In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the boneclaw is an undead creature[1] which can be used by Dungeon Masters as allies or enemies of the player characters. In the game, they resemble humanoids who are half skeletal and half without skin, with their sinew and muscle exposed. The most prominent feature of the boneclaw are its claws; its three, bony fingernails seem to grow and shrink randomly between two to ten feet long, and are razor sharp. They are constructed using a secret magical ritual to hunt and kill living creatures[1]

Alignment Chaotic Evil
Type Undead in 3rd edition; Shadow Animate in 4th edition. (Undead (in 4th edition only))
Image image
Publication history
Source books Monster Manual III
First appearance 2004

Publication historyEdit

The boneclaw first appeared in the third edition in Monster Manual III (2004).[2]

The boneclaw appeared in the fourth edition Monster Manual (2008).[1]


Whether to sadistically end the lives of the innocent, or due to being in the service of a necromancer or such who commands them to do so, the purpose of boneclaws in the Dungeons & Dragons game is to eviscerate the living with their claws. Though they often grow and retract as they please, the Boneclaw can take full control of the length of its claws, and attacks by sneaking into the range of a foe and then lashing out with a claw growing at the speed of lightning, and skewering them through the heart.

Boneclaws speak Common and, in 3rd edition, Abyssal.[2] They are evil in alignment.[1]

Campaign settingsEdit

Boneclaws in the Forgotten Realms were created by Szass Tam to protect Thayan enclaves.[2]

Boneclaws in Eberron were created by Droamite necromancers working for the daughters of Sora Kell from ogre magi.[2]


Two Dungeons & Dragons miniatures represent boneclaws. The first, simply called "Boneclaw", was a Rare miniatures in the Deathknell expansion.[3] The second, also a rare, was the "Boneclaw Impaler" in the Against the Giants expansion.[4]


  1. a b c d Monster Manual 4th edition, by Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt, copyright 2008 Wizards of the Coast.
  2. a b c d Monster Manual III, 3rd edition, copyright 2004 Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Deathknell miniatures gallery at Wizards of the Coast's website.
  4. Against the Giants miniatures gallery at Wizards of the Coast's website.