Animated Skeletons are created through necromatic magic, but come in several varieties depending on the spell, and the power and intention of the necromancer used to create them (as well as the bones, animated skeletons can also be animals or beasts, but generally refers to the bones of sentient humanoids).
There are three main types of animated skeletons – but all have several characteristics in common: due to their relatively low weight, they are extremely fast in both running speed, jumping ability and attack, but their lack of mass means that they can be pushed or thrown around rather easily. They are also as strong as a living man, but suffer no muscle fatigue, do not need to breathe and as such, are extremely versatile opponents.
Mindless Skeletons are little more than automatons that have no free will of their own, and are of limited use as they will mess up even the most simple of instructions if there is any possible way to misinterpret them. Some spells bind them only temporarily, other animate them permanently – but both are the simplest ways to animate a skeleton for menial (and very simple) tasks.
Sentient Skeletons are most commonly found in the Land of the Dead and only a handful of powerful necromancers (who are undead themselves) are capable of creating them, but of the few that can, they can create them freely, and as a result the vast majority of the citizens of the Land of the Dead are sentient skeletons of one form or another.
A sentient skeleton retains their memories, and recalls the moment of their death. They also tend to retain family ties, though in a different way – until they are united again in death.. Sentient skeletons are able to enter a trance like state when working, so that the time passes as if they slept, and they cannot access the memories of what they did when they were working. They feel no pain, nor hunger or thirst, and will last for several hundred years in a dry climate if well maintained, making them an incredibly effective workforce (as unlike mindless skeletons, sentient skeletons can use their full intelligence when in ‘work mode’ and remember where they left off, so in a way live two separate lives).
There is no way to physically tell the difference between a mindless skeleton and a sentient one other than gait and demeanor (mindless skeletons move in a jerky, stiff manner, while animated skeletons move like they did in life, and individuals can be recognized by their gait and mannerisms).
If destroyed, the soul is lost, and the bones can only be animated again as a mindless skeleton.
Skeleton Warriors are a sub type of sentient skeletons, but who were trained as warriors when they were alive, and retain their skills and fighting ability. In the land of the dead, these warriors are encased in terracotta armor. Thousands of these warriors statues can be garrisoned in a fortress without the need for food, water or entertainment – but when activated, fight with ferocity, fearlessness and intelligence and cannot disobey a direct command, no matter what it may be..
Zombies are simply animated skeletons whose flesh and blood body parts have not yet either rotted or otherwise come off.. As such, they are either mindless or sentient. The flesh feels no pain and helps to bind the skeletons form together at the cost of social acceptance and hygiene.. In the Land of the Dead, the newly dead have their flesh boiled away and the bones treated for longevity before animation takes place (sentient skeletons can only be animated within 7 days of their death) while criminals are animated in their flesh, which is on fire from the pain of decay, and are ‘treated’ at a separate location – condemned to suffer and toil without the ability to ‘turn off’ when working, and feel constantly hungry and constantly thirsty.
As a direct result, crime in the Land of the Dead is the lowest in all of Eletreus..