I'm back.


I'm not cocky enough to lable this as news, but I'm back after an absence of way too long. If you don't know who I am, I am the dreaded dark dude Theophenes, the man who makes less sense than the old off-topickers. Are Olly and Shark and all those other loons still around?

Anywho, I'm gonna try to wirte more than three semi-good articles ths time around. My first series will be on the Skull Lords, some nice villians made in the fifth monster manual. I'm going to give you twelve slight tweaks of them, complete with modified stats, evil minions, and good DMing concepts.

So I'm gonna make a little poll out of this. I've got flavor text up and running for the twelve Lords so far. I will be willing to write whichever article gets the msot votes first, the next one second, etc. This should be open for a few weeks or so.

I will write one article while waiting for your response, on why I'm actually gonna do segments on the Skull Lords. Why? Cause I wanna explain what makes them good villians. Or at least, godo villian material.

Here below are the Skull Lords. Pleas satet which one you'd like me to write out on, and why.

The Skull Lords:

The ancient skull lords were each created from prisoners of Necromancers, their "essences" preserved in skulls and place atop these monstrous bodies to serve for eternity as minions. What became of the Necromancer is unknown, as is who now leads them. What is known, is that they work together for a dark purpose.

Bauntu the Grim: Bauntu the Grim is often considered as undeath incarnate. He commands a strong cadre of undead, ranging from skeletal horses and centaurs to vampire spawn and mummies. His skill with creating new forms of undead, and commanding both necromancers and horrible undead monstrosities earn him the respect of both the other Skull Lords and many o0ther wizards and necromancers who study the ways of undead. He is Lawful Evil. He commands a small army of undead, numbered at around 1400 minions total.

Fatu the Death-Mind: Fatu is the most unstable and erratic among the Twelve Lords, known for both his taste for using and experimenting on aberrations. He also often employs strange, experimental monstrosities in his work, ranging form flesh and cadaver golems to Vivisectors and Illithids to do his dirty work. He enjoys experimenting in and on strange creatures, and is usually the most willing to negotiate with even good characters, if it gets him something he finds worth while. He rarely works with other Lords, who consider him a loose cannon. He is Chaotic Evil.

Obarin the Beggar: Obarin is actually a rather odd Skull lord, lacking the pompousness of most of the others. Obarin tends to live in the sewers, and does carry out his agenda, mainly by manipulating would-be heroes to do his bidding. He controls many vermin, both undead and not. He is also very fond of devising is own traps. Obarin is said to have "Guardian Beggars," but only he truly knows what they are or what their purpose is. He avoids working with the other Skull Lords, due both to their egos and inability to exercise his calmness and restraint. He is Neutral Evil.

Laturi the Corruptor: Laturi is the Bone Lord who is the most skilled in bringing humans to their evilest points, and then manipulating them. He has a large cult, as well as many powerful connections in a few larger cities in the realm. No one knows what his schemes are, but he seems to always be able to get what the other Skull lords need, regardless of how unorthodox his methods are. His skill is mainly to gain resources and manpower.

Bathath the Executioner: The executioner, known as death with wings, is one of the wilder and more reclusive skull lords, with one specialty--killing. Bathath rides on a deadborn vulture zombie named Kao, and slings bone fragments and summons minions form above. His minions are all skilled assassin and killers, from a Phantom Tiger to a small group of Kobold skeletal snipers.

Dungro the Horned: Dungro's natural druidic behavior has not changed in the slightest after death, and he still tames and resurrects undead beasts, ranging from skeletal chimeras to rabid zombie squirrels. His chief monster are bulls and demonic Cows, as well as the minotaur skeletons.

Begorgo the Fiend-Tempter: Begorgo rarely uses undead minions. He instead commands evil outsiders, rarely even using his summoning abilities. Most of his minions were acquired through trading with more powerful, wickeder demons and devils in exchange for artifacts and tutoring in the methods of using bones, as fiend skeletons are of noted interest to several higher level fiends, both as a possible means to increase power and a means to revive oneself when push comes to shove.

