What are some unusual lich phylactery ideas?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Even though they are described as metal boxes, I usually imagine them looking like black heart-shaped gems with a light (the lich's soul) inside. Since it can be any small object (I think) I was thinking a lich might use something worthless (like a rat dropping) as one, as people would never suspect it unless they happened to cast detect magic (and who would think to do that on a rat turd to begin with?)


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A Soul Cage doesn't specify what it needs to be made of but does state that if it's destroyed it's a pretty bad deal. It's not explicit, but I don't think there's any reason to believe something like you suggest wouldn't break down easily as it's normal counterpart would. The implication of the examples and the consequences suggests that a soul cage should probably be something inherently durable.


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This was a really cool idea for a phylactery from a P1 AP (ID info scrubbed to avoid spoiler), even if you can find it you can't destroy it, nor can you take it with you for further study.

Phylactery:

This side room is free of dust—the only part of this area so graced. The only feature in the room is a 2-foot-deep pool of silvery liquid. This liquid is mercury, and radiates strong necromancy. Any mercury taken from the pool immediately evaporates, and the pool itself replenishes lost mercury to remain full at all times. This curious magical pool, as a successful DC 35 Knowledge (arcana or religion) check confirms, is actually an unusual lich phylactery—__________’s phylactery. The nature of the phylactery makes it impossible to transport (a design flaw that ___________ hopes to solve before he engineers his escape from the _______________________), but also makes it very difficult to destroy. Mage’s disjunction can destroy the phylactery, but otherwise the pool must be physically ruined. This is easier said than done, though, for the pool is immune to physical weapon damage, cold, electricity, and sonic damage. Acid and fire deal half damage to it. Force effects deal full damage, as does disintegrate. The phylactery pool has 100 hit points and repairs damage to itself at the astounding rate of 1d100 hit points per round.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kelseus wrote:

This was a really cool idea for a phylactery from a P1 AP (ID info scrubbed to avoid spoiler), even if you can find it you can't destroy it, nor can you take it with you for further study.

** spoiler omitted **

That spoiler relies too much on GM fiat for my taste. Started off well enough, but by the end the idea might as well have been "the lich is invulnerable" or "rocks fall, everyone dies."

I much prefer clever ideas like making it a nondescript coin. It is likely illegal to destroy, and will be in circulation for a very long time, making it nearly impossible to find. By the time someone divines its location, and made their way there, it's already changed hands, or got tucked away in a secure bank vault.

Liberty's Edge

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Soul cage. Not Phylactery. The change was done by Paizo for a reason. Let's respect it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Without relitigating the issue that was already a closed topic on the general forum months ago:

I toss things from Paizo I don't feel are appropriate all the time if I feel they conflict with how I want to do things. That's always been the ancient pact between TTRPG writer and buyer, that I may take their work and use it in ways they don't sanction. And consequently there's always been a disclaimer on every TTRPG writer's opinions that goes "...play how you want, it's your game".

I acknowledge that Paizo doesn't want to use that word, but I'm not a Paizo employee, and unless they're going to start handing out bans for it, tough noogies. I wouldn't stop calling it a bastard sword if Paizo went back and re-edited every mention of it to hand-and-a-half sword either, or call a golem a golem.

I won't be using soul cage unless I'm referencing the rules in Book of the Dead p. 51.


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Ravingdork wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Soul cage. Not Phylactery. The change was done by Paizo for a reason. Let's respect it.
Welcome to the Thought Police recruit. Here are your boots. Now get out there and stamp out free speech wherever you find it in the name of common decency everywhere.

Phylactery was phased out because of the antisemitic origin of the name; chiefly the fact that you're giving a stated to be supremely evil caster's soul holding box the same name and physical description as an item important to jewish religion.

It's not like they changed the name to be legally distinct or distance themselves from D&D lore; they made the change because Jewish players pointed out that it's pretty messed up that they kept the comparison and thus changed it


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I was a big fan of the Lich variants like familial lich and psychic lich.

The familial lich is very hard to destroy, depending on if the family was prodigious in their progeny.

The psychic lich narratively could fool an enemy into think it's a regular lich and let them destroy the object that links to their astral legend, but it would simply reform and the lich along with it.


