Converting Ravenloft monsters

Cleon

Legend
CR 3 seems fair. I don't think we need a note like that, though, since you're always supposed to adjust EL if the encounter highlights (or downgrades) a monster's special ability. It's also likely they don't have time to shoot all that many arrows before they're destroyed.

As you like.

Updating Archer Skeleton Working Draft.

I agree with your tactics suggestions, though the hiding and shooting one seems a bit smart for an Int - undead, especially since it would have to plan when an adversary is coming by.

I wasn't proposing they come up with smart tactics themselves, but was thinking they could be given more complex instructions than a basic undead skeleton (i.e. ones that involve contingencies) which I think they should be able to do since they are able to recognize when they've got empty space in their quiver and seek out corpses to craft into new arrows.

How's this:

While an archer skeleton is just as mindless as the common undead skeleton, it is capable of acting on relatively complex sets of instructions that can resemble cunning, depending on the contingencies and tactics its master orders it to follow.

Typically, an archer skeleton seek to keep its distance and take cover while peppering its enemies with bone arrows, trying to create as many skeletal minions as it can. If an opponent enters melee range, the archer skeleton resorts to attacking with its bony claws.

When not in combat, an archer skeleton seeks to replenish its quiver of bone arrows, first retrieving and unbroken arrows it shot and then crafting new ones from any corpses it can find. The skeleton may be ordered to dig up graves to convert buried cadavers into ammunition.

More complicated strategies are possible, especially if archer skeletons are directly controlled by an intelligent commander. For example, an archer skeleton could wait in a guardroom until it spots intruders, then shoot all its bone arrows into an enclosed room to create a horde of skeletons. It then opens a gate to unleash these minions while shooting normal longbow arrows at the enemy.​
 

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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
That'll do.

Description: A set of animated bones carrying a large bow and quiver full of white arrows.
 

Cleon

Legend
That'll do.

Updating Archer Skeleton Working Draft.

Description: A set of animated bones carrying a large bow and quiver full of white arrows.

Seems a little clunkey. How about one of the following:

Description #1: An animated humanoid skeleton armed with a compound bow and quiver full of arrows. Its arrows are a similar color and texture to the skeleton's weathered bones and sinews.​

Description #2:An animated humanoid skeleton armed with a compound bow and quiver full of arrows. Its arrows are a similar color and texture to the skeleton's weathered bones and sinews, as if they'd been crafted from a corpse.​

Description #3:An animated humanoid skeleton armed with a compound bow and quiver full of arrows. Its arrows are a similar color and texture to the skeleton's weathered bones and sinews, as if they'd been crafted from a corpse; even the quiver looks more like human parchment than leather.​

The descriptions are in increasing order of grisliness.
 

Cleon

Legend
Updating Archer Skeleton Working Draft.



Seems a little clunkey. How about one of the following:

Description #1: An animated humanoid skeleton armed with a compound bow and quiver full of arrows. Its arrows are a similar color and texture to the skeleton's weathered bones and sinews.​

Description #2:An animated humanoid skeleton armed with a compound bow and quiver full of arrows. Its arrows are a similar color and texture to the skeleton's weathered bones and sinews, as if they'd been crafted from a corpse.​

Description #3:An animated humanoid skeleton armed with a compound bow and quiver full of arrows. Its arrows are a similar color and texture to the skeleton's weathered bones and sinews, as if they'd been crafted from a corpse; even the quiver looks more like human parchment than leather.​

The descriptions are in increasing order of grisliness.

Hold on, we forgot something:

Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness said:
The creator must also bond a blooded arrowhead to the skull of each skeleton. During the animation process the arrowhead fuses with the skeleton’s skull.

Better add.

Set into the forehead of its skull is an arrowhead the dull red-brown of dried blood and old rust.​

As a final sentence.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Ahh, pretty good! Let's go with grisly #3 and that extra sentence.

With that and the tactics from above, I guess we just need background and CR. I'm thinking CR 2 seems a little light given the number of hp and creation of additional skeletons. They're probably ogre-ish in difficulty, so CR 3?
 

Cleon

Legend
Ahh, pretty good! Let's go with grisly #3 and that extra sentence.

