Skeletons are Shadow creatures, a deceased person brought back to life but decayed to the point that only magic holds their bones together. They come in a couple of different forms, depending on when and where they are encountered. They can be challenging at lower levels, but as the hero advances in skill they become trivial.
As long as people have died, their bodies have rotted, leaving behind bones that eventually crumble into dust. In certain circumstances, however, the dead refuse to rest, rising in various forms as mindless Shadows, driven to aggression toward the living.
Risen, Risen 2, and Risen 3 Edit
They are encountered throughout the Risen series, very often in abandoned ruins and sacred locations like graveyards. Just as people can die anywhere, so skeletons can be found nearly anywhere, provided their bodies were not destroyed or consumed.
Lesser Skeletons appear a bit weaker than those found on Faranga. They are found in other parts of the Southern Seas, in Risen 2 and Risen 3. Since they are labeled as simply "Skeleton" like those from the first game, the adjective "Lesser" has been added here to distinguish them from those of the first game. Lesser skeletons may have a small buckler or a scimitar and sometimes tattered clothing such as a loincloth. As their Farangan counterparts, they are especially weak to counter measures and magic doing physical damage (such as the Shockwave rune magic spell).
Skeletons appear to be more minor versions of those encountered on Faranga in Risen. They generally only wield a scimitar and wear pieces of worn, leather armor. They are especially weak to counter measures (parries, ripostes, and so on) and physically damaging magic (rather than poison, for example).
Skeleton warriors are an additional type found in Risen, and are lightly armored. They can perform S rank combinations, but they are vulnerable when unable to maneuver freely. Like other skeletons, they are particularly susceptible to counterattacks.
It is difficult to determine whether skeletons have any actual social structure of themselves, or whether the appearance of a hierarchy is simply carried over from the status of their previous existence. For example, given that a skeleton warrior is tougher and more skilled in combat generally, it is possible the living counterparts once commanded the living versions of standard skeletons that accompany them. However, there is no way of knowing this for certain.
It appears that in certain cases a hierarchy from mortality is observed, such as when skeleton warriors and skeletons all rush to the defense of the Undead Lords in Risen, including Lord Patroscon. It may be possible that the cursed rings they wore provided more power and therefore "loyalty" from the other skeletons.
Generally the tactics of skeletons are fairly limited. They often carry some weapon, such as a short sword or a scimitar, but they also may attack using the tips of their finger bones. Some skeletons have virtually no defense while others may block, parry, and riposte as their living selves might have done. Usually skeletons will attack in small groups of up to 4, seldom seen as a one-on-one opponent. As a group, the attacks of skeletons are uncoordinated; you are equally likely to be attacked by all of them at the same time as you are to have all of them simultaneously prepare to receive an attack.
|(Lesser) Skeleton||Skeleton||Skeleton Warrior|
1× Vassal ring
|Additional Loot*||Bone (Gut animals)||Bone (Gut animals)|
|Strengths||Capable of riposting or using charged attacks||Can perform S rank combinations||Can perform S rank combinations|
|Weaknesses||Counterattacks, physical damage spells||Counterattacks, physical damage spells||Counterattacks, physical damage spells|
|Experience / Glory||100 glory||100 exp||120 exp|
*Parentheses indicate a skill required to yield a particular loot item.
- Game Differences: It should be noted that skeletons in the first Risen game are considerably tougher than skeletons in either Risen 2 or Risen 3. It is possible that the same power that fueled Crystal Mages' abilities also gave strength to the skeletons on Faranga in particular.
- Strange Behavior: The fact that skeletons employ any tactics at all (see below), rather than using basic attacks, is puzzling. In most cases, they appear to be mindless Shadows, neither speaking nor seeming to demonstrate any sentience. For example, Lord Patroscon on Faranga, once clever enough to create a curse that enslaved several Undead Lords, doesn't speak or seem to be in control of his curse anymore. Every encounter with skeletons would seem to indicate that the original personalities of the doomed beings have been lost. Their bodies desecrated or cursed, they roam without will or soul.