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Most cultures revere the bodies of the deceased, laying to rest the mortal remains of their companions according to tradition formed generations before. Such customs assume a common conclusion: once the spirit that inhabited it has gone on to the Boneyard, the empty shell of a corpse has no purpose beyond its eventual return to the elements that formed it. You know differently. As the vessels that once housed immortal souls, corpses hold great power and potential, perfect construction materials for creations of unsurpassed wonder. As a reanimator, you have chosen to focus your study of the necromantic arts on the transformation of dead flesh into innumerable varieties of undead, from the lowliest shuffling corpses and brittle skeletons to abominations of ghastly splendor barely conceived of by only the most fanatical—or brilliant— mortal minds.

Additional Feats: 4th Undying Conviction; 12th Necromancer’s Visage; 14th Sepulchral Sublimation

Reanimator Dedication Feat 2

Archetype Dedication

Prerequisites able to cast animate dead with a spell slot

You have dedicated your studies to the art of raising and commanding undead. If you’re a spontaneous spellcaster with animate dead in your repertoire, it becomes a signature spell in addition to your usual signature spells. If you’re a prepared spellcaster with animate dead in your spells known, spellbook, or the like, you can spend 10 minutes contemplating undeath to replace one of the spells you’ve prepared in your spell slots with an animate dead spell of the same level. In addition, if you’re able to target the mostly intact remains of an appropriate type of dead creature when casting animate dead, the undead you animate gains a +1 status bonus to attack rolls, AC, saving throws, and skill checks for the duration of animate dead.

Special You can’t select another dedication feat until you have gained two other feats from the reanimator archetype.

Deathly Secrets Feat 6


Prerequisites Reanimator Dedication

No means of creating or ruling the undead is beyond your grasp, even those of magical traditions not your own. You learn either the eyes of the dead or subjugate undead focus spell.

If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point, which you can Refocus by meditating over the earthly remains of a dead sentient creature. The rules for focus spells appear on page 300 of the Core Rulebook. Focus spells granted by the reanimator archetype are from the same tradition as those used to meet the archetype’s prerequisite.

Special You can select this feat more than once. Each time, you learn a different spell and your focus pool increases by 1 Focus Point.

Macabre Virtuoso Feat 6

Uncommon Archetype

Prerequisites Reanimator Dedication; expert in Arcana, Occultism, or Religion

Any necromancer can create zombies and skeletons, but you know the secrets behind the creation of far more advanced undead monstrosities. You learn the create undead rituals to create two types of common undead for which you meet the prerequisites. (Your GM might give you access to additional types of undead.) You can’t teach these rituals to anyone else and you can’t participate in either ritual while allowing someone else to serve as the primary caster unless they also know the ritual. When you reach a new level, you can change either or both of these rituals to a different type of undead for which you now meet the prerequisites.

When acting as primary caster, you can perform all create undead rituals in 4 hours instead of 1 day and you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your primary check. You can also perform the ritual without the aid of a secondary caster, in which case you attempt the secondary check.

Special You can select this feat more than once. Each time, you learn the rituals to create two more types of undead creatures.

Bonds of Death [free-action] Feat 8


Prerequisites Reanimator Dedication

Frequency once per day

Requirements You have cast animate dead this turn.

You sway with the motions of your spells that animate the dead, channeling your power to sustain two at the same time.

You Sustain your previous casting of animate dead, binding the necromantic energy of the two spells together with metaphysical twine. On subsequent rounds, you can Sustain both animate dead spells with a single action to Sustain the Spell. This benefit lasts until either of the spells ends.

Greater Deathly Secrets Feat 10


Prerequisites Deathly Secrets

Your undead secrets grow stronger still. You learn either the malignant sustenance or grasping grave focus spell. Your focus pool increases by 1 point.

Special You can select this feat more than once. Each time, you learn a different spell and your focus pool increases by 1 Focus Point.

