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D&D Adventure: Evils of the Shadow Labyrinth

Updated: Jan 18


Table of Contents





Introduction: D&D Adventure: Evils of the Shadow Labyrinth


Ever wanted to get lost in a sprawling underground maze, pursued by sinister shadows around every corner? Haven't we all at some point? Well, today's your lucky day, adventurer. Beneath the crumbling ruins of an abandoned castle, a labyrinth has been discovered that was built to hold untold dangers and secrets.


The Shadow Labyrinth, as it's now called, is filled with a series of encounters connected by an ancient evil that once inhabited the castle above. Whether through wit, charm, or the swing of a sword, you'll have to make your way through this maze of madness if you ever want to see the light of day again. But beware, the shadows themselves seem to stalk your every move. Survive the labyrinth and discover its hidden truths, if you dare. The adventure begins now! Let us discover the D&D Adventure: Evils of the Shadow Labyrinth.


If you're looking to create an adventure with more of a horror flavour then this article is written for you. We've created a suitably generic outline so you can add your own detail, but here's a potential backstory for the castle:



Background


Long ago, in a time forgotten by history, there stood a magnificent castle on a hill overlooking a peaceful kingdom. This castle was known as Castle Morwyn, named after the noble family who had ruled over the land for generations. It was a symbol of power, wealth, and prosperity, and its grandeur was admired by all who beheld it.

However, the Morwyn family had a dark secret. They had made a pact with an ancient and malevolent entity known as the Shadow King. In exchange for wealth, influence, and immortality, the Morwyns had agreed to serve as vessels for the Shadow King's power, allowing him to gain a foothold in the mortal realm.

For years, the Morwyns carried out the Shadow King's bidding, using their influence to sow discord and chaos throughout the kingdom. The castle became a place of suffering and torment as the Shadow King's dark magic twisted the hearts and minds of those who dwelled within its walls.

Eventually, the kingdom rose up against the Morwyn family, led by a group of brave and determined heroes. In a climactic battle, the castle was besieged, and the Morwyns were overthrown. But the victory came at a great cost. The heroes managed to seal the Shadow King deep beneath the castle, trapping him in a mystical prison designed to contain his malevolent power.

With the defeat of the Morwyns, the castle fell into ruin and was abandoned. Over time, it became little more than a haunted memory, its halls echoing with the ghosts of the past. The kingdom moved on, and the true nature of the castle and its dark history were forgotten by all but a few scholars and historians.

Centuries later, a group of adventurous explorers stumbled upon the ruins of Castle Morwyn. Intrigued by the legends surrounding the place, they began to excavate the site, hoping to uncover the secrets hidden within its depths. Little did they know that they had awakened the ancient evil that lay dormant beneath the castle.

As the explorers delved deeper into the underground maze beneath the castle, they found themselves ensnared in the Shadow Labyrinth. The labyrinth was a manifestation of the Shadow King's twisted influence, a maze of darkness and despair filled with traps, puzzles, and horrifying creatures that lurked in the shadows.

The Shadow King, sensing the presence of intruders, began to exert his influence over the labyrinth, sending his shadowy minions to stalk the adventurers and prevent them from reaching the heart of the maze. The explorers quickly realised that survival and escape would require not only bravery and skill but also unravelling the mysteries of the castle's dark past.

Now, the adventurers must navigate the treacherous corridors of the Shadow Labyrinth, facing the horrors within and uncovering the truth behind the castle's downfall. They must find a way to banish the Shadow King once and for all, lest his malevolence spread beyond the confines of the labyrinth and plunge the world into eternal darkness.

Will the adventurers survive the perils of the Shadow Labyrinth? Can they overcome the ancient evil that lurks within the castle's depths? The answers await those brave enough to enter, for the adventure begins now.


The Forgotten Castle

So you've found the crumbling ruins of an ancient castle, overgrown and forgotten. As you explore the rubble, you notice a trapdoor leading into inky blackness. This must be the entrance to the Shadow Labyrinth! Legends tell of a sprawling maze beneath the castle, filled with sinister shadows that stalk unwary adventurers. Do you dare descend into the depths?

If you're feeling brave (or foolish), grab a torch and head underground. The labyrinth twists and turns in all directions, the rough stone walls covered in strange symbols and carvings. Pick a path and start walking, but be careful - the shadows themselves seem to move and follow your steps.

As you wander the endless corridors, you'll encounter various dangers and mysteries. In one chamber, you'll have to solve puzzles involving light and mirrors to escape a room filling with shadows. In another, you'll stumble upon a group of kobolds, former denizens of the castle, who will barter information in exchange for gold or gear.

Deeper in the maze, the shadows themselves attack, emerging from the walls to grab at limbs and drag victims into the inky blackness. Fighting them is difficult, as they disappear and reappear at will. Your only hope is to run or find a way to illuminate the area, driving the shadows back.

What other secrets and encounters await discovery in the Shadow Labyrinth? That will be up to you and your players to find out! This sandbox adventure allows you to explore the maze and experience a variety of challenges, battles, and mysteries tied together by the overarching threat of the sinister shadows. Will you survive the perils of the labyrinth and escape into the light once more? The only way to know is to descend into the depths of the forgotten castle and brave the Shadow Labyrinth.


