Creature Feature (Starfinder): Forgotten Shade

Forgotten Shade CR 4

This creature appears to be composed of strips of dark cloth held together in a humanoid form, smoke obscuring whatever may lie beneath the gaps of the fabric.

NE Medium undead
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10

Aura memory leech (15 ft., DC 15)


EAC 16; KAC 17
Fort +3; Ref +3; Will +9
Defensive Abilities undead immunities, unliving, incorporeal


Speed 30 ft.
Melee grasp +10 (1d6+5 C)
Ranged shriek +8 (1d4+4 So, range 60 ft.)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th)

At will—daze (DC 13), ghost sound
1/day- share language


Str +0; Dex +3; Con -; Int +0; Wis +5; Cha +1
Skills Bluff +15, Culture +10, Disguise +15, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +15
Languages One random language it knew in life
Other Abilities imitation


Environment any
Organization single, fog (3-6)


Imitation (Su)

As a free action, a forgotten shade may copy any supernatural or extraordinary ability possessed by a sentient creature it can see within 120 feet. If the ability requires additional body parts such as wings or extra arms, the forgotten shade will grow them. It may only copy one ability at a time but may keep any ability it copies until it chooses to replace it. It may copy class abilities in this manner, though it is limited to choices that do not have prerequisite abilities. If a forgotten shade becomes aware of a sentient creature when it was not previously aware of any sentient creatures within its range it must automatically copy an ability from them, though it may make a DC 14 Will save to ignore this compulsion and keep whatever ability it currently has.

Memory Leech Aura (Su)

Every creature within 15 feet of a forgotten shade must make a DC 15 Will save every round or voluntarily open their minds. On a failure, the forgotten shade copies memories from the subject into its own mind.

Roll 1d4 for every creature that fails against its aura to determine the results of the stolen memories.

  1. The shade gains knowledge of the creature’s life, but nothing useful for more than creeping them out.
  2. The shade gains knowledge into the creature’s preferred combat tactics. It gains +1 to its AC against the creature for 1 round.
  3. The shade gains knowledge of the creature’s fighting style. It gains +1 to attack rolls against the creature for 1 round.
  4. The shade gains knowledge of a skill the creature knows. It gains +5 for one random skill the creature has a bonus in for 1 minute. This ability can stack on the same skill but cannot exceed the creature’s own bonus.

Few creatures want to die. Most cling to their desires and hopes in their final moments, whether to console themselves or to range against the dark. In some cases, creatures cling to these beliefs so strongly it allows them to resist the pull of death and rise as the undead. But for some, such methods are out of reach. For those who die without their memories, whether torn from them due to brain damage or magic, there is only confusion. In some cases, the feeble scramblings of such minds in their final moments are enough to defy death through sheer lack of understanding for their own fates. The creatures that arise from such causes are known as forgotten shades, physical manifestations of the poor souls forgotten even by themselves.

A forgotten shade can stand anywhere from four to eight feet tall, with its height completely unrelated to its size as a living creature. The body of a forgotten shade appears to be made of long strips of some dark cloth wrapped together in a design similar to that of a mummy. Unlike mummies, however, there is no corporeal body beneath the wrappings. All there is is a mass of dark smoke that constantly trails from the gaps in their bodies, coiling and drifting in a single direction that is as often as not in defiance of gravity or wind. Their general form can vary wildly but often mimics the basic body shape of whatever sentient creature they last saw. Despite this variance, a constant feature is their lack of a face. Where it should be the wrappings simply stop, leaving a wide opening that hints at a glimpse into their body past the constant smoke.

Forgotten shades arise in a number of conditions that fulfill their basic criteria for creation. The most common is simply the death of a creature with severe brain damage that destroyed memory or prevents new memories from being formed. Following closely is the deaths of those whose memories are suppressed or stolen, whether by magic or technology. A less common cause, but one of the most feared is when a creature is killed by a psychic assault that destroys their mind along with their body, stripping away memory and thought even as their organs shut down. However, despite common rumor, forgotten shades cannot create more of their own kind. Their ability to leech memories does not rob them from their original possessors, but simply bestows a copy to the forgotten shade, while their incorporeal nature prevents them from clawing the brains from the heads of their victims.

Forgotten shades are nothing on their own. They lack any memories of their own lives and their experiences quickly degrade into a muddled fog within their minds. For all intents and purposes, a forgotten shade is never more than a few minute old by their own recollection. An inexperienced adventurer may think this makes them fairly harmless, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Because they lack true memories of their own, those they steal from others quickly settle into their minds and become an important fixture in their mutable minds. After several minutes of exposure, a forgotten shade will begin to think it is the creature to whom the memories belong, sending it into a frenzy at the one it thinks has stolen the rest of its mind. Creatures they have fixated on will be crippled but left alive for the shade to feed on until they feel they have obtained all the memories that once belonged to them. When they feed on multiple creatures this tends to confuse them even more, causing them to slip easily between mindsets as it forms identities belonging to each creature or even fusions made from memories taken from both. In any case, a forgotten shade will dispose of any creatures around it as soon as it has collected the memories it needs. Once this is done a forgotten shade will begin to follow a course of action it believes it should be based on the memories it’s stolen. Over the coming days, its inability to form new memories of its own and the degradation of the stolen memories will cause them to become more and more deranged as it tries to follow goals whose meaning gradually slips from their grasp, a process only worsened if they encounter another creature and begin to muddle their minds with new memories. Eventually, all the stolen memories will degrade, leaving them the hollow shades they began as and beginning the wretched cycle once more.

About nwright

A freelance writer for the Open Gaming website who looks forward to building plots out of monster entries for you to enjoy as a player or DM.

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