The Shadow race is NPC only because of two reasons. The race is very powerful and due to their motivation is virtually impossible to be played correctly. Their motivations and actions are truly alien, and very hard to describe, let alone play on a regular basis, without the player becoming to "Human" in his actions and motivations.
The Author has only met one player in Role Playing Games EVER that the Author considers able to properly play a Shadow. The author for this conversion himself feels that he is unable to properly play a realistic Shadow.
The Shadows have chosen to not pass beyond the veil and remain on this side of the Rim to shepherd the new races into their ultimate form. Their method is to create chaos and war. Although the Shadows appear to be the Lords Of Chaos, they have NEVER shown any signs of being divided internally, unlike the Vorlon race, the Lords Of Order, where the schism was most clearly demonstrated with the Kosh / Ulkesh fight.
The Shadows fear telepaths of any species, since they could disrupt or destroy their technology.
RELIGION: Za`Ha Dume is not their homeplanet, but they used it as their base because Lorien, THE First One, was there! They came there to honor him, but they had forgotten the true meaning of his teachings. So it can be said that they worshipped Lorien, or the race that he belonged to (or WAS, as I believe that Lorien is the essence of his entire race)
LANGUAGE: The spoken language of the Shadows is a rapid series of high-frequency bursts.
HISTORY: The Shadows are the second race in the Milky Way galaxy to gain sentience.. They were one of the first sentient races to discover and manipulate hyperspace. With the emergence of the First Ones, the Shadows perhaps perceived a threat to their dominance and warred with them over the course of the last million years. The last Great War occurred ten-thousand years ago, leaving the Shadows defeated, not destroyed. For nine thousand years they waited, then in approximately 1200 C.E., the Shadows began to prepare for another war. By this time most of the First Ones had gone beyond, leaving the remaining elder Ancients and the current races to deal with the threat.
During their Uprising the Shadows used the Narn homeworld briefly as a resupply post. They slaughtered almost all the Narn telepaths. G'Quon and the remaining telepaths (all of whom were past childbearing age), forced the Shadows off their world. This was one defeat of many for the Shadows. They gathered their forces too quickly and were stopped before they were ready. An alliance of worlds, including the Minbari and the remaining First Ones put them down.
Around the time of the Uprising, the Shadows stored some of their vessels in the Sol System for future use. Humans have found two, one on Mars in 2253, the other on Ganymede in 2260. The first was returned to the Shadows in exchange for unknown favors. A secret cadre of humans, including some highly-placed individuals in Psi Corps and Interplanetary Expeditions (IPX), created an alliance with the Shadows around 2253. Shadow assistance was given to the Psi Corps in the alteration of human telepaths. One such experiment led to the creation of embedded artificial personalities (APs) fanatically loyal to the Corps. When telepathically triggered the AP permanently replaced the previous personality. Other experiments with Shadow technology led to more insidious "creations."
After reviewing data from a long-range probe, an expedition was commissioned to explore the barren world of Z'ha'dum in 2257. The Icarus, a human explorer ship under the direction of prominent xenoarchaeologist Dr. Chang, landed on Z'ha'dum. The crew of the Icarus did not know as much as they could have about their mission, which was funded by IPX. Captured by the Shadows, the humans were given a choice: serve us or die. At least one member of the crew, Morden, is in their service. One of a long line of Shadow Thralls, he, like all the rest, thinks his masters are his equals.
The Shadows latched themselves to the Centauri; once performing "favors" for them through Ambassador Londo Mollari; now for Lord Refa. This will carry a heavy price for the Centauri. The Shadows are using the Centauri's war with the Narn as a distraction. By helping the Centauri retake the Narn Homeworld and colonies they removed a source of potentially damaging information about them (the Book of G'Quon), or so they thought.
Learning from their most recent defeat, the Shadows are slowly consolidating their power; manipulating races behind the scenes. The Shadows know that the Vorlons are aware of their intentions. However, they feel they are in a superior position. Should the Vorlons sound an alarm they feel most races would not believe them. Even if most races did, such a move would force the Shadows to move agressively now, causing the deaths of billions of unprepared lives. They are not afraid of the Vorlons; they are afraid of an alliance of races.
In early 2260, Ambassador Mollari began to have doubts about his alliance. According to the settlement that occurred between Ambassador Mollari and the Shadows, the Shadows are only interested (or so they say) in a portion of the galaxy opposite that held by the Centauri. There are no guarantees that either side will not attack the other once they achieve their immediate goals. Regardless of this "agreement" the Shadows began massing their fleet in Sector 800, on the border of Centauri space.
