Undead in Pathfinder: Full List & Searchable Guide by CR

From the flesh hungry Zombie to the calculating and aloof Vampire, the Undead are truly both the most scary and infamous monsters in a Gamemaster’s Arsenal of threats.

They are varied in power, with the less powerful shambling corpses and skeletons at the bottom rung while at the top sit mighty creatures like the Dracolich and Death Knight.

But what are undead really? How do they work, and how can GMs use them in play?

That’s what we are here to help with!

What Are Undead?

In essence, the Undead are creatures infused with Negative Energy. Negative Energy, characterized by Death and Entropy, being the opposite (unsurprisingly) of Positive Energy, which is characterized by Light and Life.

It’s Positive Energy that Clerics and Paladins use when casting Cure Spells or using their Channel Energy ability.

Negative Energy is mostly used by Evil Clerics and is used to command the Undead, inflict wounds, and do all those other fun things the Church of Arete doesn’t want you to know about.

When a dead body of any creature gets infused with enough Negative Energy, it will get up and move of its own accord. This is normally what creates undead. This can be done through rituals, Necromancy spells, or sometimes even from natural phenomena depending on how Evil the GM is feeling that day.

There are a few universal traits for all undead as Undead is a Type of monster in Pathfinder. Trait 0 being that the creature MUST be actually dead.

Pathfinder 1st Edition Traits

An undead creature possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).

  • No Constitution score. Undead use their Charisma score in place of their Constitution score when calculating hit points, Fortitude saves, and any special ability that relies on Constitution (such as when calculating a breath weapon’s DC).
  • Darkvision 60 feet.
  • Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).
  • Immunity to death effects, disease, paralysis, poison, sleep effects, and stunning.
  • Not subject to nonlethal damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Immune to damage to its physical ability scores (Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength), as well as to exhaustion and fatigue effects.
  • Cannot heal damage on its own if it has no Intelligence score, although it can be healed. Negative energy (such as an inflict spell) can heal undead creatures. The fast healing special quality works regardless of the creature’s Intelligence score.
  • Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless).
  • Not at risk of death from massive damage, but is immediately destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points.
  • Not affected by raise dead and reincarnate spells or abilities. Resurrection and true resurrection can affect undead creatures. These spells turn undead creatures back into the living creatures they were before becoming undead.
  • Proficient with its natural weapons, all simple weapons, and any weapons mentioned in its entry.
  • Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) it is described as wearing, as well as all lighter types. Undead not indicated as wearing armor are not proficient with armor. Undead are proficient with shields if they are proficient with any form of armor.
  • Undead do not breathe, eat, or sleep.

So if we look at all this, we can see that the Undead in Pathfinder 1e are very powerful. They do not have a great deal of the infirmities of living creatures (don’t need to sleep/eat/breath, don’t need to worry about poison, no level or ability drain, etc). 

There are drawbacks though. You get to enjoy the fact that normal healing doesn’t work for you unless you have a source of negative energy nearby. If you hit 0 HP, you meet with Final Death, unlike living creatures who have negative hit points. 

You also need a really expensive True Resurrection spell to come back if you kick the bucket, and have you priced those recently?! This adventuring party isn’t made of money, you know!

Pathfinder 2nd Edition Traits

Pathfinder 2e has decidedly less traits than its first edition counterpart.

They share the “0 Hit Point” rule, and are only healed by Negative Energy rather than positive energy. They are also almost universally immune to Death Effects, poison, or paralysis, unless otherwise noted in their monster entry.

Mindless Undead and Sentient Undead

The varying types of undead creatures are myriad. When it comes down to breaking them into quantifiable groups, there are two real categories of Undead: Mindless and Sentient.

Mindless Undead are things like your Zombie, Skeleton, and all their variants. They really don’t have agendas or plans beyond “Kill” or “Destroy” and rarely use tactics. They are often meat shields or simple servants to Necromancers or more powerful undead. Most Mindless Undead do not retain any memories of who they were in life.

Though they can be scaled up in power depending on what the original creature was, and large groups can defeat more tactically minded opponents by sheer weight of numbers.

