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Villains Most Foul Creating A Lich Straight From The 5E D&D Monster Manual

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Welcome fellow Nerdarchist. Today I’ll be guiding you through the horrors of the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual as we discuss a villain most foul. Nerdarchy was asked to do a video about a 1,000 year old lich who was a human and is chaotic evil from one of subscribers over at the Nerdarchy the YouTube channel. The request was for both a story and stats. I think the first step is to go to the 5E D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide to craft our lich as an NPC.

Villains Most Foul — Creating a Lich

Occupation and history

Originally our lich was an explorer who sought out lost lore and artifacts from ancient civilizations. They sought to share this information with all who were inclined to learn it. In the prime of their career they became quite renowned for their exploits. Until a fateful day when they discovered the cursed Dagger of Hork.

The dagger is now where the explorer’s soul resides. They were instantly transformed him into an undead lich at the same time they were cursed. Where the explorer once pursued curiosity with relentless determination, now they are obsessed with a psychotic need to collect old lore and artifacts. Where before it was pure joy and pleasure to share finds with others they now hoard them away in secret places jealously guarded.

Our lich now currently resides in a tower just outside of the town of Gryphongaff and maintains two personas. The first is not aware of the second. The lich is a complete recluse and most steer clear of his tower.

Appearance

Most who encounter our lich find an old human of regal bearing dressed in fine clothing even if they seem to be a bit out of fashion. They’re tall and whip thin with an appearance of frailty and they’re always seen either sitting or standing ramrod straight. Anyone looking into this elder’s eyes sees the color of storm clouds set beneath bushy white eye brows. Hair cascades down their back, white, long and braided in a style not seen in over 100 years. Their skin has a tan and weathered appearance.

In our lich’s true form they’re a desiccated husk of the above appearance. Their eyes appear as actual thunderstorms with crackling lightning.

Abilities

The elder seems to have little to no physical strength contained within their frail form. Will alone seems to be hold them together. Looking into their eyes one finds a place full of ancient wisdom and intelligence tinged with kindness.

In their undead lich persona the kindness is completely absent from eyes replaced with a baleful mistrust and wariness.

Talents

They are a master painter.

Mannerisms

Often tugs at their braided hair unconsciously while talking or thinking. They even do this in their revealed lich form.

Interaction trait

Kind and friendly while in his guise of benevolent old wizard. When revealed they are wary and suspicious in all their dealings.

Ideals

In their guise as an elderly human they are a strong proponent for tradition, history and learning. As the lich persona they obsess over secrecy.

Bonds

The lich’s bond is simple — an insatiable need to collect lost lore and artifacts. In addition they feel obsessed with keeping them secret and hidden away.

Flaws and Secrets

Here we have a lot of them. First and foremost the lich is cursed with undeath. Unlike most liches this individual didn’t set out to become a lich and probably started out with minor magical talent they developed over the past millennia. Next we have their collection or art and artifacts, which they’ll  do anything to preserve and keep safe. Then there is the secret identity. Lastly they secretly run the Golden Hands thieves’ guild.

necro Speak with Dead
A lich as seen in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]

Straight from the 5E D&D Monster Manual

As for stats I know many DMs feel the need to create a stat block whole cloth for such important and unique sounding NPC, but I don’t. If I need this lich in combat I’m fine with flipping open the Monster Manual and using what’s given in there. I can reskin things on the fly if think something needs to be changed.

So here is our bare bones 1,000 old human lich wizard who has been cursed to be a chaotic evil collector of ancient things for all of eternity. Perhaps you noticed they’re still missing something — a name! How about you help me out and drop a name suggestion the comments below.

Until next time, stay nerdy.

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Follow Dave Friant:
My name is Dave Friant I've been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it's always been a part of my life I've kept secret and hidden away. I've always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth. Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I'm gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life. Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG's.

8 Responses

  1. dragonmasterdean
    | Reply

    Great article and its always good to see how another DM sets up those nasty villains.

    • Dave Friant
      | Reply

      Thanks. One of my objects was to show that you could make a cool NPC without spending to much time on it.

  2. dragonmasterdean
    | Reply

    Gregor Stormgrey

    • Dave Friant
      | Reply

      Nice, I like it. Thanks for the name. We’ll what else get’s thrown out there.

  3. Nathan Riggins
    | Reply

    Torian Dopplan is my vote for a name

  4. A fellow DM.
    | Reply

    Rathian Rattlebone

  5. Terry Street
    | Reply

    Edward Zaganthian Dobbs ( those that know of him call him Zag )

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