Tuesday, March 24, 2020

2nd Flavour of Skeleton: Dragonwarriors Conversion to D&D Adjacent.

Image: two Skeletons with scimitars and snake-bracelets; one wears an inscribed torc.

Leo Hartas, from Dragonwarriors Book Two: The Way of Wizardry

Next up, Skeletons and some of their chums from Dragonwarriors - the best of the British old school.

Statistically, DW Skeletons are a bit weaker than Normal Humans (d6+1 rather than d6+3 Health Points), but have an Armour Factor of 2 vs. piercing weapons and half-damage from fire attacks. 3d6 Reflexes as normal.

The description implies they are mindless, programmable and loyal to their creator. It states that they sometimes use shields.


I've found nothing else to add to DW/D&D conversion since my original post, so I'm sticking with those methods.

Under the Max. HP/4.5=HD method, they are 1.5 HD monsters (1+ to 2 HD); under the Shared Hit Roll method, they have a BAB of 0 (so either 1-1 or 1 HD, depending on your preference).


  • +2 AC bonus vs. piercing weapons (or -2 damage from them, min. 0; either works)
  • half damage from fire attacks (and none if there is a save for half damage)

Chum Number 1: Barnacle Man.

As named in DW Book 3, The Elven Crystals; I'd probably go with Barnacle Folk or Barnacle Dead or Crusty Old Sea Bastards.

  • BAB +1 (they are slightly stronger fighters than Skeletons)
  • HD 1.5 (same Health Points as a Skeleton)
  • AC +4 (they're completely encrusted with barnacles, as well as plundered gold and jewels)
  • they wield weapons, something nautical - like a cutlass, harpoon, or belaying pin
  • they're Skeletons underneath their barnacle-and-treasure crust, so you could give them an additional +2 AC vs. piercing weapons, or give them the damage reduction instead
  • keep the fire resistance, too; they're wet as well as bony
  • turn as Skeletons (same Rank Equivalent) or based on their HD
From the description, these appear to be self-motivated and possibly intelligent undead that cooperate to achieve their goals. During storms they attack ships from underneath, breaking them open to obtain the treasure they adorn themselves with, and even explore wrecks in case they missed something.

DW has them as ghost pirates, but you could just as easily make them hosts for necromantic hivemind barnacles.

Chum Number 2: Fungus Man.

From DW Book 4, Out of the Shadows; also known as Black Caps, you could use Folk (though these are no Myconids) or Dead instead of Men, or something else you prefer.

  • BAB +2
  • HD 3.1
  • AC +1 (with additional +2 vs. piercing weapons)
  • wields a weapon
  • 'sickly, yellow-green phosphoresence and... sweet, musky odour' halves chance of surprise (for d6 subsystems, this could be either 1 on d12 as it is in DW or 2 on 2d6)
  • constant sinister whispers will disturb the sensitive: 
    • fail a WIS check/save or suffer -2 to Hit and AC -1 while fighting the Fungus Dead
    • penalty of 1 to roll for being a Magic-User or a psionic (cumulative)
  • each round in combat/presence, 10% chance ochre spores take root in your flesh:
    • each day (until dead or cured) you must make (suited to setting/system) one of the following: CON check, STR check, poison save, petrification save
    • otherwise d6, d6+1 or d8 damage (suited to setting/system)
    • damage responds to magical but not natural healing
    • total cure is by cure disease or heal (suited to setting/system)
    • if you die, you are consumed by fungus and rise as a new Fungus Dead within a week (same happens to any other corpses in lair)
  • immune to mind control, either as a fungus or as undead
Skeletal hosts of a fungus colony that has consumed and replaced the flesh, it's not specified that Hold Off The Dead will not work on them. 

And because 'the soft, unemotional voice of the dead host whispers of the torments and terrible delights of the grave', I'm more than comfortable saying that these are truly undead. 

In fact, I'd say a muttering undead monster is more appropriate to the DW milieu than an own-brand variant of something like the Yellow Musk Creeper or the Zygom.

d6 Flavours of Skeleton:

  1. Skeleton of Dark and Lonely Water: reskinned Wraith; touch does no damage but drains WIS, not levels; at 0 WIS, you will let it lead you into the dark and lonely waters until they close over your head.
  2. Galley Beggar: shrieking, antic, skeletal ghost; loud, terrifying and throws things.
  3. Crowned Skeleton: undead aristocracy; reskin a more powerful undead. 
  4. Death Angel's Shadow: implacable creeping shadow, cast by no object and no light; inescapable; in days=STR+level it will superimpose on you and reduce you to a withered husk.
  5. Rawhead and Bloody Bones: in tatters of blood-soaked flesh, a Skeleton as strong as an Ogre and as stealthy as a Thief that can live in the dark nooks of your house without you realising it. Surprises like a Bugbear if you don't want to give it Thief skills.
  6. General Death: solemn leader(s) of the Skeleton Army; naked bones and carries three deadly darts - one red, one black, one white (finger of death, slay livingsymbol of death); often mistaken for Death Itself.


The d6 Flavours are less variants on the basic DW Skeleton than the monster-type within the old school British folk horror/fantasy milieu.

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