How to Become a Lich 5e – The Ultimate Guide

how to become a lich 5e

Lichdom. It’s one of the most powerful forms a mortal can take, shedding off the requirements of flesh for near infinite knowledge. Legendary creatures, Liches are feared throughout the land; entire campaigns take place under the watchful gaze of their empty eye sockets. You’ve likely seen Liches before, and perhaps wanted to become one yourself. But how can a mere Player become one of the most legendary monsters in the game? Well… Thanks to the Curse of Strahd, we have a decent way to learn the process. Dive into our guide on how to become a lich 5E

Warning: The following contains some spoilers to Chapter 13 of the Curse of Strahd adventure booklet. If you’d like to avoid any and all spoilers from the book, then please don’t read on.

How to Become a Lich 5e

First of all, this process is based entirely on GM-approval. You can’t become a Lich in any way if your GM decides you can’t. They also might have specific ways for you to become a Lich that goes against Strahd’s interpretation. Talk to your GM to see if there are other ways to do so.

Lichdom is quite simple, really. Easy mode. It’s a 3 step program. The first is the simplest of them all…

1. Become a humanoid of an evil alignment that can cast 9th level Wizard spells.

See? Easy. Just be level 17.

This also has a tinge of GM approval already seeded into it. Can a Cleric 16/Wizard 1 cast 9th level Wizard spells? They can cast Burning Hands at level 9, after all. Most GMs would likely specify that you need to be able to cast the 9th level Wizard spells, such as Wish and Meteor Swarm. 

But… Be sure to ask. Sometimes your GM might be interested in an unholy lich, rather than just a normal one.

2. Craft a Phylactery Powerful Enough to Hold the Beneficiary’s Soul

By level 17, this shouldn’t be too hard to handle. It takes 10 days, according to the source material, to do so. Afterwards…

3. Concoct a Potion of Transformation that turns the Beneficiary into a Lich

Once again, not hard! That just takes 3 days, which can’t be done at the same time as a Phylactery.

And then, tada! You’re a Lich!.. Under control of the DM, since your only goal in life is the pursuit of knowledge.


Alternate Routes?

The problem with becoming a Lich is that Lichdom is intrinsically evil and concerns itself with the pursuit of arcane knowledge. There’s not really a way to become a non-evil Lich, without GM permission, since you lose all memories when you become undead.

Older editions allowed the creation of the Archlich. The Archlich were similar to a Lich, but were non-evil, and found knowledge of Lichdom through intense research, rather than demonic pacts. If your GM allows you to assume the form of an Archlich, then by lore, you’d be in control of your body and allowed limitless time to research.

Unfortunately, the Archlich is currently not in 5e, and would rely entirely on GM permission to acquire the form. Until then, you’re stuck with the rotten form of the Lich, which gives itself entirely away to other deities. Kinda sad, but you did make a pact with your soul.

Want more questions answered? See our answer to “how long is a short rest in 5E?

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