Master of The Dead Feat 12

Uncommon Archetype

Prerequisites Deathly Secrets

You have reached the pinnacle of the reanimator’s craft: the ability to raise nearly any corpse or skeleton as a gruesome mockery of the creature it once was. You learn the shambling horror focus spell (see below). Your focus pool increases by 1 Focus Point.

Reanimator Focus Spells

Eyes of The Dead Focus 3

Uncommon Divination Mental

Cast [three-actions] material, somatic, verbal

Range 1 mile; Targets one undead creature under your control

Duration sustained up to 1 minute

You enter a magical trance that allows you to perceive through the senses of the target creature. You attempt Perception checks using your own Perception, but you have any special senses the target has, such as low-light vision or darkvision.

The spell doesn’t grant any special method of communication with the target.

For the duration of the trance, your own senses are muted, though you can still communicate. This lack of awareness makes you flat-footed. You can’t take actions with the attack or move traits, nor can you cast spells.

Heightened (6th) The range increases to 100 miles and the duration to sustained up to 10 minutes. You can communicate telepathically with the target for the duration of the trance, though the target is under no compulsion to follow commands if it wasn’t already.

Shambling Horror Focus 6

Uncommon Evil Necromancy

Cast [three-actions] material, somatic, verbal

Range touch; Targets 1 corpse of a Gargantuan or smaller creature that has a level no greater than your level – 4 and has died since the last sunrise

Duration 10 minutes

You reanimate the corpse of a fallen creature as an undead minion under your control. The reanimated creature is an undead skeleton or zombie. Choose a skeleton or zombie stat block of the same size as the original creature and of a level no higher than the creature’s original level. The shambling horror keeps Speeds it had in life, as well as melee Strikes that deal only physical damage. These attacks use the highest attack modifier from the skeleton or zombie you choose. Some of the skeleton’s or zombie’s abilities might not make sense for the shambling horror, and some abilities the creature had in life might not persist in undeath; the GM makes the final choice of what abilities the horror has.

A shambling horror has the minion trait. You can’t control more than one shambling horror at the same time—if you create a new one while one is already under your control, you must choose one to release, causing it to lose the minion trait. Shambling horrors that have been released expire when the spell duration does. After the duration expires, you can cast shambling horror again on the same corpse to animate it once more. However, after the next sunrise, you can no longer animate the corpse as a shambling horror.

Subjugate Undead Focus 3

Uncommon Mental Necromancy

Cast [three-actions] material, somatic, verbal

Range 30 feet; Targets one undead creature with a level of no more than your level – 4

Saving Throw Will; Duration varies

You attempt to seize control of the target. It can attempt a Will save to resist the effect. If the target is already being controlled by another creature, the controlling creature also rolls a saving throw and the undead uses the better result. Casting subjugate undead again ends any previous subjugate undead you cast.

Critical Success The target is unaffected and is temporarily immune for 24 hours.

Success The target is unaffected.

Failure The undead creature becomes a minion under your control for 1 minute. The spell is dismissed if you or an ally takes a hostile action against the minion undead.

Critical Failure As failure, except the duration is 10 minutes.

Eidolons and Undead

An eidolon and summoner link together via life force, which undead lack. Undead spirits often have an easier time manifesting on their own than sharing a link with a living creature. Dhampirs and other creatures with negative healing have a much easier time bonding with an undead as an eidolon. It might be more uncomfortable and unlikely, but an undead eidolon can bond with any living creature, and the connection to the living grants them unparalleled freedom from the cravings and weaknesses of undeath.

Undead Eidolon

Your eidolon is an undead spirit pulled from the Ethereal Plane or Negative Energy Plane, embodied, and bound to your life force in an unusual, potentially antithetical way that even other summoners can’t quite understand. Undead eidolons take about every imaginable shape and form, as their bodies manifest from their connection to you. Their ultimate form can be influenced by an amalgamation of the echoes and memories of their old life before becoming undead, their cause of death, their encounters in the afterlife, and portions of your own essences. Together, you and your eidolon need to explore the mysteries of life, death, and undeath to understand what your bond means for both of your futures.