Adventure hooks


  • The Lost Heirloom: A desperate noble seeks a group of skilled adventurers to retrieve a family heirloom believed to be hidden within the ruins of Castle Morwyn. Legends speak of its incredible power, capable of turning the tides of war. However, the castle's dark history and the lurking shadows make this quest far more dangerous than anticipated.

  • The Scholar's Obsession: A renowned scholar and historian becomes obsessed with unraveling the secrets of Castle Morwyn. He believes that hidden within the ruins lies a long-lost tome that holds the key to unlocking ancient knowledge and power. The scholar hires the party to accompany him on his perilous journey, promising great rewards and insights into the castle's enigmatic past.

  • The Curse of Shadows: Villagers from a nearby town are plagued by a mysterious curse. Every night, shadowy creatures emerge from the ruins, terrorizing the townsfolk and stealing their loved ones away. The party is recruited by the desperate villagers to venture into the Shadow Labyrinth and find a way to lift the curse, bringing peace and safety back to the village.

  • The Dark Artifact: Rumors spread of a powerful artifact hidden within Castle Morwyn, capable of granting its wielder untold abilities. Ambitious factions and rival adventurers seek to claim it for their own nefarious purposes. The party is approached by a secretive organization, who offers them a substantial reward to retrieve the artifact before it falls into the wrong hands.

  • The Spirit Whisperer: A troubled spirit reaches out to the party through a medium, pleading for their assistance. The spirit claims to be a former servant of the Morwyn family, trapped within the castle by the Shadow King's curse. It offers valuable information about the castle's layout, hidden passages, and the secrets it holds. In return for freeing its spirit, the party must navigate the treacherous Shadow Labyrinth and find a way to release it from its eternal torment.


Enter the Shadow Labyrinth

So you've found the entrance to the Shadow Labyrinth, a treacherous maze hidden beneath the ruins of Castle Morwyn. It is said that this labyrinth was constructed ages ago, serving as a prison and a conduit for the ancient evil known as the Shadow King. The malevolent power that once inhabited the castle sought to extend its influence through the labyrinth's twisting corridors and shadowed chambers.


As you step through the crumbling archway, a sense of foreboding washes over you. The torchlight flickers, casting eerie shadows that dance upon the walls, creating an unsettling ambiance. The air grows colder, and a palpable sense of dread fills the space. Every turn and passage appears indistinguishable from the next, making it all too easy to lose your way in this lightless abyss.


Deeper into the labyrinth, the darkness takes on a life of its own. Strange shapes slither and move in the corners of your vision, vanishing when you try to focus on them. Whispers, both distant and near, echo from unseen chambers, their words a haunting murmur. Tendrils of shadow seem to writhe and grasp at your heels, a sinister reminder that the darkness itself is alive and hungry for souls.


Within the Shadow Labyrinth, you are pursued by these malefic shadows, relentless in their hunt. They embody the essence of the Shadow King, his presence permeating every corner of the maze. They seek to ensnare and consume the unwary, dragging them deeper into despair and darkness.


To escape the clutches of the Shadow Labyrinth, you must navigate its treacherous passages, face its deadly traps, and uncover its hidden mysteries. Your wits and resourcefulness will be tested at every turn. Stick together, for the strength of unity can shield you from the encroaching shadows. Bring forth the light, both physical and metaphorical, to push back the darkness that hungers for your souls.


Only by defeating the malevolent evil that lurks within this labyrinth can you hope to find your way back to the light of day. But know this: the Shadow Labyrinth does not release its prisoners easily. Not all who venture into its depths emerge alive. The price of failure is steep, and the cost of victory is paid in blood, sweat, and unyielding determination.


Tread carefully, brave adventurers, for the Shadow Labyrinth awaits, ready to test your mettle and reveal its secrets. May fortune favor the bold, and may the light guide your path through this labyrinth of darkness and despair.

Encounter 1: The Moving Maze

The Moving Maze


As you delve deeper into the shifting maze, you realise that escaping its clutches will require more than just intuition and luck. There is a way to solve the maze, a hidden key or mechanism that can bring the labyrinth under control and reveal the path to freedom. The challenge lies in uncovering this secret and utilising it to overcome the maze's enchantment.


To defeat the living maze, the players must search for a series of ancient glyphs scattered throughout the labyrinth. These glyphs hold the key to understanding the labyrinth's patterns and movements. When assembled in the correct order or activated in a specific sequence, they unlock the power to temporarily stabilise the shifting corridors, creating a window of opportunity for the party to navigate to the exit.


Finding these glyphs won't be easy, as they are hidden within hidden chambers, guarded by puzzles or trapped in the clutches of lurking creatures. The party will need to explore every nook and cranny, solve riddles, decipher cryptic symbols, and overcome the challenges presented within the maze to acquire all the glyphs needed for the solution.


Once the glyphs are collected, the players must decipher their true purpose and determine the correct sequence to activate them. This might involve interpreting ancient texts, piecing together fragmented knowledge, or consulting with an imprisoned spirit or trapped entity that holds the key to unlocking the glyphs' true power.


When the sequence is executed, a surge of magic radiates through the maze, momentarily stabilising its shifting nature. It provides the adventurers with a clear and stable path, leading them to the exit before the maze reverts to its unpredictable state. The key is to act swiftly and decisively, making use of the temporary reprieve to escape the maze's clutches.


