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.

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

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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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Ed Reppert wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
Speaking of iconics, Paizo has stepped away from providing character sheets for these guys. Can anyone explain why?
There are pregens for all of the core and APG classes, I believe.
Yes, there are, but not for the newer classes

They've described the corebook, APG, first two or three Bestiaries, and GMG as the books they assume every table has access to, and that everything else beyond that (so things like Secrets of Magic and Guns & Gears) as being supplemental. I assume that's why there's no pregens for the later classes.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Alex Speidel wrote the reasons they aren't making new pregens a while ago.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ly'ualdre wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
That is typo right?

Course not. Hell hath no fury like a love-scorned lich. Their soul cage is actually their still living heart kept inside of their chest; which, with every beat, suffuses their undead being with potent necromantic energy. This makes them incredibly powerful,but infinitely more vulnerable, as one if when they put their heart on the line.

This also gives me inspiration for a mummy lich, whose soul cage is actually multiple canopic jars, for which they keep their still living organs in, which supplies them with ludicrous power. After all, postive energy does fall into necromancy.

Make it happen Jason.

Well there was the Lichloved Feat in 3rd edition so there's basis.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Ly'ualdre wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
That is typo right?

Course not. Hell hath no fury like a love-scorned lich. Their soul cage is actually their still living heart kept inside of their chest; which, with every beat, suffuses their undead being with potent necromantic energy. This makes them incredibly powerful,but infinitely more vulnerable, as one if when they put their heart on the line.

This also gives me inspiration for a mummy lich, whose soul cage is actually multiple canopic jars, for which they keep their still living organs in, which supplies them with ludicrous power. After all, postive energy does fall into necromancy.

Make it happen Jason.

Well there was the Lichloved Feat in 3rd edition so there's basis.

Ah man, the nostalgia. That feat would actually be very fitting for Iezebel and her.... ummm.... proclivities....

Romance takes some pretty extreme forms when your faith in the Lady of Graves ends up stealing your one true love; so you turn to necromancy and raise him from the dead as a zombie.

Also reminds me, I never finished reading the Book of Vile Darkness. Lol

Wayfinders

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Are there new character backgrounds in this book? I really appreciated those in both Secrets of Magic and Guns & Gears (even if they weren't a major part of the marketing), and I can totally see in my mind's eye sections for undead-related living backgrounds, and backgrounds appropriate specifically for undead PCs.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

15 people marked this as a favorite.
RiverMesa wrote:
Are there new character backgrounds in this book? I really appreciated those in both Secrets of Magic and Guns & Gears (even if they weren't a major part of the marketing), and I can totally see in my mind's eye sections for undead-related living backgrounds, and backgrounds appropriate specifically for undead PCs.

Yes, about a page and a half of backgrounds, like grave robber and haunted citizen, and including rare backgrounds like scion of slayers.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Shanks wrote:
RiverMesa wrote:
Are there new character backgrounds in this book? I really appreciated those in both Secrets of Magic and Guns & Gears (even if they weren't a major part of the marketing), and I can totally see in my mind's eye sections for undead-related living backgrounds, and backgrounds appropriate specifically for undead PCs.
Yes, about a page and a half of backgrounds, like grave robber and haunted citizen, and including rare backgrounds like scion of slayers.

Buffy? :)


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Gisher wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
RiverMesa wrote:
Are there new character backgrounds in this book? I really appreciated those in both Secrets of Magic and Guns & Gears (even if they weren't a major part of the marketing), and I can totally see in my mind's eye sections for undead-related living backgrounds, and backgrounds appropriate specifically for undead PCs.
Yes, about a page and a half of backgrounds, like grave robber and haunted citizen, and including rare backgrounds like scion of slayers.
Buffy? :)

I was thinking more...

"I'm Trevor F****** Belmont!"


Ly'ualdre wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
RiverMesa wrote:
Are there new character backgrounds in this book? I really appreciated those in both Secrets of Magic and Guns & Gears (even if they weren't a major part of the marketing), and I can totally see in my mind's eye sections for undead-related living backgrounds, and backgrounds appropriate specifically for undead PCs.
Yes, about a page and a half of backgrounds, like grave robber and haunted citizen, and including rare backgrounds like scion of slayers.
Buffy? :)

I was thinking more...

"I'm Trevor F****** Belmont!"

Or, perhaps, Guillermo de la Cruz? :)


Golarion does not have an equivalent to St. Kargoth or Lord Soth does it?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Golarion does not have an equivalent to St. Kargoth or Lord Soth does it?

If you mean a Deathknight, the Pathfinder equivalent are Graveknights. They won't be player options however.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Golarion does not have an equivalent to St. Kargoth or Lord Soth does it?

