Under Tresendar Manor,

Room 4 of the Redbrand hideout (on p. 22 of the adventure), where the Tresendar crypts are, contains 3 animated skeletons. They attack any creature that approaches either adjoining door unless that creature wears the Redbrands' cloak or speaks the password.

It looks like the animate dead spell only works for 24 hours at a time. However,

Glasstaff (using the evil mage statblock on p. 57) isn't nearly high enough level to cast it, and doesn't have the spell in his statblock. Also, the skeletons are not "free-roaming"; they are working for the Redbrands.

Who made the skeletal guards in Tresendar Manor, and how were they constructed?

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NPCs (and the DMs who run them) are not bound by the same rules that PCs (and the players who run them) are.

For the skeletons in the Redbrand Hideout, the two possibilities are:

  1. The skeletons were created by Glasstaff or the Black Spider, or
  2. The skeletons preexisted the Redbrands, and Glasstaff or the Black Spider bent them to their will.

The adventure text does not go into detail on the skeletons' origins, so the choice of the above two options is up to the DM. The DM can come up with whatever explanation s/he sees fit as to how Glasstaff or the Black Spider can control the skeletons. What is important to understand is that Glasstaff, the Black Spider and the skeletons in the Redbrand Hideout are not bound by the same rules that PCs are.

A cleric PC does not have the Divine Eminence trait that a priest NPC has. A drow PC does not have the same innate spellcasting (ability to cast without components) that a drow NPC has. Similarly, an NPC wizard does not need to be able to cast animate dead to have skeletons under its control, and the skeletons remain under its control even after 24 hours have passed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a reference for that? I mean, sure it could fall under the, in doubt the DM decides what it is ruling. But I would find that somewhat weak. I always had the impression, NPC's underlie the same rules as PC's do. and also your example is rather a specific outrules general case than proofing your point. I can't remember the DMG saying anywhere that NPC's dont follow the same mechanics as PC's do. Its right that they have traits and privileges PC classes can't obtain. But that is not the same like "are not bound by the same rules". So as said, a reference would be appreciated. \$\endgroup\$ – Zaibis Nov 12 '19 at 12:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis I don't think you will find an explicit "are not bound by the same rules". The point is that the rules for PCs are the rules for PCs (and do not apply to NPCs), whereas the rules for NPCs do not apply to PCs. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Bonner supports Monica Nov 12 '19 at 12:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinBonnersupportsMonica: Ok, but still is there such a classification? Rules that are for PC's and rules that are for NPC's? I mean I don't like assuming this, as this would boil down to a discontinuity speaking in universe. And while it is obvious that there are traits not accessible for PC's, but saying this is due to different rules each is bound to, is in my view contradicting with the continuous matter all the DMG material is explaining. If all I had to do was generally say it works, cause the NPC's can do that. \$\endgroup\$ – Zaibis Nov 12 '19 at 13:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis I think you are overthinking this. If you start going by the "all NPCs need to follow PC rules", you'll find a lot of the stuff NPCs do in campaigns are not possible. It'll be a pretty boring campaign of Rise of Tiamat if, after 3 minutes into the campaign one of the PCs goes "well there are no spells that summon Tiamat, so we have nothing to worry about" and the campaign ends. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Nov 12 '19 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis The DMG gives broad latitude to the DM to apply or ignore the rules for any reason. For references: DMG pg. 4, "The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren't in charge. You're the DM, and you are in charge of the game." Above, "As a referee, the DM interprets the rules and decides when to abide by them and when to change them." Nothing about "when in doubt." \$\endgroup\$ – Master_Yogurt Nov 12 '19 at 16:12

Maybe they were permanently enchanted by the necromancer that hangs around up at Old Owl Well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello, please back up your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Nov 16 '19 at 1:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. All answers should be supported by citing evidence or experience; answers are not for idea-generation. While this could be the answer, right now it's entirely unsupported... \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 16 '19 at 16:32

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