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PFS StandardDemilich

Demiliches are formed when a lich, through carelessness or by accident, loses its soul cage. 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
Unspecific Lore: DC 37
Specific Lore: DC 34

Elite | Normal | Weak
Proficiency without Level

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 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 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 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 (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 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"

Horde Lich15
Runecarved Lich19


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 soul cage, 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 soul cage, 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 soul cage 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 soul cage. A lich can be permanently destroyed only if its soul cage 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 Soul Cage Frequency once per day; Effect The lich taps into its soul cage'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 soul cage 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 Soul Cage, 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 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.

Book of the Dead

Animate Cage The lich has placed their soul cage inside an animated object that fights fiercely to defend itself, or at the very least to elude capture. If the lich's body is destroyed, the lich can control this animated object directly, although they can't cast any spells while inside the vessel. The lich's body is often restored inside this object, being ejected from the animated object after 1d10 days in the normal manner for a soul cage. The animated object is usually at least 4 levels lower than the lich, but it doesn't engage in combat unless directly threatened or if the lich is in control of it.
Aura of Rot (arcane, aura, necromancy) The lich is surrounded by pervasive, supernatural rot. Unattended food and drink within 30 feet of the lich immediately spoils. Anyone attempting to eat or drink within this area must succeed at a DC 5 flat check or become sickened 1 as the sustenance spoils before it can be ingested (ruining potions and other magical food and drink). Ordinary plants that remain within this aura for more than 1 minute wither and begin to die (depending on their size, this might take significantly longer).
Familiar Soul The lich has an undead familiar (using the familiar rules, except it's undead instead of an animal). Instead of a traditional soul cage, this lich stores their soul in the body of their undead familiar. While doing so makes it significantly more vulnerable, the moment the lich's body is destroyed, it can take over the body of the familiar. After 1 hour, the lich can use this body to cast spells, assuming it has an appendage capable of making somatic components. After 1d10 days, the lich's body reforms as normal.
Mask Death (arcane, transmutation) The lich changes their appearance to look as they did in life. This effect lasts indefinitely, but if the lich takes damage, their rotten flesh beneath becomes visible until this ability is used again.
Metamagic Alteration (concentrate, metamagic) If the lich's next action is to Cast a Spell, they can alter it in one of two ways.
  • Increase the range of that spell by 30 feet (giving it a range of 30 feet if it's a touch spell).
  • Alternatively, the lich can change the area of the spell if the spell has an area and doesn't have a duration. If the spell is a burst with a radius of at least 10 feet, increase the radius by 5 feet. If it is a line or a cone that has an area of 15 feet or smaller, add 10 feet to the area.
Pillage Mind (arcane, divination, mental) Trigger The lich deals damage with their hand Strike; Effect The lich pulls a memory or thought from the target's mind. The lich Recalls Information with a skill of their choice, using the target's bonus with the skill instead of their own. If there's a very specific piece of information the lich hopes to uncover, and the target knows that information, the target can attempt a Will save to keep it secret. On a critical success, the target can give the lich faulty information instead.
Steal Soul (arcane, evil, necromancy) Trigger A creature dies within 30 feet of the lich; Effect The creature must attempt one final Fortitude save. On a failure, the lich siphons the soul from the dying creature, storing it in a black mote of energy that orbits the lich's skull. The creature can't be brought back from the dead while its soul is trapped in this way. Once per day, as a single action, the lich can consume a mote to heal a number of Hit Points equal to double the soul's level. This utterly destroys the soul, making the creature impossible to bring back to life without a wish, miracle, or similar magic. The lich can have a number of motes orbiting them equal to their Charisma modifier (to a minimum of one mote); if the lich gains an additional mote, the oldest one is released, its soul free to travel to the afterlife.
Unholy Touch The lich's touch is suffused with evil, dealing evil damage instead of negative. On a critical hit, the target also takes persistent evil damage equal to half the lich's level.

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.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Corrupted Transformation

A failed ritual to become a lich usually results in a painful death, but things can go worse. Potential corruptions include losing all spellcasting ability, an inferior soul cage that takes 1 damage each day as it slowly degenerates, or a delay (typically 1d4 years) before the lich rises as undead.

Sidebar - Related Creatures Less Common Liches

Most who seek this form of unlife are powerful arcane spellcasters— wizards in particular. Clerics and druids almost never seek lichdom. Bards are less rare, due to their inquisitive nature and exploration of the occult. Some sorcerers seek out lichdom, especially those of the undead bloodline. Witches sometimes follow this path, especially if they learn the secret of transforming their familiar into a soul cage.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules The Ritual

The ritual to become a lich is unique to each character, but they frequently have similar elements. The ritual is at least 6th level, but it's always heightened to as high a level as possible for the primary caster. The skill check is tied to the primary caster's tradition (Arcana for arcane, Nature for primal, Occult for occult, and Religion for divine), and the caster must be a master in that skill to attempt this ritual. Secondary casters are rarely required. Before starting the ritual, the caster must construct the soul cage, which costs a minimum of 100 gp per level of the caster (often more) and a Crafting check with a hard DC for the caster's level.

Aside from these base requirements, the ritual also has at least three unique requirements. The first is a significant sacrifice crucial to the life and experiences of the primary caster. The second is a source of great power related to the caster's tradition, to be consumed during the ritual. The third is a poignant means to end the primary caster's life, consumed in the closing seconds of the ritual. If any of these are absent, or improperly performed, it reduces the degree of success for the primary caster's skill check to complete the ritual by one level for each missing requirement. Each of these should be difficult to obtain, requiring a significant quest or great personal sacrifice.

Sidebar - Geb The Whispering Way

Some believe that undeath is the purest form of existence, free from pain or fear, unshackled from the cycle of life and death. Loosely organized, adherents to this philosophy call it the Whispering Way, and although it may act like a cult in many regards, it has no true leader or structure. Membership is achieved only by pledging oneself to undeath with the goal of eventually achieving that state through some means or another.

Lichdom is seen as one of best ways of achieving this, though other means are generally acceptable. Undead who need the living to fuel their unlife generally shun this philosophy, as its true goal of turning all life to undeath runs counter to their needs.

Of all its adherents, the Whispering Tyrant is by far the most famous and successful member, nearly achieving the group's goal before being defeated by a massive alliance of mortal forces. Now that the Tyrant has returned, those who follow this philosophy are hopeful that their time of ascendancy is finally at hand.