Closest graveknight equivalent to either of those unworthies would probably be Lictor Shokneir, first appearing in Undead Revisited.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gisher wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I love that Siabrae are back. They have a great backstory.
I hadn't seen them before. The similarity between them and the Hermes is interesting given that they are both made from Druidic magic.

Hernes not Hermes. Stupid auto-correct.


Ly'ualdre wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Golarion does not have an equivalent to St. Kargoth or Lord Soth does it?
If you mean a Deathknight, the Pathfinder equivalent are Graveknights. They won't be player options however.

I am aware of the nomenclatuer difference between PF and D and D. However, D and D has epic undead warriors, I was asking if PF did as well.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Do we know the names of all archetypes in the book? I remember a few of them spoiled here, such as the Undead Master, but was wondering if we got a list during Paizo Live...

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.
richienvh wrote:
Do we know the names of all archetypes in the book? I remember a few of them spoiled here, such as the Undead Master, but was wondering if we got a list during Paizo Live...

We did not supply a list on Paizo LIVE. At this point and I am saving content so I can let high profile media each showcase a chapter.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Golarion does not have an equivalent to St. Kargoth or Lord Soth does it?
If you mean a Deathknight, the Pathfinder equivalent are Graveknights. They won't be player options however.
I am aware of the nomenclatuer difference between PF and D and D. However, D and D has epic undead warriors, I was asking if PF did as well.

There are a number of named Graveknights or groups that are fairly interesting, like Seldeg Bhedlis, fallen Knight of Ozum and member of the the Council Libertine (group of graveknights responsible for serving, protecting, and imprisoning Arazni); or Lictor Enwar Shokneir, leader of the Hellknight Order of the Crux (which is only comprised of 3 Graveknights, including himself). But none are quite as relevant or influential as say the Lich Tar-Baphon. There are also likely a great many undead creatures that fit the bill, or have specific individuals within their ranks who belong/ed to knightly orders. Can't think of any off the top of my head, however.

richienvh wrote:
Do we know the names of all archetypes in the book? I remember a few of them spoiled here, such as the Undead Master, but was wondering if we got a list during Paizo Live...

They did reveal the Reanimator Archetype during Paizo Live. Aside from that, no others were revealed. We do know there is also a kind of "hallowed necromancer" I believe, but the name hasn't been revealed.


Will there be dhamphir love?

Liberty's Edge

18 people marked this as a favorite.

Vampire love makes Dhampir ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Vampire love makes Dhampir ;-)

Until it doesn't.... o.o'

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will there be dhamphir love?

The word dhamphir does not appear in Book of the Dead.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will there be dhamphir love?
The word dhamphir does not appear in Book of the Dead.

How about dhampir?

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Or Dunpeal?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

6 people marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will there be dhamphir love?
The word dhamphir does not appear in Book of the Dead.

How about dhampir?

The word dhampir appears once. ;)


Aaron Shanks wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will there be dhamphir love?
The word dhamphir does not appear in Book of the Dead.

How about dhampir?

The word dhampir appears once. ;)

Well played. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

That suggests there is either a singular additional Dhampir option in the book or they are mentioned once in relation to Vampires.

EDIT: OR!!! Or... third hopeful option, there is a blurb in the Vampire Archetype section that talks about Dhampir being able to take certain Vampire Archetype Feats somehow... That would be pretty cool.

Liberty's Edge

Ly'ualdre wrote:

That suggests there is either a singular additional Dhampir option in the book or they are mentioned once in relation to Vampires.

EDIT: OR!!! Or... third hopeful option, there is a blurb in the Vampire Archetype section that talks about Dhampir being able to take certain Vampire Archetype Feats somehow... That would be pretty cool.

I would see it the other way around : Vampire archetype can take Dhampir feats as Ancestry feats.


It could also be a dhampir creature.


19 people marked this as a favorite.

PDF text spacing issue. It's actually just the section about smoked ham pirates.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Ly'ualdre wrote:

That suggests there is either a singular additional Dhampir option in the book or they are mentioned once in relation to Vampires.

EDIT: OR!!! Or... third hopeful option, there is a blurb in the Vampire Archetype section that talks about Dhampir being able to take certain Vampire Archetype Feats somehow... That would be pretty cool.

I would see it the other way around : Vampire archetype can take Dhampir feats as Ancestry feats.

Eh. While there is certainly bound to be some overlap where it makes sense, like Old Soul, Form of the Bat, or even Vampire Lore; there are too many Dhampir Feats, imo, that relies too heavily on their being a still living creature, what their half-dead lineage is, or the developing vampiric physiology and abilities that a typical Vampire is likely to already. So I don't believe they would translate as well as a Dhampir being able to take Feats from their proginator.

