The Dragonlance Nexus

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Shadow Dragonspawn

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Crown

Note: This article makes use of the Dragonlance Campaign Setting and the dragonspawn errata found in Key of Destiny.

There are stories of a mysterious ancient shadow dragon that came to Krynn from a portal in the mist of the Summer of Chaos, and was stuck in this world after the war and the disappearance of magic. Even this dragon was ancient, it hid deep in the mountain ranges of Khalkist during the Dragon Purge. Many believe that these are just stories, but many who live in these mountains know that something lives in the dark. Deep in the shadows. Something big and deadly.

This ancient shadow dragon is called Blasdrimux (Blackdream). In 418 AC (35 SC) another shadow dragon learned the existence of Blackdream. This other dragon, known as the Chaos shadow dragon (born from the shadow of Chaos), was desperately looking for a new body himself and lured the Blackdream into a trap. However, Blackdream was more powerful and seriously wounded the Chaos shadow dragon. In exchange for his life, the Chaos dragon taught its kindred the secrets of spawning. The Chaos dragon had learned these secrets from his double agent Nura Bint-Drax, who was also in charge of Overlord Sable's spawning process. But the dragon himself was not powerful enough to create the catalyst and use the spawning.

Blackdream let the Chaos dragon live and took the secrets with him to his hidden lair deep under the mountains. There he started experimenting with the spawning process, which became difficult because of the suddenly-waning magic. But now, after the War of Souls and the return of magic, Blackdream continues the spawning secretly under the mountains. Though he originally was planning to return to his own dimension, Blackdream has now decided to stay in Krynn. He is very interested in what will happen next, and since the defeat of the mighty alien Overlords he sees the possibility to rise his own power. His dream is to become lord of Krynn's underdark. He has many minions, but spawn are his most important servants.

Creating Shadow Dragonspawn

"Shadow Dragonspawn" is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal giant, humanoid or monstrous humanoid from Small to Large size (referred to hereafter as the base creature). The creature's type changes to dragon. Size remains unchanged. Do not recalculate base attack bonus or saves.

Armor Class: The dragonspawn has +7 natural armor, or the base creature's natural armor, whichever is better.

Speed: Dragonspawn fly at twice the land speed of the base creature (average maneuverability), or as the base creature, whichever is better.

Attacks: Dragonspawn gain one bite and two claw attacks if the base creature did not already have them. The dragonspawn's bite is made at the creature's normal melee attack bonus and inflicts damage according to the base creature's size (see below) plus Strength modifier. The dragonspawn's two claw attacks are made at the creature's melee attack bonus -5 and inflict damage according to the base creature's size plus one-half of its Strenght modifier (rounded down).

Dragonspawn Natural Weapons
Size Damage (bite and claw)
Small 1d3
Medium 1d4
Large 1d6

Special Attacks: A shadow dragonspawn retains the special attacks of the base creature, and gains the following special attacks.

  • Breath Weapon (Su): The shadow dragonspawn gains a breath weapon that is a cone of billowing smoking shadows with an energy drain effect. Creatures within the cone gain one negative level. Breath is usable once every 2d4 rounds. The saving throw DC equals 10 + one-half spawn's total HD + the spawn's Constitution modifier. A Reflex save negates the effect.
  • Death Throe (Su): The shadow dragonspawn's death throe is a blast of energy drain. It causes one negative level to all within 10 feet of the shadow dragonspawn who fail the save. Saving throw is the same that against the breath.
  • Spellcasting (Su): All spawn gain the ability to cast spells as 1st-level sorcerers. If the base creature already possessed levels in sorcerer, then the dragonspawn's effective sorcerer level increases by +1.

Special Qualities: The shadow dragonspawn has all the special qualities of the base creature, plus following.

  • Low-light vision and darkvision 100 feet.
  • Shadow dragonspawn gain immunity to sleep and paralysis effects, as well as immunity against energy drain effect (not including holy weapons or similar).
  • Shadow Blend (Su): During conditions other than full daylight, a shadow dragonspawn can disappear into the shadows, giving it nine-tenths concealment. Artificial illumination, even a light or continual flame spell, does not negate this ability. A daylight spell, however, will. Shadow dragonspawn gain a +4 bonus on their Hide checks as long as they are at least partially hidden within the shadows.

Abilities: Dex +2, Con +2.

Feats: Same as the base creature. Spawn also have access to dragon feats.

Challenge Rating: +1

Level Adjustment: +1

Sample Shadow Dragonspawn

This example uses an 10th-level dark dwarf rogue as the base creature. The dwarf was one of the Zhakar's best scouts and also served as an assassin. His clan was hiding from their cousins who invaded Thoradin in the deepest caves of the Khalkist Mountains. Blackdream found their hiding place and captured a few of them for his spawning experiments. This dwarf has become the leader of the shadow dragonspawn.

Medium Dragon (Augmented Humanoid - Dwarf)
Hit Dice: 10d6+20 (66 hp)
Initiative: +7 (+3 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed: 20 ft (4 squares), fly 40 ft (average)
Armor Class: 26 (+3 Dex, +7 natural, studded leather +2, light steel shield), touch 13, flat-footed 23
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+4
Attack: +2 mace of terror +11 melee (1d8+4 plus fear effect) or bite +9 melee (1d4+2)
Full Attack: +2 mace of terror +11/+6 melee (1d8+4 plus fear effect) or bite +9 melee (1d4+2) and 2 claws +4 melee (1d4+1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath weapon (energy drain, DC 17); death throes; spells; sneak attack +5d6; crippling strike
Special Qualities: Darkvision 120 ft; light sensitivity (-2 penalty on attack rolls, saves, and checks in bright light/daylight); +2 racial bonus on saves against poison; +2 racial bonus on saves against spells and spell-like abilities; other dwarven traits (stability, stonecunning, etc); trapfinding; trap sense +3; evasion; improved uncanny dodge; shadow blend
Saves: Fortitude +5, Reflex +10, Will +5
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 13
Skills: Appraise (metal or stone) +2, Climb +4*, Craft (metal or stone) +2, Disable Device +8, Gather Information +10, Intimidate +10, Hide +12 (+16 shadows)*, Listen +11, Move Silently +11*, Open Lock +9*, Spot +9, Search +9, Survival +9, Tumble +7* (* includes -2 armor check penalty)
Feats: Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Leadership, Track
Environment: Underground
Organization: Special
Challenge Rating: 11
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +1

This reptilian creature has thick, oily-black scales. When he passes through shadows he seems to disappear in them. His tail is barbed; his wings are misty and almost transparent. He is very sleek even though you can tell he was a dwarf in his former life.


This shadow dragonspawn usually ambushes his enemies and makes sneak attacks on the strongest looking fighter-types. In the next round he uses his breath weapon, after which he will resort to normal weaponry until he can use his breath weapon again. This dragonspawn likes to use his sorcerous abilites against weaker-looking opponents, and uses darkness and dark places (with deep shadows) so he can easily hide and also escape if needed.

Spells: As a 1st-level sorcerer.

Sorcerer Spells Known (5/4; save DC 11 + spell level): 0 - Daze, detect magic, ghost sound, touch of fatigue; 1 - Ray of enfeeblement, sleep.

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