Liches are undead spellcasters, usually wizards or sorcerers but sometimes clerics, who have used their magical powers to unnaturally extend their lives.
As a rule, these creatures are scheming and, some say, insane. They hunger for ever greater power, long-forgotten knowledge, and the most terrible of arcane secrets. Because the shadow of death does not hang over them, they often conceive plans taking years, decades, or even centuries to see fruition.
A lich is a gaunt and skeletal humanoid with withered flesh stretched tight across horribly visible bones. Its eyes have long ago been lost to decay but bright pinpoints of crimson light burn on in the empty sockets. Even the least of these creatures was a powerful person in life, so they often are draped in grand clothing. Multiclass fighters or clerics may still bear the armor of a warrior. Like its body, however, the garb of a lich shows all too well the weight of years. Decay and corruption are its constant companion.
Creating a Lich
An integral part of becoming a lich is creating a magic phylactery in which to store its life force. Unless the phylactery is located and destroyed, the lich reappears 1d10 days after its apparent death.
Each lich must make its own phylactery which requires the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be a sorcerer, wizard, or cleric of at least 11th level. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp and 4,800 XP to create and has a caster level equal to that of its creator at the time of creation.
The most common form of phylactery is a sealed metal box containing strips of parchment on which magical phrases have been transcribed. This typically has a leather strap so that the owner can wear it on the forearm or head. The box is Tiny and has a hardness rating of 20, 40 hit points, and a break DC of 40. Other types of phylacteries can exist, such as rings, amulets, or similar items.
Type change: You gain the creature type Undead.
Armor Class: 14+ Dex (natural armor)
Hit Die: You HD becomes 1d8 per level rather than that granted by your class.
Damage Resistances: cold, lighting, necrotic; bludegoning, piercing and slashing from nonmagical weapons.
Damage Immunities: , poison.
Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned.
Senses: truesight 120 ft
Legendary Actions (3/rest). At the end of another creatures turn you can use one of the following legendary actions: cantrip, disrupt life, frightening gaze, and paralyzing touch.
Legendary resistance (3/day). If you fail a saving throw, you can choose to succeed instead.
Cantrip. The lich casts a cantrip.
Frightening Gaze (only as legendary action). The lich fixes its gaze on one creature it can see within 10 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or become Frightened for 1 minute. The Frightened target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a target’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the target is immune to the lich’s gaze for the next 24 hours.
Disrupt Life (only as legendary action): Each non-undead creature within 20 feet of the lich must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw against this magic, taking 21 (6d6) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Paralyzing Touch. You can make a melee spell attack which deals 3d6 cold damage. If the attack hits, the target must succeed on a Dc18 Constituation saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The Target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Rejuvenation. If you are killed, and if your phylactery is intact, you gain a new body in 1d10 days. which appears within 5 feet of the phylactery.
Turn Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead.
Undead Nature. You no longer require air, food, drink, or sleep.
Prestige Class: Lich
Racial: Must be a lich.
Ability: An Int of 13 AND a Wis of 13.
Skills: Must be proficient in Arcana and Religion.
Hit Dice: 1d8 + con per level.
Weapons: dagger, sickle, quarterstaff, longsword, scythe.
Tools: pick one: calligrapher’s supplies, alchemist’s supplies, or jeweler’s tools.
|1||Advanced Phylactery, Lich Spellcasting, Lifebane|
|2||Archetype Feature, Ability Score Improvement OR Feat|
|3||Archetype Feature, Forbidden Arcana Improvement|
|4||Archetype Feature, Ability Score Improvement OR Feat|
|5||Archetype Feature, Forbidden Arcana Improvement|
At 1st Level when your hit-points drops to 0, you do not fall prone and unconscious. Instead, you are stunned and vulnerable to Radiant damage until you have at least 1 hit-point. If you start your turn while stabalized, you can restore hit-points using up to 4 hit-dice, adding your Constitution modifier to each die. (if you are dropped to -con score, your body is destroyed)
If your phylactery is destroyed while your body is still alive, then you can still create another one. If both your phylactery is destroyed and your body is dead, you die outright.
At 1st Level the Lich prestige class uses Wizard Spells. For the purpose of determining the number of cantrips, spells prepared, and spell slots available, use the Wizard Leveling Table and replace Lich levels for Wizard levels. For example, if you have 14 levels in Wizard and 2 levels in Lich, then refer to the 16th level in the Wizard Leveling Table. If you have levels in a different casting class refer to Multiclassing (PHB pg 163) to determine the number of spells prepared from each class and what spell slots you have, replacing Lich levels for Wizard levels.
