Boss Fight: Enoch the Archmage​

My players faced the third boss of the adventure – Enoch the Archmage.  This is part of the 5e conversion of A Darkness Gathering. Though this is a tough mob it is, essentially, a straight up legendary per the standard rules.  I did tweak it as Enoch was designed to take on 8 PCs (ended up taking on 5 PCs).  In a stand-up fight, Enoch would die but the design of the tower allows him to maintain a running battle from the moment the PCs breach the tower supported by lair actions, traps (like the acid storm trap and Mordenkainen’s hound – both straight up conversions of the 2e equivalents) and other mobs like the starry golems and the celestial children

My low opinion of NPC spellcasters as boss mobs did not improve after this.  Spells + action economy just don’t mix well.  If I had to do it again I would have gotten rid of all the spells and created some signature abilities – similar to what I did with the mind-flayer arcanist which worked much better in gameplay. In the end, I used the signature abilities I had created most of the fight based on the ring of shooting stars.  Part of the problem is that some of the “oh merde!” spells that scare PCs have been eviscerated of any punch.  For example, time stop in 5e is, well, lame compared to previous editions. Ditto for tensor’s transformation.  I believe this was done for ease of use, but these are two spells that should not be dumbed down as they tend to be the archmage’s ace in the hole. Will need to modify these spells the next time I use an archmage to reinstate old school fear of an archmage in my PCs.

My players ended up killing Enoch after stripping all his defensive spells with an 8th level dispel magic. They then removed the cap (device that permanently enslaved him to the mind flayers) and then resurrected him. Clever solution and a good example of how high-level players can leverage their many options.

DORU “ENOCH” HANGANU (ARCHMAGE)

Medium humanoid (human, mythic), lawful evil (was lawful neutral).
Armour Class 12 (15 with mage armour)
Hit Points 162 (18d8 + 18)
Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 20 (+5) 15 (+2) 16 (+3)

Saving Throws INT +9, WIS +6
Skills Arcana+13, History+13
Damage Resistance nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage (due to stoneskin).
Senses Passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Elvish, Dwarvish, Thieves Cant, Deep Speech, and Celestial
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Contingency. During combat, Doru’s contingency spells kick in triggering a chill shield. If he is hit by a spell attack of level 5 or below and has no other concentration spells active globe of invulnerability triggers. If hit by a melee attack fly triggers as long as no other concentration spell is active. Doru may decide if he wishes which concentration spell to override another.

Magic Resistance. Doru has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Special Equipment. Doru wears a ring of shooting stars and wields a wand of lightning bolt.

Spellcasting. Doru is an 18th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). Doru can cast disguise self and invisibility at will and has the following wizard spells prepared:

*Doru casts mind blank, stoneskin, greater invisibility and mage armor spells on himself before combat.

DM’s Note. I don’t like spellcasting NPCs in D&D, they are always underpowered as legendary creatures.  In this particular case, I left Enoch as is.  In reality, I wish I had picked more single target spells since it didn’t make much sense for him to be using AOE spells in his own home and with minions present.

DESCRIPTION
Doru is also capped as the other bosses were by Shuluth.  The “cap” glows during combat. While dominated he mumbles about “eyes on the inside” and “the plip-plop of water”.  The former refers to the invasive presence of Shuluth and the latter refers to the mind-flayers layer The Cyst which is deep beneath the city connected via the sewer system.

ACTIONS
Dagger.Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack:+6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit:4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

Ring of Shooting Stars – Shooting Stars. Doru launches three glowing motes of light from the ring at a point he can see within 60 feet of him. Each creature within a 15-foot cube originating from that point is showered in sparks and must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 12 (5d4) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Ring of Shooting Stars – Ball Lightning. A ball of lighting hovers around Doru protecting him from attack. Any creature, apart from Doru, that comes within 5 feet of him (or the sphere) triggers the ball to discharge caused 26 (4d12) lightning damage to all creatures within 15 feet. Doru is not targeted by this discharge.

Wand of Lightning Bolt. A stroke of lightning forming a line 100 feet long and 5 feet wide blasts out from Doru’s wand in a direction he chooses. Each creature in the line must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 28 (8d6) lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

REACTIONS
Shield. So long as Doru has a level 1 spell slot available he may cast the shield spell as a reaction – +5 to AC until the end of his next turn and cancels magic missile/force attacks.


LEGENDARY ACTIONS
Doru can take 3 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. Doru regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

  • Use a Magic Item. Doru can use his ring of shooting stars or wand of lightning bolt.
  • Cast Spell (Costs 1–3 Actions). Doru uses a spell slot to cast a 1st-, 2nd-, or 3rd-level spell that he has prepared. Doing so costs 1 legendary action per level of the spell.

LAIR ACTIONS
Doru’s tower is considered his lair and has been designed, engineered and enchanted to protect the mage. On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Doru can take a lair action to cause one of the following magical effects; Doru can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row (except where noted):

  • Doru rolls a d8 and regains a spell slot of that level or lower. If he has no spent spell slots of that level or lower, nothing happens.
  • The tower comes to its master’s defence. Mundane furniture, and anything that isn’t nailed down, animate and attack the interlopers. These animated objects don’t do any real damage but are a distraction imposing disadvantage on attack rolls and triggering Constitution checks for any active concentration spells.
  • Doru’s collection of books animate and fly off the shelves. These books attack one creature that Doru can see within 60 feet of him. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw, taking 52 (15d6) bludgeoning damage (or piercing – epic paper cuts!) on a failed save, or half as much damage on a success. The books then return neatly to the shelves.
  • Situational – Starry Golems: If Doru is in combat against the PCs with the starry golems this lair action automatically triggers as Doru uses mud to rock spell to heal a golem for its half its hit point total. This happens automatically on initiative count 20 and is in addition to the standard actions listed previously.
  • Situational – Twisted Mirror: If Doru is in combat against the PCs while in the attic the Twisted Mirror will activate each time a lair action is taken. This happens automatically on initiative count 20 and is in addition to the standard actions listed previously. It discourages a horde of celestial children each round until it is destroyed.

The Twisted Mirror has the following additional traits:

  • Anyone looking at the mirror must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be affected by the mental dissonance emitted by the strange swirling patterns.  On a failed save the creature has -2 to all Intelligence related rolls (skills, saving throws and ability checks) and is slowed (as the spell) until the end of the creatures next turn.
  • The mirror is immune to all damage but is destroyed when Enoch is killed or it takes at least 1 psychic damage.
  • It may be disabled for the entire battle on a successful DC 15 Arcana check made while adjacent to the mirror.
  • It is destroyed when Doru is killed sucking back to the far realm any remaining disgorged celestial children still alive at the time of its destruction.
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