Skull Swarm

Skull Swarm
Tiny Undead (Swarm)
Hit Dice: 30d12+33 (228 hp)
Initiative: +9
Speed: Fly 40 ft. (average)
Armor Class: 21 (+2 size, +5 Dex, +6 natural), touch 17, flat-footed 16
Attack: Swarm (5d6 plus energy drain)
Full Attack: Swarm (5d6 plus energy drain)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Distraction, energy drain, howl
Special Qualities: Darkvision, half damage from slashing and piercing, resistance to cold 25, swarm
traits, turn resistance +6, undead traits
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +17, Will +17
Abilities: Str 2, Dex 20, Con -, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 6
Skills: Perception +15, Stealth +22*
Feats: Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Turn Resistance (x3)B
Environment: Any
Organization: Swarm
ECL: 18
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: None

A skull swarm is a mass of hundreds of humanoid skulls (human, elven, kobold, gnoll, etc.) swirling suspended in a gray-black cloud of negative energy. Skull swarms are rare in the extreme – the vast majority are created by necromancers, but a few have been known to arise spontaneously in areas of heavy magic and/or a high concentration of negative energy – old battlefields, ruined temples to forgotten elder gods, etc.

Skull swarms possess only rudimentary intelligence, but are very cunning - they know enough to mute their constant howling when on the hunt (-5 penalty to Stealth checks instead of -10), for example, or lie in wait to ambush prey.

Skull swarms cannot speak, beyond their constant howling and gibbering, but they can understand any language belonging to a skull that is part of the swarm.


A skull swarm seeks to surround and attack any living prey it encounters. A swarm deals 5d6 points of negative energy damage (plus energy drain; see below) to any creature whose space it occupies at the end of its move.

Distraction (Ex): Any living creature that begins its turn with a skull swarm in its space must succeed on a DC 23 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Energy Drain (Su): Any living creature that starts its turn with a skull swarm in its space is drained 1 Hit Die (no save). 24 hours after losing the Hit Dice, the victim must make a DC 23 Fort save to regain them. The save DC is Charisma-based. A skull swarm does not gain hit points for any Hit Dice drained in this manner, since the effect is a byproduct of the negative energy infusing it.

Howl (Su): The hundreds of skulls that make up a skull swarm constantly gibber and howl in rage and hatred. All living beings within 100 feet hearing the howling must make a DC 23 Will save or be shaken for 2d6 rounds (and it must save again at the end of that time to avoid being shaken again). A successful save means the creature is immune to the howling for 24 hours. This is decreased to 50 feet when the skull swarm is consciously muting its howls. The save DC is Charisma-based.

The Stealth bonus listed above does not include the -10 penalty for its constant howling.

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