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Graveknights are undead warriors granted unlife by a cursed suit of armor that rejuvenates the graveknight unless the armor is wholly obliterated.

Arts of War

Graveknights don’t arise from mere soldiers but from great tacticians who’ve won countless engagements. Often, they were once their land’s mightiest general or most decorated war hero. This means graveknights don’t just rush into a toe-to-toe melee. They’ve studied the land (often with the experienced and unrelenting gaze only the undead can bring to bear) and engineered troop movements, earthworks, and traps to ensure victory. They usually have reinforcements ready to deploy and redundant contingencies in place. Just as great strategists opine that an engagement is decided before the first blow is landed, a combat against a graveknight often feels like a desperate fight in a rapidly closing vise.

Creating Graveknights

You can turn an existing, living creature into a graveknight by completing the following steps. It’s best to build a graveknight from scratch, but if you don’t have the time, simply apply the template. A creature should be at least level 5 before being converted to a graveknight.

Increase the creature’s level by 1 and change its statistics as follows.

  • Increase its attack rolls, AC, saving throws, Perception, and skills by 1, its HP by 5, and its Strike damage by 1.

Graveknight Abilities

A graveknight gains the undead and graveknight traits, and its alignment is usually adjusted to evil. It loses any abilities that come from it being a living creature and any traits that represent its life, such as human and humanoid.


Negative Healing Rejuvenation (divine, necromancy) When a graveknight is destroyed, its armor rebuilds its body over the course of 1d10 days-or more quickly if the armor is worn by a living host (see Graveknight Armor, below). If the body is destroyed before then, the process restarts. A graveknight can only be permanently destroyed by obliterating its armor (such as with disintegrate), transporting it to the Positive Energy Plane, or throwing it into the heart of a volcano.

Immunities death effects, disease, paralyzed, poison, precision, unconscious, plus one energy type (the same chosen for ruinous weapons below).

Sacrilegious Aura (abjuration, aura, divine, evil) 30 feet. When a creature in the aura uses a Positive spell or ability, the graveknight automatically attempts to counteract it, with the listed counteract modifier.

Devastating Blast [two-actions] (arcane, evocation) The graveknight unleashes a 30-foot cone of energy. Creatures in the area take 1d12 damage, plus an additional 1d12 damage for every two levels the graveknight has (basic Reflex save). The graveknight can use this ability once every 1d4 rounds. This energy damage is of the same type as that of its ruinous weapons (see below); Devastating Blast gains the associated energy trait.

Phantom Mount [three-actions] (arcane, conjuration, summon) The graveknight summons a supernatural mount as per phantom steed, heightened to a level equal to half the graveknight’s level. Unlike phantom steed, the steed’s AC and saving throw bonuses are all 4 lower than the graveknight’s, and the steed has one-third the graveknight’s Hit Points (rounded down). If the steed is destroyed, the graveknight must wait 1 hour before using this ability again.

Ruinous Weapons At the time of its creation, a graveknight chooses one of the following energy types that was relevant to its life or death: acid, cold, electricity, or fire. Any weapon the graveknight wields gains the effects of the caustic, frost, shock, or flaming weapon Rune, respectively, in addition to a +1 Striking weapon Rune. If the graveknight is 14th level or higher, its weapons instead gain the effects of the greater versions of both of these Runes.

Weapon Master The graveknight has access to the critical specialization effects of any weapons it wields.

Alternate Graveknight Abilities (B2)

Although the abilities listed above are standard for a graveknight, you can create a more unusual graveknight by substituting one of the aforementioned abilities (except for its rejuvenation ability) with one of the following.

Betrayed Revivification The graveknight died after being deeply betrayed. Instead of being immune to a type of energy damage, it is immune to mental damage, its weapons deal 1d6 additional mental damage, and its Devastating Blast deals mental damage with a Will saving throw instead of Reflex.

