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.

PZO2110


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Average product rating:

3.90/5 (based on 19 ratings)

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Exceptional lore book, art and bestiary, underwhelming archetypes

1/5

If this was just the lore, adventure and bestiary, this would have easily been a 5 star product.

The problem here is that almost all of the parts of the text my tables were excited for were very disappointing. Skeleton and ghoul were extraordinarily well done compared to zombie and vampire, vampire being by far the saddest archetype I've ever read. The undead hunters are great design, however.

As with Secrets of Magic, there was a lot of hype ending up with disappointment.


1/5


Of immediate use!

5/5

As someone who is doing a campaign against the Undead? This book is a godsend. I needed new and interesting undead as well as a nice methods for the undead to get redead, so I'm pretty happy with it as a product.

I do agree with the other review that it *could* be a problem that people take information written from Geb's perspective *could* inspire folks to assume Geb (a fictional character) is speaking for Paizo (a real world company) with regard to their own setting, but as folks within the White Wolf space are well aware? Unreliable narrator can *occasionally* create more problems than it solves.

a minor concern, really, so not enough in my eyes to take off a point.

Otherwise, Solid writing, great monsters (a couple of them Liches are about to get used for some shenanigans) and overall a fantastic book. Please keep it up.


Odd change in tone from previous books - an edgelord's manifesto

4/5

I didn't like this as much as I was hoping to. Chapters 1-3 swing from a neutral tone to sections that are written from a biased in-universe perspective of an undead -- which is interesting, but feels out of place in this splat. I'm not sure that an unreliable narrator is who I want spewing "facts" about Pharasma and Undeath that I need to rely on as a GM, and I feel like this will give some people ammo to play edgelord undead. In a setting which is already suffering from a lack of bad guys, this isn't helpful.

Dullahan not being included seems like an odd choice.

The bestiary in Chapter 3 is good otherwise, nothing really to comment on there. Making undead an archetype instead of a ancestry definitely feels like a balance decision even if it doesn't make sense to me. I don't think it's good or bad either way, just odd.

Some good stuff otherwise, I just think that the flavor in between mechanical feats jumping between neutral tone and unreliable narrator is jarring.


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3 people marked this as a favorite.

question:
Did Luis develop the curanandero background? I grew up in Northern New Mexico where we still have curandero and curanderas and was so happy to see this background


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

I caught that too! Was a little bummed to see it not integrated i to a specific spot in the setting - in Arcadia someday, with luck!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I grew up with them and the stories of La Llorona.

Dark Archive

Woops was posting in wrong thread, but yay this pdf is out :3


1 person marked this as a favorite.

... so ... anybody else hearing Geb's words in the late René Auberjonois' voice?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm sad ecorche aren't large sized anymore x'D I loved large body model exploding out of medium sized skin

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Something I'm curious about whether its choice on purpose or forgetting they are two separate beings: This is second 2e book that makes mention of vetalarana(what 1e called psychic vampire) but not vetala.

Has vetala been phased out in favor of psychic vampires?

I do get why if they did that since they were extremely similar creatures in 1e:

"While most of the Inner Sea’s vampires lust for living blood, the mysterious vetalas hunger for a more intangible force: the energy that infuses mortal minds. Referred to as consciousness or psyche by some, the academics of Vudra— from where most vetalas hail—call this fundamental vital force prana. Regardless of their desire’s name, vetalas prey upon those who show creative promise, possess potent force of will, or seem destined for greatness, draining the most brilliant sources of mortal light to fuel their own unnatural embers. Their dark mastery of life force allows vetalas to possess corpses or even overwhelm the minds of living creatures. With these stolen masks and the resources of abducted lives, they work their foul wills."

compared to psychic vampire

"Much like their more bestial cousins, psychic vampires are undead abominations driven by a terrible hunger. However, unlike vampires and nosferatu, who feed on blood, psychic vampires hunger for the occult energy that fuels the spells of psychic spellcasters. Some scholars confuse psychic vampires with the rare vetala breed of vampires or call them “vetalaranas,” as they steal a more refined form of spiritual energy. For their part, psychic vampires consider vetalas a dying bloodline, and as their own influence increases, they strike against their corpse-possessing kin with impunity."

