Climate/Terrain: Any land
Frequency: Very rare
Activity Cycle: Any
Intelligence: As in life (very-genius, 11-18), but insane
Alignment: Chaotic evil
No. Appearing: 1
Hit Dice: 5+5
No. of Attacks: 2
Dmg/Attack: 1d4+2 (x2)
Special Attacks: Hurling fire
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: See below
Size: M (average 6' tall)
Morale: Fearless (20)
XP Value: 3,000
Blazing bones are undead accidentally created when a priest or wizard who has prepared or partially prepared contingency magic to prevent death is killed by fiery damage. The casted magic twists the contingency provisions so the unfortunate victim passes into undeath in the heart of a roaring column of flame. Tormented by the endless agony of fire, the priest or wizard's nature (including alignment, Hit Dice, and thoughts) changes. Hurling flame lessens the pain momentarily, and pouring fire into another living being reduces it considerably, so blazing bones soon become stalking killers, exulting in fiery destruction.
A blazing bones appears as a human skeleton with a nimbus of flames dancing along its shoulders and small balls of flame encircling its hands.
Combat: Blazing bones inflict only 1d4 points of damage per blow to creatures immune to fire, but against all others they strike fiery blows, adding 2 points of dmage to each hit. In any round, one of them may forgo one of its hand attacks in favor of hurling a head-sized ball of expanding flames up to 20 feet distant, dealing 1d6+3 damage to creatures struck, igniting flammable things, and forcing item saving throws vs. magical fire. (Handle misses with the scatter diagram-see "Grenade-like MIssiles" in the DMG). The blazing bones can also (once per turn) forgo both attacks to create a firestorm, collapsing into a whirlwind of bones and flames that acts as a fireball (6d6 damage, save for half) which erupts from where they stand and expands to a 30-foot-radius sphere. A blazing bones may try to embrace a foe before erupting into a firestorm; in this case, it is allowed an attack roll. Success indicates that it strikes the target (no saving throw allowed), and failure means that it misses --consult the scatter diagram.
Blazing bones are immune to all fire and heat damage, and magical heat and fire actually augment their hit points. Treat all damage normally inflicted by such magic as hit points gained, first healing any missing points and then permanently raising the monster's hit point total. For each 8 hp gained by a blazing bones, it gains 1 Hit Die.
Blazing bones are turned as ghasts and are immune to charm, hold, and sleep spells. Cold-based attacks inflict normal damage, holy water causes 4d4 points of dmaage per vial (2d4 if only a splash), and normal water inflicts 2d4 points of damage per bucket (1d4 per splash). Alchoholic liquids do not damage a blazing bones. Blunt weapons impose normal damage, but edged or piercing weapons inflict only half damage.
Habitat/Society: Blazing bones hate life and the happiness of others. Some former priests even believe their fiery attacks cleanse the world around them, if one can judge by the words they howl--they can roar crackling words from their empty mouths, and they often taunt or threaten adversaries. Blazing bones avoid each other and all other types of undead. However, if a battle with other undead is forced upon them, their flames inflict double damage upon "cold" undead such as vampires, liches, wights, and ghouls.
There have been cases where evil archmages or high priests have deliberately created blazing bones as guardians, by slaying underling wizards or priests after laying control magic on them. In such cases, blazing bones may be found in groups of as many as eight. They can never be directly controlled by their creator. However, they can be compelled to remain within a certain area or structure, and not attack their creator.
Ecology: Blazing bones are among the most destructive of undead. They serve no purpose in the cycles of life, save to burn and spur renewal as forest fires do. Their fire can cleanse away disease germs, and at least one archmage has used a blazing bones as a walking garbage-furnace.
Originally appeared in Ruins of Myth Drannor (1995).
CC 3e version