Friday, June 24, 2016

Thought of the Day: Boneless Wizards - Skaggar's Skeleton Scouting

So this is more a thought that came up during my Wednesday night Shattered World D&D game, I modded an Iron and Stone golem slightly, twinned them together as the same red/green that I did the Ruby Dragon the players had previously fought and decided that the Red (Iron) golem would become Green (Stone) when the players did enough damage and vice versa.

At one point my lovely wife decided to cast Banishment and the golem failed its saving throw, despite having advantage from the golem magic resistance feature. Instead of just having the one golem which wouldn't let me use my color swap and twin golem nonsense, I decided on the fly instead to have the Banishment do 50 points of damage and cost both golems a turn as the Green golem then crawled out of the Red golem's mouth. That way when they were damaged on the next turn, I got to do my color swap nonsense and while the players may not have realized it, they still managed to do both damage to the golems and prevent some damage to themselves as the golems were unable to attack for a turn.

But, that led to a great digression as the image of the one golem crawling out of the other's mouth caused my players to wonder if there was a spell that would let a Necromancer have his skeleton leave his body to scout while his body was left somewhere safe as a pile of flesh.

I thought that Thomas might have a spell similar to this in his excellent "Necromancy After the Godswar" packet, available on the DMsGuild, but he doesn't. So here is a not at all playtested or balanced spell to do just that.

Skaggar's Skeleton Scouting

3rd-level necromancy

Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (a human tooth and a bit of grease)
Duration: 4 hours

You cause your skeleton to leave your body, climbing out of your mouth, at the cost of one hit die. For the remainder of the duration, you can move your skeleton independently of your body, which remains where you left it as an immobile pile of flesh. Your skeleton has the hit points, stats and senses of a skeleton, but you are able to cast spells or take any other action your DM sees as reasonable. As a skeleton your voice is whispery and dry. As an action you can move your perspective back to your body and use your normal senses. When the duration ends or at any point during the duration when you use a bonus action, your skeleton returns to your body, though the process takes a full turn before you can stand or take any other action. If your skeleton is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer before the duration ends you take any excess damage carries over to your normal body and your skeleton is returned to your body, requiring the full extra turn before you can take actions just as if the duration ended or you used a bonus action to end the spell.

During the duration of the spell your body is unable to move, speak or take any other actions. A generous DM may allow you simple communication by blinking your eyes. A successful Dispel Magic spell against your skeleton or body can end the spell.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level you can choose to either extend the duration by 4 hours or use the stats of a minotaur skeleton, using the extra magic to cause your bones to grow and strengthen. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher you extend both the duration by 4 hours and use the stats of a minotaur skeleton.

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