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Dungeon 23: Shadowy Finale

Dungeon 23: Shadowy Finale

Throughout 2023, a roster of Kobold Press superstars are working together to create a full dungeon for the Dungeon23 project. Each installment contains a few areas that will stack up to a full delve! Catch up on previous articles here.

Dungeon 23 Community Highlight

Showing yet another approach to the Dungeon 23 project, Andrew C. Durston has been creating a series of locations and settlements, as City23. You can find his work here: www.campaignnook.com.

Dungeon Prompts

No prompts this time! It’s a gloves-off boss fight!

The Dungeon Map

map by Dyson Logos

This level of the dungeon uses a Dyson Logos map, Wylgarak’s Hole (use this link for a player version without area numbers).

This map offers diverse paths for the PCs to explore while pursuing their adventure hook, which should resolve in Area 18.

This installment of the dungeon covers area 18. This encounter uses the Better Boss Fights rules. Find them here on the blog.

Area 18: Shadowy Finale

Gloom and an unnatural chill permeate this chamber. Barely visible bones cover the floor in neat piles, demonstrating the presence of a vicious, yet intelligent denizen.

Crepuscyr, an elder shadow drake (freshly updated in the remastered Tome of Beasts 1 (2023)) bargained with the infernal powers that created this dungeon to gain sovereignty over this level so it could be left in peace. Unfortunately, Crepuscyr is condemned to remain in his domain forever, never able to leave, and returning to this area one week after dying.

When Crepuscyr enters combat in his first phase, he doesn’t take the PCs seriously. Not even the swolbolds have challenged him so far, and he expects nothing from this current challenge either.

When Phase 1: Overconfident Crepuscyr drops to 0 hit points, instead of dying, switch to Phase 2: Enraged Crepuscyr.

Overconfident Crepuscyr (Phase 1)

Large Dragon, Chaotic Evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 57 (6d10 + 24)
Speed 20 ft., fly 60 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
18 (+4)13 (+1)18 (+4)8 (−1)9 (−1)13 (+1)

Saving Throws Dex +4, Con +7, Cha +4
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +7
Damage Immunities cold
Damage Vulnerabilities fire
Condition Immunities paralyzed, unconscious
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Common, Draconic, Umbral
Challenge 2 (450 XP)                        Proficiency Bonus +3

Shadow Blend. In areas of dim light or darkness, Crepuscyr is treated as invisible. Artificial illumination, such as a lantern or a light or continual flame spell, does not negate this ability; nothing less than true sunlight or a daylight spell does. Crepuscyr can’t use his Speed Surge or his breath weapons while invisible. Crepuscyr can suspend or resume this ability at will, without requiring an action, so long as he is in dim light or darkness.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. Crepuscyr makes one Bite attack and one Tail Slap attack.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) piercing damage.

Tail Slap. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 13 (2d8 +4) bludgeoning damage.

Cloying Shadows (1/Phase). Crepuscyr breathes a 15-foot cone of tangible shadows. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) cold damage and becoming restrained on a failed save, or half as much damage and not becoming restrained on a successful one. As an action, the restrained target or another creature can make a DC 15 Strength check, freeing the target on a success.

BONUS ACTIONS

Shadow Jump (1/Phase). Crepuscyr can travel between shadows as if by means of a dimension door spell. This magical transport must begin and end in an area of dim light or darkness, and the distance must be no more than 60 feet.

Speed Surge (1/Phase). Crepuscyr moves up to his speed.

LAIR ACTIONS

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Crepuscyr can take one of the following lair actions:

  • Coalesce Shadow. A shadow emerges from the dim light, acting on this initiative count.
  • Tangling Darkness. Each location in dim light or darkness in the lair becomes semi-real, making the area difficult terrain.
  • Twisted Shadow. A shadow appears like an attacking creature, targeting one creature. The target must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or use its next turn to attack or move away from the shadow.

In his second and final phase, Crepuscyr begins to match the strength of his foes, fighting tooth and nail.

At the same time, the drake realizes his scaly servants have died or fled the dungeon, and he doesn’t wish to repeat the painful process of dying and returning. As such, Crespuscyr becomes increasingly interested in a truce as his hit point total declines. 

Phase 2: Enraged Crepuscyr

Large Dragon, Chaotic Evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 68 (8d10 + 32)
Speed 20 ft., fly 60 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
22 (+6)13 (+1)18 (+4)8 (−1)9 (−1)13 (+1)

Saving Throws Dex +4, Con +7, Cha +4
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +7
Damage Immunities cold
Damage Vulnerabilities fire
Condition Immunities paralyzed, unconscious
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Common, Draconic, Umbral
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)                     Proficiency Bonus +3

Shadow Blend. In areas of dim light or darkness, Crepuscyr is treated as invisible. Artificial illumination, such as a lantern or a light or continual flame spell, does not negate this ability; nothing less than true sunlight or a daylight spell does. Crepuscyr can’t use his Speed Surge or his breath weapons while invisible. Crepuscyr can suspend or resume this ability at will, without requiring an action, so long as he is in dim light or darkness.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. Crepuscyr makes one Bite attack and one Tail Slap attack.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 22 (3d10 + 6) piercing damage.

Tail Slap. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 19 (3d8 +6) bludgeoning damage.

Stygian Breath (1/Phase). Crepuscyr exhales a ball of black liquid that travels up to 60 feet before exploding in a 20-foot-radius cloud of frigid black mist. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 21 (6d6) cold damage and suffers one level of exhaustion. On a successful save, it takes half damage and isn’t exhausted. The mist snuffs out nonmagical light sources and dispels magical light from 1st-level spells or lower.

BONUS ACTIONS

Shadow Jump (2/Phase). Crepuscyr can travel between shadows as if by means of a dimension door spell. This magical transport must begin and end in an area of dim light or darkness, and the distance must be no more than 60 feet.

Speed Surge (2/Phase). Crepuscyr moves up to his speed.

LAIR ACTIONS

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Crepuscyr can take one of the following lair actions:

  • Grabbing Tendrils. Shadowy tendrils fill a 10-foot square on the ground for 2 rounds. The tendrils turn the ground into difficult terrain. A creature that enters the area for the first time or starts its turn there must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 2d6 cold damage and be restrained by the tendrils. A restrained creature can use its action to make a DC 15 Strength check, freeing itself on a success.
  • Lights Out. Crepuscyr makes a Charisma check against a spell of 3rd level or higher that creates light (DC equals 10 + the spell’s level). On a successful check, the spell ends. If Crepuscyr targets a spell of 2nd level or lower, it automatically succeeds.
  • Shades of Repast. The remains of one of Crepuscyr’s past meals issues from his abdomen as a shadhavar with 20 hp and no Innate Spellcasting, acting on this initiative count.
Designer Insights: Not Enough? Too Much?
One great thing about this boss monster design is that it allows for different interpretations of lair-based monsters. An elder shadow drake is a difficult opponent for prepared parties at this level, so Crepuscyr starts off toying with his prey, assuming they can’t threaten him. This makes the encounter easy, until Crepuscyr realizes the PCs present a threat after all! Then he unleashes his full potential.

Delving Deeper

In two weeks, we’ll take account of the first two levels of our dungeon, and plot our return at a later level.


If you’re looking for a notebook to jot down your Dungeon 23 ideas, check out the Kobold Press TeePublic page!


about Mike Welham

Mike Welham started gaming some time in the Mesozoic Era and has played at least one game in each edition of D&D. He has been happily writing for Kobold Press for over ten years and is partially responsible for all the darn drakes flying around Midgard.

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