What are some unusual lich phylactery ideas?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

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You're killing other sentient beings, purely to bolster your own personal power. Even if you're killing Asmodeus' just-as-evil half-human son, that's an evil act.
And why don't you think evil acts will affect your alignment? It's a meter, not an absolute written in stone " I say I'm Lawful Good, so I can drown 1000 orphans by hand for XP" only works with the laziest GMs


graystone wrote:
Claxon wrote:
The process of becoming a lich turns you evil.
Only for monster/NPC ones: the archetypes doesn't do that. You can make it that way in your game if you want though.

While the archetype don't explicitely say that being a lich make you evil, and it don't talk about the ritual in great detail, one of the few it give about it is that the ritual *have* to be "incredibly evil", which make it very difficult to imagine a lich that begin lichdom not being evil.

Sometime, doing incredibly evil stuff "for the greater good" may be argued as being morally grey, having to kill an innocent to save a city don't necessarly mean that you're evil. But doing "incredibly evil" stuff to gain immortality? Even for someone who did countless good deeds before, I don't think they can be anything else than evil.

Like, imagine, you know of a doctor who saved countless lives, never asked for payment from poor people, etc. Also, they had a weak heart and was in need of a transplant (not in any immediate threat of death, but they had to get a new heart sooner or latter if they wanted to live long), so they killed the first compatible donnor they met just to have it. How is that doctor anything but evil?


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Val'bryn2 wrote:
You're killing other sentient beings, purely to bolster your own personal power.

And? Where is that in the rules? Is it worse than killing sentient creatures in a normal adventure that also bolsters your own personal power? Where is the rule that intent alters an act from being good or evil?

Val'bryn2 wrote:
Even if you're killing Asmodeus' just-as-evil half-human son, that's an evil act.

You're the one that brought up degrees of evil: "I don't think you understand just how evil the ritual of lichdom is." If you don't want to consider how evil things are, why bring it up? I mean if we're going by a number count, I can just build up some 'good' credit beforehand.

PS: for bonus points, how do degrees of evil matter in PF2? What rules govern those?

Val'bryn2 wrote:
And why don't you think evil acts will affect your alignment?

Why do you think they do? Going by the rules, you change alignment when you think it's appropriate to your character and that's a judgement call.

Val'bryn2 wrote:
It's a meter, not an absolute written in stone " I say I'm Lawful Good, so I can drown 1000 orphans by hand for XP" only works with the laziest GMs

You'll note I said that a DM can always say that something alters your alignment. And as to the meter, you're you're contradicting yourself. I find it kind of disingenuous for people to go on and on how evil the the ritual is when I see people on adventures cutting huge swaths through sentient creatures and no one is there measuring to see if they turned evil.


For me, lich can't start being anything else than evil for two reason :

- The ritual is described as "incredibly evil". Not "arguably evil", it can't be "killing an already evil/dying/dangerous person for personal gain", it can't be "stealing some arguably unnecessary body part for unwilling people", it have to be an act so evil that it's evilness can't be argued.

- The sole benefit of lichdom is conditionnal immortality. You can't have a situation where you need the "power of lichdom" to save someone/something, because lichdom don't give you power, merelly resilience. Lich are incredibly powerfull not because they're lich, but because they have to already be incredibly powerfull to become a lich in the first place, and because being a lich give them all the time they need to further increase their abilities.

So because it require you to commit such incredible evil act, and because it's solely an egoistical pursuit, lichdom can't be good or even neutral. It's not an evil act that kinda slide you toward evil, but one that firmly plant you into an evil alignment, no matter where you were before. You may be redeemed, you may come to regret your actions and try to atone for what you've done, but when you become a lich, you can't be anything other than evil.

However, there is one exception. In the pathfinder lore, it is possible to reach lichdom against your will (it was after all the whole scenario of an adventure path), so I guess that if this happen to you, you might be a non evil lich from the begginning. Likewise, turning someone else into a lich could be some misguided attempt at protecting them, and thus I can also see in that way a very roundabout way to have someone do the lich ritual without being evil themselves (altho they certainly won't be good, I can see why some very desperate people can do that and stay neutral).


