Lich or Vampire, which is the superior undead transformation?


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I'm gathering opinions on which is the preferred undead transformation for players to pick, or for DM's to run? From whatever vantage points you wish to choose.


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Vampire. They can be physically imposing, create spawn to protect themselves, AND they can advance with Class levels so after turning they can pick up arcane caster levels for eternity.


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Lich is limited to powerful casters, by its very nature (barring some freak magical accident). Vampires are likely the best all around answer for every class; fighters, rogues, etc.

But liches lack a lot of the vulnerabilities that vampires have (sunlight, garlic, holy symbols, running water). They both have ways to avoid destruction, but the lich's is by far the hardest to overcome (finding the phylactery rather than following the gas cloud).


The last time I got involved in a discussion if this I somehow got sidetracked into arguing about the feasibility of vampires making babies the old fashioned way, so I should probably just keep on scrolling.


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Which template is better is going to depend mostly on what character is taking it. To become a lich you pretty much need to be a powerful spell caster. That is going to mean a lot of characters cannot even become a lich even if they wanted to. This makes the vampire the only option for non-spell casters. While technically rangers and antipaladins could become liches their lower caster level makes it a poor choice.

Looking at the templates the vampire template actually gives you a lot more than the lich. The stat adjustments for the vampire are way better than the lich. All the lich gives you is a +2 to all your mental stats. The vampire gives the same bonus to INT and WIS, but they give a +4 to CHA. The vampire also gives you a +6 to STR and +4 to DEX. That gives the vampire template the edge for any character focusing on combat. The extra CHA means the vampire is actually going to have better HP than a lich with the same base stats. The lich does have the advantage on defenses as they are outright immune to cold and electricity. Other than the paralyzing touch and fear aura a lich does not give any special abilities. The vampire gives a few special abilities like Change Shape, Create Spawn, Dominate, Gaseous Form and Spider Climb. Other than dominate none of them are super powerful, but they are still useful.

What makes a lich powerful is the fact they are powerful casters before they even became a lich. So, while they are dangerous opponents a lot of their power they already had before becoming undead. The big advantage the lich has is they have less weakness than the vampire.

So, a full caster taking the lich template is going to be dangerous because they are an undead full caster. Most 6/9 casters will also be dangerous as a lich, but may be better off as a vampire. Anything else is going to do better as a vampire.

For an antipaladin the vampire template is definitely the best choice. Getting a boost to large boost to both STR and CHA makes them incredibly powerful. A combat focused Oracle will get a similar boost but getting an additional +2 on all saves when you already have some of the best saves in the game is a huge advantage.

Grand Lodge

Lich = more powerful
Vampire = more graceful/cool

So,.... What was your criteria for 'superior'?
(Thus, it really depends on the situation, where criteria changes.)

.

If it's just a vote for individual preferences, Vampires get 95 on a scale to 100; Liches get maybe a 60-65. Not even close.


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Hmm, I would think this question only applies to characters that actually have the poasibility of becoming either... so some form of Caster Level/spellcasting is required... with a minimum of CL 11 to become a Lich, or at least to create one's phylactery/soul cage. So, we would be stuck with CL 11 as a prerequisite for all considerations for this comparison to be remotely fair.

Otherwise, the Vampire is the better template... anyone can become one... get more... stats adjustments are better... you can create an army of spawn... your natural armor improves by +6, not just natural armor of +5 like the Lich... pretty much everything is "better" mechanically.

I like Liches more... they are on purpose. I had to work for it, not just get jumped by a bloodthirsty bully in an alley. I also view a Lich as more sophisticated... driven by a thirst for knowledge, not a thirst for blood. You can reason with a Lich, but Vampires are literally a plague that must be kept from spreading out of control.

Sovereign Court

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Alternative: Graveknight.
Same +2 CR as Vampire, and similar ability score bonuses, but always in Desecrate(with an altar, additionally force concentration checks to use positive energy), immunities where Vampire has resistances, SR 11+HD, Standard Action take control of other Undead instead of Dominate, energy damage on weapon attacks vs energy drain, Phantom Mount vs summon swarms.
And can enter homes without invitation.
Creation is ... basically die horribly to elemental damage and be bitter about it.

