Lich, 2nd Variant (5e Class)
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- 1 The Lich
- 1.1 Playing a Lich
- 1.2 Creating a Lich
- 1.3 Class Features
- 1.3.1 Table: The Lich
- 1.3.2 Spellcasting
- 1.3.3 Ability Score Increase
- 1.3.4 Unholy Covenant
- 1.3.5 Phylactery
- 1.3.6 Ghoulish Appearance
- 1.3.7 Undead Domination
- 1.3.8 Refined Phylactery
- 1.3.9 Traits of the Undead
- 1.3.10 Paralyzing Touch
- 1.3.11 Soul Reaper
- 1.3.12 Power Siphon
- 1.3.13 Disrupt Life
- 1.3.14 Master Resistance
- 1.3.15 Immune
- 1.3.16 Absolute Lichdom
- 1.4 Dark Mage
- 1.5 Ethereal Knight
- 1.6 Grave Walker
- 1.7 The Lich Spell List
- 1.8 Multiclassing
You’ve done it. You have reached the peak of magic power. Whether by rituals and studies, or a freak accident and horrible transformation, you have become a Lich. But no matter how you made it, you still need to learn about your new body and powers.
Playing a Lich
As a Lich, you are already far more powerful than any regular mortal, only being rivaled by other adventurers and the enemies you face. But being a low-level Lich means you have to be cautious. You are a Demi-Lich by many standards, as you aren't strong enough to be called a full Lich. You are vulnerable and easily killed if caught out on your own. No matter the situation or circumstances, a good Lich will plan and review his situation, coming up the best and most beneficial plan for every encounter.
When making a Lich character, it's best to think of how you became such a horrid monster. Liches are powerful spellcasters by nature, so a few examples of what your Lich may be are;
-A Lich who ignored his duty of collecting souls to sustain his form and faltered in power, reducing you to a mere low-level adventurer by strength standards, but you are now determined to gain power again.
-A servant of a Lich or necromancy cult that had used you in their experiments to create a powerful undead. You were considered a failure by many standards, but you have the ability to grow stronger and now seek out justice against the ones who turned you this way.
There are restrictions to being a Lich as well. Not every creature can simply become one of the most powerful monsters. Such restrictions are:
-You can’t be of Good nature.
-You cannot be a Small or Tiny creature.
-You have to be one of the following races: Human, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Elf, Hobgoblin, or a Tiefling.
-In favor of becoming immortal you trade your soul, turning it into a phylactery. Due to this you may only keep one racial trait from your starting race, and you are considered Undead in terms of your creature type.
-You cannot be healed by magic (spells like Cure Wounds or Healing Word won't work on you, but spells like Vampiric Touch will) due to your Undead nature, though you can gain temporary hit points and use hit dice during a short rest. A long rest also restores you to maximum HP, though because of your undead nature you only need four hours to complete a long rest, during which time you are completely aware of your surroundings.
If your hit points drop to 0, you do not take death saving throws and are likely to die instead, being revived by your phylactery. Because of this, it is best to avoid taking any permanent damage and make plans before battle.
As an Undead, you start off with 60 feet of Darkvision. This does not stack with any Darkvision your race may have had.
Both the Wish or True Resurrection spells are capable of restoring you back to life, but only if you are within your phylactery. Doing reverts you back into your humanoid form and half of any levels you had in this class (rounded up) are now put into the the Wizard Class and you are in the School of Necromancy.
!Remember! These spells require the consent of your own soul. If you are not willing to return back to life then the spells are wasted and nothing happens to you. Becoming a Lich is a very large process that cannot be simply undone by low-level magic.
Creating a Lich
- Quick Build
You can make a Lich quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution or Dexterity for your armor. Second, choose the Sage background. Third, take 2 shortswords and a scholar's pack.
