This page is part of the character sheet for Pathfinder, covering Undead creatures.
Undead are defined as, quite simply, any and all creatures animated by negative energy, rather than the positive energy that animates everything else. Usually — but not always, strictly speaking — they start out as some other type of creature and end up this after dying and being reanimated by any of a number of processes. Beyond that, undead are quite possibly the most diverse category of creatures in-game — they come in both corporeal and incorporeal variants; they occupy the entirety of the spectrum between mindless automata and prodigiously intelligent post-mortal entries; they can be raised from a single intact body, an amalgamation of corpses or separated body parts and organs; and can be raised from almost any other living thing, making them potentially as diverse as all the other categories combined.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The vast majority — occasionally ghosts have good motives, but even most of them end up being driven to evil.
- Casting a Shadow: Their innate connection to Negative Energy gives them a variety of darkness-themed powers.
- Fearless Undead: Undead are immune to all mind-affecting effects, so resistance to fear in general comes with the package.
- Non-Human Undead: Undead can arise from almost all humanoids, monstrous humanoids, animals, vermin and magical beasts, not just humans alone.
- No-Sell: On account of them not being alive and thus most of their bodies not really being vital, they're immune to death effects, poison, paralysis, disease, sleep effects, stunning, ability drain, energy drain, ability damage to physical ability scores, nonlethal damage, exhaustion, and fatigue.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: There's many types of incorporeal undead, each with their own twist and special features.
- Revive Kills Zombie: Healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy.
- The Undead: Corpses and disembodied spirits animated by negative elemental energy. They are broadly divided into four kinds:
- Consummate undead are intelligent beings who fully retain the wills, souls and personalities they had in life, such as vampires, mummies and liches.
- Hungry undead, such as ghouls and mohrgs, are animalistic beings dominated by powerful instincts, which drive them to commit horrible acts on the living to slake their physical and mental thirsts.
- Incorporeal undead are disembodied souls closely linked to the plane of negative energy, like ghosts, specters and shadows.
- Finally, mindless undead are simple animated remains, like skeletons and zombies. They are little more than automata, kept animated by negative energy and entirely divorced from whatever soul may have animated their physical shells before their death.
Propagated UndeadUndead that spread through infection and transformation.
Flocks of ravens or crows that fed on the victims of ghouls, only to succumb to ghoul fever themselves and become a flock of undead birds hungering for warm meat.
- Aquatic Mook: Lacedons, an amphibious variety of ghouls.
- Elite Mook: Ghasts, a more powerful variant of ghoul whose touch can paralyze even elves, who are normally immune to ghoul paralysis. They are often found leading bands of common ghouls.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: If they can actually stave off their Horror Hunger, they actually remain pretty human-looking.
- Horror Hunger: Their craving for flesh greatly outstrips their need to consume it — being undead, they have no need to eat whatsoever, but their are still wracked by a constant hunger for flesh that is only abated when they are actively eating meat.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier: A combination of zombie and mythic ghouls — the original ghouls are believed to have been once-living cannibals, but the modern sort reproduce through their infectious bite.
- The Paralyzer: They can paralyze victims with their touch. Elves are normally immune to this, but a stronger variant of ghouls known as a ghasts is capable of paralyzing even elves.
- Religion of Evil: Some ghouls worship ancient cruel gods or lords of hunger.
- The Usual Adversaries: Ghouls may actually beat out goblins for the most common monster to be fought across adventure paths and modules.
- Zombie Apocalypse: More likely to cause this than actual zombies, funnily enough, as they are capable of independently spreading the infection that turns living people into ghouls.
Dogs infected with ghoul fever.
- Attack Animal: Ghouls keep them much as humans keep hunting dogs.
- Horse of a Different Color: Grathkoll are giant versions of ghoul hounds that are used as mounts by their ghoul masters.
- The Paralyzer: Like ordinary ghouls, their bite is paralytic.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Some ghouls view these vicious beasts as little more than tools, while more sentimental ghouls treat them as favored pets, but either way they'll chew your face off.
Ghouls from the nightmare dimension of Leng, a far older breed than the ghouls commonly seen on Golarion.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Leng ghouls are far more powerful, more intelligent and more civilised than their lesser kin in the Material Plane.
- The Paralyzer: Leng ghouls can paralyze victims with their touch, including elves.
- Public Domain Character: These particular ghouls are essentially lifted from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
- Religion of Evil: Most Leng ghouls venerate the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods, and they have a particular affinity for Nyarlathotep.
- To Serve Man: Leng ghouls delight in feasting on dead flesh.
Commonly found haunting tombs or other dark, abandoned places, shadows drain the life out of anyone they encounter to create more of their kind.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Greater shadows are visually indistinguishable from regular shadows, but their CR is six levels higher.
- Day in the Limelight: They're one of the focus undead in Undead Revisited.
- Demonic Spiders: Between their immunity to mundane attacks, resistance to magical attacks, and dangerous strength-draining touch (where a few unlucky rolls can quickly make it hard to fight back or even run away), they can be very hard for low-level parties that can't Turn Undead to deal with.
- Evil Is Petty: Shadows can arise spontaneously from people whose evil deeds were small, sordid, and self-serving.