Probably say a mix in a party though. Graveknight especially helps the rest of the party with always on Desecrate(and with altar).


Vampire clearly. Gotta get that Charisma.


Firebug wrote:

Alternative: Graveknight.

Same +2 CR as Vampire, and similar ability score bonuses, but always in Desecrate(with an altar, additionally force concentration checks to use positive energy), immunities where Vampire has resistances, SR 11+HD, Standard Action take control of other Undead instead of Dominate, energy damage on weapon attacks vs energy drain, Phantom Mount vs summon swarms.
And can enter homes without invitation.
Creation is ... basically die horribly to elemental damage and be bitter about it.

Probably say a mix in a party though. Graveknight especially helps the rest of the party with always on Desecrate(and with altar).

while graveknights totally rock (Lord Soth: "stand down or die, there is no 3rd option"), once they are down and known to be what they are destroying them is a pinch.

if any +2 undead template can be taken i would personally go for a Ghost. it's a win-win pick as long as the destruction method is bringing a 'happy end' to the ghost. ether you get your true happy end, or you come back no matter how many times you are put down. also some really powerful attacks. ( a ghost with telekinesis and sneak attack can deal huge amount of damage, even if the sneak attack can only be used with one projectile. throwing a greatsword per hd and adding sneak to the sum...)

(back in 3.5 for the 'Ravenloft' realm, the guide books under the 'Von Richten' set offered 2 ways to finish off a ghost for real. one was helping it pass on, the other was finding out what it's psychological weakness is and attack it with that, utterly destroying it, each method called for extensive research.)


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I'd choose vampire, but I am also the kind of player who prefers sorcerer over wizard. They might be more vulnerable, but they are also closer to the living, physically and mentally.

This discussion makes me think about combining the advantages of these templates (including graveknight, thanks for bringing this up). Maybe this is an interesting goal for a villain: They try to transform themselves into a new, superior kind of undead, cherrypicking from all three templates, and the route requires a lot of innocent lives. Who knows, some liches and vampires might be very unhappy about the threat of a new type of undead, which could rule them all, so they might support the heroes. At least until the threat is handled...


Sunlight and running water are really the deciding factors here. There's a way... slim in some cases, but a way, for vampires to return to their unlife if any of their other weaknesses are exploited, but exposure to sunlight or running water are a death sentence in 12-18 seconds.

Liches don't have such weaknesses. They have a phylactery that can be literally anywhere which will rejuvenate the creature back to unlife in 1-10 days. So long as that device isn't found and destroyed, the lich is eternal.

However, defeating a vampire and defeating a lich in combat are 2 very different things. Both are mastermind type villains; they have powers and abilities to insulate themselves from direct physical confrontations. If pressed though, by, for example, a team of highly motivated PCs, vampires are clearly superior in physical combat.

As I said above though, I think what makes vampires superior is what they choose to do after they achieve unlife. Both of these are acquired templates meaning that the monster may still advance in class levels after becoming an undead. A vampire that stacks on levels in a Cha based spellcaster will be a LOT more threatening than a lich that beefs up their melee skills.


The graveknight has the best defenses of the three but is the easiest to permanently destroy. A fire based graveknight is probably the toughest because it gains immunity to fire. Since they are already immune to cold and electricity, that makes acid or sonic the only normal energy type able to damage them. Add that to their spell resistance and they are extremely difficult to damage with arcane magic.

The vampire still has one big advantage. They are capable of operating in normal society where the other two are not. When you encounter a lich or a graveknight there is no mistaking it. They cannot hide what they are without resorting to magic. This allows the vampire a lot more subtlety than the others.


Mummy's also interesting.


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What's better, A or B?

C!

No, wait, D...


See if you can find a way to throw some other templates in there and maybe we'll talk. Like, can I get an advanced, giant fiendish vampire maybe? Then tack on 10 levels of abyssal blooded sorcerer or something?


