Dry Bones

Continuing along with another skeleton variant.

From Dragon #138:

A classic Walt Disney cartoon featured dancing skeletons, and animated skeletons often appear in cartoon features. Such skeletons not only dance but trade heads, fall into piles of bones, and reform into skeletons again. The skeleton variation herein called dry bones is inspired by the antics of cartoon skeletons. The name “dry bones” comes from the song of the same name (“The leg bone is connected to the hip bone,” etc.).

Dry Bones

Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 32 (5d8 + 10)
Speed 30 ft.

10 (+0)
14 (+2)
15 (+2)
6 (-2)
8 (-1)
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)

Combine. Dry bones can combine their bones together to form larger skeletons or to “heal” themselves up to full hit points.


Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Thrown Bone. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage. The thrown bone can re-attach to the dry bones.

Dry bones are the same as skeletons with one important difference. They can only be destroyed when all their bones are pulverized or otherwise completely destroyed.  A dry bones taking a total of 8 or more hp damage collapses into a pile of bones.  After one round, the bones re-form into a skeleton and attack again. The process continues until the dry bones has taken a total of 32 or more hp damage in combat, at which point the dry bones falls apart forever.

Dry bones often masquerade as mere piles of old bones, being able to dismember themselves at will until they are destroyed.  While dry bones have no treasure themselves, they often act as treasure guards.

3 Replies to “Dry Bones”

  1. Made me immediately think of Bowser's undead minions and their annoying reforming habits.

    I think a fun/wierd variant would be actual dancing skeletons that follow the party, attracting attention and generally being nuisances but being very hard to get rid of.


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