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Skeletor (Masters of the Universe 1980s cartoon) portrait

Skeletor


Power Level: ,
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

“My Havok staff will take care of you !”


Context

Skeletor is an evil sorcerer and the main antagonist on He-man and the Masters of the Universe, a popular 1983/1984 Filmation animated series. The 1985 spin off series, She-Ra Princess of Power, occasionally featured Skeletor and a few others from the original series.

For context, we suggest that you first read our primer to the Masters of the Universe cartoon setting.

The Skeletor profile also has a companion article – our guide to Snake Mountain, Skeletor’s ominous base.


Background

  • Real Name: Skeletor.
  • Other Aliases: Ghost face (by Eternians of the past).
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Skeletor’s Warriors.
  • Base of Operations: Snake Mountain.
  • Height: 6’1″ Weight: 215 lbs.
  • Eyes: Hollow sockets. Hair: None.


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Powers & Abilities

Skeletor is the greatest villain on the planet Eternia. An evil sorcerer, he’s able to do incredible, impossible things with magic. He amazes even himself.

Though skilled with various weapons, Skeletor’s weapon of choice is the Havok Staff. This is a mystic staff topped with a ram’s skull.

Skeletor is a proficient inventor with great knowledge of engineering and the sciences. He has invented many destructive machines.

He’s inspiring and powerful, yet his megalomania often gets in the way. Even though he has many abilities, he rarely puts them to the best use. The main exception is his planning, which can be quite good. His go to attack is a straight forward energy blast.

Though evil and menacing, Skeletor does not usually seek to kill his opponents. He’s quite skilled at disarming. He loves to take prisoners and use them as leverage against more powerful foes.

Warriors come from all over with hopes of gaining power or riches by serving him. Some of the most powerful warriors on Eternia work for him. Such as Beast-Man, Evil-Lyn, and Clawful.


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History

An exact timeline is difficult to ascertain.

Skeletor, a demon from another dimension , entered Eternia long ago.

Skeletor once tricked Zanthor, the guardian of the disks of knowledge, into giving him said disks. Skeletor promised power, but instead banished him to the Phantom dimension. With these disks Skeletor learned much. That including methods to build a secret base shaped like a coiled snake – Snake Mountain.

Skeletor worked alongside the villain Monteeg for many years.

Skeletor and the Horde

Skeletor became a pupil of the galactic conqueror, Hordak. The Horde invaded Eternia. Though unsuccessful, Hordak kidnapped, the infant princess, Adora. Skeletor was captured before he could escape. Abandoned, Skeletor had no issue giving up the whereabouts of his master.

Cut off on Eternia, Skeletor took control of Snake Mountain and gathered evil warriors to his cause.

Skeletor (Masters of the Universe 1980s cartoon) frustration

A destined warrior

Skeletor’s power grew. But he was constantly in conflict with the forces of good. King Randor and his kingdom were an ever-present roadblock to his growth.

Seemingly, out of the blue, came a special hero named He-man. Skeletor and his warriors came to see He-man as the greatest threat. Skeletor believes if he can remove He-man he will rule Eternia. Then the universe!


Description

Skeletor’s head is a yellow skull under a hood. His well-muscled body is blue. He wears a purple harness and leather boots.


Personality

Skeletor is arrogant about his own intelligence and power. So, he is constantly infuriated by the utter ineptness of his warriors, and has little patience for them. He prefers the company of Evil Lyn and Beast-man.

Skeletor hates He-man and will always choose to try to destroy him. He cannot understand why anyone would want to be good. He’s also the type to never take blame for defeat and failures.

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal

Skeletor will double cross anyone, sometimes even to his own detriment. He enjoys breaking promises, and therefore makes them often. He makes trades but, in the end, will always renege.

Skeletor (Masters of the Universe 1980s cartoon) in a game of thrones

He’s taken both Castle Grayskull and the Royal Palace several times but has never held them long. He knows that inside Grayskull his magic is increased, and believes the power of Grayskull would make him ruler of the universe.

After his betrayal by Hordak, Skeletor has only hate for him. He is more determined now to conquer the universe for himself. I’ve wondered what Hordak taught Skeletor as his pupil. Hordak hates magic and Skeletor was already a technological master. So, I can only guess he taught him how to be more evil.