Undead Allies

While some necromancers view undead as purely disposable minions to create, destroy, or bind to their will, others see undead as long-term allies. These types of relationships can vary widely. Druids or rangers can bond with undead companions instead of animals. Witches and wizards might call forth undead familiars. Even summoners can forge an unusual link with an eidolon tied to undeath. The preeminent of them all, however, are undead masters who keep multiple undead companions at once and ensure their continued loyalty.

Tradition divine

Traits eidolon, undead

Home Plane Ethereal Plane or Negative Energy Plane

Size Medium or Small

Suggested Attacks claw (slashing), fist (bludgeoning), jaws (piercing)

Undead Brute Str 18, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12

Undead Stalker Str 14, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10

Skills Intimidation, Religion

Senses darkvision

Languages Necril

Speed 25 feet

Abilities Initial negative essence; Symbiosis drain life; Transcendence rejuvenation

Negative Essence

Your undead eidolon has a link directly to your life force, which grants it a twilight state between living and undead. This renders it a living creature and therefore susceptible to many ailments that bother only the living, though it does possess some resistances to these effects.

The eidolon has negative healing, meaning it heals from negative energy effects that heal undead and is damaged by positive energy effects that damage undead. It doesn’t have an undead’s normal immunities, but it does gain a +2 circumstance bonus to saving throws against death effects, disease, and poison effects, and non-damaging effects that target only undead. Additionally, its necrotic essence stanches its wounds easily. The flat check to remove persistent bleed damage from the eidolon is DC 10 (or DC 5 after receiving particularly effective aid).

The Evil of Undeath

An undead eidolon, companion, or familiar is usually evil, as are the majority of undead creatures. The GM might make an exception for certain undead who aren’t mindless. Since creating undead tortures and corrupts a life and spirit, a character with an undead animal companion or familiar is usually evil as well, though again, the GM can allow exceptions.

Anchored Incorporeality

While most ghosts are bound to the site where they died or were buried, some instead find themselves bound to specific items, such as a particular piece of jewelry, article of clothing, pet’s collar, or a stone from a building in which it dwelled. These items, known as anchors, were important to the ghost in life, or critical to the events of their death and haunting. A creature with anchored incorporeality has the incorporeal trait, meaning it can move through physical creatures and such creatures can move through it. It can’t attempt Strength-based checks (such as Grapple) against corporeal creatures and corporeal creatures can’t attempt such checks against it. Though incorporeal, a creature with anchored incorporeality can travel no more than 60 feet from its anchor and must maintain line of effect to the anchor. This typically prevents it from moving through walls. Unlike many other incorporeal creatures, a creature with anchored incorporeality doesn’t have resistance to all damage or immunity to precision damage.

A character with an animal companion or familiar that has anchored incorporeality can transfer the anchor to a new item with a special ritual.

This requires spending 1 week in concert with the companion to create a new anchor. A character who knows this technique might be able to adapt it to transfer a ghost’s Site Bound ability (or similar restriction) to tie it to an anchor instead of a place.

Drain Life

Your eidolon’s link with you sustains it, but it still craves the life essence of the living, whether through blood or pure essence. It gains the Drain Life activity.

Drain Life [two-actions]

Divine Eidolon Necromancy Negative

Your eidolon attacks a living creature and drains some of the creature’s life force to feed your shared link. Your eidolon Strikes a living enemy. If the Strike hits and deals damage, the target must attempt a Fortitude save, with the following effects. On a critical hit, the enemy uses the result one degree worse than it rolled.

Critical Success No effect.

Success Your eidolon drains a small amount of life force. The enemy takes additional negative damage equal to half your level.

Failure Your eidolon drains enough life force to satisfy itself.

The enemy takes additional negative damage equal to half your level and is drained 1. Your eidolon gains temporary Hit Points equal to the enemy’s level, which last for 1 minute.

