A Brief Dissertation On Where To Shoot An Evil Reanimated Skeleton

Forget zombie kitsch; that’s been covered ad nauseum on the Internet. What weapons to use on them, what specialty kitsch rounds to buy for your gun to shoot them, zombie targets for the shooting range, et cetera and et cetera. Have you reached nauseum yet? I have.

One important bit of useful information remains unexplored, however. I have not seen anyone cover on the Internet how to shoot a reanimated evil skeleton, and believe me, I have researched uncountable hours for the answer (uncountable, in this case, because the number is zero, and anyone who tells you you can count to zero is either a higher mathematician or someone about to pitch you zombie and/or bacon-related products. In a word: insane).

So I’ve done some musing, as one would expect I do given the name of this blog, and I’ve decided the following.

Now with people and, presumably with zombies, (I don’t care for zombie kitsch, so I have done only slightly more research on zombies than on reanimated skeletons, which means I watched Night of the Living Dead twenty-five years ago and Evil Dead this last Valentine’s Day), one shoots for center mass. Well, no, scratch that; in zombie films, I guess the head is the key based on some commercials for zombie movies I’ve seen.

However, with a skeleton, there is no center mass to aim for. The trunk of the body is just a bunch of ribs and a tiny little spine running up the middle. When Zhrotor the Destroyer summons his dragonscale-seeded armies to ravage the land, are you going to trust you’re going to hit that little sliver of bones? Let’s face it, if you hit a rib, you’re probably not even going to annoy the skeleton.

Of course, you can shoot for the head as movie-based zombie hunters do, but you have to be really close, really still, and/or really dependent upon special effects to hit that target.

You could shoot for the clavicle or sternum, I suppose, but a clavicle shot is just going to partially incapacitate the clackety-clacking doom marching on you. I suppose it’s better to deal with a skeleton whose sword and sword arm are lying on the ground than a skeleton still bearing arms, but you can do better.

Friends of mine among the living, I urge you to do what I do: Aim for the pelvis.

Look at that handy bunch of bones right there like a flared sail designed to catch your rounds:

Target the skeleton's pelvis for the best effect.

Shoot a little high, you might be able to sever that spinal cord. A little to each side and low, maybe you’ll put the skeleton on the ground and incapacitated. A direct hit will probably do both, leaving the skeleton to only crawl toward you, allowing you time to escape. Or, I suppose, it could ride C3P0-on-Chewbacca style on another skeleton. Regardless, it’s one less coming after you under its own unholy power.

What sort of weapon should you use? It’s hard to argue with artillery, especially on massed formations of undead. But aside from that, a bigger round with a bigger concussive impact is important. A small gun like a .22 might not break bones, which is the clear goal of shooting at a skeleton. A shotgun shell will scatter a bunch of pellets, and that’s not going to even annoy a skeleton unless, again, it’s right on top of you. So use a big enough round, for sure.

So there you go: go for the pelvis on a skeleton for the best chance of disabling it. Or, if you’re like me, aim for center mass of where its body used to be but exhale or forget to exhale or whatever I do when firing a pistol that causes the shot to go low (it’s not on purpose, but it is consistent).

This has been a public service message from Musings from Brian J. Noggle. We now return you to your regular Internet already in progress.

UPDATE: Welcome, Neatorama, Spiegel, and io9 readers. Hey, if you work in IT, check out my other blog QA Hates You.

3 thoughts on “A Brief Dissertation On Where To Shoot An Evil Reanimated Skeleton

  1. Maybe I played Ultima way too much back in the 1980s, but can’t you just have your cleric cast a Pontori spell?

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