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Is the only way to finish these quests to get Pharod to tell you himself? It seems a bit silly to me because it's perfectly obvious he's getting the corpses from the catacombs and multiple other characters tell you this as well.

If it depends on him then I guess I just can't complete the quests since he's dead now and I don't want to reload that long ago.
This question / problem has been solved by Drelmanesimage
Yes, you need to talk with Pharod about that.
I'd say just ignore that, it's not worth to go back to a old save (no big deal, you only missed 2500 exp and some cooper).