There are three types of Shadow on PersonaMUSH. They are:
- Wandering non-sapient Shadows.
- the Personal Shadows born from a specific person's psyche.
- Rumor Shadows, which are generated by conflicting rumors.
What are Wandering Shadows?
Effectively, they are bits and pieces of people's psyches, drawn from the Collective Unconsciousness. As such, they possess great power, akin to that expressed by a Persona-user or Shadow-Possession. They take many shapes and forms, all of which wear masks.
They are non-sapient, but hardly stupid. Like animals, they are capable of hunting effectively and often in packs, and their prey of choice are humans. Should they devour only the mind of their target, their target will succumb to Apathy Syndrome, while if they entirely devour their target, the person will die.
Larger Wandering Shadows tend to prey on weaker Wandering Shadows, which allows them to grow in power.
Where can I find Wandering Shadows?
Note that the masks of Shadows in the Dark Hour reflect the tarot: Magician through Hanged Man only.
Can my character talk to Wandering Shadows? Can they chase Wandering Shadows off?
Unlike demons, Shadows cannot be talked to and will not back down from a fight once engaged, though they will flee from stronger opponents.
What about more powerful Wandering Shadows? Do the things above apply to them?
Exceptions to the above may exist for more powerful Shadows. Often, these are plot elements or other singularly powerful entities, and thus the scope of their powers fall outside normal concerns.
Is there anything else I should know about Wandering Shadows?
Shadow-Possessed may control normal (not the more powerful ones touched on above) Wandering Shadows.
What are Personal Shadows?
Personal Shadows are similar to Wandering Shadows, save that rather than being collective pieces of an unknown number of people, a Personal Shadow derives from just one person.
Personal Shadows reflect the part of the self that is unacceptable to a person. They have rejected it because it's repellent, or counter to their role, or otherwise something they cannot and will not integrate into their psyche. They are not evil in and of themselves.
This is the Shadow that possesses a person during Shadow-Possession. Though it is not commonly known, this Personal Shadow is akin to the reverse side of the same coin as a Persona. A controlled and accepted Personal Shadow becomes a Persona, while an uncontrolled Persona invariably slides into Shadow-Possession.
Where can a Personal Shadow be found?
They are almost always found within the Midnight Channel, after someone has been cast into there.
The only exception to this includes the Personal Shadow which may also be encountered if they are produced by the psyche-splitting function of the SHU as one of the archetypes. These appear in a somewhat different capacity and will not be discussed further here, so please see the file for more information on archetypes.
Can someone who already has a Persona produce a Personal Shadow?
Absolutely! Such victims will realize that their Persona has vanished as they wander the Midnight Channel. They will regain it once they successfully handle their Shadow.
What happens when a person confronts their Personal Shadow in the Midnight Channel?
A confrontation takes place where the Shadow airs out the character's dirty laundry and secrets, and typically this results in the character completely rejecting the Shadow as a part of themself.
At this point, the character tends to collapse while the Shadow, gaining power from its rejection, goes wild and draws Wandering Shadows to it. A group is needed to defeat the Shadow so that the character can then conditionally accept the Shadow as a part of themself.
If they didn't already have a Persona, at this point they will gain one.
What happens if a character doesn't reject their Shadow? What if they keep rejecting it after it's defeated?
A character who doesn't reject their Shadow becomes Shadow-Possessed, as they have unconditionally accepted their repressed self which promptly takes over. Shadows are not evil, but their drives need to be kept in check without being completely smothered.
A character who continues to fail to accept the Shadow and what it has to say after it has defeated, they will not gain a Persona if they didn't already have one, and their continued repression of their inner drives may set the stage for eventual Shadow-Possession if it is not addressed.
What's a Rumor Shadow?
When conflicting rumors spread about a person (or a group of people), both come true. This forms a contradiction, which in turn produces the Rumor Shadow. This Shadow is a perfect replica of the person the rumor was about, right down to possessing a dark mirror of the persona's Persona.
In may respects, they are akin to a Personal Shadow, as they know what makes their original tick and what they hate about themselves. The difference is that Rumor Shadows are unambiguously evil, reflecting the evil potential in all people, and want nothing more to destroy the original and take their place.
It's best to think of Rumor Shadows as evil doppelgangers.
Can a Rumor Shadow be distinguished from the original?
Not easily. The only difference is that they possess red or yellow eyes, both of which may be suppressed at their will. Their resonance is also the same. They appear and function as human in every respect that matters.
Typically, someone can only tell if their act slips for whatever reason, or if the Shadow wants to be detected.
What if the original gets killed by a Rumor Shadow?
They die. The Rumor Shadow takes over their life, and the character can no longer be played, removed to NPC status.
How do I create a Rumor Shadow for my character, and what does this entail?
First two conflicting rumors need to be spread. This can be handled however you like, but please +request to let staff know that you are planning to produce a Rumor Shadow.
You will also need to +request staff to receive your Rumor Shadow. This is reflected by a separate character object from your character. It does not count against your alt character limits.
After that, have fun!