Dragon Encounters

Making dnd combat fun, finding monsters that fit together, monster tactics and strategies, and other ways of using the monsters of dungeons and dragons

SOLAR: Tactics for Outdoor and Indoor Fighting



Combat encounter 23


1 Solar (CR 21)

3 Guardian naga (CR 10)


Combat encounter 24


1 Solar (CR 21)

3 Djinn (CR 11)

1 Storm giant (CR 13)


Combat encounter 27


1 Solar (CR 21)

1 Empyrean (CR 23)

2 Iron golems (CR 16)


Combat encounter 28


1 Solar (CR 21)

2 Planetars (CR 16)

1 Ancient gold dragon (CR 24)


How to Use – Combat Encounter

(The solar does not have a test. The solar is always on a mission to accomplish something specific, and it doesn’t have time to test people for worthiness. It delegates that. Also, with 25 intelligence, it doesn’t need tests to figure people out.)

The solar has two different styles of fighting, indoors and outdoors. I’ll detail them both. If your players are fighting a solar, you might want to use both, as it will save the fight from becoming boring. besides, any boss fight can use a second phase.

Either have the fight start indoors, then the solar announces that it’s tired of fighting in such cramped conditions and it leaves, ready to attack the players as soon as they follow. Or start outdoors, have the solar announce that it wasted enough time fighting them, and then it enters the building/cave or whatever to pursue its main quest. If [when] they follow it, the solar will be forced to fight back.

[You can arrange for moving from one place to the other to take a few rounds, so that the solar can heal itself, if the solar needs more HP for second phase. Just make sure your players can survive a longer fight.]

Outdoor Style (difficulty 23)

When fighting outdoors, the solar will have already used its control weather spell to arrange for the sky to be clear, with a number of large, scattered clouds. [with 25 intelligence, the solar is never caught by surprise.] it will use its first turn to send its sword to attack the players, and its movement to hide in the clouds. On subsequent turns, it will come out of the cloud to use its bow and then go right back in. It will also make an attack with its sword as a bonus action.

Two of its legendary actions require it to be near PCs. These actions aren’t worth getting attacked for, so unless the players use a spell like fly to get near the solar, it will use its legendary actions exclusively to teleport from cloud to cloud, so the players don’t know where to aim their AOE spells.

[Can they ready an action to attack the solar when they don’t know where it will be coming from? I could see compromising on their having to make a DEX roll against the solar to see if they can get the attack off before the solar hides in the clouds again. If they fail, they can shoot into the cloud, but they only have a small chance of hitting. [At the very least, the roll to hit will have disadvantage.] AOE spells with a reasonably wide area should hit, as the solar would have to teleport to get away, and it probably doesn’t have time to do that before the spell is cast. [At the very least, the DEX roll against the solar should have advantage.]

Another way you can do it is to have the players tell you which part of the sky they’re watching. If it isn’t the area where the solar is attacking from, their readied action is lost, or at least they have disadvantage. That said, the solar’s intelligence is high enough that you’d be justified in cheating. With 25 intelligence, the solar can certainly outguess your players, even if you can’t.]

Indoor Style (difficulty 23)

When fighting indoors, I would provide a room/area filled with a complex trap [examples below]. It is a boss fight, after all, and the traps will strongly favor the solar. The solar is vastly more mobile, with the ability to both fly and teleport, one of his legendary options will blind PCs, while another hurts all enemies within a small area, and traps make it hard to avoid clustering up. Finally, there is the fact that without traps the fight is going to be a very basic swordfight, which is extremely boring.

(Using the bow indoors is a possibility, providing it’s a very large, cavernous room, and you provide several different positions that are high up and difficult for the players to access. You could use the traps to defend the areas around the base of these columns. The main reason I didn’t go this way was because I used the bow heavily in my outdoor style, and I wanted the indoor style to be different.)

The rest this article will describe several such traps.

Trap 1. Labyrinth:

(I’m starting with a scenario. Afterwards I’ll give ideas on adapting it.)

In this scenario, the traps are guarding 3 gems that contain a spell that is currently guarding humanity. Perhaps they prevent a certain kind of enemy from gaining access to the realm, perhaps they keep the land fertile or keep the weather mild or the sea from flooding the land. You decide.

The solar has become embittered with humanity. He has decided that humanity no longer deserves such protection, and intends to drain the gems of power and thereby bring down the spell. The players job is to stop him.

Each of the three gems is protected by a different guard. The solar will teleport to each gem, and it will take him a few rounds (probably 2-3) to drain each one. The players’ job is to pursue him, (or, if they’re smart, get to the gem before him and wait for him there,) and take him down before he can complete the task. (As long as one gem is left, the others will regenerate their power in time.)

