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Source Bestiary pg. 220
To gain more time to complete their goals, some desperate spellcasters pursue immortality by embracing undeath. After long years of research and the creation of a special container called a phylactery, a spellcaster takes the final step by imbibing a deadly concoction or casting dreadful incantations that transform them into a lich. While most undertake this drastic plan to continue their work or fulfill some long-term plan, others become liches because they fear death or to fulfill some malevolent purpose, such as long-sworn revenge. Regardless, the result is permanent and carries with it the potential to alter history—both that of those who transform themselves and of the countless mortals that will inevitably suffer as a result of a lich’s new power.

After its metamorphosis, a lich often finds some quiet place to dwell, typically protected by a variety of guardians and traps, for two primary purposes. First, a lich requires solitude in order to plan its elaborate schemes, and second, few mortals (if any) deign to interact with these legendarily corrupt necromancers. One reason begets the other, as the self-imposed isolation of a lich often drives the lich insane, further solidifying its separation from civilization. The longer a lich lives, the more meticulous a planner it becomes, secreting itself within a labyrinth of deadly puzzles, misdirection, and monsters. A lich’s servants and guardians are absolutely loyal, either due to their nature (such as constructs or other undead) or as a result of compulsion using powerful magic. Many liches go mad, in time, and the nature of a lich’s lair is a good indicator of the undead’s current mental state.

For all the protections it arrays around itself, a lich will go to greater lengths to guard its phylactery, as it knows that the destruction of this magical container spells doom for the lich. A lich is notoriously difficult to bargain with, though the threat of damaging its phylactery is a sure way to gain the upper hand in such a negotiation.


Demilich (Creature 15), Lich (Creature 12)

Creating a Lich

A lich can be any type of spellcaster, as long as it has the ability to perform a ritual of undeath as the primary caster (which can usually be performed only by a spellcaster capable of casting 6th-level spells). To create a lich, follow these steps.
Increase the spellcaster's level by 1 and change its statistics as follows.
Increase spell DCs and spell attack roll by 2.

Lich Abilities

A lich gains the undead trait and becomes evil. Liches lose all abilities that come from being a living creature.
A lich gains the following abilities.
Saving Throws +1 status bonus to all saves vs. positive
Negative Healing
Rejuvenation (arcane, necromancy) When a lich is destroyed, its soul immediately transfers to its phylactery. A lich can be permanently destroyed only if its phylactery is found and destroyed.
Immunities death effects, disease, paralyzed, poison, unconscious
Resistances cold 20, physical 15 (except magic bludgeoning)
Frightful Presence (aura, emotion, fear, mental) 60 feet, DC 30
Hand of the Lich All liches have a hand unarmed attack that deals 1d8 negative damage for every 3 levels and inflicts a paralyzing touch. This attack has the finesse trait.
Drain Phylactery Free ActionFree Action Frequency once per day; Effect The lich taps into its phylactery's power to cast any arcane spell up to the highest level the lich can cast, even if the spell being cast is not one of the lich's prepared spells. The lich's phylactery doesn't need to be present for the lich to use this ability.
Paralyzing Touch (arcane, curse, incapacitation, necromancy) A creature damaged by the lich's hand Strike must succeed at a Fortitude save against the lich's spell DC – 4. The creature becomes paralyzed for 1 round on a failure. On a critical failure, the creature is paralyzed permanently, falls prone, and seems dead. A DC 25 Medicine check reveals the victim is alive.

Alternate Lich Abilities

Although the abilities above are standard for a lich, you can create a more unusual lich by substituting any one of the following abilities for frightful presence, hand of the lich, Drain Phylactery, or paralyzing touch.
Blasphemous Utterances (arcane, aura, enchantment, mental) 10 feet. The lich is accompanied by a constant echo of blasphemous murmurs and tainted whispers. A creature in the aura takes a –2 circumstance penalty to saves against mental effects and can't take actions that have the concentrate trait unless they succeed at a DC 10 flat check. Failing this check wastes the action.
Cold Beyond Cold The lich's hand Strike deals cold damage instead of negative, and instead of being paralyzed, the target is slowed 2. A successful Fortitude save reduces this to slowed 1 (or negates it on a critical success).
Dark Deliverance The lich has resistance to positive equal to its level.
Siphon Life ReactionReaction Trigger The lich deals damage with its hand Strike. Effect The lich regains Hit Points equal to half the damage dealt.
Void Shroud (aura, death, necromancy) 30 feet. The lich is surrounded by an aura of death, drawing forth souls to be consumed by the lich's constant hunger. Living creatures in the emanation take a –2 status penalty to saves against fear and death effects. In addition, any creature that starts its turn in the area gains the doomed 1 condition unless it succeeds at a Will save against the lich's spell DC – 4.

Sidebar - Related Creatures Associated Monsters

Undead minions are very common companions for a lich or demilich. Liches prefer mindless undead, that do what they’re told and don’t interrupt the lich’s studies with useless conversation. Liches with a knack for crafting are also fond of surrounding themselves with construct servitors and guardians, such as golems.