As a Lich you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Shortswords, Longswords
Tools: Disguise Kit
Saving Throws: Intelligence and Wisdom
Skills: Choose three from Arcana, Athletics, Deception, Intimidation, History, Religion, Medicine
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) 2 shortswords or (b) a longsword
- (a) a spellbook or (b) any simple weapon
- (a) a scholar's pack or (b) an explorer's pack
- (a) leather armor, a component pouch and a phylactery or (b) leather armor, an arcane focus and a phylactery
- If you are using starting wealth, you have 1d10x5 gp in funds.
|Features||Cantrips||—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
|1st||+2||Unholy Covenant, Phylactery, Ghoulish Appearance||3||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement||4||4||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||Traits of the Undead, Unholy Covenant||4||4||3||3||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement||4||4||3||3||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|10th||+4||Traits of the Undead, Unholy Covenant||5||4||3||3||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||—||—||—|
|14th||+5||Traits of the Undead, Unholy Covenant||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||—||—|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||—|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement||5||4||3||3||3||3||2||1||1||1|
As a Lich, your knack for magic and casting spells, combined with your new powers, allows you to cast your spells without needing a spell book. Although, you can keep a book if you wish. You can copy spells down for the same cost as you would in a Wizard’s spell book, although to learn the spell you will need to study it and memorize it during a long rest. You gain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
- Preparing and Casting Spells
You prepare the list of Lich spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of Lich spells equal to your Intelligence modifier + your Lich level (minimum of one spell).
- Spellcasting Ability
Intelligence is your main spellcasting ability for your Lich spells, as you have spent your time practicing spells and learning as much as you could before the rituals. You use your Intelligence modifier whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a Lich spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
- Ritual Casting
You can cast a Lich spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your book. You don’t need to have the spell prepared.
Ability Score Increase
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
At 1st level, you can choose between your four Unholy Covenants; the Dark Mage, the Ethereal Knight, or the Gravewalker. Your choice grants you features at 1st level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.
Being a Lich means you must sacrifice your soul in order to obtain your power. You must place your soul in any object small enough to hide and light enough for you to carry on your person. You must always keep your phylactery within 5 feet of you. If you lose your phylactery you must stop or finish your current task and go into a frantic search for it, gaining proficiency in Perception checks and Investigation checks on finding it.
If you die you can be brought back in 1d10 days within 10 feet of the object. You can be brought back 1 day faster for every spell slot used on your phylactery from the school of necromancy (maximum of 5 days).
Furthermore, you can have your phylactery be any type of gem and use it as an arcane focus for your spells. You may also change the object your phylactery is stored in. You can transfer it into an object of roughly the same size in 10 minutes for 50 gold pieces worth of potions or valuable gems, or during a long rest with the same materials worth 10 gold pieces.
If you have your Phylactery on you when you’re about to unconscious, you can make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 10 or half the damage dealt (whichever one is higher). If you succeed, instead of going unconscious you drop to 1 Hit Point instead. You regain this ability after a short or long rest.
Due to your decaying state, at 1st level you gain resistance to poisoning and you are immune to all diseases. You can also choose one of the following to determine your appearance:
- You don’t immediately appear to be a walking zombie or skeleton, but rather you have pale skin, sunken eyes and faint decaying skin. At 1st Level, you can easily pass for a living creature, only being picked out from the crowd with a Perception check contested by your Deception.
- You are now an undead lich and you are an intimidating force. At 1st level you gain proficiency in Intimidation and you are in the process of becoming a full zombie or skeleton, leaving only bits of flesh hanging on.
Your natural control over Undead grants you many bonuses. At 3rd level, you can make any Undead that you can see within 60 feet of you roll a Wisdom saving throw against your spell DC or fall under your complete control for 1 hour. You can use your action on your turn to verbally command the controlled undead. Undead with an Intelligence above 10 have advantage on their saving throw and any Undead with an Intelligence above 16 are immune to this effect. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier. This feature replenish after a long rest.
This feature is stronger at 5th level, allowing you to double your control time for the spell Animate Undead or Create Undead, and commanding controlled undead with this feature now takes a bonus action.
At 5th level, you have a greater understanding of your phylactery. You have advantage on Perception and Investigation checks on finding it if it is taken from you.
Your power can also no longer supply your phylactery any longer, needing other souls in order to power it. Every 7 days you must perform an hour-long ritual to transfer the soul of a humanoid that you have killed within that same day. This keeps you powered for another 7 days, but you can store up a number of souls equal to your Intelligence modifier into your phylactery, which your soul consumes and destroys at the end of each 7 days.
