Pathfinder Player Companion: Undead Slayer’s Handbook (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Undead Slayer’s Handbook (PFRPG)
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Dust to Dust!

Discover the secrets of battling the undead with Pathfinder Player Companion: Undead Slayer’s Handbook! From mindless zombies to diabolical liches, the undead horrors of Golarion are as diverse as they are numerous—and slayers of all walks are needed to return these dread monsters to their graves. Master the various tactics needed to identify and battle undying foes, whether you’re a knightly order’s professional exorcist, a scholar pursing knowledge the undead possess, or a rogue undead hunter with reasons all your own.

Inside this book, you’ll find:

  • Details on the necrology of undead creatures, whether they’re mindless skeletons existing only to serve or consummate vampires violently pursuing the dream of immortality.
  • A thorough exploration of four character themes that cover the diverse tactics of various undead slayers, including the righteous exorcist, the thoughtful necrologist, the merciful redeemer, and the ruthless stalker.
  • New class archetypes and character options that enable slayers from all paths to take down the undead in whatever manner they see fit.
  • New adventuring gear, alchemical items, and slayer kits to make sure you have the tools necessary to lay undead creatures low.
  • New spells, feats, magic items, and more to ensure your next encounter with the undead isn’t your last.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

Written by Dennis Baker, Jay Loomis, Alex Putnam, Adam Roy, Tork Shaw, and Larry Wilhelm
Cover Art by Michal Ivan

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-604-1

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Archives of Nethys

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Good, solid book

4/5

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

On the whole, I like the Undead Slayer’s Handbook. It scores over similar books like the Dragonslayer’s Handbook and the Demon Hunter’s Handbook by being of wider use despite its slightly niche focus. Many of its options (from feats to alchemical tools) will prove useful against more than just undead opponents, making them still good choices for campaigns in which undead appear infrequently and are not the central focus. It’s not a “must have” book, but it’s certainly a useful one.


Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Undead Slayers Handbook

5/5

Originally posted on www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Pathfinder Player Companion-Undead Slayer's Handbook
System-Pathfinder
Price-$13(PDF), $20 print
Producer-Paizo
TL;DR-Great introduction and options for fighting undead. 97%

Basics- Time to fight the things that go bump in the night! Undead Slayer's Handbook gives a general overview of how to fight undead from the simple zombie to the most complex, scheming lich. The book starts with different groups that slay undead and how they may help you. After that, the book focus on fighting different kinds of undead giving feat, spells, items, traits, and class abilities that focus on killing each kind of horror. Moving from the kinds of undead to kill, the book shifts to what kinds of people kill undead giving new class options and feats. The book finishes in classic Pathfinder Player Companion style offering more spells, items, and a prestige class called the Soul Warden.

Mechanics or Crunch- The book provides lots of new options for those focusing on undead. These all look well balanced as you get a large bang for your buck if you fight undead, but won't really help you against the standard goblin. My only complaint is the alchemical items. The book provides several, varied alchemical items to fight undead, but these seem underpowered or far too expensive to use. There are items that do significant damage, but you have to pay too much for them to the practical. There are cheap items that are not that useful. 4.5/5

Story or Fluff- This book is full of story. Lots of new traits provide stories on the background of an adventurer. Also, each section gets almost a full page providing story and background for each monster or monster hunter. It's simply well done! 5/5

Execution-This is Paizo, so the layout is well done. The art is great, but, it might be a bit more than some people can handle. Since, undead tend to be pretty gory. The centerfold is a beautiful haunted house that describes how to fight a haunt, while the front cover provides details on how to fight each type of undead. In addition, the back cover gives information on how undead are viewed in different towns. This book is a pleasure to read and look through. 5/5

Summary- Again, another solid effort by Paizo. Undead are my favorite creatures to fight or throw at my players. This book gives a solid introduction on how to fight the monsters to a new player, and to the older players out there, it provides enough new options to make it useful. 97%


3/5

On first flipping through, my initial impression left me feeling good. On closer inspection, I noticed a few things.