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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
See if you can find a way to throw some other templates in there and maybe we'll talk. Like, can I get an advanced, giant fiendish vampire maybe? Then tack on 10 levels of abyssal blooded sorcerer or something?

you can stack Implacable Stalker with ether lich or vampire. end result can be almost unkillable


I dislike Lich for the fact that it almost inevitably requires that you are evil or mad. But vampires? Those can possibly good if they choose to run an ethically sourced blood bank, or are "vampire vegan" and only use unintelligent animal blood.

But even better, if there is a choice, then probably a Fext. But those require very specific conditions, in exchange they are very hard to kill unless someone knowns the right method.

Liberty's Edge

Quote:
Each lich must create its own phylactery by using the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp to create and has a caster level equal to that of its creator at the time of creation.

A phylactery is a wondrous magic item, a non-spellcaster can make it with master craftsman, so the lich template isn't exclusive to spellcasters. Simply spellcasters get the most out of it.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Quote:
Each lich must create its own phylactery by using the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp to create and has a caster level equal to that of its creator at the time of creation.
A phylactery is a wondrous magic item, a non-spellcaster can make it with master craftsman, so the lich template isn't exclusive to spellcasters. Simply spellcasters get the most out of it.
Quote:
Each lich must create its own phylactery by using the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp to create and has a caster level equal to that of its creator at the time of creation.

You cannot ask someone to create your phylactery... and you must be a 11th-level+ spellcaster.


Master Craftsman will allow a non-spellcaster to create a magic item. So, creating the Phylactery is not the problem. But Master Craftsman does not allow you to cast spells, and the next line in the paragraph specifically states “The character must be able to cast spells, and have a caster level of 11th level or higher”. That makes is absolutely clear that you can only become a lich if you are a spellcaster. Simply having a caster level is not enough you actually have to be able to cast spells.


Well, if you count "must be able to cast spells" and "caster level of 11th level or higher" as ordinary prerequisites for a magic item, you can avoid them by taking +5 on the DC two times.

While such a dedicated crafter without access to spells doesn't fit the classic image of a lich, it would be an interesting adversary (or PC) for sure.

Liberty's Edge

SheepishEidolon wrote:
Well, if you count "must be able to cast spells" and "caster level of 11th level or higher" as ordinary prerequisites for a magic item, you can avoid them by taking +5 on the DC two times.

Exactly!

SheepishEidolon wrote:


While such a dedicated crafter without access to spells doesn't fit the classic image of a lich, it would be an interesting adversary (or PC) for sure.

I recall at least a couple of examples of lichs that were monks in life in the 3 and 3.5 editions.


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Lich Template wrote:

The Lich’s Phylactery

An integral part of becoming a lich is the creation of the phylactery in which the character stores his soul. The only way to get rid of a lich for sure is to destroy its phylactery. Unless its phylactery is located and destroyed, a lich can rejuvenate after it is killed.

Each lich must create its own phylactery by using the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp to create and has a caster level equal to that of its creator at the time of creation.

The most common form of phylactery is a sealed metal box containing strips of parchment on which magical phrases have been transcribed. The box is Tiny and has 40 hit points, hardness 20, and a break DC of 40.

Other forms of phylacteries can exist, such as rings, amulets, or similar items.

I highlighted the title of the section cuz that's how it looks on the SRD. I highlighted that second part though about the character's ability to cast spells with a CL of 11 or greater b/c I'm pretty sure that's saying it is a prereq for becoming a lich, not for making the phylactery.

Oh, and before Derklord is summoned by my use of the SRD and yells at me (again) for using that instead of AoN I checked and the verbiage on phylacteries is the same in both sources. Its just... I'm old... and my eyes hurt when I stare at AoN too long... STOP JUDGING ME! :)

Liberty's Edge

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:


Oh, and before Derklord is summoned by my use of the SRD and yells at me (again) for using that instead of AoN I checked and the verbiage on phylacteries is the same in both sources. Its just... I'm old... and my eyes hurt when I stare at AoN too long... STOP JUDGING ME! :)

Using the Dark background option works well enough for my eyes.

