5E Animate Dead Skeleton

Hello aspiring necromancers of all shapes and sizes! Welcome to our brief arguably too brief series on the animate dead options i expect this to be two articles unless they say you can select more than the two that are provided but i’m not super hopeful.

First we’re gonna start out with the spooky scary skeleton 5e himself, personally one of my favorites i just think they’re kind of fun. I personally have a nasty habit of making mine dapper as hell, i like put a suit on them top hat monocle whole nine yards, i just think they look flies hell in any case let’s take a quick look at his mechanics and let’s break him down a little bit further.

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Animate Dead Skeleton Stats

  • TYPE: Medium Undead, Lawful Evil.

So first thing you’re going to want to note is in addition to being a medium undead. He qualifies as lawful evil. He will still kind of follow his routine in life if you kind of leave him unattended for too long which leaves for a lot of cool role play opportunities i really do love that.

  • AC: 13, HP: 13(2D8+4) SPEED: 30ft

13 AC technically he is wearing tattered armor so if you want to lower it i guess you can maybe but that’s what the book says, so that’s what i’m rolling off of. He has an average of 13 hit points, calculated by rolling 2d8 and adding four. I’d recommend you roll that especially if it’s just the one when you’re just staring out, do your best to make him memorable right! The speed is 30 feet which is great because it means he can keep up with most humanoids. also check out this what is the difference between summon undead and animate dead?

  • STR: 10 (+0)
  • DEX: 14 (+2)
  • CON: 15 (+2)
  • INT: 6 (-2)
  • WIS: 8 (-1)
  • CHA: 5 (-3)

Now taking a look at its stats….you’ll notice his dex and his con are quite good which is nice, it’s fine. Damage or vulnerabilities is vulnerable to bludgeoning damage which is very cool there’s not a whole lot of creatures with vulnerabilities in the game so that’s pretty nice. damage immunities poison which makes sense can’t really poison something that’s already dead. It’s condition immunities are exhaustion and poisoned. Which is really cool and it’s really good if you’re going to be using him for night watches and not letting him get any sleep or rest.

  • Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 9
  • Languages: Understands all languages it knew in life but can’t speak.

Now let’s check out his senses and languages here. Under senses he gets dark vision up to 60 feet which is great, sadly though he does have a passive perception of nine which is leaves a lot to be desired but then again you know for a guy with literally no eyes that’s pretty good.

Under languages you can understands all languages that knew in life but he can’t speak. That is interesting when you actually think about it, because that means every dnd 5e animate dead skeletons you faced up until this point could actually understand your cries of pain or you vicious mockery insults which is an interesting concept. Now let’s take a look at his actions here.


  • Shortsword: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
  • Shortbow: Ranged Weapon Attack +4 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

So the skeleton gets two different actions one melee, one ranged. You can attack with the short sword which is plus four to hit just a melee attack so range of five feet can only target one target and deals an average of five piercing damage alculated by rolling a d6 and adding two. Naturally i’d recommend you roll that four especially when it’s just the one as you start to get more though i’d just take the averages if your DM’s okay with it, saves you a lot of time.

Now looking at the shortbow ranged weapon attack plus 4 to hit again, range of 80 feet but if you want to accept this advantage you can go all the way up to 320 feet, one target and an average of 5 damage again only piercing this time. Once again i’d roll it but that’s just me personally. Also check out this what is the best use of animate dead?


Skeletons arise when animated by dark magic. They heed the summons of spellcasters who call them from their stony tombs and ancient battlefields, or rise of their own accord in places saturated with death and loss, awakened by stirrings of necromantic energy or the presence of corrupting evil.

Animated Dead. Whatever sinister force awakens a skeleton infuses its bones with a dark vitality, adhering joint to joint and reassembling dismantled limbs. This energy motivates a skeleton to move and think in a rudimentary fashion, though only as a pale imitation of the way it behaved in life. An animated skeleton retains no connection to its past, although resurrecting a skeleton restores it body and soul, banishing the hateful undead spirit that empowers it.

While most skeletons are the animated remains of dead humans and other humanoids, skeletal undead can be created from the bones of other creatures besides humanoids, giving rise to a host of terrifying and unique forms.

Obedient Servants. Skeletons raised by spell are bound to the will of their creator. They follow orders to the letter, never questioning the tasks their masters give them, regardless of the consequences. Because of their literal interpretation of commands and unwavering obedience, skeletons adapt poorly to changing circumstances. They can’t read, speak, emote, or communicate in any way except to nod, shake their heads, or point. Still, skeletons are able to accomplish a variety of relatively complex tasks.

A skeleton can fight with weapons and wear armor, can load and fire a catapult or trebuchet, scale a siege ladder, form a shield wall, or dump boiling oil. However, it must receive careful instructions explaining how such tasks are accomplished. Although they lack the intellect they possessed in life, skeletons aren’t mindless. Rather than break its limbs attempting to batter its way through an iron door, a skeleton tries the handle first. If that doesn’t work, it searches for another way through or around the obstacle.

Habitual Behaviors. Independent skeletons temporarily or permanently free of a master’s control sometimes pantomime actions from their past lives, their bones echoing the rote behaviors of their former living selves. The skeleton of a miner might lift a pick and start chipping away at stone walls. The skeleton of a guard might strike up a post at a random doorway. The skeleton of a dragon might lie down on a pile of treasure, while the skeleton of a horse crops grass it can’t eat. Left alone in a ballroom, the skeletons of nobles might continue an eternally unfinished dance.

When skeletons encounter living creatures, the necromantic energy that drives them compels them to kill unless they are commanded by their masters to refrain from doing so. They attack without mercy and fight until destroyed, for skeletons possess little sense of self and even less sense of self-preservation. Undead Nature. A skeleton doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.


That being said, if you have any cool skeleton stories any concepts, ideas, questions, comments, concerns please put it down beneath in the comment section i really do appreciate it and i will see you in the zombie 5e article. Also read animate dead 5e |

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