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Liches on Parade?


Age of Worms Adventure Path


Okay... Minor spoilers for the end of Age of Worms, but I gots to know...

... There are what seems to be DOZENS of Liches running around Alhaster for the finale. I know that Kyuss attracts intelligent undead like moths to a candle, but Liches? Where did they all come from? Where ARE their placetries? Liches as disploseable adversaries? I know it's the end of the world, but this is kind of silly.

Am I missing something? It's a great adventure, really, but what is UP with the liches?


I have to say the same thing. I mean, aren't Liches bad asses? Why are they fodder? I mean, certainly compared to opponents like Lashona and Kyuss himself, they're pushovers, but they seem to be there just for filler. I personally would replace them with something a little more prudent like Necropolitans (Libris Mortis) with a crap load of Wizard levels. At least that makes sense. And even if the players beat Kyuss, their going to have an army of Liches on their ass in 1D10 days!
Not something you can fall asleep with on your mind.


Lord Of Threshold wrote:

I have to say the same thing. I mean, aren't Liches bad asses? Why are they fodder? I mean, certainly compared to opponents like Lashona and Kyuss himself, they're pushovers, but they seem to be there just for filler. I personally would replace them with something a little more prudent like Necropolitans (Libris Mortis) with a crap load of Wizard levels. At least that makes sense. And even if the players beat Kyuss, their going to have an army of Liches on their ass in 1D10 days!

Not something you can fall asleep with on your mind.

True, you may be an Epic-Level character who rules Alhaster by the end of AoW, but that sure is a lot of liches (and possibly Dragotha too) who might be coming back after you month after month... plus all the other monsters/undead that flee Alhaster after Kyuss is defeated...

You could probably put together at least one good followup adventure that takes place a month or two after AoW, with the Liches (or better yet Dragotha) reforming and then mustering the scattered Kyuss minions and sacking Alhaster in revenge.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

The liches in Lashonna's dungeon I'm keeping. They happened to be unfortunate to have used red gems in their phylacteries... which Lashonna is now holding as hostage in her horde, forcing them to work to create the broodfiends and operate the Unlife Vortex if they don't want their soul-keeping gems destroyed.

As for all the other ones - yeah, I agree. A little too silly. Necropolitian sorcerers, wizards and/or warlocks, maybe. Advanced spell-stiched deathlocks? It'd give me a chance to use those guys. Wormcallers? Sure! Maybe even a hullathoin or two. Not fitting the pattern of humanoid spellcaster, sure, but I need an excuse to use 'em somehow.

I can see why the liches are used, though. The module was already really, really long. Statblocks of spellcasters take up a lot of space. Why make a new one and take up half a page when you can just list a page number in the Monster Manual?


As I said, it's a wrinkle in an otherwise brilliant adventure. Should I ever get to run AoW myself, I will be replacing them, along with some other things I felt either didn't fit or just didn't work.

I mean, Vampires? Wraiths? Ghosts? Sure. Fine. Advanced Wormcallers? Great! Necropolitans? Wonderful, just make sure you use them a few times earlier on.

But Liches as disposables? There had to have been a better way.

... Of course, now that I think of it, it's possible to explain their presence.

Hear me out: The liches, sensing that the Age of Worms is neigh, throw in their lot with Kyuss, likely desperate to forge a place for themselves in the new world order. These fiends, likely not very strong on their own in comparison to the PCs, give their loyalty, however temporary, to Lashonna and Kyuss, and become rather powerful shock troopers.

Should Kyuss ultimately fall, any liches remaining will most likely flee. Those destroyed in the fight won't be too keen on challenging the heroes again anytime soon.

... Of course, there's always the possibility of a follow-up involving dozens of Liches, lead by Dragotha (or any other of Kyuss' generals) marching on Alhaster, but that might just be a little TOO Epic for my tastes...

(And allow me to say again: With only a few changes, I could see running Dawn of a New Age as the finale to AoW without any qualms. It's a great adventure, and a good model for urban setting + freeform exploration + combat. Just... The LICHES...)


That kind of reminds me of the end of the Bloodstone Modules, where you run into a whole city full of liches, and, hey, no big deal because the real bad guy is Orcus.

I think, should I FINALLY get around to running this, I'll likely be throwing in a few different forms of undead as well.


Don't forget that one of the liches had the Hand of Vecna.

What about using true ghouls from that city (forget the name) that Moreto is from. Make them true ghoul wizards.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

We used liches simply because we needed SOMETHING for those encoutners, and unfortunately we didn't have the room for yet another stat block. So there ya go.