Unless otherwise stated, your spellcasting feature is the same as a wizard’s. This includes Adding New Spells, Ritual Casting, Spellcasting Ability, Spellcasting Focus, and Replacing your Spellbook
Your Lich Spellbook is the same as your Wizard’s Spellbook. If you don’t already have classes in Wizard, you gain the Wizard’s Spellbook.
Preparing and Casting Spells
The number of wizard spells you can prepare is equal to your Intelligence modifier + your wizard level + your lich level. The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
When you finish a long rest, you can change your list of prepared spells and regain all expended spell slots
Learning Spells of 8th and 9th Level
Each time you gain a lich level, you can add two wizard spells of your choice to your spellbook. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. as shown on the Wizard table. On your adventures. you might find other spells that you can add to your spellbook.
At 1st level because you are undead, most healing spells cannot heal you, since they have “no effect on undead or constructs,” regardless of your original nature. However, you can now use your hit-dice as a resource, spending them to modify your spells and abilities. Hit-dice you spend are not restricted to any particular class, in the case of multiclassing. For example you could use Cleric (1d8), Wizard (1d6), or Lich (1d8) hit-dice in any combination you choose.
Whenever a living creature (neither undead nor construct, with a CR of at least 1) dies within 120 feet of you, you gain a lich hit-die (1d6). The DM may make exceptions depending on the creature’s size, CR, nature, or type. For example, a huge dragon may yield 4 hit-dice, or 1 out of every 3 kobolds would yield 1 hit-die. You can exceed your maximum hit-dice, but if you end a short rest with extra hit-dice, the excess is lost. You will gain another way to recover hit-dice detailed in your archetype description.
Each archetype has a list of spells you gain at lich levels noted in the archetype description. Once gained, it appears in your spellbook. You always have it prepared, and it doesn’t count against your list of prepared spells. If this spell doesn’t appear in a class you have no levels in, the spell is nonetheless a wizard spell to you.
At 5th level, you gain the ability to cast a powerful 9th level spell unique to your archetype. The more hit-dice you are missing, the more effective it is. The manuscript of this spell exist only in the Necronomicon (and in your archetype description).
At 3rd level, you are able to improve your legendary actions. You may spend a max of 4 hit-dice at a time. This increases to 6 hit-dice at level 5
Frightening Gaze – You can spend hit-dice to target additional creatures, 1 hit-die per target beyond the first.
Paralyzing Touch – You can spend hit-dice to increase the bonus to the attack roll, 1 hit-die per +1 bonus.
You also learn a new legendary action.
Life Drain -Select a creature you can see and then roll hit-dice to spend, adding your Constitution modifier to each die. The target must succeed a Constitution saving throw or receive that total result in Necrotic damage. If it succeeds, it receives half damage instead. You gain temporary hit-points for one minute equal to the amount of damage dealt. If the target is willing, it can choose to automatically fail the saving throw and negate its own resistance and immunity to Necrotic damage.
The only thing colder than the Glacial Wastes is a death delivered by a Frost Terror Lich. They prefer to vitrify their victims in ice before shattering them with devastating power. In combat, meticulous planning and forethought of action economy is rewarded heavily.
Frozen Terror Archetype Spells
At 2nd Level, when a target receives Cold damage from you, it becomes Chilled. By itself, the Chilled effect does nothing, but it can be removed by magic as if it were a spell or magical effect of 3rd level or if the target spends an action to end it themself.
After a Chilled target receives at least 6 damage dice of Cold damage of any size, it is then Frozen. Cold damage from any source since being Chilled (including the initial Cold damage itself) counts towards the 6 dice. If the cold damage the target receives is halved, the dice counted is also halved. If the Chilled effect is removed before the target is Frozen, accumulated Cold damage is reset to 0 until it is Chilled again.
A Frozen target loses resistance against Cold damage and is effectively paralyzed until the end of your next turn (after the resolution of spells under the Suspension invocation). This effect will end earlier if removed by magic (as a spell or magical effect of 3rd level) or if the target receives damage from an external source. Any excess of the 6 dice of Cold damage it accumulated while Chilled will not remove the Frozen condition. Additionally, a Frozen target can make a Constitution saving throw at the end of its turn against your Spell Save DC to free itself.
When a Frozen target receives Cold damage from you, that damage increases by +2 for each die of Cold damage and you gain 1 hit-die. Once a target is no longer Frozen, it reverts back to being Chilled with 0 Cold damage dice accumulated. If the target is immune to being paralyzed or has paralysis removed, it can still be brittle and suffer all other effects of being Frozen while ignoring the paralyzed condition.
