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Kill Icon
Killicon skeletons.png
Basic Information
Health: Normal: 50
Small: 50
King: 1000
Mobster: 130
Salmann: 200
Scarecrow: 500
Toastmaster: 5000
Damage Done: King: 100
Normal: 30
Small: 20
Affected By:
• Battalion's Backup: No
• Bonk! Atomic Punch: Yes
• Candy Cane: No
• Chargin' Targe: Yes
• Dead Ringer: Yes
• Gunboats: ?
• Mini-crits: Yes
• ÜberCharge: Yes
Found On: Bloodwater, Brimstone, Cauldron, Erebus, Farmageddon, Ghoulpit, Gorge Event, Gravestone, Graveyard, Hassle Castle, Hellstone, Helltower, Los Muertos, Precipice, Sinthetic, Slasher, Slime, Spineyard, Terror

From spells only: Monster Bash, Moonshine Event, Pit of Death

This article is about the AI-controlled enemies. For other uses, see Skeleton (disambiguation).

Skeletons are AI-controlled entities ​that are found in ​Halloween maps. Originally introduced ​in Helltower​, they often spawn when a point is captured in Payload or Control Points. They can also be spawned using console commands with sv_cheats enabled.

There are two types of Skeletons that can spawn: team-colored and green. Team-colored Skeletons can only attack and receive damage from the opposite team, and are only spawned by players on the server using a Rare Summon Skeletons Magic Spell. Green Skeletons can attack or receive damage from either team and can spawn naturally on many Halloween maps.

There are 3 different ​sizes of Skeletons: Small (or "Babies"), Normal ​(​or Medium)​, and ​crown-wearing ​Kings. ​​​​Normal Skeletons ​spawn individually or in groups, while Small Skeletons only spawn from the shattered bones of ​​destroyed ​Normal Skeletons​. Singular Skeleton Ki​ngs, much ​larger with a greater pool of health​, usually spawn accompanying a number of ​Normal Skeletons​.​

When ​​destroyed​​, Normal Skeletons ​drop three glowing skulls, which then ​​​sprout​ into three ​Small Skeletons​ that then attack until destroyed.

The Skeleton King drop​s​ a Rare Magic Spell ​when it is destroyed by players; however, they do not drop any Magic Spells when they are destroyed by an environmental hazard or the Payload cart.

Maps with Skeletons


All Skeletons move at a speed of 300 Hammer units per second (same speed as the Pyro, Engineer, and Sniper) when navigating the map, and attack at about once per second.

  • Small ​Skeletons spawn with 50 health and do 20 damage on hit.
  • Normal Skeletons also spawn with 50 health but do 30 damage per hit.
  • Skeleton Kings spawn with 1000 health and do 100 damage on hit.

Skeleton ​King attacks have strong knockback​; Normal and Small Skeletons have successively weaker knockback.

​​Skeletons are not affected by damage falloff, status ailments​ (such as Mad Milk or bleeding​)​​,​ on-hit effects​ (such as Rage-building or the Blutsauger's on-hit heali​​ng​), knockback​, ​or airblasts. ​Neither​​​ are ​Skeletons ​subject to headshots.​ They are, however, otherwise affected by critical hits.

​​Kill Taunts ​generally have no effect ​on ​Skeletons, ​doing no damage to them; however, some taunt attacks do some damage to Skeletons:

  • The Execution still fires the normal Scorch Shot round as part of the taunt, which does do normal Scorch Shot damage to Skeletons and, so, can destroy multiple Small and Normal Skeletons in two shots, albeit at a rate much slower than normal shooting.
  • The Grenade taunt does do limited splash damage to all ​Skeletons ​that are close enough, and enough damage to destroy any nearby Small and Normal ​​Skeletons, but it is a slow taunt​.

The scarecrows in Farmageddon are reskins of the Normal Skeleton, but with 500 health instead of 50, and do not spawn Small Skeletons.

The Toastmaster, a unique boss in Sinthetic, is a reskin of the Skeleton King, but with 5000 health instead of the usual 1000.

The Salmann of Slime are a reskin of the Normal Skeletons. They have four times as much health as a regular Normal Skeleton, at 200 health, and can soak players in slime to mark them for death for 5 seconds.

In Spineyard, the skeletons have 130 health, more than double the health of a regular Normal Skeleton. They are also armed with submachine guns, being able to hit players from a distance and deal much more damage per second. They do not spawn Small Skeletons when defeated, but they drop a Magic Spell each.


​Skeletons spring from the ground at the spawn points. ​Normal Skeletons and Skeleton Kings spawn with recognizable sound cues that vary between maps (for example, chiming bells or Merasmus's incantations).

