Archive for June, 2015

NOTE: The zombie dragons previously featured here are now part of my Pay What You Want DMs Guild product Arachnids, Wraiths, & Zombies.

It’s time for part eight of the prison for dragons series! If you’ve been following these posts than you know that the dungeon I’m building in each entry is inspired by last month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme, “Unusual Dungeons,” which was chosen by Nils Jeppe of Enderra.

The dungeon I’m creating is a prison made to hold dragons built by aberrations. Here’s all the blog posts I’ve written about the subject so far.

  • Part I – A general overview of dragon prisons
  • Part II – The historical background and character hooks of a specific dragon prison, Shuzal
  • Part III – A description of the area surrounding Shuzal and a table of random encounters
  • Part IV – The surface level of Shuzal’s ruined entrance citadel
  • Part V – The lower level of Shuzal’s ruined entrance citadel
  • Part VI – The upper level of Shuzal prison
  • Part VII – The lower (cell block) level of Shuzal prison

Now it’s time for Part VIII – monster stats!

That means in this post I’m going to show you some monsters I needed to create for the adventure because they don’t exist in any of the published material for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. Well, not yet anyway (to my knowledge). So read on below to get the statistics for an adult silver dracolich, an ogre chieftain, an ogre skeleton, an oni vampire, or all age categories of zombie dragons, read on below. Yes, I did put it all into a handy, dandy PDF for you!

Ogre Skeleton!

Great Bear

Huge beast, neutral

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)

Hit Points 126 (12d12 + 48)

Speed 40 ft., climb 30 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

22 (+6)

10 (+0)

18 (+4)

2 (-4)

14 (+2)

10 (+0)

Skills Perception +4

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Keen Sight and Smell. The great bear has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight or smell.

Magic Resistance. The great bear has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions

Multiattack. The great bear makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) slashing damage.

Kerrinsalastraya, Adult Silver Dracolich

Huge undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 19 (natural armor)

Hit Points 243 (18d12 + 126)

Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

27 (+8)

10 (+0)

25 (+7)

16 (+3)

13 (+1)

21 (+5)

Saving Throws Dex +5, Con +12, Wis +6, Cha +10

Skills Arcana +8, History +8, Perception +11, Stealth +5

Damage Resistance necrotic

Damage Immunities cold, poison

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 21

Languages Common, Draconic

Challenge 17 (18,000 XP)

Innate Spellcasting. The dracolich’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 18). The dracolich can cast the following spells, requiring no material components.

1/day each: animate dead, blight, contagion, shield, vampiric touch

Legendary Resistance (3/day). If the dracolich fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Resistance. The dracolich has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions

Multiattack. The dracolich can use its Frightful Presence. It then makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 8) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d6 + 8) slashing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d8 + 8) slashing damage.

Frightful Presence. Each creature of the dracolich’s choice that is within 120 feet of the dracolich and aware of it must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the dracolich’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.

Breath Weapons (Recharge 5-6). The dracolich uses one of the following breath weapons.

Cold Breath. The draolich exhales an icy blast in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw, take 58 (13d8) cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Paralyzing Breath. The dracolich exhales paralyzing gas in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Change Shape. The dracolich magically polymorphs into an undead that has a challenge rating no higher than its own, or back into its true form. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (the dracolich’s choice).
In a new form, the dracolich retains its alignment, hit points, Hit Dice, ability to speak, cast spells, proficiencies, Legendary Resistance, Magic Resistance, lair actions, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores, as well as this action. Its statistics and capabilities are otherwise replaced by those of the new form, except any class features or legendary actions of that form.

Legendary Actions

The dracolich can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The dracolich regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Detect. The dracolich makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.

Tail Attack. The dracolich makes a tail attack.

Wing Attack (Costs 2 actions). The dracolich beats its wings. Each creature within 10 feet of the dracolich must succeed on a DC 21 Dexterity saving throw or take 15 (2d6 + 8) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone. The dragon can then fly up to half its flying speed.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the dracolich takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects.

  • The dracolich creates fog as if it had cast the fog cloud spell. The fog lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round.
  • A blistering cold wind blows through the lair near the dracolich. Each creature within 120 feet of the dracolich must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take 5 (1d10) cold damage. Gases and vapors are dispersed by the wind, and unprotected flames are extinguished. Protected flames, such as lanterns, have a 50 percent chance of being extinguished.

Sepora, Tiefling Necromancer

Medium humanoid (tiefling), chaotic evil

Armor Class 12 (15 with mage armor)

Hit Points 99 (18d8 + 18)

Speed 30 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

10 (+0)

14 (+2)

12 (+1)

20 (+5)

15 (+2)

18 (+4)

Saving Throws Int +9, Wis +2

Skills Arcana +13, Deception +7

Damage Resistances fire

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Giant, Goblin, Infernal

Challenge 12 (11,500 XP)

Infernal Legacy. Sepora has the ability to cast innate spells as a tiefling. Her innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16). She can cast the following spells, requiring no material components.

At will: thaumaturgy
1/day each: hellish rebuke (as 2nd-level spell), darkness

Magic Resistance. Sepora has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Spellcasting. Sepora’s spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). Sepora can cast the following spells.

