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"I am at a loss to explain the average skeleton's somewhat ludicrous mental predisposition, however. Perhaps the implausibility of its own existence makes the skeleton think it hilarious to hide in a barrel, cackling intermittently for some three hundred years until a victim happens by?"

Abd al-Hazir(src)

A group of skeletons

Skeletons, formally classified as "Ossium Animatum,"[1] and otherwise referred to as revenants[2] are a type of undead construct.

Lore

"During the last days of King Leoric's reign, even the skeletons of the ancient dead could not rest. They took up their broken armor and weapons once more -- ready to cut down anything that yet drew breath. Though wasted and fragile, these creatures possess a twisted cleverness that makes them quite formidable."

Deckard Cain(src)

A skeleton

Fierce undead warriors,[3] skeletons are the remains of warriors who either died as soldiers in some dark campaign, or were betrayed by those they most trusted.[1] Animated through necromantic rites or the spells of demons[4] skeletons do not seek to consume the flesh of the living, but only to extinguish the life of their victims.[3] While they may seem mischievous or imbecilic,[5] skeletons are unrelenting in their goals, move faster than zombies, and have some spark of intelligence,[3] the extent of which varies on the based on the power and scope of the spell involved in the skeleton's creation. Theoretically one could have a single astute skeleton servant or a rather dense army of a hundred for the same expenditure of magical energy.[5] While physically frail, skeletons never lack in number. Those who fall to skeletons in combat are damned to an eternal lust for living blood. Coupled with their unthinking rage, this makes skeletons dangerous opponents.[1] Skeletons will swarm their targets unquestioningly until their commanding force orders them otherwise.[6]

Skeletons wielding swords and halberds

Skeletons have demonstrated the use of a wide variety of weapons, including swords, clubs, bows, and even armor and shields, and are often equipped in the same armament in which they fell[3] or were buried with. Often these weapons are of poor quality.[4] Even more terrifying are the animated skeletal remains of expired magic wielders, who prove that even the dead can wield the forces of magic.[3]

A skeleton rises through necromancy

Most skeletons are actually constructed from bits and pieces of any number of different skeletons, not a single one. Their diverse composition gives them the ability to form and reform, and makes them easily summoned, permitted there is adequate raw material at hand. For instance, one would have an easier time summoning skeletons in a graveyard than in a forest.[5] They are usually found in places where they were laid to rest or the site of a great battle.[1] An exception to this was during the Darkening of Tristram, when skeletons rose up due to Diablo's evil. Skeletons were encountered in the depths of the Tristram Cathedral, and it was believed that these were the remains of Horadric monks.[1]

Skeletons

The Priests of Rathma, through necromancy, have the power to animate the remains of the deceased into skeletons. Animated partially through their own will and partially through the summoned spirits of ancient warriors, Necromancers often maintain a small host of these reanimated soldiers to do their bidding. As the Necromancer's knowledge of the undead improves, (s)he is able to harness and divert more powerful spirits to inhabit the corpses of the recently dead.[7]

Some say that skeleton eyes contain magical properties, despite the fact that skeletons are eyeless by definition.[8]

In-game

Skeletons are a recurring monster in all three of the Diablo games. Often among the most common enemies in the game, skeletons are counted among the lowest forms of undead along with zombies. They are generally fragile, but often appear in large groups.

Diablo I

Skeletons are commonly found throughout the Cathedral section of the labyrinth, and some appear in the upper Catacombs as well.

There are several types of skeletons. Some use swords, another group wields axes, while others still are archers. Later on, players will also encounter Skeleton Captains that wield shields in addition to one-handed swords. Along with zombies, skeletons share a resistance to magic. There are three other variants: Corpse Axes, Burning Dead, and Horrors, along with their corresponding Captains.

Stats

Skeletons
Name Image Level Damage HP Resistance Immunity Dungeon Level
Skeleton Skeleton(d1).gif 1 1-4 1-2 None Magic 1-2
16 6-12 53-56 None Magic
31 10-22 104-108 None Magic
Corpse Axe Corpseaxe.gif 2 3-5 2-3 None Magic 2-3
17 10-14 56-59 None Magic
32 18-26 108-112 None Magic
Burning
Dead
Burningdead.gif 4 3-7 4-6 Fire Magic 2-4
19 10-18 62-68 Fire Magic
34 18-34 116-124 None Magic,Fire
Horror Horror.gif 6 4-9 6-10 Lightning Magic 3-5
21 12-22 68-80 Lightning Magic
36 22-42 124-140 Lightning Magic
Skeleton Captains
Name Image Level Damage HP Resistance Immunity Dungeon Level
Skeleton
Captain
Skeletoncaptain.gif 4 3-9 6-10 None Magic 1-3
19 10-22 68-80 None Magic
32 14-34 104-112 None Magic
Corpse
Captain
Corpsecaptain.gif 4 3-9 6-10 None Magic 2-4
19 10-22 68-80 None Magic
34 18-42 124-140 None Magic
Burning Dead
Captain
Burningdeadcaptain.gif 6 5-10 8-15 Fire Magic 3-5
21 12-24 74-95 Fire Magic
36 22-26 132-160 None Magic,Fire
Horror
Captain
Horrorcaptain.gif 8 5-14 17-25 Lightning Magic 4-6
23 14-32 101-125 Lightning Magic
38 26-62 168-200 Lightning Magic

