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Skeletons were undead animated corpses similar to zombies, but completely devoid of flesh and did not feed on the living. They could be made from virtually any solid creature, and as such their size and power varied widely. In addition to the basic humanoid skeleton, there were also skeletons created from wolves, trolls, ettins and even giants.[3]


The undead form of skeletons was held by necromantic energy, which kept otherwise loose bones and joints together and conferred on the undead corpse a glimmer of vitality and rudimentary intellectual capabilities.[1]

Although skeletons were most typically created from humanoid remains, many other varieties existed.[1]


Animal skeleton
A general term for skeletons created from the corpses of small to medium-sized vertebrate animals,[7] such as warhorse skeletons.[1]
First developed by priests of Bane, these skeletons could phase in and out and hurl bolts of magical energy.[8][9]
Blazing Bones
Fiery skeletal undead created when a spellcaster's contingency spell goes wrong, these rare undead could be found in Myth Drannor.[citation needed]


A bat-like skeletal creature, created from either the bones of several bats or one giant bat.[10]
Powerful priests of Cyric who have been transformed into their current undead state as a special favor from the Dark Sun. Their place within the church of Cyric is as the baneliches' within the church of Bane.[11]
A skeleton that was particularly old and slowly crumbling apart.[2]
Baneguards improved by the Church of Cyric, these skeletons are wreathed in a shadowy field of force that functions as armor. They could also see invisible foes.[12]
Fiery skeleton
Burned with never-ending flames and it is immune to fire.[citation needed]
Merrow skeleton
A skeletal undead form of the merrow.[13]

A minotaur skeleton.

Minotaur skeleton
A skeleton created from the corpse of a minotaur.[1]
Skeleton warrior
Powerful skeletons were created from great warriors who retained all of their fighting skills and enslaved to magical circlets. Highly resistant to magic and difficult to command, skeleton warriors were rarely found in groups greater than two or three.[14]
Skeletal dragon
Created from a dragon and retained some of their deadly abilities. Not to be confused with a dracolich.[15]

Other Varieties[]

Athach skeletonBlazing skeletonBloody bonesBoneshard skeletonBonewretch skeletonDeath kin skeletonDefiling skeletonDreadDry bonesFrost skeletonGem eyesInsectoidLightning skeletonMarrowshriek skeletonObsidian skeltonRuneflame skeletonShattergloom skeletonSkeletal tomb guardianSkinwalker skeltonSklerosSpine creep skeletonStonespawned skeletonTortured skeletonVicious skeleton


Animated skeletons were immune to mind-affecting spells; they could not be rendered unconscious and could not tire. Edged and piercing weapons, such as swords and arrows, were mostly ineffective against skeletons; only blunt weapons, such as warhammers, were effective at knocking the bones apart. [3]

Like other undead, skeletons could be repelled or destroyed outright by priests like paladins and clerics.[3]



The necromantic spell animate dead allowed spellcasters to create skeletons.[16] They could also spontaneously rise in locations saturated with evil or necromantic powers.[1]




The Accursed TowerThe Flowers of FlameJamminMad GyojiNecropolisNymph's RewardThe Ship Of NightPool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor
Murder in CormyrRed MagicThe Ring of WinterThe PaladinsThe Mercenaries
The Great GameThe Forbidden Sands of Anauroch (#2)
Video games
Gateway to the Savage FrontierNeverwinter Nights (AOL game)Descent to UndermountainIcewind DaleNeverwinter Nights: Darkness over DaggerfordPool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth DrannorDungeons & Dragons: Eye of the BeholderTales from Candlekeep: Tomb of AnnihilationBaldur's Gate III
Card Games
Spellfire: Master the Magic
Board Games
Dungeon Command: Curse of UndeathDungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
At the Foot of the LighthouseThe Woolmen's Restless TombTreasure Hunt


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 272–273. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 234. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 225–227. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  4. Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 315. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  5. Ed Greenwood et al. (1989). Lords of Darkness. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 0-88038-622-3.
  6. Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 88. ISBN 0-935696-00-8.
  7. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 109. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  8. Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. Edited by Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 162–163. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  9. James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  10. James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  11. Kevin Melka, John Terra (March 1995). “Monstrous Compendium”. In Julia Martin ed. Ruins of Zhentil Keep (TSR, Inc.), p. 3. ISBN 0-7869-0109-8.
  12. Greenwood, Martin, Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Monstrous Compendium. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  13. Matthew G. Adkins (March 2000). “The Akriloth”. Dungeon #79 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 72.
  14. Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 317. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  15. Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 192–193. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  16. Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 198–199. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.