Dungeons and Dragons Wiki
This material is published under the OGL
Size/Type: Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 2d12 (13 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 13 (+1 Dex, +2 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
Attack: Claw +2 melee (1d4+1 plus disease)
Full Attack: 2 claws +2 melee (1d4+1 plus disease) and bite +3 melee (1d6 plus disease)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Disease
Special Qualities: Damage Reduction 5/bludgeoning, Darkvision 60 ft., Immunity to Cold, Reanimation, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +3
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 13, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 13
Feats: Improved InitiativeB
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 3-6 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: -

This monster resembles a humanoid dressed in tattered rags. Rotted flesh reveals corded muscles stretched tightly over its skeletal frame. Hollow eye sockets flicker with a hellish glow.

Broken and rotted teeth line its mouth and its hands end in wicked claws. Cadavers are the undead skeletal remains of people who have been buried alive or given an improper burial (an unmarked grave or mass grave for example). They can be found haunting graveyards and cemeteries.

Cadavers are infused with a hatred that rivals many other undead creatures. This hatred includes its own existence as well as the existence of all living creatures. They have a distinct hatred for light, but it does not damage them. All encounters with cadavers are at night or places cloaked in darkness. Multiple cadavers do not work in consort with each other; being mindless they simply charge into combat, killing all creatures they can. Cadavers are sometimes found in the employ of greater undead (such as wights or ghasts).


A cadaver attacks by raking with its filthy claws or biting with its sharp, disease-infested teeth. They often lie in shallow graves waiting for potential victims to wander too close, where they immediately spring to attack, raking and biting until destroyed or until all foes are dead.

Disease (Ex): Filth fever — claw or bite, Fortitude save DC 11, incubation period 1d3 days; damage 1d3 Dexterity and 1d3 Constitution (see Disease in the SRD). The save DC is Charisma-based.

Reanimation (Ex): When reduced to 0 hit points or less, a cadaver is not destroyed; rather it begins the process of reanimating by regaining 1 hit point per round. Hit points lost to magical weapons or spells are not regained. When the creature reaches its full hit point total (minus damage dealt from magical attacks and weapons), it stands up, read to fight again.

If the creature is destroyed by a cleric's turning ability, it cannot reanimate. If a cleric casts gentle repose on the cadaver when it reaches 0 hit points, it cannot reanimate. A bless spell delays the reanimation, causing the creature to regain hit points at half its normal rate (i.e. 1 hit point every other round).


Standard — A cadaver becomes an undead dressed in whatever it was buried in. This includes money and equipment (unless looted beforehand, which is likely). Still, a cadaver usually manages to have some treasure on it when found by brave adventurers.

  • Finely wrought gold anklet [100 gp]
  • Musical instrument, masterwork [100 gp]
  • Silver comb with moonstones, tarnished [352 gp]
  • 48 gp

In Your Campaign[]

The problem with mindless dead like the cadaver is that once their disease and reanimation abilities are identified, they are essentially treated as a more powerful form of zombie by characters. Cadavers lose their edge as unique undead and tend to get shuffled into the low-level minion category that, essentially, they are. But what can you do to breathe some life into these lifeless foes?

Let's take their unique characteristic of reanimating. Truly the restless dead, cadavers don't even stay down when you kill them. You could use this ability to pair a cadaver up with an evil deity of similar rebirth nature. After a few encounters against cadavers and this deity's followers, the PCs will recognize cadavers as not just another type of restless dead, but the harbingers of a known and feared cult of religious fanatics!

Furthermore, perhaps the initial animating process does not occur until a priest of the rebirth deity casts a spell over the illburied corpse. Such ability could be a special one granted by the evil god whenever a follower casts animate dead or similar magics.

Back to Main Page3.5e Open Game ContentMonsters
Back to Main Page3.5e Open Game ContentSourcebooksDread CodexMonsters