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Bard lich with an adamantine vuvuzela


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Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Phylactery was phased out because of the antisemitic origin of the name; chiefly the fact that you're giving a stated to be supremely evil caster's soul holding box the same name and physical description as an item important to jewish religion.

Point of order, the lich's version of the item has basically never (or only coincidentally) resembled the Jewish phylactery in physical description. Edit: I went back to this, and the default "description" is a bit similar, but I've never seen it represented in a story as a metal box with writing. Everyone always jazzes it up. And the implication is that every one was unique, so giving a default description was a bad idea anyways. End edit.

And honestly until this issue came up, I hadn't heard of the items being referred to as phylacteries, I was familiar with the term tefillin. I'm not going to argue that it was a bad idea to change from phylactery though. I identify as Jew-adjacent (I started conversion and never technically finished) but not having grown up with background I am not the best representation of what is or isn't an....unpleasant experience or association...for other Jewish people.

At the same time, I do think that a majority of people had no idea that it could even be considered offensive, and after decades in the popular milieu it is hard for people to change terms. So I think any sort of judgement towards people for still using the word is perhaps...unwarranted.

That said, I think the Black Raven's statement was an attempt at a neutral reminder, though I can see where it can be read a bit preachy. And Leon's response feels a lot like "You can pry it from my cold dead hands".

Ultimately I think we should all think about why we might be inclined to do certain things, especially when those things might hurt other people. Do you want to intentionally hurt people? I'm going to presume no. So while it might be hard, I would plead with you to try to change (although I don't like the name soul cage). And on the other end, I would suggest people be a bit understanding that in most instances offense was not intended, a desire to hurt was not intended, and a history of usage primarily relating to the undead is probably the association a majority of people have.

Anyways....thanks for reading my ramble I guess.

Liberty's Edge

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A diamond shaped like a marble for a Poppet Lich.


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I think that the interesting thing about the question of what makes an adequate / acceptable soul cage is the psychological and narrative tension that arises from the idea that you're locking an immortal soul into an object with it's own constraints that may outlive your body, but may not exist forever if you don't actively protect and take care of it.

Using Ravingdork's example above, certainly a non-descript coin might let it pass unseen, but at that point you're also out of contact with it. The lich has no control over it any more than anyone else. Coins are often made of soft metals. There's no guarantee someone doesn't accidentally melt it down. So would a lich actually risk it circulating where they can't check on it? And if they did lay a mechanism to track it and check up on it from time to time, there's probably some evidence or note of it in their sanctum so if the players defeat that lich they have a chance to track it down.

Likewise, tossing a soul cage into the ocean might protect it from most prying eyes and access by almost everyone but the salt water, pressure, and time could eventually destroy it. Will it happen in the first hundred years of the lich's life? Probably not, but how much would it suck to suddenly start decaying during execution of some plan because completely unknown forces whittled away your cage.

So I don't think there's a real perfect answer or gotcha here. Even very durable materials can be destroyed with enough time or effort so any attempt to distance and hide it also presents a loss of control that probably isn't acceptable at some point. The spoiler example above shows that even extraordinary lengths taken to create a self-regenerating soul cage result in difficulties like not being able to move it, so now that lich has to spend time and effort periodically traveling back to that place to check on it and can't relocate it if it's discovered.


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Claxon wrote:
Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Phylactery was phased out because of the antisemitic origin of the name; chiefly the fact that you're giving a stated to be supremely evil caster's soul holding box the same name and physical description as an item important to jewish religion.

Point of order, the lich's version of the item has basically never (or only coincidentally) resembled the Jewish phylactery in physical description. Edit: I went back to this, and the default "description" is a bit similar, but I've never seen it represented in a story as a metal box with writing. Everyone always jazzes it up. And the implication is that every one was unique, so giving a default description was a bad idea anyways. End edit.

And honestly until this issue came up, I hadn't heard of the items being referred to as phylacteries, I was familiar with the term tefillin. I'm not going to argue that it was a bad idea to change from phylactery though. I identify as Jew-adjacent (I started conversion and never technically finished) but not having grown up with background I am not the best representation of what is or isn't an....unpleasant experience or association...for other Jewish people.