Wheels within wheels

Successful as a master manipulator. Here is how he works his own warriors:

  1. He summons warriors to him (or they come on their own) and gives them a task.
  2. If unsuccessful, even in part, Skeletor will call them names and demean them. Then demand they do better.
  3. The warrior becomes more determined in the short term, but overtime loses confidence in themselves. They try to please Skeletor and gain his respect but will always fail. After some time, they become mediocre at best and sniveling cowards at worst. While they may hate him, they fear and obey him.
  4. Skeletor must be in control. Anyone who doesn’t call him master will have a fight. Skeletor usually proves to be the stronger. When he loses he will concede in the moment and wait for his opportunity. Otherwise he will flee at the first chance.

If by chance a warrior is successful, (many are in their debut appearances) Skeletor will try to control them. Either using magic to control their mind. Or if they were successful by using of an item, Skeletor will take the item. Occasionally, he’ll simply give them another task.

Skeletor’s main purpose in his mind is to conquer and control the entire universe. However, this has proved difficult with his ever-constant opposite, He-man, in his way. Skeletor would do almost anything to destroy him.


Quotes

“I’ll get you for this, He-Man !”

“Get them, you fools !”

Beastman and Trapjaw: “Help us Skeletor, help us !”
Skeletor: “No ! I’m only interested in saving myself.” (Teleports away)

“I bow to no one !”

Skeletor (Masters of the Universe 1980s cartoon) havok staff cave

(To Beast-Man after some failure)
“You furry, flea-bitten, fool ! I’ll cover my throne with your hide !”

Skeletor: “Welcome to Snake Mountain. I’m pleased to have you as my guest.”
Zagrass: “Oh, don’t give me that. My comets will go wild without me. You’re causing a great deal of trouble.”
Skeletor: “Don’t I always. I want you to use your comets to help me defeat He-man and break into Castle Grayskull !”
Zagrass: “Never ! Oh, you must let me go for goodness sake.”
Skeletor: “I never, ever do anything for ‘goodness sake’. Hehehe, everything I do is for the sake of evil.”
Zagrass: “But there’s some good in everybody.”
Skeletor: “Not in this body. Hehehehe. When are you goody-goody fools ever going to understand. I am completely and utterly evil ! I live to be bad. I care for no one and no one cares for me.”

“No one says ‘No’ to Skeletor, fool. I’ll force you to serve me !”

“Promises come in handy; only when you can find a fool to believe them.”

(With Man-At-Arms as his captive).
Skeletor: “Now, get to work !”
Man-At-Arms: “And how do you intend to make me work ?”
Skeletor: “You want to eat don’t you ? When you’re half-starved you’ll do anything I say.”
Man-At-Arms: “Hmm, good point.”

“This is turning out to be a wonderful day for evil.”


DC Universe History

Skeletor could be a real force for evil in any universe.

I would like to see a cross-over story where Skeletor summons General Zod, Ursa, and Non from the Phantom Zone. He tries to control them. Whether he does or not, these three would be quite a challenge for all of Eternia. He-man may not be able to defeat them physically, but he’s faced many enemies who are more powerful and came out on top.

The story could culminate in a team-up with Skeletor.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Skeletor

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Power Lust
Int: 06 Wil: 08 Min: 07 Occupation: Would be Conquerer of the Universe
Inf: 08 Aur: 07 Spi: 11 Wealth: 018
Init: 020 HP: 090

Powers:
Cold Immunity: 04, Control: 07, Detect (Evil): 01, Dimension Travel (Banishment only): 16, Energy Absorption (ML): 07, Energy Blast: 07, Force field: 10, Ice-Production: 09, Hypnotism: 10, Reflection/Deflection (ML): 11, Sorcery: 08, Telekinesis: 05, Telepathy: 14, Teleportation: 07, Warp: 14