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By the logic that a lich killing to power their magic, then all spell casters are evil since they need their material components.

Also, all adventurers are evil because the #1 task is: Go to X place and kill everyone and everything living, then steal all the valuable, and finally get paid for the task by whoever sent your there.

Guards are also all evil, because they have to attack people to fulfill their job for which they get paid to do.

Animals are all evil because they have to kill to not die.

So, the standard of "any killing is evil" does not make any sense what so ever.


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I'm kind of confused what's being argued here. If it's a question of whether PC liches have to be evil according to the rules, then I'm with graystone; as far as I can tell there is nothing hard-coded into the rules that says you must be evil if you take the Lich archetype or any of its feats.

If the argument is that PC lichs should be evil because of stuff they have to do to get there, then OK? Sure. I mean it's not like the Lich archetype is going to be a boon-able option for PFS any time soon, so the only ones who are going to care about the alignment of a lich character are the others at table, at which point the rules don't matter as much as group consensus on how alignment works anyway.


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Scarablob wrote:
Sometime, doing incredibly evil stuff "for the greater good" may be argued as being morally grey, having to kill an innocent to save a city don't necessarly mean that you're evil. But doing "incredibly evil" stuff to gain immortality? Even for someone who did countless good deeds before, I don't think they can be anything else than evil.

First, nothing is said about the need for anyone "innocent" and there is no mention on WHY they want immortality. Again, if there are sacrifices, they could be volunteers, condemned prisoners, ect. You could be gaining immortality to continue to protect your country or some other noble cause. Again, it's up the the PC and their DM do figure these things out and that's my point. It's that the game doesn't NOT force a change in alignment and people here should state that it does like it's a fact or someone could read it and thing it's true. I can understand and even agree with some people thinking it'd turn you evil but I don't agree with them stating it like it's the rules.

Perpdepog wrote:
I'm kind of confused what's being argued here.

I have to admit, I wasn't expecting the pushback on what seems clear and unambiguous: no evil by RAW but the DM/table could require it. It seemed like a no brainer but I guess not.


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Scarablob wrote:

- The sole benefit of lichdom is conditionnal immortality. You can't have a situation where you need the "power of lichdom" to save someone/something, because lichdom don't give you power, merelly resilience. Lich are incredibly powerfull not because they're lich, but because they have to already be incredibly powerfull to become a lich in the first place, and because being a lich give them all the time they need to further increase their abilities.

So because it require you to commit such incredible evil act, and because it's solely an egoistical pursuit, lichdom can't be good or even neutral. It's not an evil act that kinda slide you toward evil, but one that firmly plant you into an evil alignment, no matter where you were before. You may be redeemed, you may come to regret your actions and try to atone for what you've done, but when you become a lich, you can't be anything other than evil.

So, first, longevity *is* power. If you have some eternal watch that needs to be kept, and you're the last one who can keep it, and something precious will be lost or something horrible unleasehd if you do not, then yeah, the "power of lichdom" can be instrumental to letting you save someone or something.

Past that, even if we ignore the caveats on how evil the act must be, even if we assume that it purely *is* for personal gain, you're making forceful assertions as to how the alignment track must act and those just aren't backed up by the game. That's a combination of GM and player interpretation, because "GM and Player interpretation" is the only thing that runs those alignment tracks at all. Now, given those assumptions,and ignorign those caveats, I do generally agree with you that that's how I'd run it myself, but that's quite a few steps away from "this is how it must be and if you play it any other way you're wrong". There is no RAW here.

Val'bryn2 wrote:

You're killing other sentient beings, purely to bolster your own personal power. Even if you're killing Asmodeus' just-as-evil half-human son, that's an evil act.

And why don't you think evil acts will affect your alignment? It's a meter, not an absolute written in stone " I say I'm Lawful Good, so I can drown 1000 orphans by hand for XP" only works with the laziest GMs

Let's be real. PCs kill other sentient beings to bolster their own personal power all the time, and you don't call *them* evil for it... *especially* not when it was an evil critter to begin with. Heck - there's desperate goblins out there killing sentients to put food on the table, and that doesn't necessarily make them evil.


