Monday, November 6, 2017

Golden Bones and the Chained Guard: two new Skeletons

I told myself not to publish too many "play reports" in quick succession, so I'm posting these couple of monster-write-ups today, and I'll post the Greyhame Mountain Dungeon Expedition 7 tomorrow. So, without further ado, a couple of variant skeletons for use in any dungeon:

A particularly well-dressed skeleton

The Red Priests, a Chaotic sect of clerics and magic-users who more than dabbled in necromantic magics, created undead servants for themselves that were more than mere skeletons. Some were formed from the corpses of favored slaves; some from the bodies of guardians, sacrificed in tandem to create yet more effective guardians; and others were bodyguards duped by gifts of magic items that did more than promised upon the wielder's death (in the best tradition of Sauron granting the Nine Rings to the Ringwraiths!)


Firstly, the Gilded Slaves (or Golden Bones):

No. appearing 1-6 && 2-20 regular skeletons
HD 2
AC 5
THAC0 18
Damage by weapon (1-4 usually, sometimes 1-6, rarely 1-8) (on a d6, results 1-3/4-5/6)
Morale -- (they're skeletons)

Turned as zombies (i.e. as HD 2 undead)

Gilded with decorations to please the Red Priests who created them. Each skeleton comes decorated with (roll a single d6 to determine):

1) 2 gems for eyes (roll once for both gems)

2) silvered bones worth 10-60 gp

3) gilt bones worth 100-600 gp

4) one piece of jewelry worth 200-1200 gp set into the sternum

5) silver death mask  worth 20-80 gp

6) scrimshaw imagery on major bones (sternum, skull, femurs, etc.) worth 50 gp, OR 300-1800 to the right buyer


the Chained Guard

No. appearing 4-9 (d6+3)
HD 1
AC 7
THAC0 19, +1 per skeleton killed (well, -1 ... bonus +1 "to hit" per skeleton killed)
Damage 1-6, +1 per skeleton killed
Morale -- (again, they're skeletons--undead servitors have no morale)

Turned together as a single undead creature equal to the number of hit dice that remain in the group (i.e. 7 skeletons encountered on the first round are turned as a 7 HD monster; if after 3 rounds the skeletons are reduced to 4 and then turned, count the group as a 4 HD monster)

the Chain -- the entire group of skeletons is chained together at the ankles by either a silver chain (worth 10 gp/individual) or a gold chain (worth 50 gp/individual); moreover, this chain magically links the members of the group (4 to 9 skeletons) together, so that the death of any one skeleton in the group increases the "to hit" and damage rolls of each other member by +1.

That is, assuming a group of 5 skeletons, each rolls to hit with a THAC0 19 and 1-6 damage on the first round. If one is killed on the second round, the remaining 4 skeletons attack at THAC0 18 and with 2-7 damage. On the next round, if 2 more are killed, the remaining 2 skeletons attack at THAC0 16 and with 4-9 damage.

I've never bothered with the "dimensions/length" of the chain, but I'm a mean/lazy referee who wants to attack with all the skeletons regardless. If you want, you could come up with the actual line of the chain and let the Chained Guard get tangled up in their own fetters if too ambitious ...

Think these guys, except they're chain-ganged at the ankles
--and they'll hit you harder for every one that's re-killed!

Credit for this idea goes to Lloyd Alexander of The Chronicles of Prydain, in which the (living) Huntsmen of Arawn are linked together by evil magic, and all grow stronger for each one of their comrades who is slain. I've always loved that idea, and plagiarized it for several games; this is my favorite version of my own plagiarisms.


As for a third type, the Bodyguard of the Ring, I'll let imagination stew for a time. I've used them in one dungeon yet, and to good effect! It's true that there are no rumors of any of these particular skeleton-creations lurking in the Greyhame Mountain Dungeon--but then again, one never really knows what lies in store for oneself in the deep places of the world ...

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