Frost Terror Invocations
At 2nd level when you cast a spell, cantrip, or Forbidden Arcana ability, you can spend hit-dice to modify it with the following invocations. If the invocation has targets, it is limited to the targets of the spell, cantrip, or Forbidden Arcana ability being modified. You can use more than one type of invocation at a time. Starting at 4th level, you can use the Crystallization invocation.
For 1 hit-die, all damage is converted into Cold damage.
For 1 hit-die, delay all effects until the end of your next turn after it has been cast completely. If this spell has the option to be cast or used with multiple actions, only the cast time needs to be fulfilled. While suspended, the physical manifestation of this spell, if any, is hovering in your space and follows you. The target creature or area is established when the spell is cast and cannot change. Additional hit-dice can be spent to suspend this for longer, 1 hit-die per round.
If line of effect is lost, if range is exceded, or if line of sight to the targeted creature is lost at the end of this suspension, it will fire towards the space the target was last seen, if possible. Otherwise, it may fail entirely. If multiple suspended spells resolve at the same time, they transpire in the order in which they were cast.
Starting at 4th level, you can dismiss all of the Cold damage a target would receive to instead restrain it for 5 minutes at the cost of 1 hit-die per target. You can spend additional hit-dice to increase the duration up to 30 minutes, 1 hit-die for every 5 additional minutes per target.
As an action, the target can free itself if it succeeds a Strength saving throw. The DC is equal to the Cold damage that the target would have received if it were not dismissed (after damage modifications such as vulnerability or resistance). It has advantage if it is near a heat source or if it has resistance to Cold damage. If the target fails the saving throw, it can’t try again for another 5 minutes or if conditions improve.
While restrained, the ice holding the target in place is cold, but not enough to cause damage. Alternatively, it can be removed by magic (as a spell or magical effect of 3rd level) or if the target receives damage from an external source.
Frozen Terror Ultimate Spell
At 5th level, Frozen Tomb is added to your spellbook. It is always prepared and does not count against your list of prepared spells.
All liches have the ability to raise the dead, as do some other mages. But no other can match the expertise of a lich that is fully devoted to necromancy. In addition to commanding undead minions, you also inflict your enemies with the Plague of Undeath, weakening them to your minions’ attacks.
Decent knowledge of undead monsters in the Monster Manual will help you optimize your minions’ actions. If DM allows, you can consider using the Necronomicon as a manual for more undead monsters.
Necromancer Archetype Spells
|2nd||edvard’s black tentacles|
|5th||exhume necropolis (Ultimate Spell)|
At 2nd level, if you can cast the find familiar spell, you can choose to have a familiar that has the form of an undead creature, as long as its size is small or tiny and its CR is no more than 1. Its nature will remain undead. This undead familiar can perform paralyzing touch (Forbidden Arcana) for you as if delivering a spell you’ve cast with a range of touch. More options for familiars are available in the Necronomicon.
When managing your minions, you can command all undead creatures you control, regardless of how they came to be, with a single bonus action as if they were summoned by a single spell, such as animate dead or create undead. Your entire undead army, including your familiar, can take their turn simultaneously. They can either roll for Initiative for themselves or default to taking their turn after yours. If their attack bonuses are lower than your Spell Attack Bonus, they can use yours for all attack rolls instead. Furthermore, whenever any of your undead minions roll the maximum result of any single damage die, you gain 1 hit-die. This can only occur once per attack from the same minion.
When you reanimate a creature with a CR that is no more than 5 and has been dead for no longer than 24 hours, it is instead cleanly animated. It retains its original stat block and appearance it had when it was alive, but it now has a nature of undead and an Intelligence score of 6. Depending on the creature, its spellcasting may be inhibited as per the DM’s discretion. It will stay cleanly animated for the next 24 hours before it decays into a zombie.
The Plague of Undeath
At 2nd level, even without an army of undead, a necromancer can still inflict chaos with the Plague of Undeath. If a creature that is neither undead nor construct receives Poison damage from you or your spells (including the Transmission invocation, but not your minions), it must succeed a Constitution saving throw or else it contracts the Plague. The DC to the saving throw is either the amount of Poison damage received or your Spell Save DC, whichever is greater. Alternatively, you can also procure vials of contagions of the Plague with Alchemist’s Supplies if you are proficient with them. The Plague of Undeath is a magical disease and cannot be removed without the aid of magic.
