Bosses are dangerous creatures found at the end of quests. There are currently 15 (technically 14 + 1 variation) bosses in DemonCrawl.
Bosses roam the board in the same way as familiars but will only walk into opened cells and will not solve cells. If any cell they enter contains loot or a familiar, the boss will destroy it.
Bosses are random for each quest with three exceptions. In Beyond, the Computer Simulation emblem guarantees Beyond Ego, in normal mode, the player's first completion of Shadowman will always be Bruises and in hard mode, the first completion of Shadowman will be Ego.
When on a boss stage, special loot called Dark Hearts spawn. These empower the boss in unique ways. Making a mistake in a boss level will spawn additional dark hearts as well as, for most bosses, triggering an additional undesirable effect.
You are able to kill bosses by burning or exploding them and can trap them in Bubbles or freeze them though this does not kill them. Ego is an exception and can not be frozen. All bosses resist burning but if they occupy a burning square for 3 consecutive turns, they will die.
Having full health along with Midas Glove turns all Dark Hearts into Diamonds, making bosses much more predictable. Similarly, Iron Sceptre can clean up unwanted dark hearts without the need to collect them. Uncovering a corner cell as the first cell but then starting to solve elsewhere on the board (using something like Spy gleaning, a Longbow or Wand Of Light to safely make a start elsewhere) will leave a boss confined to a small area of the board, leaving the player to solve the level in relative safety. Bubbling them is unreliable but if successful, the player can either leave them in the bubble or can pop them in an area further away from dark hearts and unsolved cells.
As of Sweeping Heights, bosses can resist attempts to remove them:
|Explosion||Dodges and takes no damage||50% +5% per boss mod at time of explosion|
|Frozen||Escapes||5% +5% per boss mod chance per turn|
|Bubble||Pops out in a random cell, regardless of bubble location||5% +5% per boss mod chance per turn|
Switches between the following effects randomly every turn whenever you make a mistake or a Dark Heart is collected:
Creates a burning/frozen/electric/toxic trail every turn
Switches between the following effects randomly every turn triggered when you make a mistake or a dark heart is collected:
Creates a burning/frozen/electric/sanctified/cursed trail every turn
As of Sweeping Heights, bosses can now be affected by certain mods which influence their abilities.
|Captain||Take 1 damage whenever a monster is revealed.|
|Culling||Activate mistake effects whenever you use an item.|
|Darker||Dark Hearts activate an additional time.|
|Darkfoot||Creates a trail of Dark Hearts.|
|Devilish||10% chance to activate mistake effects after collecting a Dark Heart.|
|Emergent||Collect a Dark heart whenever you discover a 6 or greater.|
|Fatal||If the boss is killed, you take 50 damage.|
|Forever||If the boss is killed, it respawns on another cell.|
|Greasy||If the boss can't move, it relocates to a random empty cell.|
|Harvesting||The boss interacts with all nearby cells on movement, not just the cell it moved to.|
|Hearty||Collecting a heart of any kind counts as collecting a Dark Heart.|
|Intelligent||The boss always moves towards Dark Hearts.|
|Invisible||Whenever a Dark Heart is collected, toggle the boss visibility.|
|Pillaging||Collect a Dark Heart whenever the boss destroys an object.|
|Profane||Whenever a Dark Heart is collected, randomly distribute 50 turns of manalock across your magic items.|
|Rapid||The boss moves an additional space per turn.|
|Rowdy||When the stage timer hits 2 minutes, activate mistake effects.|
|Spreading||On movement, the boss has a small chance to duplicate itself to a nearby cell.|
|Subversive||Mistake effects activate an additional time.|
|Swelling||Whenever a Dark Heart is collected, increase the stage power.|
|Timelord||Increase the stage power each minute.|
|Wandering||The boss has a chance to travel into hidden cells. This chance increases with visible Dark Hearts. If the boss reveals a monster, you take monster damage.|
|Weary||Lose 10 mana each turn for each visible Dark Heart.|