My main confusion here is that "rana" is a title, so vetalarana sounds like stronger version of "vetala", so it kinda feels weird for it as term to replace vetala completely instead of vetala being base vampire and vetalarana being stronger variant of vetala.


Is Provincial typo'd in your book/PDF too?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
NemesorTzeentch wrote:
any idea when will get the Sanctioning Document?

Twitter announcement

Character options

Adventure sanctioning and chronicle link is in the product information above.


Sooo...my thoughts...I enjoyed the undead slaying material a LOT and also enjoyed the new monsters. My only letdown is there isn't much new material for Dhampirs or undead grafts/symbiotes. Still, it's a wonderful book! Well done Paizo!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think the two distinct species have just been combined into one and they simply went with the formers name. Psychic Magic seems like it isn't going to be its own type of magic, but more like a means of casting. So it doesn't feel like there is a need to have a distinction anymore.

A few monsters have been seemingly phased out of PF2. So it isn't too surprising here.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Berselius wrote:
Sooo...my thoughts...I enjoyed the undead slaying material a LOT and also enjoyed the new monsters. My only letdown is there isn't much new material for Dhampirs or undead grafts/symbiotes. Still, it's a wonderful book! Well done Paizo!

Maybe waiting for the big book of body modification? ;)

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ly'ualdre wrote:

I think the two distinct species have just been combined into one and they simply went with the formers name. Psychic Magic seems like it isn't going to be its own type of magic, but more like a means of casting. So it doesn't feel like there is a need to have a distinction anymore.

A few monsters have been seemingly phased out of PF2. So it isn't too surprising here.

I'm just confused they went with name vetalarana instead of just vetala. Like bestiary 1 mentions vetala, but dhamphirs and this book mentions instead vetalarana. And thing is, vetala IS mythological creature name.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

That's fair. It certainly is a strange. It feels a bit like having Asura Rana and no Asura.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Been wondering about this since Dhampirs released as well.

Glad it's not just me, at least.

Dark Archive

keftiu wrote:

Been wondering about this since Dhampirs released as well.

Glad it's not just me, at least.

Ya. Back when dhamphirs came out the vetala-born "Ajibachana" vs vetalarana lineage "Adhyabhau" made me think that "huh they are bringing both back" but this book is making me doubt that x'D


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I can use the curandero background in PFS2e


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

I have a question for the designers, Who designed the Darvakka(Nightshades) and how/where did you come up with the new Names for them? Both the Name Darvakka and the individual names.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really like the design of the ghul, but is there a way to differentiate between them and ghouls in spoken conversation? Similar to efreet/ifrit, they're different spellings of the same Arabic word, so I assume the pronunciation is the same, but maybe I'm wrong.

Dark Archive

Darth Game Master wrote:
I really like the design of the ghul, but is there a way to differentiate between them and ghouls in spoken conversation? Similar to efreet/ifrit, they're different spellings of the same Arabic word, so I assume the pronunciation is the same, but maybe I'm wrong.

Either start pronouncing ghoul with o or read ghul with much more dramatic reading each time you do it ;D


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darth Game Master wrote:
I really like the design of the ghul, but is there a way to differentiate between them and ghouls in spoken conversation? Similar to efreet/ifrit, they're different spellings of the same Arabic word, so I assume the pronunciation is the same, but maybe I'm wrong.

I don't know about Ghul/Ghoul, but I pronounce Ifreet as iFREET (like "feet" with an "R" after the "F") and I pronounce Ifrit as i-FRIT with the "IT" part just as I would use "IT" in a sentence; or to put it more simply, I emphasize the short "I" and the long "EE" sounds in those 2 words. I don't know if that is technically correct or not, but it makes things easier for me and my players to differentiate between them and it feels natural to me.

I would probably do something similar with Ghul and Ghoul just for the sake of my own verbal sanity during a game.

