Content of the article: "IDEA: Reincarnation table for failed lichdom"
So your wizard has finally decided to make the big decision. Striking a deal with a malicious deity, reaping their soul from their physical form in a dark and twisted ritual, and becoming a lich in their quest to gain immortality. Its an important step in a wizards career, and one that shouldn't be made lightly. Becoming a lich is no easy task after all, and there are many potential hazards and risks that one should be made aware of before attempting it make the journey.
So what should happen to a wizard that has failed to become a lich? The ritual is a difficult process, and there are many ways it could go wrong. Perhaps they didn't have the right components, or they misspoke while reciting the spell. Maybe the deity betrayed them, and gave the wrong ritual. Or maybe the wizards soul simply wasn't strong enough. But for whatever reason, the ritual has failed, and the wizard did not become a lich. But they question is, what did they become?
The table below offers alternate forms of undead for the wizard to become. Different forms offer different consequences for the player. Should the player fail to become a lich, the GM rolls a d100 and consults the following table to determine what form the creature takes when the ritual is finished.
- 1-5 Death
- 6-15 Shadow
- 16-25 Skeleton
- 26-35 Wraith
- 36-45 Wight
- 46-55 Boneclaw
- 56-65 Skull Lord
- 66-75 Demilich
- 76-89 Allip
- 90-93 Revanent (Awakened)
- 94-97 Ghost (Awakened)
- 98-00 Skeleton (Awakened)
Depending on their new form, the creature may change their race, alignment, or lose sentience and control of their character entirely. The table below explains the result of each new form.
1-5 The ritual fails completely. The physical form of the creature is destroyed, killing them outright. The soul is sent to Hades. The creatures soul is considered unable to return while trapped there. The soul must be rescued by some means, as with the wish spell, for the creature to be resurrected normally.
6-35 The creature is killed, but the ritual succeeds in turning their physical form undead. The physical form of the creature becomes the undead creature on the table, and now uses the corresponding stat block. The creature has no recollection of its former life. It is a souless reanimated husk, and retains none of its previous sentience.
36-75 The ritual is a partial success. It turns the creature undead and grants it the power associated with its new form, but not the full power or immortality of that of a lich. The creatures type changes to that of the undead, and uses the associated statblock. The creature recalls its former life and experiences and has full control over its actions, but the creatures alignment changes to that of its new form.
76-89 The secret of lichdom is a closely guarded secret, and only known by a select few. Should a deity wish to protect the knowledge, they might curse it. Perhaps the knowledge of the ritual was cursed, or perhaps the ritual itself was simply too dangerous for the wizard to comprehend. But should a mortal learn such a powerful secret, the very knowledge would transform them into an allip. The creature changes into an allip, and uses the appropriate stat block, including alignment. The creature recalls its former life and experience, and has full control over its actions.The creature is immediately banished to Hades. Should the creature wish to escape the curse, it must pass the secret of lichdom onto someone else. If it successful manages to do so, it is released from the curse, and its soul travels to whatever afterlife the creature was destined for originally.
90-00 The soul is the only thing not destroyed in the ritual. The physical form of the creature is transformed into an undead, but the mind and personality of the creature is not changed in any way. The creature recalls its former life and experiences, maintains its alignment and has full sentience. The creature changes its race to that of an awakened undead. It retains the capabilities it had in its original form, except it exchanges its original race for the new one and changes its racial traits accordingly.
Variant rule: Deathlock Should the secrets of lichdom be acquired through a bargain with a deity, then the validity of the ritual will be dependent on the bargain made. Should the creature fail to uphold their end, or betray the deity before attempting the ritual, then the ritual will fail automatically. A ritual that has failed in this way will turn the creature into a deathlock as punishment for their treachery. The creatures type becomes undead, and its alignment becomes that of the deity through wich the bargain was originally made. The creature recalls its former life and experiences, and retains the capabilities it had in its original form. While the creature has some degree of control over its actions, it is now driven solely by the desire to serve the deity. It will do so until the deity is killed, or until the deity chooses to release the creature of its own volition.
So there it is. Not much information in the lore is given about how to become a lich, though I suspect that's by design. So here are some ideas to use if your players ever want to try, and what should happen if the fail. Lemme know what you think.
- Lichdom is for everybody! (yeah, even the silly bard…)
- Level 20 Barbarians are the best targets for magic jar
- Do you people think this is balanced?
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