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Skeleton, Black

Medium undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 17 (chain shirt)
Hit Points 71 (13d8 + 13)
Speed 40 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
11 (+0) 19 (+4) 13 (+1) 13 (+1) 10 (+0) 14 (+2)

Skills Perception +4, Stealth +6
Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning, radiant
Damage Resistances cold
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages the languages it knew in life but can’t speak
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Special Traits

  • Shortsword Masters. Black skeletons gain defensive bonuses (+2 to AC) and bonuses to attack (+2 to hit) when wielding two shortswords (included in the statistics).

Actions

  • Multiattack. The black skeleton makes two claw attacks or two shortsword attacks.
  • Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage, and the target’s Strength score is reduced by 1d4. The target dies if this reduces its strength to 0. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest.
  • Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage, and the target’s Strength score is reduced by 1d4. The target dies if this reduces its strength to 0. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest.

About

This creature looks like a skeleton with glistening black bones, seemingly constructed of blackened steel. Small red pinpoints of light burn in its hollowed eye sockets.

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.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Tome of Horrors © 2018, Frog God Games, LLC; Authors: Kevin Baase, Erica Balsley, John “Pexx” Barnhouse, Christopher Bishop, Casey Christofferson, Jim Collura, Andrea Costantini, Jayson ‘Rocky’ Gardner, Zach Glazar, Meghan Greene, Scott Greene, Lance Hawvermale, Travis Hawvermale, Ian S. Johnston, Bill Kenower, Patrick Lawinger, Rhiannon Louve, Ian McGarty, Edwin Nagy, James Patterson, Nathan Paul, Patrick N. Pilgrim, Clark Peterson, Anthony Pryor, Greg Ragland, Robert Schwalb, G. Scott Swift, Greg A. Vaughan, and Bill Webb