GOOL vs GOOOUUL :P


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

It's a corruption of "Goa'uld" :-)

Contributor

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Prince Setehrael wrote:
I have a question for the designers, Who designed the Darvakka(Nightshades) and how/where did you come up with the new Names for them? Both the Name Darvakka and the individual names.

I wrote the section but the names were very much a collaboration, so I can't speak to the inspiration points that others brought to the process, only to the parts of the names I contributed.

When I name things, my typical process is to do portmanteaus (such as with cephalume) or to root around in old forms of words and just noodle around with sounds and letters.

My contributions to the vanyver name came from the old norse vængr which meant "wing" - because this is a winged bat creature! The va- and -r ending stuck around from that inspiration point, but the middle was iterated on until it felt right for the creature.

For the sykever, this one ended up pretty far afield from where I started. Sometimes I'll jot a starting name down and then just kind of change it, one letter at a time, over the course of days or weeks until I'm happy enough not to make any more changes. This name started with válcaeir, which means "walker." With the way this name developed over time, you can start to see a preference forming in the names for certain sounds and letters, though.

Urveth and Nasurgeth... I don't know what to tell you, they just *feel* right. They didn't have inspiration words so much as they worked off the conventions established with the first two, and they just kind of vibe in my brain in the right way. Urveth just conjures the "gaping toothy abyss" vibe for me when I hear it, and Nasurgeth sounds nasty and gross and goopy.

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.

There are lot of interesting details about Geb here :'D

Like, for example, Geb nominally worships Urgathoa (as in he according to his own words "Offers empty prayers to Urgathoa and she feeds upon them"), finds Urgathoan flesh/bone altar/edifice aesthetic macabre and pointless, yet apparently uses Shredskins as flags. Oh and his first ever undead was a skeletal cat that is still in one of his vaults.

(I'm overally bit sad about nightshade art redesign, they still cool but less to my tastes overall. That and D&D almost never uses nigthshades so they are another one of "this is monster that D&D last used in 3rd edition. Let's redesign them to look different" monsters)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
(I'm overally bit sad about nightshade art redesign, they still cool but less to my tastes overall. That and D&D almost never uses nigthshades so they are another one of "this is monster that D&D last used in 3rd edition. Let's redesign them to look different" monsters)

Yeah, ditto on Nightshades. They had a very clear aesthetic look in 1e, this shadowy monster that wraps itself in a facsimile of flesh. Looked a little Disney-esque (Heartless especially) with sharp, stylistic curves and angles and vaguely-defined features obscured by the shadowy mist radiating all around them. There's still a little of that here, but they're much more flesh than shadow, in a way that makes them look pretty similar to most other fiends and less unique. The individual designs are cool, but mixed in a crowd with other fiendish creatures, I don't think I'd be able to point to any one of them and say "that's a Nightshade" without foreknowledge. I'm being nitpicky though. The art is gorgeous as always, and I love almost everything about this book.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jessica Redekop wrote:
Prince Setehrael wrote:
I have a question for the designers, Who designed the Darvakka(Nightshades) and how/where did you come up with the new Names for them? Both the Name Darvakka and the individual names.

I wrote the section but the names were very much a collaboration, so I can't speak to the inspiration points that others brought to the process, only to the parts of the names I contributed.

When I name things, my typical process is to do portmanteaus (such as with cephalume) or to root around in old forms of words and just noodle around with sounds and letters.

My contributions to the vanyver name came from the old norse vængr which meant "wing" - because this is a winged bat creature! The va- and -r ending stuck around from that inspiration point, but the middle was iterated on until it felt right for the creature.

For the sykever, this one ended up pretty far afield from where I started. Sometimes I'll jot a starting name down and then just kind of change it, one letter at a time, over the course of days or weeks until I'm happy enough not to make any more changes. This name started with válcaeir, which means "walker." With the way this name developed over time, you can start to see a preference forming in the names for certain sounds and letters, though.