Art is good, and I really like that it covered and focused on classes that where NOT Bard, Rogue, Monk, or Magus.

It seems there are a lot of very cool idea in her, but the mechanics just kind of ruin them, in my opinion. Bless Equipment for example, sounds great, but costs multiple Channel Energy uses, (in addition to Feat the investments), and lasts a only a few rounds. It's just not worth it. Well not before the last few levels of the game, anyway.

None of the items really stand out. All kind of forgettable, or just placing a few other items from other books into "kits". What's kind of worse is they are broken up into three separate sections, each intended to deal with different types of Undead, (Self-Created, Hungry Undead, Incorporeal, and Mindless). A very common theme is that it's really important to find out the details about the undead before they died, but it's never really shown, just told, "hey it's important or fighting Undead".

Haunts are ignored except for the centerfold. mazing picture that is ruined by the little captions (whose intent was to give a breakdown on Haunts). But just like the original rules for Haunts, it seems only about half complete. Still, an amazing picture.

I wanted to like the Archtypes, but on reading through, I just can't. Especially the Roaming Exorcist. It kind of feels like they went back the 3.5 Complete Divine and where not entirely sure on what to do with "spirits", so it's kind of all over the place. The Corpse Hunter (Ranger) is pretty amazing though, trading in a bit of usefulness in the wild for tactical advantage in graveyards and tombs. I like it.

Undecided on my feelings on the Soul Warden PC. D8, 1/2 BaB, 2+Int with very limited Class Skills (but at this point doesn't matter, but lacks Know Religion?), Full Caster that adds a limited Channel Energy (and HEAL). Everything about it's description kind of screams Cleric or Inquisitor type, but to even think about this option for most divine classes is an enormous stp downwards.

Bygone products of an ancient war, soul wardens are an enigma of themselves. The original soul wardens were a specially trained cadre of anti-necromantic commandos in the Nexian army during the Age of Destiny. They rose to prominence during the height of Nex’s war against the undead kingdom of Geb. The wizards’ conflict came to a close during the Age of Enthronement with the undeath of Geb and the disappearance of Nex, and soul wardens fell into obscurity as those armies effectively dissolved. Now, the only soul wardens who tread Golarion are those individuals who unofficially claim the title by mastering the millennia-old secrets of these forgotten warriors.

It looks like a massive boost for most arcane casters, or an excuse to give Wizards some healing abilities. I don't know if I like that.

All in all, the book kind of feels like a very basic primer for players new to fantasy rather than a Guide for battling Undead. That being said, if you loved the other _________ Slayer's Guides, you will probably love this one. If you did not, you will probably likewise not lie this one.


Limited in applicability but situationally essential

4/5

This is a niche book that has limited applicability but if your scenario or adventure calls for combating undead then its essential. The organization of the book is outstanding as is the added background. I really liked the insert of "dealing with haunts" as they come up on various PFS scenarios and new players always ask for information on how to properly deal with the haunt. I will update this review once Ive had a chance to go through the new magic items, spells, archetypes in more detail. But its looking pretty good so far.


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That class cannot be correct. Trivial entry, full BaB, full casting, good saves, a channel pool you can convert into a pile of useful spells, adding those spells to your list so your Wizard casts heal with a 5th level slot, and buckets of other abilities...

If that entry on d20pfsrd isn't in error, I think this thing is desperately in need to errata.


The BAB is an error. In the book they get 1/2.


Okay, that makes WAY more sense. That BaB didn't really mesh with the rest of the abilities, and without it it is a bit more reasonable. Still really strong, easily up there with Magaambyan Arcanist, but at least it isn't a better eldritch knight than the Eldritch Knight on top of that.


Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
The BAB is an error. In the book they get 1/2.

Oh good.

Still nigh-essential for a caster in undead-heavy campaigns (there's practically no reason to avoid taking it in, say, Carrion Crown), but not truly obscene. Magaambyan Arcanist edges it out slightly.

