In my game one of my players said he wanted to make a new character and get him prepared so he can switch out characters soon. I asked him what he wanted to play and he asked if he could have his race be skeleton. I told him that I would have to see if I could find something official and not homebrew and if I could I would let him play one. Anyone have an idea of where I could find an official skeleton race?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've removed the forgotten realms tag as it's not clear why it's on there. (For all tags except the system tag, we expect the reason why the tag is present to be self-evident in the question: tags describe content, not add new content.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm assuming he wants an intelligent skeleton? Common skeletons in all versions of D&D are mindless creatures that just obey orders, those make for really poor player characters. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ It'd depend on what he would roll and if the race gives a minus to the int score which I would assume it would. He told me he doesn't really care that much about how his int is. He just wants to play one for rp reasons I believe. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 15:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PerrinTealeaf did you ask the player, what exactly he wants from being a skeleton? there are other options, probably. Or is it just about the look? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 18:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ related: D&D5e's playable races \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 21:50

6 Answers 6


There is no skeleton race for the PCs but...

There is a Skeleton race for NPC in the DMG p282, this can be a good starting point

  • +2 Dex, -4 Int, -4 Cha
  • Vulnerable to bludgeoning damage
  • Immune to exhaustion
  • Immune to poison
  • Darkvision 60ft
  • Can't speak but understands the languages it knew in life
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a really good find compared to the other answers and might be exactly what the querent needs. @PerrinTealeaf you may want to consider re-assigning your checkmark. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 14:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just did. Thanks so much @NahynOklauq. This will work perfectly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PerrinTealeaf Note that you'll want to buff this quite a bit to make it on par with other playable races \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 15:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you compare the entry for dwarves, for example, in the same place to the PH dwarf race, it's pretty clear that these NPC races are not even close to balanced against PC races. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ It can be really good but the counterparts are big too. The vulnerability & unability to speak are pretty big issues. Double damages on an ogre club attack can be deadly. No speak = no spell with verbal component. Even if Wizard, Sorcerer or Warlock aren't really viable classes, I kinda like the idea of a skeleton cleric. Moreover, being a mute skeleton is a big problem in some situation. Every social encounter i.e. Also, how does it heal ? Does it benefit of the effect of a long rest if it doesn't sleep ? (I would homebrew "no and but it can enter a trance like the elves if it want") \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 16:47

There is no official skeleton race. The closest thing to it is the Revenant race from the Gothic Heroes Unearthed Arcana, which is an undead. However, Unearthed Arcana is playtest material, which may or may not be any better than homebrew.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The revenant is virtually immortal, as it resurrects to continue its pursuit of revenge. I feel there are home brewed undead that are more balanced \$\endgroup\$
    – Pliny
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GarretGang, the balance of the revenant is irrelevant to this question and answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 22:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GarretGang The guidance on the Revenant race suggests that it's intended for use with a player who wants to continue playing a character that was killed, and that the focus of their revenge should be something related to the way they died or the quest they were on. This balances the revenant's apparent immortality with the fact that their eventual death is guaranteed at some later point in the campaign (unless the party deliberately never pursues that goal, at which point the DM should call shenanigans on the whole thing). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 14:29

There is no official Skeleton-like race for players.

If it's just for appearance and role-play purposes, you could suggest that he picks an existing race and be an undead/skeleton version of that. To keep it RAW you could state that all stats are exactly the same as the original race.

But if he wanted to play a skeleton because of any potential racial bonuses or traits, you will have to homebrew this.


To my knowledge there is no official "skeleton" race.

I'm afraid it would have to be home-brewed (the closest thing I can think of is the Revenant, which popped up in an Unearthed Arcana a while back),


I could not find a official skeleton race, but there's a way to officially play an undead.

In Tomb of Annihilation, there's a section with rules for a player to be raised as a zombielike creature.

A deceased character can be reanimated by Nanny Pu'pu in Mbala in Chult using the Rite of Stolen Life (p. 73).

The section states:

A character transformed by this ritual into the walking dead regains all its hit points and retains its statistics, except as noted here:
- The character is considered an undead, not a humanoid, and is subject to all effects that target undead. The character doesn’t need to eat, drink, sleep, or breathe.
- The character’s hit point maximum is reduced by 1d4 at dawn each day, representing the physical decay of the body. No spell or effect can halt or counteract this decay.
- If the character’s hit point maximum drops to 0, the gemstone embedded in the character’s forehead shatters, and the character becomes a corpse once more.
A character that is turned into the walking dead and later raised or resurrected loses all memory of being an undead creature, but it doesn’t lose any levels or XP gained while it was undead.


There is no official skeleton race beyond the revenant as other answers have stated.

As a DM I have allowed my players to use an awesome set of undead races that have home-brewed

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any comments or assessment on that homebrew from your table play? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 18:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll go just a touch further than NautArch did in their comment: can you please comment a bit on how well these races worked, what trouble spots you had or fixed, what makes them awesome? This is all part of the Back It Up! principle which, in part, makes Stack Exchange such a high-quality resource. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 21:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ This homebrew contains the overall undead race and is fleshed out (no pun intended) by the subrace by actually defining what type of undead you are. There are three sub-races: ghost, revenant (different than the UA from Wizards) and Skeleton. I have only ever had a skeleton player (he was a wizard) and it was a fantastic experience. He used various spells and perfume to hide his undead-ness. People state it is slightly too strong with its poison immunity + other strong race abilities. I disagree as it never felt that his race made him stronger than everyone else and if it did the amount of... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 13:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ resources and critical thinking/planning that the player (and any player using this race) would have to devote to hide their state of un-life from the paladins and clerics of the world (especially cleric/paladins of the grave domain), in my opinion, offset any "overpoweredness". Instead, it encourages a high risk/high reward (the reward being the race features, including 4-hour sleep like elves) gameplay style. (I hope all that made sense). Finally: in one session the undead player and his siblings (who thought their brother had died years ago) fought a monster, the undead played got hit... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 13:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ ..and got knocked to 0 hit points in which the skeletons class feature kicked in and he turned to a pile of bones. With both player and character unaware of this I played it off as the beam of energy melting his flesh from his body. This leads to the party, and in particular the Skeleton's brother all feeling really sad and as they eventually leave the room, the skeleton played deactivates his bone pile, and pokes his brother on the shoulder, leading to confusion, laughter and an extremely memorable campaign moment. I'm new to stack exchange, hopefully my comments have helped elaborate my post \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 13:23

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