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    Default Epic-Level Necromancy

    So, you've mastered the basics and become an accomplished necromancer. Some people are questioning your sanity, but you know that eternal life and ultimate power over death is where it's at. You've decided you want to become a lich. What's the worst that could happen?

    This is my attempt at providing lichdom to players via epic boons. I don't intend to comment on what kind of quests a PC would need to undertake to earn these boons; that's setting-dependent anyway. The idea is that you need to collect several boons before you can call yourself a lich, which represents the fact that the 'average' lich is ancient in years and vastly more experienced than even a 20th level PC should be. Without further ado, here are the boons. Let me know what you think!

    Boon of Epic Necromancy
    Prerequisites: able to cast 9th level spells, know at least one necromancy spell
    You gain one 10th level spell slot that can only be used to cast necromancy spells of 9th level or lower. When cast at 10th level, the spell Create Undead allows you to create or reassert control over 8 ghouls, 4 ghasts, wights or mummies, or 2 revenants or wraiths.

    Boon of Lichdom
    Prerequisites: boon of epic necromancy, boon of unspeakable knowledge, access to the spell Imprisonment
    You perform a terrible ritual to become an immortal, undead abomination. You can no longer die of old age, though your flesh continues to age unless you take steps to preserve it. Your creature type changes to undead, you can no longer benefit from healing magic and you don't require air, food, drink or sleep. You are immune to the charmed, exhausted, paralysed and poisoned conditions. Finally, you gain a phylactery (see below), which enables you to regenerate your body even if it is destroyed.

    Boon of Mastery Over Death
    Prerequisites: boon of lichdom
    Years of undeath and layer upon layer of long-lasting abjurations have hardened your physical form. Your armour class is equal to 14 + your dexterity modifier, you have advantage on saving throws against any effects that turn undead and you are immune to poison damage and bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons.

    Boon of Unspeakable Knowledge
    Prerequisite: non-good alignment, able to cast 9th level spells
    Having unraveled the secrets of lichdom, you gain the ability to disrupt the life energy of other creatures with your touch. Your unarmed strikes now deal 3d6 cold damage and you may use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength for the attack rolls. Furthermore, you may choose to either force a target you hit with an unarmed strike to make a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC or be paralysed for one minute (the target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success), or drain the target's life, gaining temporary hit points equal to the damage dealt.

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    Phylactery. Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement by a lich).
    A phylactery is a small object, usually a locket or box, that houses a lich's soul. If a lich is reduced to 0 hit points, their body crumbles to dust but their will and mind escape to the phylactery. After 1d4+1 days, a new body for the lich coalesces as near to the phylactery as possible. The new body is identical in every way to the one that was destroyed.
    However, the lich must feed souls to its phylactery to sustain the magic preserving its body and consciousness. It does this using the Imprisonment spell to magically trap the target's body and soul inside its phylactery. The phylactery must be on the same plane as the lich for the spell to work. A lich's phylactery can hold only one creature at a time, and a Dispel Magic cast as a 9th-level spell upon the phylactery releases any creature imprisoned within it. A creature imprisoned in the phylactery for 24 hours is consumed and destroyed utterly, whereupon nothing short of divine intervention can restore it to life.
    A lich that fails or forgets to maintain its body with sacrificed souls (at least one soul every ten days) begins to physically fall apart, taking 10d10 radiant damage at the end of the tenth day and being unable to recover hit points until a soul is fed to the phylactery, and might eventually become a demilich if it does not feed its phylactery for a year and a day.
    Every phylactery has a unique weakness that allows it to be destroyed. Determine this weakness by rolling on the table below or choosing your own.

    d10 The phylactery can be destroyed by
    1 Casting it into an active volcano
    2 Submerging it in holy water for 24 hours
    3 Smashing it with a weapon of legendary rarity
    4 Opening it with a specific key
    5 Taking it to Mount Celestia
    6 Solving a puzzle-lock on the item
    7 Performing a 1-hour ritual known only to the creator
    8 Saying a secret passphrase
    9 Playing it a certain song
    10 Bathing it in the blood of a demon
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2016-11-05 at 08:20 AM.
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Hey Prawn, this is good stuff. Of course, I'm only in the dnd to play good and noble saviours of mankind (and associated fluffy creatures), so all this heretical talk of becoming an undead abomination needs a serious smite upside the head.