The Exchange

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At the top of the main page of d20pfsrd.com is a link "Report a Problem" which links to a Google Form (this one). Feel free to use that to let me know of these kinds of issues. Of course, you can always email me (jreyst@gmail.com) or PM me here as well.

The BAB is now fixed by the way.

Shadow Lodge

A few questions:

Unseen Revealed (Ex)::
At 1st level, a roaming exorcist gains a bonus equal to 1/2 her cleric level (minimum +1) on Perception checks to detect haunts and incorporeal creatures. . .

Should this be Perception Checks, as well as Notice Checks?

Spirit Sleuth (Ex)::
At 2nd level, upon interacting with a rejuvenating spirit or haunt for the first time (such as by attacking the spirit or channeling energy to damage the haunt), a roaming exorcist can attempt a Sense Motive check as a free action to determine the specific course of action required to permanently neutralize the spirit or haunt (DC = 10 + the undead creature’s Hit Dice or the haunt’s CR).

First, what exactly is a "rejuvenating spirit"? Ghosts and Poltergeists both have an ability called Rejuvenation, but so does the Lich, and technically the Lich is a disembodied spirit at that point.

"Rejuvenation (Su): When a lich is destroyed, its phylactery (which is generally hidden by the lich in a safe place far from where it chooses to dwell) immediately begins to rebuild the undead spellcaster’s body nearby. This process takes 1d10 days—if the body is destroyed before that time passes, the phylactery merely starts the process anew. After this time passes, the lich wakens fully healed (albeit without any gear it left behind on its old body), usually with a burning need for revenge against those who previously destroyed it."

Next, what exactly does this ability do? Is the DM forced to give you the exact details? Hints? Step-by-step directions? Dos it mimic some type of Divination effect?

And finally, in the case of Haunts, it seems perfectly useless. It activates AFTER you do something to interact with the Haunt (the example is attacking it). Haunts act on Init 10 of the Surprise Round, so you literally have only one chance to do anything to a Haunt, and this ability only applies after you just acted on the one action. Am I missing something?

Focus Item::
A soul warden focuses his powers through an object called a focus item. A soul warden must be able to present his focus item to channel damage or to cast spells that require a divine focus. Common focus items include amulets, bells, holy symbols, and staves.

What happens if the spell normally has an [arcane] Focus/DF Component for an Arcane Caster? Do Clerics need to give up their normal Divine Focus for this Focus Item instead?


"Devil's Advocate" wrote:

...

First, what exactly is a "rejuvenating spirit"? Ghosts and Poltergeists both have an ability called Rejuvenation, but so does the Lich, and technically the Lich is a disembodied spirit at that point.

"Rejuvenation (Su): When a lich is destroyed, its phylactery (which is generally hidden by the lich in a safe place far from where it chooses to dwell) immediately begins to rebuild the undead spellcaster’s body nearby. This process takes 1d10 days—if the body is destroyed before that time passes, the phylactery merely starts the process anew. After this time passes, the lich wakens fully healed (albeit without any gear it left behind on its old body), usually with a burning need for revenge against those who previously destroyed it."

Next, what exactly does this ability do? Is the DM forced to give you the exact details? Hints? Step-by-step directions? Dos it mimic some type of Divination effect?

And finally, in the case of Haunts, it seems perfectly useless. It activates AFTER you do something to interact with the Haunt (the example is attacking it). Haunts act on Init 10 of the Surprise Round, so you literally have only one chance to do anything to a Haunt, and this ability only applies after you just acted on the one action. Am I missing something?

I think the point of the ability to find out how to destroy haunts is not so much that you use it to destroy it BEFORE it affects you, but that you use it to exorcise the haunt before it can recharge itself and harm others who may come through the area... or even affect you again if you were to have to come back that way later on.

Dark Archive

Can the birthmark trait be used to fulfill the needs of the focus item class feature of the soul warden?