- For the Evulz: It's noted that shadows have no discernible goals or motivation for what they do — they hunt living beings, drain the life from them and turn them into more shadows enslaved to their will because they want to.
- Living Shadow: Well, undead. Shadows are just that — two-dimensional black silhouettes that move over solid surfaces but have no physical presence of their own.
- Night of the Living Mooks: They can be created with the Create Undead spell, and that combined with their low intelligence and ability to generate spawn makes them a popular minion for necromancers.
- The Virus: Most shadows don't arise spontaneously, but because people killed by shadows become shadows.
Parasitic undead that feed off of the living, just about anything can become a vampire if it's unlucky enough.
- Horror Hunger: As expected, they crave the blood of the living.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The mainline vampires, known as moroi, are pretty much your standard cape-and-castle Dracula types. The nosferatu Look Like Orlok, the vetala have Psychic Powers and the Jiang Shi are Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- The Virus: Vampires can turn their victims into either other vampires or enthralled spawn.
Stiff, almost immobile vampires who move by hopping from place to place. The jiang-shi arose form ancient moroi who went into deep hibernation and, on awaking, were driven to madness by their hunger and desires.
- Achilles' Heel: Jiang-shi are horrified by their own reflections, and the sound of a handbell or the call of a rooster fills them with terror. Cooked rice, which reminds jiang-shi that they are dead and can no longer eat normal food, shames them.
- Anti-Magic: The holographic prayer scroll at a jiang-shis brow grants immunity to any effects from items that store spells.
- Chinese Vampire: A jiang-shi is an undead creature that drinks the breath of the living to feed on their life energy, or chi. Rigor mortis makes its movements especially stiff, causing a distinctive bouncing gait. It can sense the breathing of living creatures and wears a prayer scroll on its forehead.
- Fantastic Racism: They are known to be jealous of blood-sucking vampires because of their ability to create their own spawn.
- Jacob Marley Apparel: A jiang-shi's appearance depends on both the circumstances of its death and the state of its corpse at the time of reanimation.
- Outdated Outfit: Jiang-shi tend to wear clothing or gear that is out of style.
- Vampiric Draining: Jiang-shi drink the breath of the living to feed on their life energy.
The classic, aristocratic, refined blood-drinkers often found brooding in castles and indulging their voracious hungers on their unlucky citizenry. The moroi descend from ancient nosferatu vampires who chose to rise above their progenitors bestial insects, instead aping the aesthetics and nobility of their prey even as they hunted them like animals.
- Summon Magic: Their children of the night ability allows them to summon swarms of bats, swarms of rats or packs of wolves to aid them in battle. Mythic moroi wield a more powerful version of this ability, and can extend it to summon undead such as shadows, ghouls, ghasts and mohrgs.
- Total Eclipse of the Plot: The most powerful mythic vampires can blot out the sun for a mile around.
Sterile, bestial vampires incapable of reproducing, slowly driven mad by their failing undeath. The nosferatu were the earliest vampire breed to come into existence, descending directly from the mysterious strigoi, but have since been eclipsed in importance by younger vampire breeds.
- Looks Like Orlok: The nosferatu are direct callbacks to the original Nosferatu, and are as hideous as old Count Orlok — they're usually disguised by batlike faces, pronounced fangs, pointed ears and hideosity extended, claw-like nails.
Vampires that feed on mental energies rather than physical material. They descended from moroi who went even further in their airs of nobility and pride than the rest, finding even the consumption of the blood of "lesser beings" as shameful and barbaric and staving themselves until they developed the ability to feed directly from the minds of others.
Vetalarana (Psychic Vampire)Vampires that feed on the occult energies that fuel psychic spellcasters. They're commonly mistaken for vetala vampires, though they themselves consider vetalas to be a less refined version of themselves.
Vampire-like creatures who slay the living indiscriminately, from people to animals to plants.
Parasitic fungi puppeteering corpses.
Corpses infected by akata larvae that animate the body to hunt for food.
AmbiguousUndead whose descriptions don't describe their method of reanimation.
Cunning but ultimately cowardly undead.
Ghostly carriages who ferry souls to the afterlife, whether or not the souls are still in their mortal bodies.
Undead from the Negative Energy Plane that, to anyone's knowledge, have simply always existed.
- Critical Hit: Not only does their scythe have an expanded critical hit range, their Death Strike ability means it always confirms.
- Grim Reaper: In appearance if not necessarily in behaviour.
- Killed Off for Real: If a Grim Reaper kills you, you're gone forever unless a literal god decies to step in and say otherwise.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Their only goal is to kill mortals, though unlike many creatures with similar goals they don't care about the souls of those they kill.
- Sinister Scythe: it wouldn't be the Grim Reaper without one. And true to form it's a doozy, an adamantine bladed scythe with the highest bonus a weapon can have, an expanded critical hit range, and with its wielded making five attacks a round. A fitting weapon for Death Itself.
- True Sight: They have constant true seeing.
- Winds Of Fate Change: Grim Reapers have a Misfortune Aura around them. Within it, all living creatures must roll twice for any action and take the worse roll.
Normal humanoids by day, disembodied winged torsos by night.
Spirits of wind and bone found atop high mountains.
Deformed undead who consume blood to temporarily regain their living beauty.