Pathfinder Book of the Dead

3.90/5 (based on 19 ratings)
Pathfinder Book of the Dead

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The dead are rising! This blasphemous tome gives players and GMs everything they need to bring the shambling menace of the undead to their Pathfinder adventures. This book includes tools for fighting against the undead horde, but also options for the players themselves to control or even become undead creatures. GMs will find new tools and haunts, as well as information about the undead-plagued lands of the Lost Omens campaign setting. A massive bestiary section full of undead creatures brings more threats for GMs to use and summonable creatures for players, including more versions of classic undead like vampires, skeletons, and zombies. This 224-page hardcover rulebook also includes a full adventure themed around fighting the undead!

Written by: Jason Bulmahn, Brian Bauman, Tineke Bolleman, Logan Bonner, Jessica Catalan, John Compton, Chris Eng, Logan Harper, Michelle Jones, Jason Keeley, Luis Loza, Ron Lundeen, Liane Merciel, Patchen Mortimer, Quinn Murphy, Jessica Redekop, Mikhail Rekun, Solomon St. John, Michael Sayre, Sen.H.S.S, Kendra Leigh Speedling, Jason Tondro, Andrew White

Available Formats

Pathfinder Book of the Dead is also available as:

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-401-7

The adventure contained within this rulebook, "March of the Dead," is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure and Chronicle Sheets are available as a free download (881 KB PDF).

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

Pathfinder Nexus on Demiplane
Roll20 Virtual Tabletop
Archives of Nethys

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Rulebook Subscription.

Product Availability

Print Edition:

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PDF:

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZO2110


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Average product rating:

3.90/5 (based on 19 ratings)

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Great resource, just wish the player options were a bit stronger

5/5

title says it all, it's a good book but it feels like they were afraid of really committing to the undead vibe for the player options, which is a bummer but far from a deal breaker


5/5


Good undead archetypes, lore lacking

3/5

The highlight of this book is the archetypes and ancestry for allowing undead PCs. The handling of rejuvenation and soul cage in particular works well, and would work as good inspiration for representing other powerful monsters as PC archetypes. If that's your next campaign, this book could be worth it for the archetypes alone.

For a DM running an undead-heavy campaign, this book works well as an additional bestiary. There are 85 monster entries, as well as alternate ability options for some of the more common undead and some new haunts. None particularly stood out to me, but the sheer number is certainly helpful and in Pathfinder 2E every monster entry has something interesting going for it. The adventure is fine, but Paizo produces so many better adventures in other product lines. (I haven't run this one, so can't judge the difficulty.)

For living PCs, this book isn't worth it. The archetypes are lackluster. There's 2 pages of backgrounds and 3 pages of items, but surprisingly no new spells at all. I didn't dock the book for this. Some books simply aren't for good-aligned PCs.

Most disappointing is the lore section. The cursive font used for some of the in-world lore sections is more legible than previous books, but still difficult to read. I can't imagine trying to decipher it in the pocket edition. Luckily, these in-universe esoteric pieces aren't that interesting to me anyway. Worse is the choice to write almost all of the lore from Geb's highly-opinionated perspective. A light touch might have been entertaining, but in a few places, notably the Deities of Undeath and the shorter entries in the Lands of Undead section, the opinions are so strong that I can't actually tell what he's talking about. I love well-considered lore that inspires characters and plot hooks (Mwangi Expanse was fantastic and Guns & Gears did this well for a book in the rulebook product line), but here it feels like a lazy way to add page count.


Not for Players

2/5

Contains cool lore RE: Undead and cool undead creature profiles for GMs

Most of the undead options for players are very weak, sacrifice important flavor for balance, or worse (and more commonly) both. Most of the playable options don't actually feel like undead

If you want this book because you are interested in playing an undead character, save yourself some time and money and just homebrew something better.


A lore-packed book full of undead-centered options

5/5


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Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.

The book has been sent to the printer! But it is in about 15 different PDF pieces. I'll slowly leak out questions as time permits. Eventually, there will be a consolidate PDF that I can run searches on.

Silver Crusade

Favourite piece of art?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

how does playing as a vampire or lich work what abilities do we get?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

How high level are vampire/ghost/lich options?


