Much like the wonderful “Fey Touched” feat that was also introduced in Tasha’s, the Shadow Touched feat is a great addition to 5E that provides remarkable flexibility, great flavor text, and some strong benefits that work with a wide variety of classes and builds. I love feats that are strong, versatile, AND add in serious backstory potential, and Shadow Touched is one of the rare ones that does all three.
Shadow Touched is an excellent 5E feat that delivers a stat boost, versatile spell benefits, and great flavor for characters who had adventuring travels prior to the current campaign.
So what’s the full story behind the Shadow Touched feat? Read on to find out everything this interesting new 5E feat has to offer!
Breaking Down the Shadow Touched Feat
This is a feat that brings a lot of choices to the table, so let’s dive into what 5E’s Shadow Touched feat has to offer.
Directly from the Player’s Handbook:
Your exposure to the Shadowfell’s magic has changed you, granting you the following benefits
- Increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- You learn the invisibility spell and one 1st-level spell of your choice. The 1st-level spell must be from the illusion or necromancy school of magic. You can cast each of these spells without expending a spell slot. Once you cast either of these spells in this way, you can’t cast that spell in this way again until you finish a long rest. You can also cast these spells using spell slots you have of the appropriate level. The spells’ spellcasting ability is the ability increased by this feat.
So let’s break down these interesting feats in more detail.
Benefit #1: Increase your intelligence, wisdom, or charisma score by 1 to a maximum of 20.
I’m not huge on stat boosts as part of a feat, but I do prefer when they’re more versatile like this. This allows you to take the casting ability score that matches your class, which is definitely useful.
Keep in mind that the casting stat of whatever spell you pick in the next section, so while it can be tempting to shore up a weaker ability score as opposed to your main casting ability score but if you go that route make sure the free 1st-level spell you pick doesn’t require a high casting ability to use effectively.
Benefit #2: You learn the invisibility spell which you can cast once per long rest without using a spell slot, but you can cast it more using a spell slot if you have the appropriate leveled spell slot open.
Invisibility is an incredibly useful spell. It’s one of the most powerful utility spells at low level and even at medium to high levels it is still an extremely useful spell to have in your back pocket.
This boon is incredible for a class like rogue or a monk assigned to being the de facto stealth scout of a group. For classes with limited spell slots like warlock, having a free cast of a spell, and another one added to the list to use, is extremely beneficial.
This is an A+ benefit all the way around.
Benefit #3: You learn one 1st-level spell from illusion or necromancy magic schools. You can cast these spells once for free (without using a spell slot) once per long rest, and you can also cast these spells.
Along with the learning of the invisibility spell, you also get a choice of a 1st level illusion or necromancy spells. As of the release of Tasha’s this means there are 8 spells to choose from, four in the illusion school and four in the necromancy school.
This means the spells you can learn with the Shadow Touched feat are:
1st-Level Illusion Spells
- Color Spray
- Disguise Self
- Illusory Script
- Silent Image
1st-Level Necromancy Spells
- Cause Fear
- False Life
- Inflict Wounds
- Ray of Sickness
Some of these are actually really useful spells to add to your PC’s casting abilities. Disguise Self can be useful in many creative ways, as can Silent Image. At low levels Color Spray can give great battlefield control, similar to sleep. Illusory Script has definite uses and can be cast as a ritual.
From the necromancy side of things there are some excellent choices, including spells that often appear on lists of the Top 10 1st-Level D&D Spells or Top 10 1st-Level D&D Combat Spells lists.
False life gives some all-important temporary hit points, while Inflict Wounds and Ray of Sickness are some excellent damage dealing spells at low levels.
Some feats that give an “and a” spell are pretty weak, but this is actually a really excellent list of spells to grab and further accentuate your character’s spellcasting abilities whether damage based or utility based.
5E Classes That Should Always Consider the Shadow Touched Feat
Similar to my favorite feat in 5E (The Fey Touched Feat), the Shadow Touched Feat is one of those feats that can be used by any class. It does not have the prerequisite of being a spellcaster, opening up its usefulness for classes like rogues and monks that can make really interesting uses out of it.
While an argument can be made for any class being able to get some good mileage out of the Shadow Touched feat, the promise of extra free spells, a +1 to one of the casting stats, and invisibility play better with some classes than with others.
Taking a look at classes that need stealth, sometimes scout, or can always use more spells, it’s quite a list.
Artificers, Bards, Sorcerers, and Wizards are spellcasters that can always use more spells. Having a feat that allows them to +1 the main casting stat up to an even number, or a secondary trait, while picking up invisibility with a free cast and another spell with a free cast is very hard to pass up.
All four of these casting classes can put Shadow Touched to good use.
Warlocks are a fun class, but the constant knock on them in 5E is the very limited spell casting. So adding Invisibility and another spell, both to be cast once for free, is a big deal. Because warlocks are versatile, the spell choices available plus invisibility works with a wide array of different builds and sub-classes.
Rogues are a fun class that get an extra feat compared to most classes, which can very justifiably be used on Shadow Touched. Whether running an Arcane Trickster or not, adding free casts of Invisibility and Disguise Self to the rogue’s bag of tricks is going to be incredibly useful.
Especially for assassins who want to kick off combat with Surprise – which is much easier to do when the unseen dagger attack comes from an invisible force before the rest of the party joins in.