EDIT: I also feel it would be kind of odd for a Class Archetype to grant access to Ancestry Feats. Less so the other way around. Like, I imagine a Dhampir having a Feat (or Heritage) called "Vampireic Paragon" where they are granted the Dedication Feat for the Vampire Archetype, and then granted access to certain Feats in its Archetype chain that make sense, while adding the caveat that they are either not considered Undead any more than they normally would be as a Dhampir -or- they skew closer to their Undead progenator and therefore are affected more by those effects that target Undead. Similar to how the Ancient Elf Heritage grants the character a Multiclass Dedication.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I wonder what the new magic spells & items will be? or if thiers any special materials for undead specifically


1 person marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
smoked ham pirates

Well well well.

Dark Archive

If this book has yuki-onna that would be really handy right now x'D


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
BTW how do you spell the nightshades' new name? :O

OH YES! I am also curious about this as well.

My absolute favorite Undead, the kind made from Fiends.

Also Do we have confirmation about whether or not Blood Magic was moved to this book or Dark Archive?
The themes from either of these books fits Blood Magic.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Chapters 2 and 4 have now been assigned to the media for deep-dive previews. I don't think we will assign the adventure chapter. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Chapters 2 and 4 have now been assigned to the media for deep-dive previews. I don't think we will assign the adventure chapter. :)

I volunteer as tribute. Can't wait to diiiii-ve right in. Yea. Di(v)e...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Chapters 2 and 4 have now been assigned to the media for deep-dive previews. I don't think we will assign the adventure chapter. :)
I volunteer as tribute. Can't wait to diiiii-ve right in. Yea. Di(v)e...

you volunteer as tribute I volunteer as tribute we all volunteer at tribute :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Chapters 2 and 4 have now been assigned to the media for deep-dive previews.

Great! Is there any specific time frame in which we can expect to see these previews?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.
EldritchGrace wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Chapters 2 and 4 have now been assigned to the media for deep-dive previews.
Great! Is there any specific time frame in which we can expect to see these previews?

Before Subscribers get their PDFS in early April. Chapters 1 and 3 have also been assigned. We will not spoil the adventure. ;)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
EldritchGrace wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Chapters 2 and 4 have now been assigned to the media for deep-dive previews.
Great! Is there any specific time frame in which we can expect to see these previews?
Before Subscribers get their PDFS in early April. Chapters 1 and 3 have also been assigned. We will not spoil the adventure. ;)

can we see how the vampire archetype functions pretty please? :)

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
belgrath9344 wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
EldritchGrace wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Chapters 2 and 4 have now been assigned to the media for deep-dive previews.
Great! Is there any specific time frame in which we can expect to see these previews?
Before Subscribers get their PDFS in early April. Chapters 1 and 3 have also been assigned. We will not spoil the adventure. ;)
can we see how the vampire archetype functions pretty please? :)

The spam just above seems a good example of how the vampire archetype functions when applied to a post ;-D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Has there been any mention of Dullahans?

I was inspired after playing the part of an NPC in Frozen Flame #2.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.
belgrath9344 wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
EldritchGrace wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Chapters 2 and 4 have now been assigned to the media for deep-dive previews.
Great! Is there any specific time frame in which we can expect to see these previews?
Before Subscribers get their PDFS in early April. Chapters 1 and 3 have also been assigned. We will not spoil the adventure. ;)
can we see how the vampire archetype functions pretty please? :)

I'll be sure to post the exclusive media previews here.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

sad about delay because I'm in the jade regent book with lot of frost based undead not currently in 2e :'D

Sczarni

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Will there be a Lich option for the undead eidolon???


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Verzen wrote:
Will there be a Lich option for the undead eidolon???

Unlikely to be a specific option like that, though that is just a guess. Eidolons typically cover a "type" and you inset all the flavor. So nothing stops you from saying your undead eidolon is a lich, but I don't see there being an option to specifically spell out Lich Eidolon. We'll find out for sure next month :)!

Wayfinders

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Know Direction did a preview stream of Chapter 1 last night, in case folks are interested.

(I know for a fact I missed it; Watching it just now, might follow up with edits or another message with some juicy details.)


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

Yeah, a lot of stuff was spoiled, I highly recommend it. A lot of the Chapter 1 was shown, including all the archetypes, some backgrounds, items...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
GGSigmar wrote:
Yeah, a lot of stuff was spoiled, I highly recommend it. A lot of the Chapter 1 was shown, including all the archetypes, some backgrounds, items...

can you list that stuff here?

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