Dark Archive

I also noticed that the soul warden gets a poor BAB with a D8 hit die. I thought that poor BABs were going to stay with D6 hit dice. Is this supposed to be an exception?

Liberty's Edge

Chris Ballard wrote:
I also noticed that the soul warden gets a poor BAB with a D8 hit die. I thought that poor BABs were going to stay with D6 hit dice. Is this supposed to be an exception?

Rage Prophets already get mid-BAB with d10s. Prestige classes can break the guidelines somewhat.


Undead Invertion (sp?) seems interesting... Would love to see in Feat form.

Dark Archive

A couple of quick questions, not sure if I'm understanding these right:

Under the Soul Warden, Harvest ability:

Quote:
At 4th level, whenever a soul warden destroys an undead creature using channel positive energy, channel damage, or a spell with an instantaneous duration, he regains a use of channel damage. [...] A soul warden cannot use this to exceed his maximum number of uses of channel damage per day.

What's the point of regaining a use of Channel Damage if you can't exceed you maximum number of uses per day?

And secondly, Under the Align Equipment Feat, it says that to bless a weapon with Holy, you have to have the Alignment Channel (Good) Feat. This doesn't make much sense to me. If you focused on hunting undead/Evil creatures, surly you'd take Alignment Channel (Evil) to harm them, so it'd make sense that Holy is based of Alignment Channel (Evil), and vice versa.

All-in-all I like this book a lot, just these couple of little bits confuse me.


Well simple. If you destroy an horde of place holder undead you instantly get back the channel. So you can theoretically crush skeletal armies.

Dark Archive

But what about the line about not being able to "exceed his maximum number of uses of channel damage per day."?

Contributor

If you have a soul warden who can channel four times per day, he can't recover enough channels to put him above the maximum of four per day. He can keep getting channels back, but can't hold onto more than four at a time. So, if your first channel of the day destroys three creatures, you will have four uses available, even though you recovered three uses.


Shin Bilirubin wrote:
But what about the line about not being able to "exceed his maximum number of uses of channel damage per day."?

You can recharge, but not go over...

Say your max is 7, you could recharge up to 7, but can't go above that number (kind of an opposite of Temporary Hit Points)

Dark Archive

Ah, I see. That makes a lot more sense, I was reading it a bit differently, thanks.

Shadow Lodge

I think there is an error in the axe of forced life. As it stands it removes DR/piercing but not DR/slashing, a far more common dr for undead. Anyone from the writing team want to weigh in on that?

Silver Crusade

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doc the grey wrote:
I think there is an error in the axe of forced life. As it stands it removes DR/piercing but not DR/slashing, a far more common dr for undead. Anyone from the writing team want to weigh in on that?

If I recall correctly, it's intentional. Note the type of damage an axe deals. :)


Can a Soul Warden take the Command Undead feat? Since he channels positive energy, that shouldn't be possibile, but he does have Undead control powers, and the text says that the ability qualifies for all feats or effects related to channel energy (not positive energy only).


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Whatever happened to the traits "Forestall the Wicked", "Haunt Breaker", and "Preternatural Awareness"? They are listed in the index on page 3, indicated to be on the center double page spread, but there is no trace of them there.

Shadow Lodge

Alex Putnam wrote:
doc the grey wrote:
I think there is an error in the axe of forced life. As it stands it removes DR/piercing but not DR/slashing, a far more common dr for undead. Anyone from the writing team want to weigh in on that?
If I recall correctly, it's intentional. Note the type of damage an axe deals. :)

lol you are correct. Zoned out and forgot about it. That being said though reducing slashing DR would still probably be more useful than piercing dr drop considering that the DR is reduced for everyone and how few undead actually have DR/piercing.

Come to think of it, does anyone know of undead with DR/piercing?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zaister wrote:

Whatever happened to the traits "Forestall the Wicked", "Haunt Breaker", and "Preternatural Awareness"? They are listed in the index on page 3, indicated to be on the center double page spread, but there is no trace of them there.

The "Arcane Sleuth" trait is also missing, and is also supposed to be on the centre spread.