Sentient Undead are beings who may remember who they were before, and think like any other creature. They can feel emotions, and make plans in advance. Some will have long and elaborate schemes, or just have their own “un-lives” as the case may be. They will use tactics and strategy during fights, and will sometimes have other undead serving them.

While the vast majority of Sentient Undead are wicked and evil, there are some creatures who defy convention and are good aligned.

Roleplaying The Undead

The mind of a creature that has passed beyond the edge of death is very alien to most normal people like you and I, dear reader.  It can be difficult for a Player or GM to get into the mindset of something that really is beyond the aspects of reality that makes up our day to day lives.

Difficult, but not impossible.

After wracking my brain and really doing some thought provoking introspection on some of my past campaigns as both a player and a GM, below are some compiled notes of how best to bring across your Undead characters.


As a player in Pathfinder, it is going to be rare for you to become fully undead. 

Pathfinder 1e has Undead Templates, and 2e has a small source book on Playing Undead, but for the most part this is not going to be your standard game. Though, if your GM is up for running it, then it can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience.

99.99999 Percent of the time, you are not going to be playing a Mindless Undead, unless you are going real deep into some experimental Storytelling. So for the most part, we are going to treat this second like you are playing something Sentient like a Vampire, Dhampir, or Lich.

One of the big things to remember is that you don’t have the same concerns that your living party mates do. You don’t have to eat or sleep or even BREATHE. Your concerns are things like Sunlight or garlic if you are a Vampire, or making sure the party has a way to heal you if things go south in a fight.

If you are in a world that fears and hates the undead (like most settings), you will need to keep yourself concealed, and pretend to be at least a little bit alive. Some skill with Performance and/or disguise might help. As will perfume if you have a grave dirt smell to you.

Keep in mind that you are much like an Elf now, in that you do not work on a normal time scale. Theoretically, you are immortal and your plans could take anywhere from Decades to Centuries to Millennia to complete.

You are probably going to be more up for waiting things out, and less likely to take direct action. Though, you can be moved to act directly depending on your emotions.


One of the biggest things to ask yourself as a Gamemaster when using the Undead in your game is what kind of theme or impact you are going for. 9/10 you are reaching for something that is horrific in some way, and the Undead are really good at pulling that horror out of your players.

Undeath has a creep factor that really does not come with any other type of monster. There is a powerful and visceral “Ew” factor that comes with rotting body parts, and using the Undead puts that right into your player’s faces.

Do not be afraid to play up the unsettling nature of a Zombie’s rot, or the way the Vampire Lord would seem perfectly human except for the fact that he isn’t breathing.

Preserved Undead (i.e. ones that aren’t decaying visually) can really hit the uncanny valley effect. Especially if it is someone who the Players knew in life.

Play up the fact that this person just looks “slightly off” and let your player’s imagination run with it. They only need a slight nudge, and their own minds are going to scare their +1 pants off them.

As a gamemaster, you are going to be portraying a much wider cast of characters than your players. As such, in an Undead centered game you might be forced to RP both Mindless and Sentient Undead. So we can go over both here.

Mindless Undead

Most often the “Roleplaying” you are going to be doing with Mindless Undead is going to be in combat against your players. Though you might have an opportunity for non-combat moments in some rare circumstances.

The biggest focus should be on the emotion or goal the mindless undead is going to have. They aren’t going to care about pain, hunger, or exhaustion. They are just going to attempt to accomplish their goal, whether it be “Protect this Tomb” or “Eat Flesh.” 

Zombie movies are a great way to get the idea of just how singular this focus can be. While it had its own serious problems, the “World War Z” film really did a great job at showing how a Mindless Horde of undead can act when attempting to accomplish a goal. 

Sentient Undead

The idea behind roleplaying Sentient Undead for Players works well here, but there are also some other considerations that you as the GM might need to take into account.

There are really two types of Sentient Undead. There is a type of Undead that is like a Lich or a Vampire, who has long term plans and plots and then there is also a more animal-like Undead such as a Ghoul, Wight, or Bodak, who is more focused on the desire to maim and kill. 

This more animal-like Undead escapes the classification as a Mindless Undead because they use tactics and have a level of intelligence to their actions. They are going to attempt to prey on mortals around them, but they are going to be careful about it. They may do it to eat, exact revenge, or simply to terrify and feed off fear. 

