A shrowde is a living creature that looks, to the unsuspecting eye, like a ragged white sheet or cloak. Beings of the Shadow realm that cannot bear direct sunlight will sometimes go about concealed within a shrowde. According to some chroniclers, the "wearer" and the shrowde form a relationship of mutual dependence. The being that wears the shrowde as a cloak comes to depend on its protection and concealment, and the shrowde feeds off the thoughts and emotions of the one that wears it. Whether a shrowde has thoughts and feelings of its own is unclear, but it will act as an independent being if separated from its wearer.

A shrowde can move about on its own, much in the way that a sheet will be tossed and blown about by the wind. Shrowdes can thus glide through the air, or flow over the ground, and in these ways the shrowde will sometimes act as a scout or spy for its wearer. (Some scholars of the Perilous Realm believe that sightings of shrowdes are the source of our world's depiction of ghosts as figures draped in white).

At the will of its wearer, a shrowde can also envelop others. Those few who have been "swallowed" by a shrowde and lived to tell the tale report that they experienced a sense of being lost within a vast, murky expanse, as if the shrowde is somehow larger on the inside than it looks to be from the outside.