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What we're seeing here I think is the difference who think thematics are more important than mechanics and the people who believe the opposite.

Since "the Liching ritual" is thematically supposed to be like the most evil thing you can think of, and you understand why they're not going to go into it in detail here for obvious reasons.

Mechanically you can point out "nothing in the archetype requires you to be evil" even though the introduction to the archetype says "You devised a unique and incredibly evil ritual" and it's generally understood that evil and good are not symmetrical since "you can do something so evil that it makes you evil no matter what else you've done" (use your imagination here) but there's no analogue for goodness.

I sort of suspect "evil alignment" might get errated into the achetype.


graystone wrote:
First, nothing is said about the need for anyone "innocent" and there is no mention on WHY they want immortality. Again, if there are sacrifices, they could be volunteers, condemned prisoners, ect.

I mean, to me at least, killing volunteer or people (rightfully) condemn to death isn't "incredibly evil" (which are the word used by the rule book itself). It's not as if the book only required the sacrifice of a living, conscious being, in which case you can always imagine a way to have such sacrifice without it being that evil, it doesn't require a particular act, it require evilness itself. Incredibly evil is something inarguably wrong and evil no matter how you slice it. From what I understand of the book at least, none of what you propose could be part of a lich ritual, because none of them are "incredibly evil".

And sure, if your DM agree, maybe in your game the ritual will slide you a bit toward evil without making you evil. Or you could even slightly change the requirement to have a ritual that isn't "incredibly evil", but rather "evil, but understandable" or even "merely morally grey". But my point is that, only following the rules as written, there is no way to me that a person willingly doing the ritual to become a lich can be anything other than evil.


Scarablob wrote:
- The ritual is described as "incredibly evil". Not "arguably evil", it can't be "killing an already evil/dying/dangerous person for personal gain", it can't be "stealing some arguably unnecessary body part for unwilling people", it have to be an act so evil that it's evilness can't be argued.

As an unstated ritual, it's up to the DM what it actually entails and if parts can be mitigated to lessen the 'evil': so it has a built in point of debate. There isn't a chart of various level of evil so "incredibly" is window dressing IMO. Is it worse the 'very' evil or less than 'greatly' evil? What's 'mildly' evil as opposed to 'slightly' evil as opposed to "arguably" evil? Past evil, it's flavor.

Scarablob wrote:
- The sole benefit of lichdom is conditionnal immortality. You can't have a situation where you need the "power of lichdom" to save someone/something, because lichdom don't give you power, merelly resilience. Lich are incredibly powerfull not because they're lich, but because they have to already be incredibly powerfull to become a lich in the first place, and because being a lich give them all the time they need to further increase their abilities.

Why can't there be such a situation? ALL you have to do is have an event that will happen after your own lifespan: you then NEED something to extend your being alive. I don't recall the archetype saying it requires it be taken as a power grab.

Scarablob wrote:
So because it require you to commit such incredible evil act, and because it's solely an egoistical pursuit, lichdom can't be good or even neutral. It's not an evil act that kinda slide you toward evil, but one that firmly plant you into an evil alignment, no matter where you were before. You may be redeemed, you may come to regret your actions and try to atone for what you've done, but when you become a lich, you can't be anything other than evil.

The ritual is evil but that doesn't mean the PC or archetype is. an archetype that is ALL about killing people, assassins, has no alignment requirement. Gray Gardener archetype are "remorseless executioners" and can be any alignment. In fact you need to look at something like the Red Mantis Assassin to find an archetype that requires evil which to me indicated that it's 'more evil' that the liches entry ritual.


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Scarablob wrote:
graystone wrote:
First, nothing is said about the need for anyone "innocent" and there is no mention on WHY they want immortality. Again, if there are sacrifices, they could be volunteers, condemned prisoners, ect.