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All attack powers use Dex as AV.
  • Energy Absorption; Skeletor must perform a Block maneuver and interpose his hand, the Havok staff, or other mystical artifact to use this power (-1 FC).
  • Skeletor may announce that he is using a “stun” beam while firing his Energy Blast in an attempt to KO a hero. It took him to Season two to realize how susceptible He-man was to those.
  • Hypnotism – Skeletor must make a successful hit with APs of Hypnotism vs. Target’s Dex. This is represented by an energy beam emanating from Skeletor’s eye sockets. Once a successful hit, Hypnotism is resolved normally (-1).
  • Ice-Production may only be used to encase targets in ice (-4 FC).
  • Reflection/Deflection uses its own APs for AV/EV.
  • Telekinesis is sometimes used as a ray from Skeletor’s hand.
  • The Recipient(s) of Telepathy may see a wavy image of the Skeletor’s face.
  • Warp may not be used to attack others. Skeletor calls them “Space portals”. They are glowing doorways.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics): 03, Artist (Actor): 08, Artist (Sculptor): 04, Charisma (Intimidation)*: 07, Gadgetry: 10, Military Science (Tracking): 04, Occultist: 10, Occultist (Ritual Magic): 12, Scientist*: 06, Weaponry (Melee, Firearms): 05, Weaponry (Rods, staves, and wands): 07, Vehicles (Air): 04

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (All the lands around Snake Mountain and The Royal Palace including Castle Grayskull), Expansive Headquarters (Snake Mountain), Familiarity (Space Travel), Expertise (Eternia’s myths and legends), Leadership, Slowed Aging, Schtick (Contingency Plan – he always has a trapdoor to drop the heroes into; or a creature just on the other side of the wall, for instance)).

Connections:
Skeletor’s warriors (Low), Monteeg (Low).

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Serious Irrational Attraction to Evil, Minor Irrational Hatred of He-man.

Rituals:
Skeletor uses many rituals, most are quite powerful. He uses them to gain power, an artifact, or an ally to defeat He-man. He often calls on Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man, and Mer-man to assist in his spell-casting.

Equipment:

Havok Staff

[BODY 10, Air Control: 02, Energy Blast: 09, Ice-Production: 08, Illusion: 05, Mystic Freeze: 08, Petrification: 12, Postcognition: 10, Power Reserve: 02, Remote Sensing (Visual Only): 18, Sleep: 08, Snare: 03, Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Air Control may only be used to simply move a volume of air.
  • Energy Blast (aka stun-ray) may only do bashing damage against living targets.
  • Remote Sensing may be activated without touching the staff itself.
  • Skeletor refers to both Ice Production and Mystic Freeze as his “Freeze Ray”. Ice Production may only be used to trap victims in ice.
  • Power Reserve may only be used to add to the wielder’s own Sorcery power.
  • Sleep is a gas and only in an area 01 AP in front of the staff.
  • Snare appears as physical ropes that snap tight around their target.
  • The base of the Ram skull may be used as a Crystal Ball.
  • If the Havok Staff is ever broken any powers still in effect will end immediately.
  • Power Reserve may add to the wielder’s own Sorcery or Telekinesis power.

Sometimes the Havok Staff acts as the activator of something inside Snake Mountain. The eyes of the ram skull glow and a trap will activate. While disarming Skeletor will cause the eyes to stop glowing and the trap will cease to function as well.

Skeletor’s Sword

[BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 06), Descriptor: Slashing, piercing].
At the start of The Dragon’s gift Skeletor no longer has his own version of He-man’s power sword. This new sword has crossed bones as its crossguard, and becomes Skeletor’s blade for the rest of the series.

Skeletor’s Armor

[BODY 10, Radio Communications: 06, R#00]. Skeletor pressed the centerpiece of his armor and called a Sky Sled by remote control (Dragon Invasion).

The Collector

[BODY 12 STR 07, Earth Animation: 06, Energy Blast: 12, Flight: 09, Force Field: 12, Ice Production: 12, Petrification: 15, Snare: 42, Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Earth Animation may only be used to animate an existing statue. Note: Skeletor always splits the APs of Earth Animation equally.
  • Force Field is Mystic in nature. Note: Skeletor rarely has the Force Fields activated.
  • Ice Production is only used to trap victims in solid ice, Ice Production has Area Effect.
  • Petrification becomes permanent after a 24 hour period.
  • Snare represents the formidable Force Belts used to bind individuals outside the Collector. These are long powerful constricting belts. They held He-man and he had to be rescued by She-Ra.]
    Skeletor called this ship his greatest creation. It has a huge energy converter built in. Skeletor can press a button on the wall and eject all the pilots at once. There is only one parachute in the Collector.