The citation is correct. The row starts with creating the phylactery and ends with its price and CL. While it can read as speaking of the character requirements for becoming a lich in the middle, it seems more logical considering them as part of the item requirements.


SheepishEidolon wrote:

Well, if you count "must be able to cast spells" and "caster level of 11th level or higher" as ordinary prerequisites for a magic item, you can avoid them by taking +5 on the DC two times.

While such a dedicated crafter without access to spells doesn't fit the classic image of a lich, it would be an interesting adversary (or PC) for sure.

A Bard, Magus, Oracle, Bloodrager, Antipaladin or even a Child of Acavna and Amaznen Fighter can still work as an unusual lich IMO.

You cannot be an Alchemist Lich though, because they're not spellcasters... even though them making an undead body wouldn't be outlandish.


An alchemist can 100% become a lich using the Master Craftsman feat.

Even without that feat, they can in fact get the ability to cast spells with the Spell Knowledge alchemist discovery.


The answer is graveknight


You can be an 11th level Rogue Lich with Minor Magic. You can cast a (0th-level) spell with a CL of 11. You can even take Craft Wondrous Item.

I can't find a way for a commoner to do it, though. I'm assuming that SLAs don't count, or a gnome commoner could manage it with just the one CWI feat.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I highlighted that second part though about the character's ability to cast spells with a CL of 11 or greater b/c I'm pretty sure that's saying it is a prereq for becoming a lich, not for making the phylactery.

Well, the sentence before the highlighted one is about the phylactary, and the sentence afterwards is about it, too:

Quote:
Each lich must create its own phylactery by using the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp to create and has a caster level equal to that of its creator at the time of creation.

So a possible reading would be "must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher to construct the phylactery" (italics my addition).

The point is moot anyway, since there is an official way to become a lich without a CL: The Eternal Apothesis ritual.


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SheepishEidolon wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I highlighted that second part though about the character's ability to cast spells with a CL of 11 or greater b/c I'm pretty sure that's saying it is a prereq for becoming a lich, not for making the phylactery.
The point is moot anyway, since there is an official way to become a lich without a CL: The Eternal Apothesis ritual.

Thank you for this; I was looking for ways for my NPC crazy cat lady necromancer to have a pet lich cat.


I honestly think the Lich is the superior option of undead. Fewer weaknesses, if clever enough with phylactery true immortality, better abilities in general.


Minor Magic would not work because it is a spell like ability not a spell. Alchemist with the spell Knowledge discovery on the other hand seems like it would work.

Even if a non-caster could become a lich why would they? The template really does not really give other than the standard abilities all undead get.

A lich gets Darkvision of 60 ft, +5 Natural AC or the base creatures Natural AC, channel Resistance +4, DR Bludgeoning and Magic, Immunity to cold and electricity, rejuvenation, paralyzing touch that deals negative, fear aura, +2 to all mental stats, and +8 to perception sense motive and stealth is all they get.

Vampires get Darkvision of 60 ft, +6 Natural Armor bonus, Channel Resistance +4, DR 10 Magic and silver, 10 cold and electricity resistance, fast healing 5, slam attack dealing 2 negative levels, blood drain, Children of the night, Create spawn, dominate, change shape, gaseous form, spider climb, STR +6, DEX +4, INT +2 WIS +2 CHA +4, +8 to bluff, perceptions sense motive, and stealth, Alertness, combat reflexes, dodge, improved initiative, lightning reflexes, and toughness.

Slap on the lich template onto an 11-level commoner with 10 across the board for stats and you end up with a really weak creature. Give the same commoner the vampire template and they are a lot tougher. They have about 33% more HP, better saves especially reflex saves, significantly better AC, their initiative bonus is a lot higher, they have a lot better chance to hit, they have more abilities, and their abilities are a little harder to resist. What makes a lich dangerous is not being a lich it is being a powerful spell caster in addition to being a lich. Without spells to protect their phylactery they are a lot more vulnerable than a spell casting lich.