    But. A comment or two:

    Boon of Lichdom - so, the lich can no longer access healing magic. Can they still heal 'naturally', from rest? That seems to me like it should be the other way round, thematically. I note that the Boon of Unspeakable Knowledge allows you to gain temporary HP, but of course, that's only temporary.

    And again, on the Boon of Unspeakable Knowledge, and its infliction of cold damage. I realise that the 5e books can be a bit vague on what the more exotic damage types represent, but I always imagine necrotic damage is being more about the negative energy and the draining away of life force. But that's just a thought.Cold can do it, too, I guess

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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Thanks for the comments!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bharaeth View Post
    Boon of Lichdom - so, the lich can no longer access healing magic. Can they still heal 'naturally', from rest? That seems to me like it should be the other way round, thematically. I note that the Boon of Unspeakable Knowledge allows you to gain temporary HP, but of course, that's only temporary.
    I agree with you, thematically. The reason I wrote it this way is that a lot of healing spells explicitly call out the fact that they don't work on undead or constructs, and I could imagine a lich PC trying to say, "oh, that's not fair, I'm a special PC, it'll break the game the party cleric can't heal me!" And I'm thinking like, "no, undead is undead. You want the power, you have to pay the price."

    This does mean that I would allow 'natural' rest-based healing. I guess the justification is that rest healing is not necessarily biological, it could just be recovering stamina and getting your energy back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bharaeth View Post
    And again, on the Boon of Unspeakable Knowledge, and its infliction of cold damage. I realise that the 5e books can be a bit vague on what the more exotic damage types represent, but I always imagine necrotic damage is being more about the negative energy and the draining away of life force. But that's just a thought.Cold can do it, too, I guess
    That's copied straight from the MM lich, whose touch deals cold damage. I was a little surprised when I first read it, but if cold is how WotC see it, I can accept that.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    The cold damage sounds like they got inspired by the Lich hero in Warcraft 3 which was mostly cold based when it came to spells and abilites.
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Kel'Thazaad was my dude. He had the best quotes. Why no negative energy healing though?

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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaQuackers View Post
    Kel'Thazaad was my dude. He had the best quotes. Why no negative energy healing though?
    That isn't a thing in 5e as far as I am aware. How would you propose I implemented it?
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    I would offer the full trade of it. Vulnerability to radiant damage and maybe healing half of what Necrotic damage would deal since you can self inflict.

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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaQuackers View Post
    I would offer the full trade of it. Vulnerability to radiant damage and maybe healing half of what Necrotic damage would deal since you can self inflict.
    I suppose that'd be fair. Potential issues: cantrips that deal necrotic damage (Chill Touch, plus potential homebrewed cantrips) allow free healing, and Vampiric Touch would heal you twice over, which doesn't make any sense.

    What about restricting it to specific spells? I'm thinking something like "the negative energy spells Inflict Wounds and Harm work differently when cast on you thanks to your undead nature. If you are targetted by Inflict Wounds, apply the effects of a Cure Wounds spell of the same level, and if you are targetted by Harm, apply the effects of a Heal spell."
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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Nice work as always. :3

    Personally bugged about restrictions of Paralyzing Touch being too easy to fulfill. I mean, by RAW, someone with 1 level in Wizard can gain the touch of a Lich. Perhaps change its restriction to "ability to cast 9-level spells" too?
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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Quote Originally Posted by Gastronomie View Post
    Personally bugged about restrictions of Paralyzing Touch being too easy to fulfill. I mean, by RAW, someone with 1 level in Wizard can gain the touch of a Lich.
    True. Originally I didn't even have the spellcasting prerequisite; I added that in because the lich's touch uses Int for the attack bonus and I figured I needed to keep that.

    In my head, that is the hardest of the boons to get because it's the one that requires the PC to uncover the secret of lichdom, which I imagine is either a lengthy quest or a difficult/costly negotiation with a powerful entity. Plus I guess I assumed that most PCs only get epic boons after they reach ECL 20 anyway.

    I'll change it for clarity.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Between this thread and the one regarding a PC Lich, I'm really wanting my Enervation and Energy Drain spells back into D&D.

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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoknightZero View Post
    The cold damage sounds like they got inspired by the Lich hero in Warcraft 3 which was mostly cold based when it came to spells and abilites.
    It's actually been a Lich thing since way back in 2nd Edition - it's the chill of the grave, don'tcha know (which, coincidentally, is why cold and undeath go together better than fire and undeath.)
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    Default Re: Epic-Level Necromancy

    by intrest or damnation what about something stranger,http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Priaced_(5e_Race)

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