Critical Failure Your eidolon drains an incredible amount of life force and is thoroughly glutted with energy. As failure, but the enemy is drained 2 and the temporary Hit Points are equal to double the enemy’s level.


Your eidolon’s unusual connection with you allows you both to rejuvenate when defeated. The first time each day your turn begins while you’re dying, you instantly regain a number of Hit Points equal to three times your level and wake up. (Increase your wounded condition as normal.)

You can immediately Manifest Your Eidolon as a free action. You can then take your turn as normal.

Undead Companions

Undead companions are loyal, though not fully sapient, entities that follow your orders, whether as an undead animal or an undead humanoid rendered mindless or nearly so by undeath. They work like animal companions in most ways. Most undead companions are uncommon, typically only available to those with the undead master archetype or an intrinsic connection to the realm of the dead. The GM might determine a fallen animal companion can be animated as one of the following with the proper create undead ritual. Undead companions typically have slightly lower statistics than a normal animal companion to compensate for their immunities. You can have only one companion of any kind at a time.

Apart from the following differences, an undead companion functions as an animal companion, including the limitations to companion items regardless of if they have a humanoid shape.

  • Traits: An undead companion has the undead trait rather than the animal trait.
  • Immunities: The companion has negative healing and immunity to death effects, disease, and poison. Unlike most undead, they aren’t immune to becoming unconscious and can become unconscious and dying rather than being destroyed instantly at 0 Hit Points.
  • Mindless Companions: Some undead companions are mindless. The mindless trait makes them immune to all mental effects, as normal. The only skills in which a mindless companion is trained are Acrobatics and Athletics, and it can’t become trained in other skills. Even if a mindless companion gains a limited ability to act in combat without being commanded, 37 such as from the Mature Animal Companion feat, it can repeat only the last command; it can’t take a new action on its own. A mindless companion can’t take specializations that would raise its Intelligence or grant it benefits to skills other than Acrobatics or Athletics, and it can’t use or benefit from feats or other options for animal companions that normally require a creature to have a mind, think, or make a decision. When in doubt, the GM determines what abilities a mindless companion can use.



Your companion is a ghost, bound to an item in your possession.

Due to this bond, your ghost companion can move beyond the area of a single dwelling, but it’s easier to disrupt than most incorporeal creatures. A ghost companion can be formed from a humanoid, animal, or other creature. The ghost isn’t sapient and is unable to speak with the living.

Size Small or Medium

Melee [one-action] ghostly touch (finesse, magical), Damage 1d8 negative (doesn’t apply the ghost’s Strength modifier)

Str –5, Dex +3, Con +0, Int –4, Wis +1, Cha +2

Hit Points 4

Skills Stealth

Senses darkvision

Speed fly 20 feet

Special anchored incorporeality

Support Benefit Your ghost spooks and scares your foes as you attack them. Until the start of your next turn, if you hit and deal damage to a creature in your ghost’s reach, the creature becomes frightened 1.

Advanced Maneuver: Telekinetic Assault

Telekinetic Assault [two-actions]

Divine Evocation

Frequency once per hour

Your ghost unleashes a flurry of emotions, causing small objects and debris to fly about in a 20-foot emanation, dealing 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 2 levels the ghost has (basic Reflex save). This uses a trained DC using the ghost’s Charisma modifier or an expert DC if the ghost is specialized.

Skeletal Mount


Your companion is a skeletal horse, drake, elk, or other animal suitable for riding. Skeletal mounts can be collapsed, gathered into piles of bone, and packed away for storage.

Size Large

Melee [one-action] hoof (agile), Damage 1d6 bludgeoning

Str +2, Dex +2, Con +2, Int –5, Wis +0, Cha +0

Hit Points 4

Skills none (mindless)

Senses darkvision

Speed 35 feet

Special mindless, mount

Support Benefit Your skeletal mount strikes fear when it charges. Until the start of your next turn, if you are riding your skeletal mount and move at least 10 feet on the action before your attack, any creature damaged by the attack becomes frightened 1, or frightened 2 if the attack was a critical hit. This is an emotion, fear, and mental effect.

