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:

Available now

Ships from our warehouse in 11 to 20 business days.

PDF:

Fulfilled immediately.

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

PZO2110


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3.90/5 (based on 19 ratings)

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4/5


5/5


5/5


5/5


Reach slightly exceeds its grasp

3/5

What the product is reminiscent of the 3.5 monster books: pretty lore sections, new monsters and a couple new player options. Fittingly, this one is equivalent to Libris Mortis in terms of execution: Good, but disappointing in a couple areas.

The lore and new monster sections are the best parts, making this book most useful to GMs looking to just include some undead monsters in their campaign. However, the lore of the world sections that have become my favorite part of Pathfinder products was scattershot, with several one page write ups on many regions and places rather than focusing on the most obvious places that I was hoping for more info on. (Geb gets 4 pages, the Gravelands gets 2) There's also an adventure thrown in to pad out the book, and all in all, it feels like the book is thinner than what it was intended to be.

Player options are also a slightly mixed bag, but a promising one for the future. The undead slayer archetypes are all functional and even provide interesting character ideas, as are the backgrounds.

The big new thing from a character perspective in this book are monster archetypes and races. It feels like an attempt to bring back the 3.5 ability to play as monster races. Some of them work better than others, and its clear that game balance was prioritized above other areas, as has been the credo of Pathfinder 2nd, and it leads to some weirdness. Some archetypes feel too watered down from their enemy versions and it feels like you're not playing the monster in question, but a 'lite' version of it. While this is good from a balance perspective, it leads to some immersion and apparently editorial problems. For example, the GM guidance refers to re-balancing encounter awards to take into account undead's Poison immunities; The problem is PC undead do not get poison immunities, they +1 or +2 bonuses to save against it, as with disease. Playing as a Skeleton that can be poisoned or catch a cold feels silly, especially when there's an entire section outlining that part of the interesting thing about these archetypes is how they can ignore some challenges, but are in mortal danger against other trivial things, like the most basic heal spells. Overall, I like the idea they are going for here, and hope they continue to refine the concept as it will open up more character concepts for players.

Overall, it's a solid product, especially from a providing encounters for a GM perspective, but some parts feel unfinished, and it is skippable for players unless they really want to make a character that has a concept that heavily involves the undead.


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Grand Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
caps wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
caps wrote:

I'm surprised not to see more comments about the note that this book will include an adventure?!?

What levels will it be for? Will it be module-length? PFS scenario length? PFS quest/bounty length? Is it just an outline?

Have we ever had a Paizo rulebook-line book include an adventure before?

We've saved spoilers for Gen Con, of course, so tune-in!

Alright then, keep your secrets

--

But has anyone ever seen an adventure in a Paizo rulebook-line book before?? Is this as unprecedented as it feels?

The only one I can remember is the Beginner Box's adventure that is in the "GM" booklet, and not in a stand-alone book.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

There was an adventure in Mythic Adventures.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Huh. An adventure in a book with "Adventures" in the title. Who'da thunk it? ;-)

Grand Lodge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I wouldn't have, based on publishing history. Occult Adventures and Horror Adventures did not have one, to my knowledge.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

They had short paragraph adventures seeds, at least Occult Adventures did.


And Jason B has a special place in his heart when he wrote this mini adventure out as he cackled with glee at the thought of us going through it at the GENCON panel!!

That's enough for me, and the revealed 4th undead we can play, a friggin MUMMY!!

Can't wait for this book and then the following full AP Bloodlords!!

Tom :)


TRDG wrote:

And Jason B has a special place in his heart when he wrote this mini adventure out as he cackled with glee at the thought of us going through it at the GENCON panel!!

That's enough for me, and the revealed 4th undead we can play, a friggin MUMMY!!

Can't wait for this book and then the following full AP Bloodlords!!

Tom :)

Pray tell, what are the first 3 playable undead? I am putting a new Deadlands campaign on hold (using Pathfinder 2e now that we have Guns& Gears) just so one of the characters can play a walking dead.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Prisoner301 wrote:
TRDG wrote:

And Jason B has a special place in his heart when he wrote this mini adventure out as he cackled with glee at the thought of us going through it at the GENCON panel!!

That's enough for me, and the revealed 4th undead we can play, a friggin MUMMY!!

Can't wait for this book and then the following full AP Bloodlords!!

Tom :)

Pray tell, what are the first 3 playable undead? I am putting a new Deadlands campaign on hold (using Pathfinder 2e now that we have Guns& Gears) just so one of the characters can play a walking dead.

I believe Skeleton was confirmed as an Ancestry, while Ghoul and Vampire (and presumably Mummy as well) are some kind of juiced-up Archetype that uses Ancestry Feats, if I remember right.


Skely and ghouly was noted right after this was announced, Vamps I think came a bit later, then (Battle Goats) B man gave us the Mummy at a GENCON panel, and hinted there might be more. I am betting an even 6 minimum for this, but nothing official yet anyways.

