Shadow dragon

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Version 0.14: 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 102-149
HD 17
XP 2067
Speed 10
AC 15
EV 10
MR 120
Attack1 20 (bite: drain experience)
Attack2 15 (claw: plain)
Attack3 15 (claw: plain)
Type of Meat Rot-inducing
Resistances rC++, rPois+,
rN+++, rDrown,
Vulnerabilities Holy, Dragon Slaying
Habitat Land
Intelligence Animal
Uses Uses nothing
Holiness Natural
Size Giant
Type dragon, shadow dragon
Flags Cold-blooded
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. Unlike some dragons, butchering it produces no special hide; doing so only produces rot-inducing chunks which most characters will want to avoid touching. They are uncommon, usually only found on Vaults:5, the Depths, and the Realm of Zot, though they may appear elsewhere in certain late-game vaults. They can drop a Shadow dragon hide which can be enchanted into a Shadow dragon armour which provides stabbers with excellent defenses and bonus stealth at the cost of some spellcasting ability.


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

Tips & Tricks

  • Each rank of life protection you have will reduce the effect of their draining by a third, 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 rings of life protection, an amulet of warding, or other rN+ sources. Undead characters need not worry, as their physical damage output is none too terrifying.
    • Failing that, high evasion, Repel Missiles, or Deflect Missiles will allow you to dodge many of their breath attacks, although not infallibly. In any case, kill them as quickly as possible to limit their opportunities to drain you.
  • Although they aren't undead, they have the standard undead cold resistance and immunity to negative energy. Fortunately, they are also evil and thus vulnerable to Cleansing Flame (but not weapons of holy wrath).


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 fight other foes.