Once spawned, they run towards players, maneuvering around obstacles. They are unable to jump or crouch​.

​Once they are close enough to a player, they start to melee attack them. Upon destroying a Normal skeleton, 3 glowing skulls are scattered to the immediate surrounding area. These spawn Small skeletons, which then continue attacking players. Once the target is killed, or has gotten to an inaccessible point (such as a roof in which there are no solid pathway connections), the Skeletons move on to the next nearest player. Should no players be present to target, all Skeletons stop in place and stand still. All types of Skeleton gib on the spot after being on the playing field for an extended period of time without being destroyed.

Skeletons target all bots that take up player slots, such as TFBots or puppet bots, but do not target any Engineer buildings or bosses such as the Horseless Headless Horsemann, Merasmus, or MONOCULUS. All TFBots, Sentry Guns, and team-allied MONOCULUS target the Skeletons, however. Skeletons created with a Magic spell have the same stats and navigation, but attack both the opposing team and other Skeletons that are not on the team of the summoner. ​


See Community Skeletons strategy

Related achievements

Item icon Spellbook Magazine.png Bereavements

Helltower: Skeleton Coup
Helltower: Skeleton Coup
Kill 99 skeletons

Console commands

In order to enable the spawning of Skeletons on a non-Halloween map, the server must be running Halloween mode. The server administrator can manually enable this mode by using the command tf_forced_holiday 2. The server is also required to have cheats (sv_cheats 1) enabled, which disables obtaining achievements. TF Zombie entities can also be manually spawned with the command ent_create tf_zombie.

Command Description
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_enabled If non-zero, enables skeleton spawning.
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_enabled <integer>
Either 1 or 0. Default is 0 (disabled).
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_enabled 1 enables the skeleton horde on all AI-noded maps.
On maps without Skeleton spawns, this command spawns 20 Normal Skeletons every 8 minutes at predetermined out-of-sight spots relative to the nearest player. ​
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_spawn_count Determines the total number of skeletons to spawn each wave.
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_spawn_count <integer>
Whole number between 0 and how many skeletons to spawn each wave. Default is 20.
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_spawn_count 5 spawns 5 skeletons per wave.
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_spawn_interval Determines the time between consecutive skeleton waves.
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_spawn_interval <integer>
Whole number between 0 and how many seconds before the next wave. Default is 480.
Setting the spawn interval to 0 causes skeletons to continuously spawn and can cause the server to crash.
tf_halloween_zombie_mob_spawn_interval 40 spawns a wave of skeletons every 40 seconds.
tf_halloween_zombie_damage The amount of damage a skeleton hit does. This command no longer works as of Scream Fortress 2013.
tf_halloween_zombie_damage <integer>
Whole number between 0 and how much damage each skeleton melee attack performs. Default is 10.
tf_halloween_zombie_damage 20 makes skeletons do 20 damage every hit.
tf_halloween_zombie_speed The speed at which the skeletons move at. This command was removed as of Scream Fortress 2013, so skeletons always move at the same speed.
tf_halloween_zombie_speed <integer>
Whole number between 0 and how much fast the zombies move in Hammer units. Default is 300.
Setting the speed to around 1000 and higher causes the zombies to damage themselves and die while moving.
tf_halloween_zombie_speed 400 makes the skeletons move at 400 Hammer units.
tf_max_active_zombie Sets the maximum skeletons allowed to exist at once. If the limit is exceeded, the new skeletons instantly gib.
Whole number between 0 and how many skeletons exist at once. Default is 32.
tf_max_active_zombie 512 allows up to 512 active skeletons at once.

Update history

June 21, 2022 Patch

Unused content

  • There exists 3 unused skeletons in the game's files: a plain skeleton that does not glow any specific color, a skeleton that glows an orange color, and a skeleton that glows a purple color.


  • ​The Skeleton​s​ ​are able to hit player​s through certain walls, ceilings, or other obstructions, ​if players stand within their normal reach. Particular examples ​include King and Normal skeletons reaching through the windowed wall in front of the team spawns in ​Helltower​ and The King reaching players ​​standing above him ​on some of the balconies.
  • On rare occasions, the Skeletons summoned by either team freeze and do not move or attack, rendering them useless. They can still receive damage as normal. This often occurs when skeletons are spawned in areas that lack a navigation mesh.
  • Skeletons do not spawn on AI-noded maps if there are no players on both teams, even with bots present.



  • The Skeleton King wears Prince Tavish's Crown (with RED gems).
  • Skeletons use the Flying Guillotine's hitsounds when spawned from a skull (e.g. when spawned from a spell or after killing a medium-sized skeleton).


See also