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Can a Tiefling (or any other race with the Outsider Native subtype) be turned into an undead creature? I've heard rumors from friends and done some research on other sites before, but am still unclear as to whether or not a Tiefling may become one of the undead.

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A tiefling can become undead

A typical tiefling that possesses the type outsider and the subtype native can become an undead just like any other living creature can, respecting, of course, the existing rules. To be clear, such a tiefling's appropriate death by a bodak, wight, wraith, or shadow wouldn't create spawn as such spawn can only come from a creature that possesses the type humanoid, and such a tiefling can only gain the vampire template (hence becoming an undead creature) from a vampire that's base creature type is outsider.

(To be honest, I gave up on trying to find in the list of hundreds of undead creatures a random undead monster that could transform a such a tiefling into an undead, which may lend some weight to a literalist argument like A tiefling killed by a typical Paizo-published undead won't create spawn. However, as this is Pathfinder, I'm certain an undead monster exists somewhere somehow that can kill a tiefling and see that tiefling become its spawn.)

Further, if a necromancer desires to animate such a tiefling's corpse via the spell animate dead et al. or see that corpse transformed into an undead creature via the spell create undead et al., that's totally legit. A tiefling corpse is just another corpse. Similarly, such a tiefling can, at the GM's discretion, become a lich.

The only counterargument that I can imagine that would disallow a tiefling from becoming an undead creature is the outsider type trait that says

Unlike most living creatures, an outsider does not have a dual nature—its soul and body form one unit. When an outsider is slain, no soul is set loose. Spells that restore souls to their bodies, such as raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection, don’t work on an outsider. It takes a different magical effect, such as limited wish, wish, miracle, or true resurrection to restore it to life.

Keep in mind that when a creature gains the dead condition "[t]he character’s soul leaves his body." Together, what the core rules mean when an outsider lacks a dual nature is unclear vis-à-vis the status of the outsider's remains. (I am unaware of how this lack of a dual nature is handled in other Pathfinder sources.) For instance, a GM could rule this lack of a dual nature sees a normal dead outsider's soul simply snuffed out when its material form is slain therefore leaving remains suitable for, for example, animation as a skeleton, zombie, or whatever. (This reader believes this the path of least resistance.) Alternatively, for example, a GM could rule that a dead outsider's remains vanish, it's soul spiriting away its material remains to their (or its more properly) final reward; this would, obviously, leave insufficient remains to be animated.

None of this may matter to the tiefling that possesses the subtype native, though. That's because that outsider type trait continues, saying, "But this An outsider with the native subtype can be raised, reincarnated, or resurrected just as other living creatures can be." Although not stated outright, to this reader that implies that the whole lack of a dual nature thing at least largely—if not completely—doesn't apply to tieflings and other native outsiders.

Still, another, stricter reader or GM may disagree, saying the lack of a dual nature still applies to tieflings normally, the changes made by the native subtype applying only to those specific spells, and that, for example, the typical tiefling's remains—as explained above—vanish when it dies, preventing effects from occurring to its corpse after the tiefling's death, like spawning undead or whatever. This player would view that as a long road on which to travel, though, and a GM that rules in such a way should make that ruling clear to players that are considering PCs of any race that possesses the type outsider and the subtype native.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The floodslain creature template can be applied to any non-aquatic living creature (or maybe any creature) and changes type to undead. It is applied whenever a floodslain creature kills a creature and leaves the remains in water for 24 hours. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 20 at 3:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil Cool. Good to know. And that it takes until the letter F and is from Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes kind of demonstrates my point. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 20 at 3:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, absolutely, I just thought you might want an example. (I'm not sure there aren't any before that alphabetically, btw, I just recalled the template from my research for my answer to this question. Probably not, though, I bet I just went alphabetically that time) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 20 at 4:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil Yeah, thank you. I'll wait before including it in the answer to see if anyone else's research yields more results, though. And the floodslain's create spawn ability is nuts! It looks like it's possible to read the specificity of its create spawn ability as superseding the general rules of the floodslain template's application, allowing bizarro stuff like undead iron golems. So weird. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 20 at 4:36
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A dead tiefling can be raised as undead

Tieflings have the "Outsider" type:

Type: Tieflings are outsiders with the native subtype.

Normally, outsiders can't be raised:

Unlike most living creatures, an outsider does not have a dual nature—its soul and body form one unit. When an outsider is slain, no soul is set loose. Spells that restore souls to their bodies, such as raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection, don’t work on an outsider. It takes a different magical effect, such as limited wish, wish, miracle, or true resurrection to restore it to life.

However, native outsiders can be:

An outsider with the native subtype can be raised, reincarnated, or resurrected just as other living creatures can be.

Tieflings are native outsiders, so they can be raised as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that Raise Dead, reincarnate, ect. are related to Animate Dead and the spells that actually create undead creatures? \$\endgroup\$ – Frezak Feb 19 at 20:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Frezak You'd be right. This answer addresses bringing back the dead not animating, creating, or spawning undead. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 19 at 20:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, this answer is to a different question than the one posed above. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Feb 20 at 3:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor Well, it says in the question "turned into an undead creature" which I'm (possibly incorrectly) putting with "create an undead creature from/out of". I think you're perhaps reading the question as "ressurect / raise dead / reincarnate a tiefling that is / was undead" ? And if that IS the question being posed, then I apologise and retract my comments, but I do not at present believe it to be the case. \$\endgroup\$ – Frezak Feb 20 at 11:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you're perhaps reading the question as "ressurect / raise dead / reincarnate a tiefling that is / was undead" ? — no. I've read the question as "can you raise a dead tiefling as an undead creature" \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Feb 20 at 12:20
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Yes.

Polymorph any object p323 of the core rulebook can turn any creature into another creature, including undead.

An alternative would be to have the character attempt to become a lich, however; there are no official rules for that. So you'd have to work it out with your gm.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. Thank you for participating and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 19 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Actually, polymorph any object can turn a target into an object or into a creature that possesses the type animal, humanoid or elemental (as per the polymorph spell) or the type dragon, magical beast, or plant (as per the greater polymorph spell. However, turning the target into a creature with the type undead isn't typically a choice unless the GM rules otherwise.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 19 at 14:02
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As some mechanical proof, I quickly found two examples of templates for undead creatures (the JuJu Zombie and Skeletal Champion), and both specify they can be applied to 'any corporeal creature (other than an undead)'. Outsiders are corporeal and living, and can therefore be at least these specific types of Undead.

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