Pathfinder Book of the Dead

3.90/5 (based on 16 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.

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3.90/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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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


Realistic undead traits

5/5

This book does a good job of meeting the players desire to play with undead and a Storyteller having to actually put it on the table. For example, other than the Skeleton, undeath is a class archetype. Want to be a lich, level 12, talk to your DM. Obviously some of these things can't just be picked without context or reasons but this gives access to a brand new type of character creation, playing dead PCs. I can realistically see more than one PC at previous tables taking on the mantel of a ghost archetype and having their driving goal bring them back from the beyond.

The undead companions are just so-so, honestly I'd preferred that one of the choices I get when upgrading my companion was undeath traits, rather than 'undead horse' but I can see why this was done as undead horses need an archetype specific master. I would however, had like to have the option of wolf+skeleton or wolf+zombie combination that would have let my existing beastmaster PCs bring their companions back with them, with the same-ish stat line. A Zombie Wolf with a 20 speed is a right terrible flanking buddy.

I really have enjoyed this book for hours so, that's worth my 15$ even if vampires die in the sun. However, I actually really like how all these rules work which I can say is rare with new mechanics.


5/5


2/5


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Dark Archive

It's that funny thing of "Graveknight is actually paizo original undead that isn't from D&D" that makes me think its pretty likely that if they do undead archetypes that we get that one eventually after the "basic ones" are out


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
It's that funny thing of "Graveknight is actually paizo original undead that isn't from D&D" that makes me think its pretty likely that if they do undead archetypes that we get that one eventually after the "basic ones" are out

I figure this is likely to be the case. It'll be interesting to see what other Undead options we might see later, if at all. Graveknights, Wights, Wraiths, Shadows, Revenants, and maybe Geist are a few I'd be interested to see.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
It's that funny thing of "Graveknight is actually paizo original undead that isn't from D&D" that makes me think its pretty likely that if they do undead archetypes that we get that one eventually after the "basic ones" are out

Lord Soth, the Deathknight, would like a word with you about this "Paizo original" you mention.

I loved the Deathknight right from its Fiend Folio beginnings and came right then with the idea of a cursed armor for Paladins that would slowly change the wearer into one of them.

Dark Archive

The Raven Black wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
It's that funny thing of "Graveknight is actually paizo original undead that isn't from D&D" that makes me think its pretty likely that if they do undead archetypes that we get that one eventually after the "basic ones" are out

Lord Soth, the Deathknight, would like a word with you about this "Paizo original" you mention.

I loved the Deathknight right from its Fiend Folio beginnings and came right then with the idea of a cursed armor for Paladins that would slowly change the wearer into one of them.

Isn't death knight just a powerful undead paladin/warrior? Like how would graveknight overlap with death knight more than a fext unless its just the similar name?

Paizo Employee Software Architect

14 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm really excited about this book—I got to write some really cool sections for it!


6 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
It's that funny thing of "Graveknight is actually paizo original undead that isn't from D&D" that makes me think its pretty likely that if they do undead archetypes that we get that one eventually after the "basic ones" are out

Lord Soth, the Deathknight, would like a word with you about this "Paizo original" you mention.

I loved the Deathknight right from its Fiend Folio beginnings and came right then with the idea of a cursed armor for Paladins that would slowly change the wearer into one of them.

Isn't death knight just a powerful undead paladin/warrior? Like how would graveknight overlap with death knight more than a fext unless its just the similar name?

Well, Graveknights are pathfinders "martial equivalent of a lich", and as far as I can tell death knights have filled that role for a while, though they didn't explicitly get something equivalent to a phylactery until 3.5.

Eventually 3.5 added the detail where their swords act like a phylactery (it's a pretty impressive show of confidence to hit your enemies with the object that contains your soul), and 4e gave those swords a name (the rather unimaginative "soulsword").

Pathfinder changed things up by making them reform from their armour instead of weapons, and only if someone wears the armour, which is pretty awesome.

It's pretty likely that the Graveknight is Paizo's interpretation of the Death Knight, though as usual they massively improved on 3.5s version of the concept.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I wouldn't mind seeing the "rejuvenating undead weapon" concept of Deathknights make a return. I have this desire and idea to see the Lich and Graveknight rounded out to fill the classic "Fighter Mage, Thief" trope of most rpgs. I imagine an undead creature that form from the souls of murderers, killers, or assassins, whose souls attach themselves to their murder weapon of choice and allows them to rejuvenate the same was a Liches Soulcage and Graveknights armor allows them to do.

Picture it; you're parties Rogue finds a really neat magical dagger that they take as their primary, only for the necrotic energies and corrupt soul of its previous owner, a serial killer once know as the Ripper, begins to take over their body over time, with some sort of mental curse that keeps the wielder from realizing what's happening.

