In today’s Open Grave preview, we take a look at undead templates and alternate powers.
Undead are among the most terrifying monsters in the Dungeons & Dragons world. From flesh-eating ghouls to scythe-wielding reapers, undead haunt the nightmares of mortals and lurk in the darkest corners of the imagination.
Undead share no ancestry, heritage, or bond with others of their ilk, and they are as widespread and varied as living creatures. The creatures share only one trait—their return from the grave.
Common beliefs holds that undead are evil, and although many are indeed cruel and wicked, some are merely animate creatures that act mindlessly at the behest of an evil master. Many undead are capable of experiencing the same emotions and desires as the living. They commit treachery and harbor hate, yet they can also have friendships and exemplify honor, kindness, and even love.
Many creatures hope to escape death. When such creatures are powerful and corrupt, they sometimes turn to rituals that can transform them into liches. However, immortality comes with a price, and these creatures lose the remaining shreds of their humanity in process.
Level 20 Solo Artillery
Tiny natural animate (undead)
Initiative +13 Senses Perception +18; darkvision
Intruding Terror (Fear) aura 2; enemies within the aura take a –2 penalty to attack rolls.
HP 800; Bloodied 400; see also consume soul and indestructible
Regeneration 20 (if a demilich takes radiant damage, regeneration doesn’t function until the end of its next turn)
AC 33; Fortitude 35, Reflex 32, Will 32
Immune disease, poison. sleep; Resist 10 necrotic, 10 psychic
Saving Throws +5
Speed fly 12 (hover)
Action Points 2
Ranged 20; +25 vs. AC; 3d6 + 8 necrotic damage.
The demilich makes two shadow ray attacks.
Ranged 5; does not provoke opportunity attacks; +25 vs. Fortitude; the target is dazed and restrained (save ends both).
First Failed Saving Throw: The target is instead stunned and restrained (save ends both). Second Failed Saving Throw: The target dies, and its soul is trapped in one of the demilich’s soul gems until the demilich is destroyed; see also consume soul and the “Fate of Drained Souls” sidebar (page 201).
Ranged 20; +25 vs. Fortitude; the target takes ongoing 10 necrotic damage (save ends).
Close burst 5; +25 vs. Will; 3d6 + 5 necrotic damage, and the target takes a –2 penalty to saving throws (save ends).
The demilich regains 200 hit points.
The demilich’s six soul gems can each hold the soul of one of its victims. At the beginning of an encounter, the soul gems contain two souls. Crushing a gem after the demilich is defeated releases the soul to the Shadowfell.
When a demilich is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, its skull (but not the soul gems) crumbles into dust, but it is not destroyed. It reappears in 1d10 days within 1 square of its phylactery, unless the phylactery is also found and destroyed.
Languages Common, Supernal
Skills Arcana +17, Insight +18, Religion +18
Str 16 (+13)
Dex 16 (+13)
Wis 17 (+13)
Con 24 (+17)
Int 15 (+12)
Cha 27 (+18)
Demiliches rarely enter melee directly, preferring to instead send wave after wave of servitors at adversaries. While foes are engaged with other creatures, a demilich sends volleys of twin rays and obsidian eye. A demilich targets particularly troublesome nearby opponents with drain soul, then positions itself to maximize the effect of soul shriveling pulse. As long as the demlich knows that its phylactery is safe, it does not fear fighting to “the death.”
A character knows the following information with a successful Religion check.
DC 27: Eladrin become baelnorn liches for a variety of reasons. Many choose this path so they can act as guardians of ancestral vaults and tombs. Unlike most liches, baelnorns are not necessarily evil. The creatures are less power-hungry and covetous than other liches, and they often keep their phylacteries in close proximity to the places they guard. A few baelnorn have no phylacteries at all; rather, their prolonged existence is achieved through a powerful ritual or the blessing of a deity.
Sometimes a dryad’s desire to protect its woodland twists into dark obsession. In rare instances, one of these fey creatures crosses the threshold into undeath and becomes a thicket dryad lich. The dryad transforms a favorite tree into a phylactery. The corruption in the dryad’s soul then causes the tree to become warped and rotted. Over time, this blight can spread out over the surrounding forest.
A void lich is an antediluvian horror from the Far Realm that seizes control of the body and phylactery of someone performing a lich transformation ritual. Lured into the world by the eldritch power unleashed during the ritual, this aberrant entity shunts the ritual performer’s soul off to the Far Realm and possesses the host body as its own. A void lich is cloaked in darkness, a remnant of the dark, churning corridors of its origin plane.
DC 31: An alhoon lich’s skin has none of the smooth, slimy quality of its mind flayer origin. Instead, the undead illithid’s skin appears dry and cracked. An alhoon is known also as an illithilich. Alhoons are magic-using outcasts from mind flayer societies who have defied the ruling elder brains. They still delight in devouring mortal brains, but they no longer require them for sustenance.
A demilich is an animated skull, a skeletal hand, or a spine that is festooned with costly gems. The jewels gleam wickedly with the light of trapped souls. Despite the implication of its name, a demilich is more deadly than a normal lich. Particularly powerful liches that learn the secret of fashioning soul gems often shed their bodies and evolve into demiliches. With size and mobility on their side, these demiliches travel the universe in search of its secrets.
In a far reach of the world, under a grim, lonely hill, lies a crypt filled with terrible traps and ferocious guardians. Treasures fill the tomb, guarded by the lair’s keeper, the demilich Acererak. Having escaped death through lichdom, he houses his intelligence in a bejeweled skull and his soul in a hidden phylactery. Acererak quickly dispatches trespassers, relieving the victims of any magic trinkets or tomes they might have.