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Demiliches are formed when a lich, through carelessness or by accident, loses its phylactery. As years pass, the lich’s body crumbles to dust, leaving only the skull as the seat of its necromantic power. The lich enters a sort of torpor, its mind left wandering the planes in search of ever greater mysteries. The lich gradually loses the ability to cast spells and its magic items slowly subsume into its new form. Negative energy concentrates around the skull, causing some of its bones and teeth to petrify with power and turn into blight crystals. The resulting lich skull, embedded with arcane gemstones and suffused with palpably powerful magic, forms a creature called a demilich.

Despite its near-constant state of inactivity, a demilich grows restless from time to time, especially when living creatures draw near. Only then does the demilich’s hunger for life stir once more, causing it to lash out with terrifying bursts of power in attempts to consume vital energy. Unlike an ordinary lich, should the demilich’s skull be destroyed, its bond to the world is permanently severed, although some theorize that even then it is not truly slain. Rather, some think that once the demilich is destroyed, its foul and tormented mind is finally free to wander the planes and find new ways to enact its will. For the short-lived common folk of the Material Plane, this is good enough, though eons later a demilich may reappear in the region it once inhabited with a new—and even more insidious—agenda.

Recall Knowledge - Undead (Religion): DC 39

DemilichCreature 15

Source Bestiary pg. 222
Perception +19; darkvision, true seeing
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Common, Draconic, Elven, Infernal, Necril, Undercommon
Skills Acrobatics +25, Arcana +32, Deception +26, Occultism +30, Religion +21, Stealth +25
Str -3, Dex +4, Con +0, Int +7, Wis -2, Cha +5
Torpor Typically, a demilich is inert when encountered and doesn’t take actions until its contingency reaction has been triggered (see below).
Items demilich eye gem (2)
AC 38; Fort +23, Ref +27, Will +23; +1 status to all saves vs. positive
HP 220 (negative healing); Immunities disease, paralyzed, poison, polymorph, unconscious; Resistances cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5, physical 5 (except bludgeoning)
Telekinetic Whirlwind (arcane, aura, evocation) 20 feet. Telekinetic whirlwind activates when the demilich ends torpor. Loose debris in the area whip up into a whirling storm. This obscures vision, making any creature in the area concealed, and causes creatures in its area (except the demilich) to treat all creatures as concealed. Any creature other than the demilich that enters or begins its turn in the aura takes 2d12 bludgeoning damage.
Contingency ReactionReaction A demilich has one permanent 8th-level contingency spell in effect with one of its arcane innate spells of 5th level or lower as the companion spell— typically dimension door. Trigger While the lich is in torpor, a creature disturbs the demilich’s remains, touches its treasure, or casts a spell that would affect the demilich. Effect The demilich ends torpor, rolls initiative, and gains the effect of its contingency’s companion spell. The contingency resets after 24 hours.
Countermeasures Free ActionFree Action Trigger The demilich’s turn begins. Effect The demilich casts blink, fly, spell turning, or true seeing on itself. It usually chooses spell turning unless it already has that spell in effect.
Speed fly 30 feet
Melee Single ActionSingle Action jaws +27 [+22/+17] (reach 0 feet, finesse, magical), Damage 1d4-3 piercing plus 6d6 negativeArcane Innate Spells DC 40, attack +30; 9th wail of the banshee; 7th spell turning (at will); 4th blink (at will), dimension door (at will), telekinetic maneuver (at will); Cantrips (8th) mage hand, telekinetic projectile; Constant (6th) true seeing
Demilich Eye Gems (arcane) A demilich has gemstone eyes that glow when the demilich is active. Each eye contains an 8th-level spell that targets one creature (usually one eye has maze and the other polar ray). The demilich can Activate an eye. This uses the number of spellcasting actions the spell requires, and also requires command and envision components. When the demilich casts a spell from a gemstone eye, that eye stops glowing for 1d4 rounds, during which time that eye’s spell can’t be used. Occasionally, one or both of the two demilich eye gems can be harvested from a destroyed demilich as magic items.Devour Soul Single ActionSingle Action (arcane, necromancy, negative) Requirements A soul has been trapped in one of the demilich’s blight quartz gems (see Trap Soul) for 24 hours. Effect The demilich consumes the soul. The soul is utterly destroyed, and the demilich regains HP equal to double the creature’s level.Mental Magic A demilich can replace all material and somatic components for casting spells with verbal components, and can replace all Interact components for activating magic items with envision components.Staff Gems A demilich long ago absorbed the spells from a staff into gemstone nodules embedded in its skull, with larger nodules representing higher-level spells. It can cast any of the spells as though it were Activating the staff, and regains 1 charge per 4 hours spent in torpor, to a maximum of 8 charges. A typical demilich has the spells from a greater staff of necromancy, but it could have spells from another staff of 8th level or lower instead.Trap Soul Single ActionSingle Action command Frequency once per day per gem; Effect Ten blight quartz gemstones on the demilich’s skull can trap the souls of the living. The Activated gem casts bind soul. This bind soul can target and affect a dying creature instead of a corpse. The dying creature can attempt a DC 38 Fortitude save; if it succeeds, it doesn’t die and its soul is not trapped but it’s enervated 2 (or is unaffected entirely on a critical success). When the soul of a creature gets trapped, the creature’s body swiftly turns to dust.
The gemstones work like the black sapphires used in bind soul, except that they can hold creatures of up to 17th level and have a value of 200 gp apiece. The demilich can Devour a Soul it has trapped.

All Monsters in "Lich"



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.

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.