At will: chill touch, friends, mage hand, shocking grasp
1st level (4 slots): detect magic, mage armor, magic missile, ray of sickness
2nd level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, detect thoughts, ray of enfeeblement
3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, fireball, vampiric touch
4th level (3 slots): blight, greater invisibility, stoneskin
5th level (3 slots): cone of cold, dominate person, cloudkill
6th level (1 slot): create undead
7th level (1 slot): finger of death
8th level (1 slot): mind blank
9th level (1 slot): true polymorph

Actions

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

Ogre Chieftain

Large giant, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (chain mail)

Hit Points 124 (13d10 + 52)

Speed 40 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

20 (+5)

10 (+0)

18 (+4)

12 (+1)

14 (+2)

10 (+0)

Saving Throws Wis +5

Skills Insight +5, Intimidation +3, Persuasion +3

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages Common, Giant

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Actions

Multiattack. The ogre makes two attacks.

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d12 + 5) slashing damage.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) piercing damage.

Battle Cry (1/day). Each creature of the ogre’s choice within 30 feet that can hear it make an attack as a reaction. The ogre can ten make an attack as a bonus action.

Skeleton, Ogre

Large undead, lawful evil

Armor Class 11 (natural armor)

Hit Points 75 (10d10 + 20)

Speed 40 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

19 (+4)

8 (-1)

15 (+2)

5 (-3)

7 (-2)

5 (-3)

Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8

Languages understands Giant, but can’t speak

Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Actions

Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Vampire, Oni

Large undead, lawful evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 227 (13d20 + 91)

Speed 40 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

19 (+4)

18 (+4)

18 (+4)

14 (+2)

12 (+1)

15 (+2)

Saving Throws Dex +9, Con +8, Wis +5, Cha +7

Skills Arcana +6, Deception +12, Perception +5, Stealth +9

Damage Resistances necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons

Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 15

Languages Common, Giant

Challenge 14 (11,500 XP)

Shapechanger. If the vampire isn’t in the sunlight or running water, it can use its action to polymorph into a Tiny bat, Medium cloud of mist, Small or Medium humanoid, Large giant, or back into its true form.

While in bat form, the vampire can’t speak, its walking speed is 5 feet, and it has a flying speed of 30 feet. Its statistics, other than its size and speed, are unchanged. Anything it is wearing transforms with it, but nothing it is carrying does. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

While in mist form, the vampire can’t take any actions, speak, or manipulate objects. It is weightless, has a flying speed of 20 feet, can hover, and can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. In addition, if air can pass through a space, the mist can do so without squeezing, and it can’t pass through water. It has advantage on Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws, and it is immune to all nonmagical damage, except the damage it takes from the sunlight.

While in humanoid or giant form, other than its size the vampire’s statistics are the same in each form. The only equipment which transforms is its glaive, which shrinks so it can be wielded in humanoid form. If the vampire dies, it reverts to its true form, and its glaive reverts to its normal size.

Innate Spellcasting. The vampire’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14). The vampire can cast the following spells, requiring no material components.

At will: darkness, invisibility
1/day each: charm person, cone of cold, gaseous form, sleep

Legendary Resistance (3/day). If the vampire fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Weapons. The vampire’s weapon attacks are magical.

Misty Escape. When it drops to 0 hit points outside its resting place (Sveja’s resting place is the trash pit in area C7), the vampire transforms into a cloud of mist (as in the Shapechanger trait) instead of falling unconscious, provided that it isn’t in sunlight or running water. If it can’t transform, it is destroyed.

While it has 0 hit points in mist form, it can’t revert to its vampire form, and it must reach its resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed. Once in its resting place, it reverts to its vampire form. It is then paralyzed until it regains at least 1 hit point. After spending 1 hour in its resting place with 0 hit points, it regains 1 hit point.

Regeneration. The vampire regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sunlight or running water. If the vampire takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the vampire’s next turn.

Spider Climb. The vampire can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Vampire Weakness. The vampire has the following flaws:

Forbiddance. The vampire can’t enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.

Harmed by Running Water. The vampire takes 20 acid damage if it ends its turn in running water.

Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The vampire takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.

Actions

Multiattack (Vampire, Giant, or Humanoid form only). The vampire makes two attacks, only one of which can be a bite attack.

Claws (Vampire form only). Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage. Instead of dealing damage, the vampire can grapple the target (escape DC 18).

Glaive (Vampire, Giant, or Humanoid form only). Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) slashing damage, or 9 (1d10 + 4) slashing damage in Small or Medium human form.

Bite (Vampire form only). Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one willing creature, or a creature that is grappled by the vampire. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the vampire regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A humanoid or giant slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a vampire spawn under the vampire’s control.

Charm. The vampire targets one humanoid or giant it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the vampire, the target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or be charmed by the vampire. The charmed target regards the vampire as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn’t under the vampire’s control, it takes the vampire’s requests or actions in the most favorable way it can, and it is a willing target for the vampire’s bite attack.

Each time the vampire or the vampire’s companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until the vampire is destroyed, is on a different plane of existence than the target, or takes a bonus action to end the effect.

Children of the Night (1/day). The vampire magically calls 2d4 swarms of bats or rats, provided that the sun isn’t up. While outdoors, the vampire can call 3d6 wolves instead. The called creatures arrive in 1d4 rounds, acting as allies of the vampire and obeying its spoken commands. The beasts remain for 1 hour, until the vampire dies, or until the vampire dismisses them as a bonus action.

