A skeleton is one of the weakest undead creatures in existence, made by apprentice necromancers from the dried bones of a creature. Fragile and weak, they are nonetheless easy to create, and fill out the lower foot-soldier ranks of nearly any undead army.

Description[edit | edit source]

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Appearance[edit | edit source]

Personality and alignment[edit | edit source]

Abilities and traits[edit | edit source]

Skeletons wield weapons in a basic fashion, and are incapable of anything much more elaborate. Being mindless undead, they have little to fear from trickery or charm, and their physical structure keeps piercing weapons from doing much damage to them.

Weaknesses[edit | edit source]

Blunt weapons are highly effective at crushing them.

Ecology[edit | edit source]

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Environment[edit | edit source]

Lair[edit | edit source]

Life cycle[edit | edit source]

Skeletons can be created by using animate dead on a creature's remains, instantly consuming the creature's flesh and muscle, and leaving only the skeleton.

Skeleton servants can be created that obey the commands of the creator via the undead servant spell. Such skeletons are more automatons than "wild" skeletons, though these servants may become uncontrolled and dangerous under certain conditions.

Diet[edit | edit source]

Skeletons do not eat, drink, or breathe.

Treasure[edit | edit source]

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Harvesting[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

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Society and culture[edit | edit source]

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Organization[edit | edit source]

Allies[edit | edit source]

Enemies[edit | edit source]

Religion[edit | edit source]

Language[edit | edit source]

Skeletons understand the languages they spoke in life, but cannot speak those languages themselves.

Notable skeletons[edit | edit source]

For a full list of skeletons, see Category:Skeletons.

Related creatures[edit | edit source]

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Many skeleton variants exist:

Forgotten Realms[edit | edit source]

Faerûn hosts a number of the variant skeletons listed above, as well as the following:

  • Baneguard: First developed by priests of Bane, these skeletons can phase in and out and hurl bolts of magical energy.
  • Blazing bones: Fiery skeletal undead created when a spellcaster's contingency spell goes wrong, these rare undead can be found in Myth Drannor.
  • Direguard: Baneguards improved by the Red Wizards of Thay, these skeletons are wreathed in a shadowy field of force that functions as armor. They can also see invisible foes.

Publication history[edit | edit source]

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Original D&D[edit | edit source]

Skeletons first appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons 3-Volume Set, Monsters & Treasure (1974).

Basic Dungeons & Dragons[edit | edit source]

AD&D 1st edition[edit | edit source]

AD&D 2nd edition[edit | edit source]

D&D 3rd edition[edit | edit source]

Skeletons returned in the Monster Manual (3.0) (2000). In this edition, they were presented in a range of sizes, from tiny to colossal.

In the Monster Manual (3.5) (2003), the skeleton was changed into a template which could be applied to any creature, making them a skeleton.

D&D 4th edition[edit | edit source]

D&D 5th edition[edit | edit source]

Skeletons returned in the Monster Manual (5e) (2014), including a standard humanoid skeleton, a minotaur skeleton, and a warhorse skeleton.

D&D miniatures[edit | edit source]

Creative origins[edit | edit source]

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Reception and influence[edit | edit source]

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External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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