    Skeletor (Masters of the Universe 1980s cartoon) collector airship

    The Collector.

    Further equipment:

    Mystic Axe

    [BODY 10, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 06), Advantage: see below, Descriptor: Slashing, Recommended STR 03, Earth Animation: 10, Energy Blast: 07, Remote Sensing (Visual only): 18, Telekinesis: 09, Teleportation: 07].
    When attacking a shield, an axe receives a +1 to its final roll total. When attacking a person without body armour or a shield, the roll receives a -1 to its final roll.
    Skeletor’s Axe has a crystal sphere at the top, which Skeletor could use for scrying. The Mystic Axe was only used in the first episode, The Diamond Ray of Disappearance.

    Skeletor’s Power Sword

    The Skeletor Action figure at the time was sold with the other half of He-man’s sword.  In the animated series there is only one episode in which Skeletor has that sword (The Curse of the Spell Stone). Skeletor draws the sword, faces off with He-Man and was quickly disarmed.
    It’s probable the idea of two half swords came from an earlier Funimation series, Blackstar.

    Corodite chestplate

    Skeletor was able to fashion a chest plate from Corodite, this would give him strength similar to He-man’s. He gained /STR/ 22 and /BODY/ 08. However, the chest plate was crushed by He-man.


    Panthor

    Skeletor’s giant pet panther to counter Battle-Cat.

    Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Animal
    Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 02 Occupation: Loyal Mount and Companion to Skeletor
    Inf: 02 Aur: 00 Spi: 02 Wealth: 000
    Init: 010 HP: 010

    Powers:
    Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 02, Claws: 04, Extended Hearing: 02, Growth: 01, Jumping: 02, Running: 05, Super Hearing: 02, Telescopic Vision: 01, Ultra Vision: 04

    Bonuses and Limitations:
    All powers are Innate.

    Skills:
    Acrobatics (Climbing): 05, Charisma (Intimidation): 05, Thief (Stealth): 03

    Advantages:
    Lightning Reflexes.

    Connections:
    Skeletor (Low), Evil-Lyn (Low).

    Drawbacks:
    Minor Irrational Fear of Battle-Cat.

    Equipment:
    ARMORED SADDLE [BODY 13, Skin Armor: 05, Skin Armor provides Partial cover and may be bypassed with a trickshot].

    Skeletor (Masters of the Universe 1980s cartoon) panthor


    Design notes

    Assuming Castle Grayskull is equal distance away from both Snake Mountain and the Royal Palace. I gauge them at 16 miles or 14 APs apart.

    Skeletor’s age is unrevealed in the series. When He-man and Man-At-Arms travelled into the past, the people of that time said Skeletor looked familiar. I therefore added Slowed Aging.

    The Sorceress once called Skeletor a demon from another dimension (He-man: The greatest adventures of all).

    One time Skeletor continuously used his magic until he suddenly burned out saying he had used up all his power (The Arena). This is an outlier for his power, it never happens before or again. It was a way to move the story to conclusion.

    Skeletor never used Telekinesis until the The Dragon’s Gift episode.

    Skeletor owns a secret map of the Royal Palace (Fraidy Cat).

    Str is 05 and Energy Blast: 10 after the She-Ra: Princess of Power episode “Of Shadows and Skulls”. However, since this is so late in the series. I’d prefer to leave him with stats that reflect him most of the time.

    Panthor did not get his own writeup. This is because unlike Cringer/Battle-Cat Panthor was only a pet and mount to Skeletor and wasn’t developed anymore than that. Hence, the stats only approach.

By Ethan Roe.

Source of Character: The 1983/1984 animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, the 1986 Skeletor’s Revenge, 1985/1986 She-Ra Princess of Power. Voiced by Alan Oppenheimer.

Helper(s): Pawsplay, Zaxophus, Animals file on Worg, imdb, Wikipedia.

Writeup completed on the 26th of March, 2019.

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