Villainy with a shadowy purpose: Rogues that strike out from dark alleys. Monsters that lurk in the dark spaces beneath the stairs. Creatures of smoke and raging spirits.

The 4E Monster Manual has an outstanding selection of opponents of dark purpose. Here are some heroic-level encounters you can spring on the unsuspecting.

(The target encounter XPs are for 5 PCs of each level).

Level 1 Encounter

Following the trail of blood and fur had been difficult, but finally the twists and turns of the sewer opened up into a drainage vault and a set of stairs leading up to another level. At a glance, you can tell it’s the perfect spot for an ambush.   

2 dark creepers (level 4 skirmishers)

1 dire rat (level 1 brute)

2 giant rats (level 1 minions)

Encounter Level 3 

At the end of the vaulted chamber lay the crypts, the final resting spots of the ancient king and queen. Is your search at an end? But you’re wary. Would the ancient king, who died by a treacherous hand, not guard his resting place in the afterlife? 

2 phantom warriors (level 4 soldiers)

2 shadowhunter bats (level 3 lurkers)

4 decrepit skeletons (level 1 minions)

Encounter Level 5 

This back alley was supposed to be the meeting place. The deal had been negotiated, a price set, all that remains was the exchange. Apprehension runs high in the stillness. The old man warned us: a doublecross is always a possibility. 

1 doppleganger sneak / shadowborn stalker template (level 3 elite lurker), 300

3 human bandits (level 2 skirmishers)

1 human mage (level 4 artillery)

1 Whirling Blades trap (level 5 obstacle)

Encounter Level 7

Low chanting seems to come from the chamber ahead. What kind of dark worship service would be conducted in this fell place? The way is only dimly lit, and long shadows obscure large sections of the floor.

1 shadar-kai witch (level 7 controller)

2 shadar-kai chainfighters / bodyguard template (level 6 elite soldiers)

1 tiefling heretic (level 6 artillery)

Encounter Level 9

You hear an eerie, gutteral growl. But no earthly big cat could create such a noise. What manner of great feline faces us? You look around quickly, scanning the nooks and crannies of the vast hall. 

1 spectral panther (level 9 lurker)

2 quickling runner (level 9 skirmishers)

2 shadar-kai warriors (level 8 soldiers)