The gems are placed as follows:

  • One gem is placed hanging above a small platform in the middle of a floor burning with a permenant fire. The platform is just close enough to reach with a running jump, but the platform is small, so there is no way to get back after jumping onto it. In addition, the platform is balanced on a point, which means if someone steps on it and their weight isn’t perfectly distributed it will tip to the side and they’ll fall off. (The platform will right itself if no one is on it, and it won’t fall off the point. However, it is too high up to climb back on if you fall off.)
  • The next gem is only able to be reached by jumping from pillar to pillar over an electric (lightning damage) floor. Each goes all the way up to the ceiling, but there is a platform around the middle that you can land on. However, the pillar itself is also electrified, so you have to land without touching the pillar. If you can handle the extra complexity, the platform are rising and falling. If you stay on one too long it will crush you against the ceiling  or lower you to the floor (and it isn’t wide enough for you to stay on without your feet brushing against the floor.) If you do this, make certain to put out several times more pillars than are needed so the players can map out a path.(In order to do this, I would suggest putting pieces of paper with numbers on them next to each pillar to indicate how high each pillar currently is. Also an arrow so they can see whether it’s going up or down. Jumping to a platfor that is higher is impossible without magic, and jumping to one that is lower increases the DC needed to successfully land without touching the pillar.)
  • The final gem is in a pit in the ground. The sides of the pit are sheer, without handholds, and there is a spinning blade that anyone jumping down would have to time carefully to avoid getting cut open (In D&D. to avoid slashing damage.) Jumping up is completely impossible without magic. It’s too far down. [And the blade will cut any rope.]  The only landing is a narrow rope [tightrope] that is itself rotating, and below the rope are three more spinning blades.

(If you find this too much, you can of course just use one or two parts of it.)

Without the solar: If you wanted to use this place without the solar I would put a few levers that had to be pressed at the end of each obstacle. The ones above the burning floor are on either side of the platform, just far enough that they can’t be reached while remaining in the middle of the platform.

Or you could put the three stages one after another, making an obstacle course that they have to tranverse. Add in a timer that will flood the place with poisones gas once it runs out to increase the tension. (With the solar, there is already plenty of tension.)

Trap 2. Pit:

The players enter the building only for the floor to open up under them. They fall onto a slide that splits off in multiple directions, splitting them up. They all end up in the same room, standing on horizontal columns of stone sticking out of the wall at different parts of the room.

The room that there in consists of a sort of walkway made up of a large number of stone columns jutting out of the walls, and under them is a greased floor that will act as a funnel, propelling anyone who falls on it into the center, where there is a deep pit with spikes at the bottom. When you step on a stone column, your weight will cause it to begin sliding free of the wall. Within a round or two it will break free of its mooring, and a rope attached to the end will cause it to collapse into a recessed cavity in the wall. If you stay on too long you’ll fall, and even if you don’t you won’t be able to use if again.

The coloms that they started on are a little more steady, but only to the extant that they won’t start to slide for the first 2-3 rounds, or until the second time a player steps on them (if they go off and back on.) The entrances they came in from sealed behind them.

There are a number of levers around the side of the pit. If they are all pressed the trap will deactivate and they’ll be able to escape. Of course, the right order isn’t something simple like clockwise or counter clockwise. (The numbers are marked clearly. The challenge isn’t to figure out which levers, it’s to press them all without anybody falling in the meantime, and while they still have columns left to walk on. That said, don’t let them spend too long out of game studying the puzzle and making plans.)

Oh, and the solar is going to be flying around trying to stop them.

Without the solar: Without the solar you’re going to want a lot more levers, I would say about three multiplied by the number of players. A number of levers light up at a time, so that more players can get involved. In addition, I would have a desending ceilig as a timre, with spikes sticking down from it for the sake of symmetry.

One more note. If you are looking to do any of these traps without a solar, I would say that they fit best for a tier 2 party (levels 5-10.) At higher levels they have so many spells and abilities that there is a good chace they will have something that ruins the trap before it can even start. [Fly and wall of stone come to mind, but I’m certain there are many more.] If you are going to do a trap for the higher levels, it has to either hit them in a single round, before they have too much chance to game it, or you can devise it with the player’s spells and abilities in mind.

Summary… 3 ways to use

  1. For a plot complication, have the solar (or any other angel) insist on taking out a certain, less important villain. The players know that doing so would be a mistake (morally or strategically), but the angel won’t listen. If the PCs won’t do it, he’ll send someone else. What do they do?
  2. In combat, the solar will use Control weather to fill the sky with scattered clouds. (With 25 INT, it’s not caught by surprise). It its turn, it will shoot, make a flying sword attack, and go back up. In between turns, it will teleport around, so they won’t know where to send area spells.
  3. For an absolutely deadly battle, have the players be trying to beat the clock in a trap dungeon while fighting a solar. The solar can teleport to always be in the way, it can avoid many trap effect by flying, and it can blind them. Use for really powerful players only.

One response to “SOLAR: Tactics for Outdoor and Indoor Fighting”

  1. […] articles that explore traps: Solar, Beholder. (I intend to add to this list when and if I add more articles with heavy trap […]

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About Me

I have been a DM for several years, and I was designing home RPG games since my young childhood. I have been a fan of many different types of games (computer, board, RPG, and more) and have designed several for my own entertainment. This is my first attempt to produce game content for a wider audience.