To contrast the World War Z zombie horde, think of these as something like the H.R. Geiger Alien or the Predator. Treat adventures around them like a mystery, slowly uncovering what is causing this horror and then dealing with the threat.

As the GM, play up the fear or ruthlessness of the threat and have the emotions slowly build until confronting this Undead Monster.

The Other more “Human” type of Undead is something like another Player. This would be your major boss for a Campaign or an Arc. This Undead thinks like a Mortal with an extremely long term plan.

They are in control, and work on a time scale the Players really can’t fathom easily. They also have backup plans on their backup plans, as the Bene Gesserit would put it: “Wheels within Wheels.”

Play this up too. Make it seem like even when the Players have won, it was all part of the plan to begin with (Even if it wasn’t. They don’t need to know that).

The destruction of such an enemy should be a heroic effort, and could lead to other adventures taking care of the enemy’s remaining forces, or maybe they had an even bigger bad guy just behind them?

Scroll of Undeath

Below is a list of some of the most Iconic and Terrifying Undead Monsters found  in both Pathfinder First and Second Editions. 

This is not meant to be an exhaustive overview of every undead creature found in both these games, but more like some of the more iconic, eye-catching, versatile, and scary options available for storytellers and gms to incorporate into their games. 

There is some distinct overlap between both editions, so wherever possible, both options for monsters are presented. These are also ordered by their relative Challenge Rating or Creature Level.


Skeleton and Skeleton Guard 

“Rattle’em boys!” This is one of the lowest tiers of undead, typically called to service necromancers and other spellcasters who deal in negative energy. They aren’t that powerful, but they can be very frightening. They can be called from almost anything that has died, and there are a ton of different variations, including some that can even cast spells! 


Zombie and Zombie Shambler

Much like the Skeleton above, Zombies are your low level grunts of the Undead World. They are typically not that intelligent and very mindless, but come in endless varieties for the discerning evil spellcaster. They lack some of the diversity of Skeletons, but they make up for it in being tougher to kill.


Ghoul and Ghoul 

Ghouls are ravenous spirits of hunger that hunt graveyards and cemeteries looking for unwary people to drag off and consume. They sometimes form primitive hunting groups and small societies to better prey on the living. They often ambush their prey and drag them back to bury them alive. To a Ghoul, that makes the flesh taste better.


Draugr and Draugr

Water Zombies! Draugr or Draug are the undead corpses of sailors, marines, and other sea folk that died out in the ocean. They are called to shore sometimes to wreak havoc on port towns and seaside villages. They are constantly dripping wet and give off the smell of putrid rot and sea salt. Some have barnacles growing on their skin. Draugr remember nothing of their living life, but can sometimes fall into old patterns like working to sea shanties.


Shadow and Shadow 

Shadows are grasping, greedy, and cruel undead that are sometimes birthed from the souls of covetous mortals when they die. They are incorporeal, staying away from light sources and keeping to the darkness. They make good spies in the service of power necromancers, as they can hide and move silently around their prey.


Wight and Wight

Horrific monsters in their own right, Wights are like Zombies in form. They differ in a few very scary ways though. Born of necromantic rituals or spontaneously upon a mortal’s particularly violent death, Wights are cunningly intelligent.

They can touch others and drain the life from them until they become Wights as well. They are also fond of water ways, using shallow water as hunting spaces as they don’t need to breathe and can lay in wait.


Mummy and Mummy Guardian

Probably our least evil undead on this list, Mummies are typically found in ancient and forgotten tombs of nobility and royalty. They are servants granted immortality through powerful rituals, and bound to serve as guardians of a certain person, place, or thing. Mummies are most often humanoid, but can also be mummified animals. 


Wraith and Wraith

Wraiths are evil and malevolent ghosts born from the darkest and grimest mortals who refuse to go on to their final reward or punishment. They can drain the life of others with a touch, and are particularly hard to defeat because of their incorporeal nature.

They hate the living with pure rage and seek to kill and snuff out life wherever they find it.


