Medium undead, any evil alignment
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 91 (14d8 + 28)
Speed 0 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)
Saving Throws Con +7, Int +10, Wis +6
Skills Arcana +15, History +10, Insight +6, Perception +6
Damage Resistances necrotic
Damage Immunities poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages the languages it knew in life
Challenge 13 (10,000 XP)
Amorphous. The lich can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the lich fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
Spellcasting. The lich is a 14th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 18, +10 to hit with spell attacks). The lich has the following wizard spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): mage hand, prestidigitation, ray of frost
1st level (4 slots): detect magic, magic missile, shield, thunderwave
2nd level (3 slots): acid arrow, detect thoughts, invisibility, mirror image
3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, counterspell, dispel magic, fireball
4th level (3 slots): blight, dimension door
5th level (2 slots): cloudkill, scrying
6th level (1 slot): disintegrate, globe of invulnerability
7th level (1 slot): finger of death
Turn Resistance. The lich has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead.
Touch. Melee Spell Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d8) necrotic damage.
The lich can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. The lich regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
Cantrip. The lich casts a cantrip.
Touch. The lich uses its Touch.
Swirling Dust (Costs 2 Actions). The lich moves up to 60 feet without provoking opportunity attacks. Each creature within 10 feet of the lich as it moves must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw or be blinded until the end of its next turn.
||We crept through the ancient library, between decrepit shelves and over piles of books and scrolls that crumbled at the merest touch. When we finally found the tome we were searching for, the thick layer of dust that covered everything coalesced and cackled with malign glee.
|—Archbishop Menoz, recounting her final adventure in the ruined city of Adramitum
When a would-be lich incorrectly performs the ritual to become a lich, death usually follows, but for some this death is restless. These souls are dust liches, failed liches that nonetheless burn with arcane power.
A dust lich looks like a cloud of dust vaguely shaped like a humanoid skeleton with glowing green eyes, though the cloud is amorphous and can take shapes that are not humanoid, the green eyes always remain. It can temporarily solidify the dust that composes its body to hold objects and manipulate its environment, but it is otherwise ephemeral.
Failed Liches. Because the rituals that bind a dust lich are incomplete, it lacks a phylactery. As such, destruction means permanent death to a dust lich, so it will attempt to flee from any engagement where it seems outmatched, ready to plot revenge. At the same time, a dust lich need not concern itself with feeding souls to a phylactery, so it can linger in the most desolate and secluded places without fear of becoming a demilich.
Dust to Dust. The chosen abode of a dust lich is rife with undead, though dust liches have a particular preference for spectral undead such as wraiths and ghosts. Some dust liches inhabit the lairs of more powerful undead, whether by choice or by force, and a true lich or powerful necromancer may keep one or more dust liches as guardians. Powerful spellcasters versed in dark magic and necromancy know of rituals to summon and bind dust liches to their service, and some legends even speak of rituals meant to transform dust liches into true liches.
Undead Nature. A dust lich doesn't require air, food, drink, or sleep.