Archive for the ‘Everyday D&D’ Category

Skeleton Sabbat

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

Final day of the skeletons. Not the most exciting of undead, but if there were an army of them, running would be wise. Also, this song has a damned good chorus. I know that this Astral Sabbath doesn’t have anything to do with skeletons on the surface. But that is only on the surface. Once you look into the eye of the universe, the pupil of the abyss, you will see a few skeletons. At least that is what I would guess.

Another acceptable answer: skeleton army in the eye of a wolf that is painted on your panel van.

Bone Throne

Monday, October 12th, 2020

One of the many esoteric questions not yet answered by sages, seers, wizards, or warlocks is when a zombie turns into a skeleton or when a mummy can transform into a zombie. What I mean by this conundrum is let’s say a zombie has been zombified for a long time. I am talking several months here and, although the rules are not necessarily codified on this point, I have read enough adventure novels and played enough modules to know that zombie flesh can continue to rot, especially in the right temperatures. This means, in theory, that the zombie might lose enough flesh to become a skeleton, especially if there is a period in-between re-animations.

Let’s pretend that I am Rely’Lth the Evil and have my usual retinue of undead to protect me as I sleep or commune with Beltar. Every now and then, I need to re-up the re-animation spell that keeps my monstrous posse’ upright. But I also am a busy cleric: Beltar wants caves looted and malice spread and that is on her time frame, not mine. So I get a little behind on my rotation, and, next thing I know, a couple of my zombies have gone to seed, or bone as the case may be, and I am left with re-animated skeleton instead of a re-animated corpse. Half of one, six of the other, say both Beltar and I.

Skeleton Crew

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

Having skeletons be the crew of, rowers of, or passengers on, a ship is fairly commonly used in legend and module alike. It might even show up in a Conan novel or two: I know that a giant centipede was used to row a galley in a Leonard Carpenter tale, so why not a skeleton at the helm?

But the other meaning of “skeleton crew,” as in the fewest on staff needed to make something work for a temporary amount of time, was not I term I was familiar with. That is, until I encountered the Stephen King collection of the same name at the age of 14 or 15. It was probably the first short story collection that I can remember reading as a collection: I mean, I didn’t get until much later that de Camp’s Conan is actually multiple stories. I guess you could say that even then, I was not into close textual analysis.

Anywhoo, Skeleton Crew has a great cover, The Mist, “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut,” which was perfect for Maine backroads, and a bunch of other scary ones. And it taught me a phrase, so for that, among other things, I thank you, Mr. King.

I know that “Apt Pupil” is from a different collection, but the song also is apt to the theme.

Get Your Hammer

Saturday, October 10th, 2020

I mentioned this idea in yesterday’s post, but skeletons often are the first time a beginning adventurer realizes that not every weapon works the same on every monster. Imagine getting lucky with the introductory starting money and rolling a 17. That gives Morth the Destructor 170 whole gold pieces to outfit himself. First thing he wants is a long sword: I mean, the dude is a fighter. What else do you want him to get?

Next, imagine Morth and his friends running into a few bandits on the edge of town. Morth’s trusty long sword does 1-8 h.p. of damage to these anonymous bandits, killing a couple of them [they aren’t very good bandits and only have put together padded armor]. Morth is starting to feeling really good about his choices in weapontry and in life.

Now, Morth and the party find an abandoned temple. Filled with confidence, Morth storms in, ready to swing his sword and cut some flesh. Alas, what is in front of him but creatures that don’t even have flesh? Undeterred, Morth drives his sword into the skeleton’s chest where its heart should be. But it is not, and Morth once-trusted blade is entangled in the rib cage, costing him precious seconds as the skeleton’s cronies move in for the attack.

We can call this lesson learned.

Mark-Ultra one time called Skeletonwitch “Non-ironic speed metal,” which is a dead-on description.

Boneus Eruptus

Friday, October 9th, 2020

I don’t think I have ever played a cleric. They seem a bit boring, given my interest in hacking and slashing and thieving and murdering, but that likely is just me. In our present 5e campaign, a long-time adventuring companion is working a half-orc cleric that has been extremely useful and quite intriguing. This leads me back to my original point that I may be the reason that I never played a cleric.

One thing that I do like about evil clerics is that instead of, or in addition to, turning skeletons or zombies or whatever, Zorgan the Deceiver also could command these creatures of the eve. Imagine stumbling into a crypt, having seven skeletons re-animate, and then turning those supposed enemies into fodder for the next crypt full of wights that are going to show up. If Zorgan is high enough level, he might be able to command those wights to join in before exploring the next crypt that might be inhabited by mummies.