I really like skeletons. A fleshless silent undead, that is resistant to piercing and slashing damage.
I use skeletons in pretty much all campaigns, and relish when people shoot at them in modern campaigns.
Having said that, of the many cool monsters that can be found in the Barrowmaze Megadungeon, the Fossil Skeleton became a must-have addition to my games.
Small twists on existing creatures are a great way to convey information on the setting. The long-limbed dune-strinding elves of Dark Sun, or the hairy goblins of Allansia all tell a history of their environment, and how they adapted to it.
The Fossil Skeleton immediately feels at home in caves old as time itself, embedded in the damp rock. They can even have a chalky smell, or emit scraping noises when they walk.
Because of my love for skeletons, I have statted them for a trio of games I really like.
The original is found in the pages of Barrowmaze, by Greg Gillespie. Looking at the basic Labyrinth Lord Revised Edition skeleton (because I won’t touch Barrowmaze for D&D 5th. ed with a ten-foot pole), we have:
Labyrinth Lord Skeleton (page 95):
Nº Enc.: 3d4 (3d10)
Movement: 60′ (20′)
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1
Damage: 1d6 or weapon
Hoard Class: none
The Fossil Skeleton, as expected, is tougher, harder to hit, but slower. I’ll try to reflect this in the systems we’ll be using.
Barrowmaze Fossil Skeleton:
Nº Enc.: 2d4
Movement: 40′ (10′)
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2
Hoard Class: none
Tunnels & Trolls Fossil Skeleton
MR: 30-240 (they don’t wield weapons)
Special Abilities: Immune to death magic, poison, cold, charm, sleep, mind control; missile weapons are useless against it; edge weapons do only half damage; blunt weapons do normal damage; Holy Water does 2D6 damage.
STR: 1/2 MR, CON: 30-240, INT 1-6, WIZ 1-8
Armor Hits: 6 (stony bones)
For the Advanced Fighting Fantasy, I’ll use the Out of the Pit book as source for my basic skeleton. My changes will put it between the normal skeleton, and the more formidable skeleton warrior.
Advanced Fighting Fantasy Fossil Skeleton
Habitat: Dungeons, Ruins, Caves.
Number Encountered: 1-3
They are not damaged by arrows, edged weapons deal only 1 point of damage, and crushing weapons do normal damage.
Finally, for Mörk Borg, I thought of using the “Belze – Blood Drenched Skeleton” as a base monster. However, it doesn’t seem to be an undead, so I’ll be “Nodh”, which is a zombie, and use some of the skeletons abilities.
Mörk Borg “Permineralized” – Fossil Skeleton
Stony Bones -d4
Stony Claw d4
Crystallized Skull 15s
Attacks on them with piercing and slashing weapons are DR14. Any strike doing 5 or more damage destroys the skeleton completely.
And that’s it for today!
I hope you like skeletons as much as I do, and find these stats above useful.