Revenant and Revenant

Revenants are undead creatures returned to life after a horrific murder ended them before their time. They seek to hunt and kill the person who killed them or let them die. They will never stop until destroyed.

They can shriek like a banshee to leave those around them cowering in fear, but they have an aversion to their own image, loathing what they have become. Mirrors are your friend when fighting a Revenant.


Ghost and Ghost Commoner

Frightful apparitions of those who died with unfinished business. Ghosts can come in a myriad of different forms and shapes. Sometimes they are malevolent, but sometimes they could be helpful.

It all depends on the person in question. Typically the best way to get rid of a ghost is find what is holding it here, and resolve the tether to let it move on.


Spectre and Specter

Spectre (yes that is how you spell it) is the ghost of a particularly evil mortal whose anger or malice somehow either kept them from crossing over. They are often bound to a place, where they haunt the area and drive away all the living they can. They seek to create as much pain and death as they can, delighting in causing despair.


Bodak and Bodak

Sometimes when a mortal is exposed to a great amount of supernatural evil, it corrupts the soul and destroys the body. When this happens, the mortal creature turns into a monstrous undead known as the Bodak. Bodaks look like emaciated humanoids with rubbery skin and a twisted ghoulish face.

They wander aimlessly until they find living mortals. In an act of horrid vengeance they seek to end all life they can find, destroying and killing until there is nothing left to kill.


Vampire and Vampire Count

Blood-sucking Fiends! Vampires are undead creatures who use their large fangs to bite and drain the blood from the living to nourish themselves. These Iconic creatures are often found acting solitary or with hunting packs of their spawn.

Some set themselves up as Nobility or even Royalty, taking small domains for themselves. They are often spellcasters themselves, augmenting their powerful abilities with learned magics.



Graveknights are undead warriors given a mockery of life by their cursed armor. Sometimes when a mortal dies with vengeance in its heart, the spirit of that warrior will fuse itself to the armor at the moment of death.

Those unsuspecting individuals who put on the armor risk being possessed by the spirit who died in that armor.


Vrykolakas and Vrykolakas Master

Vrykolakas are kin to Vampires, feasting on the blood of the living to sustain their own existence. Unlike Vampires, they are monstrous creatures with powerful beast-like forms.

They manifest from those who died in violent circumstances and were not given proper burials. In Unlife, they seek to do as much pain and suffering as they can before they are put down forever.


Lich and Lich

Sometimes pronounced “Lick,” Liches are evil spellcasters who decided one mortal life wasn’t enough for them. Using powerful magics mixed with potent Negative Energies, the Lich enters a state of undeath where their mind remains living as their body slowly decays around them.

Their souls will be locked into items known as Phylacteries or Soul Cages. The Lich will remain alive as long as the Phylactery still exists, making Liches very hard to kill.


Banshee and Banshee

Banshees are uniquely Elven ghosts. They are born of the last dying moments of an Elf’s life, when they were either betrayed by those they loved or were the betrayer themselves. Banshee’s hate and envy the living, attempting to inflict pain and fear into the hearts of those who interrupt their constant wailing.

They typically do not move far from the site of their death, and are often found in places Elves no longer live but did in ages past.

Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

A strange undead creature that manifests as multiple undead creatures, Danse Macabre are a quixotic mix of revere and death. They manifest as raucous parties of revelers in places of great death, like battlefields or ancient graveyards.

When they manifest, they call to others around them to join in the Dance, where they are drained of their life and become one with the Danse Macabre.


Demilich and Demilich

As a Lich grows more and more powerful and less and less connected to the living world, they will often forget themselves while astrally projecting or just leaving their body behind.

Slowing their body will crumble to dust leaving behind only a jewel-encrusted skull. The Skull retains its own form of fiendish intelligence and hatred of the living, exuding malevolence on anyone who would disturb it.



A unique and heartbreaking form of Undead Creature, the Siabrae are druids who have taken a blasphemous tactic to protect their sacred spaces. They have invited Undeath and corruption into themselves, becoming undead creatures in order to stand against forces that may threaten their homes.

They are often bitter at their own kind, wanting to prove their decision wasn’t ruinous. Frequently though, their very presence will corrupt that which they have fought so hard to defend.