You can now choose between two effects you can have on your phylactery, Warding Preservation or Wayfaring:
- Warding Preservation
You can spend a long rest to create a warding area using the effect of the spell Glyph of Warding in a single room surrounding your phylactery, keeping it safe while you adventure onward. Doing this makes you lose it as an arcane focus. Also, if anything triggers your Glyph of Warding effect you will immediately know what it is and what triggered it. You can store up to a maximum of 3 spell slots in the warding area and decide what triggers them, following the other requirements of the spell.
You will only go into a frantic search for your phylactery if it is moved from your warding area or if the spells are expended, fearing the worst. You can feel the general direction and distance of your phylactery if it is taken from you. You also have the spell Detect Magic as a ritual spell, but you can only use it while searching for your phylactery. Once you use it, it does not require concentration and lasts for 1 hour. If you choose this bonus you are cut off from gaining the Gallivant bonus later on.
Out of a small bit of paranoia, you always keep your phylactery on your person. You gain Advantage on Concentration checks for maintaining spells. You also don’t need components for spells as long as you have you phylactery as your arcane focus. If you choose this bonus you are cut off from gaining the Horcrux bonus later on.
You also gain this feature again at 15th level, your phylactery gaining hit points equal to ¼ your hit point total. You also gain two more effects on your phylactery, being able to choose from two more bonuses, the Horcrux or the Gallivant:
You have split up you phylactery in hopes of safe-keeping, placing it in secretive areas or near people you can trust. You can have a total of 5 objects containing your soul, preforming a 1 hour-long ritual on each of them, spending a total of 200 gp for each one after the first two. The health of your phylactery is divided amongst these objects. You can use your Warding Preservation on each object without any cost. You are now able to cast Glyph of Warding in 1 minute and can store up to 5 spells with a maximum of 5th level spells. Once you use this feature you can’t use it again until a long rest.
In a combination of fear and what many confuse with stupidity, you have decided to keep your most precious possession within 5 feet of your person at all times. If it is on your body or part of your arcane focus, its hit points are doubled. You can also take a minimum of 5 hit points and a maximum of 10 less than your phylactery’s total hit points and use them as temporary hit points during combat. If you lose any temporary hit points, half of the total lost goes back into your phylactery. You can use this feature once per finished short or long rest. If your phylactery is more than 5 feet away from you, its hit point total is no longer double and you no longer benefit from the Wayfaring or Gallivant features.
Traits of the Undead
Being Undead gives you plenty of benefits. At 6th level, you now have advantage against being Charmed and Frightened and on any Wisdom saving throws against Turn Undead, as you’re harder to crack. You also are now immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition. You get this feature again at 10th level, gaining resistance against being paralyzed and full Turn Resistance, and again at 14th level, becoming immune to exhaustion.
At 7th level, you can make a melee attack spell on a creature, doing 3d6 necrotic damage on a successful hit. The target must make a Constitution saving throw against your Spell Save DC or be Paralyzed for 1 minute, repeating its saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success. You can use this feature up to a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier. You regain this feature after a long rest.
You have become adept in the ways of necrotic energy, being able to pull off terrifying feats of magic. At 9th level you are able to heal yourself a number of hit point equal to half the damage you do on any spell from school of necromancy. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. You regain this feature after a short or long rest.
At 11th level, you can use your action siphon a creature’s soul that has died in the last 5 minutes, though it doesn't act as a power source for your phylactery.
You can choose between three different kinds of creatures at one time to siphon into your phylactery, gaining their power to preserve your strength, but also getting some bonuses from them as well. A single soul lasts up to one day, meaning you will need to continuously find souls in order to gain these benefits. You can choose between Elves and Fey, Orcs and Giants, and Goblinoids. The bonuses you get from them are listed accordingly:
- Elves and Fey –
If you siphon an Elf or Fey creature, you can gain their beauty and skills. You no longer appear to rot or smell and you can walk around freely without concern of being spotted out. Creatures trying to disconcert you from others as a Lich must either use magic, such as detect Undead, or get close enough to tell your pulse with a Perception check against your Deception check, which you are proficient with and have advantage on. You also gain proficiency in Persuasion checks if you siphon these creatures, and if you already have proficiency in Persuasion the skill is now doubled.