Gwetu the Thief-Sage: Gwetu has the smallest group of minions of any of the Skull Lords. however, he has a larger horde of items than most, being truly interested in ancient and lost relics as a means to amass power. His library of scrolls and books is hidden deep in an abandoned cathedral, and his knowledge is his deadliest weapon. He is prone to almost a slothful and tranquil behavior, irritating the other Lord because of his slow-acting and discrete methods. Most of his minions are lower-level undead with class levels and moderate intellects, mainly rogues and archivists. His chief lieutenant is a Beholder named Xargos. He is Lawful Evil, though bordering on neutral.

Ingu the Warlord: Ingu is the most powerful hand-to-hand combatant among the Skull Lords. His hatred and rage make him far more blood thirty and violent. He does not use scrolls, being more interested in martial combat. He is the only member of the Skull Lords to wear armor under his robes for protection, and the only one who wields weapons other than his bone staff. Ingu is hateful and cruel, but will always submit to a fair one-on-one fight if challenged. He's known to fight with deadly precision, using both his weapons and his raw strength. Most of his minions are skull riders, death knights, and other powerful warriors of the undead. He's also known to use Hobgoblin and Orc skeletons to do his bidding, and the occasional troll skeleton. He prefers to do his own fighting. The other Lords think his honor is his greatest weakness. He is Evil Neutral, with some lawful tendencies.

Vemari, the Elder: Vemari, as his name implies, is the most ancient of the Lords. Many believe he created the other Lords himself. Vemari avoids being seen at all costs, and usually gives orders to others via messenger or magic. None but Vemari and Vemani know who truly pulls their strings. Vemari Is lawful Evil.

Vemani the Younger: Vemani is the youngest of the Lords, and one of his skulls originally belongs to Vemari, giving them a telepathic link to each other. Vemani uses his skills in stealth and infiltration to maintain knowledge for Vemari, co he can command the others, and make sure they are kept in line. He is disliked by the other Lords, but none of them wish to incur Vemari's wrath, so they Bide their time and hold their tongue and hands from him.

Drnturo-Tuimora the King: The King of Skulls, as he is called, is a truly methodical fighter and commander. Although he is not the actual leader of the Skull Lords, he commands them in battle situation, allowing the elder to remain hidden. He is the only one who knows where the elder is at any given time aside from Vemani. His minions are typical more ornately dressed and armed than other groups, known for their ostentatious displays of showiness and deadly equipment. He often hires or curses Evil Fey into his service. He is lawful evil.

Cunningly Yours,

I encourage you to make it news. I'm sure you could carry it off. Go Skull Lords!

I vote for Bauntu the Grim because he is at the top of the list and I'm feeling very methodical. I would actually like to hear about them all.

Here's the first one I finished, the skull-king. Complete with a free minon monster for you to use.

Drnturo-Tuimora the King

A gaunt, regal figures is seated in the throne before you. His Three skulls look about the room, constantly prepared for treachery. Many Bonesingers, Taunting haunts, and other ghastly apparitions entertain and serve him, and walk as if in the presence of a great ruler. His blue eyes glow with verdant pride and tempestuous hatred at the same time.


Drnturo has many minions roaming his castle-fortress. The most unreliable are his taunting haunts, who play both sides and work hard to mess with any person they find wandering through the halls. Many skeletons and several sentient undead creatures such as wights wander the halls, in paid positions of labor, being steadily maintained.

His most unique minions are his "Grim peasants." These peasants are made form the same ceremony used to create a spectral rider, and they serve under him much as loyal peasants serve a lord. They are independent, and do work to their own means. There are about twenty of them.

Spectral Peasant CR 1/2

Usually LN medium undead.

Init -1 Senses: dark vision 60 ft, listen /spot =1

Languages: Common, Infernal, and all languages known in life.

AC: 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+1 dex, +1 deflection)
HP: 4 (1d6)
Immune: Undead Immunities
Fort +1, Will +2 Ref+1

Speed 20 ft.
Melee 1d4 Slam +1 (Lethal with fist)
Space/Reach 5 ft.

Abilities: Str 11 Dex 12 Con-- Int 14 Wis 15 Cha 16
SA Shroud of living Days,
SQ undead traits, deadening fist
Feats N/A
Skills Bluff +4 Diplomacy +4 Disguise +4 (+6 acting)
Intimidate +4 , Listen +2, Spot +1
Advancement as class
Possessions: 1d7 in coins and clothing.

Shroud of living days: At will, a spectral peasant may appear as it did in life. This is an illusion, but only true seeing can reveal the true form of the peasant.