Legendary Actions

The vampire can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The vampire regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Move. The vampire moves up to its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.

Claw. The vampire makes one claw attack.

Bite (Costs 2 actions). The vampire makes one bite attack.

PDF!

As I mentioned up top you can take all these monsters home with you today for free by clicking on the PDFs below or you can just grab them all, plus a whole host of other baddies in the Exploration Age Bestiary PDF.

All Monsters

Great Bear

Adult Silver Dracolich

Tiefling Necromancer

Ogre Chieftain

Skeleton, Ogre

Vampire, Oni

If you want to grab this PDF at a later date, it will live in the Free Game Resources section of this site along with D&D fifth edition rules modules, backgroundsspells, magic items, and more.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!


I sit down with Joe LastowskiTopher Kohan, and Sam Dillon to talk about the Unearthed Arcana Waterborne Adventures article. This podcast was recorded May 24, 2015.

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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcasts, Bonus Action and Gamer to Gamer, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

It’s time for part seven of the prison for dragons series! If you’ve been following these posts than you know that the dungeon I’m building in each entry is inspired by last month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme, “Unusual Dungeons,” which was chosen by Nils Jeppe of Enderra.

The dungeon I’m creating is a prison made to hold dragons built by aberrations. Here’s all the blog posts I’ve written about the subject so far.

  • Part I – A general overview of dragon prisons
  • Part II – The historical background and character hooks of a specific dragon prison, Shuzal
  • Part III – A description of the area surrounding Shuzal and a table of random encounters
  • Part IV – The surface level of Shuzal’s ruined entrance citadel
  • Part V – The lower level of Shuzal’s ruined entrance citadel
  • Part VI – The upper level of Shuzal prison

So now it’s time to tackle Part VII – The lower level of Shuzal.

In this post I’ll be showing off the final level of Shuzal. The lower levels of the prison hold undead and insane dragons digging their way out of prison, hoping to wreak havoc on the outside world.

Shuzal Prison Upper Level

Shuzal LL Map

Made with Pyromancers Dungeon Painter

Shuzal’s cell block holds a group of metallic dragons trying to escape from the prison. Kerrinalastraya, the silver dragon dracolich, leads the escape thanks to a huge drill she forged from magic weapons found in the prison’s vault. The magic which turned Kerrinalastraya into a dracolich has warped her mind and she cannot stand living things. She believes undeath is the next evolution of all intelligent beings.

Maxathaltros, Kerrinalastraya’s brother and one Shuzal’s prisoners, is still alive and abhors what his sister has become. She keeps him locked in his cell, hoping he will come around once her increased power allows them to escape Shuzal. She still loves her brother and wants him to join her in dracolichdom.

When Kerrinalastraya transformed as a side effect of Sepora’s tampering with the magic of Shuzal, she went to every cell in the prison and gave the dragons a choice – swear allegiance to her, gain freedom, and join her in dracolichdom once freed, or refuse and be killed and brought back as a zombie. Many joined her, but others refused and she has made good on her promises. Now the prison creeps with undead and insane dragons, desiring freedom above all, carrying Kerrinalastraya’s hatred for the living in their hearts.

Features of the Area

Illumination. The walls of Shuzal’s lower level gives off a soft blue glow which bathes the entire lower level in bright light.

Ceilings. Perfectly circular tunnels with a 20-foot diameter connect the nexus (D1) to the cells. The cells have a 50-foot-high ceiling and the nexus has a 100-foot-high ceiling, unless otherwise noted in an area’s description.

D1 – The Nexus

The walls of this entire complex are covered in a soft moss which gives off a blue light, giving all you survey a deep blue twinge, as if you were viewing it underwater. Halfway up the chamber that light mixes with the red light of the above world to create something almost akin to sunlight. Tunnels with perfectly carved 20-foot diameters travel off in many directions from this chamber.

Far down two separate hallways, Fearagaxal and Reganavia, a pair of young bronze dragons watch the adventurers. These two appear calm and collected at first, but their minds have been warped by their long imprisonment. They desire violence and crave the chance to hurt something living in the name of Kerrinsalastraya. One of them might approach the PCs from a safe distance to learn their intent in coming there, and then attack. The dragons are fanatically loyal to Kerrinsalastraya and try to leave at least one of the PCs alive to be questioned by her.

If either of the dragons is reduced to half its hit points, it retreats back to area D16 and warns Kerrinsalastraya of powerful intruders.

Net. A net of psychic energy can be created and dropped from the ceiling in the nexus by a creature attuned to the Shuzal monolith in area C9. The net covers the entire area of the room and drops from the highest point in the ceiling to the ground. Creatures in the room must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 44 (8d10) psychic damage and are restrained. A flying creature who fails this saving throw falls to the ground and is prone, taking any fall damage as normal. Creatures who fail take half damage and are not restrained.

The net remains on the ground as long as the creature who activated the net remains adjacent to the Shuzal monolith or until that creature uses its action to dismiss the net. Creatures restrained by the net can use their action to make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw followed by a DC 20 Strength saving throw to break free. The creature must succeed on both saving throws to free itself. A creature who moves more than half its speed over the ground where the net is must succeed on a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw or it takes 44 (8d10) psychic damage and is restrained.

D2 – Wyxilcotalises’s Cell Hall

Mixed with the blue light coming from the walls, a red light glows on the floor halfway down this hall.