At the same time, I do think that a majority of people had no idea that it could even be considered offensive, and after decades in the popular milieu it is hard for people to change terms. So I think any sort of judgement towards people for still using the word is perhaps...unwarranted.

That said, I think the Black Raven's statement was an attempt at a neutral reminder, though I can see where it can be read a bit preachy. And Leon's response feels a lot like "You can pry it from my cold dead hands".

Ultimately I think we should all think about why we might be inclined to do certain things, especially when those things might hurt other people. Do you want to intentionally hurt people? I'm going to presume no. So while it might be hard, I would plead with you to try to change...

Reposting bc it's good stuff


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When I first read the Horde Lich I thought my screen reader had read it as Hoard Lich, and I thought that would be a neat idea. Somehow place a tiny fragment of your soul in each of hundreds or maybe thousands of coins. A big pile would be hard to destroy, and you could probably do some necromancy shenanigans to feed off the souls of any would-be plunderers who took your coinage from you.

Failing that, making a building into a soul cage always seemed like a reasonable idea to me, though that would likely come with attendant problems like not being able to leave once you're inside.

Perhaps a solid adamantine cube placed in a demiplane kept as a vacuum?

Liberty's Edge

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The problem with many of these ideas is that it has to be something that is almost always Light bulk or less for the size of the creature that the Lich is and that it will ALWAYS have the same stats: 9 Hardness and 36 HP.

Of course, you can apply effects, spells, and protections to it to likely offer it further resistances and durability but I don't actually know of any off the top of my head that would be permanent enough to make sure that the Lich can always ensure it is kept hidden as they'd need to regularly reapply those protections.

As for cool ideas, my best suggestion would be to make it something that appears as mundane and boring as possible which looks to have absolutely no inherent value at all such as a rotten leather sack full of disgusting rotten animal and plant matter, something that nobody in their right mind would come within 15 feet of our of pure disgust. Either that or perhaps crafting a worthless shoddy wooden club that you then bury underground by at least a dozen feet or more of dirt, then a layer of concrete, and lastly inside of a magically treated lead box that is at least large enough to fit your physical body as well (for the circumstance when your body is destroyed) so that no aura can be detected even if you were standing right on top of it.

Carrying it around with you or allowing it to be held/carried by anyone, anywhere, would be flirting with an absolute disaster, after all, the intent is that even if your body and all equipment on it are utterly destroyed to oblivion then you will return to the location of it so your new body is reformed out of it.

Maybe like... Craft an extremely outdated and boring irrelevant legal text that was never actually passed but had to be retained by the government in some hyper legalistic society such as that found in Cheliax would be a safe bet, simply submit it (or smuggle it) to their extraordinarily safeguarded governmental legal archives and it won't ever see the light of day as it is held purely out of bureaucratic and legalistic inertia that is held in the highest regard by their society, leadership, and military. At worst, the library has a catastrophic fire or an asteroid hits the building/vault and it takes some crushing and fire damage but with 9 Hardness and 36 HP it should be perfectly fine unless it is completely and totally enveloped in a blaze that lasts for several minutes or dunked in lava.


Themetricsystem wrote:
Of course, you can apply effects, spells, and protections to it to likely offer it further resistances and durability but I don't actually know of any off the top of my head that would be permanent enough to make sure that the Lich can always ensure it is kept hidden as they'd need to regularly reapply those protections.

I assumed that we were just kind of spitballing wacky ideas, but if we have to go by the game's mechanics, the Lich archetype has two feats dedicated to doing exactly this kind of thing, Enshroud Soul Cage at level 14 and Bolster Soul Cage at level 16.

Liberty's Edge

Perpdepog wrote:
I assumed that we were just kind of spitballing wacky ideas, but if we have to go by the game's mechanics, the Lich archetype has two feats dedicated to doing exactly this kind of thing, Enshroud Soul Cage at level 14 and Bolster Soul Cage at level 16.

Ahh well, that's convenient enough then, all you'd need to do is put it somewhere secure enough that no living (or unliving even) creature could feasibly access it then... that is, as long as the PC is willing to spend their Class Feats on those benefits.


