Can Undead Anatomy spell be used to assume the form of creatures with undead template (zombie, skeleton, ...) ?


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

6 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Rules Question
Can Undead Anatomy spell be used to assume the form of "humanoid-shaped" corporeal creatures with undead template (skeleton, zombie, ...) as suggested in the spell description ?

Undead Anatomy I-IV are transmutation (polymorph) spells from Ultimate Magic.

Ultimate Magic, Undead Anatomy spell description wrote:


When you cast this spell, you can assume the form of any Small or Medium corporeal creature of the undead type, which must be vaguely humanoid-shaped (like a ghoul, skeleton, or zombie).
CRB Magic section, Transmutation polymorph spells wrote:


Polymorph spells cannot be used to assume the form of a creature with a template or an advanced version of a creature.
Bestiary 1, Skeleton and Zombie description wrote:


“Skeleton” is an acquired template ...
“Zombie” is an acquired template ...

emphasis mine

If Undead Templates can be applied, then would the spell also work to assume the form of "humanoid-shaped" corporeal creatures with other Undead Templates such as vampires, liches, etc ... ?

Thoughts ?


"Polymorph spells cannot be used to assume the form of a creature with a template or an advanced version of a creature."

Yeah, the examples of skeleton and zombie were poorly phrased; I think they mean something more like "You can assume the form of a basic skeleton or zombie as statted in the Bestiary, but you're not allowed to become a skeletal champion, apocalypse zombie, zombie lord, 19th level Advanced wraith sorcerer, or whatever other nonsense shenanigans you're thinking about."

Sovereign Court

Specific overrides general. Undead anatomy violates the general rule that you can't polymorph into templated creatures because it specifically informs you that you're able. It would, however, only let you assume the form of skeletons and zombies, not other templated undead. Whether that means that you can only assume the form of bestiary-based skeletons and zombies, or whether you can put those templates on any vaguely humanoid creature and assume its form is up to your GM.


It says vaguely humanoid shape and then lists examples of those things. So yes I would say you could do a vampire or loch or anything said to posses a humanoid shape


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Skeleton and zombie are examples of things that are vaguely human-shaped. I don't see any indication the spell specifically overrides the rules about templates.

Of course, it's a weird rule to begin with. You can't polymorph into polar bears, for instance.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
RJGrady wrote:

Skeleton and zombie are examples of things that are vaguely human-shaped. I don't see any indication the spell specifically overrides the rules about templates.

Of course, it's a weird rule to begin with. You can't polymorph into polar bears, for instance.

It has the stats of an advanced bear, but it's not "really" an advanced bear, so I think a case could be made for RAW allowing it.

But yeah, unclear, as are the Undead Anatomy spells.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kvantum wrote:
RJGrady wrote:

Skeleton and zombie are examples of things that are vaguely human-shaped. I don't see any indication the spell specifically overrides the rules about templates.

Of course, it's a weird rule to begin with. You can't polymorph into polar bears, for instance.

It has the stats of an advanced bear, but it's not "really" an advanced bear, so I think a case could be made for RAW allowing it.

But yeah, unclear, as are the Undead Anatomy spells.

The RAW is definitely not generous.

Quote:


Druid, Eagle Shaman: How can I take the form of a roc if a roc is Gargantuan and the maximum size I can reach with wild shape is Huge?
The lack of suitable giant bird stat blocks in official Paizo products hinders the rules options for this archetype.

To remedy this problem, an eagle shaman druid can use wild shape to take the form of a Medium eagle (as if applying the giant creature simple template to a Small eagle), and can use wild shape to take the form of a Huge roc (as if applying the young creature simple template to a Gargantuan roc). Abilities of the assumed form are determined by which beast shape spell the wild shape ability functions as, as determined by the eagle shaman's effective druid level.

This ruling only applies to the eagle shaman, not any other kind of animal shaman archetype.

Dark Archive

If I am not mistaken, there is no such thing as a "basic" zombie or skeleton creature. Zombie and skeleton are necessarily templates to be applied to another creature. Even the Bestiary entries only provide examples of full statistics for Human Zombie and Human Skeleton (i.e. Human with appropriate undead template applied). So, by clearly listing zombies and skeletons as being eligible for Undead Anatomy, the spell introduces a contradiction with the Transmutation polymorph rules. Unless of course this is a specific exception to the general Magic rules ...

Grand Lodge

Truth Seeker wrote:
If I am not mistaken, there is no such thing as a "basic" zombie or skeleton creature. Zombie and skeleton are necessarily templates to be applied to another creature. Even the Bestiary entries only provide examples of full statistics for Human Zombie and Human Skeleton (i.e. Human with appropriate undead template applied). So, by clearly listing zombies and skeletons as being eligible for Undead Anatomy, the spell introduces a contradiction with the Transmutation polymorph rules. Unless of course this is a specific exception to the general Magic rules ...

That's how I would read it as well. Skeletons, ghouls, and zombies are specifically called out in the spell description. It'd be silly to say you can't turn into one.

But how far can you push it from there? Could you use Undead Anatomy I to polymorph into a Burning Skeleton or a Fast Zombie? I realize Undead Anatomy I would never give you the Fiery Aura of a Burning Skeleton, but it could bump up your base move speed as a Fast Zombie, right?

Lastly, Undead Anatomy I also says it can grant you a fly speed or a swim speed or a climbing speed, depending on what you turn into. Are there a lot of choices here? I've found a lot of choices for gaining a swim speed (such as the Draugr), but only one so far for climbing (Corpulent Ghoul), and it's pretty heavily templated. And as for flying, it's difficult because most of the flying undead are also incorporeal and, therefore, not allowed by this spell (at least the first one).

The only thing I've found so far that might work is the Necrocraft from Bestiary 4, which is vaguely humanoid shaped.

Has anybody else tried to look into this? What have you found?

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Can Undead Anatomy spell be used to assume the form of creatures with undead template (zombie, skeleton, ...) ? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.