Urveth and Nasurgeth... I don't know what to tell you, they just *feel* right. They didn't have inspiration words so much as they worked off the conventions established with the first two, and they just kind of vibe in my brain in the right way. Urveth just conjures the "gaping toothy abyss" vibe for me when I hear it, and Nasurgeth sounds nasty and gross and goopy.

WOW that sounds really epic.

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, it sounds really kewl. These shades have always been my favorite undead. And I love the 2e versions even more.

Thank you Again.


C. Richard Davies wrote:
... so ... anybody else hearing Geb's words in the late René Auberjonois' voice?

les pouissant

Dark Archive

Ravingdork wrote:


And the artwork on page 66 is utterly TERRIFYING! Poor, poor Amiri...I never though she could experience such horror...

What happens?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thrilled that Ramoska Arkminos, one of the funniest NPCs in the game, got a cameo appearance. Put him in more APs, paizo! I'm sure Wes won't mind.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


And the artwork on page 66 is utterly TERRIFYING! Poor, poor Amiri...I never though she could experience such horror...
What happens?

She's subject to the blood tears haunt, causing her to weep blood at the sight of a spirit gouging its eyes out, while lacking the Diplomacy or Religion skills needed to do anything other than suffer the bleed damage. So she's crouched in a pool of her own blood. Very grand guignol.

Dark Archive

C. Richard Davies wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


And the artwork on page 66 is utterly TERRIFYING! Poor, poor Amiri...I never though she could experience such horror...
What happens?
She's subject to the blood tears haunt, causing her to weep blood at the sight of a spirit gouging its eyes out, while lacking the Diplomacy or Religion skills needed to do anything other than suffer the bleed damage. So she's crouched in a pool of her own blood. Very grand guignol.

Interesting any Lini art in the book?


Kevin Mack wrote:

Interesting any Lini art in the book?

Unfortunately, I did not find any on my most recent review of the text.

Dark Archive

Grankless wrote:
Thrilled that Ramoska Arkminos, one of the funniest NPCs in the game, got a cameo appearance. Put him in more APs, paizo! I'm sure Wes won't mind.

He did? :O


Which class would make a better hallowed necromancer? Wizard? Cleric? Sorcerer?


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Folks,

I am happy to announce that content from Book of the Dead has been added in the latest build of TOS 2nd PRO edition!

Check out the Release Notes for all the details.

Happy Gaming!

TOS Admin
The Only Sheet

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

No grave knight archetype? :(


1 person marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Grankless wrote:
Thrilled that Ramoska Arkminos, one of the funniest NPCs in the game, got a cameo appearance. Put him in more APs, paizo! I'm sure Wes won't mind.
He did? :O

Comte Tiriac gets a little writeup in the Ustalav section, and of course Ramoska comes up.


Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Which class would make a better hallowed necromancer? Wizard? Cleric? Sorcerer?

"Better" is extremely subjective, but either a necromancer wizard or a cleric with the death domain can get more out of the archetype with less feat investiture -- a sorcerer (or cleric or wizard other than those two) has to take both Hallowed Initiate and Advanced Hallowed Spell twice in order to get all the benefits.


C. Richard Davies wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Which class would make a better hallowed necromancer? Wizard? Cleric? Sorcerer?
"Better" is extremely subjective, but either a necromancer wizard or a cleric with the death domain can get more out of the archetype with less feat investiture -- a sorcerer (or cleric or wizard other than those two) has to take both Hallowed Initiate and Advanced Hallowed Spell twice in order to get all the benefits.

That is what I was looking at as well.


Come to that, a bones oracle who took Domain Acumen for death would also have an easier time of it, though not as much as the first two.


So, love the book. Really interesting. Is there any way we might get a map of Fiorna's Faith without the map tags?


And also I'd like decent resolution PDF versions of the maps in March of the Dead for use in VTT please.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kelseus wrote:
So, love the book. Really interesting. Is there any way we might get a map of Fiorna's Faith without the map tags?

If you use TokenTool (Free) you can pull images from the PDF and this map wont have the tags. It'll have the campus at the bottom right but nothing else.

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