Yesterday we had the bespoke suit of undead that is the skeletal champion. Today we have the off-the-rack option: the skeleton. Still, off-the-rack can look pretty good…and with a little tailoring (an animated hill giant or triceratops, perhaps, or perhaps a burning or bloody skeleton) it may be just what your adventure calls for.
That said, every PC above 1st level knows to beware any skeleton she sees in the dungeon, tomb, or temple. So it can be fun to think of ways to camouflage them, or to make them natural consequences of a supernatural world…
The Museum of Natural Philosophy and Wonders Most Ancient is under renovation—and new ownership, as it is currently being occupied by a death cult. While most of the specimens have been removed during the construction, pteranodon skeletons dot the ceilings of the Great Hall. Worst yet, they can fly—what look like canvas drop cloths are actually makeshift wings that mimic the dead beasts’ membranes, keeping the undead aloft.
Special effects creator Tommy Wentworth aspired to be a playwright, but his gift for puppetry and flash bangs couldn’t save his flat, hackneyed prose. He turned to plagiarism only to be caught by the author, whom he silenced with an improvised garrote. In the months since this first murder, several more writers have vanished, and the evidence is mounting that Wentworth is to blame. Adventures hoping to confront him must first negotiate the dungeon-like warren of prop rooms under the City Playhouse. Among the complex’s many hazards are wax dummies that appear to animate and attack when intruders’ backs are turned. The dummies are actually skeletons (the missing playwrights, in fact) that Wentworth animated and covered in wax to both cover up his crime and serve as bodyguards.
Since the butchery of the Summer War, the dead do not lie quiet in Vadz. In a fortnight they rise from were they fell, eternally weeping blood, never to rest unless slain by blessed energy or holy water. On the western border, where the Quiet Inferno raged, things are even worse—there the skeletons burn, starting wildfires that rip through the dry grasses, scorching all in their path.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 250–251