View Full Version : Warlock Liches possible?

2008-04-16, 12:26 PM
I was thinking up Undermountain villains, and the idea hit me. A Google search suggests it's an obvious one, but there are some rules issues.

The requirements for creating a phylactery and becoming a lich are, in the main:

Each lich must make its own phylactery, which requires the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. 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.

Craft Wondrous Item feat
CL 11th
Able to cast spells (a pretty unique and odd requirement, considering the CL requirement is already there)

The first: can a Warlock take this? Judging by the Imbue Item ability, yes. Imbue Item (which is useless in achieving lichdom, since it just imitates spells with an UMD check - something creating a phylactery doesn't require) requires that the warlock have the item creation feat required to create the item in question. Now, unless this 12th-level ability was only intended to function with multiclass caster-warlocks, the RAI is that the warlock's caster level with their invocations counts as caster level for feats (and, by extrapolation, other similar requirements, like items).

If the warlock can meet the first requirement, they can meet the second, too. CL is CL.

But the third - it's an odd requirement. Does the warlock meet this? Do spell-like abilities like invocations count? Would SLAs count toward meeting spell requirements when creating items in general? I'd think they would, so they should also count here.

But what do you think? Can a warlock really meet the requirements to create a phylactery? And if not, what (aside from taking a single level in any spellcasting class) character options could let them?

2008-04-16, 12:44 PM
I think so.

Even if not, it's a reasonable thing to houserule in.

2008-04-16, 02:46 PM
It's problematic.

You can save yourself some hoop-jumping with the first two points: warlocks have caster levels. "A warlock’s caster level with his invocations is equal to his warlock level" - CArc pg7. He can use this caster level to qualify for feats and prestige classes. "For feats or prestige classes requiring a minimum caster level, creatures that use spell-like abilities or invocations instead of spells use either their fixed caster level or their class level to determine qualification." - CArc pg72, and it then goes on to say explicitly that warlocks can take Craft Wondrous Item.

However, warlocks can't cast spells. CArc is quite specific about this. However, it only talks about their qualifying for two sorts of things: minimum spellcasting level requirements (no; they never learn to cast nth-level spells) and specific spell requirements (yes; they can substitute an invocation duplicating the effect of a spell for the spell itself). I don't see where it says anything about just "must be able to cast spells" requirements - possibly because I don't know if anything besides the phylactery has such a requirement.

So it's up to you whether you want to treat the ability to produce magical effects which duplicate spells, but do not have a spell level, as sufficient to meet the requirement, either rules-legally or for your own purposes (you're the DM, after all). I would agree with Solo that it's an entirely reasonable ruling as, after all, warlocks came after liches so the template wasn't written to take them into account while the class probably wasn't ever intended to become a lich...

There may of course be a Sage or FAQ ruling which settles the matter (or at least WotC's opinion of the matter) one way or another.

2008-04-16, 03:34 PM
I'd say that he'd need Imbue Item from level 12 and the assistance of one who knows about the rites. Side quest!!!

2008-04-16, 03:48 PM
I'd say that he'd need Imbue Item from level 12 and the assistance of one who knows about the rites.

I suppose Imbue Item might be supposed to subsitite for "able to cast spells", but I'm leaning toward ignoring that unique and apparently outdated requirement. It substitutes for specific spells (so a warlock can create, say, a stone of alarm with a DC 16 UMD check).

And the rules never touch on knowledge of any rites (or reagents for magic items, etc.), so that's kinda irrelevant - fluff that could be added to anything whatsoever with equal validity. Never mind that an NPC lich would have gotten all that out of the way long ago, probably.

2008-04-16, 06:33 PM
Any rituals or other knowledge needed to make the phylactery are assumed to be encompassed by the Craft Wondrous Items feat.

And I'm not sure if I'd require that the warlock get Imbue Item, but it wouldn't make much difference, since CL 11 is a requirement anyway. Having to wait one more level is no big deal.

2008-04-16, 06:52 PM
I don't know about RAW, but I'd allow it based on this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool).

I don't know anything that great that you'd get from it, but I guess the Paralysis and +2 to mental stats are never bad. Oh, and the not dying thing. And DR. So, really, you do get some cool stuff.

2008-04-16, 07:50 PM
If you're looking for some precedent....Libris Mortis mentions a "Lichfiend" variant of the lich, intended for evil outsiders (as the name might indicate). The requirements are to have at least five at-will spell-like abilities, the Craft Wondrous Item feat, and have a caster level of 11 (given the list of example fiends, I believe it means the caster level of those spell-like abilities).

Warlock 11 has seven invocations known (and a caster level of 11 on them), and a warlock's invocations are at-will spell-like abilities. So if you're willing to waive the evil outsider part, I'd say this means Warlock 11 could qualify, if the Craft Wondrous Item feat was taken.

(Lichfiend also has a slightly different DR then a standard lich, but I don't think it's appropriate in this particular case).

2008-04-16, 07:58 PM
...So if you're willing to waive the evil outsider part...

Or just use a Tiefling, or heck, any sort of planetouched would work for that purpose, as long as they are evil.

2008-04-16, 08:10 PM
Or just use a Tiefling, or heck, any sort of planetouched would work for that purpose, as long as they are evil.But where's the fun in that?

2008-04-17, 08:13 AM
Warlocks are able to cast spells using Use Magic Device on scrolls. It does not state, "must prepare and cast spells," or, "must prepare and cast spells or cast spells spontaneously."

The reason the caster level thing and the casting spells thing is in there is to prevent characters with Use Magic Device from being able to achieve lichdom unless they also possess caster levels (so no pure rogue liches). You can have bardic liches, paladin liches (well, fallen paladins or blackguards at that point), ranger liches, etc.

Duke of URL
2008-04-17, 08:50 AM
By RAW, no.

The ability to cast spells means just that, and cannot be satisfied by SLAs, spell completion devices, or spell trigger devices.

Warlocks don't cast spells, period. That point is abundantly made clear in the rules.

That said, the RAW is stupid in this sense (as it is in many senses regarding Warlocks such as their inability to qualify for certain prestige classes based on spellcasting requirements*) -- see no reason why you couldn't make a Warlock Lich using the first two criteria (though, as most folks have pointed out, Warlock 12 for Imbue Item would be necessary), and it would be very flavorful.

*Rant: I mean... c'mon... a Warlock can't even freaking qualify for ELDRITCH KNIGHT for crying out loud!!!

Mr. Friendly
2008-04-17, 09:25 AM
Assuming this Undermountain villain is in Forgotten Realms, the answer is the Regional Feat "Magical Training", which specifically allows you to cast 2(sorc) or 3(wiz) 0th level Sorc./Wiz. spells.