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Perpdepog wrote:


Perhaps a solid adamantine cube placed in a demiplane kept as a vacuum?

I think this is my favorite. Especially since the lich doesn't need to breathe, while most of its enemies presumably do. That said, putting some planar tuning forks in the place would be a good idea, for obvious reasons.


Themetricsystem wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
I assumed that we were just kind of spitballing wacky ideas, but if we have to go by the game's mechanics, the Lich archetype has two feats dedicated to doing exactly this kind of thing, Enshroud Soul Cage at level 14 and Bolster Soul Cage at level 16.
Ahh well, that's convenient enough then, all you'd need to do is put it somewhere secure enough that no living (or unliving even) creature could feasibly access it then... that is, as long as the PC is willing to spend their Class Feats on those benefits.

I'm playing a dry lich in a 3.5 game, and more or less did that. The canopic jars that serve as my soul cages are stuck in a little cave I dug out of the rock in some random mountain in the middle of some random desert, and since I'm a cleric with the travel domain I can teleport myself out of there should I be destroyed and appear there.


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Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

my biggest gripe is that "soul cage" is a bit too direct of a term. The former word for it would not directly point at what the object is used for, and that would allow for some mystique (mystique that I'd never offend someone's feelings for). I always liked treating them as horcruxes, but whenever a party encounters a <insert a non-offensive but vague term> instead of soul cage, we could at least pretend they do not have the knowledge of what it is for. With soul cage- what you read is what you get. Also, for me, something illusioned as a mundane unimportant object, such as a brick in a wall, with some precious objects around it to fool anyone seeking it would be a cool idea for a soul cage


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The Raven Black wrote:
Soul cage. Not Phylactery. The change was done by Paizo for a reason. Let's respect it.

I almost changed it and then didn't, but you're 100% right I should have.

I like the idea of something that is hard to find, but also hard to pick out too. Like a rock in a giant pile of rocks, or something like that. Slap on a permanent nondetection effect for good measure.


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Claxon wrote:
Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Phylactery was phased out because of the antisemitic origin of the name; chiefly the fact that you're giving a stated to be supremely evil caster's soul holding box the same name and physical description as an item important to jewish religion.

Point of order, the lich's version of the item has basically never (or only coincidentally) resembled the Jewish phylactery in physical description. Edit: I went back to this, and the default "description" is a bit similar, but I've never seen it represented in a story as a metal box with writing. Everyone always jazzes it up. And the implication is that every one was unique, so giving a default description was a bad idea anyways. End edit.

And honestly until this issue came up, I hadn't heard of the items being referred to as phylacteries, I was familiar with the term tefillin. I'm not going to argue that it was a bad idea to change from phylactery though. I identify as Jew-adjacent (I started conversion and never technically finished) but not having grown up with background I am not the best representation of what is or isn't an....unpleasant experience or association...for other Jewish people.

At the same time, I do think that a majority of people had no idea that it could even be considered offensive, and after decades in the popular milieu it is hard for people to change terms. So I think any sort of judgement towards people for still using the word is perhaps...unwarranted.

That said, I think the Black Raven's statement was an attempt at a neutral reminder, though I can see where it can be read a bit preachy. And Leon's response feels a lot like "You can pry it from my cold dead hands".

Ultimately I think we should all think about why we might be inclined to do certain things, especially when those things might hurt other people. Do you want to intentionally hurt people? I'm going to presume no. So while it might be hard, I would plead with you to try to change...

Maybe a dumb question, but can't you just change the name of it in your game if you don't like it (or request that the DM calls it something else)? Techincally, you can change the name of anything in the game if you want.

Liberty's Edge

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Yqatuba wrote:
Maybe a dumb question, but can't you just change the name of it in your game if you don't like it (or request that the DM calls it something else)? Techincally, you can change the name of anything in the game if you want.

That question cuts both ways and is dangerously close to the point that people are dancing around here.

TBH: I don't think this is a community that is capable or willing to have a full adult conversation about the topic and I expect the thread to be closed for moderation or locked shortly if the discussion continues because the whole thing relating to sensitivity and the validity of trying to be or not be respectful for supposedly offending HYPER conservative orthodox religious minorities (the group in question who the decision impacts) is an ice-slicked slope coated in vaseline.