Successfully utilising the glyphs and solving the living maze not only grants the party a path to freedom but also unveils a deeper understanding of the labyrinth's connection to the Shadow King. It reveals insights into the dark magic that keeps the maze alive, potentially providing clues or weaknesses that will aid the adventurers in their overall quest to confront and defeat the malevolent entity that lurks within Castle Morwyn.


Note: The specific details of the glyphs, their locations, and the exact sequence required to stabilise the maze should be determined by the Dungeon Master to suit the adventure and the party's level of challenge.


Encounter: Confrontation with the Zorayath

As the party ventures deeper into the Shadow Labyrinth, they become aware of a looming presence above. An eerie hush falls upon the corridors, accompanied by a sense of impending danger. Suddenly, with a sickening squelch, a massive creature descends from the ceiling. It is the Zorayath, a nightmarish monstrosity with writhing tentacles and multiple gleaming eyes that glow with an otherworldly malevolence.

Zorayath, the Shadow Terror

  • Size: Huge

  • Armor Class: 18 (natural armor)

  • Hit Points: 200 (20d10 + 90)

  • Speed: 40 ft., climb 40 ft.

  • Abilities: Strength 20 (+5), Dexterity 16 (+3), Constitution 18 (+4), Intelligence 10 (+0), Wisdom 14 (+2), Charisma 8 (-1)

  • Skills: Stealth +7, Perception +6

  • Damage Resistances: Necrotic

  • Condition Immunities: Charmed, Frightened

  • Senses: Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 16

  • Languages: None

  • Challenge Rating: 10 (5,900 XP)

Actions:

  • Multiattack: The Zorayath makes two tentacle attacks.

  • Tentacle: Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (3d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage and the target must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be grappled (escape DC 16). Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the Zorayath can't use the same tentacle on another target.

  • Shadow Drain: As a bonus action, the Zorayath can target a creature it is grappling. The target must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. The Zorayath regains hit points equal to the necrotic damage dealt.

  • Shadow Burst (Recharge 5-6): The Zorayath releases a burst of shadowy energy. Each creature within a 30-foot radius centered on the Zorayath must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw, taking 24 (7d6) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.

Description: The Zorayath moves with an unnatural grace, its tentacles whipping through the air like serpents seeking prey. Its eyes emit a faint, eldritch glow, and its movements are accompanied by an unsettling chorus of whispers and moans that seem to reverberate through the very walls of the labyrinth.

The creature utilizes the shadows to its advantage, lurking in darkness and attacking when the party is most vulnerable. It strikes with its powerful tentacles, seeking to grapple and restrain its victims before draining their life force with a surge of necrotic energy. The Zorayath can also unleash a devastating Shadow Burst, engulfing multiple targets in a sphere of consuming darkness.

Tactics: The Zorayath employs hit-and-run tactics, utilizing hit-and-grapple techniques to neutralize individual party members. It focuses on isolating and restraining targets, draining their vitality while taking advantage of its resistance to necrotic damage. It relies on its stealth and darkvision to maneuver through the labyrinth's shadows, striking from unexpected angles and retreating before the party can mount a coordinated counterattack.

The creature is not easily defeated, and players must rely on their combined strength, coordination, and quick thinking to overcome this formidable adversary. Exploiting the Zorayath's vulnerabilities to radiant damage or finding ways to disrupt its ability to manipulate shadows can provide advantages during the encounter.

Rewards: Defeating the Zorayath yields not only the satisfaction of surviving a harrowing encounter but also valuable spoils. The creature's remains may contain a collection of magical trinkets or artefacts imbued with remnants of its dark powers. Additionally, the party's success in vanquishing such a formidable foe grants them a surge of confidence and the knowledge that they are capable of facing the other horrors that await within the depths of the Shadow Labyrinth.


Encounter 2: Shadows of the Past

Shadows of the Past

As you make your way through the twisting corridors of the labyrinth, you start to notice strange shadows flickering at the edge of your vision. At first, you dismiss them as tricks of the light, but soon the shadows start to take on familiar shapes. You see shadows of people long gone - old friends and past enemies, loved ones you've lost.


The shadows seem to be echoes of your memories, replaying moments from your past. You relive tender moments and bitter arguments, times of joy and times of sorrow. With each step, the shadows become more vivid and distinct. You find yourself immersed in memories you had thought were long forgotten.


The players are at the edge of the shadow realm, where the souls of the dead become trapped and exist as slaves to the Shadow King until they can be released. They have sensed those who are living, to whom they have a connection, and are drawn to them.


This encounter is meant to give players a glimpse into their characters' backstories and histories. The shadows in the labyrinth have a psychic connection to those who enter, and are able to tap into their memories and project them in a visible form. Players can choose to:

  • Interact with the shadows of people from their past. This could lead to poignant roleplaying moments as characters reconnect with lost loved ones or finally find closure with old rivals.

  • Try to block out the shadows and push forward. Make a Wisdom saving throw to avoid becoming distracted by the memories. On a failed save, a character's speed is halved as they struggle with the visions from their past.

  • Investigate the source of the strange magic that is animating these shadows. A high Arcana or Investigation check could reveal clues about the enchantments placed on the labyrinth. Dispelling the enchantment causing the shadows may be necessary to escape this encounter.

