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  • Gal’varen’s Legion – Skeleton Variants for D&D 5E

A character and 10 skeleton creatures for use in D&D 5E, perfect for any graveyard encounter.

Tabletop gaming can teach us many things.

  • The difference between intelligence and wisdom,
  • The role luck can play in everything we do, no matter how good we think we are at doing it, and…
  • You can never really have too many undead.

For this exact reason, we’ve expanded on the regular selection of skeletal undead with some new and unique choices. The eponymous necromancer has done more than just reanimate different races…

Illivandar Gal’varen

(CN female half-elf archmage)

A half-elf woman with deep shadows under her eyes, beneath a mess of loosely-tied, dark brown hair. She wears scholars’ robes that look haphazardly thrown together and looks to you with an expression of unprepared but excited nerves.

Once a promising student, Illivandar’s hyperactive mind was in constant contention with her natural genius. She found the guided work and constant reproduction of other mages’ spells to be a waste, believing that she should instead be fashioning her own legacy. And she felt no compunction in doing this through magical schools normally deemed profane; necromancy, to be specific.

This led to Illivandar being expelled and blacklisted by even independent teachers. But that would not dissuade her. She spent decades gathering knowledge and teaching herself what others would not. 

This has had a curious effect on Illivandar’s abilities. While she has no lack of raw power, the spells that she wields are distinct products of her own interpretation and imagination. The most obvious example of this is in the undead she summons and controls, which show clear signs of their master’s curiosity.

Despite being a necromancer and most likely being found while scrounging through a graveyard, Illivandar is friendly, though reclusive and maladjusted. Her creations are her pride and joy and she loves to show them off in the rare instances when anyone allows her to. The same cannot be said for these creations, which can take on mindlessly violent dispositions. “A common hiccup with rearranging and raising the dead,” Illivandar will dismissively laugh.

Assets & Maps Downloads

These creatures were made to go with our Graveyard Assets pack, but that’s been postponed for now! Regardless, you can find some very appropriate battle maps below…

Gal’varen’s Legion

Illivandar’s creative necromantic experimentation has yielded numerous exciting results. She commands a veritable army of undead. Many of these are of her own unique design, and many more have come from her failures or moments of inspired boredom. 

The very first of Illivandar’s experiments was to reanimate other races, maintaining their unique abilities and specialties. After that, she began to branch out and grow more creative…

Orc Skeleton character token
Click to zoom in…

Swarm of Bones

A pile of bones shifts slowly, beginning to move as a single mass. It then springs to life with a loud, abrasive clattering sound.

The swarm attacks by forming a bone cage around its target, then slowly squeezing them to deal damage.

Swarm of Skulls

Skulls tumble over each other in a mound, each of their jawbones clacking open and closed in a discordant rhythm.

By chattering their teeth in a booming chorus, the swarm of skulls can deafen, stun, and generally upset nearby targets.

Iron Skeleton

A skeleton edges forward, its feet scraping against the ground and glints of light reflecting from its labored movements. It lifts a maul and you quickly see the reason for its heft: the entire  surface of the skeleton shines with a coating of iron.

Illivandar’s idea to coat a skeleton in iron yielded a strong, durable, and incredibly slow soldier. Its sheer weight makes it difficult to forcibly move.

Two-Torso Skeleton

The skeleton splits at the waist, two torsos rising from a shared pelvic bone. They move independently, both sides wielding their own weapons.

Like two creatures tied together, the two-torso skeleton has the unique ability to not be distracted by the creatures it fights. This makes it resistant to effects that rely on these distractions, such as Pack Tactics or Sneak Attack.

Skeleton Man-of-Arms

Your eyes scan up a pair of skeletal legs and land where its ribcage should be. Instead, a multitude of arms extends upwards. A number of them hold knives, several are empty, and a single, central hand grips a skull above the rest.

The man-of-arms loses its eponymous arms as it takes damage, lowering the number of attacks in its multiattack in a similar way to a swarm’s damage.

Skeleton Skullthrower

The skeleton lumbers along under the weight of a wide ribcage filled with numerous, inanimate skulls. It reaches a hand under the ribs and plucks out a single skull. Sparking to life in its hand, the skull’s jaw wildly and repeatedly flicks open and clamps shut.

The skullthrower tosses its many animated skulls. These skulls bite onto their targets, dealing damage for as long as they remain attached.

Bone-Wing Skeleton

Extending from the skeleton’s back are the bones of two large wings, that flex and extend as it moves.

While fearsome and intimidating, having only the bones of wings is not enough to grant the skeleton the ability to fly.

Support the Creators

What do you think of Illivandar’s odd undead affiliates? Let us know with a comment, and feel free to share any other creative variants you’ve used or thought of!

If you enjoy this content and would like to support the author in creating more, please consider joining the community that makes it all possible. In exchange, you can receive discounts, early access, and other exclusive bonuses!

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That’s all for now, but we’ll be back soon with more maps, assets, and articles like these…

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This plug-and-play scenario pits your players against a desperate band of poachers driven to violence by a tyrannical nobility. As both sides bleed, who will you stain your hands for?

About the author

Troy McConnell

Part-time DM and author of 2-Minute Tabletop's encounters, map lore, and characters. Basically, I write about all the campaign ideas that I don't have time to run. All with the assistance of my feline familiar, Wink.

You can support my writing efforts on Patreon.

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  1. You might want to let the bone wings function. Imagine a squad of these things swooping on a party from the stalagmites and pillars of an old, ruined cathedral. Or the roof of a strip mall in Toledo, in a crossover game.

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