View Full Version : Scholastic Lich Template

2011-05-23, 06:11 AM
Scholastic Lich


"As part of my grand study I've chronicled the rise and fall of countless empires. I might have instigated their downfall for most of them since continually updating my research became such a nuisance."
-Mindimsya Eori, Scholastic Lich

A scholastic lich is an unliving powerhouse of ancient information which has been painstakingly collected, brought, and/or stolen throughout the centuries from across the world. These creatures were once spellcasters, typically wizards or clerics with the Knowledge domain, who devoted their lives and deaths to the acquisition of new information for any number of purposes. The rites to create this unique brand of lich are similar to the more commonly feared undead lords however it is their intense level of academic pursuit which leads them to develop different capabilities.

A scholastic lich will seek out a library or other repository of information to claim as their sanctum where they can place their phylactery. The presence of the phylactery creates many defensive wards used to maintain a peaceful environment where the lich can focus and study. While the standard lich is likely to be a necromancer, scholastic liches are more commonly abjurers, possibly interested in studying the foundations of magic without fear of becoming one's own test subject.

These liches are not necessarily evil, beyond invoking the lich rites, though they often possess an immense antipathy for others. The act of going through the transformation showcases their grim practically which may be seen in a follower of Boccob simply looking for a way to continue their studies indefinitely.

Creating A Scholastic Lich

"Scholastic Lich" is an acquired template that can be added to any humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature), provided it can create the required phylactery in addition to having 17 ranks in any Craft, any Knowledge, any Profession, or Spellcraft.

A lich has all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to undead. Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice: Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.

Armor Class: A lich has a +4 natural armor bonus or the base creature’s natural armor bonus, whichever is better.

Attack: A lich has a touch attack that it can use once per round. If the base creature can use weapons, the lich retains this ability. A creature with natural weapons retains those natural weapons. A lich fighting without weapons uses either its touch attack or its primary natural weapon (if it has any). A lich armed with a weapon uses its touch or a weapon, as it desires.

Full Attack: A lich fighting without weapons uses either its touch attack (see above) or its natural weapons (if it has any). If armed with a weapon, it usually uses the weapon as its primary attack along with a touch as a natural secondary attack, provided it has a way to make that attack (either a free hand or a natural weapon that it can use as a secondary attack).

Damage: A lich without natural weapons has a touch attack that deals 1d8+5 points of cold damage to creatures; a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ½ lich’s HD + lich’s Cha modifier) halves the damage. A lich with natural weapons can use its touch attack or its natural weaponry, as it prefers. If it chooses the latter, it deals 1d8+5 points of extra cold damage on one natural weapon attack.

Special Attacks: A lich retains all the base creature’s special attacks and gains those described below. Save DCs are equal to 10 + ½ lich’s HD + lich’s Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.

Aura of Inquisition (Su): Scholastic liches are shrouded by a radiating field which consumes knowledge. If a creature entering within 60' fails a Will save then the following effects begin while the creature remains in the aura. The radius is 100' when the lich is in the sanctum.

1|Lich is aware one or more creatures are within aura.
2|Detect magic.
3|1st round of detect thoughts.
4|2nd round of detect thoughts.
5|1st round of detect alignment for alignments opposing lich.
6|3rd round of detect thoughts, 2st round of detect alignment
7|3st round of detect alignment; lich knows exact position.*
8|Lich gains +2 to attacks and checks against creature.
9|Lich may cast spells while threatened by the creature.

A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same lich’s aura for 24 hours.

*Creature effectively loses any invisibility/concealment toward the lich and cannot catch the lich flat-footed nor does the creature flank the lich.

Preserving Touch (Su): Any living creature a scholastic lich hits with its touch attack must succeed on a Fortitude save or be permanently paralyzed. Remove paralysis or any spell that can remove a curse can free the victim (see the bestow curse spell description). The effect cannot be dispelled. Anyone paralyzed by a lich seems dead, though a DC 20 Spot check or a DC 15 Heal check reveals that the victim is still alive.