Unique Skeletons

Skeletons
Skeleton Captains

Diablo II

Skeletons return in Diablo II, still one of the most common enemies found throughout the game. They wield numerous types of weapons including Swords, Axes, Military Picks, Flails, Maces, and Shields. Skeletons also have several differences in appearance, some completely naked though others can be seen wearing Helms, shoulder pads, ripped pants and Kamas.

The Raise Skeleton skill of the Necromancer allows them to be used as minions.

Some of the skeletons encountered in Act I even wear the remnants of feminine chest armor, revealing that they are the skeletal remains of long dead Rogues, and that at least some skeletons may be female.

Paladins excel in dealing with large groups of Skeletons due to their ability to utilize Holy Bolt, Fist of the Heavens, Sanctuary and similar abilities to full effect. While Skeletons are vulnerable to most attacks, Poison elements are not effective against them, while they take extra damage from blunt weapons, such as Clubs, Maces and Flails. Ranged weapons have less effect on Skeletons.

There are five variations, the basic Skeletons, Returned, Bone Warriors, Burning Dead and Horrors.

A tougher type of skeleton which is in a separate category are the Reanimated Horde in Act V. They drag massive two-handed swords and move very slowly, but are capable of unleashing a fast, short range charge attack. Unlike regular skeletons, Reanimated Horde can spontaneously reanimate often repeatedly, with the self-resurrected monster is made anew, fully restored in hit points, worth normal experience and capable of dropping items again. The Reanimated Horde serve Baal, unlike regular skeletons that are mostly associated with Mephisto.

Stats

"Skeletons are the weakest of the skeletal variants, but show a relentless tenacity in their attacks."

Monster summary(src)

Skeleton
Skeleton.gif

Property Normal Nightmare Hell
Type Undead Undead Undead
Act(s) found in 1 1 1
Monster Level 2 37 68
Experience 34 2333 23878
Health points 7–11 391–559 2219–4227
Damage 1 1–3 12–31 31–78
Attack Rating 1 12 907 3314
Damage 2 1–3 12–32 31–81
Attack Rating 2 12 945 3452
Defense 10 540 1352
% to Block 10 10 10
Damage Resist 0 0 33
Magic Resist 0 0 0
Fire Resist 0 0 0
Cold Resist 0 0 0
Lightning Resist 0 0 100
Poison Resist 50 75 75
Drain Effectiveness 0 0 0
Immunities Lightning
Chill Effectiveness 50 40 25
Walk/Run Speed 3
Group/Minion Size 1-3

"Returned are only distinguishable from others of their ilk by rotting bits of remaining flesh that still cling to their undead bones."

Monster summary(src)

Returned
Returned.gif

Property Normal Nightmare Hell
Type Undead Undead Undead
Act(s) found in 1,2 1,2 1,2
Monster Level 6 38 69
Experience 68 2498 25033
Health points 17–25 415–593 2279–4342
Damage 1 2–5 12–32 32–80
Attack Rating 1 41 928 3360
Damage 2 2–5 12–33 32–84
Attack Rating 2 41 967 3500
Defense 30 552 1370
% to Block 15 15 15
Damage Resist 0 0 33
Magic Resist 0 0 0
Fire Resist 0 0 0
Cold Resist 0 0 0
Lightning Resist 0 0 0
Poison Resist 50 75 100
Drain Effectiveness 0 0 0
Immunities Poison
Chill Effectiveness 50 40 25
Walk/Run Speed 4
Group/Minion Size 2-3

"Bone Warriors are a more dangerous form of Skeleton. They often serve as guards in eldritch temples and lost tombs."

Monster summary(src)

Bone Warrior
Bone Warrior.gif

Property Normal Nightmare Hell
Type Undead Undead Undead
Act(s) found in 1,2 1,2 1,2
Monster Level 7 39 85
Experience 143 10778 41205
Health points 45–62 965–1379 3124–5952
Damage 1 4–10 20–51 37–94
Attack Rating 1 125 1425 3998
Damage 2 3–10 20–53 37–98
Attack Rating 2 125 1485 4165
Defense 70 828 1616
% to Block 30 30 30
Damage Resist 0 0 33
Magic Resist 0 0 0
Fire Resist 0 0 0
Cold Resist 40 60 110
Lightning Resist 0 0 0
Poison Resist 50 75 75
Drain Effectiveness 0 0 0
Immunities Cold
Chill Effectiveness 50 40 25
Walk/Run Speed 4
Group/Minion Size 2-4

"Burning Dead were killed in hellish conflagrations. As reanimate skeletons, the fires of their death continue to burn their undead bones; the Burning Dead cast a flickering red radiance wherever they go."