I mean, to me at least, killing volunteer or people (rightfully) condemn to death isn't "incredibly evil" (which are the word used by the rule book itself). It's not as if the book only required the sacrifice of a living, conscious being, in which case you can always imagine a way to have such sacrifice without it being that evil, it doesn't require a particular act, it require evilness itself. Incredibly evil is something inarguably wrong and evil no matter how you slice it. From what I understand of the book at least, none of what you propose could be part of a lich ritual, because none of them are "incredibly evil".

And sure, if your DM agree, maybe in your game the ritual will slide you a bit toward evil without making you evil. Or you could even slightly change the requirement to have a ritual that isn't "incredibly evil", but rather "evil, but understandable" or even "merely morally grey". But my point is that, only following the rules as written, there is no way to me that a person willingly doing the ritual to become a lich can be anything other than evil.

Torture is incredibly evil, doesn't mean you did it to an innocent person. Letting someone bleed to death is incredibly evil, doesn't mean you did it to an innocent person. Having someone watch the most disgusting thing imaginable is incredibly evil, doesn't mean you forced it on an innocent person or that the disgusting thing itself is evil.

The is the beauty of vague rules and lore, people can come up with a lot, and I do mean a lot of ways to handle the same thing. Just because you think the ritual does something does not mean the table next to you thinks the same.


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graystone wrote:
The ritual is evil but that doesn't mean the PC or archetype is. an archetype that is ALL about killing people, assassins, has no alignment requirement. Gray Gardener archetype are "remorseless executioners" and can be any alignment. In fact you need to look at something like the Red Mantis Assassin to find an archetype that requires evil which to me indicated that it's 'more evil' that the liches entry ritual.

I'm wondering if the LE requirement for the Red Mantis wasn't somewhat grandfathered in from the previous edition. At first I was going to say that Achakek is a demanding deity, like Asmodeus, and only grants power and knowledge to those who share his ethos, but nope. LN, LE, and NE are all accepted alignments for worshiping him.

Really if there is any takeaway from glancing over alignment requirements, it's that PF2E slaps the Evil requirement on things based on the company a character whishes to keep rather than anything they innately are. Clerics and champions of evil deities are often required to be evil because those are the only alignments their patrons will accept, but none of the undead archetypes require the character to be evil, as an example. (This is strictly from the PC-facing side of the game, of course. The vast majority of undead are still evil, and nothing is preventing a cleric or champ of an evil religion from jumping ship to another faith, which has happened several times in Pathfinder's fiction.)


Perpdepog wrote:
I'm wondering if the LE requirement for the Red Mantis wasn't somewhat grandfathered in from the previous edition. At first I was going to say that Achakek is a demanding deity, like Asmodeus, and only grants power and knowledge to those who share his ethos, but nope. LN, LE, and NE are all accepted alignments for worshiping him.

I think it's more that the Red Mantis order is LE and it filters out those whos alignment don't match and you have to join to learn the archetype.


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What makes you evil when you become a Lich is not the ritual itself but the fact that you voluntarily make it.
If you are ok to make something incredibly evil for personal power, then you are plain evil.

PCs don't go and wreck things for personal gain. They do it for other reasons. Guards don't kill people for personal gain, but because it's their job. Personal gain is a byproduct of their acts, not the main goal of their acts.

Now, if a PC accepts whatever mission just to get a justification to kill and loot, they're evil. If a guard kills people not in the name of justice/police but because it can bolster their status, they're evil.

Now, if a Lich goes through the ritual without accepting it voluntarily but by being forced to do it (one way or another), then they can be something else than evil. But you need quite the story for that.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
Now, if a Lich goes through the ritual without accepting it voluntarily but by being forced to do it (one way or another), then they can be something else than evil. But you need quite the story for that.

My lich wizard woke up in her current form with a sacrificial dagger through her heart, apparently having been betrayed into undeath by her fellow cultists.


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Ravingdork wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Now, if a Lich goes through the ritual without accepting it voluntarily but by being forced to do it (one way or another), then they can be something else than evil. But you need quite the story for that.
My lich wizard woke up in her current form with a sacrificial dagger through her heart, apparently having been betrayed into undeath by her fellow cultists.

Arazni does not approve.

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