If a corpse is touched with this ability it will be under the effects of gentle repose forever.

Spells: A lich can cast any spells it could cast while alive.

Spell-like Abilities: At will - detect magic, read magic, arcane mark (CL 14). 1/day - identify. Int mod/day -unseen servant, erase, silence (immune to negative effects of its own silence) (CL 14).

Special Qualities: A lich retains all the base creature’s special qualities and gains those described below.

Phylactery: A scholastic lich possesses a phylactery like a normal lich.

Sanctum (Su): Once a scholastic lich has chosen their sanctum to settle down and continue their studies at the area is finally completed by placing their phylactery somewhere in the environment with a one-day ritual. The area becomes the lich's sanctum and the presence of the phylactery is no longer required until the next site is chosen. The area is warded by guards and wards (CL equal to caster level) with the improvement that one environmental effect and one additional magic effect are in use per four caster levels. As a full-round action once per week the lich may reassign the effect choices for the spell. While in their sanctum the lich gains a +1 bonus to caster level and the DC of all spells cast.

Arcane Scribe (Su): A scholastic lich is long-trained in the use of magical writings to accelerate the progress of one's own studies. These practices have also granted the lich a resistance to certain spells. The lich never activates magical rune (such as explosive runes or sepia snake sigil) by accident. As he or she reads the rune, the lich may make an opposed caster level check once; if the lich succeeds they assume control over the spell for the remainder of its duration.

Turn Resistance (Ex): A lich has +4 turn resistance.

Damage Reduction (Su): A lich’s undead body is tough, giving the creature damage reduction 15/bludgeoning and magic. Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Immunities (Ex): Liches have immunity to cold, electricity, polymorph (though they can use polymorph effects on themselves), and mind-affecting attacks.

Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Int +4, Wis +2, Cha -2. Being undead, a scholastic lich has no Constitution score. For the DC of special abilities, qualities, and spell-like abilities the scholastic lich may use their Intelligence modifier in place of Charisma.

Skills: Due to their eternal existences, scholastic liches have had countless years to study and perfect their understanding of academic subjects or trade skills. The lich gains a +5 racial bonus to any eight skills among Appraisal, Craft, Decipher Script, Knowledge, Perform, Profession, Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device; two +5 bonuses may be traded to obtain a single +8 to one skill instead which the lich is particularly focused on.

Organization: Solitary.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature + 2.

Treasure: Standard coins; double goods; double items.

Alignment: Any, likely evil.

Advancement: By character class.

Level Adjustment: Same as the base creature +4.

2011-05-23, 01:15 PM
Well let us see here, compared to the standard lich (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/lich.htm)...

-1 Natural armor bonus

Cold as opposed to Negative Energy damage on the touch attack, however it seems to effect non-living creatures.

Aura of Inquisition is interesting, but could be excessively powerful. Further, detect alignment (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/detectEvil.htm) does not specify number of rounds, as detect thoughts does. You may want to clarify that.

Preserving Touch has a nice little preservation effect, but I would state "with a permanent duration" rather than "lasts forever." Unless you don't want it dispel-able, in which case I'd recommend stealing the language from the spell rather than directly referencing it.

I like a few of the spell-like abilities, something the standard lich should come with. Identify as an SLA is right on the money for these guys. However, Why Caster Level 6? And why Silence (a cool effect, but thematically I don't understand it). Also why 4/day? 3/day seems more regular, that or based on some ability bonus.

I'm not certain how I feel about Sanctum. If it's optional, it's an decent ability, but otherwise I personally am not keen on it requiring the Lich to hide their phylactery in one very obvious place.

Arcane Scribe is fun, and fitting.

That hit to charisma is probably a bad idea, as that the scholastic lich's supernatural abilities are based on its Charisma modifier, Preserving Touch, Aura of Inquisition, Cold Damage... Silence SLA.
Now converting those all to be based off of intelligence would be fine and fitting thematically, but still taking a 4 LA hit to any Full-casting class is going to hurt, especially if it drops the mental stats.