Now, that said... is there anything really that wrong with having so many liches working together? I know that normally they're the big bag end guys and all, but personally I find it kind of neat that there's encounters with many liches at once. Really helps to make the adventrue seem epic and climactic. And when you get down to it, the liches in the adventure aren't really that tough; it's weird to me that a CR 13 creature could be viewed as such a sacred cow that one can't have an encoutner with several of them when no one bats an eye at an encounter with a big pile of tougher monsters (such as the large number of nightshades in "Gates of Oblivion"). I've seen this situation pop up whenever we use multiple dragons in adventrues; invariably there's a fairly vocal contingent who cry foul at the thought of an adventure wherein dragons are numerous.

Not every lich or dragon is important enough to warrant his own adventure, is what I'm saying. When you're 21st level (which is very likely in "Dawn of a New Age"), liches are the new kobold.

And as for necropolitans... eew. They might be interesting, but I can't get by their silly names. Makes me think of ice cream.


Eh. I saw why you had to use them mechanically. I even saw that it works thematicaly. There's nothing WRONG with what you did, James, it's just that I'm of the mind that Liches are more or less built around being the adventure, or at least a key part of it.

Take Thassalar in Into the Wormcrawl Fissure. Not really important to the adventure, except that he has one of the soul pieces. He's an interesting charachter, if a little on the insane side, and despite being mainly as an enemy to defeat, an encounter with him could be memorable.

I suppose an encounter with a dozen Liches could also be memorable, but for entirely different reasons...

As I said, there's nothing WRONG with it, I just thought it was weird.

Andoran

I think with all those liches together, there might just be some history. They shoulda' had a boucoup lich fight; "I remember you Targonix Prijesterus! You stole my favorite quill pen back at Hogwarts 1,670 years ago!" Fireballs Targonix, who answers with a Bigby's lich slap that hits...Mecklar of the Shadowy Eye. Whole place erupts in a powerful magic chain reaction pie fight. It's like 3 Stooges and Evil Dead 2, all mixed together. Best of both worlds.


Heathansson wrote:
I think with all those liches together, there might just be some history. They shoulda' had a boucoup lich fight; "I remember you Targonix Prijesterus! You stole my favorite quill pen back at Hogwarts 1,670 years ago!" Fireballs Targonix, who answers with a Bigby's lich slap that hits...Mecklar of the Shadowy Eye. Whole place erupts in a powerful magic chain reaction pie fight. It's like 3 Stooges and Evil Dead 2, all mixed together. Best of both worlds.

So we're talking a no holds barred soulcage match to the true death? Or are we talking first-dust rules: where the first person to draw dust wins?

Personally I like the idea of having a lich as a henchman. It just goes to show how bada$$ Kyuss and his generals are.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Justin Fritts wrote:

Okay... Minor spoilers for the end of Age of Worms, but I gots to know...

... There are what seems to be DOZENS of Liches running around Alhaster for the finale. I know that Kyuss attracts intelligent undead like moths to a candle, but Liches? Where did they all come from? Where ARE their placetries? Liches as disploseable adversaries? I know it's the end of the world, but this is kind of silly.

Am I missing something? It's a great adventure, really, but what is UP with the liches?

The way I saw it, they are liches just because that happens to be a handy way to build a bunch of relatively powerful undead spellcasters. They do not burn as easily as mummies and they do not have the spectres' or vampires' vulnerability to sunlight (just to mention some alternative types of undeads), all of which makes them more tactically flexible. Of course, if you want to throw a wrinkle in the players' plans, you could for example make 'em into wights with 11 levels or so of wizard - voila!, pesky undead wizards without the hassle of phylacteries. Or, if you are playing FG, make them evolved spellstiched death knights or some such thing. To me, the main point is to have a strike force of flexible undeads, not what their specs actually are.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

We used liches simply because we needed SOMETHING for those encoutners, and unfortunately we didn't have the room for yet another stat block. So there ya go.

Now, that said... is there anything really that wrong with having so many liches working together? I know that normally they're the big bag end guys and all, but personally I find it kind of neat that there's encounters with many liches at once. Really helps to make the adventrue seem epic and climactic. And when you get down to it, the liches in the adventure aren't really that tough; it's weird to me that a CR 13 creature could be viewed as such a sacred cow that one can't have an encoutner with several of them when no one bats an eye at an encounter with a big pile of tougher monsters (such as the large number of nightshades in "Gates of Oblivion"). I've seen this situation pop up whenever we use multiple dragons in adventrues; invariably there's a fairly vocal contingent who cry foul at the thought of an adventure wherein dragons are numerous.

Not every lich or dragon is important enough to warrant his own adventure, is what I'm saying. When you're 21st level (which is very likely in "Dawn of a New Age"), liches are the new kobold.

And as for necropolitans... eew. They might be interesting, but I can't get by their silly names. Makes me think of ice cream.