Following a defeat at the hands of the Vorlons, the Shadows retaliated by striking at an easy target. "Led" by Morden, three Shadows killed the Vorlon Ambassador on Babylon 5, Kosh Naranek.
GOVERNMENT: The Shadows have agents of many races working for them. One human agent, Morden, is a survivor of a survey ship that explored Z'ha'dum. He currently has dealings with the Centauri Lord Refa and certain Human factions (most notably Psi Corps) in Earth Alliance. I have heard rumors of Shadow Agents among the Narn. They also use Soldiers of Darkness of varying forms and abilities: Shadow Warriors, Drakh, Zener, and Goblyns, which are only a few of the many races used (and presumably altered) by the Shadows.
MILITARY: In the period following their awakening, the Shadows had only used token forces so as to not attract attention. The forces they committed to the Centauri for their brief war with the Narn were but a fraction of their total war machine. According to legends they are an almost invincible military force. However, Shadow vessels can be easily disrupted by a telepath of sufficient strength.
HOMEWORLD: Unknown although an important base is Z'ha'dum
COLONIES: There is more than one place of power for the Shadows and their minions. One such area was located near Minbari and Human space.
Alignments: Considered Evil (In many was alignments are not applicable),
the Shadows have very unusual motivation and are very hard to define according
to palladium game alignments and by modern frameworks.
Attributes: IQ: 28, ME: 20, MA: 10, PS: 32, PP: 18, PE: 25, PB: 4 (In Human Eyes), SPD: 36
[PS is considered Supernatural for Damage Purposes]
Hit Points: 4000 (That is 40 MDC)
SDC: 40,000 (That is 400 MDC)
Average P.P.E.: 1D4x10+10
Occupational Character Classes (OCC & RCC): None, the race has many special abilities and set skills
Skills: Shadows are extremely adept in Biology and Technology, They rarely study other skill areas. In technology they have reached the pinnacle of what is about possible, especially in the field of FTL technology and hyperspace.
In Biology, the are slightly above the technological level of the Gene-Splicers and would be able to achieve even things that the Gene Splicers could not. The only place they lag behin in this area is that they cannot trigger or modify psionic abilities. In game terms, Other skill areas would be most Communications, most
Electrical, a lot of Espionage (Such as Intelligence), most Mechanical, most Medical (result of Biology), most Pilot (No Animal Riding Skills), Most Science (Especially Astronomy & Biology), and Technical. Game masters
must decide what skills do not fit a Shadow. Any skill that involves heavy physical activity or would be considered domestic would not be likely to learned. Remember that Shadows are a 100 million + year old race.
Horror Factor: 18 (almost the ultimate fright if you loathe spiders !)
Physical Appearance & Biology: Contrary to most of the First Ones, the Shadows never abandoned most of their physical form. They are now as they were millions of years ago, the pinnacle of evolution of their species, with little or no change occurring over the last tens of millions of years.
One attribute that is not witnessed in almost any other race is the fact that all Shadows seem to exist somewhere between normal space and Hyperspace. This apparently is their natural state, and because of this they are invisible most of the time. When they are visible, they look like something out of a nightmare: Their form looks much like the upper body of a praying mantis has been pasted onto the body of a spider with six long sharp legs. Their head is more or less triangular in shape, and contains no mouth or other orifices of any kind, but arranged in three 'V' shaped rows one above the other are several dozen small brightly glowing eyes. All over the body sharp spikes jut out, and the general body color is a mottled black.
Shadows are presumed to be rather strong, and they might very well be able to break metal with their slim pincers. They move forward with a scuttling motion which is eerily silent.
Shadows APPEAR to have a form of hive mind, as they are NEVER alone, but this is speculation.
Height: average of 6 to 7 feet upright. can presumably crouch to less than 5 feet while remaining upright.
Weight: Unknown, but may be as much as several hundred pounds (assume 500 pounds maximum for game)
Average Life Span: Believed to be Immortal
Natural Abilities: Immune to Cold. Fire, Lasers, and Electricity inflict half damage (Shadows take full damage from MDC Fire such as Heavy Plasma and Fusion Weapons). Magic weapons (If available) will inflict full damage. Shadows can survive in very low pressure atmospheres and can survive in complete vacuum for up to two hours.
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Racial information from Voltayre's Encyclopia Xenobiologica
By Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune ) and by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa)
Rifts Conversion Copyright © 1999, Kitsune. All rights reserved.