A common mechanic in tactical role playing games is the ability to recruit monsters to your party. Final Fantasy Tactics is no exception to this rule. Skeletons are the most fragile monster you can add to your party. They have are weak to a very common damage type and almost impossible to heal. Additionally, the main benefit a Skeleton provides is easily mimicked by a variety of spell casting classes. As such, there is little reason to ever add one to your party. The following guide to Skeletons in Final Fantasy Tactics will help you optimally use this monster in your party.
How to Acquire – You can acquire Skeletons at Sweegy Woods or Zeklaus Desert.
Innate Ability: Counter (All) – All monsters have the ability to counterattack. Skeleton damage is reasonably good, so this ability is useful, assuming the Skeleton can live long enough to use it.
Innate Ability: Weak to Fire, Holy (All) – All Skeletons take increased damage from fire and holy attacks. Holy attacks are generally uncommon, though some key bosses use this damage type. On the other hand, fire is one of the most common elemental types in the game. This means Skeleton will generally take increased damage against spell casters.
Innate Ability: Undead (All) – Like all undead, Skeletons have a chance to recover some or even all hit points upon death. The chance of recovery is entirely random as are the hit points recovered. This is the main reason to use a Skeleton. If you are facing a battle where it is almost impossible to prevent characters from dying and you don’t have a lot of ability to resurrect allies, this ability could give you a fighting chance. Unfortunately, this advantage comes with a drawback, too. The same ability that can resurrect the Skeleton also prevents it from benefiting from any normal healing.
Innate Ability: Absorb Dark (All) – Undead can’t heal normally, but are healed by any damage with the darkness type. Unfortunately, this damage type is incredibly rare in the game and almost impossible to apply to your own party members. You should basically pretend this ability doesn’t exist and just be pleasantly surprised in the rare battle where it does come up.
Special Ability: Knife Hand (All) – Knife Hand is not different from any other basic attack in the game. Skeletons have a good physical attack, so the damage is good, though the elemental abilities of Skeletons tend to be better to use, in general.
Special Ability: Thunder Soul (Basic Skeleton) – Thunder Soul is a ranged attack that deals lightning damage that is roughly equivalent to the damage dealt by Knife Hand. Lightning damage is very common in the game, so you don’t really need to go to the effort of finding a Skeleton to get access to it.
Special Ability: Aqua Soul (Basic Skeleton w/ Monster Skill, Bone Snatch) – Aqua Soul works exactly like Thunder Soul except it deals water damage. Water damage is rare in the game and happens to be particularly useful against Bombs, so this ability is one of the few reasons that you might decide to include a Skeleton in your party.
Special Ability: Ice Soul (Bone Snatch w/ Monster Skill, Living Bone) – Ice Soul deals ice damage, which is basically as common as lightning damage, though a tiny bit more useful, in general, especially against Goblins..
Special Ability: Wind Soul (Living Bone w/ Monster Skill) – Similar to Aqua Soul, the primary benefit of Wind Soul is that wind damage is very rare in the game, and particularly good against some flying monsters. Additionally, this attack deals 50% more damage than the other similar abilities that Skeletons have. But, even with all of these benefits, a Living Bone is still generally a poor party member.
Strategy – A Skeleton is essentially a weak substitute for a Wizard. Ignoring the fact that you can’t heal it, it is a tad bit sturdier than most spell casters, especially if the random resurrection ability kicks in. Despite that, there are only a few battles in the game that even vaguely justify a Skeleton. A few enemies have incredibly powerful darkness attacks. A Skeleton can go toe to toe with those enemies and ignore the attacks entirely. It is a very corner case use, but if you like experimenting with alternate strategies, it can potentially make some hard battles quite a bit easier.