I think keeping the topic on the subject is best, that being, discussion of unusual or cool ideas for what kind of object the Lich should use and how one might protect it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Quote:
And Leon's response feels a lot like "You can pry it from my cold dead hands".

I'm not married to the word. Soul cage is just a terrible generic name. It sounds like something a corporate office would come up with. I have similar opinions on ettercap versus web lurker. Words are art, and since I'm not a video game 3D rendering artist they're my main method of description. Bulldozing them and replacing them with anodyne English generic noun/verbs is like taking prime rib and boiling it until it's grey then serving it.


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My Anima Sola (latin makes anything cooler, just ask Games Workshop) would be a rubber ducky I keep in the tub. Sweet and unassuming....bwahahaha. The Anima Sola (lonely soul) is a traditional piece of art depicting a soul traped in purgatory (which seems apt for a piece of severed soul). If using a fitting bit of symbolism from the Catholic faith is too much of the same headache, then simply Anima would also be good.


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Soul Cage is the game mechanical term for it. Diagetically, it can be anything. You can call it the bloodstone thurible of the sanguine devourer or the basalt coffer of eternal agony or whatever you want.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Soul Cage is the game mechanical term for it. Diagetically, it can be anything. You can call it the bloodstone thurible of the sanguine devourer or the basalt coffer of eternal agony or whatever you want.

Quite right. What we call something at our own tables and in our own homes shouldn't matter one bit to anyone else.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:


Quite right. What we call something at our own tables and in our own homes shouldn't matter one bit to anyone else.

Except it does.

Does it? Have people broken into your home while you're hosting a game asking you to change how you play?


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


Quite right. What we call something at our own tables and in our own homes shouldn't matter one bit to anyone else.

Except it does.

Does it? Have people broken into your home while you're hosting a game asking you to change how you play?

There were four sentences before I edited my post and deleted the latter two.

I'm not sure how you ended up with the first three. Without the fourth, you're missing the original context (which I removed because I felt it was too adversarial).


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We had a campaign where the liches phylactery was the next in line to the Royal throne, passed on via a blood curse. This led to a kingdom who outwardly tried to destroy the nation of the dead next door, but worked in secret to stymie all true efforts to destroy the lich.


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If I was a Lich, I'd never used the mundane item way of hiding my soul cage, it's far too dangerous and out of control. And the remote place, buried underground seems also a weak protection. There are natural disasters (and in Golarion they are common), and I'll also be exposed to diviners (after all, someone can beat my abjurations without being able to beat me in combat). Also, if a bunch of adventurers manage to destroy my body, they can just cast Locate on me and Interplanetary Teleport and they get to my soul cage. So it doesn't seem like a good protection.

I'll personally use the Ultimate Dungeon of Death strategy. A dungeon I check regularly, that I improve over time, that I expand, who gets deadliest and deadliest centuries after centuries. A place where I can grow a new body without worrying about someone getting to my soul cage.

As for my soul cage, I'll certainly take something with a strong meaning to my living me. My baby doll, the lock of hair of my long dead lover, a wonderful piece of art, the skull of my nemesis, etc... My soul cage can't be soulless, literally.


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The issue I see with the Dungeon of Death strategy is that word tends to get around in fantasy worlds about said dungeons, and then those dungeons start attracting people to them. It's like narrative magnetism or something. Sooner or later you'd have parties of high-level adventurers beating down your door.


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Perpdepog wrote:
The issue I see with the Dungeon of Death strategy is that word tends to get around in fantasy worlds about said dungeons, and then those dungeons start attracting people to them. It's like narrative magnetism or something. Sooner or later you'd have parties of high-level adventurers beating down your door.

A self-fulfilling prophecy...

If you don't expect high-level adventurers to come beating down your door then you don't care about protecting your soul cage. So you can build your Dungeon of Death and put your soul cage in it only when you think you have attracted some attention, and otherwise put a few treasures in there and look at how adventurers crack it open, so you can improve it afterwards.

Anyway, I'd be too paranoid as a lich to have my soul cage unprotected.

