It began on the 15th of Ready’reat 590 CY. Inexplicably and randomly, objects, people, and animals became translucent, fading from view.
There was no warning and no apparent patterns, no connections, and no preventing this problem – there are even cases of the effect ending as mysteriously as it began. Size and shape are no barrier: it could be a watch tower, it could be a bowl, it could be a goat.
People in general panic or worry. When people are affected, they appear to move and walk and act without affliction, and their health is entirely usual. The only notable difference is that with concentration, walls or other barriers can be crossed through as if they were not there.
That is, of course, unless the objects are also faded – they cannot pass through similarly affected objects. “What is faded stops what is faded.”
No one is reported to have died or been hurt from it specifically, but reappearances inside of solid things have been known to cause some trouble (most avoid passing through walls for this reason, apart from the reports that the sensation is unpleasant). No one has disappeared entirely, either, but there are varying degrees of opacity, as random as the people or objects afflicted.
It is not transferable like a disease – except for a bleed over effect from a person to their clothes or equipment. A faded person may pick up a normal object and it will not fade or be affected for as much as a day. But if the person has been using or wearing it extensively, it will fade much as they have, and becomes part of whatever magic overcame them – that is, in the cases where they reappear in full, so does the object.
If left behind or lost, that faded object simply becomes under its own spell, and may restore or remain faded as uncertainly as anything.
Inanimate objects have no such bleed over effect. One may pick up or interact with it with no seemingly ill effect. (Most simply play it safe, however, and have come to avoid faded objects or places.)
When an inanimate object is faded, it has no unique differences or changes to what it was or beyond what it would ordinarily be capable of. A faded bowl will still hold liquid, dent, burn, or anything a normal bowl of it’s shape and construction would do. The only special property faded objects hold is that any attempt a faded creature tries to make to pass through it would automatically fail.
Faded (acquired template)
For stat block purposes, much applies as it would to other templates. I’ll detail the differences between a faded creature/person and one who is not faded only.
The Faded template has no impact on creatures with the incorporeal subtype.
Translucence (Su): Any attacks made against a faded creature would be to treat them as if they had concealment (20% miss chance, PH 152). Faded creatures may make hide checks using this concealment without the usual need for cover.
Fade away (Su): A faded creature may attempt to ignore the physical presence of an unfaded wall, floor, or object, much like a creature subject to the blink spell. Before going through a wall or object, they must make a will saving throw (DC 18) to do so. Failure indicates they could not reconcile becoming ethereal, and cannot pass the object or surface at whatever speed they were approaching it from. Success means they may travel up to five feet through any unfaded wall, floor, or object that would ordinarily impede them. If they are still inside a solid space after the first five feet, another successful will save (DC 18) is required to continue moving. Failure means that the creature is shaken for one round and moves back to where they last moved through the solid object. Creatures can move only at three-quarters speed through solid objects in this way. While moving like this, the creature is counted as an ethereal creature. Force effects (such as magic missile and wall of force) and abjurations affect the creature normally.
Any faded object in the path cannot be moved through in this way. If the object or objects could be counted as obstacles that make passage difficult, but not impossible (PH 148), then treat them as such. If it is a whole wall or section of floor that is faded, it would be treated as if both the creature and floor were physical.
If a faded creature becomes ethereal through a spell, spell-like, or supernatural ability, that would supersede this restriction.
If a faded creature falls unconscious while moving inside a solid object, they lose control over the ability and must immediately make a reflex save (DC 15). Success means it is shunted out to the nearest available open space, taking 1d6 damage for each five feet they are shunted out. Failure means they are stuck inside the object and either start suffocating or are crushed/mangled by what they are sharing space with, and take 3d6 per round, usually fatally.