The Necromancer’s Workshop – The Shrieking Skeleton and the Phlegm Zombie

Ash Zombie. Lost Mines of Phandelver

Welcome to the Necromancer’s Workshop. Come in. Come in. Oh, I wouldn’t touch that if I were you. Went through a lot of trouble to get that. You can’t just buy petrified giant’s tears on the open market you know. Now, I understand you’re interested in the undead. Sure, you have your standard skeletons and zombies, but you look like a man of specific, refined evil tastes. Book standard undead minions aren’t going to cut it for you, no. Well, let me show you a few things I’ve been cooking up.

Shrieking Skeleton

When a soldier dies a particularly violent death on the battlefield, a special incantation can bring back his spirit full of the rage and violence that filled his soul when he was slain. The shrieking skeleton is the result of that process. They look like your standard skeleton, but looks are deceiving. They are deceptively quick skirmishers, able to join a melee in short order, and tough enough to stand up to several of all but the most powerful blows from their enemies. They eschew standard weapons in favor of fingers that have hardened into claws and sharp teeth they use to tear apart their enemies. What’s more, they are capable of channeling their rage into a bone chilling…well, shriek isn’t the right word. What emanates from them is a death rattle that can send even the most stalwart warrior running for the hills in a blind panic. If you’re looking for an effective vanguard for the head of your undead legions, look no further.

Medium undead, lawful evil

Fanged Skeleton from Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG.


Armor Class        13
Hit Points            22 (3d8+9)
Speed                     35 ft.

Strength              12 (+1)
Dexterity             14 (+2)
Constitution      16 (+3)
Intelligence       6 (-2)
Wisdom               8 (-1)
Charisma            5 (-3)

Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning
Damage Immunities       poison
Condition Immunities   exhaustion, poisoned
Senses                  darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 9
Languages           understands all languages it knew in life, but can’t speak
Challenge           1 (200 XP)

Actions

Multiattack. The shrieking skeleton makes 2 claw attacks and 1 bite attack. If all attacks hit, it ravages the target for another 6 (2d4+1) points of slashing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: 6 (2d4+1) slashing damage

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: 5 (1d8+1) piercing damage

Shriek (Recharge 6). The shrieking skeleton lets forth a bone chilling guttural death rattle. Each creature within 20 ft of the skeleton must make a DC 12 Wisdom save or be frightened for 2 rounds.

Phlegm Zombies

I see the face you’re making but give me a chance to explain myself. These zombies are not your standard shambling walkers. They are reanimated like standard zombies, but at the end of the ritual they are joined with a minor corrupted water spirit. That’s where that ooze is coming from. I wouldn’t touch that! That mucous they secrete is capable of freezing the muscles of a full grown orc for several seconds. Now, it lacks the ability to transmit the mucous with its standard attacks, but it is capable of launching a small gob of it at an enemy combatant – did I mention it’s quite accurate? Stow it. You’re paying me for effectiveness, not for manners. Several of these creatures put into a vanguard of shrieking skeletons can spell absolute ruin for an enemy force.

Ash Zombie. Lost Mines of Phandelver

Medium Undead, neutral evil
Armor Class        11
Hit Points            19 (3d8+6)
Speed                   20 ft

Strength              12 (+1)
Dexterity             12 (+1)
Constitution      14 (+2)
Intelligence        3 (-4)
Wisdom               6 (-2)
Charisma             5 (-3)

Saving Throws                   Wis +0
Damage Immunities       poison
Condition Immunities   poisoned
Senses                  darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8
Languages           understands all languages it knew in life but can’t speak
Challenge            ¼ (50 XP)

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the phlegm zombie to 0 hits points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC equal to 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6+1) bludgeoning damage.

Mucous Spray. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 30 ft., one target. Hit: 1 (1d3) necrotic damage and the creature must make a DC 14 Constitution save or be paralyzed for one round.

Now I have something else very special to show you. But you’ll have to come into the back room with me. It’s not quite ready yet, but a few small incantations and I can show you one of my finest creations…

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Ben Erickson

Ben Erickson

Contributing Writer for d20 Radio
A long time gamer and even longer time 'designer,' Ben has been doing system tinkering and creation since grade school. He was introduced to the world of gaming through the boxed introductory set of West End Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game. Apart from game writing, he enjoys dabbling in other forms of writing, from short stories and poetry to (more recently) song lyrics. You can also find him trying to keep up on the latest books, movies, and television shows (a task that grows more and more daunting each year).
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