Source: M. A. Lloyd
The Path of the Dead deals with both actual corpses and mortal spirits, including spells working directly on living souls. This can overlap with Spirits; in traditions where the dead are treated as spirits Summon, Mastery and so on work on them, but often mortal souls (at least virtuous ones) are immune to such treatment. In cases of conflict the religious tradition of the soul takes precedence.
Reveals the reasons a ghost has not passed on to the afterlife. Sometimes the reason is something the magician can resolve, though some ghosts remain voluntarily, and some situations are beyond resolution.
Guides a spirit to the afterlife. Spirits trapped in the mortal realm seldom resist and are automatically sent on. Those with a reason to stay resist with Will and lose 1 HT per point they lose the contest, hastening their departure (see VO p55). In some traditions this ritual is performed at every death to help the spirit reach the proper afterlife, or as insurance against it troubling the living.
Calls up a spirit from the dead by name. The spirit is not forced to answer, but may chose to make one speech or answer one question per two points of success margin. The presence of a descendant of the spirit gives a +3 bonus, and may encourage the spirit to be more truthful or cooperative. The ritual can also serve as a beacon for a soul that has become lost or separated from its living body, but again does not actually force it to return.
This ritual protects an area or individual. Ghosts or undead must win a contest of Will -5 against the ritual to enter the area or face the individual (or remain within his Will/3 hexes of him). Even entities that succeed are uncomfortable, and function at -1 as long as they remain in the area. Animated dead lacking Will scores automatically fail the Will roll.
Reduces a corpse to dust (ash in some traditions accompanied by a flash of fire). It is rare in traditional tales, though sometimes used to destroy vampires or other walking dead. In modern fantasy it is more common, sometimes used for ordinary cremations. There is no risk of backlash unless the magician himself is dead.
Traps the soul of the target. As VO p80, except for the change of Path. Note the initial sentence is false; it has nothing to do with the Raise Zombie effect. The now soulless body counts as an animated corpse for most purposes.
Re-animates a dead body. The corpse obeys a simple instruction given during the ritual, commonly 'walk that way' or 'kill anyone entering the tomb'. Fresh corpses retain the physical attributes they had at death, longer dead corpse are less capable. Corpses are destroyed at -10 x HT, and many are already at negative HT, either from the wounds that caused death or from later decomposition. Animated Corpses never have IQ or skills; any attacks are at default.
The mage transfers his soul to a receptacle of his choice. Thereafter he can animate his body without needing it to be conscious, or even alive. A mage animating his corpse will need to do something to preserve it from further HT loss to decay, since if the body is destroyed (reduced to -10 x HT) he is trapped in the receptacle. Significant damage to the receptacle slays the mage and destroys his soul, so most necromancers will use a durable object and guard it well.
Restores an intact corpse to life. The spell can perform minor repairs, but it will not work on those killed by wounds reducing them to more than -2 x HT. The resurrection is permanent, but there is a duration penalty equal that for the length of time the target has been dead. The Mystery may be resisted if the soul is happy where it is - on a backlash the mage joins the soul in the afterlife.
This ritual is used to direct a spirit into a new body. The spirit in question should be the ghost of a dead person. The body could be either a fetus in utero or a mature body. If mature, the body should be either newly dead or separated from the soul by a Soul Zombie ritual. This ritual could also be used to transfer one's own spirit into a new body. Attempts to reincarnate into an 'occupied' body gives the target a resistance roll, and backlash indicates that the spirit in question is cast into the abyss.