Liberty's Edge

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I would pass off mine as a sacred relic of Iomedae and see that it is kept in their holiest of holies and actively guarded against intruders.

Alternately, an inconspicuous item of little worth in the hoard of an ancient dragon. Something that dragonslayers would not even consider stealing.


Yqatuba wrote:
Maybe a dumb question, but can't you just change the name of it in your game if you don't like it (or request that the DM calls it something else)? Techincally, you can change the name of anything in the game if you want.

Not sure if you were asking me, but you did quote me.

The point of my previous point was to say let's not be vitriolic towards each other on this topic, unless it's clear someone is being intentionally hateful.

As far as changing the name, I mean yes. But I don't understand the point of your question. Like, yeah I don't like soul cage so I would probably come up with something else. Or possibly just never give it a specific term and narratively tell the players "you know liches bind their souls to objects and you need to find this to kill the lich".


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Honestly, if you go back to the 1st edition rule set putting your bound soul object into a timeless negative energy demiplane (without air) makes it pretty hard to get to.

I forget which 1st edition book it was established in, but basically you can't get or make a tuning fork to a personal demiplane unless you've been there. So the only way to get there is a Wish or to be the lich, assuming you never let anyone else go to the plane. Stash some basic items like spell books there, and some constructs or undead, along with a load of magical effects (it's timeless so the magic lasts forever) and you've got a spot that's really hard to access. It require deific intervention or wish to get to for anyone but the lich. Now granted in order to create a timeless demiplane you have to be pretty high level, but you can get a regular demiplane that still makes it virtually impossible for people to get to at 13th level. Not that long after you could become a lich. So with a little more patients and planning you can make yourself really hard to kill.

I think the other aspect of it is not being a stupid idiot who's trying to be overt with their plans or goals. Like, sit in your demiplane and do magical research for a few hundred years and become more powerful and make some really long term plans. Don't attract public attention and you'll be left alone. Why you got to make an undead horde and start terrorizing the local towns? What do you get out of it? If you need souls to power your evil magic create a plan to do that while arousing less suspicion. You're a high level magic user. Don't try to take the whole town's population over a few weeks. Teleport to multiple cities or villages and take 1 person at a time. You've got an eternity to get stuff done.


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A simple copper coin.

Shuffled into the general economy.

You'll never find it.

Ever.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Take the three best ideas for hiding or protecting your physoul cage from this thread, then apply those methods to your private demiplane's tuning fork that you split apart.

Makes for a grand quest.

Liberty's Edge

Freehold DM wrote:

A simple copper coin.

Shuffled into the general economy.

You'll never find it.

Ever.

Couldn't it be melted somewhere along the way ?

Radiant Oath

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The Raven Black wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

A simple copper coin.

Shuffled into the general economy.

You'll never find it.

Ever.

Couldn't it be melted somewhere along the way ?

It'll be melted down as soon as the local government or bank reforms and starts printing currency again. If it's continuously handed over, it'll wear down to uselessness in 100 years. For currency, your best bet is giving it to a dragon to sit on it.

Precious gems might be a better choice. Expensive and old jewelry is a fine choice. You want something traded, but taken care of.

I also like the idea of soul caging Cobalt-60. What adventurer is regularly casting detect radiation?


Claxon wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Maybe a dumb question, but can't you just change the name of it in your game if you don't like it (or request that the DM calls it something else)? Techincally, you can change the name of anything in the game if you want.

Not sure if you were asking me, but you did quote me.

The point of my previous point was to say let's not be vitriolic towards each other on this topic, unless it's clear someone is being intentionally hateful.

As far as changing the name, I mean yes. But I don't understand the point of your question. Like, yeah I don't like soul cage so I would probably come up with something else. Or possibly just never give it a specific term and narratively tell the players "you know liches bind their souls to objects and you need to find this to kill the lich".

