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5E Why Lichdom?

Mirtek

Villager
The soul feeding requirement was added to give them a reason to be more active. IMHO removing one of the most compelling aspects for chosing lichdom over other forms of undead aka not having to give a ### about the world and be content to retreat for centuries and more to your studies until no one even remembers you once existed.

But obviously this makes liches too boring as undead, as they would just hole up and never bother anyone.

IMHO this makes them lose a lot of their specialness. When a lich who has no real need to do so comes out of his seclution it's much more interesting to find out what stirred him up then merely "hm, he must be hungry for a soul again"
 

neogod22

Villager
The soul feeding requirement was added to give them a reason to be more active. IMHO removing one of the most compelling aspects for chosing lichdom over other forms of undead aka not having to give a ### about the world and be content to retreat for centuries and more to your studies until no one even remembers you once existed.

But obviously this makes liches too boring as undead, as they would just hole up and never bother anyone.

IMHO this makes them lose a lot of their specialness. When a lich who has no real need to do so comes out of his seclution it's much more interesting to find out what stirred him up then merely "hm, he must be hungry for a soul again"
I agree. Usually when they come out, its to try a new spell, set some elaborate plan in motion, or just to cause some chaos, then disappear again (Lorlock). Unless they are one of the ones that hide in plain sight (Azalin, Szass Tam).

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Cyrinishad

Villager
I'm going to jump back into this thread to remind everyone that the soul-feeding requirement for Liches has been around since the 1st edition of the game...
It is referenced specifically in the 1st edition OGB, as well as the 2nd edition Planescape Monstrous Compendium I... It is not a new addition, it is a long established part of Lich Lore.
 

neogod22

Villager
I'm going to jump back into this thread to remind everyone that the soul-feeding requirement for Liches has been around since the 1st edition of the game...
It is referenced specifically in the 1st edition OGB, as well as the 2nd edition Planescape Monstrous Compendium I... It is not a new addition, it is a long established part of Lich Lore.
I didn't have the Planescape monstrous compendium so I missed that. It wasn't in any of the ones before that in 2nd edition. I remember before they said they have to recharge but they weren't specific on the details.

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Dausuul

Legend
I'm going to jump back into this thread to remind everyone that the soul-feeding requirement for Liches has been around since the 1st edition of the game...
It is referenced specifically in the 1st edition OGB, as well as the 2nd edition Planescape Monstrous Compendium I... It is not a new addition, it is a long established part of Lich Lore.
What is the OGB? I can't recall a supplement with those initials.

Now that you remind me, I do recall that Monstrous Compendium entry, though... if I remember right, liches were required to eat larvae (the souls of Neutral Evil dead, the Hades equivalent of lemures or manes).
 

neogod22

Villager
What is the OGB? I can't recall a supplement with those initials.

Now that you remind me, I do recall that Monstrous Compendium entry, though... if I remember right, liches were required to eat larvae (the souls of Neutral Evil dead, the Hades equivalent of lemures or manes).
That must've been for Liches living in the outer planes then.

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Dausuul

Legend
That must've been for Liches living in the outer planes then.

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No, it was in the entry for "Larva."

*hunts up a PDF*

One of the themes of the Outer Planes is that the Lower Planes exploit their flow of dead souls. In the Nine Hells, they are cannon fodder; in the Abyss, they are snacks; and in Hades, they are currency, to be traded and exported all over the place. "Powerful liches" were listed among the buyers, with the stated reason being that they "feed off" the larvae's energies to maintain their undeath.

So, not quite as definitive as 5E; the word "powerful" leaves open the possibility that not all liches do this, and it's not clear whether the liches destroy the larvae or merely use them as a renewable power source. Still, it does confirm that feeding on souls has been part of lich lore for a long time.
 
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neogod22

Villager
No, it was in the entry for "Larva."