Too bad there is no way [that I know of] to use Spell Knowledge to pick up Animate Dead in time enough to squeeze in all 5 levels of Agent of the Grave... that would be rad. As it is, though, an Alchemist must select a Sorcerer/Wizard spell at least 2 levels lower than their highest extract. Animate Dead is a 4th-level Sorcerer/Wizard spell, and Alchemist do not get 6th-level extracts until 16th level. Sad face. Regardless, me-thinks an Ectoplasm Master-Reanimator Alchemist with Spell Knowledge could make a pretty decent Lich. That Ratfolk Beastmorph-Vivisectionist Alchemist build could be a fun Lich, too.

I have an Inspired-Internal Alchemist with Spell Knowledge simply so they can take Arcane Strike... I think I took Spell Knowledge basically as soon as I could without spending a feat on Extra Discovery [so level 8], and used Mage Hand as my 1st-level spell of choice. Magic Trick at 9 then allows some fun with Aid Another at range... the Effortless Aid Investigator Talent, the Gloves of Arcane Striking, and the Helpful [Halfling] trait really make Aid Another worth using, too. Although, a build so focused on Aid Another probably isn't anyone's first choice for a Lich. Lol.

I think characters that appreciate the finer things in life will enjoy lichdom, and your more uncouth savage types will prefer vampirism. No judgement, though. I have enjoyed characters specifically built for each of the templates in queston [Lich and Vampire]. Most of my Liches are story pieces... what they may lack in overall power, they more than make up for with flavor. On the other hand, most of my Vampires are kind of brutes. I do enjoy finding creative ways to get bite attacks on my Vampires... out of all the things you get from that template, you'd think the freaking fangs would be part of the package.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

Minor Magic would not work because it is a spell like ability not a spell. Alchemist with the spell Knowledge discovery on the other hand seems like it would work.

Even if a non-caster could become a lich why would they? The template really does not really give other than the standard abilities all undead get.

A lich gets Darkvision of 60 ft, +5 Natural AC or the base creatures Natural AC, channel Resistance +4, DR Bludgeoning and Magic, Immunity to cold and electricity, rejuvenation, paralyzing touch that deals negative, fear aura, +2 to all mental stats, and +8 to perception sense motive and stealth is all they get.

Vampires get Darkvision of 60 ft, +6 Natural Armor bonus, Channel Resistance +4, DR 10 Magic and silver, 10 cold and electricity resistance, fast healing 5, slam attack dealing 2 negative levels, blood drain, Children of the night, Create spawn, dominate, change shape, gaseous form, spider climb, STR +6, DEX +4, INT +2 WIS +2 CHA +4, +8 to bluff, perceptions sense motive, and stealth, Alertness, combat reflexes, dodge, improved initiative, lightning reflexes, and toughness.

Slap on the lich template onto an 11-level commoner with 10 across the board for stats and you end up with a really weak creature. Give the same commoner the vampire template and they are a lot tougher. They have about 33% more HP, better saves especially reflex saves, significantly better AC, their initiative bonus is a lot higher, they have a lot better chance to hit, they have more abilities, and their abilities are a little harder to resist. What makes a lich dangerous is not being a lich it is being a powerful spell caster in addition to being a lich. Without spells to protect their phylactery they are a lot more vulnerable than a spell casting lich.

Its not the bonuses or spells that make lich more dangerous in my opinion. Its the fact you have to destroy their anchor and like I said a clever enough lich can have true immortality.

I’ve had an NPC one keep it in the equivalent of Marianas Trench as a first line defense, then when you get to the box it’s actually a different dimensional space where you have to be tiny to even fit, there is where the lichs actual domain is and where he builds his wealth of magic items.

Vampires on the other hand while they make things significantly tougher, have many crippling weakness.


Without spells to hide and protect their Phylactery it is not that hard to locate. A few castings of Legend Lore will probably get you enough information to get a good Idea of where it is. It may not find the exact location but will get you close enough that finding it will not be that hard. Without spells you are not going to be able to store it in a pocket dimension or other difficult places to reach. No lich is going to trust hiding his Phylactery to someone else. So, without being able to cast spells themselves their options for hiding their Phylactery is limited. If they do have someone else hide it that makes it even easier to find as there are now two or more trails to follow.

