The Father in Shadow Character in Creation | World Anvil

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The Father in Shadow


  The Father in Shadow is an elusive otherworldly figure that some believe to be a wayward spirit, lesser deity, or perhaps something different altogether. To those not in the know, the Father of Shadow is merely a figment or turn of phrase passed between the lips of thieves. Known by dozens of aliases, the Father silently and subtly demands the worship of thieves, criminals, and other ne'er-do-wells that prefer to work in the shadow, yet the Father bears no true name. It is said that the Father in Shadow is not a materialized being and more of an abstract form that can only be worshipped under the fall of night, as the Father sleeps through the day.
"Yet again those two circles—side by side—with a line drawn through them horizontally. I continue to find symbols akin to these in the strangest of places. From the warrens and slums all the way to the finest homes of the richest nobles. It must be a sort of code or signal and I am keen on cracking it"
—Milton Berwick, Private Investigator

  It is believed that those who follow the Father in Shadow communicate in an advanced form of thieves cant, using these symbols to denote potential places to rob, meet, or destroy. To know such a language is to be deep into the folds of the faith, as the tomes of the faith are written in such code. Perhaps by luck or by incredibly careful planning, not a soul besides the authors (or the authors' family) knows the true location of religious texts as they are to be hidden. If guardsmen or investigator were to find such a tome it would take them years to figure out the code, but in the hands of a person with exceptional intellect or magical means, this script could, perhaps, be translated.

The Faith

  There are very few "tenants" that the Father and his faithful demand be followed. Firstly, do not attempt to steal or bring harm upon those that are of the faith. To follow in the Father's footsteps is to become family with all of those who would do the same. Secondly, destroy those that would keep their coffers full in spite of the paupers. It is within reason to kill these nobles, but the Father's followers know better than to eliminate them, as the rich provide a steady flow of coin. If they were to die, the flow would cease and the money would be granted to the next of kin that may become wise to the plots of the thieves. Third, those that would protect nobles must be eliminated at all costs. The guardsmen that would lay down their lives to protect the rich are merely pawns in a greater game. Killing them brings great fear to the nobility and thus reminds the rich of their place in the world. Fourth and last, do not leave evidence of the Father anywhere. The Father demands that his followers do not keep any sort of religious texts referencing him. He also demands that they do not create shrines to himself, as to pray and worship the Father is to simply carry out the tenants of the faith. The temple is in the mind. The only exception to the rule is the marking of buildings, as they tend to reinforce the third tenant and cause fear amongst the noble classes.  

The Following

  Thieves and criminals alike all know of the Father and his tenants. In an effort to follow the fourth tenant, there are no temples or shrines to the Father, so the only true way to worship or pray to the Father is to carry out his tenants. Then and only then may you even attempt to communicate with him. The Faceless are the largest organization that actively carries out the will of the Father. The Faceless are a fellowship of nomadic thieves that hold the secret to understanding the Father's particular dialect of thieves' cant that is often used in heists, jobs, or what little religious scripts are kept. This organization follows the tenants of the Father to near perfection and they seldom meet in groups larger than two or three unless it is during the Dark-Moon Festival.
"I want you sharp and alive out there, guardsmen. You know well what goes on during the Dark-Moon Festival, and I want those thieving bastards caught, am I clear?"
—Sergeant Mikhael, Guardsman

  During this Festival, the Faceless bring new members into their flock by tasking them with heists to prove their worth to the Father and the organization. To fail to complete the heist either by being caught or not capturing what was targeted means death. The Faceless are sure to tell newcomers of such a fate as scare away those that haven't the stomach for second-story work. Whilst the initiations occur during the festival, the senior members of the Faceless gather to worship during the only time of year that they are permitted. To worship is to speak of the tenants that one has fulfilled during the previous year. Some may boast about the murders of several guard captains whilst others brag about clearing the coffers of two dozen merchants. Regardless of the feat, they quietly celebrate with drink and stories within the home of one of the members. A new location is chosen each year so as to not arouse suspicions.


  The Father in Shadow has many different names. The names listed are just a handful of potential aliases that the Faceless or other thieves have referred to him by.
Aligned Organization
Shadow Father Alias
  • The Shadow Father
  • The Skulking One
  • Breaker of Mirrors
  • Torcheater
  • Pitchman
  • He That Lives in Windows
  • It That Watches
  • Glimmer God
  • Goldmonger
  • The Grifter God

  • “The greatest trick the Shadow Father ever played was convincing the gods that he did not exist.”
    — the Faceless


    Author's Notes

    Book - Quill - Ink Cover DepositPhotos Stock



    This article was written by the creative and talented Sols & Duun and edited for world and game use by Graylion. To see more writing and world building by Sols & Duun, visit Vos.



    The Faceless and Shadow Father was inspired by the Lies of Locke Lamora a 2006 fantasy novel by American writer Scott Lynch, the first book of the Gentleman Bastard series. Elite con artists calling themselves the "Gentleman Bastards" rob the rich of the city of Camorr, based on late medieval Venice but on an unnamed world. This quote below for the Shadow Father was inspired by The Devil's Advocate movie quote from famous poet Charles Baudelaire.  

    “The greatest trick the Shadow Father ever played was convincing the gods that he did not exist.”
    — the Faceless
    “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist.”
    — Charles Baudelaire

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