The long hall to this cell contains a glyph which deals psychic damage to any non-aberration who reads it. The dragons know to avoid reading this glyph, which lets out a loud scream when activated. If the PCs read the glyph, Wyxilcotalises is prepared for them. Her initial instinct is to wait by the cell’s door and determine the PCs motives and capabilities. If she thinks they would be willing to help free her and kill Kerrinsalastraya, then she waits patiently for them, trying to appear non-threatening. If she thinks them incompetent or unwilling to negotiate, she strikes with her breath weapon as soon as they are in range.

Psychic Glyph Trap. Any PC who is within 20 feet of the 10-foot by 10-foot glyph in the middle of the hall and who can see it must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. A creature who fails takes 11 (2d10) psychic damage and on its turn must draw its most easily reached melee weapons and use its action to make a melee attack with advantage against itself. That creature must repeat the attack as its action on its turn for 1 minute as long as it is conscious and able to make attacks. That creature can repeat the saving throw on the end of its turn ending the effect if it succeeds. A creature who succeeds on the initial saving throw takes half damage and does not have to attack itself.

A creature who remains within 20 feet of the glyph after making a saving throw against its effects, must repeat this saving throw if it continues to look at the glyph.

A creature who knows the nature of the glyph is easily able to avoid looking at it. A character trained in Arcana can make a DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check to determine the nature of the trap from afar by identifying the red glow coming from the trapped glyph.

D3 – Wyxilcotalises’s Cell

The smashed bars of this cell seem to be damaged from the outside in. The cell itself opens into a wide chamber with organized towers of metal scrap, mostly from the bodies of broken construct guardians, piled around the room. Amongst the scrap, a massive dragon with scales of brass sits breathing fire onto a pile of metal to meld it together while the beast works it with her claws.

Wyxilcotalises, an adult brass dragon, uses the scrap metal in her room to forge tools for Kerrinsalastraya’s escape plan. When the PCs enter she’s crafting a large container to hold the adamantine dust created by the massive drill to more easily transport it to area D13.

Metal piles. A creature can adjacent to a metal pile can use one of its attacks as part of the attack action to push it over onto another creature adjacent to the pile. The creature pushing the pile must make a Strength check contested by the target’s Dexterity check. If the creature pushing wins the contest, the target takes 11 (2d10) piercing and 11 (2d10) slashing damage and is knocked prone. If the target wins the contest, the target dodges the pile of falling metal and nothing happens. Either way the pile of metal cannot be knocked over again and the area where the pile was is now difficult terrain.

A creature can push a creature adjacent to a metal pile into the pile with a successful push attack. The target takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage and 11 (2d10) slashing damage and is knocked prone. The pile cannot be knocked over again and the area where the pile was is now difficult terrain.

Treasure. Amongst the piles there are 100 pounds of copper, 100 pounds of silver, and 40 pounds of gold. Each pound of material is worth 50 coins of its type. The pile of metal scraps in the far back of the room holds a radiant heart which requires a DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check to spot. The DC to spot the radiant heart is reduced to 15 if the pile is knocked over.

Wyxilcotalises. Wyxilcotalises has pledged her alliegance to Kerrinsalastraya, but mostly out of self-preservation and a desire to leave. The brass dragon believes the dracolich is insane, but would not dare contest the cell block’s defacto leader lest she be turned into a zombie. If she believes the PCs to be capable of killing Kerrinsalastraya and they agree to free her from the prison, she will aid them by giving them the radiant heart she found in the vault and hid in one of the piles of scraps and she’ll tell them the location of Kerrinsalastraya’s phylactery.

If Wyxilcotalises thinks the PCs aren’t capable of killing Kerrinsalastraya or they don’t agree to free her, she attacks them, attempting to keep at least one of them alive for questioning. If she’s on the fence about their capabilities, she will attack them as a test. If the dragon is reduced to half her hit points, she tries to bargain with the PCs for her life by telling them the location of Kerrinsalastraya’s phylactery.

Wyxilcotalises does not wish to face Kerrinsalastraya in combat and will not join the PCs in a direct attack on the dracolich. She wants to keep her options open in case the PCs fail.

D4 – The Zombification Lab Hall

When the PCs head down the hall, read:

This hall is masked in an orange haze which dances through the tunnel and glitters like fire.

The haze which covers this entire length of hall is mind-affecting poison Kerrinsalastraya activated long ago. The mists still remain because they do not bother the unbreathing undead inhabitants of Shuzal’s cell block and the few living inhabitants have learned to avoid this hall.

Mind-bending Mists. Any non-aberration, non-undead creature who enters or starts its turn in the mists must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take 16 (3d10) poison damage and gain a random form of short-term madness.

A creature trained in Arcana or who has proficiency with a poisoner’s kit can make a DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check to determine the nature of the trap. A creature holding its breath when navigating the mists has advantage on its saving throw. A strong wind dissipates the mists for 1 hour, after which time they return.

D5 – The Zombification Lab

The smashed cell door to this chamber does nothing to hold back the unpleasant odor coming from this room. Lumps of twisted steel bound together by the power of raw fire form a huge table in the middle of the room. Around the room, rotting dragon tails and limbs line the wall and a crystal in the ceiling pulses deep purple. The most obvious feature of the room are its guardians, of course. One massive undead gold dragon with torn flesh and exposed bone gives a low moans to two smaller undead gold dragons as you enter the chamber.