Skill bonuses looks fine.

All in all it doesn't seem terribly different than a normal lich. I do like aura of inquisition, and may wind up swapping that out for the normal fear aura.

That's just my two wooden nickles.

2011-05-24, 05:25 AM
Oh thanks. Some of the fluff behind being a lich comes with studying things for a very long time but that never comes up in the mechanics.

Forgot that detect alignment requires multiple rounds. Didn't realize it did that over three rounds. Fixed that.

CL 6 was initially set that way for the purpose of the duration. Could just use CL 14. Silence was added so that a lich can study in peace without the disruption of noises whether this be experiments, adventurers, or death screams.

Sanctum's optional and does sort of put the phylactery in a vulnerable spot. I've changed it so that the phylactery is only required to be at the site once to 'consecrate' it.

For the Charisma adjustment this was to reflect isolation. Since it was intended for a wizard then your idea to convert the DC to run off the Int mod would be great.

I've added a 9th round ability for the Inquistion ability that allows the lich to cast while threatened which should help in its defense.

2011-05-24, 08:03 AM
Well let us see here, compared to the standard lich (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/lich.htm)...

I like a few of the spell-like abilities, something the standard lich should come with. Identify as an SLA is right on the money for these guys. However, Why Caster Level 6? And why Silence (a cool effect, but thematically I don't understand it). Also why 4/day? 3/day seems more regular, that or based on some ability bonus.

Well you can't study if people you let in your sanctum never shut up, right?

2011-05-24, 09:45 AM
I actually really like this, honestly the 'not necessarily evil' thing is a very nice touch, I've got a neutral cleric necromancer who occassionally comes out to play and she would LOVE this, much more her thing than the standard lich.

Detect magic has a 3 round effect also, I'm pretty sure the majority of the detect spells do actually. The silence effect was instantly obvious, nice that it doesn't worry the lich either, wasting precious spell levels on silent spell would be annoying!

Skills are very nice indeed, something sorely missing from standard lich is the direct evidence of all their supposed research and work, I'm glad you addressed it.

Have you considered giving them a bardic knowledge/lore type ability btw? It would make a great amount of sense in my mind. You could perhaps try this for a similar (yet different) effect:

You may make a lore check, D20 + (2x Int modifier) in place of any knowledge check. For each knowledge, profession or craft skill in which you have 5 or more ranks, you gain a +1 to your check.

2011-05-24, 12:37 PM
Come to think of it "Immune to the negative effects of its own silence" is a little too flexible for my rules-lawyery side. For example, the lich could hear creatures sneaking up on it, because not hearing them would be a negative effect, and thus could hear things while not hearing them, becoming a bit silly. Alternatively you may do as the Demi-lich does, except instead of still spells, offer it free silent spells.

The reason I didn't think the SLA was to study was the short duration of the Silence spell. If it were hours, it would make sense, to read a book in peace, but as a study tool silence falls rather short. 1 minute per level with a 4 level hit is 16 minutes at ECL 20, Int mod times per day? Not prime studying material. Never the less its fine the way it is, and giving it a longer duration may be too much... may make a fine "aura" replacement thing, but the current one's too fun to get rid of.

To get that "studies without interruption" effect, maybe toss a Concentration into the pool of skill options?

Archpaladin Zousha
2011-05-24, 12:39 PM
Is it bad that when I saw the thread title, I immediately thought "a lich who publishes children's books?" :smallbiggrin:

2011-05-24, 03:30 PM
Is it bad that when I saw the thread title, I immediately thought "a lich who publishes children's books?" :smallbiggrin:

I thought that too.

My NE Int 20 Wizard/Archivist/GivemeknowledgeorIeatyoureyes (who might dip loremaster sometime) character might use this sometime.