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The Graftling Heritage

An unimposing bundle watches with indifference as a battle unfolds before her. She shifts her weight, bones clinking, when it becomes apparent her allies don't have the fight entirely in hand. A skeleton rattles over. "Eheheheh," she thinks. "Cute."

The graftling tightens her grip on her staff, a length of polished chimera fibula. With a free hand, she uncaps the scroll case hung by her waist to retrieve and unfurl a length of parchment. Coolly, she recites its mystical cipher. The runes etched into her staff exude bright pink fumes. Meanwhile, a third hand emerges from her poncho to rifle through the skeleton's pack.

Her arcane utterances come to an abrupt halt. The scroll withers, and as it does, a sphere of negative energy ripples over the crowd. There. She pulls a pouch of bandages and salves from the skeleton's pack.

Art by Toi (left) and Nyama (right).

Graftling Traits

In Pathfinder, the Graftling has been implemented as a heritage for the Skeleton ancestry, which can be found in the Book of the Dead.

A graftling skeleton is a miserable arrangement of bones designed to assimilate or consume other bones. In seeking an apprentice less likely to stab them in the back, a necromancer might choose to reanimate a graftling for its intact intellect and innate ability to tidy up clutter typical to necromancy. Your ability flaw is Strength rather than Intelligence, and you gain the Bonegraft feat.

Bonegraft. Your skeleton is receptive to further grafting. You can spend 10 minutes to permanently graft purely decorative bones anywhere on your body. Additionally, if it has bones, you can graft the arm of a creature up to one size larger than you, and it becomes functional and can be removed at will. When you have three or more arms:

Once per round, you may use the Interact action as a free action.

Retrieving an item from a magic bag follows the normal rules for interacting with objects.

If two of your arms are wielding weaponry, you can't benefit from a shield.

Your Dexterity modifier is reduced by 1 for every arm after your third.

Bred to the Bone

A miserable pile of assorted bones. Graftlings are corpses who have had their skeletons transformed, grafted with those of other creatures, and infused with negative energy. They are given teeth with which to extract and pulverize bone, corrosive digestive fluids to break down and assimilate it, and the hunger to consume it. How closely a graftling resembles its original race is up to the whim of its creator, but because graftlings are the product of transplantation rather than total reconstruction, there is generally some resemblance.

While a graftling's silhouette can oftentimes pass as humanoid, its anatomy errs. Beneath its bundle lies a twisted skeletal system, grafted in ways nature never intended. Here and there, bones are creased or gnarled from the strain of being shaped, like the roots of an ancient tree. An arm may contain the nose of a sawfish, the talons of a wyvern, and the ribs of howler—all of it mingled with the graftling's original skeleton. A typical graftling arrangement also includes portions that appear to be stock. Most commonly, the head and torso. However, this resemblance isn't even skin-deep. Blood is drained, organs become bone, cartilage masquerades as muscle, skin, and scar tissue. Within a suitable cavity, graftlings are then equipped with the system responsible for dissolving bone (a graftling is immune to its own acid). Because this remains active, it's common for graftlings to drool, especially in sight of a meal. A necromancer must provide either teeth and jaws capable of crushing bone, or a means to insert it directly into the cavity.

The magic by which a graftling's skeleton was manipulated becomes a permanent feature. This enables them to evolve beyond their creator's vision, attaching more bones as they see fit. Some add ribs sparingly; others favor embellishment. More than mere form over function, graftlings can assimilate limbs in this manner, which allows them to act with greater efficiency.

There are reasons beyond simple experimentation that might inspire a necromancer to create a graftling. Due to their intelligence and reserved disposition, graftlings make practical, less ambitious apprentices. What's more, what was once a miserable pile of assorted bones can now dispose of any unwanted miserable piles of assorted bones. While graftlings often emerge with their intelligence intact, the same cannot always be said for their identity. All find that some part of their past self is invariably corrupted in the process.

Bundle Up
Graftlings would do well to keep their figure in mind when outfitting. Heavy, loose-fitting clothing goes a long way in concealing their skeletal structure. Illusions, masks, and disguise kits are tools with a place in any graftling's repertoire.

Bottom Feeder

Unlike many undead, graftlings aren't made to be predators. They don't hunt the living. They are vultures of the battlefield; they haunt pillaged hamlets; they feast upon ossuaries. They scavenge. If a person needs to worry about a graftling, that person is already dead. Graftlings will avoid fighting for corpses, preferring caution to a meal for which they hunger but do not need.

Graftlings who find themselves in the wild take refuge in the corners of the world dark enough to avoid others, but close enough to life to smell a corpse on the wind. They prefer to lead solitary lives. However, this predilection doesn't erase the personality they had in life—provided reanimation didn't do that much. Consider graftling character an issue of nature vs. nurture vs. nature.

A Bone to Pick
Not all bones are created equal. The bones of a kobold might be greasy; those of a cambion might be spicy. A graftling may prefer a certain type of bone, or outright ignore others.

