I’m gonna change things up a little bit with this particular creature, so let me explain a few things. This is an adaptation of the Boss Monster template that can be found over at The Angry DM. I say adaptation because I’ve changed a few things up. You see, the idea behind the boss monster is to emulate boss monsters from various video games. You know, the things that possibly take you hours to beat and you may have to try multiple times just to do it? This particular idea that Angry throws at us doesn’t necessarily simulate the extreme difficulty that some boss monsters can possess, instead it simulates other attributes: mainly, their ability to shake off negative effects and come back in full force after being taken down one or two times.
These boss monsters have different stages. Angry explains everything very well, so I will sum it up. Each stage is has a few different characteristics and between stages, the boss monster gets a powerful attack to indicate that it is switching up. The boss monsters that Angry created all have three stages, but I decided to take it up a notch. If you’ve ever beaten Final Fantasy VIII, you may remember the final boss. You beat her once, and she summons something to fight you, you beat that and they merge, then they change, then they change again. It seems almost endless, fighting all five stages of this boss. Well, that’s sort of what I did; I created a boss monster with five stages.
There are a few mechanical differences from 4th Edition D&D that should be explained. For one, each boss monster is a solo with 3 stages (in this case 5). It’s total hit points are split evenly between each stage. So, a boss monster with 3 stages and 300hp has 100hp for each stage. Also, in order for this solo fight to be a bit more interesting than other solo fights, the boss monsters get multiple types of attacks that encompass minor, move, standard, and immediate actions. This way, when their turns come around, they have a few things to do. This helps shake things up and make for more dynamic and more difficult battles. The boss monsters have one more feature, whenever one stage dies, the next stage is treated as a completely new and different creature; that means that anything that affected the first stage when the boss dies, does not effect the next stage: no paralysis, stun, ongoing damage, nothing.
Now, let me explain what this boss monster is like. He is hard. He is very very hard, if you do him right. If you want to do him right, it’s simple. Give him minions and give him interesting environments that may or may not give him an advantage. The minions I used did a few different things and I used them all at different stages. I looked for my templates for the minions (I actually have never used a monster from the monster manual) but I could not find them so I’ll tell you what they did to give you some ideas. The minions could mark, grapple, grapple/pull from a distance, knock prone, and cause ongoing damage. The environments were a little different; they worked in tangent with the minions to create interesting terrain and such for the PCs in case the boss had to retreat (which he did between stages). The first room had pillars that would fall on the PCs, the second was a maze full of minions that would grapple, the third room was a maze full of minions that would knock the PCs prone, the fourth room was full of small corridors that were blocked off by minions, and the final room had no minions, but was dripping with acid that was difficult to navigate around.
When you use this boss, I don’t want you to go easy on your players. I created this boss to challenge my players and he did a good job of it. A good thing about this boss is, if you do find that he is a bit more challenging than you anticipated, you don’t have to use everything he’s got; the players won’t really know the difference.
I hope you enjoy this monster, or at least visit The Angry DM and get inspired by his stuff; it’s a great read.