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Skeletal Tomb Guardian

Four-armed, undead warriors that can potentially be encountered in the pen-and-paper roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons. Typically, an evil human or demihuman wizard or priest will animate these obscenities to serve them, but various creatures also associate with skeletons (usually other undead species, such as zombies, ghouls, liches, etc., but living monstrosities have been known to employ them as minions too). On rare occasions, skeletons can also rise "naturally", animated by energies from the Negative Material plane seeping through into the Prime Material plane--"rogue" skeletons born from this phenomena recognize no master and attack any living thing unlucky enough to cross their path.

Skeletal Tomb Guardians, as the moniker implies, are usually created to watch over the final resting places of important individuals and the fabulous treasures that are often buried with them. The four scimitars the creature wields competently, if a bit stiffly, allow it to simultaneously engage a small group of adversaries. In single combat, the monster is lethally effective--even the best sword-master or sword-mistress will be hard-pressed to deal with a quartet of relentlessly slashing blades driven by a foe that never tires. Skeletal Tomb Guardians know no fear, give no quarter, and fight until destroyed.

While dark necromancy is usually responsible for its un-life, a Skeletal Tomb Guardian is not inherently evil, in fact, such moral distinctions mean nothing to the creature. They mindlessly try to follow whatever commands they're given by their creator(s), whether for good or ill intent, without question. Unfortunately, skeletons have very limited intelligence--just enough to obey simple, direct orders (i.e., "Slay anyone that passes through this door, except me."). Any attempt to get one to perform a complex task usually results in hilariously catastrophic failure.

Magically animated skeletons do not eat, drink, sleep, or breathe, nor can any amount of physical exertion ever fatigue one. Likewise, spells or attacks that directly affect life processes are generally wasted on them (a skeleton can't be charmed, poisoned, rendered unconscious, diseased, etc.). Unless the creature's bones are completely destroyed, or scattered, after being "slain", they can potentially be reanimated again by anyone with the power/knowledge to do so--more than one adventurer has come to an unpleasant end in this fashion, killed by an undead foe that they mistakenly assumed would stay down. Like most of their nonliving brethren, Skeletal Tomb Guardians are resistant to necrotic damage but vulnerable to radiant/holy energies.

Newsprint, tissue paper, white glue, super glue, plastic, and acrylic paint.

4.5 cm/1.8 in. x 3.9 cm/1.5 in. (widest point x highest* point)
(* 3.3 cm/1.3 in. high at the top of the skull.)

Three days: July 18, 24, and 25; 2010.

Skeletal Tomb Guardian photo collage.

For comparison/informational purposes, below are some images from various Dungeons & Dragons media:

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Monster Manual artwork, by Carl Frank, of a Skeletal Tomb Guardian.

Wizards of The Coast commerically available Dungeons & Dragons Skeletal Tomb Guardian miniature.

(In no particular order of importance.)

  •   Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (2nd Edition).
    TSR Inc., Fifth Printing: April 1993.

  •   Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (4th Edition).
    Wizard of The Coast Inc., First Printing: June 2008.

  •   Google Dungeons & Dragons Skeletal Tomb Guardian image search.

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Any and all copyrighted imagery, terminology, etc., depicted here belongs to its respective holders/owners, namely Wizards of The Coast, Inc.
The background stone image is a fill pattern from the GIMP computer art program that I edited.