One of the themes of the Outer Planes is that the Lower Planes exploit their flow of dead souls. In the Nine Hells, they are cannon fodder; in the Abyss, they are snacks; and in Hades, they are currency, to be traded and exported all over the place. Liches were listed among the buyers.
I remember that, and that makes sense for immortal creatures looking for souls to do experiments are, but it never said it was a requirement for anything. Just as you said, they among the creatures that buys them.

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Dausuul

Legend
I remember that, and that makes sense for immortal creatures looking for souls to do experiments are, but it never said it was a requirement for anything. Just as you said, they among the creatures that buys them.

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It specified that the liches used the souls to maintain their undeath. (See post above, edited for more detail after reading up.)
 
A lich who eats larva wouldn't necessarily be active in the world, just every so once in a while summon a night hag and trade something (like some magic doodad or knowledge) for a snack. Of course, even smart wizards who want to be liches don't really think how long forever is, and sooner or later they might run out of knowledge or doodads that night hags care about, and then they might have to search for alternative sources of souls. Of course, the lich might summon the hag, kill her, and steal the larva anyway, but sooner or later (probably sooner), the hags will decide to do something about that, and there are bribable things on the Lower Planes that even a lich might want to avoid a fight with....
 

neogod22

Villager
Also you quoted it saying "powerful liches," and that mainly pertains to liches that either spend most of their time traveling the outer planes or living out there, not all liches.

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S

Sunseeker

Guest
A lich who eats larva wouldn't necessarily be active in the world, just every so once in a while summon a night hag and trade something (like some magic doodad or knowledge) for a snack. Of course, even smart wizards who want to be liches don't really think how long forever is, and sooner or later they might run out of knowledge or doodads that night hags care about, and then they might have to search for alternative sources of souls. Of course, the lich might summon the hag, kill her, and steal the larva anyway, but sooner or later (probably sooner), the hags will decide to do something about that, and there are bribable things on the Lower Planes that even a lich might want to avoid a fight with....
Seems like sort of an off conflict of goals though.

There's all this talk in this thread about lich's who "just want to be left alone" like they're some kind of bullied child or something. When, in literature, in gaming, in anywhere has that ever been the background for a lich? A powerful wizard goes out, researches dark magic, tears his soul out of his own body, so he can...sit in his bedroom and read a book? It doesn't make any coherent sense to me that Person A would have the drive and desire to go through all of that...just to essentially do nothing. Yes yes I realize they're not really "doing nothing". But that's hardly a compelling story-telling feature, in-game element or what have you.

I mean, did your DM have you go through the fight with Acererak with him saying "You guys are such meanies all I wanted was to live in peace in my basement and read books!"

When has that ever been how a lich operated?
 

neogod22

Villager
Seems like sort of an off conflict of goals though.

There's all this talk in this thread about lich's who "just want to be left alone" like they're some kind of bullied child or something. When, in literature, in gaming, in anywhere has that ever been the background for a lich? A powerful wizard goes out, researches dark magic, tears his soul out of his own body, so he can...sit in his bedroom and read a book? It doesn't make any coherent sense to me that Person A would have the drive and desire to go through all of that...just to essentially do nothing. Yes yes I realize they're not really "doing nothing". But that's hardly a compelling story-telling feature, in-game element or what have you.

I mean, did your DM have you go through the fight with Acererak with him saying "You guys are such meanies all I wanted was to live in peace in my basement and read books!"

When has that ever been how a lich operated?
I think you're missing the point. When you have super genius levels of intelligence and immortality, your plans change from things that might develop in hours or days, to things that will take decades and centuries. The last thing you want are people coming in and ruining your plans, whether they be friend or foe. Do you think Acererak created the Tomb of Horrors in one day? Do you think it took a year? He probably spent decades planning the Tomb before even construction. He may have spent centuries creating the soul monger while the world thought he was dead. That's what liches do. They play the long game. It's like us humans to ants. We can plan what we want to do in 3-5 years, do you think an ant understands what a year is? No of course not. They only live for 5 or 6 weeks, if they don't get killed before then.