  • One of the shades will tell the players that it is the Shadow King’s crown that is keeping them here and preventing them from continuing to the afterlife. If players can seize the crown, it will free them (you might want to have this shade in the service of a greater evil, that wants the crown for its own purposes…)

This encounter gives players a chance to explore their backstories in an interactive way. The shadows reveal secrets about the characters that even the players themselves may not know, adding depth and nuance to their histories. Overcoming the shadows, whether through roleplay, skill checks or combat, allows the characters to move on from their pasts and continue their adventure in the present.

Encounter 3: The Beast in the Dark

The Beast in the Dark

As you make your way through the twisting passages, a menacing growl echoes through the tunnels. In the distance, two glowing eyes peer at you from the shadows. A massive beast, known as the Shadow Stalker, is stalking you!


The Shadow Stalker is a powerful creature that serves as a guardian and minion of the Shadow King. It prowls the labyrinth, drawn to the presence of intruders who threaten to unveil the secrets hidden within. Its dark and twisted form is a manifestation of the Shadow King's malevolence, and it possesses unnatural strength, speed, and senses.


Stats:


Shadow Stalker

Size: Large

Armor Class: 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points: 180 (20d10 + 60)

Speed: 40 ft., climb 30 ft.

Abilities: Strength 18 (+4), Dexterity 16 (+3), Constitution 16 (+3), Intelligence 8 (-1), Wisdom 14 (+2), Charisma 10 (+0)

Skills: Stealth +9, Perception +6

Damage Resistances: Necrotic

Condition Immunities: Charmed, Frightened

Senses: Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 16

Languages: None

Challenge Rating: 9 (5,000 XP)

Actions:


Multiattack: The Shadow Stalker makes three attacks: two with its claws and one with its bite.

Claw: Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) slashing damage.

Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

Shadow Leap (Recharge 5-6): The Shadow Stalker magically teleports up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space it can see. It can then make a Claw attack as a bonus action.

Description:

The Shadow Stalker is a creature of nightmares. Its hulking form is covered in shadowy, matted fur, and its eyes radiate an ominous glow. Razor-sharp claws and fangs gleam with a malevolent energy. The beast moves with unnatural grace, its movements fluid and silent, making it a deadly predator in the dark.


Tactics:

The Shadow Stalker is a relentless hunter. It employs hit-and-run tactics, using its stealth and darkvision to remain hidden in the shadows until it strikes. It targets isolated or vulnerable party members, seeking to incapacitate them with its bite attack, which drains their life force. The Shadow Stalker then retreats, utilizing its Shadow Leap ability to reposition itself and continue its deadly assault.


The creature is highly perceptive and adapts its tactics to exploit the party's weaknesses. It may attempt to separate the adventurers or use the environment to its advantage, such as knocking down pillars to create obstacles or triggering traps to hinder their movement. The Shadow Stalker is a formidable adversary, and players must use their skills, teamwork, and wit to overcome its relentless pursuit.


Rewards:

Defeating the Shadow Stalker not only secures the party's safety but also provides rewards befitting the challenge it presented. It may guard a cache of valuable treasures, ancient relics, or even a hidden passage leading closer to the heart of the Shadow Labyrinth. The victory instills a sense of accomplishment, signaling the party's growing prowess and resilience in the face of the labyrinth's dark forces.


Note: The specifics of the encounter, its location within the labyrinth, and additional environmental elements can be customized by the Dungeon Master to best fit the narrative and the party's level of challenge.






Encounter 4: The Awakening Evil

The Shadows Stir

As the adventurers press on through the twisting passages of the labyrinth, the shadows grow darker and more intense. Their movement becomes more purposeful, swirling and converging ahead, leading the party towards a grand antechamber. It is in this foreboding space that they come face to face with the true magnitude of the Shadow King's escape.


Encounter: Confrontation with the Shadow King's Shades


As the adventurers step into the antechamber, the shadows coalesce into tangible forms – Shades of the Shadow King. These ethereal beings radiate a palpable malevolence, their wispy forms shifting and undulating with an unsettling intensity. Each Shade represents a fragment of the Shadow King's power, drawn to his call and eager to fulfill his desires.


Stats:


Shade of the Shadow King

Size: Medium

Armor Class: 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points: 80 (10d8 + 30)

Speed: 0 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)

Abilities: Strength 10 (+0), Dexterity 18 (+4), Constitution 16 (+3), Intelligence 12 (+1), Wisdom 14 (+2), Charisma 20 (+5)

Damage Immunities: Necrotic, poison

Condition Immunities: Exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious

Senses: Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages: Understands Common and Abyssal but can't speak

Challenge Rating: 7 (2,900 XP)

Actions:


Multiattack: The Shade makes two incorporeal touch attacks.

Incorporeal Touch: Melee Spell Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 4) necrotic damage.

Shadow Wave (Recharge 5-6): The Shade releases a wave of shadowy energy in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.

Description:

The Shades of the Shadow King exude an aura of darkness and dread. Their translucent forms flicker and pulse, emanating a cold, malefic energy. Each Shade retains fragments of the Shadow King's consciousness, displaying a distorted visage and glowing, malevolent eyes. Though diminished from their full power, they remain formidable adversaries.


