Dragon Magazine

Skeleton, Variant


Frequency:Very rareVery rareVery rare
Activity Cycle:AnyAnyAny
Intelligence:Non- (0)Non- (0)Non- (0)
No. Appearing:2-202-202-20
Armor Class:1066
Hit Dice:1-134+4
No. of Attacks:112
Damage/Attack:1 hp1d61d6/1d6 or by weapon
Special Attacks:Choking cloudBonespray, blood burnDefiling
Special Defenses:NilHalf damage from edged weaponsHalf damage from edged weapons, regenerate
Magic Resistance:NilNilNil
Size:M (5-6’)M (5-6’)M (5-6’)
Morale:Fearless (20)Fearless (20)Fearless (20)
XP Value:65650975

Dust Skeleton

Although it looks like a normal skeleton, a dust skeleton weighs about one-fifth as much, as its bones are dried almost to the point of disintegration. Wherever it walks, the skeleton leaves a faint trail of blue-gray dust hanging in the air. This dust is poisonous, and anyone approaching within 10 feet feels mildly nauseous. Dust skeletons are used in undead armies to break enemy formations by disabling large numbers of troops.

Dust skeletons do not carry weapons and cause very little damage in melee. Unlike regular skeletons, a dust skeleton takes full damage from edged and piercing weapons. When reduced to 0 hit points, the skeleton shatters, spreading a cloud of dust in a 10-foot radius. Anyone breathing in the dust must make a successful saving throw vs. poison or be paralyzed for 2d6 rounds. Those who successfully save spend one round coughing and choking and are unable to attack or cast spells but are otherwise unaffected.

Construction Notes: Bones useed to create dust skeletons must be specially dried to the point of crumbling, then coated with a special resin containing a paralyzing venom. Tansmute water to dust is used in conjunction with animate dead to complete the process.

Spike Skeleton

From a distance, a spike skeleton looks like a normal skeleton, except that it is unarmed. Closer inspection reveals the skeleton is covered with bony thorns up to an inch long. Spike skeletons are often used in undead armies to disrupt and demoralize enemy troops with their horrific abilities.

The bony spikes allow the skeleton to inflict as much damage as a normal skeleton wielding a weapon. Further, each time the skeleton hits or is hit, 1d3 spikes explode in a bonespray, inflicting 1d4 points of damage per spike in a 5-foot radius (save vs. breath weapon for half damage). The skeleton itself suffers 1 point of damage for each spike it loses this way. The purpose of the bonespray is to draw blood, so the blood burn ability can be used.

Once blood is drawn, the creature nearest the skeleton within 5 feet and with open wounds must save vs. spell at a -3 or suffer 3d4 points of damage as the blood from its open wounds catches fire. A saving throw is made at the end of each round for up to three rounds; any success save ends the burning effect at that point. A spike skeleton can use the blood burn only once, and must be recharged to cast it a second time.

These skeletons are turned as shadows.

Construction Notes: Each spike must be specially carved from bones taken from the same type of creature that is to be animated (for example, human bones for a human skeleton). A glyph is carved into each spike before it is attached to the skeleton. During animation, a shatter spell is cast in conjunction with the animate dead spell. After animation, the 6th-level necromancy spell imbue undead with spell ability is cast, along with Beltyn’s burning blood; these spells are also used to recharge a spike skeleton with this ability.

Obsidian Skeleton

An obsidian jewel is imbedded in each skeleton’s forehead. Many also have blackened bones, as though they have been burned. All carry weapons, usually swords or clubs. On Athas, the Dark Sun setting, these are called defiling skeletons.

An obsidian skeleton regenerates by absorbing life energy. When reduced to 0 hit polints, it collapses and becomes inert for full one round. The next round, the obsidian jewel in the skeleton’s forehead glows brightly as it regenerates, turning to ash all vegetation in a 10-foot radius (on Athas, the defiled area is the same as that of a 3rd-level spell). Living creatures in the radius must make a successful saving throw vs. spell or suffer a -3 penalty to their next initiative roll. The next round, the skeleton rises, restored to full hit points. Striking the skeleton while it is inert or regenerating has no effect, nor does it delay the regeneration, nor are measures such as turning or holy water effective. Only the destruction of the jewel can stop its regeneration. The jewel is AC 4 and has 6 hit points (which do not regenerate); it is vulnerable to holy water. During melee, the jewel can be struck with a called shot. Dispel magic causes the skeleton to collapse and prevents regeneration for one round per level of the caster. Unless the jewel is destroyed during this time, the regeneration starts again.

Obsidian skeletons are turned as wights.

Construction Notes: An obsidian jewel, inscribed with a special glyph, must be implanted in the skeleton’s forehead. A second animate dead spell must be cast in conjunction with the first, along with vampiric touch.

Last Modified: March 26, 2014, 19:10:58 GMT

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

◆ 1803 ◆