I guess I thought you were saying you found the name offensive, though I guess I misunderstood? Also, I agree that "soul cage" is a bad name, mainly because "cage" seems to imply that it's a prison for the lich's soul, rather than what it really is (a safe hiding place). If I had to call it something other than the P word, I would go with "soulstone" (written as one word), since, as I mentioned in the OP, I always pictured them looking like black (or really dark blue) heart-shaped gemstones instead of metal boxes. Think something like this https://www.pinterest.com/pin/127cts-natural-australian-blue-sapphire-heart -shape--476959416789140261/ only about 6 inches across, and with a glowing orb in it, as well as being semi-transparent, otherwise you couldn't see the light inside.


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Yqatuba wrote:
I guess I thought you were saying you found the name offensive, though I guess I misunderstood? Also, I agree that "soul cage" is a bad name, mainly because "cage" seems to imply that it's a prison for the lich's soul, rather than what it really is (a safe hiding place). If I had to call it something other than the P word, I would go with "soulstone" (written as one word), since, as I mentioned in the OP, I always pictured them looking like black (or really dark blue) heart-shaped gemstones instead of metal boxes. Think something like this https://www.pinterest.com/pin/127cts-natural-australian-blue-sapphire-heart -shape--476959416789140261/ only about 6 inches across, and with a glowing orb in it, as well as being semi-transparent, otherwise you couldn't see the light inside.

It is a cage. The soul wants to join the River of Souls, but it can't because it was forced into a container and will escape the moment it is broken.


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Personally I like soul cage because I'm a huge Madoka Magica fan, and magical girl lich is 100% a character I would play :)

I lich I was thinking about making is probably a little unexpected in methodology, but the DMs in my group, while uncomfortable with a traditional soul cage, were 100% on board with using the familiar soul cage alt version on some of the liches, so i was going to play a kitsune whos star orb was their soul cage, and entrust said star orb to a trusted companion.

Some may argue it's risky to entrust your soul to someone else, but I would retort that I'd far prefer my lover or friend hold onto my soul than hungry monsters or traps. My companion would do as much as they could to protect my soul, while the monsters almost certainly have little stake in my survival, and traps are unthinking. This has an extra bonus that my own immortality offers additional protection; should my companion be found, I can "die" to buy them time to escape and simply respawn later.


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Yqatuba wrote:
I guess I thought you were saying you found the name offensive, though I guess I misunderstood? Also, I agree that "soul cage" is a bad name, mainly because "cage" seems to imply that it's a prison for the lich's soul, rather than what it really is (a safe hiding place). If I had to call it something other than the P word, I would go with "soulstone" (written as one word), since, as I mentioned in the OP, I always pictured them looking like black (or really dark blue) heart-shaped gemstones instead of metal boxes. Think something like this https://www.pinterest.com/pin/127cts-natural-australian-blue-sapphire-heart -shape--476959416789140261/ only about 6 inches across, and with a glowing orb in it, as well as being semi-transparent, otherwise you couldn't see the light inside.

No problem, seems like a bit of a misunderstanding but not a big deal.

No, I don't personally find the usage of phylactery to be offensive. I consider myself to be relatively thick skinned and though I associate with Judaism, I was not raised Jewish. Further, I generally believe people don't have intentional ill will in using the word. I myself was unaware that people called tefillin as phylacteries until this issue was raised with Paizo changing it. Phylactery is a Greek word, not a Hebrew one so I'm unsure how that came to be the associated word.

Still, I generally don't want to hurt people and if some Jews do find it a hurtful association I think it is worthwhile to try to change. Though I stand by the statement that soul cage simply sounds terrible.


AceofMoxen wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

A simple copper coin.

Shuffled into the general economy.

You'll never find it.

Ever.

Couldn't it be melted somewhere along the way ?
It'll be melted down as soon as the local government or bank reforms and starts printing currency again. If it's continuously handed over, it'll wear down to uselessness in 100 years. For currency, your best bet is giving it to a dragon to sit on it.

By the time any of this happens, another can be created, unless the rules have changed somehow, doesn't the destruction of one mean I have to make another or I can be destroyed by wandering adventurers until I make another? Or is it the other way around, and I can be killed unto infinity unless my object is destroyed and then I die with it(for reals this time)?


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Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Personally I like soul cage because I'm a huge Madoka Magica fan, and magical girl lich is 100% a character I would play :)

Mami really got ahead in the world, didn't she...


Also there is this.


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Freehold DM wrote:
AceofMoxen wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

A simple copper coin.