There is also the fact that you don’t need to kill the lich to neutralize it. Being a lich does not give you any way to escape confinement so all you have to do to the non-spell casting lich is to imprison it. Trap it in a cave and simply collapse the cave on it and the lich is trapped with no way out. A spell casting lich would probably just teleport out or have a Contingency setup to deal with being trapped. Normally imprisoning a lich requires incredibly powerful methods, not just piling a bunch of rocks on top of them.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Normally imprisoning a lich requires incredibly powerful methods, not just piling a bunch of rocks on top of them.

Does it though? A spellcasting lich versus a non-spellcasting lich only means that said lich can cast spells, not turn themselves into a gas by sheer force of will like a vampire can.

Now, there may be some spells that could easily remove them from a pile of rocks, or spell effects they'd previously cast on themselves prior to being buried, or magic items... but unless the lich had prepped for this eventuality, how are they going to cast said spells from below said pile?

Are there a lot of liches that take Still Spell and Silent Spell for the off-chance that they get buried in rubble? There can be psychic liches I would assume, but these aren't classic "spellcasters." Contingency spells, would have to be cast beforehand as I mentioned above. Since liches get no immense Str or Dex boost, they won't suffocate, and the crushing damage may not kill them outright so they can rejuvenate, how precisely are spellcasting liches any less deterred by a pile of rocks as non-spellcasting?

Unless what you meant was a situation where the spellcasting lich has their hands and mouth free to use verbal, somatic and material components. If that's what you meant I apologize and yes, that would be child's play for a spellcasting lich to escape.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Normally imprisoning a lich requires incredibly powerful methods, not just piling a bunch of rocks on top of them.

Does it though? A spellcasting lich versus a non-spellcasting lich only means that said lich can cast spells, not turn themselves into a gas by sheer force of will like a vampire can.

Now, there may be some spells that could easily remove them from a pile of rocks, or spell effects they'd previously cast on themselves prior to being buried, or magic items... but unless the lich had prepped for this eventuality, how are they going to cast said spells from below said pile?

Are there a lot of liches that take Still Spell and Silent Spell for the off-chance that they get buried in rubble? There can be psychic liches I would assume, but these aren't classic "spellcasters." Contingency spells, would have to be cast beforehand as I mentioned above. Since liches get no immense Str or Dex boost, they won't suffocate, and the crushing damage may not kill them outright so they can rejuvenate, how precisely are spellcasting liches any less deterred by a pile of rocks as non-spellcasting?

Unless what you meant was a situation where the spellcasting lich has their hands and mouth free to use verbal, somatic and material components. If that's what you meant I apologize and yes, that would be child's play for a spellcasting lich to escape.

i would expect Contingency to cover most situations like that, given the required 11th level caster requirement. Can’t he just kill himself and reform in worst case scenario though?

Liberty's Edge

You cast rock to mud, submerge the lich in a few cubic meters of that mud, then cast dispel magic and cancel the spell. The lich gets entombed into a form-fitting coffin of rock.
The standard way to secure hazardous materials for my players.

On the other hand, Teleport and Dimension Door have only the vocal component.

About locating the Phylactery: any lich with enough intelligence will spend more money to add anti-divinations effect to it.

Legend lore helping to find a lich Phylactery is questionable.

Quote:
Legend lore brings to your mind legends about an important person, place, or thing. If the person or thing is at hand, or if you are in the place in question, the casting time is only 1d4 × 10 minutes. If you have only detailed information on the person, place, or thing, the casting time is 1d10 days, and the resulting lore is less complete and specific (though it often provides enough information to help you find the person, place, or thing, thus allowing a better legend lore result next time). If you know only rumors, the casting time is 2d6 weeks, and the resulting lore is vague and incomplete (though it often directs you to more detailed information, thus allowing a better legend lore result next time).

