- This article is about the world of the deceased. For the other plane described also as spirit world, see Emerald Dream.
The Shadowlands (also spelled Shadow Lands, or called Realm of Shadows, spirit world, ghost world, spirit realm, astral realm, world of spirits, world of spirit, spirit void,, underworld and the Other Side) is the default realm where the spirits of mortals go when they die. They are a nightmarish realm of decay, a labyrinthine spiritual plane teeming with the souls of the dead who have passed from the world of the living.
This is the plane player characters are sent to upon reaching zero health.
- 1 Background
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Other afterlives
- 4 Notes
- 5 In the RPG
- 6 Speculation
- 7 References
The origins of the Shadowlands remain uncertain, but they have existed ever since mortal life first arose in the physical universe. They seem to span all worlds, including Azeroth. They are described as nightmarish realms of decay, labyrinthine spiritual planes teeming with the souls of the dead who have passed from the world of the living. Many believe that mortal souls are drawn into this place at the point of death, where they remain forever after. Still others hope that their souls will go on to a brighter place, rather than languish for eternity within the cold confines of the Shadowlands.
In World of Warcraft, the Shadowlands are accessible upon death, where the player-character can roam, and can only be seen by other spirits. The Spirit of Tony Two-Tusk describes the Shadowlands as all grey and dark, swirling clouds. While Uuna was in the Shadowlands, she described it as dark and she was unable to see anything, though she could hear people interacting with her in the physical world. From within the Shadowlands she could see the light of the naaru A'dal who was in the physical world, but it was so bright that it scared her. The moonlight at Lake Falathim allowed her to see a friend in the physical world.
When a soul is called from the afterlife, it is free to roam the material realm if it is not restrained within moments of its arrival. While in the Shadowlands, visions of past events may be seen.
Sometimes, the spirits roam the Shadowlands without resting. It can be because their resting place wasn't complete, because of a battle in their resting place or because the corruption of their resting place. To bring eternal peace to the souls, it is needed to destroy the source of corruption or by making a ceremony with items such as . A spirit in the Shadowlands can, with enough power over other souls, tear a hole into the living world once they are strong enough. This is how Jin'do returned to Azeroth.
Time may pass differently in the Shadowlands, as Salanar the Horseman (who was last seen in the Shadowlands, during ) once said that the years since he last met the Deathlord were only days for him.
- Bwonsamdi is a loa who watches over deceased trolls.
- Mueh'zala is another loa of death who presumably also resides in the Shadowlands.
- There was a "great spirit, billowing up from the ethereal mists, shapeless" that Odyn gave his eye to in payment in order to see into the Shadowlands.
- The ghosts of the dead dwell in the Shadowlands.
- Shadowy Tormentors
- Soul-Eaters are mysterious denizens of a dark place in the Shadowlands. They cannot be harmed by mortals.
- Spirit Flayers are trolls phased into the spirit realm, unable to be harmed from the mortal plane.
- Spirit Healers are Val'kyr who chose, after Odyn's imprisonment, to remain in the Shadowlands and assist the dead in returning to the land of the living.
- Umbral Lurkers
World of Warcraft
This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.
In World of Warcraft, the Shadowlands can be seen when a character dies. They can be resurrected by a Spirit Healer (or by finding the corpse of their physical body, though this may be just a game mechanic).
The Shadowlands can also be witnessed by other means, such as with some specific . It can also be seen with some devices and potions while being alive. Many not-dead mortals who visit the Shadowlands do not return.
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.
- The Lich King gained rule over the Shadowlands with the help of the Val'kyr. Players encounter him while seeing visions of the past in the Shadowlands.
- Gan'jo, a Drakkari ghost, was able to resurrect the player from the spirit world.
- Har'koa sends the player into the Shadowlands at the Altar of Quetz'lun.
- Death knight players enter the Shadowlands to obtain their Acherus Deathchargers.
- Quetz'lun created her own domain within the Shadowlands (that she referred to as "underworld"), after her followers had sacrificed her physical embodiment, where she tortured those who had turned against her.
- An adventurer temporarily separated their spirit from their body to question ghosts at the Forgotten Shore.
The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
|This section is a lore stub.|
This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
- Azuregos hid in the Shadowlands, together with the spirit healer Anara.
- Jin'do drained the powers of Hakkar inside of the Shadowlands and was also defeated there.
- Thoralius the Wise sent a hero into the Deadmines to see a vision of Edwin VanCleef's death inside the spirit world.
Mists of Pandaria
This section concerns content related to Mists of Pandaria.
- Pei-Zhi creates a tan-chao, a bridge from the living world to the heavens, to draw spirits called by the mogu back into the Shadowlands.
- Mogu tortured the spirits of pandaren in the spirit world at the Golden Stair in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, before the Vale was destroyed.
- During the battle with Gara'jal the Spiritbinder in Mogu'shan Vaults, adventurers were sent to the spirit world via his Spirit Totems.
Warlords of Draenor
This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.
- The SI:7 rogue Owynn Graddock, shadow hunter Bwu'ja and the commanders of the Alliance and Horde entered the spirit realm in order to stop the Bloodmaul chieftain Borgal Doomfist using the on orcish spirits.
- The Edge of Reality in which Ner'zhul retreats is in the Shadowlands.
This section concerns content related to Legion.
- Keeper Odyn used knowledge he gleaned from this place to create the first Val'kyr, Helya, and tasked her with bringing the souls of worthy Vrykul to the Halls of Valor. Later Val'kyr were created by the Lich King and used to corrupt Vrykul into his servants.
