Wreathed in a ghostly aura, the disembodied skull of a great dragon hovers here, silent and ominous. Beneath a crown of scarred horns, ominous flames flicker within eye sockets long bereft of mortal sight.
An undead creature created from the enslaved mind and spirit of a powerful dragon, a wyrmskull harbors the collected knowledge and cunning of one of these awesome beasts. Silent, deathless guardians, they serve as unliving libraries, storing information, secrets, and draconic advice accessible only by their creator and those deemed worthy.
Some wyrmskulls retain their essential personalities and alignments in death, but many emulate the characteristics of their creators. While obedient to their masters’ wills, most act intelligently and independently.
Wyrmskulls do not arise naturally and cannot reproduce their condition; they can only be brought into existence through the necromantic efforts of others.
However, many have long outlived their masters and still carry within them ancient secrets, continuing the plots and legacies of their creators or losing themselves in contemplation of dark mysteries and deep secrets. None can tell whether disturbing a wyrmskull’s reverie will incite curiosity or violence.
A wyrmskull appears as the withered skull of a dragon of considerable size. The creatures’ draconic types in life can be discerned by cracked and broken scales, crests, frills, and horns. A wyrmskull may also wreathe itself in a halo of ghostly flames matching its coloration in life.
“Wyrmskull” is an acquired template and can be added to any dragon of at least young adult age.
A wyrmskull uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature, adjusted by –2 if the base dragon is young adult or adult, –3 if mature adult or old, –4 if very old or ancient, and –5 if wyrm or great wyrm.
Alignment: Same as the base creature.
Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented dragon). Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is reduced by two categories (or more for Colossal dragons, as wyrmskulls have a maximum size of Large). This reduces Strength and natural armor but improves Dexterity and size modifier to Armor Class and attack rolls.
Speed: A wyrmskull has a fly speed equal to half the base creature’s speed with perfect maneuverability. It loses all other movement types of the base creature.
Armor Class: The wyrmskull has half of the natural armor bonus of the base creature. However, its reduced size grants it an improved size modifier to AC.
Damage: A wyrmskull’s bite damage equals that of the base creature. A wyrmskull adds 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus to its bite damage.
Special Attacks: A wyrmskull retains the base dragon’s breath weapon and spell-like abilities, but loses all others (including frightful presence and spells). A wyrmskull’s breath weapon is the same size and deals the same amount of damage as the base creature. In addition, a wyrmskull gains the following special attacks:
A wyrmskull’s bite attack ignores the miss chance against incorporeal creatures. In addition to its bite attack’s normal damage, any creature struck takes 1d6 points of damage of the same energy type as the dragon’s primary breath weapon (no effect if this breath weapon does not cause hit point damage or does not have an energy type). Those who take damage from a wyrmskull’s bite are limned with faerie fire for 1 minute.
Once per week as a full-round action, a wyrmskull may strike the ground with its jaws, sowing teeth into the ground. At the beginning of its next turn, a number of skeletal warriors—one for each age category— burst from the ground within 10 feet to fight at the wyrmskull’s command. These undead linger and obey the wyrmskull for 1 hour (or until brought to 0 hit points), at which point they crumble to dust.
These skeletal warriors are treated as human warrior skeletons but have a number of Hit Dice equal to the wyrmskull and have fast healing 5. They also gain a bonus to attack and damage rolls, natural armor bonus, and saving throws equal to +1 for each of the wyrmskull’s base creature’s age category. These skeletal warriors are immune to the wyrmskull’s breath weapon energy type (in addition to cold) and share the wyrmskull’s ghostlight, blindsense, damage reduction, and spell resistance.
A wyrmskull’s teeth gradually regrow over the course of a week after this ability’s use. The loss of a wyrmskull’s teeth has no effect on its bite attack. Wyrmskulls created from base creatures without age categories are treated as having only one age category.
Special Qualities: A wyrmskull retains all of the base dragon’s special qualities and gains those noted below:
Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows:
Languages: A wyrmskull retains knowledge of all the languages it knew in life. It also gains telepathy 100 ft.
Skills: Same as the base creature.