Advanced Maneuver: Gallop

Gallop [two-actions]


The skeletal mount Strides twice, with a +10-foot circumstance bonus to its Speed.


Skeletal Servant


Your companion is a humanoid skeleton, mindless but capable of assisting in rudimentary chores. Like the skeletal mount, it can be collapsed for easy storage.

Size Small or Medium

Melee [one-action] jaws, Damage 1d8 piercing

Melee [one-action] claw (agile), Damage 1d6 slashing

Str +2, Dex +2, Con +1, Int –5, Wis +0, Cha +1

Hit Points 4

Skills none (mindless)

Senses darkvision

Speed 20 feet

Special mindless

Support Benefit Your skeletal servant jabs bones into your enemies to distract them while you attack. Until the start of your next turn, when a Strike you make hits and deals damage to a creature within your skeletal servant’s reach, that target becomes flat-footed until the end of your next turn.

Advanced Maneuver Screaming Skull

Screaming Skull [two-actions]

Auditory Emotion Fear Mental

The skeleton removes its skull and throws it, making a jaws Strike with a range of 20 feet. Regardless of whether it hits, the target and all enemies within 10 feet must attempt a Will save or be frightened 1, or frightened 2 on a critical failure.

This uses a trained DC using the skeleton’s Charisma modifier or an expert DC if the skeleton is specialized. At the start of the skeleton’s next turn, the head bounces, rolls, or flies back to reattach. The skeleton is blind while its head is away.

~~~ Vampiric Animal


Your companion is a wolf, weasel, fox, or other predator with fangs and the blood thirst of a vampire. They often serve vampires who willingly shared their blood to bind the animal to their vampiric whims.

Size Small or Medium

Melee [one-action] jaws (finesse), Damage 1d8 piercing

Str +2, Dex +2, Con +1, Int –4, Wis +1, Cha +0

Hit Points 4

Skills Survival

Senses low-light vision, scent (imprecise 30 feet)

Speed 30 feet

Special Vampiric animal companions are particularly attuned to the scent of blood. If a creature has persistent bleed damage, your vampiric animal companion can smell the creature if it’s within 120 feet rather than 30 feet.

Support Benefit When your vampiric animal senses blood it tears into your enemies. Until the start of your next turn, your Strikes that damage a creature in your vampiric animal’s reach also deal 1d6 persistent bleed damage. If your vampiric animal is nimble or savage, the persistent bleed damage increases to 2d6.

Advanced Maneuver: Blood Feast

Blood Feast [two-actions]

Your vampiric animal companion attacks a bleeding foe and drinks its blood. Your companion attempts a Strike against a creature currently taking persistent bleed damage.

The Strike deals 2d8 additional damage. If the Strike hits and deals damage, your vampiric animal companion gains temporary Hit Points equal to half your level that last for up to 1 minute.

~~~ Zombie


Your companion is a mindless zombie created from a soulless dead body, be it animal or humanoid. The stats below list a fist Strike, but this can be replaced by a claw or similar option better suited to the creature’s form.

Size Small or Medium

Melee [one-action] fist, Damage 1d8 piercing

Str +2, Dex +0, Con +4, Int –5, Wis +0, Cha +0

Hit Points 10

Skills none (mindless)

Senses darkvision

Speed 20 feet

Special mindless

Support Benefit The zombie emits an aura of rot, causing wounds to fester. Until the start of your next turn, each time you hit a creature that’s within 10 feet of the zombie and you deal damage, the creature takes an additional 1d6 damage as the wound festers. If your zombie is nimble or savage, the damage increases to 2d6. This is a disease and necromancy effect.

Advanced Maneuver Take a Taste

Take A taste [one-action] Requirements The zombie has a creature grabbed or restrained.