Monster summary(src)

Burning Dead
Burning Dead.gif

Property Normal Nightmare Hell
Type Undead Undead Undead
Act(s) found in 2 2 2
Monster Level 13 43 74
Experience 130 3502 30809
Health points 40–58 534–764 2681–4917
Damage 1 4–9 14–36 34–76
Attack Rating 1 113 1036 3289
Damage 2 3–9 14–37 34–89
Attack Rating 2 113 1080 3737
Defense 65 520 612
% to Block 25 25 25
Damage Resist 0 0 33
Magic Resist 0 0 0
Fire Resist 50 75 100
Cold Resist 0 0 0
Lightning Resist 0 0 0
Poison Resist 50 75 75
Drain Effectiveness 0 0 0
Immunities Fire
Chill Effectiveness 50 40 25
Walk/Run Speed 5
Group/Minion Size 2-4

"Horrors bear the final rictus of pure terror that killed them. They are grim manifestations of the worst in the world."

Monster summary(src)

Horror
Horror (Diablo II).gif

Property Normal Nightmare Hell
Type Undead Undead Undead
Act(s) found in 2,3 2,3 2,3
Monster Level 14 44 78
Experience 143 3747 35429
Health points 45–62 557–797 2823–5377
Damage 1 4–10 14–37 35–89
Attack Rating 1 125 1058 3770
Damage 2 3–10 14–38 35–84
Attack Rating 2 125 1102 3613
Defense 70 624 1528
% to Block 30 30 30
Damage Resist 0 0 33
Magic Resist 20 40 70
Fire Resist 0 0 0
Cold Resist 0 0 0
Lightning Resist 60 80 120
Poison Resist 50 75 75
Drain Effectiveness 0 0 0
Immunities Lightning
Chill Effectiveness 50 40 25
Walk/Run Speed 5
Group/Minion Size 2-4
  • Skeletons are undead and are vulnerable to Undead-specific spells and abilities (e.g., the Paladin's Sanctuary).
  • Items with "Life Stolen Per Hit" or "Mana Stolen Per Hit" do not work on Skeletons. A Paladin can use Redemption on their "corpses," though, and the Necromancer skill Life Tap does work.
  • Burning Dead have a 50% chance to deal Fire damage when starting their attack overhead.
  • Horrors have a 60% chance to deal Lightning damage when starting their attack overhead.

Unique Skeletons

Diablo Immortal

Skeletons are encountered as enemies in Diablo Immortal,[9] and can be summoned by the Necromancer.[10] Types include:

Diablo III

Skeleton.png

In Diablo III, plain Skeleton Warriors (with no special abilities) are joined by:

Royal Henchmen also serve Leoric.

In addition, Revenant Soldiers and Summoned Soldiers are the skeleton variants in the Reapers ranks in Act V.

These skeletons spawn in mixed packs and work together with much better AI than they have shown in the previous games in the series. Often skeletons will hide in barrels, piles of bones and other breakable objects. Summoners may raise skeletons, though the numbers are not unlimited.

Plain skeletons are a regular, fragile, numerous and weak cannon fodder, which will be massively encountered in Acts I, II and III. In later Acts, they will mostly be of red color, dealing small Fire damage on each melee hit.

A Diablo III skeleton old model

Necromancers can summon skeletons via Army of the Dead, Skeleton Mage and Command Skeletons spells.

Uniques

In-game model of a Skeleton

Diablo IV

Skeletons appear as enemies in Diablo IV.[11] They are one of the game's monster families.[12]

Types

Uniques

Development

Very Early in production of Diablo I, there were no Corpse Skeletons, and in their places were the Ice Stalkers (Blue Skeletons) which can be seen on old pre-release screenshots. Bone Warriors introduced in Diablo II are cold oriented and so can be seen as spiritual successors of Ice Stalkers.

In the production of Diablo II the Returned were named Corpse Skeleton, Corpse Archer, Corpse Mage before Developers decided to change their name.

Hell Horror Graphics

Developers intended to make a sixth skeleton type in Diablo II. The Awakening and Diablerie has as Hell Horror after Horror and there is an unused color palette for the skeleton that looks like a red Horror.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Diablo Manual
  2. Diablo II Manual
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Skeleton, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2014-07-23
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Awakening
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Writings of Abd al-Hazir: The Skeletal Undead
  6. Rise of the Necromancer, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2017-06-30
  7. Summoning Spells, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2014-07-23
  8. Diablo III, Eyes of the Dead
  9. 2018-11-03, BlizzCon 2018: Diablo Immortal. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2018-11-06
  10. 2018-11-03, BlizzCon 2018 Diablo Q&A Liveblog. Blizzard Watch, accessed on 2018-11-09
  11. 2019-11-01, Diablo IV Official Gameplay Trailer. YouTube, accessed on 2019-11-10
  12. 2019-11-13, BlizzCon 2019 Diablo IV Systems and Features Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2020-05-20
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