If there are no legends about the item the spell can't bring them to your mind.

If the only legends speak of the lich, what comes to your mind are legends about the previous failures at destroying the lich as people were unable to locate the phylactery.

To get some information about the location and/or form of a lich phylactery you need to contact a source that can have them, so you need things like Commune or Contact other planes.

Mind Blank could protect divination about a lich phylactery as your divination "ask" a variant of: "Where is (creature protected by Mind Blank) phylactery". I consider that as asking for a piece of information about the protected creature. YMMV.


Regarding a crafting lich. There is quite a lot of very useful items that can save people in times of emergency.

For example the billowing enchantment protects from being buried. While the ring of the weasel lets you compress into tight spaces at will. Those can also be made into tattoos so they reform with you.

That opens up the phylactery to be burried deep underground. Although someone from the darklands digging around in the area might still find it. Which is why you create something that has a much stronger aura, while simultaneously using a high level smuggling pouch/pathfinder pouch with a red herring item inside.

Effectively the only way to know that the phylactery is there is for someone to first break into the outer case, then find the pouch, then know that it has a phylacktery.


It's all about intentions...

As a Lich, you can go your entire "life" without ever being harassed by a party of adventurers. Absolutely nothing about your existence requires any more imteraction with the outside world than you personally prefer. Unless your plans involve BS that is going to gain the attention of people worthy of stopping you, you can literally do whatever you want without fear of people randomly kicking in your door. The only people that will attack you for what you are, is Paladins... and not only are they [Paladins] relatively rare, but not even Paladins are actively seeking Liches.

Even on the small chance Paladins are actively seeking a Lich, they [Paladins] are still not equipped to find a phylactery without an divine assist from their stupid god... as in the GM has decided it is time for the Lich to perish for good. That [the GM] is literally the only thing capable of devulging the information necessary to find it... absolutely no self-respecting Lich will have their phylactery/soul cage capable of being found.

There is no map. No rumor. Not a single soul [living or dead] knows what it even is, much less where/when it might be right meow. That's literally the whole point. You put it in a hole, and throw away the hole. Hide it so well that even you forget about it... by the time you might remember, you have already "graduated"... as a Demilich... and you are off meandering the cosmos in search of knowledge.

Vampires, on the other hand, have entire classes specifically hunting them. Designed from the start to counter every trick a Vampire may have. And literally everyone takes notice when Vampires are involved... they freaking spread like the plague, and must be contained. One Lich doesn't become two Liches, that become four Liches, that become sixteen Liches... assuming the Lich doesn't want to conquer or end the world local to it, you can just let it be without too much worry. But a Vampire WILL get hungry...


During the casting, you cannot engage in other than routine activities: eating, sleeping, and so forth. When completed, the divination brings legends (if any) about the person, place, or things to your mind. These may be legends that are still current, legends that have been forgotten, or even information that has never been generally known. If the person, place, or thing is not of legendary importance, you gain no information. As a rule of thumb, characters who are 11th level and higher are "legendary," as are the sorts of creatures they contend with, the major magic items they wield, and the places where they perform their key deeds.

A lich has to have a caster level of 11 or higher, which means that any lich is considered a legendary character. The description also specifies the legends brought to mind can be information that has not been generally known. A lich’s Phylactery is going to count as a major magic item they wield, and probably falls under information that is not generally known. Seems to me that Legend Lore is perfect for getting information on a lich’s Phylactery. A spell casting lich will be using spells and other magical means to block these types of thing, but a non-spell caster is going to have a lot harder time.

Around 4th level you start to get some spells like dimensional door that have only verbal components that can get you out of a lot of situations. Teleport also has only a verbal component and is a 5th level spell. As I mentioned Contingency is also a pretty common spell for a lich to have up. A smart lich will use it to kill themselves so that they simply rejuvenate.