With that and the tactics from above, I guess we just need background and CR. I'm thinking CR 2 seems a little light given the number of hp and creation of additional skeletons. They're probably ogre-ish in difficulty, so CR 3?

Yeah, I think we both more-or-less agreed on Challenge Rating 3 a few post ago, we just didn't nail it down.

Updating Archer Skeleton Working Draft.

I cut out the "Skills:" unless you really want to give it a racial bonus to Craft (fletcher). :p
 

Cleon

Legend
I've added the following to the Archer Skeleton Working Draft.

Note the Challenge Rating assumes the archer skeleton uses bone arrows to create two to four warrior skeletons during its encounter. An archer skeleton without bone arrow assistants is Encounter Level 2, while one that creates ten skeletons is EL 4. Should the archer skeleton send its entire quiver of twenty skeletal warriors to fight, the EL could be around 5 or 6.​

All we need now is the Background info.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Hahaha, no need for the Craft skill I guess! :p

I don't think we need the EL text, since the CR is supposed to fold in "summoned" critters. But it's not a problem either.

The original gives some decent background: Archer skeletons appear identical to common undead skeletons, but they always carry longbows and a quiver of bone arrows. They are commonly created to serve as warriors and guardians.

Should we write a creation section, including the bit about fusing an arrowhead into the skull?
 

Cleon

Legend
Hahaha, no need for the Craft skill I guess! :p

I'm inclined to agree.

I don't think we need the EL text, since the CR is supposed to fold in "summoned" critters. But it's not a problem either.

Will leave it in then. There's such a difference in threat level between an archer skellie with no conjured skeletons and one with a dozen+ that it seems important to account for it, not that I want to make a bone of the issue.

The original gives some decent background: Archer skeletons appear identical to common undead skeletons, but they always carry longbows and a quiver of bone arrows. They are commonly created to serve as warriors and guardians.

Should we write a creation section, including the bit about fusing an arrowhead into the skull?

The first sentence is arguably covered by the description.

Might as well include creation rules. We should allow for the construction of the bone bow in the rules.

How's this:

An archer skeleton looks indistinguishable from an ordinary undead warrior skeleton but is considerably deadlier. The skeleton wields a bow and arrows crafted from bones taken from humanoid corpses. Its weapons are infused with necromantic magic, producing warrior skeletons whenever a bone arrow shot breaks against the ground.

These undead are made by necromancers as deathless guards or soldiers; they never form spontaneously like some ghosts or vampires do. Archer skeletons can be produced using the create greater undead spell with a secret formula that has become disturbingly widespread among evil spellcasters. The formula requires an intact humanoid skeleton, a bow made from corpse bones, a quiver plus 20 humanoid long bones from different cadavars*, and an arrowhead soaked in humanoid blood. The bloodied arrowhead fuses into the into the skeleton's forehead at the conclusion of the spell. The spell costs 300 XP plus 2,000 gp in components, including black onyx gems worth at least 500 gp that turn into worthless, burned-out shells. If the necromancer does not have a bone bow to arm the skeleton, they must create one as part of the spell. To do so, the caster must possess the Craft Arms and Armor feat and acquire a masterwork composite bow (+1 Str bonus) made of humanoid bone and sinew; creating a new bone bow increases the cost by another 300 XP and 2,000 gp.

*Note that if the caster is unable to obtain twenty long bones from different humanoid corpses, the newly created archer skeleton won't have a quiver-full of 20 bone arrows, but will have one bone arrow for every humanoid corpse whose long bone was used. An archer skeleton can even be created with an empty quiver. The archer skeleton can manufacture its own ammunition to make up for this shortfall (see Bone Arrows for details).​

I'm also thinking it merits a subentry:

In Ravenloft
The archer skeleton is believed to be the invention of a fanatical necromancer called Karakin. This wicked man planned to murder everyone in his homeland and become the only living soul ruling a kingdom of undead. In pursuit of this malign dream, Karakin mustered an enormous undead army that included entire companies of archer skeletons. However, Karakin and his legions were abducted by the Mists of Ravenloft while they prepared their campaign of omnicide.

No mortal knows Karakin's subsequent fate, but his formula for creating archer skeletons has somehow spread to an increasing number of malicious personages across the Realms of Ravenloft, most notably the lich lord Azalin himself.​
 
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