I wonder, do we expect 2 rule books in 2022, i.e. book of the dead and Dark Archive or is there the possibility of a 3rd book?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
General Orc wrote:
I wonder, do we expect 2 rule books in 2022, i.e. book of the dead and Dark Archive or is there the possibility of a 3rd book?

The usual pattern is three Rulebooks a year. so there should be a fall book, but it isn't announced yet.

Spring GenCon Fall
2019 - CRB and Bestiary GMG (pushed into 2020)
2020 Bestiary 2 Advanced Player's Guide Beginner Box
2021 Bestiary 3 Secrets of Magic Guns & Gears
2022 Book of the Dead Dark Archive Unknown

Ugh it just deletes spacing!!! :shakefist at PMG!

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

19 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
The book is about to be sent to the printer. I’ll take a look at the final PDF for the first time next week. We are of the opinion that spoilers and previews via blogs aren’t what we’re looking for because they’re not evergreen. Buuuuuuut, how do you feel about an early AMA Q&A here on the product page? Try something new for 2022?

What level can a player character become a mummy?

Is there info on undead beyond the Inner Sea?

Answer of the Day:

Skeleton is an ancestry (OMG skeleton heritages!!!). All the other playable undead are archetypes. All of them start with a 2nd level feat, except lich is higher at 12.

So, one could be a mummy at 2nd level, or 1st if one uses the free archetype rule. Understand that I'm still getting to know the book and it is filled with guidance (because our authors are rockstars), so there might be nuance I have missed.

There is a chapter called Lands of the Dead and it does detail areas beyond the Inner Sea.

Does this help you know if you want to preorder or subscribe? Tell your favorite local game store if you like as I'm sure they will take your preorder. We want you to choose the purchase method that is right for you.


How long is the adventure, page wise? what levels?


Which of the new (to Pathfinder in general, not just 2E) creatures in the included Bestiary do you think has the coolest name?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Answers will continue on Monday. :)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I doubt it, but I would love to see an archtype for a white necromancero


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Keraki wrote:
I doubt it, but I would love to see an archtype for a white necromancero

The Hallowed Necromancer archetype was confirmed at Gencon, I think.

It's about necromancers that destroy undead instead of creating them, which I assume is what you're talking about.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

11 people marked this as a favorite.
KaiBlob1 wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
The book is about to be sent to the printer. I’ll take a look at the final PDF for the first time next week. We are of the opinion that spoilers and previews via blogs aren’t what we’re looking for because they’re not evergreen. Buuuuuuut, how do you feel about an early AMA Q&A here on the product page? Try something new for 2022?

sounds great.

Are there rules for if a previously livingplayer character dies and becomes undead (ie how to handle the transition, stat changes, etc)?

Answer of the Day: Yes. Chapter 2, Hymns for the Dead, details playing undead. There are sections on playable undead options, roleplaying undead, running a game with undead PCs, and sidebars on becoming undead, starting out as undead, and healing, er stitching, undead. It includes all the archetypes I listed above. There are sidebars on INCORPOREALITY, FLIGHT, AND REJUVENATION (for ghosts), ROLEPLAYING A GHOUL, SOUL CAGE (for liches), and VAMPIRE VULNERABILITIES.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

For the future, I'd love to know what a Hallowed Necromancer actually does, like what play style does it support?


Aaron Shanks wrote:
and VAMPIRE VULNERABILITIES.

This for Vamp then. And no sidebar for mummies?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

Laclale♪ wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
and VAMPIRE VULNERABILITIES.
This for Vamp then. And no sidebar for mummies?

Right, no sidebar for mummies.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
For the future, I'd love to know what a Hallowed Necromancer actually does, like what play style does it support?

It is a good necromancer.

Prerequisites:
good alignment, able to cast spells using spell slots, able to cast at least one necromancy spell, expert in religion.

They bolster the living and destroy the undead.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Shanks wrote:
AJCarrington wrote:

Aaron - would it be possible to get a list of the artists who have contributed to the book? It's great to see all the authors and I would love to the artists as well.

An aside, any chance we could get more art released as wallpapers and such?

Yes, when the PDF is final I can list them from the Credits/Masthead. But I don't have access to which artist is responsible for which art. We are planning a "Thank you, authors" blog after release, too.

