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On the skeleton template page, it lists a "Skeleton Archer" Template. This is a CR+0 template.

Skeleton (Medium Archer): While not as intelligent or skilled as skeletal champions, skeletal archers are nevertheless a welcome addition to any undead army. Skeletal archers gain Point-Blank Shot and Precise Shot as bonus feats. (CR +0)

Assuming that any template could be selected from that list, should a template like this cost extra HD for the purpose of animate dead? If so, how much extra would be appropriate? Would a 2x multiplier be appropriate for this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What are you looking for when you ask "appropriate"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jan 27 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Balanced i guess? There was an argument made in my game over this, on both extremes. So I am looking for a power balanced cost from 0 extra to a full 2x multiplier \$\endgroup\$
    – Erudaki
    Jan 27 at 19:37
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The Skeletal Archer Template does not increase the skeletons effective Hit Dice for the purposes of Animate Dead, nor should it.

Only templates that specifically say so will increase a creatures effective Hit Dice for the purposes of Animate Dead, that is to say, only Bloody and Burning Skeletons count as additional hit dice when determining how many undead you can create and control with the spell, and for good reason.

Burning and Bloody skeletons are significantly more powerful than a typical skeleton. Burning skeletons have a 2 point higher Charisma score, deal a bonus d6 of fire damage on all melee attacks, and have the Fiery Aura, which deals damage to everyone nearby with no save, and Fiery Death special abilities, meaning they deal a rather high amount of damage for the creatures CR.

Bloody Skeletons have the advantage of being nearly unkillable unless you use a specific means of killing it, plus Fast Healing, channel resistance, and a 4 point higher Charisma score.

The Skeletal Archer, meanwhile, gets the bare minimum of archery feats needed to even function as an archer, and that's it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What about for Acid skeleton, or other CR+1 templates? Are you saying those should not get effective HD increases either? \$\endgroup\$
    – Erudaki
    Jan 27 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erudaki Yes. None of the other templates come near the power of the Burning or Bloody templates. Acid skeletons, while similar to Burning, only get the +2 CHA and bonus damage on melee attacks, but lack the aura or burst effects that the Burning skeletons get. If you were to homebrew Acid skeletons to have all the same abilities as Burning skeletons, then I would say yes, give them the same HD cost increase. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 27 at 21:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ but it also doesnt get the damage vuln, which seems to be a tradeoff. A 4 Armed Mudra skeleton seems particularly powerful. +4dex, dex to damage, and Itterative+3 weapon attacks per full attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erudaki
    Jan 27 at 21:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm unaware of any rule that allows you to place any templates on undead created with Animate Dead, outside of Bloody and Burning skeletons or Fast and Plague zombies, except the GM Fiat usually used in encounter creation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jan 28 at 0:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. My post assumes that gm fiat and that the other templates are allowable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erudaki
    Jan 28 at 1:34

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