Shuffled into the general economy.

You'll never find it.

Ever.

Couldn't it be melted somewhere along the way ?
It'll be melted down as soon as the local government or bank reforms and starts printing currency again. If it's continuously handed over, it'll wear down to uselessness in 100 years. For currency, your best bet is giving it to a dragon to sit on it.
By the time any of this happens, another can be created, unless the rules have changed somehow, doesn't the destruction of one mean I have to make another or I can be destroyed by wandering adventurers until I make another? Or is it the other way around, and I can be killed unto infinity unless my object is destroyed and then I die with it(for reals this time)?

Book of the Dead explains that, should your soul cage be destroyed, you can hunt down your now freed soul and bind it again, though it's super difficult to do. Also, if you don't do it, your body will suffer what it calls "a long decline" and you will likely either become ademilich and lose most of your mind, or crumble away entirely and be destroyed.

Claxon wrote:

I forget which 1st edition book it was established in, but basically you can't get or make a tuning fork to a personal demiplane unless you've been there. So the only way to get there is a Wish or to be the lich, assuming you never let anyone else go to the plane. Stash some basic items like spell books there, and some constructs or undead, along with a load of magical effects (it's timeless so the magic lasts forever) and you've got a spot that's really hard to access. It require deific intervention or wish to get to for anyone but the lich. Now granted in order to create a timeless demiplane you have to be pretty high level, but you can get a regular demiplane that still makes it virtually impossible for people to get to at 13th level. Not that long after you could become a lich. So with a little more patients and planning you can make yourself really hard to kill.

I think the other aspect of it is not being a stupid idiot who's trying to be overt with their plans or goals. Like, sit in your demiplane and do magical research for a few hundred years and become more powerful and make some really long term plans. Don't attract public attention and you'll be left alone. Why you got to make an undead horde and start terrorizing the local towns? What do you get out of it? If you need souls to power your evil magic create a plan to do that while arousing less suspicion. You're a high level magic user. Don't try to take the whole town's population over a few weeks. Teleport to multiple cities or villages and take 1 person at a time. You've got an eternity to get stuff done.

I think a lot of liches see their transformation as the "culmination of my grand design!" rather than the major preparatory step that it actually is and they get excited. That or they might just go a bit bonkers after transferring their soul and not be the most rational actors for a little while. That's the only explanation I can think of for a lot of liches not taking things slow and building their powerbase before going all maniacal on everyone. Oh, and there's good old-fashioned hubris, too.

Also, the create a demiplane solution is my favorite, but sadly you can't go as crazy with it in PF2E. You can't make a plane negative-dominant or timeless anymore.


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Kasoh wrote:
It is a cage. The soul wants to join the River of Souls, but it can't because it was forced into a container and will escape the moment it is broken.

Yeah, this makes a lot of sense to me. Souls are designed to seek the river of souls when they are freed, and the Lich wants to protect its soul not because it's precious but because when it enters the River of Souls and goes through Pharasma's Judgement, there's no more would-be Lich. Normally making something undead involves tearing (a part) of its soul from the aforementioned River, but if you're doing it to yourself on purpose you want to keep all of it, and you know you can't keep it in your body while you undergo your transformation, so you want to keep it somewhere safe from which it cannot escape and to which it will naturally return when freed.

"Soul Cage" isn't pithy but it's descriptive of how Liches work. If you want pithy just pick a term that fits for the character in question. Obviously Tar Baphon, Nhur Athemon, Geb, and the Bone Sages of Eox are going to have different ways of describing it since they all hail from different cultures and have different ways of seeing the world.


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If I'm becoming a lich... it's because I have some purpose or plan that I'm hoping to fulfill. For whatever purpose or plan that is? The slow slide into madness that often accompanies transformation into Lichdom is probably counterproductive.

So I'd give it into the keeping of some appropriately pro-undead holy order or other trustworthy persistent organization. Then I'll put my lab in their basement. It'll give me a reason to keep havign social interaction, and it'll give me a group of people who are generally inclined to keep me pointed at serving whatever cause ti was I hoped to serve, rather than spiraling off into being a crazed undead hermit.

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