Rather than summon a bone commander to serve by his side, the skullshield fuses his bone commander’s body to his own. Instead of two creatures, the bone commander is a fusion of the necromancer and bone commander into a single being.
The skullshield is an archetype of the necromancer class.
Fused Bone Commander (Su)
A skullshield summons the body of his bone commander to meld with his own being. The skullshield wears the bone commander like light, bone armor. The bone commander mimics all of the skullshield’s movements, and the skullshield perceives through the bone commander’s senses and speaks through its voice, as the two are now one creature.
While fused with his bone commander, the skullshield uses the bone commander’s Strength and Dexterity ability scores, but retains his own Constitution and mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma). The skullshield gains the bone commander’s hit points as temporary hit points. When these hit points reach 0, the bone commander is destroyed and must be resummoned. The skullshield uses the bone commander’s base attack bonus, and gains the bone commander’s armor and natural armor bonuses and modifiers to ability scores. The skullshield also gains access to the bone commander’s special abilities. The bone commander has no skills or feats of its own. The bone commander must be at least the same size as the skullshield. While fused, the skullshield loses the benefits of his armor. He counts as both his original type and as an undead for any effect related to type, whichever is worse for the skullshield. Neither the skullshield nor his bone commander can be targeted separately, as they are fused into one creature. The skullshield and bone commander cannot take separate actions. While fused with his bone commander, the skullshield can use all of his own abilities and gear, except for his armor.
This ability replaces bone commander.
Fused Link (Su)
Starting at 2nd level, the skullshield forms a close bond with his bone commander. Whenever the temporary hit points from his bone commander would be reduced to 0, the necromancer can, as a free action, sacrifice any number of his own hit points. Each hit point sacrificed this way prevents 1 point of damage done to the bone commander (thus preventing the loss of the necromancer’s temporary hit points), preventing the bone commander from being destroyed.
This ability replaces undead body.
Shielded Meld (Ex)
At 4th level, whenever the skullshield is fused with his bone commander, he gains a +2 shield bonus to his Armor Class and a +2 circumstance bonus on his saving throws.
This ability replaces unholy fortitude.
Bone Armament (Su)
At 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, the skullshield gains a one of the following bone armaments that augments his bone commander (can’t choose the same ability more than once):
- Armor (Ex): The skullshield grows extra bone plating on his bone commander, augmenting the natural armor bonus equal to his Charisma modifier.
- Bite (Ex): The skullshield gains a bite natural attack that deals 1d6 points of damage. This is a primary natural attack.
- Claws (Ex): The skullshield grows a second set of skeletal arms that end in claws, able to deal 1d4 points of damage per claw. These are secondary natural attacks.
- Healing (Ex): The skullshield gains Fast Healing equal to his Charisma modifier which only heals the temporary hit points of bone commander.
- Horn (Ex): The skullshield grows a horn that deals 1d6 points of damage. This is a primary natural attack.
- Nullify (Ex): The skullshield enables his bone commander to be more resistant to spells, gaining a Spell Resistance of 5 + his necromancer level.
- Resistance (Ex): The skullshield enables his bone commander to be more resistant to the elements, gaining an Elemental Resistance to all his elements equal to his Charisma modifier.
- Toughness (Ex): The skullshield thickens the bone armor plating on his bone commander, granting him a damage reduction equal to his Charisma modifier.
This ability replaces bone minions gained at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels.
Greater Shielded Meld (Ex)
At 10th level, whenever the skullshield is fused with his bone commander, he gains a +4 shield bonus to his Armor Class and a +4 circumstance bonus on his saving throws.
This ability replaces fortification.