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AC 18 (natural armor)

HP 170 (20d8 + 80; bloodied 85)

Speed 30 ft.

Proficiency +7; Maneuver DC 18

Saving Throws Con +11, Int +12, Wis +10

Skills Arcana +12 (+1d6), History +12, Insight +10, Perception +10, Religion +12

Damage Resistances cold, lightning

Damage Immunities necrotic, poison; damage from nonmagical weapons

Condition Immunities charmed , fatigue , frightened , paralyzed , poisoned

Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 20

Languages any six

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). The lich’s body or vestments are warded with three protective runes. When the lich fails a saving throw , it can choose to succeed instead. When it does so, one of its protective runes disappears.

Rejuvenation. If it has a soul vessel, a destroyed lich gains a new body in 1d10 days, regaining all its hit points. The new body forms within 10 feet of the soul vessel.

Spellcasting. The lich is a 16th level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 20, +12 to hit with spell attacks). The lich has the following wizard spells prepared:

Cantrips (at will): fire bolt , mage hand , prestidigitation

1st-level (4 slots): detect magic , shield , silent image , thunderwave

2nd-level (3 slots): blur , detect thoughts , locate object

3rd-level (3 slots): animate dead , dispel magic , fireball

4th-level (3 slots): confusion , dimension door

5th-level (2 slots): geas , scrying

6th-level (1 slot): create undead , disintegrate

7th-level (1 slot): finger of death , teleport

8th-level (1 slot): power word stun

Tongueless Utterance. Unless a spell has only a vocal component, the lich can cast the spell without providing a vocal component.

Turn Resistance. The lich has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead.

Undead Nature. A lich doesn’t require air, sustenance, or sleep.


Paralyzing Touch. Melee Spell Attack: +12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (4d6 + 5) cold damage. The target makes a DC 18 Constitution saving throw . On a failure, it is paralyzed until the end of its next turn.

Arc Lightning. The lich targets up to 3 creatures within 60 feet. Each target makes a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw . On a failure, the target takes 28 (8d6) lightning damage.

Fire Bolt (Cantrip; S). Ranged Spell Attack: +12 to hit, range 120 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d10) fire damage.

Thunderwave (1st-Level; S). Thunder rolls from the lich in a 15-foot cube. Each creature in the area makes a DC 20 Constitution saving throw . On a failure, a creature takes 9 (2d8) thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet from the lich. On a success, a creature takes half damage and is not pushed. 

Blur (2nd-Level; V, Concentration). The lich’s form is blurred. Attack rolls against it are made with disadvantage unless the attacker has senses that allow them to perceive without sight or to see through illusions (like blindsight or truesight).

Fireball (3rd-Level; S, M). Fire streaks from the lich to a point within 120 feet and explodes in a 20-foot radius, spreading around corners. Each creature in the area makes a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw , taking 21 (6d6) fire damage on a failed save or half damage on a success.

Confusion (4th-Level; S, M, Concentration). Each creature within 10 feet of a point the lich can see within 120 feet makes a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw , becoming rattled until the end of its next turn on a success. On a failure, a creature is confused for 1 minute and can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Disintegrate (6th-Level; S, M). The lich disintegrates a target within 60 feet. A Large or smaller nonmagical object or creation of magical force, or a 10-foot-cube section thereof, is automatically destroyed. A creature makes a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw , taking 75 (10d6 + 40) force damage on a failed save. If reduced to 0 hit points, the creature and its nonmagical gear are disintegrated, and the creature can be restored to life only with true resurrection or wish

Finger of Death (7th-Level; S). A creature within 60 feet makes a DC 20 Constitution saving throw , taking 61 (7d8 + 30) necrotic damage on a failed saving throw or half damage on a success. A humanoid killed by this spell turns into a zombie under the lich’s control at the start of the lich’s next turn.

Power Word Stun (8th-Level; V). The lich targets a creature within 60 feet. If the target has more than 150 hit points, it is rattled until the end of its next turn. Otherwise, it is stunned . It can make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.


Eldritch Aura. The lich surrounds itself with a magical, rune-covered, glowing, translucent aura in a 10-foot radius. The aura moves with the lich and casts dim light inside its area. The aura disappears at the beginning of the lich’s next turn.

Death Aura. The aura casts purple light. Each living creature that ends its turn inside the aura takes 17 (5d6) necrotic damage, and the lich regains the same number of hit points.

Shield Aura. The aura casts orange light. It has 35 hit points. Whenever the lich would take damage, the aura takes the damage instead, and the aura visibly weakens. If the damage reduces the aura to 0 hit points, the aura disappears, and the lich takes any excess damage. 

Spell Shield Aura. The aura casts blue light. Any spell cast with a 5th-level or lower spell slot from outside the aura can’t affect anything inside the aura. Using a spell to target something inside the aura or include the aura’s space in an area has no effect on anything inside. 


Sabotage Spell. When a creature within 60 feet casts a spell that targets the lich, the lich attempts to interrupt it. The lich makes an Intelligence check against a DC of 10 + the spell’s level. On a success, the spell fails, and the caster takes 10 (3d6) necrotic damage.

Shield (1st-Level; V, S). When the lich is hit by an attack or targeted by magic missile , it gains a +5 bonus to AC (including against the triggering attack) and immunity to magic missile. These benefits last until the beginning of its next turn.


The lich can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. It regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Cast Spell. The lich casts cantrip or a 1st-level spell. The lich can use 2 legendary actions to cast a 2nd-level spell or 3 legendary actions to cast a 3rd-level spell.

Paralyzing Touch (Costs 2 Actions). The lich uses Paralyzing Touch.

Arc Lightning (Costs 3 Actions). The lich uses Arc Lightning.