Tactics:

The Shades of the Shadow King act as a collective, coordinating their attacks to maximize their effectiveness. They use their incorporeal nature to pass through walls and obstacles, swooping down upon the adventurers from unexpected angles. Their touch drains the life force of those they strike, while their shadowy waves inflict devastating necrotic damage in a focused area.


The Shades are relentless in their assault, pressing the party to the brink of despair. They attempt to overwhelm the adventurers through sheer numbers and a relentless onslaught of attacks. Their tactics are ruthless, aiming to weaken and demoralize their foes, breaking their resolve before the true encounter with the Shadow King.


Reward:

Upon defeating the Shades of the Shadow King, the adventurers gain a temporary respite from the shadows' assault. The room becomes eerily calm, and the presence of the Shadow King looms ever closer. The defeat of his minions serves as a testament to the party's strength and resilience.


The encounter with the Shades sets the stage for the climactic confrontation with the Shadow King. It establishes the magnitude of the evil that has been unleashed upon the labyrinth and foreshadows the imminent danger and challenging battle to come. The adventurers must brace themselves, for the Shadow King awaits, eager to reclaim his former power and subjugate those who dare to stand against him.








Encounter 5: The Throne of the Shadow King

Encounter 5: The Throne of the Shadow King

As the adventurers step into the grand antechamber, they are greeted by an awe-inspiring sight. At the far end of the chamber, atop a raised dais, sits the Throne of the Shadow King. The once-glorious seat of power now exudes a malevolent energy, radiating darkness that seems to swallow the very light around it.

The Shadow King, weakened but still formidable, awaits atop the throne. His form is shrouded in inky blackness, punctuated only by piercing crimson eyes that fixate upon the intruders who have disrupted his centuries-long confinement. A sense of ancient malice permeates the air as he rises to face the party.

Stats:

  • Shadow King

  • Size: Large

  • Armor Class: 18 (natural armor)

  • Hit Points: 250 (20d10 + 140)

  • Speed: 0 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)

  • Abilities: Strength 22 (+6), Dexterity 16 (+3), Constitution 24 (+7), Intelligence 18 (+4), Wisdom 20 (+5), Charisma 26 (+8)

  • Saving Throws: Str +12, Dex +9, Con +15, Int +10, Wis +11, Cha +16

  • Damage Resistances: Necrotic, radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

  • Condition Immunities: Charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious

  • Senses: Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 18

  • Languages: Common, Abyssal, Primordial

  • Challenge Rating: 15 (13,000 XP)

Actions:

  • Multiattack: The Shadow King makes two melee attacks, choosing from his shadowy tendrils, Soul Drain, or Shadow Bolt.

  • Shadowy Tendrils: Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d8 + 6) necrotic damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 18 Strength saving throw or be grappled (escape DC 18). Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the Shadow King can't use the same tendril on another target.

  • Soul Drain: The Shadow King targets a creature grappled by his shadowy tendrils. The target must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw, taking 33 (6d10) necrotic damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. The target's maximum hit points are reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its maximum hit points to 0.

  • Shadow Bolt: Ranged Spell Attack: +12 to hit, range 120 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (8d6) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of the Shadow King's next turn.

Legendary Actions: The Shadow King can take three 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 Shadow King regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

  • Shadow Teleport: The Shadow King magically teleports up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space he can see.

  • Shadow Veil: The Shadow King causes darkness to fill a 30-foot radius around him, extinguishing all non-magical light. This darkness lasts until the end of his next turn.

  • Dark Eruption: The Shadow King releases a surge of dark energy in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw, taking 42 (12d6) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.

Description: The Shadow King exudes an aura of power and darkness. His form appears as a towering figure, clad in tattered, regal robes that seem to blend seamlessly with the inky shadows that shroud him. The air grows heavy with the weight of his malevolence, and the very ground quivers beneath his presence.

Tactics: The Shadow King is a master of manipulation and deception. He uses his legendary actions to teleport around the chamber, staying elusive and striking from unexpected angles. His shadowy tendrils lash out, seeking to ensnare and drain the life force of those unfortunate enough to be caught within their grasp.

The Shadow King utilizes his dark magic to devastating effect, launching shadow bolts to pierce his foes and stunning them with a wave of necrotic energy. He can summon a shroud of darkness to obscure his movements and disrupt the party's perception. His cunning and tactical prowess make him a formidable opponent, always one step ahead of his adversaries.

As the battle progresses, the Shadow King's power wanes, his energy becoming more erratic. This presents moments of opportunity for the adventurers to strike and exploit his weakened state. However, they must remain vigilant, for even diminished, the Shadow King is a force to be reckoned with.

Reward: Victory over the Shadow King not only frees the labyrinth from his oppressive presence but also secures the adventurers' place in history as champions who thwarted the resurgence of darkness. The defeat of the Shadow King offers a sense of closure, providing the party with a hard-fought triumph and the knowledge that they have vanquished a great evil.

The encounter with the Shadow King can have lasting consequences for the adventurers and the world beyond. Their choices during this confrontation may influence the path they take and the fate of the realm. Will they reject the Shadow King's offer of servitude, standing firm against the allure of darkness? The choice lies in their hands as they emerge from the Throne of the Shadow King, forever changed by their harrowing journey through the Shadow Labyrinth.