Create Grave Squire The graveknight can gift a piece of its armor to a willing ally, which becomes its grave squire. The graveknight can communicate telepathically with its squire at any distance, see through the squire’s senses, and cast suggestion as a divine innate spell through the telepathic link at will; the squire treats its degree of success as one step worse. If the graveknight’s main armor is destroyed, the squire’s piece expands to cover the squire’s body over 1d10 days, after which point it becomes the graveknight’s new body. The graveknight can have only one squire at a time, and must recover the gifted piece of armor if it wishes to create a new squire.

Dark Deliverance The graveknight has Positive resistance equal to its level.

Graveknight Armor Wearing graveknight armor is very risky, for the graveknight’s essence rapidly parasitizes the new wearer, accelerating the graveknight’s rejuvenation. This agonizing transformation inevitably kills the host, transforming their flesh into the graveknight’s new body. Removing the curse allows a character to remove the armor, but if it ever wears the armor again, the curse returns. If the wearer dies from another cause while wearing the armor, or if the graveknight’s rejuvenation completes before the wearer dies from the curse, the wearer immediately progresses to stage 3.

Graveknight’s Curse (arcane, curse, necromancy) This curse affects anyone who wears a graveknight’s armor for at least 1 hour. Saving Throw Will save; Onset 1 hour; Stage 1 doomed 1 and cannot remove the armor (1 day); Stage 2 doomed 2, hampered 10, and cannot remove the armor (1 day); Stage 3 dies and transforms into the armor’s graveknight.

Alternate Graveknight Abilities (BotD)

You can create a more unusual graveknight by substituting one of their abilities (except for darkvision, negative healing, rejuvenation, or immunities) with one of the following.

Clutching Armor [reaction] (arcane, transmutation) Trigger A creature attempts to move away from the graveknight; Effect The graveknight’s armor animates and attempts to Grab the triggering creature. It makes an Athletics check to Grapple using the graveknight’s Athletics modifier – 2. The armor can continue to Grapple the creature normally. Since the armor is grappling the creature, the graveknight doesn’t need a free hand to do so.

Eager for Battle (fortune) When the graveknight rolls initiative, they roll twice and take the better result. They’re quickened during their first round after rolling initiative and can use this extra action to Step, Stride, or Strike.

Empty Save for Dust The graveknight’s armor contains nothing more than swirling dust that puffs out from joints in their armor. A living creature that touches or is touched by the graveknight (including one hit by the graveknight’s fist Strike) must succeed at a Reflex saving throw or become contaminated with the dust. While contaminated, the targeted creature is stupefied 1 and gains weakness to the graveknight’s energy damage equal to half the graveknight’s level. The contamination ends after 1 minute or when the creature is doused with water, whichever occurs first.

Graveknight’s Shield (arcane, necromancy) The graveknight’s curse extends to their shield, or the graveknight’s armor uses a portion of itself to produce a shield. The graveknight has a shield that uses the statistics of a sturdy shield of a level no higher than the graveknight’s level – 1. The shield is quasi-independent of the graveknight and automatically protects the graveknight from harm. When the shield is raised, it automatically uses Shield Block to reduce the damage of the first attack against the graveknight each round without the graveknight needing to spend their reaction to do so. The shield automatically rejuvenates with the rest of the graveknight and must be destroyed in the same manner as the graveknight’s armor.

Portentous Glare (aura, divine, emotion, enchantment, fear, mental, visual) 30 feet. The graveknight’s visage is one of overwhelming menace. When a creature ends its turn in the aura, it must attempt a Will saving throw. A creature that fails is doomed 1 (or doomed 1 and frightened 2 on a critical failure). The graveknight can activate or deactivate the aura by using an Interact action to open or close their helmet visor.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Bestiary (Second Edition) © 2019, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Alexander Augunas, Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Eleanor Ferron, Leo Glass, Thurston Hillman, James Jacobs, Jason Keeley, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, Robert G. McCreary, Tim Nightengale, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, Michael Sayre, Mark Seifter, Chris S. Sims, Jeffrey Swank, Jason Tondro, Tonya Woldridge, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.

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.