Lich, Hierophant

A pious word always on its dusty lips, the lich seemed content to count its beads and let dust rattle in its throat. Until, at last, it turned to us and said “I will share my dark blessings with your feeble souls”—and unleashed horrors I shudder to remember.
—Final words of Lady Nardial, Commander of the Silver Squadron

The hierophant lich is a dry, dusty skeleton with fragments of hair and skin and a fierce, raging light of unholy zeal blazing in its eyes. It is often crowned by a black halo, wreathed in purple flames, or wielding a staff topped with a demonic head that whispers vile suggestions or wicked prophecies to it.

Servants of Dark Gods. The hierophant lich is always a devout follower of a dark god, demon lord, arch-devil, or creature of outer darkness. When the hierophant’s mortal lifetime would normally end, its dark master grants it additional life, so that it may continue to serve darkness. Usually, this gift is dispensed as part of the burial rites of the hierophant lich. The creature rises just as its body is about to be buried. In other cases, it leaves its tomb shortly after burial, or it stands up when the fires of its cremation are just starting to catch.

Reborn at the Altar. Each hierophant lich has a sacred vessel that protects its vile soul. So long as this altar, unholy relic, or other sacred object remains whole, the hierophant lich is never permanently slain.

Pure Evil Bones. The bones of a hierophant lich are said to contain deep, unholy power that serves to produce unholy scrolls, wardings, or wands.

Undead Nature. A hierophant lich doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

A Hierophant Lich’s Lair

A hierophant lich often dwells in an underground temple, a ruined cathedral in a lost city, or in the catacombs and tunnels deep beneath a famous tomb or monument. These may be in the wilderness or (in some cases) within a city largely unaware of the hierophant lich’s presence.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the hierophant lich can take a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the lich can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:

  • The hierophant lich gains an unholy shield of protection in the form of a shadowy halo of shifting purple. It gains 20 temporary hp until initiative count 20 on the next round.
  • The hierophant lich calls on its god to smite a creature that the lich can see within 60 feet of it. The target must make a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) radiant damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the target fails, it is poisoned until initiative count 20 on the next round.
  • Channeling its god’s energy, the hierophant lich grants up to five allies advantage on their next attack rolls.

Hierophant Lich

Medium undead, any evil alignment
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 91 (14d8 + 28)
Speed 30 ft.
12 (+1) 13 (+1) 15 (+2) 12 (+1) 20 (+5) 17 (+3)

Saving Throws Con +6, Int +5, Wis +9
Skills Religion +5, Insight +9, Perception +9
Damage Resistance cold, lightning, necrotic
Damage Immunities poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Common, Abyssal, Infernal, Void Speech
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the lich fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Levitate. As a bonus action, a hierophant lich can rise or descend vertically up to 20 feet and can remain suspended there. This trait works like the levitate spell, except there is no duration, and the lich doesn’t need to concentrate to continue levitating each round.

Rejuvenation. If it has a sacred vessel, a destroyed hierophant lich gains a new body in 1d10 days, regaining all its hp and becoming active again. The new body appears within 5 feet of the vessel.

Turn Resistance. The hierophant lich has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead.

Spellcasting. The lich is an 9th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). The lich has the following cleric spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): guidance, mending, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
1st level (4 slots): command, detect magic, protection from evil and good, sanctuary
2nd level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, hold person, silence
3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, dispel magic, spirit guardians
4th level (3 slots): banishment, freedom of movement, guardian of faith
5th level (1 slot): flame strike


Unholy Smite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage plus 9 (2d8) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed for 1 minute. The charmed target must defend the hierophant. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. An undead target that fails is charmed for 24 hours and can only repeat the saving throw once every 24 hours.

Legendary Actions

The hierophant lich can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The lich regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Cantrip. The hierophant lich casts a cantrip.

Unholy Smite (Costs 2 Actions). The heirophant lich uses its Unholy Smite.

Damnation (Costs 2 Actions). The hierophant lich threatens one creature within 10 feet of it with eternal suffering. The target must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a target’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the target is immune to the hierophant lich’s Damnation for the next 24 hours.

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