The dancing dead are a unique kind of undead. Their main facade is appearing harmless and whimsical, making them much like dark fae spirits in some sense. They put on elaborate shows and dances, doing incredible routines that few can do in life. In fact, some take part in music relevant to the dance they’re displaying. (Rumor has it that this and this are the most common musical themes.) Most likely, the Dancing Dead were once talented masters of art and acrobatics in life themselves.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I made a swarm of spooky, scary skeletons for Pathfinder sometime last year or the year before and they were a blast to run! With that, I brought them back for 5E, right on time for Halloween. This time, I made them more generic undead. They could be skeletons, zombies or whatever! No matter, Happy Halloween, everyone!!
Large Swarm of Medium Undead, Neutral Evil
Armor Class. 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 102 (12d10+36)
Speed. 30 feet
STR – 10 (+0), DEX 17 (+3), CON 16 (+3), INT 10 (+0), WIS 13 (+1), CHR 18 (+4)
Skills. Acrobatics +7, Performance +8
Damage Resistance. Necrotic, Psychic
Damage Immunity. Poison
Condition Immunity. Poisoned, Exhausted, Sleep, Charmed, Fear
Senses. Darkvision 60 ft.
Languages. Understand Common; at DM’s Discretion, swarm may understand more.
Challenge. 4 (1,100 XP)
Danse Macabre. This creature is a swarm of continuously moving undead. When a subject is grappled by one or more of the swarm’s horde, it is pulled into the center and is incapacitated. Targets must succeed a DC 15 Strength saving throw to break free on their turn.
Entranced by the Music. As haunting choirs and orchestra’s play, they will tend not to take notice of living creatures that invade their territory. However, if anyone tries to interrupt their dance or their music, they will immediately initiate combat.
Multiattack. The Dancing Dead may attack up to 3 times.
Ghoulish Slash. Melee Weapon Attack. +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6+3) slashing damage. The dead can forgo damage to instead grapple the target and use their movement to pull them inside the circle of living dead. Grabbed targets are automatically hit with this attack’s damage.
Creepy Dirge (Recharge 5 or 6). Ranged Spell Attack. Range 30 ft. burst from Dancing Dead. Targets must succeed a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. Failure: Target is frightened and takes 18 (5d6) psychic damage. This can only be used once per round at most. Affected targets may make another saving throw at the end of their turn.
Dancing Dead Gathering – A small dance of the dead has become a bigger one!
Size. Changes to Huge
Hit Points. 152 (16d12+48)
Proficiency Bonus +3 instead.
Skills. Acrobatics +9, Performance +10
Attacks. Ghoulish Slash is +6 to hit and deals 16 (3d8+3) slashing damage. Creepy Dirge deals 25 (6d8) on a failed saving throw.
Challenge. 7 (2,900)
Dancing Dead Party – A massive wave of the living dead, dancing in an almost ballroom waltz fashion.
Size. Changes to Gargantuan
Hit Points. 203 (15d20+45)
Proficiency Bonus +4 instead.
Skills. Acrobatics +11, Performance +12
Attacks. Ghoulish Slash is +6 to hit and deals 25 (4d10+3) slashing damage. Creepy Dirge deals 40 (9d8) on a failed saving throw.
Challenge. 10 (2,900)
Campaign Option: Grim, Grinning Ghosts!
For extra fun, tack on the Ghostly Haunt template to make something akin to Disney’s The Haunted Mansion!
Image Source: The Skeleton Dance – Disney, Vintagegal; Disney’s Haunted Mansion
Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.