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D&D 5E What magic items would a Lich King have (Thay and Szass Tam)?

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
So my D&D campaign I'm running looks to be heading in the direction that the BBEG will be Szass Tam, the lich dictator of the Red Wizard's nation of Thay.

Now, as excited as I am for this, I'm also wondering how to do the villain justice. I have boosted the normal lich's stats somewhat to accommodate him being a 19th instead of 18th spellcaster (I stayed away from level 20, as Halaster Blackcloak and Acererak still feel a bit tougher than Szass), but I am a bit of a loss for what magic items the lich would have in combat.

Consider, as the dictator of a powerful wizard nation, that Szass should have some of the most powerful, most useful items that are available. I'm not super familiar with the wide catalog of 5E magic items, so I'm a bit at a loss at what items a lich may want to keep on hand in case they are suddenly in a duel.

Some baselines;
  • I know Szass Tam probably has a bunch of items names in various books/novels, but unless they are actually given 5E rules I want to ignore these
  • Please don't invent a magic item, I don't want my players saying "that's unfair, you just made that up!"
  • Please don't suggest artifacts like the Orbs of Dragonkind... if there is only one of these items (or a set amount of them), I don't think Szass should have them.

If you don't know who Szass Tam is, I imagine the guy a lot like Xykon from Order of the Stick;

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Robes of the Evil Archmagi. Likely slightly better ones that the standard ones, such as ones that give him resistance to Radiant damage.

Has the Book of Vile Darkness lying around somewhere. Also a Crystal ball.

Plenty of others.
 


All of them. Im joking but I would give him as many and whatever you want. I would think that he is more powerful than both of the wizards mentioned in the OP. Considering he was one of the few beings to have any relationship with Larloch Id say his arsenal is both varied and unique, items the players have no clue idea exist. Id look through the 2e Encyclopedia of Magica for ideas.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I don't think Tam has much interest the way of items named after him, what he does have are unique spells but you'll have to look at earlier editions to find them.

I just looked through the 3e FR campaign book which has his stats. In it, his stat block includes 2 netherese artefacts, the death moon orb and Tharkosil's seat (neither of which I have stats for so you'll have to google them). It also says he has a staff of power, bracers of defence, and a ring of wishes in his possession at all times.
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Thank you, these are some great suggestions!

I think for the three attunement slots, the items should be a Robe of the Archmagi, a Staff of Power, and Bracers of Defense. These three combined make liches way harder to hit (AC 22!) and make them more likely to hit, hit harder, and avoid magical effects.

The ring of three wishes is obviously a curve ball that Szass can essentially use for anything, but I would probably as the DM nto abuse it too hard, so that it's used to supplant any 9th level spell, or to give Szass all the benefits of taking a long rest (ie completely heals and regains all spell slots).

Szass Tam (CR 22 Lich)
  • Has Robe of the Archmagi, Staff of Power, Bracers of Defense, Ring of Three Wishes
  • AC 22, HP 153
  • Saving Throws: STR +2, DEX +5, CON +13, INT +14, WIS +11, CHA +5
  • Spell save DC 22, Spell attack of +16, +2 damage
  • Advantage on saves against spells/magical effects
If in his lair, I would also give him a Sphere of Annihilation. I will take a look at some of the named items in the 3E FR Campaign Book too, if I really want to make this fellow even more nasty.

Any other items he may want, that don't use attunement slots? Or an item with an attunement slot that is more useful than the three I picked?
 

Any other items he may want, that don't use attunement slots? Or an item with an attunement slot that is more useful than the three I picked?
I know throughout the various editions the Red Wizards have used Tattoo magic but I havent kept up on the mechanics in years so not sure if its even statted in 5e. From what I remember there were limitations to it but allowed them to imbue spells into the tattoo. Might be another way to give him a few extra tricks up his sleeve. Then again a tattoo on a dusty old lich might have long since faded away.
 

Dioltach

Legend
One thing I've often thought would represent the "home advantage" of tackling a wizard in his tower, or a dragon in his lair, would be to metamagic all their spells. Or create magic circles that metamagic spells. Or magic traps that trigger beneficial spells (Heal, Haste and so on).
 

cbwjm

Hero
Thank you, these are some great suggestions!

I think for the three attunement slots, the items should be a Robe of the Archmagi, a Staff of Power, and Bracers of Defense. These three combined make liches way harder to hit (AC 22!) and make them more likely to hit, hit harder, and avoid magical effects.

The ring of three wishes is obviously a curve ball that Szass can essentially use for anything, but I would probably as the DM nto abuse it too hard, so that it's used to supplant any 9th level spell, or to give Szass all the benefits of taking a long rest (ie completely heals and regains all spell slots).

Szass Tam (CR 22 Lich)
  • Has Robe of the Archmagi, Staff of Power, Bracers of Defense, Ring of Three Wishes
  • AC 22, HP 153
  • Saving Throws: STR +2, DEX +5, CON +13, INT +14, WIS +11, CHA +5
  • Spell save DC 22, Spell attack of +16, +2 damage
  • Advantage on saves against spells/magical effects
If in his lair, I would also give him a Sphere of Annihilation. I will take a look at some of the named items in the 3E FR Campaign Book too, if I really want to make this fellow even more nasty.

Any other items he may want, that don't use attunement slots? Or an item with an attunement slot that is more useful than the three I picked?
I'd look at wands, most don't require attunement. Maybe he has some wands that he's willing to discharge all the charges at once like a wand of magic missiles and a wand of fireballs.

