Shadow dragon

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Version 0.25: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

For a list of all dragons, see list of dragons.

shadow dragon DShadow dragon.png
HP 84-170
HD 17
XP 2070
Speed 10
AC 15
EV 10
Will 120
Attack1 20 (bite: drain experience)
Attack2 15 (claw: plain)
Attack3 15 (claw: plain)
Resistances rC++
Vulnerabilities None
Habitat Land
Intelligence Animal
Uses Uses nothing
Holiness Natural
Size Giant
Type dragon, shadow dragon
Flags Evil
See invisible
A great umbral dragon, radiating evil and death. Its breath reeks of the grave.

“Crux sacra sit mihi lux / Non draco sit mihi dux
Vade retro satana / Numquam suade mihi vana
Sunt mala quae libas / Ipse venena bibas”
“Let the Holy Cross be my light / Let not the dragon be my guide
Step back Satan / Never tempt me with vain things
What you offer me is evil / You drink the poison yourself.”
-full text of initials on the Saint Benedict Medal, worn to ward off evil spririts. Inscription from 11-15th century, formally approved by pope Benedict XIV in 18th century

“On the other hand, Confucius is made to say to his disciples, ‘I know how birds can fly, how fishes can swim, and how animals can run. But the runner may be snared, the swimmer may be hooked, and the flyer may be shot by the arrow. But there is the dragon. I cannot tell how he mounts on the wind through the clouds, and rises to heaven. Today I have seen Lao-tsze, and can only compare him to the dragon.’”
-Life of Confucius

“This Dragon had Two furious Wings
Each one upon each Shoulder;
With a Sting in his Tail as long as a Flail,
Which made him bolder and bolder.
He had long Claws, and in his Jaws
Four and forty Teeth of Iron;
With a Hide as tough, as any Buff,
Which did him round environ.”

-“An Excellent Ballad of a most dreadful Combat, fought between Moore of Moore-Hall, and the Dragon of Wantley”, retold by Ambrose Philips, _A Collection of Old Ballads. Corrected from the Best and Most Ancient Copies Extant. With Introductions Historical, Critical, Or Humorous_. 1723.

Useful Info

Shadow dragons are terrifying dragonkind whose breath and bite attacks inflict draining. Characters that lack resistance to negative energy may find themselves severely handicapped after combat with one if they allow the fight to go on too long. They are uncommon, usually only appearing in the Depths, the Realm of Zot, and the lowest floor of the Vaults.


Spell set I
Slot1 Bolt of Draining (3d24) Natural flag,
Breath flag

Tips & Tricks

  • Negative energy resistance will significantly reduce the effect of their draining, providing complete immunity with three ranks. If you have good reason to suspect a shadow dragon is coming (Vaults:5 is almost a guarantee), it's not a bad idea to come packing a ring of positive energy or other rN+ sources. Ghouls, mummies, and bloodless vampires need not worry, as they come with innate rN+++ and a shadow dragon's physical damage output is far less terrifying than its withering breath.
    • If you don't have a ring available, you can gain complete immunity to negative energies by drinking a potion of lignification and entering Tree Form. This does prevent you from escaping, however, so this strategy is best used in situations where you know a shadow dragon is the only thing you have to worry about.
    • If negative energy resistance is not an option, high evasion will allow you to dodge many of their breath attacks, although not infallibly. Repel Missiles will help further, if you can get it. In any case, kill them as quickly as possible to limit their opportunities to drain you.
  • Although shadow dragons aren't undead, they have the standard undead cold resistance, poison resistance, and immunity to negative energy. Being neither demonic nor undead, however, they are not susceptible to weapons of holy wrath. The Shining One's Cleansing Flame is quite effective against them, however, as they are still considered evil.
  • Killing a shadow dragon may provide shadow dragon scales, a body armour that provides very solid physical protection and better stealth capabilities than even a robe, but with significant penalties to evasion and spell success rates.


  • Prior to 0.19, shadow dragons occasionally dropped hides when butchered that could be make into shadow dragon armour with a scroll of enchant armour.
  • Prior to 0.16, shadow dragons produced no hides.
  • Prior to 0.14, shadow dragons were even more obnoxious. They were special-cased to flee from combat when moderately injured, only returning to drain you further after getting several spaces away from you while you fought other foes.