With its bonus action, the lich uses Eldritch Aura to foil its most dangerous foes, using Death Aura against melee attackers, Shield Aura against ranged attackers, and Spell Shield against spellcasters. It uses its legendary actions to target groups of foes with Arc Lightning or use Paralyzing Touch against creatures that might fail the Constitution saving throw . It might also cast Blur.

With its action, the lich casts confusion or fireball against a cluster of enemies disintegrate against a creature that might fail a Dexterity saving throw ; finger of death against a creature that might fail a Constitution saving throw; or power word stun against any dangerous opponent. When bloodied, it uses dimension door to escape unless defending its soul vessel. If it defeats a group, it prefers to leave several foes alive, using geas to impose a dangerous quest that furthers its research.

Lich Soul Vessel

1 Fingerbone

2 Jewel

3 Amulet

4 Empty box

5 Dagger or staff

6 Brain in a jar

7 Book

8 Beating heart in a box

9 Useful magic item such as an Ioun stone

10 Mirror or painting bearing the lich’s reflection or portrait

Lich Lair Features

Liches value their privacy, and they use the full might of their arcane power to punish intruders and protect their priceless knowledge. Choose two or roll twice:

1 Carved messages of warning indicate true (or false) paths to the lair’s inner sanctum.

2 Corridors hide mechanical traps such as pit traps and rolling boulders.

3 Permanent antimagic fields house guardians or mechanical traps ( antimagic field is in this lich’s spellbook).

4 Riddle-uttering magic mouths indicate safe paths (magic mouth is in this lich’s spellbook).

5 Magical teleporters that move intruders away from the lich’s lair

6 1d4 mummies or wights patrol the lair.

7 A clay or stone guardian patrols the lair.

8 In areas of reverse gravity, the ceilings are trapped ( reverse gravity is in this lich’s spellbook).

9 Audible alarm spells summon defenders (alarm is in this lich’s spellbook).

10 A false inner sanctum contains a simulacrum of the lich ( simulacrum is in this lich’s spellbook).

11 The lair is protected by explosive runes and other magical traps ( glyph of warding is in this lich’s spellbook).

12 The lair is carved with dangerous magical sigils ( symbol is in this lich’s spellbook).

Legends and Lore

With an Arcana or History check, characters can learn the following:

DC 10 Only the most powerful mortal spellcasters can perform the ritual to become a lich. The process requires the spellcaster to sacrifice their life and erases all evidence of their former existence.

DC 15 Like most undead, liches are immune to poison. They resist damage from cold and lightning, and they can’t be harmed by nonmagical weapons.

DC 20 A lich stores its soul in a specially prepared object called a soul vessel. Soul vessels can take many forms and are usually protected by powerful magical wards. Destroying a lich’s soul vessel is the only way to permanently destroy the lich.


A spellcaster who seeks knowledge above all else may turn to fell rituals to transcend the limitations of mortality, becoming a lich, an undead being of immense power. Cold, calculating, and freed from the shackles of life, liches pursue inscrutable goals and forbidden lore with century-spanning patience. Their bodies, twisted by their transformation, molder to skeletons, but the points of light burning in their empty eye sockets betray their deathless vitality.

Nameless Horrors. The foul rituals that fuel a lich’s transformation are all but forgotten in this age. Dabblers in necromancy know that becoming a lich requires the sacrifice of one’s life, but the true cost is greater still. To become a lich, the caster abandons their mortal identity. They must renounce their true name without claiming another, casting their past into howling astral winds or the infinite abyss. Their names fade from history books, and their mortal accomplishments disappear from memory or are ascribed to others. Liches shun names, referring to themselves with honorifics like “The Drowned King” or “The Speaker of Oblivion.”

Soul Vessels. A lich binds its soul within a specially prepared object inscribed with magical sigils of power, warding, and binding. This soul vessel maintains the lich’s existence and ensures its survival. Should a lich’s body be destroyed, the soul vessel regenerates it, restoring the lich’s mind and will. Breaking a soul vessel is the only way to permanently destroy a lich. Most liches go to great lengths to protect these objects. Some soul vessels are nearly invulnerable and can be destroyed only by a specific method, such as bathing it in elemental fire. Others are carefully concealed or hidden in plain sight, though their magic nature is apparent to anyone who can detect magic. Some powerful liches even create several soul vessels scattered throughout their domain.

Masters of Magic. With no fleshly distractions and time far beyond the mortal span of years, liches work obsessively towards their goals. A lich might orchestrate world-shattering events, create new variations of spells or spells entirely unheard of, or tamper with dangerous cosmic forces. Whatever their ambitions, liches brook no interference and punish trespassers that can’t be turned to useful ends.


1 Doing important research; ignores intruders unless interfered with

2 Actively tries to destroy intruders in its lair

3 Scries on the party and telepathically threatens or mocks them

4 Wants intruders to perform a task, such as stealing a spell from a rival; will offer treasure or use geas

5 Will buy or sell information, scrolls, magic items, or the like

6 Monologues about its evil, world-threatening plans

7 Covets one of the party’s spells or magic items

8 Mocks the party via a project image spell


Liches’ arcane lairs can be found in any remote corner of the world.

CR 17–22 lich

Treasure spellbook, spell scrolls of cloudkill , private sanctum , simulacrum , and wall of force , crystal ball , ring of spell turning

CR 23–30 lich with clay guardian , elemental , giant elemental , invisible stalker , or shield guardian ; lich with 2 skeletal champions , walking statues , or wights  

Treasure spellbook, spells scrolls of astral projection , demiplane , imprisonment , maze , and wish , Ioun stone of reserve , staff of power , tome of clear thought

Monster Type Description

Undead are supernatural creatures or spirits that are no longer alive but are still animate. Some have been reanimated by magic spells, such as skeletons . Others, like vampires , are the products of an evil ritual or curse.