Friday, November 2, 2012


What can I say about liches that hasn’t already been said?  (Which, after all, is our mission here.)  You know they’re evil spellcasters who have embraced undeath as a path to eternal life.  You know they’re notoriously hard to kill.  If you’re a Pathfinder fan, you’ve read Colin McComb’s entry in Undead Revisited.  If you’re a 3.5 fan, you probably own Libris Mortis, with all its nasty feats and powers.  If you go back as for as 1e or 2e, you’ve seen good liches, demiliches, dracoliches, illithiliches, githyanki lich-queens, and lichfiends. 

The good news is, thanks to the Advanced Player’s Guide, we have several new spellcasting classes to choose from…and that means new liches.  Each one has its own reasons for rejecting mortality, but all were willing to do anything to achieve their goals.

Not all sun gods are deities of light.  Pius Triarch was an inquisitor of Atum Ka, the stern, wrathful sun deity of a proud desert civilization.  When the nation was shaken from with by an outbreak of death worms and without by half-blue dragon mercenary raids, it was Pius’s job to take the Crook of Fire to a secluded underground temple.  To protect the artifact for all time, he embraced lichdom for himself, then slew the spellcasters that had aided him, as well as all his guards and litter-bearers.  After a thousand year’s wait, adventurers breached the hidden temple and stole the Crook.  Pius’s first goal is to retrieve it and punish the violators.  But he is also shocked to find that the faith of lawful evil Atum Ka has been absorbed into the beliefs of lawful good Amon Karius, the Light of Faith.  Even as he seeks the Crook, Pius is also determined to return the faith to its orthodox roots.

Prophecy is more a gift than a burden.  Even more so when the prophecies don’t come true.  Elizabette belongs to a circle of stargazer oracles, seer oracles (see Ultimate Magic), and other prophets haunted not only by visions of the future, but by visions of possible futures that failed to come to pass.  In order that history progress as it should (and to relieve their own suffering), the Circle of the Closed Book works behind the scenes to ensure that recorded prophecies come to pass—even the most foul and dire.  As Elizabette’s mystery did not give her the gift of eternal life, she has embraced lichdom to see that her visions transpire…and as a student of the dark tapestry, her visions are more apocalyptic than most.

In thrall to a dark patron of the occult, Tuwyll Baneheart gave up her family, her fortune, and eventually her life in service to the strange power she venerated.  Her lack of skill in necromancy became apparent, however, when only her head made the transition to lichdom.  She now rides the magically preserved, decapitated bodies of beautiful young women, her skull locked into place by an iron collar.  Her centipede familiar, now only a ragged exoskeleton, still whispers in her ear no matter whose shoulders she rides.

Pathfinder Bestiary 188–189

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