Deadening fist: The fist of a spectral peasant automatically does lethal damage as opposed to non-lethal. It's slam attack does not stack with a monk's improved unarmed damage.

As Player characters. All Spectral peasants have the above with stat adjustments for +2 Cha, -2 Strength. They keep al abilities. They have a level adjustment of +1

A spell caster of 11th level or higher can use a create greater undead spell to make spectral peasants. They must find a suitable target area--a peasant's graveyard, or any cemetery that is neither designed for the wealthy and noble and has no protection from magic on it.

Tactics: The Skull-king is prone to both heap shots and brutal combative maneuvers, but his worst tactic is to drop the Cage from the ceiling as a free action (DC 14 reflex save). The cage is made of solid steel bars, and the enemies inside are usually distracted by minions thrown in with them. Drnturo will then laugh maniacally, watching as an amused spectator in the cage fight. If you want to be really vicious, you may add a gradually sinking floor to the mix to complicate things further.

Great monster: Drnturo has taken great care to revive and use the former owner of his blackened castle--Sugren bonecrusher, a skeleton of a powerful Orc-Lord. The Skeleton is still in +2 mithril full plate, and wields his double-axe with the same precision he had in life.

Second-in-command: Drnturo has a spectral peasant who has taken Character levels ( 4 monk 2 fighter 3 duelist). His name is Oglethorpe, and he's a loyal and trusted advisor, despite being stronger than his master. He just doesn't want to be the guy on top, cause they tend to not get away as easily. He loves a good sparring match, and will gladly fight any opponent one-on-one to amuse himself ad his "King."

Attitude: Drnturo wear the title of "king" with pride, even though he wield no control over the other skull Lords. Remember that he is first and foremost an egotist, believing all others to be inferior to him. Un like the other Skull-Lords, he is not very hidden or quiet, living in a large castle and commanding sizable hordes of undead. His schemes are usually grandiose, and require tactics and force. He is very fond of raiding parties against caravans and villagers, mostly to acquire their wealth. He is greedy and narcissistic.

He is also one of the least likely to kill the PCs, if they've proven entertaining enough. If they defeat his minions, he may bargain instead. He's been known to show respect to fallen warriors who were good sport by animating them as sentient undead.

Even with his high charisma, he's rather afraid of losing control of minions, and works very hard to keep his minions satiated and happy.

Items: His scrolls tend to be of animate and raise dead, and other spells to summon more minions.

Base: Drnturo resides in Deathroe Castle, a horrible place. The former village surrounding it has now become nothing more than a dwelling place for undead, some sentient and some not, some under his command and some not. Originally inhabited by a human settlement, then taken over and adapted by Orcs, much of he construction outside the castle has been in disrepair for over a hundred years.

The castle itself is rather bland-looking form the outside. However, due to large amounts of bloodshed and Necromancy, it emanates a strong evil aura (as a sixth-level evil cleric). If entered, a DC 32 Stonecraft/ dungeoneering check allows the player to realize that the floor has rivulets in it, and that these rivulets are designed to drain all blood spilt in the hallways (including that of his own minions) down to a central chamber. Drnturo exports this blood to a powerful vampire in exchange for minions and equipment, as well as using some of it as the occasional spell component for one of his spell casters.

The Throne Room is a large, frighteningly powerful place, with room for lots of performers and guards, both of which will occupy the room at any given time. The Cage-arena in the middle is 20 ft. by 20ft. The challenge of the reflex save to get out of the cage is increased by 6 if you are in any of the middle 5 ft squares.

Stats: The same as standard Skull Lords in the book, but change scrolls otehr than inflict seriosu wounds into scrolls of animate and raise dead at appropriate costs and levels.

Quote: "Kneel before The Skull-King, Minions!!!"

Didn't see your vote, I'll work on Bauntu next.

Grimly yours,

Any order is O.K., I just wanted to break the ice.

I have a question now though. Is the skull-king desirous to create an undead copy of live kingdoms or perhaps more of the real thing? If so would a skull-king then be motivated to get "live props" to mix in with the undead, to give his creation viability, for the sake of pride for lack of better term.

Hey, I may as well announce my return as well. Gamegrene, Lorthyne is back!

As for the Skull Lords, I would vote Dungro, but I'm a druid junkie.