Lich, Pact

Despite its frail appearance, the rotting, fiendish creature commands considerable arcane power.

The first pact lich was a warlock whose patron was a demon lord of undeath. In a moment of whimsy, the demon granted the warlock’s petition to become a powerful undead.

Soul Devourer. A pact lich must feed souls to its patron weekly to retain its lich status. It does this by reducing a creature to 0 hp within 120 feet of a diamond. Diamonds act as conduits for pact liches to send souls to their patrons, but only fist-sized or larger diamonds will do. A lich that forgets or refuses to sacrifice souls begins to physically fall apart, enduring incredible pain.

Rebirth by Patron’s Mercy. When a pact lich’s body is destroyed, the will and mind of the lich drains from it and returns to its patron. The patron decides whether to keep the pact lich or allow it to return to the Material Plane. Patrons are fickle beings and may decide to keep the lich for weeks or even centuries as punishment for its failure or may choose to never allow the lich to return. If the lich is allowed to return to the Material Plane, its body reforms in its lair next to a diamond it has used to send souls to its patron. Because the destruction of such diamonds means the possibility of eternal death, a pact lich usually hides many of these diamonds within its lair.

Undead Nature. A pact lich does not require air, food, drink, or sleep.

A Pact Lich’s Lair

Reviled by the living, a pact lich often dwells in an underground catacomb, an abandoned fortress, or a forgotten necropolis. The lich’s need to feed souls to its patron keeps it from moving too far from civilization, however.

The lair takes on aspects of the lich’s benefactor and is haunted by creatures close to the patron’s essence.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the pact 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:

  • All creatures within 30 feet of the pact lich magically and randomly swap places. In addition, all of the creatures (including the lich) look and sound like one of the creatures that was affected. Creatures with truesight are able to see through this illusion. On initiative count 20 on the next round, the illusion fades, but the translocated creatures are not returned to their original places.
  • The pact lich calls on its patron to smite a creature that the lich can see within 60 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw, taking 17 (5d6) necrotic and 17 (5d6) force damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the target fails, it is stunned until initiative count 20 on the next round.
  • Channeling its patron’s energy, the pact lich raises up to five dead creatures as a skeleton or zombie like the animate dead spell.

Regional Effects

The region containing a pact lich’s lair is warped by its magic, which creates one or more of the following effects:

  • Roads within 20 miles of the lair become strangely mazelike and confusing. Creatures must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom (Survival) check while traveling or become lost within the area. Lost creatures can repeat the check every subsequent hour and regain their bearings on a success.
  • Scrying and all other divination and detection spells within 1 mile of the lair fail unless the caster succeeds on a DC 16 Intelligence (Arcana) check. A failed check means that the spell is still expended, but without any positive result.
  • The pact lich and all other undead have advantage on saving throws against effects that turn undead when within 1 mile of the lair.

If the pact lich dies, these effects fade over the course of 1d10 days.

Pact Lich

Medium undead, any evil alignment
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 195 (26d8 + 78)
Speed 30 ft.
11 (+0) 16 (+3) 16 (+3) 16 (+3) 14 (+2) 20 (+5)

Saving Throws Dex +8, Int +8
Skills Deception +10, Persuasion +10
Damage Resistances cold, fire, necrotic
Damage Immunities poison; bludgeoning, piercing and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages any languages it knew in life
Challenge 15 (13,000 XP)

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

One With Shadows. As a bonus action when in an area of dim light or darkness, the pact lich can become invisible until it moves or takes an action or reaction.

Patron’s Blessing. When the pact lich reduces a target to 0 hp, the lich gains 25 temporary hp.

Pact Rejuvenation. If a fist-sized or larger diamond is within its lair, a destroyed pact lich usually gains a new body in 3d10 days, but its return to the Material Plane is ultimately dictated by its patron.

Innate Spellcasting. The pact lich’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 18, +10 to hit with spell attacks). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring only verbal components:
At will: chill touch, detect magic, levitate, mage hand, prestidigitation, speak with dead, true strike
1/day each: banishment, bestow curse, compulsion, confusion, conjure elemental, dominate monster, eyebite, finger of death, fly, hellish rebuke (5d10), hold monster, slow


Multiattack. The pact lich makes four enhanced eldritch blast attacks.

Maddening Touch. Melee Spell Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (3d6) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Charisma saving throw or have vivid hallucinations for 1 minute. During this time, the target is blinded, stunned, and deafened, sensing only the hallucinatory terrain and events. The hallucinations play on aspects of the creature’s deepest fears. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Enhanced Eldritch Blast. Ranged Spell Attack: +10 to hit, range 300 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 5) force damage. On a successful hit, the pact lich can push the target 10 feet away from it in a straight line.

Hurl Through Hell (1/Day). The pact lich targets one creature it can see within 60 feet of it. The target must make a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the target disappears and is paralyzed as it is hurtled through the nightmare landscape of the lower planes. At the end of the pact lich’s next turn, the target returns to the space it previously occupied, or the nearest unoccupied space, and is no longer paralyzed. If the target is not a fiend, it takes 55 (10d10) psychic damage when it returns. The target must succeed on another DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened until the end of the lich’s next turn as the target reels from its horrific experience.

Legendary Actions

The pact 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.

At Will Spell. The lich casts a spell it can cast at will.

Fiendish Resilience. The pact lich chooses one damage type, gaining resistance to that damage type until it chooses a different one with this feature. Damage from magical weapons or silver weapons ignores this resistance.

Maddening Touch (Costs 2 Actions). The pact lich uses its Maddening Touch.

Eldritch Master (Costs 3 Actions, 1/Day). The lich entreats its patron for aid, regaining all expended spells.

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