Tom :)


If I had to bet, I'd guess some form of lich along the same lines as vampire. Any of the incorporeals seem unlikely, because that just seems like a rules nightmaare. That about covers the common types [assuming ghoul as a stand in for the fleshy/zombie types that are typically mindless]. I could see an actual archetype to become a graveknight or other similar types, and that may also be what liches show up as. The less common sorts I assume would be covered by heritages/lineages and/or feats and/or appropriate class choices


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
TRDG wrote:

Skely and ghouly was noted right after this was announced, Vamps I think came a bit later, then (Battle Goats) B man gave us the Mummy at a GENCON panel, and hinted there might be more. I am betting an even 6 minimum for this, but nothing official yet anyways.

Tom :)

Vampire and Ghouls were revealed right away, Jason Bulmahn "accidentally" leaked Skeletons as an ancestry at the same time. Erik Mona talked on Discord around the same time implying that Lich options would be a possibility, and then for GenCon this year Logan Bonner said there would be Mummies in here, too. It's pretty safe to assume Zombies are probably in there somewhere if Mummies are a thing.

EDIT: Only Skeletons were confirmed to be a proper ancestry. Vampires and ghouls were said to be something else, since you can become a vampire/ghoul later in your life. Lich is probably an archetype, and nothing's been really said about Mummy.


LOL, almost got it just had one switched up,had no idea on Erik chatting on Discord about lich type playable hint, NICE!!

Zombie could also be interesting, was hoping for a ghost type but to overpowered probably and I'm sure they will hopefully spoil more sooner or later

Can't wait for this book and The Blood lords AP next year!!!

Good times ahead!

Tom


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

With the concept and mechanics of "Blood Magic" being cut from Secrets of Magic, I wonder if it might be in Book of the Dead or The Dark Archives?


enrik wrote:
With the concept and mechanics of "Blood Magic" being cut from Secrets of Magic, I wonder if it might be in Book of the Dead or The Dark Archives?

I think one or the other is quite likely - Logan Bonner was asked on discord during paizocon about whether they would release it as a free web supplement and he said that they already have an idea where it might go, which means something in production at that time, which almost certainly is either BotD or DA.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Any word on if Inventors will get the ability to make a corpse like construct, like Dr. Frankenstein?


LizardMage wrote:
Any word on if Inventors will get the ability to make a corpse like construct, like Dr. Frankenstein?

This book is primarily a bestiary. I wouldn’t expect much more for players other than the playable undead.


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

One of the Paizo Devs - Seifter, I believe - told us that the Summoner would get an Undead Eidolon in BotD.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Plus the archetypes, like Hallowed!


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I am really looking forward to this book, I'm really excited in general for this deep dive monster book format, and I'm realizing that for the first time, I think I might be more excited for this than I am for the July Rulebook release (although Dark Archive is cool too don't get me wrong, and I reserve the right to change my mind as we find out what besides the classes will go in DA, or if the class changes slide either of them into my personal niche, which is very possible.)

Deep lore on undead, player options for Liches and other kind of undead, the 'Hallowed Necromancer' an undead eidolon for playing a necromancer with a beefy undead pet, these are things that dredge up long forgotten fantasies

Plus, I'm into the whole undead fighting fantasy, my first PF2e campaign was Witcher stuff and I'm not totally satiated on that stuff-- I think necromantic horror is a big touchstone for me. Reminds of my early days playing Wrath of the Lich King, Dragonfable, Adventure Quest, even that piece of flash fiction and art where the party in the CRB are about to fight off overwhelming hordes of undead got me excited.

I'm also excited by the prospect of *maybe* getting a book like this on Fey and the First World at some point.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
LizardMage wrote:
Any word on if Inventors will get the ability to make a corpse like construct, like Dr. Frankenstein?
This book is primarily a bestiary. I wouldn’t expect much more for players other than the playable undead.

We were told that it includes both options for playing undead, and options for fighting undead, so at least a little more.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

15 people marked this as a favorite.

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?


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

Aaron…if you don’t mind a question, what do you mean by the term “evergreen”?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
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?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

10 people marked this as a favorite.
AJCarrington wrote:
Aaron…if you don’t mind a question, what do you mean by the term “evergreen”?

Evergreen, as in valuable in the long term. Spoilers and previews alone are stale after the product is released. So we make fiction, NPCs or encounters.

But I think "What is in this product?" questions are right for product pages.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I wouldn't mind the q&a here.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
AJCarrington wrote:
Aaron…if you don’t mind a question, what do you mean by the term “evergreen”?

Evergreen, as in valuable in the long term. Spoilers and previews alone are stale after the product is released. So we make fiction, NPCs or encounters.

But I think "What is in this product?" questions are right for product pages.

Thanks Aaron, much appreciated.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
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)?


More or less, what is the turn around time from pdf to print to receiving in WA?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
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?

