I am building skeletons that my PC has and I noticed some wording in some of the variants that suggested you could have multiple variants, is this true? If so how would the math work for the multiplied HD? Would it be ((Original HD)*2)*2 or Original HD*3?

Skeleton (Exploding): Also called “bone bombs,” an exploding skeleton detonates in a burst of razor-sharp bone fragments when it dies. Anyone within 10 feet of the skeleton when it is destroyed takes 1d6 points of damage per hit die of the skeleton (minimum 1d6). A Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 the skeleton’s Hit Dice + the skeleton’s Cha modifier) halves this damage. Bloody, burning, and multiplying skeletons cannot be exploding skeletons. (CR +0)


This is clarified on the bestiary (or on the prd):

Variant Skeletons

Numerous variant skeletons exist, such as those whose bones burn with an unending fire and those who drip with gore and reassemble themselves over time. Both of these variant skeletons can be created using animate dead, but they count as twice their normal number of Hit Dice per casting. Once controlled, they count normally against the controller's limit.

It is known that you can stack skeleton templates, the restrictions are applied on the base creature, not on the templated creature. There are dozens of creatures on official adventures that have this kind of stacking (example, another example, and a last one), so this is not unheard of.

A lot of people disagree on the proper method of calculating the stacked HD of the new skeleton. Some believe it should follow the rule of multiplying dice rolls (double of a double is the triple), while others affirm that it only applies to rolls and not every multiplication in the rules (as such, double of a double is the quadruple), like it happens to multiple movement-hampering conditions.

The method chosen will simply be a limit to your Animate Dead spell and how many you are able to control, nothing else. So you will have to check with your GM which method he will be using and stick with it.

However, James Jacobs (Paizo's Creative Director) seems to disagree with stacking templates using Create Undead, which leads me to believe that stacking templates to create new monsters is OK as a GM and designer tool, but not as a player tool, so you will have to ask your GM once again.

Can you use create undead to stack zombie templates ex fast plague zombie, plague zombie lord, relentless gasburst zombie?


What level do you need to be to combine more then 2 templates?

Currently, you can't stack templates. You'd have to chat with your GM for house rules.


It doesn't seem to be intended for the standard ones

This only relies on the line:

Challenge Rating: As a normal skeleton + 1.

Which suggests that getting the two variants wouldn't increase the CR by +2, just by +1

But it is intended to be possible for the Classic Horrors Revisited ones:

(...) the following variations can be stacked with one another—it’s possible to have an exploding acid skeleton, for example

My guess is that designers of Classic Horrors Revisited were not on the same page than the one writing the bestiary, so maybe your GM will want to patch some things here and there (an obvious one being to make the CR increase with each template).

The multiplying rule states:

When you are asked to apply more than one multiplier to a roll, the multipliers are not multiplied by one another. Instead, you combine them into a single multiplier, with each extra multiple adding 1 less than its value to the first multiple. For example, if you are asked to apply a ×2 multiplier twice, the result would be ×3, not ×4.

The number of HD is not a roll, so there is no reason to apply the x2x2=x3 rule: a skeleton with two variants would count as four times its HD when raising it.

As a sidenote, about stacking different skeleton templates

It is impossible to have, let's say, a "bloody skeleton burning skeleton goblin" (with twice the skeleton template with different variants)

The skeleton template has a prerequisite (emphasis mine):

“Skeleton” is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal creature (other than an undead) that has a skeletal system (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

And among other effects does:

Type: The creature’s type changes to undead. (...)


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