Bargaining with the Shadow King

As the battle against the Shadow King rages on, there comes a moment of respite. The weakened entity, sensing his impending defeat, pauses, a wicked smile playing across his darkened visage. He raises a hand, signalling for a temporary cease-fire.

With a voice that resonates with ancient power, the Shadow King addresses the adventurers, his offer dripping with persuasive malevolence. He presents an enticing proposition, promising them great rewards and power in exchange for their loyalty and servitude. His offer may be tailored to suit the desires and motivations of each individual in the party, tempting them with promises of wealth, forbidden knowledge, or even the restoration of lost loved ones.

The Shadow King's words are honeyed, his promises seemingly sincere. He uses his eloquence and charisma to exploit the vulnerabilities and desires of the adventurers, seeking to divide their loyalty and sow seeds of doubt within their ranks. He attempts to convince them that the true path to power and freedom lies in serving him, the one who commands the shadows.

How the adventurers respond to this offer is a pivotal moment in their journey. Will they succumb to the temptation, their ambition overpowering their sense of morality? Or will they stand united, rejecting the Shadow King's deceitful words and vowing to vanquish him once and for all?

The consequences of their decision are far-reaching. Should they choose to bargain with the Shadow King, they may gain temporary advantages, such as powerful artefacts, dark secrets, or minions at their command. However, they will forever be marked as servants of darkness, their souls tarnished by their allegiance to an ancient evil. The path they tread will be one of treachery and moral compromise, with unforeseen consequences that may lead them further down the road of darkness.

On the other hand, should they reject the Shadow King's offer, their resolve will be tested, for the full force of his wrath will be unleashed upon them. The final battle will be one of desperate struggle, a fight to ensure the light prevails over the encroaching darkness. Their victory will be hard-won, but they will emerge as beacons of hope, heralds of a world free from the Shadow King's grip.

The decision to bargain or reject the Shadow King's offer is a moment of character development and moral choice for the adventurers. It shapes not only their individual fates but also the narrative arc of the campaign, highlighting the eternal struggle between light and darkness that permeates the Shadow Labyrinth and the wider world beyond.


Encounter 6: Freeing the Shades


As the adventurers race against time to retrieve the shades and free their loved ones, they find themselves at the heart of the Shadow Realm, crossing over into its bleak and barren terrain. The air is thick with an oppressive darkness, and a sense of impending doom hangs in the air. The three potential successors to the Shadow King await, each vying for the throne and the power it holds. The fate of the Shadow Realm and the souls trapped within it now rests in the hands of the adventurers. Each of these beings covets the crown that the PCs now hold. Once they use its power to free the souls, they need to exit the realm quickly before they are overwhelmed. The crown is a powerful artefact in is own right and might even convince a PC to wear it, causing them to be engulfed by darkness.


The Lurking Dread:

The Lurking Dread, a monstrous embodiment of fears and nightmares, lurks in a twisted realm of its own creation. Its lair is a maze of shifting shadows and twisted illusions, designed to disorient and terrify those who dare to enter. The Lurking Dread manipulates the shades, twisting their minds and turning them into its obedient servants. To defeat the Lurking Dread, the adventurers must unravel its illusions, confront their own fears, and strike at its core, where its power is most concentrated.

Description: Describe the eerie atmosphere of the Lurking Dread's realm. Detail the strange illusions and nightmarish manifestations that the adventurers encounter. Emphasize the need for the party to stay focused and resist the temptations that the Lurking Dread presents.


Strategy: Provide hints or clues that allow the players to discern the true nature of the Lurking Dread's illusions. Encourage them to face their fears and work together to break the hold the creature has over the shades. Recommend specific spells or abilities that might disrupt the Lurking Dread's control over the shades.


The Soul Harvester:

The Soul Harvester resides within a desolate realm where echoes of tormented souls fill the air. Its stronghold is a towering fortress of bones and shadows, guarded by an army of undead and shadowy minions. The Soul Harvester seeks to feed on the essence of the shades, absorbing their life force to fuel its insatiable hunger. The adventurers must navigate treacherous corridors, overcome formidable guardians, and find a way to sever the Soul Harvester's connection to the shades, weakening its power and enabling them to strike a decisive blow.

Description: Describe the grim landscape of the Soul Harvester's realm. Paint a picture of a desolate fortress, haunted by the anguished cries of lost souls. Highlight the Soul Harvester's insatiable hunger and the grotesque minions that serve it.


Strategy: Provide opportunities for the players to find clues or objects that can disrupt the Soul Harvester's connection to the shades. Suggest specific actions or abilities that can be used to weaken the Soul Harvester or create openings for attacks. Encourage the players to work together to overcome the fortress's defenses and reach the heart of the Soul Harvester's power.


The Veiled Enigma:

The Veiled Enigma dwells within a realm of ever-shifting illusions and deceptive landscapes. Its domain is a labyrinth of twisting paths and illusory traps, designed to confound and mislead intruders. The Veiled Enigma seeks to reshape the Shadow Realm according to its own enigmatic desires. To confront the Veiled Enigma, the adventurers must decipher its web of illusions, unveil its true form, and exploit its vulnerabilities hidden within the ever-changing reality.