This cell used to be Kerrinsalastraya’s cell, which she transformed into a lab where she experiments with the bodies of her dragon victims. Sepora’s tampering with the aberrant magic of Shuzal warped the large crystal in the center of this chamber’s ceiling, which was designed to create an antimagic field in the cell in case a dragon got any ideas about spellcasting. The connection of the magic from the Shuzal monolith to the antimagic crystals was severed in one of Sepora’s experiments and this crystal absorbed a healthy dose of necrotic magic. That crystal turned Kerrinsalastraya into a dracolich and now serves as her phylactery.

One ancient dragon zombie and two young dragon zombies guard this room and attack any living creature who enters.

Dragon Body Parts. The dragon body parts in this room are mostly rotted through and through, however the tips of many of their claws remain intact. A creature proficient with smith’s tools can cut off the tips to make dragon bone arrows. These function as +1 arrows and there is enough bone material to make 50. It takes 1 hour to harvest all the material and 1 hour for the person crafting to make 10 arrows.

Kerrinsalastraya’s Phylactery. Any time a living creature enters this room, Kerrinsalastraya’s phylactery can sense its presence and location. If the zombies in the room attack, the crystal tries to defend its creations. At the end of a round of combat, the crystal casts bestow curse (save DC 18) on a random living target in the cell. The phylactery stops doing this once all the zombies in the room are dead.

Once per round as a reaction the phylactery can cast blight (save DC 18) on a creature which deals damage to it. The phylactery has AC 20, 100 hit points, and a damage threshold of 15.

If the phylactery is destroyed, all creatures within the room must make a DC 15 Reflex saving throw as the crystal explodes in a burst of necrotic energy. Creatures who fail take 44 (8d10) necrotic damage and 11 (2d10) piercing damage. Creatures who succeed take half damage.

Undead Rising. The crystal causes undead dragons to rise in a matter of days and affects non-dragon creatures in minutes. Any non-construct, non-dragon, non-undead creature who dies in this chamber rises as a zombie 1d4 rounds after it died.

D6 – The Vault Hall

The hall here is marred and marked, as if a creature with massive claws has scratched every surface.

Magic glyphs used to guard this hall. Slowly but surely they were scratched out by Kerrinsalastraya. She has put her own security measures in this hall leading to the old weapons vault. Eight wyrmling dragon zombies stand watch over the vault door at end of the hall which leads to the vault.

D7 – The Vault

Before the smashed, solid adamantine door multiple burn marks scar the floor, a sign that this entrance was once heavily trapped. Inside the massive vault seems empty.

Almost everything of value was taken from the vault to make Kerrinsalastraya’s massive drill. Yet, the adventurers could still find some things of use in the chamber, particularly a crystal embedded in the floor hidden by a pile of rubble.

Inventory Crystal. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check determines the piles rubble in this room was actually placed where it is by a creature because the pattern of dust suggests the rubble was swept from the place it fell into a pile. A successful DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check catches a glint of orange somewhere at the bottom of the pile.

The orange inventory crystal is embedded in the floor and it takes 1 hour of work for one creature to clear the area of rubble. For every creature that helps, the time is cut in half. So it takes 2 creatures 30 minutes, 3 creatures 15 minutes, etc.

A creature who touches the crystal and makes a successful DC 12 Intelligence (Arcana) check is telepathically given a list of the items which were in the room before the aberrations left Shuzal. Most of the list is low-level magic weapons (like +1 longswords), however the name of importance which comes up is Servitor.

Treasure. Amongst the rubble is a small pouch containing potions Kerrinsalastraya clearly did not care about. A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check spots the bag in the rubble which contains three potions of greater healing, two potions of flight, and three potions of firebreathing.

D8 – Collapsed Hall

This hall is blocked by a wall of adamantine rubble.

The hall here is blocked because Kerrinsalastraya intentionally triggered a falling ceiling trap the aberrations placed in the hall to shut Maxathaltros up. Their last meeting came about because Maxathaltros was filling the entire cell block of the prison with tremendous roars to annoy Kerrinsalastraya. His plan worked too well, for his sister tortured him to the point of near death and then set off the trap to seal off the sounds coming from her brother’s cell.

A successful DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check made near the wall allows a character to hear Maxathaltros’ renewed and now muffled screams of rage. A DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to determine the pieces of rubble in the collapse are a little too perfectly shaped to be the result of a simple accident.

It takes 1 hour of work for one creature to clear the area of rubble. For every creature that helps, the time is cut in half. So it takes 2 creatures 30 minutes, 3 creatures 15 minutes, etc. If the rubble is cleared while Maxathaltros continues bellowing (instead of say, waiting for him to go to sleep), it could attract some attention. Four of the young dragon zombies come from area D10 to investigate.

D9 – Maxathaltros’ Cell

The locked cell door before you is the first you’ve seen intact. Thick bars run up and down and side to side to make up this cell door. Staring back at you with disbelief and wild eyes is a massive silver dragon who can’t seem to decide if he’s happy, confused, or terrified to see you. The dragon’s body is covered in wounds and its breathing is ragged and uneven.

Maxathaltros, the adult silver dragon, is the only dragon still held in a cell in Shuzal. He would rather die than join his sister in undeath and gain freedom. When the PCs arrive he hopes they could be his ticket out of Shuzal, but also fears they could just be his sister’s latest victims.