Just checked and the wand if fireball does need attunement. Maybe he has a couple of the magic missile wands in standby though
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I don't think Tam has much interest the way of items named after him, what he does have are unique spells but you'll have to look at earlier editions to find them.

I just looked through the 3e FR campaign book which has his stats. In it, his stat block includes 2 netherese artefacts, the death moon orb and Tharkosil's seat (neither of which I have stats for so you'll have to google them). It also says he has a staff of power, bracers of defence, and a ring of wishes in his possession at all times.

Just took a look at the Death Moon Orb and Tharkosil's Seat... the latter isn't very useful in combat, as it's essentially meant to enslave someone who sits in it. The Death Moon Orb is also not that useful, except that it can summon any fiend and command it (which is kind of insane). The more powerful the fiend, the longer the charge, but theoretically Szass could summon a Molydeus to soften up the party (the Orb would take a year to recharge after this).
 

cbwjm

Hero
Just took a look at the Death Moon Orb and Tharkosil's Seat... the latter isn't very useful in combat, as it's essentially meant to enslave someone who sits in it. The Death Moon Orb is also not that useful, except that it can summon any fiend and command it (which is kind of insane). The more powerful the fiend, the longer the charge, but theoretically Szass could summon a Molydeus to soften up the party (the Orb would take a year to recharge after this).
Wow, that orb does sound pretty potent! If the party attacks him at his home base, I think the orb will have to be used at some point.
 

Iry

Hero
Respectfully, he has almost any item he wants. If there is something he needs but does not currently have, he can easily trade items with one of several extremely powerful people. He can also ask to borrow things directly from his master (who gave him the Death Moon Orb and Tharkosil's Seat). As leader of an entire magocracy known for producing and selling magic items, apprentice to the second most powerful wizard in all of Faerun, and entire modules focused on just how much magical bling he owns, I feel confident that you can give him anything short of true artifacts and it would be justified.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Respectfully, he has almost any item he wants. If there is something he needs but does not currently have, he can easily trade items with one of several extremely powerful people. He can also ask to borrow things directly from his master (who gave him the Death Moon Orb and Tharkosil's Seat). As leader of an entire magocracy known for producing and selling magic items, apprentice to the second most powerful wizard in all of Faerun, and entire modules focused on just how much magical bling he owns, I feel confident that you can give him anything short of true artifacts and it would be justified.

I think I must have phrased the OP a little funny, as I'm well aware that as a leader of a nation of powerful wizards, Szass can get almost any item he wants.

The question was more... what items would he want? What would be most useful for him in a fight, or to have on hand at any time?

Wow, that orb does sound pretty potent! If the party attacks him at his home base, I think the orb will have to be used at some point.

Yeah the two items are kind of meant to be used out-of-combat (one to summon a Demon Prince, the other to enslave it forever). The orb is also a crystal ball which is kind of neat.
 


Iry

Hero
The question was more... what items would he want? What would be most useful for him in a fight, or to have on hand at any time?
Hrrm. He learns the initiative order of his opponents, then uses an Amulet of the Planes to escape as soon as his opponents run out of counterspells. Then he readies an action to Black Crystal Tablet the most dangerous looking player immediately after they take their action. He waits for 1-2 other characters to charge through the Gate, and then cancels his concentration on the spell. He uses the Death Moon Orb to summon a fiend he thinks is appropriate to defeat the players, then starts hittting them with necromancy spells. And a more mundane item that is excellent defense, and very fitting for an apprentice of Larloch, a Ring of Spell Turning.
 

Thank you, these are some great suggestions!

I think for the three attunement slots, the items should be a Robe of the Archmagi, a Staff of Power, and Bracers of Defense. These three combined make liches way harder to hit (AC 22!) and make them more likely to hit, hit harder, and avoid magical effects.

The ring of three wishes is obviously a curve ball that Szass can essentially use for anything, but I would probably as the DM nto abuse it too hard, so that it's used to supplant any 9th level spell, or to give Szass all the benefits of taking a long rest (ie completely heals and regains all spell slots).

Szass Tam (CR 22 Lich)
  • Has Robe of the Archmagi, Staff of Power, Bracers of Defense, Ring of Three Wishes
  • AC 22, HP 153
  • Saving Throws: STR +2, DEX +5, CON +13, INT +14, WIS +11, CHA +5
  • Spell save DC 22, Spell attack of +16, +2 damage
  • Advantage on saves against spells/magical effects
If in his lair, I would also give him a Sphere of Annihilation. I will take a look at some of the named items in the 3E FR Campaign Book too, if I really want to make this fellow even more nasty.

Any other items he may want, that don't use attunement slots? Or an item with an attunement slot that is more useful than the three I picked?

Be sure to give him the blade ward cantrip. It grants resistance to all B, P and S damage for the price of a single legendary action.
 

Do not forget a shield guardian. The lich should have an enhanced version of it. And I would have it surrounded with an entourage of flaming skulls. The l'air of the lich should enhance combat effectiveness of undead (sanctum) and protect them from turning attempts. A necrotic area should also harm/hinder the living.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Ring (Rings?) of Spell Storing.
  • Haste (to cast on his bodyguard)
  • The Ranger spell that fills a room / hall with sharp thorns, damage per square moved. (To cast in the space between the PCs and himself)
  • Resist Elements - Radiant (because what slays undead like himself?)
  • Contingency: Greater Restoration (in case somebody bogs him down with conditions)
 

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