Liberty's Edge

not been generally known =/= know to 1 person that has become the lich


While you can expect to get information from Legend Lore, that information doesn't need to include anything about the location of the phylactery. It might tell you about the lich's ancestors and his childhood pet dog's name, why he dislikes cabbage, his gambling habit, where he fell off a bike at summer camp, his social security number and his favourite metal band, but not the phylactery. It may turn out thereafter that the phylactery is an adamantine D6 inscribed with Celtic Frost in Abyssal, but the connection from the initial infodump to the useful data won't be simple.


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While Vampire gives you more abilities, the weaknesses to extremely common phenomena that will kill you permanently are just too great. And you can't even take a shower.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

...the weaknesses to extremely common phenomena that will kill you permanently are just too great...

I like the way you worded this.

To be fair, having a swim speed before becoming a vampire solves the weakness to running water... thus allowing one to take a shower.


As I stated in my earlier post Legend Lore my not find the exact location, but it will probably get you enough information to get a general idea of where it may be located. Between it and other divination spells tracking down an unprotected Phylactery is not going to be that difficult. Let’s say the non-spell casting lich hid its Phylactery in a specific dungeon Legend Lore may be able to get the name of the dungeon. It may also be able to get a description of the Phylactery. It will probably also be able to tell where the lich has traveled to. This will give the party a list of possible geographical locations that are likely spots for the dungeon. Using a Commune spell the party can go down the list checking the locations, after first asking is the location on the list. Once the party has the geographical location spells like Find the Path can be used to lead you to the dungeon. If the Phylactery is not in any of those geographic locations that at least eliminates them form consideration and you can keep casting divinations until you find it.

A spell casting lich will probably have ways to counter these spells. If the lich can cast 8th level spells Mind Blank will stop most divination. A spell casting lich can also hide the Phylactery in locations that can only be reached by magic. When your Phylactery is in a pocket dimension that can only be reached by from a gate that is in located in a cave a half mile underground that has no entrances, so you have to teleport to the cave it is a lot harder than the cave in the cliff of a mountain.


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i think any sensible leach would have made a permanent demiplane on the astral plane to hide his phylactery there. you need an attuned (to that plane) forked rod to plane shift there without being the caster (who can use create demiplane to go there) and the other options of using astral projection will just have you wandering the endless astral plane as i'd doubt legend lore will give you direct directions. just make it a solid rock with enough hallowed interior to revive and get ready to move out in one corner of it (or other method he is going to hide it there)


That's just it... the phylactery is a McGuffin... it doesn't even have to be defined, or even exist, at all...

And this is why a Lich will always be superior to a Vampire. The story. The flavor. Everyone knows that it's a wild goose chase. Everyone knows that it wouldn't ever be found if the GM does not will it so. But we all want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

We can theorycraft the perfect hiding place, with the perfect defenses, but that is not the topic of this discussion. Possibly save the perfect phylactery talk for its own thread.

I think a player will possibly be disappointed as a Lich... as there just simply does not seem to be the available opportunity to play that out. Players would probably enjoy all the jazz associated with the Vampire template more. And, as a GM, you could have an anti-party of vampire hunters... which do not necessarily all have to be the Vampire Hunter class [although there should probably be at least one].

I feel the best thing about a Lich is you can put in place plans that take incredible amounts of time to reach their climax. That is hard to give a player inside a campaign not based around their particular path to lichdom, or what they do as a Lich. You can throw the players as Vampires into pretty much any campaign, and I feel the players will have the more enjoyable experience. The players are not going to be robbed of some kingdom-ending practical joke that takes a thousand years to get to the punchline.

Liberty's Edge

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McDaygo wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I highlighted that second part though about the character's ability to cast spells with a CL of 11 or greater b/c I'm pretty sure that's saying it is a prereq for becoming a lich, not for making the phylactery.
The point is moot anyway, since there is an official way to become a lich without a CL: The Eternal Apothesis ritual.
Thank you for this; I was looking for ways for my NPC crazy cat lady necromancer to have a pet lich cat.

McDaygo, you are mad! Turning a cat into a lich!?

It will lose all of its fur! Half of the fun of petting it will disappear!

And everyone knows that if you really need to turn a cat into an undead, it should become a mummy!

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