Reluctant But Willing

A graftling's disposition does not make them immune to wanderlust; it only dampens the desire. The call to travel might come from the memories of a life lost. Maybe they seek to exact revenge on their murderer. Maybe they want to confront their creator. Maybe they wish for more than mere survival. The reasons a graftling would set out are as numerous and varied as any character.

Those who grow restless enough to venture into civilization must tread lightly, and dress heavily. Undead are feared if not hated, so discovery could very well mean death. How well a graftling adjusts to civilization depends in part on the personality they had in life, in part on their willpower and discretion.

Graftling Names

Graftlings will use the name they had in life, unless they've forgotten it or chosen to forsake a past to which they no longer belong. In either case, they'll assume the name given to them by their creator, if given one, or choose a name that appeals to them.

Graftling Names: Ahki, Callus, Caret, Chirr, Clak, Fyerk, Huam, Kashl, Kvetch, Mort, Nyargh, Odokuro, Pelops, Rote, Scroop, Sistrum, Skel, Skrim, Slummock, Smelch, Urk, Zailofon

Graftling Height and Weight

A graftling's height and weight vary wildly depending on their original race, reanimated frame, and the bones they've since grafted. However, it may be helpful to note that a dried human skeleton will amount to roughly 7% of the original body weight. Where relevant, the weight of a living (in vivo) human skeleton is roughly 15% of that person's total body weight; alternatively, this weight can be calculated using the equations below.

Male Weight(kg) = -10.7 + 0.119 * Height(cm)
Female Weight(kg) = -17.0 + 0.157 * Height(cm)

An equation based on body weight can be found on p.11 of source 3. You can find body segment weight here, or individual bone weights in sources 3 and 4. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Graftling Feats

The following ancestry feat is available to skeletons with the graftling heritage, starting at level one.

Grafted Motor Functions. You have adapted to regular use of your extra limb. You gain the following benefits:

• Your Bonegraft feat allows for an additional arm with no penalty. For example, if your Dexterity modifier was reduced for every arm after your third, it's now reduced for every arm after your fourth.

Choose one of the following:

Once per round, you may use an additional Interact when you Interact as a single action.

If two or more of your arms are wielding weaponry, you can benefit from a shield.

You gain the trained proficiency rank in Thievery. If you would automatically become trained in Thievery (from your background or class, for example), you instead become trained in a skill of your choice. You gain the Pickpocket or Subtle Theft skill feat.

You gain a climb Speed of 10 feet, or increase your climb Speed by 10 feet.

You can select this feat multiple times.

Graftling Tables

This section provides several tables useful for players and DMs who want to create graftling characters.

Graftling Reasons for Adventure




Targeted by a monster slayer, you were forced to flee your home.


You seek justice for your creator, who showed you compassion but was slain by adventurers.


Haunted by the memories of your past life, you wish to reconcile or reunite.


You've no intention of squandering your second chance at life on the fringes of civilization.


You figure you'll try your hand at archaeology.


You have slain your creator, and are pursued by their enclave.


Your apprenticeship ended without consequence, and you were permitted to leave your master.


You're awful at direction, and keep stumbling into civilization.


You were dispatched by your master to complete an errand or quest.


You will assimilate all other graftlings. There can be only one.

Graftling Quirks




Your reanimation was so traumatizing you've developed an irrational fear of bones.


You think skeletons are cute because of the way they are.


You prefer to hide during a fight.


You painstakingly log the bones you have encountered.


You've developed a nightly ritual of snorting bone meal.


Your body is a collection that you embellish with only the rarest bones.


You're incredibly awkward.


You have obsessive tendencies.


You have a habit of sidling up to others to get a whiff of their skeleton.


You treat your bundle as a refuge. Even those close to you haven't seen your face.

Graftling Trinkets




An innocuous mortar and pestle engraved with the initials of your creator.


A trinket from your past life (see any other trinket table).


A mysterious bone that defies all attempts at identification.


A tiny, wooden, unfortunate cat figure.


A vial of bubbling rainbow-colored neutralizer.


A pair of rusty manacles.


A cuneiform-incised pebble that once belonged to a lost child.


A jar containing a misshapen mass preserved in formaldehyde.


A set of scrimshaw dice that sometimes emit whale song.


A grimy skull extracted from the necromancer who reanimated you.


A twisted blackwood broom with bristles that never dirty.


A dragon-shaped pin that can be tracked by someone, somewhere.


A beckoning throw pillow embroidered with the shifting image of a paddling duck.


A brackish collar that makes its wearer feel wanted.


A tattooed arm of a grung that was boiled alive.


A smelt skeleton that flutters in stagnant water.


A runed notebook with scrawled notes on undead.


A hefty roll of ghoul flesh secured with twine.


A pouch of multi-colored, skeleton-shaped gelatin sweets.


A signet ring bearing a serpent-entwined rod of inlaid glass.