Rangers are a partial casting class that make a lot of sense with this feat. They like to be stealthy, tend to go scouting, and while they have useful spells, many builds don’t use too many outside of Hunter’s Mark, Pace Without a Trace, and the occasional Cure Wounds. This means potentially open spell slots that can use invisibility additional times (very useful for a scouting Ranger) as well as additional castings of the other learned spell.
5th Ed Classes that should always take the Shadow Touched Feat:
5E Classes That Definitely Benefit from Taking the Shadow Touched Feat
While the following classes don’t necessarily profit on the same level, they can still use the Shadow Touched feat in interesting, unique, or strong ways.
Clerics always have a ton to do and generally are directing a battlefield as opposed to sneaking around, but invisibility could be an interesting spell in the right circumstances. Without question, False Life can be an excellent helpful spell that is in character with your average cleric build while 5E’s Color Spray spell is a solid spell that is a great roleplay for the Cleric who doesn’t want to cause death when avoidable.
Druids have a robust set of spells and are often buffing the party before jumping into Wild Shape, but adding invisibility to the mix certainly can’t hurt anything – and a Druid who has seen the alien horrors of the Shadowfell could lead to some absolutely awesome roleplaying potential, which I always love to see as both GM and player.
Monks are a class that can be so versatile and do so many things. That extra movement, high Dexterity scores, and ability to fill in as scout/stealth character in parties without a ranger/rogue to pull off those tasks usually assigned to them. Having extra movement AND invisibility AND a silent image distraction and this can lead to a Shadow Touched Monk doing some very interesting things.
Fighters tend to stick with the more martial feats, by why not take a look at something different? When you want your D&D fighter to have a very different flavor, invisibility gives more ability to ambush and opponent, move through dangerous territory unseen, or increase what is for many builds a dismal skill roll (Stealth).
Adding Color Spray to blind a group of opponents before fighting or going invisible to tactically withdrawal can make for a surprisingly effective feat even for a non-Eldritch Knight fighter.
5th Ed Classes that should consider taking the Shadow Touched Feat:
5E Classes That Don’t Work Well with the Shadow Touched Feat
The versatility of this feat means you can make an argument for any class benefiting from it, even the classes that appear on this list, but among all the builds out there, there are two classes that do clearly stand out as meshing the least with this feat.
Barbarians is the obvious choice. They’re all about the rage, so the idea of an invisible barbarian while funny, really doesn’t gel. Hard to tank for the party when the enemy can’t see you, and a barbarian in rage can’t cast a spell or concentrate on one (Source: Jeremy Crawford Tweet).
So while it would be interesting, it just doesn’t mesh well unless you’re creating a really unusual barbarian build in which case…I would like to hear about it!
Paladins tend to smite, smite, and smite some more. They have some casting ability but really play the role of a martial character with a touch of utility spell casting and a lot of spells for enhancing martial damage.
While invisible isn’t the first spell you think of with paladins, it can be useful in specific situations, especially if you need a tank to break up a situation with a surprise appearance, and surviving the resulting blowback, while the rest of the party sets up. Multiple spells available work well for the type of battlefield control or team boosting that
5th Ed classes that mesh with the Shadow Touched Feat the least:
Final Feat Grade for 5E Shadow Touched
Shadow Touched Feat Grade: A
Is the 5E Shadow Touched Feat Worth It?
The Shadow Touched feat is one of the more powerful ones in all of 5E and extremely versatile to boot. Invisibility is a spell that is incredibly powerful early and mid-game, and still has many uses late game even when more counters are available to enemies. The selection of first level spells might be small, but it’s a very good versatile list. The ability to cast them with regular spell slots after the one free use per long rest is just even better.
This is what a feat that gives a +1 ability score should look like, and this is a great cousin to Fey Touched, delivering yet another top-notch powerful feat that 5E D&D players should love.
Shadow Touched Feat FAQ
Can you cast Shadow Touched spells at higher levels?
Yes. As the feat is written the spells you learn are cast for free at their minimum level, but then a PC also has the ability to cast them with existing spell slots as long as a player has those slots open.
What is the Shadowfell?
The Shadowfell is another plane of existence. Unlike the Fey Wild (which is probably the best known alternate world) the Shadowfell is dark, terrifying, and a place where truly terrifying creatures that can snuff out even the strongest of heroes roam.
What is the most underrated feat from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything?
Shadow Touched is one of the two most underrated feats from Tasha’s with the other being Fey Touched. These “cousin feats” are both incredibly powerful, versatile, and create amazing roleplaying opportunities.
Is the Shadowfell feat better than Fey Touched?
This is debatable and depends on what you want the main function of the feat to be. Shadow Touched is better for stealth, hiding, or adding some offensive capabilities while battlefield control and making martial characters terrifying to enemy backliners then the winner is Fey Touched.
Can a sorcerer learn the inflict wounds spell?
Inflict Wounds is a cleric spell, however this is one of the spell options that Shadow Touched allows meaning the best way for a sorcerer to learn inflict wounds is to take the Shadow Touched feat, which with a +1 Charisma and Invisibility spell can make it a very good addition for the sorcerer.
Other DnD Articles You Might Enjoy
- 5E Magic Initiate Feat Guide
- 5E Shield Master
- 5E Meta Magic Adept Feat Guide
- Ritual Caster 5E Feat
- 5E Mage Armor Spell Guide
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.