Answer of the Day:

As I mentions above, the cover authors are Jason Bulmahn and Jessica Catalan. Additional writing was provided by Brian Bauman, Tineke Bolleman, Logan Bonner, John Compton, Chris Eng, Logan Harper, Michelle Jones, Jason Keeley, Luis Loza, Ron Lundeen, Liane Merciel, Patchen Mortimer,
Quinn Murphy, Jessica Redekop, Mikhail Rekun, Solomon St. John, Michael Sayre, Mark Seifter, Sen H.H.S., Kendra Leigh Speedling, Jason Tondro, and Andrew White.

The cover artist is Wayne Reynolds. The interior artist are Sha Adams, Jason Artuz, Helge C. Balzer, Tuan Duong Chu, Josh Durham, Wilmar Ballespí Escarp, João Fiuza, Kent Hamilton, Dariusz Kieliszek, Mayra Luna, Damien Mammoliti, Artur Nakhodkin, Vladislav Orlowski, Mirco Paganessi, Roberto Pitturru, Sandra Posada, Kiki Moch Rizky, Roena Rosenberger, Luis Salas Lastra, Olli Slyusareva, Firat Solhan, Carl Springer, and Iana Vengerova

The last time we gave away wallpaper was as a reward for completing a Starfinder survey. (FYI, I'm pulling art from the Pathfinder and Starfinder wikis in order to post more evocative lore posts on social media. This art is already publicly available and that is less demand on the Art Team to supply me with daily art. You may see art you have missed before. But not wallpaper-sized.) We use a lot of half-page art in our fiction. We might post those as larger files... hm. Looking at the release schedule for next year you are giving me ideas...I'll probably make you jump through some minor marketing hoop to get it. But once one person has the file it goes on Reddit and everyone has it. And that's not a bad thing. ;)


Will the undead ancestries be PFS legal?

Dark Archive

? What survey :O


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thanks Aaron. I’m pretty active on the ImaginaryGolarion sub-Reddit and actively follow Paizo artists (thanks for the low as well!!). Wallpapers are nice (to me) as they’re “official” and formatted for a wide variety of screen sizes. That being said, I do appreciate the additional workload on the art staff. For what it’s worth, I’d love art packs if they was something Paizo would ever consider.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will the undead ancestries be PFS legal?

That’s not my area.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Is Blood Magic in this book? And is so, how does it work?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Prince Setehrael wrote:
Is Blood Magic in this book? And is so, how does it work?

I don't see it. I suspect we may see it in Dark Archive, but I have not looked and won't spoil that one early.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

5 people marked this as a favorite.
xNellynelx wrote:
What's the Undead Eidolon Initial Ability :)

Answer of the Day:

Negative Essence: Your undead eidolon has a link directly to your life force, which grants it a twilight state between living and undead. This renders it a living creature and therefore susceptible to many ailments that bother only the living, though it does possess some resistances to these effects.

It goes on for another paragraph.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition, Rulebook Subscriber

Is the Lich going to be explicitly evil, or will the ability to create a soul cage be a roleplay element up to the GM. In some settings there are “good” liches who become immortal to protect their communities. Anything like that?

I guess, brass tacks, can you tell us the alignment requirement of the lich archetype, soul cage or whatever you deem most appropriate?

Aside from almost certainly, “the ability to cast spells from slots,” are there any prerequisites I should start building my Wizard toward as I approach 12th level while waiting for publication?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition, Rulebook Subscriber

Second question: Will there be an archetype that facilitates undead companions, a la the Beastmaster or Cavalier?


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Please tell me that the Nightshades will be in the bestiary section. I miss them.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll be out for a few days, so I'm batching some answers.

Liches:
There is a sidebar on THE EVIL OF UNDEATH giving GM's some options. I don't see anything about liches or soul cages that require being evil.

Companions:
There are undead familiars, companions and eidolons. The Soul Warden Archetype, who consider themselves an honorary psychopomp, can get a psychopomp familiar. For companions the "Undead mast" archetype is there, yes.

Nightshades:
I don't see any by that name.

Adventures Ahead!


Whenever you can get to it; is there any Arcadia info?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Whenever you can get to it; is there any Arcadia info?

There is a chapter called Lands of the Dead and it does detail areas beyond the Inner Sea, including the Path to Valenhall in Arcadia, with a half-page image and a half-page of text.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thank you for the answers Aaron, may you only roll Nat20's.

If we're still taking questions, are there any Class Archetypes and if so any examples?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition, Rulebook Subscriber

Thank you so much for answering the questions!