Need.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Hitcher of the night.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I just wanted to say I am super looking forward to this book ^^

Design Manager

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Brian Bauman wrote:
I'm really excited about this book—I got to write some really cool sections for it!

Can confirm that Brian wrote awesome stuff, including at least one of the things folks have heard about already and seemed excited for.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

18 people marked this as a favorite.
Tender Tendrils wrote:
It's pretty likely that the Graveknight is Paizo's interpretation of the Death Knight,

ALSO can confirm this 100%. Graveknight is something Wes Schneider and I came up with as Paizo's version of the powerful undead warlord that D&D used as a death knight once it was apparent that for OGL reasons we couldn't use death knights, and then hired a freelancer (Darrin Drader) to help bring it into the game back in Pathfinder Adventure Path volume 26, "The Sixfold Trial." (I suspect we teased the existence of graveknights in the setting before this, but #26 is the first time they appeared in rules form for Pathfinder).

While the concept of a fireball-throwing death knight is not open content, the idea of a powerful undead knight is not, so a simple name change and a more complex reworking and reinvisioning of the lore later and presto.

I've always seen liches as the iconic spellcaster undead (clerics and wizards etc.), vampires as the iconic skill undead (rogues and bards etc.), so the graveknight is there for the fighter types to keep on menacing the living after death.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:
It's pretty likely that the Graveknight is Paizo's interpretation of the Death Knight,

ALSO can confirm this 100%. Graveknight is something Wes Schneider and I came up with as Paizo's version of the powerful undead warlord that D&D used as a death knight once it was apparent that for OGL reasons we couldn't use death knights, and then hired a freelancer (Darrin Drader) to help bring it into the game back in Pathfinder Adventure Path volume 26, "The Sixfold Trial." (I suspect we teased the existence of graveknights in the setting before this, but #26 is the first time they appeared in rules form for Pathfinder).

While the concept of a fireball-throwing death knight is not open content, the idea of a powerful undead knight is not, so a simple name change and a more complex reworking and reinvisioning of the lore later and presto.

I've always seen liches as the iconic spellcaster undead (clerics and wizards etc.), vampires as the iconic skill undead (rogues and bards etc.), so the graveknight is there for the fighter types to keep on menacing the living after death.

Huh. I've not considered vampires that way but it fits really well. I usually think ghoul for rogue-ish undead, but they are certainly too low level baseline to be in the "powerful undead" category.


It's gonna be a long 2-3 months. On top of the player facing stuff I'm just excited for all the undead stat blocks for the GM side of things. I should have more than enough for a Walking Dead campaign.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Ghouls are absolutely great for rogues and that type and are my favorite undead there, but I was mostly thinking about the categories of templated monsters (which, when you get down to it, I think should have been how almost all undead should have been handled from the start of 3rd edition D&D...).


2 people marked this as a favorite.

For some reason I've always associated Clerics with Mummies.

So after this Book could we build a party of a Graveknight Fighter, Lich Wizard, Mummy Cleric and Vampire Rogue? Is there a way for the Vampire Rogue to participate if the rest of the party wants to do something during the day?


I might have missed it but you can play a lich as an ancestry? Stop beating my undead heart!

Will there be undead archetypes and if so will they have certain alignment requirements?


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Andru C Watkins wrote:

I might have missed it but you can play a lich as an ancestry? Stop beating my undead heart!

Will there be undead archetypes and if so will they have certain alignment requirements?

All the undead in this book save for Skeleton are handled as archetypes.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Andru C Watkins wrote:

I might have missed it but you can play a lich as an ancestry? Stop beating my undead heart!

Will there be undead archetypes and if so will they have certain alignment requirements?

From earlier in this thread :

GGSigmar wrote:
Lich archetype for spellcasters

Also what Keftiu said :-)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you both!

Radiant Oath

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Spamotron wrote:
For some reason I've always associated Clerics with Mummies.

Me too! Eberron has a lot of mummy cleric of the blood of Vol. Keith Baker has gone into a lot of detail about how Mummies are bound by their vows and rituals.

Spamotron wrote:
So after this Book could we build a party of a Graveknight Fighter, Lich Wizard, Mummy Cleric and Vampire Rogue? Is there a way for the Vampire Rogue to participate if the rest of the party wants to do something during the day?

I'm in love with the idea of an all undead party. I wonder if the Blood lords adventure path will support that?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Just reading through all the spoilers for this book now, has made me so exited for it :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Lord Soth and St. Kargoth would like a word DIE


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Going through the threads now, but wondering if this book has plans for accompanying spell and focus cards like we got for the APG and SoM books.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Yoshua wrote:
Going through the threads now, but wondering if this book has plans for accompanying spell and focus cards like we got for the APG and SoM books.

