation or city died before they were supposed to, and the god of death kept them alive, but they have no souls? What if they are an early, failed attempt at creating life that requires strong emotional stimulus to feel emotions, and/or they have no souls?