Cell Door. Maxathaltros’ cell has the only remaining intact door in the entire Shuzal cell block. The door is immune to all damage dealt to it from inside the cell. Outside the cell, the door is still tough, it is resistant to acid, cold, fire, lighting, and thunder damage and immune to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons. The adamantine door has AC 23 and 300 hit points. Long ago these doors were locked and unlocked by the Shuzal monolith in area C9, but Sepora’s tampering with the prison’s magic has severed that connection.

Maxathaltros. The silver dragon is in no condition to have a full on confrontation with his sister, nor does he desire to be the one to kill his kin. Still, he knows it must be done and implores the adventurers to do so. He explains that his sister’s mind has been warped and she is no longer the Kerrinsalastraya he knew before their imprisonment. He knows how bad it would be for the area around Shuzal if Kerrinsalastraya and her undead dragons managed to escaped. He tells the PCs that should they kill Kerrinsalastraya and then free him, he will lead them to his sister’s treasure hoard and let them take it all.

D10 – Wyrmling Cell Hall

Small cell doors lie in ruins all over this hall. A series of smaller cells line the halls here.

This is where the aberrations would keep any wyrmling dragons captured in battle, usually to be ransomed back to their parents for information or concessions. Kerrinsalastraya broke into the cells here and turned all the captives into zombies.

Each of the four cells at the end of the hall hold a young dragon zombie. The four zombies come out into the hall and attack as soon as they hear any creatures coming down the hall they don’t recognize.

Ceiling. The ceiling of the tiny cells here is only 10 feet high.

Kerrinsalastraya’s Scroll Stock. A cell at the end of the hall holds a small chest built into the floor. This was once a miniature vault. If Kerrinsalastraya finds herself in a situation where she might need to take refuge because the aberrations return in full force or powerful intruders try to take Shuzal back from her she is prepared. She can retreat to this hall and grab her collection of scrolls looted from the vaults.

The adamantine (AC 23, 100 HP) chest is locked. The lock can be picked with a successful DC 15 Dexterity check made with thieves’ tools. Note that a flame jet trap is built into the floor in front of the chest.

Inside the chest is one scroll of wall of stone, one scroll of antimagic field, one scroll of hold monster, and two scrolls of delayed blast fireball. The spell saving throw DC for these spells is 15.

Flame Jet Trap. The trap is triggered by a hidden pressure plate directly in front of the chest. Any weight of more than 20 pounds placed on the pressure plate triggers the trap. The pressure plate can be spotted with a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check and the nozzle can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. A character studying the area can determine the pressure plate is a slightly different color than the rest of the floor with a DC 10 Intelligence (Investigation) check. Wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating.

A creature who steps on the pressure plate must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw to avoid the sudden burst of flame which rises up from the floor. A creature who fails takes 22 (4d10) fire damage. A creature who succeeds takes half damage.

D11 – Young Dragon Cell Hall

Smashed cell doors line this hall. It seems that this hall held cells for dragons larger than wyrmlings, but not much bigger than horses. A strange, soft lullaby melody comes from somewhere within the hall.

After liberating the young dragons from this hall, Kerrinsalastraya has avoided this hall because of the music box trap.

Malicious Music Box.This self-operating music box is hidden within a panel in the ceiling at the center of the hall and plays hauntingly enchanting music. Any creature within 40 feet of the music box who can hear it must make a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw at the start of its turn. A creature who fails falls prone and must use its action to engage in a violent dance, throwing itself against the floor repeatedly, dealing 11 (2d10) bludgeoning damage to itself. The creature cannot move from the space it occupies under its own power and is under this effect until it can no longer hear the music box. On a successful save the creature is immune to the effects of the malicious music box for 24 hours.

The secret panel holding the music box is expertly crafted and requires a DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check to spot, though a character can pinpoint where the sound is coming from with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. The ceiling is 20 feet high in the hall tunnel.

The music box is made of a magically treated wood and much tougher than it looks. It has AC 21 and 100 hit points.

Treasure. One of the young gold dragons Kerrinsalastraya murdered and turned into a zombie has managed to smuggle some pearls into Shuzal through its stomach (gold dragons love to eat gems and precious stones). In the cell at the end of the hall, there is a small hole (DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check to spot) the dragon carved into the adamantine slowly with its claws where it deposited the pearls and was rationing them as treats. There are still 18 pearls worth 100 gp each in the small hole.

D12 – Collapsed Hall

This entire hall collapsed when one of the dragon zombies set off a massive trap. It used to lead to a cell that was the home an ancient gold dragon, whose corpse now guards Kerrinsalastraya’s phylactery.

D13 – Druggulolo’s Cell Hall

A large shadow looms at the end of this hall. You can see a hulking zombie dragon, its silver skin hanging off as it patrols the hall.

The tight quarters make the fight with this adult dragon zombie brutal, as it blocks the hall with its form, using its bulk to stop adventurers from getting to the door and breathing necrotic breath as often as possible. A fight in the hall alerts Druggulolo the PCs are coming, who happily flies as high as he can and prepares a breath weapon.

D14 – Druggulolo’s Cell

The floor in this room is covered in waist-deep adamantine dust. Flying above is a cackling, gleeful dragon. Its scales shine with the greenish tint of copper coins. “Finally. Something to kill! Something to eat!” Drool falls from the dragon’s mouth into the pile of adamantine grit.

