Okay rules

  • No disguise skill
  • Shapeshifters are allowed as long as they fit the rest of the requirements.
  • Stuff they get from classes or other external sources doesn’t count it has to be an ability that every monster of that type has.
  • it’s okay if the appearance is only skin deep
  • anything that you can find on the srd, archives of nethys, or similar sites is okay including 3pp.
  • templates are cool too
  • no possession

A few notes

  • something like a zombie whose flesh doesn’t rot and doesn’t smell like a zombie as a commenter proposed fits the bill
  • vampires do fit my criteria as this is mainly about appearances and who goes looking to see if people have a shadow unless they know there’s a vampire around. But I’m already aware of those and I'm looking for stuff I’m not aware of.

So the question is are there any undead that appear to be alive even if it’s only visually.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ How perfect does it need to be? Vampires should be human at first glance, but they don't stand the test, like having a shadow for example. Is "looks like it in a dark corner" enough? \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 19:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What's the context of this question? Do they need to be unrecognizable, or is it okay if they only look like a living creature? E.G. Zombies whose flesh doesn't rot, are they considered to look like the living even though they don't have any special abilities to that extent? \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 20:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This isn't what you're looking for, but gentle repose on a zombie every X days can pull it off. I used it on an Undead Lord to keep my fast-zombie heavy horse zombie companion looking like a normal horse. Just tuck my unholy symbol into my chest armor and I look like any other cleric/paladin set for mounted combat, no "she's an evil necromancer, kill her!" from the townsfolk. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 20:05

3 Answers 3


There are lots, actually...

  1. The Baetriov

Clad in the finest silks, this noblewoman has cheeks that are flush with vitality, though her eyes speak to great age and danger.

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  1. The Cannibal Child appears human before it attacks.

  2. The Totenmaske also can take the form of its victims for a while.

  3. The Yuki-onna appears as a very beautiful woman.

  4. The Sayona can appear as a young beautiful person for 24 hours.

  5. Huecuvas appear as they did in life during the daytime.

  6. A Psychlown might be mistaken for a human in clown makeup.

  7. The Nachzehrer can take the form of a living fey creature.

  8. A Hupia appears either as their living form or someone dear to the one seeing them, but only the first time you look at it and only if you fail your save.

This is probably not an exhaustive list. Spell-casting undead with access to illusion magic that can make them appear as living creatures, such as a lich, might fit your criteria. Technically a lich gets that ability from the class they had when they were living, but it is an ability that all liches have because all liches were once spell-casting mortals.


The Pennangalen template.

The hideous penanggalen is one of the most horrific vampiric monstrosities. By day, a penanggalen appears to be a normal humanoid, but at night or when provoked, the creature’s head rips free from the rest of her body, coils of viscera and entrails dangling from her throat as she launches into the air, seeking blood to sate her unholy thirst.


Some Phantom Armors (https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/undead/phantom-armor/) walk around and could probably pass for a humanoid in full plate armor.

Dhampir (https://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/other-races/featured-races/arg-dhampir/) are technically living creatures, but they respond to positive and negative energy as if they were undead. Thematically, they fit in well with undead enemies, but can also pass as humanoids (I once saw a player accidentally kill one that was bleeding out with Cure Light Wounds while trying to wake him up for questioning, having failed the Perception check to recognize what he was).


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