That sounds fantastic! But, it would probably work better if the post with that kind of information were stuck at the top or even if those questions and answers were a part of the product description itself somehow (sort of like an FAQ section of the product page, only actual questions from forum posters like us) - then you know anyone coming to the product page on the forums would see it and not get lost in the pages of posted comments.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ashanderai 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?
That sounds fantastic! But, it would probably work better if the post with that kind of information were stuck at the top or even if those questions and answers were a part of the product description itself somehow (sort of like an FAQ section of the product page, only actual questions from forum posters like us) - then you know anyone coming to the product page on the forums would see it and not get lost in the pages of posted comments.

Good ideas. "Sticky's" don't work in product pages and I don't have the ability to edit the top section. I might ask, but the code is not something I no not want to break. Good food for thought as we slowly be surely redesign the site.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
More or less, what is the turn around time from pdf to print to receiving in WA?

So timing questions are outside my wheelhouse, especially during this time of international shipping chaos. But since it is about to go to the printer and the book is scheduled to be released in March, we can calculate about 4 months for this product.

Any questions about the product content?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
More or less, what is the turn around time from pdf to print to receiving in WA?

So timing questions are outside my wheelhouse, especially during this time of international shipping chaos. But since it is about to go to the printer and the book is scheduled to be released in March, we can calculate about 4 months for this product.

Any questions about the product content?

What's the Undead Eidolon Initial Ability :)


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

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?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

@Aaron Shanks: Are there Undead options for an Inventor that takes the Construct Innovation?

Thank you :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Give us more ancestries or undead archetypes! :D

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.
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.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I have a question how does bieng turned into a vampire effect you? do you have to drink blood to survive do vampire pcs get coffin restoration? what about pc lich do we have to capture souls in our containers? do we resurrect if we are killed? will thier be cr 24 or 25 undead? will blood magic appear in this book? will there be special metals/ crafting material for undead & necromancy?


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

Thanks Aaron, sounds great!


Aaron, any and all archetype info available would be choice! My boy band of spooky, scary skeletons and I thank you immensely.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Cues up 'Attack of the Dead Men'
Is there a way to become a Litch? Can you play one that is good or neutral? any and all ancestry/variable heritage info available would be great.


Names of the different ghoul feats? Maybe what does the dedication do, broadly speaking? (besides turn you into a ghoul :P)

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll address these when I know the PDF is final. The Editing team is working their magic.

Actually I'll drip the answers out as time allows. ;)


since you didnt answer it before:

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


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

Yes please, I would love that, personally.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

12 people marked this as a favorite.

Where Secrets of Magic is blue and Guns & Gears is red, Book of the Dead will be green. It will have a similar themed-boarder in the margins.

The author credits on the front cover are Jason Bulmahn and Jessica Catalan.

The back cover art features Feiya, Korakai, and Fumbus as undead iconics.

"The Dead are Rising!
This blasphemous tome brings the shambling menace of the undead to the forefront of your game. If you wish to stem the ghostly tide, you’ll find tools and skills to fight against the undead hordes. Or you can join the other side and turn your character into a ghost, ghoul, lich, mummy, skeleton, vampire, or zombie! You’ll also find new haunts, as well as information about the undead-plagued lands within the Lost Omens campaign setting, perfect for adding undead to your next adventure! A massive bestiary section full of undead creatures brings more threats for GMs and summonable creatures for players, including more versions of classic undead like vampires, skeletons, and zombies. This book also includes “March of the Dead,” a grim and dangerous adventure themed around an undead uprising!"

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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

Where Secrets of Magic is blue and Guns & Gears is red, Book of the Dead will be green. It will have a similar themed-boarder in the margins.

The author credits on the front cover are Jason Bulmahn and Jessica Catalan.

The back cover art features Feiya, Korakai, and Fumbus as undead iconics.

"The Dead are Rising!
This blasphemous tome brings the shambling menace of the undead to the forefront of your game. If you wish to stem the ghostly tide, you’ll find tools and skills to fight against the undead hordes. Or you can join the other side and turn your character into a ghost, ghoul, lich, mummy, skeleton, vampire, or zombie! You’ll also find new haunts, as well as information about the undead-plagued lands within the Lost Omens campaign setting, perfect for adding undead to your next adventure! A massive bestiary section full of undead creatures brings more threats for GMs and summonable creatures for players, including more versions of classic undead like vampires, skeletons, and zombies. This book also includes “March of the Dead,” a grim and dangerous adventure themed around an undead uprising!"

Minor correction: The G&G spine is yellow, not red. :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Ghosts! I'm very excited.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Same! Ghostwalk 2e campaign here I come!


8 people marked this as a favorite.

Those player options are super exciting. Does the setting portion go over anywhere outside of the Inner Sea? I'd love to see any Garundi, Tian, or Arcadian undead hotspots.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

EXCUSE ME I'M HERE TO DRINK YOUR BLOOD

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