Your first experience with undead is likely to arrive in the form of a human skeleton, perhaps in the haunts of the sanctuary or in a quest for ancient weapons said to lie beneath the city’s harbors. These poor witless creatures cannot truly be blamed for their attempts to rend your flesh and delicate bits from your bones; they are mindless creatures who work under the compulsion of necromancers or evil surroundings. Still, they must be destroyed by brave adventurers in their sewers and crypts. The alternative is that they someday rise up into the streets and threaten the helpless civilians of Stormreach.
The common skeleton doesn’t possess any special tactics or tools—it will relentlessly claw at its victim until one of the two is dead. The things you need to be aware of when dealing with this foe can be quickly learned—and used for when dealing with skeletons of any size. First (and this for all of those pea-brained fighters out there—I’d include barbarians, but they’re all illiterate), for the sake of your own life, put away your swords and daggers. The only weapons with proven effectiveness on skeletons are weapons that smash—bludgeoning weapons such as clubs and maces. My next piece of advice should be obvious, but not every wizard or bard is blessed with wisdom: skeletons are undead. Your charms, fascinates, and hold spells will not work on them! Unless your spell is specifically dedicated to dealing with living dead, don’t take a chance. Rely strictly on damage-dealing spells. And of those, stay away from spells such as cone of cold, because there’s no flesh on those bones to freeze. Finally, as for clerics—well, turning undead is good, but don’t expect your foes to remain turned forever. Isolate and deal with your foes before they can do the same to you.
Now, it should be noted that not every undead skeleton is the same. While they may all share the same characteristics mentioned above, some skeletons are far more powerful than others. Some are armed with swords, or swords and shields. Others may wield ranged weapons such as bows. Some of these weapons may have been with the skeleton when it was laid to rest (a reason to frown on the practice of entombing our dead with their prized possessions, if you ask me). Others may have been given to the creature posthumously by whatever foul master it now serves. Whatever the case, be wary when taking on armed and armored skeletons, for they may be significantly tougher than those you’ve encountered in the past—especially (if the rumors are true) those skeletons whose bones have turned black with some dreadful curse.
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