Thursday 11 August 2011

An Ode to the Humble Skeleton {T&T}

Before Stormtroopers became the most expendable beings in the universe, skeletons held this rank proudly. There's something quite cool about a skeleton brandishing a scimitar and holding a round shield as they so often do. They are literal shells of humanity that are popularly portrayed in many forms; from the lowly henchman to the all-powerful lich to death incarnate, skeletons are a versatile kindred with great roleplaying potential. First, let's see the stats:

STR 1, DEX 1, CON 1, INT 1, CHA 1.25, WIZ 1, LK 1

As you can see, skeletons are average aside from the baffling increases charisma. I think the following stats are a better reflection of this kindred:

STR 1, DEX 0.5, CON 1.5, INT 1, CHA 0.75, WIZ 1.33, LK 1

I believe these modifiers better represent the skeleton's innate abilities and drawbacks. I can't see a skeleton leaping all over the place, but they can withstand a beating (no flesh wounds) and being animated bones they do have a higher than average magical presence. 

Skeletons aren't going to be the most popular people in society, what with the lack of skin and vital organs, so will often be shunned by major towns and cities. This means they will have to disguise themselves if they're going to function like a normal citizen. In which case, giving a skeleton character a starting talent of Disguise (INT) may be a good idea.

Being hardy enough to withstand close combat and also intrinsically magical makes skeletons able to take on most roles - so perhaps the rogue would be a good choice. 

So there you have it, a little tweak to the skeleton to make it a more playable kindred. I imagine there are some great roleplaying opportunities to be had with the skeleton and I'd love to hear if you use or have ever used one before in your game - no matter what the system.


  1. Oh my... So you want to introduce skeletons as kindred and not just as monsters? Strange... I've already thought of skeletons as mindless -- except liches!

  2. @Gianni Yeah, I'm a big fan of skeletons and I think it's about time they evolve from that mindless monster into something more.

  3. I've always been a big fan of the skeleton (my favorite undead creature actually). The idea of making it a kindred is very interesting.

  4. I'm not sure, but I think the inspiration to use them as playable kindred is from Leiber's stories where the skeletonmen are alive; their flesh and organs are just invisible.


  5. I'm currently reading John Carter of Mars, which has Jupiter men-skeletons (they have flesh, but only their skeletons are easily visible).

    I made a post about playing weird races, especially skeletons in T&T here:

    I think playing a skeleton as a PC would be fun, so long as it is a "real" magical skeleton and not some invisible flesh creature, or a common race.

    I wouldn't increase a skeleton's CON, because I would look at them as being somewhat fragile (no flesh for "padding"). I'd probably just leave their stats as normal, except for CHA. Any STR, DEX, etc. will come from the magical force that created them, anyway.

    Rather than giving them special stats, I'd give them special abilities and disabilities. For one thing, skeleton PCs would have to beware of dogs!

  6. You Brits and your love of skeletons.