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5E Why Lichdom?

Coroc

Explorer
Because a mage is not interested in worldly delights but in learning and science and knowing all secrets.
Blime my working colleague is one of this guys IRL. Well, not exactly, he is into electronics. But i would dare to bet this guy is still a virgin being already 40 years old. And he still lives with his mother. If someone would offer lichdom as a means to create more electronic circuitry without needing to sleep or eat, i could imagine he would do it.
 

Coroc

Explorer
Ah, i just noticed i did not give a super precise answer to your thread: the clone might not be up to date in knowledge during activation, a lich allows the better data security but without rollbacks.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Like [MENTION=6895991]Coroc[/MENTION] said, a clone is just another body. A frail, mortal body that could easily be destroyed. Become a lich, secure your phylactery and you are effectively immortal. Besides, you get rid of that pesky need to eat, sleep, and all those other distractions.
 

Warmaster Horus

Registered User
Because a mage is not interested in worldly delights but in learning and science and knowing all secrets.
Blime my working colleague is one of this guys IRL. Well, not exactly, he is into electronics. But i would dare to bet this guy is still a virgin being already 40 years old. And he still lives with his mother. If someone would offer lichdom as a means to create more electronic circuitry without needing to sleep or eat, i could imagine he would do it.
That seems like a personality disorder rather than a reasoned decision made by a genius intellect. True, undeath has some advantages but it has significant disadvantages as well. A phylactry offers high security from permadeath, but so does hiding a large number of backup clones.
 

Dausuul

Legend
First and foremost, the lich form is much more powerful. You get a boatload of immunities and resistances, legendary actions, legendary resistance, and assorted minor powers like paralyzing touch and frightening gaze.

Second, I can imagine some mages seeing the lich's undeath as a positive good: You are no longer distracted from your pursuit of power by all those pesky biological needs and drives. It takes a particular twisted mindset to see things this way, of course.
 

Warmaster Horus

Registered User
First and foremost, the lich form is much more powerful. You get a boatload of immunities and resistances, legendary actions, legendary resistance, and assorted minor powers like paralyzing touch and frightening gaze.

Second, I can imagine some mages seeing the lich's undeath as a positive good: You are no longer distracted from your pursuit of power by all those pesky biological needs and drives. It takes a particular twisted mindset to see things this way, of course.
Much agreed. Interesting that most of D&D's iconic evil mages chose the Lich route over serial-cloning because the seduction of flesh over eternity has it's own allures.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Because insane badguy....

It's like asking why a James Bond villain invests incredible resources to crazy schemes.
 

Warmaster Horus

Registered User
Because insane badguy....

It's like asking why a James Bond villain invests incredible resources to crazy schemes.
Insanity is an option. Though many iconic lich's stand out as repeat characters that last over decades vs a Bond Villain's one-time, throw-away utility.

Or perhaps Lichdom is the ultimate expression of necromancy, a demonstration of power that enables existence beyond life and therefore defies life itself?
 

TiwazTyrsfist

Villager
Lichdom is a one-time expenditure, Clones incur a per use cost.

Lichdom requires only a single Phylacrity, Clones require multiple clones as a back-up redundancy.

A Slain Lich reforms in a few days, a Clone takes 120 days to mature.

A Lich is free from the suffering of life. No head aches, no hunger, no hangovers, no stubbed toes, no thirst, no cold, no illness.
A Clone is soft vulnerable meat.

Depends on edition, but typically a Lich knows if it's phylacrity has been destroyed. Also they may be able to make a new one.
You only know if your back-up clones have been destroyed if you go and check on them repeatedly, which gives away where you're hiding them.
 

neogod22

Villager
That seems like a personality disorder rather than a reasoned decision made by a genius intellect. True, undeath has some advantages but it has significant disadvantages as well. A phylactry offers high security from permadeath, but so does hiding a large number of backup clones.
Because cloning is costly, and if someone finds your vat of clones, they can be easily destroyed. Also, the clones have to be grown,,which takes time and that creates a vulnerability. Also undeath provides immortality, and with it like others have said, gets rid of the need to waste time, eating sleeping, and having to need light. A really good book to read on this subject is an old 2nd ed. book, "Van Ricten's Guide to Liches."

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

Warmaster Horus

Registered User
All good ideas. Liches don't get away scot-free, though, as they do need to sacrifice souls to their phylactry from time to time.
 
Much agreed. Interesting that most of D&D's iconic evil mages chose the Lich route over serial-cloning because the seduction of flesh over eternity has it's own allures.
Very true, the only iconic big baddie that sticks out as being different is Manshoon the FR wizard and WOTC screwed him over by having one of the various magic apocalypses wake up all of his clones simultaneously.
 