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:

I'll be out for a few days, so I'm batching some answers.

Companions:
There are undead familiars, companions and eidolons. The Soul Warden Archetype, who consider themselves an honorary psychopomp, can get a psychopomp familiar. For companions the "Undead mast" archetype is there, yes.

BURTS THROUGH WALL

This book is practically an auto-buy, then!

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Still taking questions, but I'm out until Tuesday. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
DeciusNero wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:

I'll be out for a few days, so I'm batching some answers.

Companions:
There are undead familiars, companions and eidolons. The Soul Warden Archetype, who consider themselves an honorary psychopomp, can get a psychopomp familiar. For companions the "Undead mast" archetype is there, yes.

BURTS THROUGH WALL

This book is practically an auto-buy, then!

Look out! It's the attack of the BURTS!

...
We should probably watch out for the EARNEYs, too...

;P

Design Manager

24 people marked this as a favorite.

Aaron is incredibly thorough here and also very careful just in case we sneak something in: for example, he is technically correct when he said nightshades aren't in the bestiary section... under that name.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Aaron is incredibly thorough here and also very careful just in case we sneak something in: for example, he is technically correct when he said nightshades aren't in the bestiary section... under that name.

They also got name change from D&D? :'D

In a way kinda sad about that since D&D nightshades haven't really appeared since 3e

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Aaron is incredibly thorough here and also very careful just in case we sneak something in: for example, he is technically correct when he said nightshades aren't in the bestiary section... under that name.

Belladonoids? :P


Aaron Shanks wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
The book is about to be sent to the printer. I’ll take a look at the final PDF for the first time next week. We are of the opinion that spoilers and previews via blogs aren’t what we’re looking for because they’re not evergreen. Buuuuuuut, how do you feel about an early AMA Q&A here on the product page? Try something new for 2022?

What level can a player character become a mummy?

Is there info on undead beyond the Inner Sea?

Answer of the Day:

Skeleton is an ancestry (OMG skeleton heritages!!!). All the other playable undead are archetypes. All of them start with a 2nd level feat, except lich is higher at 12.

So, one could be a mummy at 2nd level, or 1st if one uses the free archetype rule. Understand that I'm still getting to know the book and it is filled with guidance (because our authors are rockstars), so there might be nuance I have missed.

There is a chapter called Lands of the Dead and it does detail areas beyond the Inner Sea.

Does this help you know if you want to preorder or subscribe? Tell your favorite local game store if you like as I'm sure they will take your preorder. We want you to choose the purchase method that is right for you.

Are any of the skeleton Heritages not medium?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Will the Necrocraft creature appear in this book?

And will the Necrograft items return as well?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Can you tell us the name of at least one Skeleton Heritage?

Wayfinders

Apart from Geb, are there any regions in Garund that get a write-up?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Tell me something juicy about the ghoul archetype


Undead mast? An undead companion archetype? Oooooo boy an undead summoner with that and animate dead spells will have that Diablo necromancer vibe I'm itching for! Mayhap shoot for a familiar granting ancestry ,with dhampir to get even more undead in your menagerie. Luckily the action economy of the game means you can't break things regardless of how big your horde gets. Gods help me if anything in the session deals positive damage.

Liberty's Edge

Aaron Shanks wrote:
xNellynelx wrote:
What's the Undead Eidolon Initial Ability :)

Answer of the Day:

Negative Essence: Your undead eidolon has a link directly to your life force, which grants it a twilight state between living and undead. This renders it a living creature and therefore susceptible to many ailments that bother only the living, though it does possess some resistances to these effects.

It goes on for another paragraph.

I wonder how it interacts with a Dhampir (or undead) Summoner.


Is the undead mast archetype the analogue of undead master from ultimate magic?

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Nah, that's an Archetype for a very select group of hipster necromancers who started a social club and specialize in only ever using a Skeletal/Zombified/Muffified Mastadon as their companion.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Themetricsystem wrote:
Nah, that's an Archetype for a very select group of hipster necromancers who started a social club and specialize in only ever using a Skeletal/Zombified/Muffified Mastadon as their companion.

Sign me up! I wanna introduce them to golarions version of the dead poet society.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

9 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Can you tell us the name of at least one Skeleton Heritage?

Answer of the Day:

Compact Skeleton. You are small, among other benefits.

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