Skeleton (5e Race)

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A Skeleton Warrior.

"Rise, follow my command,
Come and be my undead right hand.
Follow my orders, you will live,
Do them well, and you shall outlive.
Outlive all those who you come from,
And to death, you will not succumb.
And if I die you will be free,
And roam the land for all to see.
For all to see, and fuel their fears,
All to see, but not see your tears."

—An ancient child's poem about a Necromancer

Physical Description

Skeletons are the re-animated, completely decomposed body of a humanoid. The flesh has completely disappeared, leaving a bone structure magically held together, that moves oddly in its attempt to imitate life. The difference between each type of Skeleton can be observed by certain tell tail traits that are uniquely present of each of them. God Touched Skeletons whether their actual death was recent or many centuries ago are pristine, without apparent wear on their bones that almost shine with a white polish that never seems to dull. Those created by a magical fluke often will have strange little quirks or physical anomaly's, a single hair growing out of a crack in the bone, a dark spot across their skull, the occasional harmless magical spark that flies off them before fizzling out, a glow that runs down a crack in the bone, a limp as they walk, a twitch or stutter. Finally, those raised as minions are more receptive to commands or rules given, their bones are also notably harder, this can be observed with a simple tap, physically speak raised minions generally have died more recently and this can be observed with still present skin or hair but otherwise they don't have much else that distinguishes them from a normal skeleton.


As long as there have been humans, there have been those seeking immortality. This is one of the first ways that Skeletons are created. There are also necromancers that have succeeded in their deathly goals, raising undead servants. This is the second known way that Skeletons have been brought to life. Then there is by a fluke of magic, a wild surge or the incorrect casting of a spell leads to a Skeleton being raised. This is the third way that skeletons have been brought to life. The final way known for Skeletons to come to life is being touched by a god or another powerful outsider. This can be a blessing, given to a faithful follower of a god, a perk exchanged for a service or a curse wrought upon the enemy.


Within most civilizations, Skeletons are generally feared and are often attacked on sight. The stories of evil lich kings and necromancers taboo arts being the cause of such an interpretation. However, the exception would be a God Touched Skeleton whose status is apparent to any holy servant to view them, though in areas without religious influence or if the God-Touched was to happen upon a servant of an opposed faith, such as a servant of the Life domain when they were raised by a god of the Death domain, they may face similar difficulties.

Skeleton Names

As you have retained your sentience, most Skeletons keep their human names. Though those that have been touched by a god may rename themselves to show their devotion. As well, some change their name or are given a new name depending on their creator. Any male/ female human name, or a male/ female name of the species that created them, when that applies. Below are the names of powerful necromancers, liches and the names of raised minions.

Male: WhiteBones, Vecna, Chatter-bones, Skully, Mr. Bones, Sans, Papyrus, Grim, Skeletor, Helvetica, Nito, Ainz, Doot.

Female: Scary Mary, Skeletra, Mikkow, Mrs. Bones.

Skeleton Traits

The reanimated completely decomposed corpse of a humanoid.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Not counting their previous lives, skeletons can be nearly any age. Skeletons don't age, and won't die of old age until the magic keeping them alive collapses.
Alignment. Skeletons are usually neutral, though evil or chaotic skeletons are common.
Size. You are however tall you were in life and weigh significantly less. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. Thanks to the fact that you have no eyes, magic was necessary to give you sight. In addition to being able to see in normal light, you can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can discern color in darkness.
Restoring Limbs. You can restore any limb after it being detached or destroyed by simply finding a suitable replacement, then using your action to attach it.
Skeletal Nature. You are immune to disease, being poisoned and poison damage. You do not need to eat or breathe. Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You do not dream in this state; you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
False Appearance. You may, as an action, collapse your form into a pile of bones. While you remain motionless, you are indistinguishable from a normal pile of bones. In this state, you are prone and your speed is 0.
Undead. Your creature type is undead.
Languages. You've managed to control the energies that sustain you to allow you speak. You can speak, read and write Common, as well as the language of your creator. A Giant Skeleton may speak Giant, a God Touched may know Celestial, a Magic Fluke may randomly grant you a language and a Raised Minion may know their wizard master's language.
Subrace. You must pick a sub-race that aligns with how you became a Skeleton from the following options: Giant Skeleton, God Touched, Magic Fluke, Raised Minion.

Giant Skeleton

Skeletons who were giants before being raised by necromancy, or several smaller skeletons which were combined together into a hulking monstrosity by means of an alchemical process. They are simplistic and straightforward in nature, but they often become proud warriors, putting their considerable strength to good use.

Design Note: It is recommended that you use the Large Player Characters and Oversized variant rules for this subrace.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength and Constitution scores increase by 1.
Large. You are much larger than other skeletons. Your size is Large.

God Touched

Those touched by gods, letting them, or forcing them to live after their body is gone. Those who were raised by gods often become necromancers or great liches through the unique understanding of undeath they have.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma and Wisdom scores increase by 1.
Imparted Knowledge. You have proficiency in the Religion skill.
Blessed. When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can re-roll the die and must use the new roll. Once you use this trait, you can not use it again until you finish a short or long rest to use it again.
Blessed. You know one cantrip of your choice from the Cleric spell list. Wisdom or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it.

Magic Fluke

Skeletons who were brought back to life by a magical mishap. They often wander without purpose, and depending on their previous life may act on passed ambitions, seek people of their past or maybe even use it as a second chance at life.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma and Intelligence scores increases by 1.
Magic Born. If a dispel magic spell is cast on you or you come under a similar anti-magic effect, make a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC. If you fail, you fall unconscious. You may repeat the saving throw at the end of each of your turns to gain consciousness.
Arcane Knowledge. You gain proficiency in the Arcana skill.
Innate Magic. You know the mage hand cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the unseen servant spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the animate dead spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Intelligence or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Raised Minion

A skeleton raised through necromancy, whose master died before the spell that raised them was released. They are often followers, not leaders, depending on their relationship with their previous master they may seek another, dependent on his or her orders or they may relish in their newfound freedom and despise those that would give them orders.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength and Dexterity scores increase by 1.
Mindless. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed and frightened.
Strengthened Bones. Your bones are well-preserved, and magic has strengthened them. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 12 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.

Random Height and Weight

Table: Skeleton Random Height and Weight
Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
4′ 2″ +4d6 15 lb. × (1d4) lb.
Table: Giant Skeleton Random Height and Weight
Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
8′ 4″ +6d8 120 lb. × (4d4) lb.

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