- During the Burning Legion's third invasion, the Knights of the Ebon Blade traveled to the Shadowlands to acquire the Aggregates of Anguish, five tormented essences of powerful souls - Admiral Proudmoore, Soulbinder Nyami, Grand Empress Shek'zeer, Grand Apothecary Putress and Archmage Arugal. Salanaar required these to conjure the Steeds of the Damned for the order's new Horsemen.
- A Dark Place, entered by a portal at the Emerald Dragonshrine, is an area where "the barrier between the realms of life and death are thin". Adventurers travel here to save a young eredar ghost named Uuna from creatures called Soul-Eaters.
- In the battle with Argus the Unmaker, Argus slays the adventurers battling him. Eonar is able to bring them back from the Shadowlands multiple times with her power. Hungering Souls attack the heroes' spirits while in the Shadowlands.
Battle for Azeroth
This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.
- Centuries ago, Summoner Mepjila cursed the followers of Kimbul to constantly relive their battle with her naga forces as spirits for eternity. Kimbul sends an adventurer into the Shadowlands to slay Mepjila's spirit and free his followers from her curse.
- Talanji, Rokhan, and Master Gadrin conducted a ritual to delve into the Shadowlands and locate Vol'jin's missing spirit.
- Vol'jin's spirit and a Horde adventurer traveled through Orgrimmar in the Shadowlands as Vol'jin relived the day of his death and realized it was not the loa who told him to make Sylvanas warchief.
In some situations, souls may be taken to other places besides the Shadowlands:
- Souls can be sent to the Light, such as Uuna's parents or Crusader Bridenbrad. Requirements for this are unknown.
- The spirits of green dragons, most Wild Gods, and some druids such as Elerethe Renferal and Thaon Moonclaw, can go to the Emerald Dream.
- The spirits of winged creatures, including dragons, tend to be sent to G'Hanir, within the Dream.
- Vrykul warriors who prove their valor to Odyn can be taken by his Val'kyr to the Halls of Valor.
- Elementals and demons respectively return to the Elemental Plane and Twisting Nether upon death, where they are then reborn. Dying in these planes kills them permanently.
- Some Kul Tirans speak of a boatman that calls them after death.
- The had a deep connection to the Shadowlands.
- Spirits without a material manifestation are still able to send items from the Shadowlands to the living.
- Spirit healers wait within the Shadowlands for those unfortunate adventurers whose spirits will soon join them. These floating figures of death and rebirth return people to life where their spirit stands.
- In World of Warcraft, some quests require the player to die in order to visit the "Shadowlands" to complete objectives.
- Though the Shadowlands and the Void are not the same, the ability gives players the "Void-Touched" debuff which reads, "The touch of the spirit realm lingers..."
In the RPG
The final destination of the spirits of the deceased remains a mystery to the priests and philosophers of Azeroth. However, as spells such as can reunite a dead body with its spirit, and a majority of living creatures from the tauren to the troll shadow hunters claim they can communicate with and call upon the power of the spirits, a widely held belief is that the spirits of the dead remain on the Material Plane — in an immaterial state that can only be altered or contacted through the use of magic.
- Shadow hunters deal with the darkest aspects of the Shadowlands. Their connections to powerful voodoo spirits give them the ability to curse and heal at a whim.
- The Inner and Outer Planes doesn't appear to exist in Warcraft universe, however, they are related to the Shadowlands.
- The spell called "spiritual projection" or "astral projection" brings the caster to the Twisting Nether instead of the Shadowlands; and the Twisting Nether is also referred as "realm of ghosts". However, both planes don't appear to be related, as Outland is floating on the Twisting Nether, but the Shadowlands can be reached in Outland in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.
- The Shadowlands were originally intended to be a fully playable zone in World of Warcraft, designed for high level play. The idea was that as deceased characters made their way back to their corpses, they'd see high level players battling creeps in the area, which would inspire lower level players to increase their character level so they could experience the zone for themselves.
- When Sylvanas Windrunner committed suicide in Icecrown Citadel, she found herself in the darkness, which was described as an infinite void where souls are tortured and tormented. The Val'kyr can reach this dimension and bring back souls from it to the material plane, suggesting that it is the Shadowlands.
- The Shadowlands may transcend all realities as evidenced with Soulbinder Nyami.
- The arakkoa shadow realm displayed in and inhabited by Essence Fiends and Face-Stealers could be the Shadowlands.
- ^ a b Ner'zhul (tactics)#Quotes
- ^ and Salanar the Horseman (mission)
- ^ Day of the Dead
- ^ Zarhym (NPC)
- ^ a b c
- ^ a b c d e
- ^ a b , , , , , ,
- ^ a b World of Warcraft Official Strategy Guide, pg. 28
- ^ a b
- ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
- ^ a b Quetz'lun's quotes
- ^ Fuel for the Voodoo#Completion
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. ??
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 12
- ^ pet description
- ^ a b
- ^ The Day of the Dead has Arrived: "Can you feel it? The spirit world draws close during the Day of the Dead."
- ^ The Legend of Odyn
- ^ a b Spirit Healer dialogue
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 57
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 48
- ^ Roughneck Logger#Quotes
- ^ Warbringers: Jaina
- ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter
- ^ a b Shadows & Light, pg. 132
- ^ Magic & Mayhem, pg. 45
- ^ a b Shadows & Light, pg. 131
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 152
- ^ Game Informer #308: Reforging Real-time Strategy
- ^ Edge of Night
- ^ Unholy Attainment: Essence of Shadow