- Orcs and Giants –
Siphoning an Orc or a Giant gives you immense physical power. If you siphon their soul, you gain proficiency in Athletics, doubling the bonus if you already have the Athletics skill. You also gain proficiency in Strength saving throws and double the bonus if you already have it. You now can lift, drag, push, and carry weight as if you were one size larger.
- Goblinoids –
You become as nimble as a Goblin when stealing its soul. If you siphon a Goblin or Goblinoid creature, you gain proficiency in Stealth and Dexterity saving throws, doubling the bonus if you are already proficient in these skills and abilities. You can also hide as a bonus action on your turn.
At 13th level, once per long rest you can force any non-undead creature within 10 feet of you to make a Constitution saving throw against your DC, taking 8d6 necrotic damage on a failed save and half as much on a success. This can work with soul reaper.
You have started to become a true Lich, your body becomes resilient. Starting at 17th level, you now have resistance to Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing from non-magical weapons.
You are now almost a true Lich, your arcane energy giving you power. At 18th level, your resistances to being Charmed, Frightened and Paralyzed have now become immunities. You are now also a complete skeleton, only appearing normal with the Power Siphon feature.
You have now reached the peak of Lichdom, becoming a True Lich indeed. At 20th level, your Intelligence knows no bounds and increases by 4 to a maximum of 24. You also can grow to a maximum of 2 feet taller than your current height. You no longer age as well but your bones will start to become dull or stained depending on what you have done or will do in the future. Your pupils will now always have a small, red glow to them.
The Dark Mage is a powerful spell-caster, utilizing and maximizing the use of all their necromancy spells. Once you take this Archetype you will be one of the most powerful necrotic casters in the known realms.
- Expanded Spell List
These are spells you do not have to prepare, nor do they count against your already prepared spells. Such spells go according to their level:
1st - Chromatic Orb, Ray of Sickness
3rd - Crown of Madness, Ray of Enfeeblement
5th - Fireball, Vampiric Touch
7th - Blight, Phantasmal Killer
9th - Cone of Cold, Dominate Person
- Intelligent Caster
Starting at 1st level, your knowledge for casting spells and your fluency in learning them allows you to add your Intelligence modifier to the damage of any cantrips you know that deal necrotic damage. At 5th level you can use this feature on any spell for and above 1st level.
- Necrotic Savant
At 1st level, your attachment to necrotic energy allows you to control it easily. Any spell you cast of 1st level and beyond, you deal half the full damage of any spell that is under the school of necromancy.
You can also change any damage type of the same level spells to necrotic. This does not stack with the previously mentioned attack.
You can also use this feature to give a target disadvantage on its saving throw against a Spell you cast on that turn. Doing so uses the entire feature and cannot be stacked with any previously listed abilities for this feature. You can use this on spells for and below 5th level.
You can use this feature up to a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1). You must finish a short or long rest before using this feature again.
- Piercing Spells
At 6th level, your spell’s power increases, allowing you to ignore resistances for one damage type for your spells on your turn before you cast a spell. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier. Once you use this feature you must finish a short rest before you can use it again.
- Advanced Reaper
At 10th level you can enhance the Soul Reaper feature to not only benefit you, but also giving your allies health as well. Whenever you use the Soul Reaper feature, you can now use it to give your allies half the damage in health.
- Enhanced Savant
At 14th level, your knack for necromancy has increased tremendously. You can now deal the full damage of any of your spells from 5th level and below that belong to the school of necromancy, only dealing half damage from any other school. You must finish a long rest before using this feature again. This does not stack with Necrotic Savant. You can use this feature on any spells from the school of necromancy that may require other creatures to make saving throws, giving them disadvantage on their save. The level you are able to influence your spells increases to 7th level at level 16 of the Lich class, 8th at level 18, and 9th at level 20.
After testing out your newfound powers and finding them weak, you have decided to pick up a sword in favor of using the Lich's natural strength and aura to intimidate you foes.