Irda Ranger

Villager
Lichdom is a one-time expenditure, Clones incur a per use cost.
True.

Lichdom requires only a single Phylacrity, Clones require multiple clones as a back-up redundancy.
This is actually a reason to prefer Cloning as a means of immortality. Enemies only need to destroy one Phylactery to kill a Lich. Killing Manshoon requires finding all of his clones. And note that the Clone spell doesn't even require the Clone be on the same plane of existence. A Clone hidden away in a Private Sanctum'ed Demiplane would be pretty safe.

A Slain Lich reforms in a few days, a Clone takes 120 days to mature.
You're confusing time to create and time to transfer. Transfer to a Clone seems to be instantaneous upon death, so Clones are faster to make and faster to revive.

Depends on edition, but typically a Lich knows if it's phylacrity has been destroyed. Also they may be able to make a new one.
Neither of these seem to be true in 5E. At least, they're not mentioned in the Monster Manual. The part of the MM about destroying a Phylactery says that its destruction means "the possibility of eternal death". That's sort of vague.

You only know if your back-up clones have been destroyed if you go and check on them repeatedly, which gives away where you're hiding them.
This is precisely backwards! You can use divination to check in on your Clones, even if they're on another plane of existence, so you don't have to give away their location. By contrast, a Phylactery must be fed with new souls on a semi-regular basis. You only have to be on the same plane of existence as your phylactery for that to work though, so that's not a huge tell either. This one's sort of a tie.

A Lich is free from the suffering of life. No head aches, no hunger, no hangovers, no stubbed toes, no thirst, no cold, no illness. A Clone is soft vulnerable meat.
This is the real reason. For wizards who just want to do magic all the time, a living body is a distraction.

All in all though, Clone seems like a better option to me. If you make several of them, hide them well, and occasionally move them, the odds of someone finding and destroying all of them before you notice what's up seems low. And you can always wear a Ring of Sustenance or something to take care of bodily needs you find inconvenient.

I'm glad we've all spent time thinking about this.
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
Becoming a lich renders you immune to the downsides of the flesh. However if you get the itch to feel again you magic jar some wreched scum and delight in (probably) consequence free shenanegans.
 

neogod22

Villager
True.


This is actually a reason to prefer Cloning as a means of immortality. Enemies only need to destroy one Phylactery to kill a Lich. Killing Manshoon requires finding all of his clones. And note that the Clone spell doesn't even require the Clone be on the same plane of existence. A Clone hidden away in a Private Sanctum'ed Demiplane would be pretty safe.


You're confusing time to create and time to transfer. Transfer to a Clone seems to be instantaneous upon death, so Clones are faster to make and faster to revive.


Neither of these seem to be true in 5E. At least, they're not mentioned in the Monster Manual. The part of the MM about destroying a Phylactery says that its destruction means "the possibility of eternal death". That's sort of vague.


This is precisely backwards! You can use divination to check in on your Clones, even if they're on another plane of existence, so you don't have to give away their location. By contrast, a Phylactery must be fed with new souls on a semi-regular basis. You only have to be on the same plane of existence as your phylactery for that to work though, so that's not a huge tell either. This one's sort of a tie.


This is the real reason. For wizards who just want to do magic all the time, a living body is a distraction.

All in all though, Clone seems like a better option to me. If you make several of them, hide them well, and occasionally move them, the odds of someone finding and destroying all of them before you notice what's up seems low. And you can always wear a Ring of Sustenance or something to take care of bodily needs you find inconvenient.

I'm glad we've all spent time thinking about this.
So the major difference here is, you have to figure out how to destroy a phylactory, before the loch murders the party. Liches often make dummy phylactories to confuse enemies into thinking they have it. Most people will think it's an amulet or pendant, when in fact it could be anything. A lich can make his phylactory into a magic weapon such as a vorpal sword. How many warriors are going to want to destroy that?

Secondly cloning is a totally viable way to go, but your character still have to worry about the cost of building multiple vats, worry about the frailties of the human body including dying. You listed Manshoon as your example, but Manshoon isn't hard to kill because of his clones, he's hard to kill because he's a vampire that's cloned himself.

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Warmaster Horus

Registered User
Perhaps a good vs evil divide here as well? We've seen some good-aligned liches at times in D&D but the archetype is definitively evil. The use of sacrificed souls to sustain themselves is a fundamentally evil act in most circumstances. There's nothing particular evil about creating some spare, soul-less bodies here and there.
 

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