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SKELETON, BLACK

Medium undead, chaotic evil

DEFENSE

Armor Class 16 (armor scraps)
Hit Points 71 (11d8 + 22)
Speed 30 ft.

ABILITY SCORES

STR 12 (+1)DEX 16 (+3)CON 14 (+2)INT 10 (+0)WIS 12 (+1)CHA 12 (+1)

STATISTICS

Damage Immunities cold; piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages ---
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

TRAITS

Turn Resistance. The black skeleton has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The black skeleton makes two melee attacks.

Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) slashing damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage.


Black skeletons were first encountered in Rappan Athuk (see Rappan Athuk Reloaded from Necromancer Games). Much more powerful than standard skeletons, these minions of evil are often employed as guardians or protectors to keep sealed some ancient knowledge best left undiscovered. They are intelligent monsters and are not subject to the mindless commands that can be given to such undead as skeletons or zombies. They have a clear mind, and sometimes go against the commands and wishes of those they serve, if it benefits the black skeleton in question.

Black skeletons are the remnants of living creatures slain in an area where the ground is soaked through with evil. The bodies of fallen heroes are contaminated and polluted by such evil and within days after their death, the slain creatures rise as black skeletons, leaving their former lives and bodies behind. Black skeletons are intelligent and do maintain some memories of their former lives.

Black skeletons wear any clothes or armor they had in life, and some still carry their gear or weapons (most discard their weapons in favor of two shortswords as soon as they can).

Black skeletons attack with two shortswords in battle with little more than the intention of cutting their foes to pieces. They are intelligent opponents and will use tactics during battle, often sending several of their number against a foe's front, while the others move into position to flank their adversaries. Black skeletons are smart enough to know when the battle is lost and withdraw from combat, though rarely. Most simply fight to the death, driven by some unseen hatred for the living.

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