Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
You can recruit just about every character type imaginable in Chrono Cross, so it stands to reason that at least one character would be a skeleton. A circus clown who has lost his way in the world, the aptly-named Skelly is a Black-Innate character whom you can bring onboard relatively early in the game - though you need to do a lot of searching to find all of his pieces. He's, ah, all over the place.
This guide will help you recruit Skelly in Chrono Cross. Despite this seeming like a worldwide scavenger hunt, you can get Skelly pretty early in the game, but you'll still need a boat from Guldove to finish the job. You'll also need to be in Another World, so don't accidentally go looking for Skelly's bits in Home World.
You'll first meet Skelly - or his skull, anyway - in Fossil Valley. When you first enter the area, heading north, you'll see an Acacian Dragoon blocking a path. If you speak to this man he'll ask you if you're the exorcist the Dragoons called in. There's a spirit on the loose, apparently, and this guy thinks you're it. Tell him you are indeed the exorcist and he'll let you through.
There are more soldiers on the next screen. Head north past their captain and Skelly's skull will come hopping over to you, asking for help putting his body back together. Agree to help him and the Heavy Skull will become one of your key items. Skelly will chip in from now on whenever you find one of his bones, and if you visit his home in Termina.
The rest of Skelly is all over the world map. Again, you'll need Korcha's boat from Guldove to get everything, so you may want to wait a bit before you start the hunt in earnest.
Finding Skelly's Bones
There are five bones belonging to Skelly scattered throughout the El Nido Archipelago, and you'll need all of them before Skelly will hush up and join the party. Most of them are pretty easy to get once you know where to go, though a few of them are in dangerous territory. Be prepared for some risky adventuring if you plan to undertake the quest as soon as you get Korcha's boat.
The easiest, safest piece of Skelly to find is the Pelvic Bone. Near the docks in Guldove where you can set sail on Korcha's boat is a trader who will exchange raw materials for your leftover Elements. Speak to her once and cancel out of the trading screen. She will then offer to give you the Pelvic Bone.
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Though it's probably not the piece you'll get second, the hunt for the Good Backbone begins in Guldove, so you might as well get it done while you fetch the Pevlic Bone. Head into Orlha's shop in the west of Guldove and you'll see a dwarf standing near the counter. Speak to him several times and he'll talk to you about the Hydra Marshes, as well as give you the Green Tinkler. You'll need this to get through the marsh.
Head to the Hydra Marshes. The bog is poisonous, and before you do anything else you'll want to head north and then west. Following the paths beyond the main swamp will eventually bring you to an NPC who will give you Safety Gear. This will allow you to return to the main swamp and wander in the poisonous waters without taking damage.
Head back towards the entrance of the Hydra Marshes and make your way north, protected from harm. You'll soon come to a green vine that will whip you if you interact with it. Use the Green Tinkler as a key item and it will fold over and give you access to the rest of the Hydra Marshes. Follow the path beyond the vine to the north and then west. Near the rear of the marshes you'll see a small cave. Enter it to find the Good Backbone, sitting just out of sight.
The third piece of Skelly, the Angry Scapula, can be retrieved early if you're trying to recruit Nikki. You'll need to follow him into the Shadow Forest in order to gain access to Viper Manor. If you decided to use Guile or Pierre to access Viper Manor, however, you'll need to wait until you're done with your first trip to the manor. Knights block the entrance unless Nikki heads into the forest.
Regardless of when you make the trip in, head west two screens from the entrance. You'll see a small waterfall just south of you when you enter the third screen. Go down to it to find a small cave behind the waterfall. Inspect the pile of bones in the back and you'll get a note about another quest in this forest, as well as find the Angry Scapula.
The last two pieces are easy street. You'll find the Sturdy Ribs on Water Dragon Isle, located south of the main island of the El Nido Archipelago. This place is devoid of water, and there's not a whole lot you can do in Another World's Water Dragon Isle. If you wander north from the entrance towards the far end of the screen, however, you'll see a worker in green investigating something just off the main path. Speak to him and he'll hand over the Sturdy Ribs.
The final piece of Skelly - or final pieces - come in the form of the Mixed Bones. Sail to the Isle of the Damned, a desolate area in the northeast of the world map. If you check the north of the first screen of the Isle of the Damned you'll find a small cave. The Mixed Bones are inside the cave.
Do not leave this screen if you're coming to the Isle of the Damned early in the game. Yes, you can find some items elsewhere on this island, but the enemies on the Isle of the Damned are waaaaay more powerful than you, and will rip you to pieces if you try to fight them. The first screen, fortunately, is devoid of enemies.
Once you have all six pieces of Skelly, regardless of the order in which you got them, he will pipe up and confirm that the quest his done. He'll bid you farewell, and the six pieces will disappear from your key items list. Where'd Skelly go?
Head to Termina. If you check the upper-right house on the first screen of Termina you'll discover that this is Skelly's former home, confirmed by his skull if you brought him here earlier. Speak to Skelly's grandmother and Skelly, reassembled, will walk into the house and embrace his meemaw. Leave the house so they can have a brief reunion, then walk right back in and speak to Skelly. He will ask if you need help. Take him up on his offer and he'll join the party.