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Skeletal Appendage

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Sure, skeletons are scary, especially if they're still walking around. But, you want a real gross out factor? Try a living person (not undead) whose skeleton is partially visible. While a corpse, animate or not, showing bones is a natural sign of decay, a living body showing its skeleton is decidedly unnatural.

A bit medically improbable, so usually indicates magic or super-science. (Although a prosthetic that only looks skeletal is very plausible.) Compare Dem Bones, supertrope of Skull for a Head. A common trait of Necromancers. Often Overlaps with Red Right Hand.


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    Films — Animation 
  • The twin babes born to Delia, Queen of Faeries in Ralph Bakshi's Wizards were diametric opposites: Avatar was the attractive cherub, while Blackwolf was the repulsive wraith with bare-bone arms. Both would mature into powerful wizards, destined to clash over the fate of the After the End world.

  • In The Dark Profit Saga Jynn's first attempt at channeling solamancy in decades sears the flesh from his hand, leaving a skeletal hand that he animates with noctomancy. His liche father tries to invoke it for a "Not So Different" Remark.
  • In A Practical Guide to Evil Hakram loses a hand in a fight with the Lone Swordsman, but the Warlock animates a skeletal appendage as a replacement. This earns Hakram the moniker Death-Hand (and apparently makes him a hit with the orkish ladies).
  • In The Wandering Inn: After losing the skin on her hand, Ceria find she cans still move it and use it to cast magic.
  • Harrow the Ninth: When Ianthe's transplanted arm proves to be incompatible with her magic, Harrowhark cuts it off and grows a skeletal replacement out of Ianthe's own bone. She leaves the flesh off because bone magic is her preferred discipline of Necromancy, whereas she finds flesh magic crass.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Undead grafts in Dungeons & Dragons can include skeleton arms, and the Pale Master prestige class includes one.

    Video Games 
  • Mortal Kombat X: Shinnok in his Necromancer variation removes flesh in his forearm, showing nothing but bones. Oddly (or hilariously), upon getting "finished", his arms revert back to normal.

    Web Comics 
  • Dominic Deegan: Jacob tears the flesh off his arm twice, and his face once, in his attempts to become "the zombie alive". Though it gets regenerated by white magic explosions.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: Regina's wing was stripped to the bone in her first fight with Dan, and she periodically re-strips it when it regenerates because she likes the look.
  • There's a short comic on Johnny Wander called "Girl with the Skeleton Hand" about... a woman with one skeletal hand. She used to have a regular hand, but a little accident on a blind date with the physical incarnation of death stripped away the flesh and tendons from her right hand. She doesn't appear to mind, and in the sequel she discovers that her skeleton hand allows her to interact with ghosts the way her psychopomp date (and now partner) does.
  • Goblins: One Alternate Universe version of Minmax is an Omnicidal Maniac Psion whose arms are replaced by skeletal Hard Light constructs. He prefers to use his Mind over Matter powers, so their utility is unclear.

    Western Animation