A target infected by the Plague of Undeath will suffer the following:
- Attacks from undead creatures have advantage against the target
- The target can neither sleep naturally nor benefit from a long rest. Madness may eventually occur.
- Its corpse is immune to gentle repose until the Plague is removed
- If it dies with the Plague and it is not removed, the target will reanimate on its own after 2d6 hours, as if you’ve cast the animate dead spell on it. It will reanimate cleanly if its CR no more than 5.
At 2nd level, when you cast a spell, cantrip, or Forbidden Arcana ability, you can spend hit-dice to modify it with the following invocations. If the invocation has targets, it is limited to the targets of the spell, cantrip, or Forbidden Arcana ability being modified. You can use more than one type of invocation at a time. Starting at 4th level, you can use the Transmission invocation.
For 1 hit-die, all damage dealt is converted into Poison damage.
Your hit-dice, regardless of die size, can fulfill any physical requirement or material component of a Necromancy spell, with the exception of diamonds. Even if the appropriate component is not lost or consumed in the spell, the hit-die is spent nonetheless. One hit-die is equivalent, but not limited, to any one of the following:
- A corpse or a pile of bones of one medium humanoid.
- 200 gp worth of any gemstone, gem dust, powder, or mineral other than diamond.
When summoning undead from a corpse or pile of bones emulated by hit-dice, it appears in an unoccupied space within 30 feet of you.
When you animate undead starting at 4th level, you can spend 1 hit-die per creature animated to make it volatile. When a volatile creature dies, it explodes, and all creatures within 15 feet must succeed a Dexterity saving throw or receive 3d6 Poison damage and lose 10 feet of their movement speed until the end of their next turn.
Those that succeed receive no damage and suffer no loss of movement speed. Your undead minions automatically save. Those that receive damage from this must also make their Constitution saving throw against the Plague.
Necromancer Ultimate Spell
At 5th level, Exhume Necropolis is added to your spellbook. It is always prepared and does not count against your list of prepared spells.
The fighting spirit of comrades and enemies alike are
nothing more than tools for a Soul Reaper. You can turn the tide of battle by healing your allies with Necrotic damage while using their own hit-dice.
Soul Reaper Archetype Spells
|4th||circle of death|
|5th||unleash purgatory (Ultimate Spell)|
Forge of Souls
At 2nd level, as master and conductor of souls, you can control the lifeforce of both the dead and living. All of your spells (and only spells) that have no effect on undead or constructs can indeed affect undead as you wish, but not constructs.
The first time you deal Necrotic damage to a non-construct creature with a CR of at least 1/4, you gain 1 hit-die. This cannot happen again with same creature until you finish a long rest.
Whenever you spend hit-dice on a spell or ability that targets a creature that also has hit-dice, you can spend any theirs in any combination you choose.
Furthermore, you can see 60 feet in to the Ethereal Plane from the Material Plane, and vice versa.
Soul Reaper Invocations
At 2nd level, when you cast a spell, cantrip, or Forbidden Arcana ability, you can spend hit-dice to modify it with the following invocations. If the invocation has targets, it is limited to the targets of the spell, cantrip, or Forbidden Arcana ability being modified. You can use more than one type of invocation at a time. Starting at 4th level, you can use the Possession invocation.
For 1 hit-die, all damage is converted into Necrotic damage.
Omit all Necrotic damage that you or a friendly creature you can see would receive from this spell, restoring hit-points equal to half that damage instead. The cost of this invocation is 1 hit-die per spell level × the number of targets. E.g. Healing 4 targets with circle of death (level 6) costs 24 hit-dice.
If this Necrotic damage comes from a cantrip or Forbidden Arcana ability, it grants temporary hit-points for 1 minute instead of restoring health, at the cost of 1 hit-die per target.
The target can choose to negate its own resistance, vulnerability, and immunity to Necrotic damage, as well as if they succeed their saving throws, but they will still suffer the adverse effects.
Starting at 4th level, you can select any of the targets
you can see and have them possessed until the end of your next turn, at the cost of 1 hit-die per target. A spirit possessing a target will do one of the following options that you choose (independently from one another):
- Allow the target to reroll one of any d20 roll over the duration, choosing either result. The target can choose to use this after the roll has been made, but before the result is determined.
- Allow the target to immediately use its reaction to either stand up or to move up to half its movement speed without provoking opportunity attacks.
- Immediately end one of the following effects: charmed, possessed by a different entity, frightened, unconscious, or paralyzed.
Soul Reaper Ultimate Spell
At 5th level, Unleash Purgatory is added to your spellbook. It is always prepared and does not count against your list of prepared spells.