Seriously, has no one from Paizo responded to this?

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Bellona wrote:
Zaister wrote:

Whatever happened to the traits "Forestall the Wicked", "Haunt Breaker", and "Preternatural Awareness"? They are listed in the index on page 3, indicated to be on the center double page spread, but there is no trace of them there.

The "Arcane Sleuth" trait is also missing, and is also supposed to be on the centre spread.

Seriously, has no one from Paizo responded to this?

Hey folks! I didn't notice those questions when I took over the Player Companion line, so they didn't get any attention until just now.

It's not unusual in a book like this to be deciding what stays and what goes quite near the end of editing and layout, especially on something like the center spread (where we don't really know how much room we have until the text and art get combined). We also sometimes discover a flaw with a trait, or that it comes close to duplicating something we've already done.

Since I wasn't the developer for this book, I can't say which of these things happened, but pretty clearly the traits were removed from the spread, but not taken off the index. That's unfortunate, but it does happen occasionally. When we cut things just for space, we keep them to see if they are appropriate to be used somewhere else down the road. When we cut them because they duplicate something else, we generally leave them cut. When we cut them for a rules issue, we may or may not try to fix the issue and product it elsewhere.

In any case, they aren't things we meant to include and didn't - they are things we removed and meant to remove all mention of, but missed one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you for the explanation/answer! :)


Are the Soul Warden's saving throws GPG as in d20pfsrd.com, or PPG as in Archives of Nethys? The only thing sure is that they seem wrong as written in the book.

The Exchange

@Bardess: I've double-checked the source material and the saving throws on d20pfsrd.com were incorrect. I've fixed them now.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/prestige-classes/other-paizo/s-z/soul-warde n

For future reference, if you notice a possible error or discrepency please feel free to use the Report a Problem link in the sidebar navigation menu on d20pfsrd.com and I'll check it out asap.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/trouble


Thanks, but I still think that there must be some mistake in the source itself. A 0/1/1/2/2/3/3/4/4/5 progression doesn't seem right for the Fort save. Am I wrong?

Scarab Sages Developer

Clearly *something* is off. I'll see if I can figure out which is off, and what it ought to be.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Clearly *something* is off. I'll see if I can figure out which is off, and what it ought to be.

I don't suppose you ever did figure out what the Soul Warden's Fort save should be, eh? It looks like the author meant for it to be high, like the will save, but copied the BAB column by accident.

(I apologize for this most ironic necromancy, haha)


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I may never know if the Soul Warden may take the Command Undead feat, or not. I already made this question in other threads and opinions were different. I hoped to hear a definitive answer here…

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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Bardess wrote:
I may never know if the Soul Warden may take the Command Undead feat, or not. I already made this question in other threads and opinions were different. I hoped to hear a definitive answer here…

Who would you need to give you a definite answer? None of the original writers work for Paizo anymore our Design team is writing another edition. It may be best for you to try it and have fun. Good Gaming. :)

Liberty's Edge

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I would say no because Channel damage functions as Channel positive energy whereas Command Undead specifically requires channelling negative energy.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes, but

Undead Slayer’s Handbook wrote:
This ability functions exactly like a cleric’s ability to channel positive energy to deal damage to undead (but not to heal living creatures), and counts as channel energy for the purposes of qualifying for feats or determining effects that rely on channel energy.

Here’s the trick: it doesn’t say “counts as channel POSITIVE energy”.

Liberty's Edge

It does not say "counts as channel negative energy" either. So it does not fulfill the prerequisite of the Command undead feat.

So, not RAI but also not RAW AFAICT.


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That is why I am uncertain about it.
But also, one of the class’ bonus feats is Undead Master.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bardess wrote:

That is why I am uncertain about it.

But also, one of the class’ bonus feats is Undead Master.

I have really no uncertainty here and Undead Master does not require the Command Undead feat AFAIK.

Now, a Soul Warden might have Negative energy channeling from another source.

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