The name necropolitan really missed the mark for me because it brands only with cleverness. Certainly doesn't sound like something a race would call itself and I'd imagine races that speak common would have a greater chance of having a say in their naming. Shel Haz' Ak, the spoiled ones might have been more appropriate. Even the Dandy Warhols sounds better than necropolitans.

Hey, I just thought up a name ever worse! Let's call 'em Little Lord Gauntleroys.

As for the Lich parade. After seeing so many shrivelled arcanists I was thinking perhaps Dr. Suess' star bellied snitch spitting mini factory was coopted by the undead. I'm hearing the Warner brothers ACME factory music in my head.

Dum DUM dum
da-da-da duh dah

Qadira

Personally, if I ever get to run AoW, I'd be also tempted to use worm nagas or wormcallers in the end, though I believe the later are more acceptable from the viewpoint that any Kyuss-related undead in the final showdown were created by Kashonna (like all the knights of kyuss).

Thus, I suppose the vast clergy of Hextor of Alhaster could supply a source for the wormcallers, though there's also the question of them being rather low in CR, comparatively, and any addition of cleric levels or undead HD brings up the question of why these new wormcallers are so much more powerful than the ones at the Spire. After all, the dread Kyuss knights become cannon fodder in the last adventure, and only the fallen sister of Balukarde has been advanced...

If alternative undead are your desire, perhaps using true ghoul sorcerors? Not sure if there's any real connection between the tue ghouls and Kyuss, but we do have their base stats in "A Gathering of Winds"...


If moreto escapes, he could make a return appearance here...

The difference between a lich and a regular CR 13 is that is is supposedly quite difficult to attain lichdom (possibly a holdover from earlier editions) and liches are portrayed as highly intelligent and independent. Thus it is harder to believe there would be so many in one place.


If you are going to cry foul over the liches you should also cry foul over all the identical vampire shadowdancer/monks running around in the final adventure as well. In some ways there even more difficult to explain than the liches. The idea about the red gems held by Lashonna is cool. As for the other liches, they are simply proto-liches animated by Kyuss's foul will from a platoon of wizards that perished in the Wormscrawl Fissure. They have the powers of liches, but are merely automatons whose souls are kept by Kyuss and are finally destroyed when he is.

Of course, I do miss the fact that no more wormcallers or swords of kyuss appeared after "The Spire of long Shadows". I actually was wondering why this was the case (apart from whole CR thing of course).


Well if you are fond of Swords of Kyuss, you will be seeing plenty of them in the Library of Last Resort.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Phil. L wrote:
Of course, I do miss the fact that no more wormcallers or swords of kyuss appeared after "The Spire of long Shadows". I actually was wondering why this was the case (apart from whole CR thing of course).

Had we enough room, putting more wormcallers and swords of Kyuss (advanced, of course, or with several class levels) would have been MUCH better than using shadowdancer vampires and liches. Alas, we didn't have enough room as it was for everything in this adventure (note the truncated "Continuing the Campaign" section, or the lack of stats for Prince Zeech). Tougher wormcallers and swords of Kyuss would indeed have been perfect. Butn liches and vampries do the job.


perhaps this could be remedied in the hardcover

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
dungeonblaster wrote:
perhaps this could be remedied in the hardcover

Or in the web enhancement? Pretty please? :)


I understand the stigma that liches have a reputation of being boss monsters rather than shock troops, but I think their inclusion works for a couple reasons:

1) Epic finale! This is a world changing event, "Come on fellas, *everyones* gonna be there!". Hedging their bets?

2) Kyuss is a diety, and as such will have suitable access to more powerful shock troops. With hidden phylacteries they become even more useful in this regard, as they'll simply reform if their bid to assist Kyuss ends in their (temporary) destruction. What do they have to lose?

3) Consider the timeline. Over 1500+ years, a lot of liches could have become aware of the AoW, discovered the prophecies, or been contacted/recruited by Lashonna or Dragotha. Some may've been biding their time for this moment. This is the culmination of centuries of planning & preparation for Kyuss' minions!

Just my 2 cents.

J-

Qadira

This is a mild rehash of the SCAP, but the final encounters of the last chapter included a fiend-based lich, whose lifeforce was not tied to a phylactery, but rather to a sponsoring god. If one were to tweak the numbers of liches and add the half-fiend template to them, you could certainly have Kyuss-sponsored lichfiends. :)

If you guys at paizo don't plan on doing a web-based redux of advanced swords of kyuss and wormcallers, I'd be happy to give it a shot and post my results for criticism.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I personally thought that the final chapter of AoW felt a bit rushed in execution. I think the legion of liches was symptomatic of that, though I fully understand that they didn't want to swamp the whole issue with a single mega-adventure full of stat-blocks. But I was a bit disappointed at the end, to be honest.

That said, I haven't played it - I suspect that it runs just fine if the DM wants to put the extra effort in.

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