Other town / city statistics to track: Graves.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So is there a way to calculate the amount of viable dead necromancers could use? Since there's many statistics for towns that interact with certain social and organization rules I wanted to apply it to something like a necromancer cult, a group that would need to know the number of viable graves at any given time to raise skeletons or similar from.


This will greatly vary based on the age of the settlement and local burial customs. The prevalance of cremation and blessed cemetaries are two big factors to start with. Other, more exotic, practices like sky burials or soylent green could also come into play.

Liberty's Edge

Assume 2% of the population of a low life expectancy place dies every year. Gives you a rough number of how many fresh graves there might be, if burial is the standard practice.


yep, the goal of any well performed funeral is to protect the dead from the depredations of necromancers and make them useless for such purposes... better look for a place that has recently undergone a plague and rob the plague pits...


Bones can take anywhere from a decade to millennia to decay naturally underground. Soil acidity, water content and aeration, salt content and burial practices can all contribute.

That said in places where necromancers are known and necromancy hated/feared I'd expect something towards the lower end of that time range to be normal. If there's some religion which promotes keeping the body intact (on Resurrection Day the dead will rise!) then ossuaries or similar might keep bones for centuries.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Above, 2% is a rather high life expectancy, 17th century rates approached 10% at times, quite the nasty century, mostly children dying young. There were towns that were wiped out due to any of a dozen ailments, etc. My ancestor left a town after over a thousand people died of diphtheria in a bad winter. Only a few wagonloads of survivors were left the next spring, according to family history. You'd have to have a decent level cleric to have enough cure disease spells.

Longer lived fantasy races would have to have rates below 1% to survive. Immortal races are often proof vs diseases, but klutzes will still fall down wells and headbutt boars, preventing anyone from a true 0%. Goblins in our game run about 10% at minimum, but 'maturity' is age 2, I think, and finding one much over 20 is hard. Violence affects the above numbers negatively and should not be discounted.

Flavor for a campaign world could be based on the availability, disposal, usefulness, etc., of corpses. In a necromantic culture, they would be either a item of trade or actual currency. Some races might not leave physical remains behind (Samsarans in our game 'vaporize' in order to 're-coalesce' elsewhere). Others might transform (trolls into stone). Some cultures might honor the dead, recovering bodies being a tenet of life, while a cannibalistic culture would have no thought of eating the dead sibling or three.

Dwarves in our group use ossuries to store the bones of ancestors, at least partially in a form of ancestor worship. Good Necromancy types run various tombs, graveyards, etc. Orcs follow the tradition of eating their dead and cracking the bones to cripple those too weak to keep living. Goblins are light on the bones and heavy on cartilage, thus they get left where they fall unless eaten, their spirits not being strong enough for necromantic work. There are several races we make sure to stake and bake due to their post life tendencies. Giants are too powerful for necromancy to control and can be very upsetting.

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