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Skeleton, Black

This creature looks like a skeleton with glistening black bones, seemingly constructed of blackened steel. Small red pinpoints of light burn in its hollowed eye sockets.

Black Skeleton (CR 5)

XP 1,600
CE Medium undead
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10
Aura frightful presence (60 ft., DC 15)

DEFENSE

AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+4 Dex, +6 natural)
hp 45 (7d8+14)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +5
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; DR 10/bludgeoning and good; Immune undead traits

OFFENSE

Speed 40 ft.
Melee 2 short swords +10 (1d6/19-20 plus 1d3 Strength damage) or 2 claws +9 (1d4 plus 1d3 Strength damage)
Special Attacks superior two-weapon fighting

STATISTICS

Str 11, Dex 19, Con –, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 14
Base Atk +5; CMB +5; CMD 19
Feats Improved Initiative, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (short sword)
Skills Acrobatics +11, Climb +10, Escape Artist +11, Perception +10, Stealth +14
Languages Abyssal, Common
Gear 2 short swords

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Superior Two-Weapon Fighting (Ex)

A black skeleton usually fights with a short sword in each hand. Because of its magical nature, its Two-Weapon Fighting feat allows it to attack with both weapons at no penalty.

ECOLOGY

Environment underground
Organization any
Treasure standard

Much more powerful than standard skeletons, these minions of evil are often employed as guardians or protectors to keep sealed some ancient knowledge best left undiscovered. They are intelligent monsters and are not subject to the mindless commands that can be given to such undead as skeletons or zombies. They have a clear mind, and sometimes go against the commands and wishes of those they serve, if it benefits the black skeleton in question.

Black skeletons are the remnants of living creatures slain in an area where the ground is soaked through with evil. The bodies of fallen heroes are contaminated and polluted by such evil and within days after their death, the slain creatures rise as black skeletons, leaving their former lives and bodies behind. Black skeletons are intelligent and do maintain some memories of their former lives.

Black skeletons wear any clothes or armor they had in life, and some still carry their gear or weapons (most discard their weapons in favor of two short swords as soon as they can).

Black skeletons attack with two short swords in battle with little more than the intention of cutting their foes to pieces. They are intelligent opponents and will use tactics during battle, often sending several of their number against a foe’s front, while the others move into position to flank their adversaries. Black skeletons are smart enough to know when the battle is lost and withdraw from combat, though rarely. Most simply fight to the death, driven by some unseen hatred for the living.