Probably depends on how many spells actually are there.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.
GGSigmar wrote:
Yoshua wrote:
Going through the threads now, but wondering if this book has plans for accompanying spell and focus cards like we got for the APG and SoM books.
Probably depends on how many spells actually are there.

A Dark Archive Spell Deck would be cool...


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I don’t suppose it’s time to know what the Table of Contents says yet, is it?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

14 people marked this as a favorite.

Here are the chapters:

Table of Contents
Preface
1 Prayers for the Living
2 Hymns for the Dead
3 The Grim Crypt
4 Lands of the Dead
5 March of the Dead
Appendix

I'll show an image of the ToC in Paizo LIVE in late February as motivation to subscribe. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Here are the chapters:

Table of Contents
Preface
1 Prayers for the Living
2 Hymns for the Dead
3 The Grim Crypt
4 Lands of the Dead
5 March of the Dead
Appendix

I'll show an image of the ToC in Paizo LIVE in late February as motivation to subscribe. :)

"March of the Dead".

That's not ominous at all...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Here are the chapters:

Table of Contents
Preface
1 Prayers for the Living
2 Hymns for the Dead
3 The Grim Crypt
4 Lands of the Dead
5 March of the Dead
Appendix

I'll show an image of the ToC in Paizo LIVE in late February as motivation to subscribe. :)

I was just thinking about this like yesterday :D


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Here are the chapters:

Table of Contents
Preface
1 Prayers for the Living
2 Hymns for the Dead
3 The Grim Crypt
4 Lands of the Dead
5 March of the Dead
Appendix

I'll show an image of the ToC in Paizo LIVE in late February as motivation to subscribe. :)

So I assume chapter 1 is for living characters (new options like the good necromancer), chapter 2 is for undead PCs, chapter 3 is the bestiary, chapter 4 is lore for Golarion and chapter 5 is the adventure. I wonder what's in the Appendix? More than index, I hope ^^

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

List of zombie movies.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

14 people marked this as a favorite.
GGSigmar wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Here are the chapters:

Table of Contents
Preface
1 Prayers for the Living
2 Hymns for the Dead
3 The Grim Crypt
4 Lands of the Dead
5 March of the Dead
Appendix

I'll show an image of the ToC in Paizo LIVE in late February as motivation to subscribe. :)

So I assume chapter 1 is for living characters (new options like the good necromancer), chapter 2 is for undead PCs, chapter 3 is the bestiary, chapter 4 is lore for Golarion and chapter 5 is the adventure. I wonder what's in the Appendix? More than index, I hope ^^

Ding, ding ding! Well done. I wish I could give you a disturbing doll, like I was a carny.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
GGSigmar wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Here are the chapters:

Table of Contents
Preface
1 Prayers for the Living
2 Hymns for the Dead
3 The Grim Crypt
4 Lands of the Dead
5 March of the Dead
Appendix

I'll show an image of the ToC in Paizo LIVE in late February as motivation to subscribe. :)

So I assume chapter 1 is for living characters (new options like the good necromancer), chapter 2 is for undead PCs, chapter 3 is the bestiary, chapter 4 is lore for Golarion and chapter 5 is the adventure. I wonder what's in the Appendix? More than index, I hope ^^
Ding, ding ding! Well done. I wish I could give you a disturbing doll, like I was a carny.

Would it be asking to much to know the sizes of the chapters? With 224 pages, I'm curious how many pages are put into each section :)


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

Aaron, could you bless us with some new spoilers?


What does the Soul Warden archetype entail? Is it more psychopomp-y or smite undead-y?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

10 people marked this as a favorite.
GGSigmar wrote:
Aaron, could you bless us with some new spoilers?

Probably, but focused on the January product launch first. Just think, soon we will have undead hunters with skeleton ancestries, ifrit versatile heritages, and mooooooore. Squeeeee. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Random thought while looking through my library: will this book at all touch on the relation to undead creatures and non-undead spirits? There is a very curious monster in one of the APs that is distinctly described as the dead souls of individuals, but is specifically not undead.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Random thought while looking through my library: will this book at all touch on the relation to undead creatures and non-undead spirits? There is a very curious monster in one of the APs that is distinctly described as the dead souls of individuals, but is specifically not undead.

Reminds me of the definition of a phantom in Secrets of Magic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Random thought while looking through my library: will this book at all touch on the relation to undead creatures and non-undead spirits? There is a very curious monster in one of the APs that is distinctly described as the dead souls of individuals, but is specifically not undead.
Reminds me of the definition of a phantom in Secrets of Magic.

Would that suggest that the aforementioned monster is a sort of Phantom?