- Expanded Spell List
These are spells you no longer have to prepare these spells, nor do they count against your already prepared spells. Such spells go according to their level:
1st Level - False Life, Shield
3rd Level - Magic Weapon, Mirror Image
5th Level - Slow, Blink
7th Level - Stoneskin, Dimension Door
9th Level - Hold Monster, Circle of Power
- Bonus Profeciencies
At 1st level, you gain proficiency with Medium armor and one Martial weapon.
- Undying Pressence
At 1st level, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Intelligence modifier when you reduce a creature to 0 hit points. In addition, you also gain an AC boost equal to your Intelligence modifier. This lasts for 1 minute after reducing a creature to 0 hit points.
- Extra Attack
Starting at 6th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
- Horrifying Aura
Starting at 10th level, you gain a 30 foot radius of unholy energy that frightens up to a number of creatures equal to your Intelligence modifier. The creatures must make a Wisdom saving throw against your Spell Save DC or be frightened of you for 1 round. Once you use this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can use it again.
- Death Warden
At 14th level, you can choose one of the three options listed below to permanently add to your attacks. You can change between these options after a long rest.
Life Drain - Attacks made with a weapon do an extra 1d8 necrotic damage and can be used once per round. Also, a creatures hit point maximum is reduced by the damage you deal with the previously listed attack. You can use this feature a number of times equal to you Intelligence modifier.
Ethereal Passage - Attacks made with a weapon do an extra 1d8 force damage and can be used once per round. As a bonus action, you can teleport to any enemy you see up to 20 feet away from you. You can use this feature a number of times equal to you Intelligence modifier.
Chilling Strike - Attacks made with a weapon do an extra 1d8 cold damage and can be used once per round. Furthermore, when you hit a creature with a weapon attack it becomes frozen and restrained until the end of your next turn. This does not affect creatures with sizes over Medium and Large. You can use this feature a number of times equal to you Intelligence modifier.
You have read and studied the Lich's natural powers for years, and have decided to use its ties to necrotic energy to create, revive, and raise the Undead to make your own army.
- Expanded Spell List
These are spells you no longer have to prepare these spells, nor do they count against your already prepared spells. Such spells go according to their level:
1st Level - Arms of Hadar, Bane
3rd Level - Enthrall, Warding Bond
5th Level - Animate Dead, Speak with Undead
7th Level - Deathward. Banishment
9th Level - Raise Dead, Antilife Shell
- Bonus Proficiencies
At 1st level, you gain proficiency with Medium armor
- Graveyard Shift
At 1st Level, you gain 30 feet of Darkvision, adding it on to the amount you already posses. In addition, you know the location of any humanoid corpse or Undead within 120 feet of you
- Improved Cadavers
Starting at 6th, you gain these benefits from using the spell Animate Dead:
-You can cast Animate Dead as a ritual spell.
-Created Undead from any spell you cast gain hit points equal to half your class level + you Intelligence modifier.
-Created Undead from any spell you cast add your proficiency bonus to their attack rolls, damage rolls, and armor class.
-Created Undead from any spell you cast can relay up to 25 words in common to a creature you can see.
- Defence of the Grave
Starting at 10th level, you have a veil of protection against Undead creatures. When an Undead creature attempts to attack you with a damaging attack, it must make a Wisdom saving throw or the attack is wasted. On a successful save, the attacks damage is halved if it hits your armor class
- Tide of Flesh and Bone
Starting at 14th level, as an action you can expend a 7th level spell slot to cast a concentration spell which creates up to 30 Undead, Zombies or Skeletons being you choice or the DM's based on your surroundings. This feature lasts up to 10 minutes and stacks with Improved Cadavers.
The Lich Spell List
You know all of the spells on the basic Wizard spell list and additional spells based on your Unholy Covenants, which are listed in their descriptions.
You can cast spells as a full caster, able to go to 9th level and can use the spell slot table from the Wizard's base class.
Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the The Lich class, you must meet these prerequisites: Intelligence 13 and Wisdom 13. You must be within the class restrictions listed at the top of the class page.
Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the The Lich class, you gain the following proficiencies:Intelligence and Wisdom saving throws, light armor, simple weapons, shortswords