Druggulolo, an adult copper dragon, is one of the more fanatical and certainly the most insane followers of Kerrinsalastraya. He desires to be let free so he can unleash his fury upon his former tiefling allies who never came to free him. He misses the taste of food so the chance to eat some adventurers before turning into a dracolich is very appealing to him.

Adamantine Dust. The cell floor is covered in adamantine dust from Kerrinsalastraya’s drilling operation. She leaves it in Druggulolo’s cell since he doesn’t seem to mind. The dust counts as difficult terrain. Medium and smaller creatures have the potential to sink into the dust. When such a creature ends its turn on the dust without moving from the spot where it started its turn, that creature is restrained. As an action a restrained creature can attempt to free itself and end the restrained condition with a DC 12 Strength saving throw.

D15 – Kerrinsalastraya’s Chamber Hall

The long hall here is eerily quiet at first. As you travel further down it you can here a whirring noise coming from the end of the hall.

Kerrinsalastraya is in this cell, which used to belong to the adult silver dragon guarding Druggulolo. She spends most of her time in this chamber working the drill, which is the noise the characters hear.

D16 – Kerrinsalastraya’s Chamber

A massive dragon made of bone and silver scales turns glowing red eyes toward you as you enter the chamber. Its massive head seems twisted in some sort of sick smile. Behind the dracolich a large pole extends from the ground into a massive hole in the ceiling. The dragon let’s loose a mighty roar. “You will not stop me. The hour of our escape is near. The world will learn – undeath is the future.”

Kerrinsalastraya is hellbent on getting out of Shuzal. Her drill is close to the surface and so she fights until the bitter end (especially if her phylactery is intact). She is arrogant and believes fully in her mission to turn the world into an undead paradise.

Earthquake. Kerrinsalastraya’s drilling has caused the magic of the demiplane to be unstable in the cell. At the end of each round, roll a d10. On a roll of 1-3 an earthquake occurs. Every creature standing on the ground must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Kerrinsalastraya’s Drill. Kerrinsalastraya’s drill in this chamber is operated by any creature attuned to the object. To become attuned to the drill a creature must spend one hour touching the drill and communing with the magical energies of the former weapons now melded together.

A creature attuned to the drill can make the drill extend upwards or downwards at a rate of 20 feet per round. The drill’s maximum height is 100 feet and its minimum height it 10 feet. When the drill hits adamantine it begins to drill through it at a rate of 1 inch per day. At the start of the adventure, Kerrinsalastraya’s hole is 30 inches from the surface or Shuzal. Except for Servitor, all the weapons used to craft the drill are now useless. The drill is 10 feet around and weighs 10,000 pounds.

Servitor. The tip of Kerrinsalastraya’s drill is made with the artifact Servitor. It can be pulled from the top of the drill with a successful DC 20 Strength check.

Next Time…

…I’ll show off the unique creatures in this adventure.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!


I sit down with Susan J. Morris, author and editor of numerous Dungeons and Dragons novels and the designer of the Heroes of Hesiod RPG for kids. This podcast was recorded on May 12, 2015.

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Hey everyone! I’m taking a quick break from the Prisons for Dragons series to give you a timely article about diseases which is a companion piece for an article I wrote which was just published by the amazing team over at EN World EN5ider.

I know you’ve been thinking, “James, what about diseases? The fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide has only three sample diseases for my game and almost no information about how to craft my own. Will you please help me?” Of course, my friend. Of course.

“Get Sick!” Published

Recently I was fortunate enough to have another article published in EN World EN5ideran online magazine which publishes content for the fifth edition of the world’s most popular tabletop roleplaying game. Included in my article is a lot of advice from me about creating your own diseases and six more sample diseases to add to your game (bottle fever, demonic plague, itching insides, ooze decay, touch of aberrations, and walking rot). This post is a companion piece of my article, “Get Sick.” If you like the rest of this post, go check out the article on EN5ider.

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I have to say, if you’re playing fifth edition and craving more content, EN5ider is a great place to get it. I’m not just saying that because I’ve now written for them twice. You get one short adventure a month plus another three articles with advice on running chases, new druid circles, creating puzzles, and so much more. You get all that for $2 a month. If you don’t want the adventure, you can still score the articles for $1 a month. That’s less than a bottle of water in most places. The articles are of a great quality and EN World creator, Russ Morrissey, writes several of the best articles. You can grab some sample articles and an adventure for free so check it out.

Okay, plug over. Onto some more sample diseases!

Updating the Illnesses

Last year I wrote a post about The Underdark in Exploration Age. Amongst the many hazards Canus’s underground caverns have to offer, one of the most dangerous is diseases. The diseases I created were based on the rules presented in the final D&D Next Playtest packet. Now that we have all the core rule books for fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, it’s time to update these little infectious wonders and add to what’s already in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

New Diseases

The diseases below are meant to be used in The Underdark of an Exploration Age game, but can be added to any Dungeons and Dragons game at the DM’s discretion.

Mushroom Mind

The mushrooms of The Underdark are mostly harmless, but there are those that should be avoided. None more so than the green-spotted murder mushrooms. Humanoids breathing in the spores this fungi risk having them attach to their brains. From there the mushrooms grow within a victim’s skull, slowly reducing mental and physical faculties.