Either way, I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. Honestly, I'm most curious about the bestiary section. It'll give us a general idea of what to expect from the future with similar books.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Random thought while looking through my library: will this book at all touch on the relation to undead creatures and non-undead spirits? There is a very curious monster in one of the APs that is distinctly described as the dead souls of individuals, but is specifically not undead.
Reminds me of the definition of a phantom in Secrets of Magic.

Would that suggest that the aforementioned monster is a sort of Phantom?

Either way, I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. Honestly, I'm most curious about the bestiary section. It'll give us a general idea of what to expect from the future with similar books.

As far as I remember it is supposed to have 100 pages of monsters. Personally I am more excited for player options, both for the undead and the living. I am pretty hyped for undead companions.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
GGSigmar wrote:
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Random thought while looking through my library: will this book at all touch on the relation to undead creatures and non-undead spirits? There is a very curious monster in one of the APs that is distinctly described as the dead souls of individuals, but is specifically not undead.
Reminds me of the definition of a phantom in Secrets of Magic.

Would that suggest that the aforementioned monster is a sort of Phantom?

Either way, I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. Honestly, I'm most curious about the bestiary section. It'll give us a general idea of what to expect from the future with similar books.

As far as I remember it is supposed to have 100 pages of monsters. Personally I am more excited for player options, both for the undead and the living. I am pretty hyped for undead companions.

As someone who loves summon spells, monsters ARE player options. Me and my skelly boys rollin down the block.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Since January stuff is out of the way, can we keep fishing for spoilers? It's been brought up a few times - are necrografts in the book?


Perhaps the Ides of March will have new meaning for subscribers ;)

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.
xNellynelx wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
GGSigmar wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Here are the chapters:

Table of Contents
Preface 5
1 Prayers for the Living 6
2 Hymns for the Dead 30
3 The Grim Crypt 70
4 Lands of the Dead 174
5 March of the Dead 190
Appendix 212

I'll show an image of the ToC in Paizo LIVE in late February as motivation to subscribe. :)

So I assume chapter 1 is for living characters (new options like the good necromancer), chapter 2 is for undead PCs, chapter 3 is the bestiary, chapter 4 is lore for Golarion and chapter 5 is the adventure. I wonder what's in the Appendix? More than index, I hope ^^
Ding, ding ding! Well done. I wish I could give you a disturbing doll, like I was a carny.
Would it be asking to much to know the sizes of the chapters? With 224 pages, I'm curious how many pages are put into each section :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Holy s+$%, that’s quite the bestiary!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Are there any Tian Xia locations in the setting chapter?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
Are there any Tian Xia locations in the setting chapter?

I can't think of to many places in Tian-Xia where Undead are prevalent enough to merit a discussion in this book. I'd love to be pleasantly surprised. I'll take Dragon Empire lore any day.

Plenty of Tian specific Undead in hoping to see though.

willfromamerica wrote:
Holy s$*&, that’s quite the bestiary!

Hmm. About 104 pages of monsters? Think maybe 70 to 80 new Undead seems reasonable there.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ly'ualdre wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Are there any Tian Xia locations in the setting chapter?

I can't think of to many places in Tian-Xia where Undead are prevalent enough to merit a discussion in this book. I'd love to be pleasantly surprised. I'll take Dragon Empire lore any day.

Plenty of Tian specific Undead in hoping to see though.

willfromamerica wrote:
Holy s$*&, that’s quite the bestiary!
Hmm. About 104 pages of monsters? Think maybe 70 to 80 new Undead seems reasonable there.

There is Tian Xia's darklands having haunted clockwork city iirc?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hope we'll get some new place in the Ruins of Azlant region. That place seems like it might have been pretty ripe for a lot of ghosts to appear at one point. Kinda want to see an entire community of Azlanti ghosts, living their lives in denial as if nothing had ever happened, in the wreckage of their former home. Everyone’s super nice up until the moment you point out there's no Azlant anymore. Then you start to see the spectral meteoroids in the sky.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Opsylum wrote:
Hope we'll get some new place in the Ruins of Azlant region. That place seems like it might have been pretty ripe for a lot of ghosts to appear at one point. Kinda want to see an entire community of Azlanti ghosts, living their lives in denial as if nothing had ever happened, in the wreckage of their former home. Everyone’s super nice up until the moment you point out there's no Azlant anymore. Then you start to see the spectral meteors in the sky.

This just gave me a fun idea of an ancient Thassilonian individual who had been a restless spirit of some kind before New Thassilon happened. When reality tried to sort out the time paradox, their past living version slammed into their present restless spirit and they become some undead version of themselves. Maybe this doesn't work with the actual narrative established (No idea.) but it makes me grin.

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