|Images of liches|
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 188-189
A lich is the ultimate expression of a necromancer's power, representing their ability to transcend death and achieve immortality by becoming a powerful and intelligent undead creature. At the culmination of the process of becoming a lich, a necromancer transfers their soul into a specially created phylactery; as long as the phylactery remains intact, the lich cannot die.
Becoming a lich
While most sentient creatures find the idea of becoming a lich abhorrent, certain spellcasters see it as a means of achieving immortality in order to continue their work and ambitions without having to worry about the eventual decay of their mind and body. The process itself is a quite difficult and lengthy one, as no two liches achieve their undead state by the same method. The spellcaster must first research the construction of a phylactery, and then discover the means by which to transfer their soul into the receptacle. As no two bodies or souls are the same, each of these processes are unique to the individual; what has worked in the past might kill or drive another person insane. What can be predicted is that researching the process is expensive in the extreme, requiring the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of gold pieces, and requires months, years, or even decades of research.
The prospective lich must invest considerable time researching and building their phylactery, as it will house their soul. Phylacteries often take the shape of sealed metal boxes that house strips of parchment upon which magical phrases are inscribed, but are also commonly gems, although any object can serve. They are incredibly expensive, costing upwards of 120,000 gp to produce. If a lich is destroyed, but their phylactery is not, the lich will simply reform in one to ten days near their phylactery, most likely with an intense desire to kill the person or people that caused its temporary demise. The lich, therefore, makes certain to hide the phylactery very carefully, as her immortality depends upon it.
A lich's powers
In addition to functional immortality, most liches have a number of other standard powers they acquire upon achieving their new state of being. Like all undead, liches have darkvision and are surrounded by an aura of fear that causes most lesser creatures to flee in panic. Their touch is infused with negative energy, causing damage to living creatures, but they can also use this same energy to heal themselves; their touch is also capable of causing paralysis.
- See also: Category:Lich/Inhabitants
Known liches of Golarion include:
- Arazni, the Harlot Queen of Geb
- Some of the members of the Blood Lords, the government of Geb, are liches
- Gezbria and Tralvar, who inhabit the Glass Pyramids in the city of Katapesh
- Nhur Athemon, an Azlanti lich rumored to live somewhere in the River Kingdoms
- Phaegia, a cleric of Aroden who turned to worship the little-known demon lord Orcus before becoming a lich.
- Takaral, favoured servant of Nethys
- Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant
- Liches of the demon lord Yhidothrus tend to have a wetter and more worm-eaten appearance than normal liches
On distant worlds
For additional resources, see the Meta page.
- Amber Stewart, Brandon Hodge, and Steve Kenson. (2011). Undead Revisited, p. 23. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-303-3 Note that the term "necromancer" here is used in the generic sense, and does not refer to the specialist wizard subschool; a lich can draw from either arcane or divine power.
- Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 188–189. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
- Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Amanda Hamon, et al. (2013). Mythic Realms, p. 50–51. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-567-9
- James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 77. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
- Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. (2009). Dark Markets: A Guide to Katapesh, p. 34. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-166-4
- Richard Baker, Jason Bulmahn, Ed Greenwood, et al. (2013). Thornkeep, p. 31. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-519-8
- Amber Stewart, Brandon Hodge, and Steve Kenson. (2011). Undead Revisited, p. 26–27. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-303-3
- Sean K Reynolds et al. (2014). Inner Sea Gods, p. 107. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-597-6
- Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Amanda Hamon, et al. (2013). Mythic Realms, p. 62–63. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-567-9
- James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 28. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
- James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 57. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0