Description: Describe the perplexing nature of the Veiled Enigma's realm, with shifting landscapes and bewildering illusions. Convey the mysterious and enigmatic nature of the Veiled Enigma, emphasizing the difficulty in discerning what is real and what is illusion.


Strategy: Encourage the players to actively investigate their surroundings, search for clues, and test the boundaries of the illusions. Suggest specific actions or abilities that can dispel illusions, reveal hidden paths, or unveil the true form of the Veiled Enigma. Highlight the need for keen observation and strategic thinking to outwit the enigmatic entity.


In this final encounter, the adventurers' determination and resolve will be tested like never before. The choices they make, the strategies they employ, and the sacrifices they are willing to make will shape the outcome of their quest and the legacy they leave behind. Will they emerge victorious, bringing hope and salvation to the Shadow Realm, or will they be consumed by the darkness that seeks to claim it all? Only their actions and courage will reveal the ultimate fate of the Shadow Realm and its inhabitants.


Conclusion


With the defeat of the potential successors to the Shadow King, the adventurers have managed to reclaim the Shadow Realm from the clutches of darkness. The echoes of their battles fade away, replaced by an eerie stillness that permeates the air. The shades, now freed from their torment, begin to find peace and solace, their souls finally released from the grasp of the Shadow King's influence.


As the adventurers make their way back to the antechamber, where they first confronted the Shadow King, they can sense a change in the atmosphere. The oppressive darkness that once engulfed the chamber has lifted, replaced by a faint glimmer of light. The throne, once a symbol of tyranny and darkness, now stands empty, devoid of the Shadow King's presence.


Their loved ones, the shades whose souls were held captive within the Shadow Realm, gather around the adventurers, their expressions filled with gratitude and relief. Through their sacrifices and bravery, the adventurers have not only defeated the Shadow King but also granted them a chance at redemption and freedom.


With the mission accomplished, the adventurers find a newfound sense of purpose and triumph. Their names will be spoken with reverence, their deeds etched into the annals of history. The Shadow Labyrinth, once a place of terror and despair, will now become a cautionary tale of the indomitable spirit and unwavering resolve of those who dare to challenge the darkness.


As they step back into the realm of light, the adventurers carry with them the memories of their arduous journey through the Shadow Labyrinth. They have not only saved their loved ones but have also proven themselves as true heroes, capable of facing the most insidious threats and emerging victorious.


The Shadow Realm, though forever scarred by the presence of darkness, begins its path towards healing and renewal. The balance between light and shadow is restored, and the realms of existence regain their equilibrium.


The adventurers, forever changed by their experiences, continue on their individual paths, carrying the lessons and memories of their time in the Shadow Labyrinth. The echoes of their triumph will be heard throughout the land, inspiring others to stand against the forces of darkness and embrace the light.


Thus, the tale of the adventurers in the Shadow Labyrinth comes to an end, but the legacy of their heroism and the impact of their actions will endure, serving as a beacon of hope for generations to come.


Campaign Outline


If you want to continue adventuring in the Shadow Realm, here is a campaign outline that gives you ten adventure ideas that will take your players in an epic struggle with the Shadow King and his minions from levels 1-20.


Adventure Title: "The Shadow Crown Awakens"

Level Range: 1-3

Theme: Introduction to the Shadow Realm and the Shadow Crown's influence

Outline: The player characters, drawn to a small town plagued by strange occurrences, uncover a hidden entrance to the Shadow Realm. Within, they discover a cult attempting to harness the power of the Shadow Crown. The adventurers must retrieve the crown and prevent the cult's dark rituals from coming to fruition.


Adventure Title: "Echoes of Darkness"

Level Range: 3-5

Theme: Exploring the Shadow Realm's haunted past

Outline: The player characters enter a cursed, abandoned mansion in the Shadow Realm where the echoes of past atrocities linger. As they uncover the mansion's dark history, they must confront vengeful spirits and unravel the truth behind a powerful curse.


Adventure Title: "Shadows of Betrayal"

Level Range: 5-7

Theme: Intrigue and betrayal in the Shadow Realm

Outline: The player characters become entangled in a web of political intrigue as they are tasked with recovering stolen artefacts linked to the Shadow Crown. Along the way, they encounter shadowy assassins, deceitful nobles, and must navigate a dangerous game of alliances and double-crosses.


Adventure Title: "The Ascension Rite"

Level Range: 7-9

Theme: Unleashing the power of the Shadow Crown

Outline: The player characters discover a cult devoted to one of the potential successors to the Shadow King. To prevent a catastrophe, they must navigate a treacherous dungeon and disrupt a dangerous ritual that could grant the chosen successor dominion over the Shadow Realm.


Adventure Title: "Realm of Illusions"

Level Range: 9-11

Theme: Illusory challenges in the Shadow Realm

Outline: The player characters are lured into an illusory realm by a powerful sorcerer seeking to claim the Shadow Crown. They must navigate through a series of surreal challenges and outsmart the sorcerer's illusions to find their way back to reality and thwart the villain's plans.


Adventure Title: "The Shadow War"

Level Range: 11-13

Theme: Confronting the three successors to the Shadow King

Outline: The player characters engage in a series of epic battles against each of the potential successors to the Shadow King. They must gather allies, explore dangerous territories, and confront the true nature of the Shadow Crown to ensure that none of the successors gain ultimate control over the Shadow Realm.