The zombie tries to grasp and bite a creature. The zombie makes a jaws Strike against the creature. This Strike uses the same statistics as its normal melee Strike, except its damage die is 1d10 and it deals piercing damage.

Undead Specific Familiars

Necromancers and other spellcasters with affinity to undeath bind undead creatures to serve as familiars. Undead specific familiars work no differently from any other specific familiars, though they share certain abilities due to being undead.

~~~ Crawling Hand

Crawling hands make grisly but striking familiars, popular among necromancers with an eye for aesthetics.

They also tend to be convenient, due to many available spare parts. Crawling hands can be skeletal or fleshy, like a zombie.

Crawling Hand


Required Number of Abilities 5

Granted Abilities manual dexterity, spell delivery, undead, valet

Lend a Hand The crawling hand assists an ally in the same space to attack a foe, crawling over the enemy and grabbing to distract them. Despite being a minion, it gains 1 reaction at the start of its turns, which it can use only to Aid an attack roll by an ally that shares the hand’s space (it still has to prepare to help as normal for the Aid reaction).

This attempt automatically succeeds. If the crawling hand has a similar ability, like partner in crime, it still gains only 1 reaction and can choose how to spend it.

Undead Your familiar is undead. It has negative healing and is immune to death effects, disease, poison, and unconscious.

It’s destroyed at 0 HP.

~~~ Old Friend

Sometimes, the spirit of a cherished pet returns from the Boneyard to continue aiding its beloved owner. These tiny animal ghosts tend to be bound to anchors such as favorite toys, collars, or carved representations of who they were in life. An old friend is less likely to be evil than other undead familiars, as is its master.

Old Friend

Incorporeal Spirit Undead

Required Number of Abilities 4

Granted Abilities flier

Invisibility Once per hour, your familiar can cast 2nd-level invisibility on itself as a divine innate spell.

Anchored Incorporeality.

Undead As crawling hand.

~~~ Polong

Polongs are wicked, invisible spirits created from the blood of murder victims, bound to glass bottles, and fed with the blood of their master. They’re often used to possess and sicken their master’s enemies. Polongs can’t be found or acquired, only created, a process that can take up to two weeks. If a polong’s bottle is ever destroyed, or if its master fails to provide its daily feeding of blood, the polong withers and dies.


Incorporeal Undead

Required Number of Abilities 8

Granted Abilities flier, lifelink, skilled (Society), spellcasting, speech

Anchored Incorporeality Anchor must be a bottle.

Polong Possession [two-actions] (incapacitation, mental, necromancy, occult, possession) The polong attempts to possess an adjacent corporeal creature. The creature must attempt a Will save against your class DC or spell DC, whichever is higher. On a failure, the polong merges into the creature’s body for 1 minute (24 hours on a critical failure). The polong can observe through the creature’s senses but is unable to control the creature. The possessed creature is drained 1 while the possession lasts. While possessing a creature, a polong can ignore the distance and line of effect limitation from its anchored incorporeality ability; when the possession ends, it immediately returns to the bottle if it’s beyond range.

Undead As crawling hand.

Talking Head

Similar to beheaded, these disembodied, reanimated heads (with or without skin) retain some of their arcane wisdom, making for invaluable study partners. However, they also tend to be mouthy, opinionated, or downright obnoxious with their constant chattering, leading some annoyed masters to sew their mouths shut in punishment.

Talking Head


Required Number of Abilities 3

Granted Abilities cantrip connection, skilled (your choice of Arcana, Occultism, or one kind of Lore), speech

Heads Will Roll Unless its master gives the talking head the flier ability, a talking head is able to move only by rolling along the ground, reducing its speed to 15 feet.

Alternatively, a creature can, as a single action, kick or throw the head 30 feet. This can’t be used as an attack; the head bounces harmlessly off anything it hits.

Undead As crawling hand.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Book of the Dead © 2022, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Brian Bauman, Tineke Bolleman. Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, 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, Mark Seifter, Sen.H.H.S., Kendra Leigh Speedling, Jason Tondro, Andrew White.