The Skeleton Merchant is an NPC vendor that randomly spawns in the Cavern layer. Enemies will not spawn near him. He will not move into a vacant house if one is available, similar to the Traveling Merchant and the Old Man. He will despawn when off-screen, unlike the others, making him the only NPC that despawns once off-screen.
The Skeleton Merchant's stock changes at dawn (4:30 AM) daily, and he does not need to respawn for it to do so. He has a specific inventory for each moon phase.
He will throw Bones to fend off nearby non-skeletal enemies.
Unlike other NPCs, the Skeleton Merchant does not have a map icon. A Hunter Potion will highlight him, but the Lifeform Analyzer will not detect him.
A Skeleton Merchant found lurking in the Cavern
- The Skeleton Merchant's appearance blocks monster spawns around the player, similar to what three town NPCs do, but there is something more: He is counted as seven normal NPCs in the process of counting active NPCs when spawning NPCs, in most cases effectively blocking virtually anything from spawning, including critters (the maximum spawn is
9 (15*0.6) when three town NPCs are present). This creates a problem when the player is preparing to farm monsters in the Underground or Cavern layers. It is necessary to have a strong external damage source (lava, Boulders, Lihzahrd traps) to kill him to continue farming, or just go far enough for him to despawn.
- Unlike other NPCs, he can neither be teleported using a Portal Gun or King Statue, nor drown. He can sometimes spawn in pools of water.
- The Skeleton Merchant does not attack skeletal enemies, nor will they harm him via contact damage. Skeleton Archers, however, may shoot him by accident if the player is behind the Skeleton Merchant. This will only deal one damage to the Skeleton Merchant (or two if it is a critical hit).
- Skeletron is an exception as both will attack each other.
- He cannot be killed by explosives deployed by the player. However, he may spawn in front of a Detonator or pressure plate explosive trap. Because of his bulkier appearance, players interacting with him may unwittingly hit the plunger on the detonator trap, killing both him and the player.
- Billy Marrows
- Bones McGee
- Gloomy Mays
- Jack Sellington
- Mandible Calavera
- No-Eyed Wiley
- Rattles Magoo
- "Got any spare bones for sale? I'm looking to replace my broken hip... again."
- "Excellent! Someone's finally come by to take some of these maggots off my hands."
- "There's no illness or condition that can't be cured by some of my Slime Oil! Trust me, it works, just look at my lively figure!"
- "You've got a real backbone coming way down here, how 'bout ya buy somethin?"
- "You would not believe some of the things people throw at me... Wanna buy some of it?"
- "I'd lend you a hand, but last time I did that, I didn't get it back for a month."
- "Stay away from the spiders. They'll suck out your insides and leave you a hollow shell of a man. Trust me on this one."
- "The only things constant in this world are death and taxes, I've got both!"
- Selling items to him can help a player clear out their inventory in the middle of a long caving session.
- If a player finds the Skeleton Merchant during daytime and wants to buy something from his nighttime inventory, the player can wait until dusk and his inventory will update to the nighttime inventory.
- The names Jack Sellington and Skellington are references to Jack Skellington from the 1993 American animated fantasy Halloween-Christmas film The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- No-Eyed Willy is a reference to One-Eyed Willy from the 1985 American adventure comedy film The Goonies.
- The name "Mandible Calavera" is a reference to Manuel "Manny" Calavera from the adventure game Grim Fandango.
- The names "Billy Marrows" and "Gloomy Mays" are a reference to the American television salesperson Billy Mays.
- The name "Tom" may be a reference to Tom "Bones" Malone, member of the American blues and soul revivalist band The Blues Brothers.
- "Tom" may also be a reference to the enemy Tim.
- The quote about Slime Oil is a reference to the "miracle medicine" peddlers of the 1800s, who were commonly called Snake Oil Salesmen.
- The quote "The only things constant in this world are death and taxes, I've got both!" is a reference to Benjamin Franklin's famous quote, "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
- The quote "You would not believe some of the things people throw at me... Wanna buy some of it?" is a reference to a young scavenger named "Squirt the Peddler" in the action role-playing game Diablo III. Squirt periodically asks the player a near-exact variation of this question, but refers to "things people throw away" instead of "things people throw at me".
- The quote "Stay away from the spiders. They'll suck out your insides and leave you a hollow shell of a man. Trust me on this one." suggests the Skeleton Merchant was slain by a spider.
- Even though he is not a town NPC, he will throw confetti during a party.
- He is one of two NPCs that does not have a map icon, the other being the Old Man.
- If the Skeleton Merchant is nearby, Bunnies can spawn underground.