Adventure Title: "Veiled Shadows"

Level Range: 13-15

Theme: Unveiling the true nature of the Shadow Crown

Outline: The player characters delve into the Astral Plane, where they uncover the origins and purpose of the Shadow Crown. They must face astral entities and navigate ethereal landscapes to gather the knowledge and power necessary to dismantle the crown's influence and bring balance back to the Shadow Realm.


Adventure Title: "Shadowfall"

Level Range: 15-17 Theme: The Shadow Crown's final bid for power

Outline: The player characters return to the Material Plane to find that the Shadow Crown's influence has spread, plunging the world into darkness. They embark on a grand adventure to retrieve powerful artifacts and rally allies for a climactic battle against the main villain, who seeks to wield the full power of the Shadow Crown.


Adventure Title: "Shadows Revealed"

Level Range: 17-19

Theme: Uncovering the truth behind the Shadow King's imprisonment

Outline: The player characters delve deep into ancient archives, forgotten dungeons, and long-abandoned temples to uncover the true reason behind the Shadow King's imprisonment and the creation of the Shadow Crown. They confront ancient guardians, decode cryptic prophecies, and ultimately reveal a hidden betrayal that changes their perception of the Shadow Realm's history.


Adventure Title: "Eternal Shadows"

Level Range: 19-20

Theme: The ultimate battle for the fate of the Shadow Realm

Outline: The player characters must confront the Shadow King himself, now fully restored to power, in a final clash to decide the fate of the Shadow Realm and the Material Plane. They navigate treacherous terrains, harness ancient magic, and call upon powerful allies as they engage in a boss battle of epic proportions, ensuring that the legacy of the Shadow Crown is forever sealed away from the realms of black magic.


Shadow Realm FAQs


What is the Shadow Realm in the context of D&D adventures?


The Shadow Realm or Shadowfell is a campaign setting within Dungeons & Dragons where players can embark on epic adventures set in a dark and mysterious realm. For the purposes of this adventure, we’ve created the Shadow King, but this iteration is not one of the official D&D versions of the Shadow King, it’s just a very bad dude that you can make your own


Is the Shadow Realm suitable for new players or is it more suited for experienced players?


The Shadow Realm can be adapted to cater to both new and experienced players. It provides a unique and engaging setting for players to explore, regardless of their level of experience.


Can the Shadow Realm be used for a short adventure, or is it better suited for longer campaigns?


The Shadow Realm can be used for both short adventures and longer campaigns. It offers flexibility for game masters to create a variety of game experiences within its dark and mysterious landscapes.


Is it a good idea to start 1st level characters in the Shadow Realm, or should they be more experienced?


Starting 1st level characters in the Shadow Realm can be a thrilling and challenging experience. It allows players to grow and develop their characters within the unique dangers and mysteries of the realm.


Can the Shadow Realm be incorporated into a themed adventure, such as a haunted house or murder mystery?


Absolutely! The Shadow Realm can serve as a perfect backdrop for themed adventures, adding an extra layer of darkness and intrigue to the story.


Can magic items from the Shadow Realm be brought into the game world outside of the realm?


The decision to allow magic items from the Shadow Realm to be brought into the game world should be made on a case-by-case basis by the game master. Consider the balance and impact on the overall campaign.


Are there specific adventure hooks or quests that can lead players into the Shadow Realm?


Yes, there are numerous adventure hooks that can be used to introduce players to the Shadow Realm. These hooks can involve the discovery of ancient artefacts, encounters with powerful spellcasters, or even dreams that draw them into the realm.


Can the Shadow Realm be used as an event-based adventure, with time loops or other unique mechanics?


Absolutely! The Shadow Realm provides a great opportunity for incorporating unique mechanics like time loops or other event-based scenarios, adding a layer of mystery and unpredictability to the adventure.


Is there a main villain in the Shadow Realm, or are there multiple antagonists that players must face?


The Shadow Realm can have a main villain who serves as a powerful antagonist, or players can face multiple adversaries throughout their journey. The choice ultimately depends on the game master's storytelling preferences.


Can the Shadow Realm be used as part of a longer campaign, or is it better suited for standalone adventures?


The Shadow Realm can be used as part of a longer campaign, offering opportunities for players to explore the realm's depths and face grand adventures. It can also be used for standalone adventures, providing a unique and challenging experience for players.


Are there specific boss battles within the Shadow Realm that provide exciting challenges for the players?


Yes, the Shadow Realm can feature thrilling boss battles against powerful entities or creatures. These battles serve as climactic encounters that test the party's mettle and provide memorable moments in the adventure.


Is there black magic present in the Shadow Realm, and if so, how does it affect the players and the game world?


Black magic can exist within the Shadow Realm, imbuing it with a sinister atmosphere. The presence of black magic can present challenges and temptations for players, as they navigate the realm's dark influences.


Are there any recommended best practices for running adventures within the Shadow Realm?


Best practices for running adventures in the Shadow Realm include creating an immersive atmosphere, balancing the challenges and rewards, providing opportunities for role-playing, and tailoring the adventures to fit the party members' backgrounds and motivations.





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