While animated skeletons possess no intelligence at all and are only driven by some universal evil, a Skeleton Warrior is indeed an independent and intelligent creature. Most Skeleton Warriors came into existence by free choice of will. Many of them used to be heroes or dutiful soldiers in life who volunteered to become the eternal guardian of some object or place. During their life, they were prepared for their eternal guard duty: they were trained in meditation, tattooed with powerful magic runes, and participated in arcane rituals.
After their death, they are dressed in their best ceremonial armor which has further enchantments. For a while the corpse is as inanimate like any other corpse. Instead of rotting, these corpses slowly become mummified in the course of time. At some point, which may take years to reach, the Skeleton Warrior will rise into its undead existence. As Skeleton Warriors are unable to communicate, it is unknown where their consciousness resides in the time between death and resurrection. It is assumed by mages that the risen Skeleton Warrior usually begins his guard duty in a more or less sane state of mind. In the course of years, the once devoted warrior becomes more and more aware of his state and the consequences of his decision. Such knowledge slowly erodes the minds of all but the most stable beings. Moreover, the spells preserving the guardians are often more powerful than the ones on the guarded objects. So often, the guarded object is destroyed after some time leaving the Skeleton Warrior without any purpose. This ultimate futility of their sacrifice breaks the mind of even the most strong-minded individuals and turns them into undead killing machines, not very different from any other undead. In the end, only few of them are still capable of truly fulfilling their duty which means to kill only those that are not allowed to enter the guarded places. Often enough it occurred that an unsuspecting priest visited a guarded place and was killed by a Skeleton Warrior that he had helped to prepare for his eternal duty.
Physically the Skeleton Warrior combines undead strength and resilience with the prowess of his former life. This and the formidable equipment make Skeleton Warriors to a significant threat to anyone unlucky enough to find one of the places that they are guarding.
It takes 350 mana to summon or convince these creatures.