If a humanoid creature breathes in the spores it must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or contract mushroom mind. In 1d4 days the first symptoms appear. An infected creature begins to bald and green spots start appearing on their scalp similar to those on the murder mushrooms. Roll 1d6 on the Mushroom Mind Ability Score Damage table to see how much of which ability score is reduced for the creature. The ability score damage cannot be recovered in any way until the creature recovers from the disease.

At the end of each extended rest roll another 1d6 to determine more ability score loss. If one of the infected creature’s ability scores is reduced to 0, the creature dies.

Mushroom mind can be cured with the rare, purple-spotted relba mushroom which grows only on the graves of illithids. A character with proficiency in an herbalism kit who has the kit and 3 ounces of relba mushrooms can spend 1 hour to create one dose of a special elixir. An infected creature who drinks the elixir has the disease is cured at the end of its next long rest. Its ability score damage remains, but can be healed with a restoration spell once the disease is cured.

Mushroom Mind Ability Score Damage
d6 Effect
1 Reduce infected creature’s Strength score by 1d4.
2 Reduce infected creature’s Dexterity score by 1d4.
3 Reduce infected creature’s Constitution score by 1d4.
4 Reduce infected creature’s Intelligence score by 1d4.
5 Reduce infected creature’s Wisdom score by 1d4.
6 Reduce infected creature’s Charisma score by 1d4.
Slug Snot

When adventurers sleep in the open Underdark at night, they would be wise to plug their noses. Brown slugs called drunkbugs are known to crawl into sleeping victims’ noses and travel down their throats into their stomachs. These slugs attach themselves to the lining of the stomach and secret alcohol, thus intoxicating the victim. The victim also produces an excess of mucus which is colored brown, hence the name of the disease.

If a drunkbug crawls into a creature’s stomach, it must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or contract slug snot. In 1d4 hours the first symptoms appear. For the duration of the disease the infected creature is poisoned. After 3d4 days of infection the disease the creature dies from alcohol poisoning and the drunkbug lays its eggs in the stomach of the corpse.

At the end of each long rest, the drunkbug relaxes its grip on the infected creature’s stomach and the target is allowed a new DC 13 Constitution saving throw. If the creature succeeds it vomits up the drunkbug and the disease is cured.

Wasting Away

There are special patches of phosphorescent, psionic paritutu mold which grow only in the deepest tunnels of The Underdark. Breathing in the paritutu spores causes wasting away which rapidly ages its victims. Elves and dragons are immune to this disease.

A creature who breathes in the spores must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or contract wasting away. In 1d4 days the first symptoms appear. The creature’s veins glow in the dark and it ages one year.

At the end of each long rest an infected creature must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails it ages one year. If the creature fails three of these saving throws it automatically ages 1 year at the end of every long rest and the disease can only be cured with a wish spell. If it succeeds on three of these saving throws the disease is cured, but the creature remains aged.

Wiped Away

This horrifying disease targets intelligent creatures and is caused by breathing in a magical mist created by The Void. Victims of the disease begin to forget who they are as do the people associated with the infected creature. By the end of the disease it is as the infected creature never lived and then it literally phases out of existence. Troglodytes are immune to this disease.

Those who breathe in the mist must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or contract wiped away. In 1d4 days the first symptoms begin to appear. The creature suffers level 1 of the wiped away, described on the Wiped Away Effects table.

At the end of each extended rest an infected creature must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. Creatures who fail gain one level of the disease. The creature suffers from the effect of its current level of wiped away as well as the effects of all levels below its current level. If the creature succeeds its disease level is reduced by one. If the creature’s disease level is reduced below 1, the disease is cured.

Wiped Away Effects
Level Effect
1 Infected creature forgets all of its childhood. Others who have met the infected creature only once forget anything about the creature.
2 Infected creature forgets all of its adolescence. Others who have met the creature 10 times or less forget anything about the creature.
3 Infected creature forgets any passions and hobbies it has. The creature’s name and deeds disappear from all records.
4 Infected creature forgets all former romantic partners and lovers and vice versa.
5 Creature forgets all friends and family and vice versa. Creature forgets its own name.
6 Creature disappears in a puff of mists from The Void and no one remembers it ever existing.
The Void

Scholars believe there is something beneath The Underdark called The Void. This space is actually no space at all. It is absolute nothingness. It has the absence of being. There are a few places in The Underdark which are open pits into The Void.

Some nihilistic troglodyte clans worship The Void. They sacrifice victims by throwing them into nothingness and seek to end the pointlessness of existence by finding a way to set The Void free and swallow the world. Those who fall into The Void are never heard from again and cannot be raised from the dead by any means. Perhaps their soul is destroyed, they are alive somewhere within The Void, or transported somewhere else.

PDF

If you want to take these diseases with you and put them into your game, use the PDF link below.

Diseases

If you want to grab this PDF at a later date, it will live in the Free Game Resources section of this site along with monstersD&D fifth edition rules modules, backgroundsspells, magic items, and more.

Don’t forget to check out EN World EN5ider!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!


I sit down with Joe Lastowski, Andrew Kane, and Vegas Lancaster to discuss the newly launched Dragon+ app and the results of the second D&D 5th Edition survey. This podcast was recorded on May 21, 2015.

Please rate and review us on iTunes, it helps a boat load!

Links:

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!