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Mirtek

Villager
When has that ever been how a lich operated?
Well, FR is full with ancient liches who have been more or less doing exactly that since forever. That's how they got so ancient. They one day became liches, retreated from the world of the living and never gave them any reason to bother them until they were entirely forgotten.

Most of the known active liches are actually mere apprentices in comparision to those quiet ancient liches. Mere children making a racket until they are inevitably slain for good by the living, while others are around since the time of Netheril for up to 3,000 years by simply chosing to never bother anyone during all this time
 
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S

Sunseeker

Guest
Well, FR is full with ancient liches who have been more or less doing exactly that since forever. That's how they got so ancient. They one day became liches, retreated from the world of the living and never gave them any reason to bother them until they were entirely forgotten.

Most of the known active liches are actually mere apprentices in comparision to those quiet ancient liches. Mere children making a racket until they are inevitably slain for good by the living, while others are around since the time of Netheril for up to 3,000 years by simply chosing to never bother anyone during all this time
Chalk up another mark for why I never play FR.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
I don't have my books in front of me, but unless 5e changed this, in re: cloning, aren't the clones "set" to whatever power level you are when they're made?...or maybe even some percentage thereof?

So, every time you'd be transitioning to a clone, you'd be taking a level hit...every time. Then have to build yourself back up...to be knocked back again when you need to move into your next clone...even if you're making new ones with each transition (so they'll be increasing some degree), you're never really going to be able to fully retain your power...or spend all of your time just making and waiting for new clones to come to fruition and switching bodies.
 

Warmaster Horus

Registered User
I don't have my books in front of me, but unless 5e changed this, in re: cloning, aren't the clones "set" to whatever power level you are when they're made?...or maybe even some percentage thereof?

So, every time you'd be transitioning to a clone, you'd be taking a level hit...every time. Then have to build yourself back up...to be knocked back again when you need to move into your next clone...even if you're making new ones with each transition (so they'll be increasing some degree), you're never really going to be able to fully retain your power...or spend all of your time just making and waiting for new clones to come to fruition and switching bodies.
The 5e version just moves your soul and abilities at the time of death, so no power drawbacks. It's wise to include a spell book near the clone, however.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Why Lichdom?
No more Avon calling. No need of beauty products!
Always get the senior discount at movies, insurance, and eating out.
Not only do you out live that cute cheerleader who turned you down, you out live their descendants.
Compound Interest baby!
Ability to explore any hobby in depth. You will git gud in 100 years of call of duty.
Lifetime memberships fees really pay out.
Lifetime discounts fees really pay out! I still buying a cup of coffee from McDonalds for 25 cents. (Mostly true story)
You can always pull what is in fashion out your closet. Well except for the big hair 80s look.
Coin collecting becomes easy! This is a 1048 silver piece in prime condition. I got by tpk the third adventuring party after I turned.
Long Cons become short cons.
 

TBeholder

Villager
Why would a powerful mage choose lichdom over having a living, breathing, younger clone to transfer into upon death?
…or a custom construct, if worries about diseases and other distractions outweigh feasts and wenches being an option?
So Saith Ed:
the “official but secret” design directives of the time were to avoid all “android and robot” flavouring in AD&D® because TSR was planning a robot roleplaying game, PROTON FIRE. Longtime DRAGON® readers may recall that it was featured in the back pages of just one issue of the magazine, as a preview; the game was “killed” on the very brink of its release by TSR’s upper management. So, just like de-emphasizing psionics in the Realms because they were to be a cornerstone of Dark Sun®, we were told to avoid mechanical/robotic/android/bionic elements for the AD&D® game. THAT’S why the embrace of undeath rather than the “build your own new body.”
As for the alternative “clone or birth your own new body and then move into it” approach, THAT ran afoul of the internal Code of Ethics
So the real answer, alas, is "historical (corporate) reasons".
 

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