Athcana Lich, Variant (5e Class)

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The Lich[edit]

Quick Build

You can make a Lich quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution, then Dexterity for your armor class.

Class Features

As a Lich you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Lich level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Lich level after 1st


Armor: Light armor, medium armor
Weapons: Daggers, darts, light crossbows, longswords, quarterstaves, slings, warhammers
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence
Skills: Choose any three from Arcana, Deception, Investigation, History, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Persuasion, or Religion


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

Table: The Lich

Level Proficiency
Cantrips Known Features —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 3 Spellcasting, Path of the Lich, Phylactery, Lich Transformation 2
2nd +2 3 Life Manipulation 3
3rd +2 3 Mask of Unlife 4 2
4th +2 4 Ability Score Improvement 4 3
5th +3 4 Strength of Will 4 3 2
6th +3 4 Path of the Lich Feature 4 3 3
7th +3 4 4 3 3 1
8th +3 4 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 2
9th +4 4 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 5 Ability Score Improvement, Dimensional Step, Undead Domination 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 5 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 5 Path of the Lich Feature 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 5 Ability Score Improvement, Frightening Gaze 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 5 Path of the Lich Feature 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 5 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 6 Lichdom Awakening 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1


As a Lich, your knack for magic makes you a conduit for necrotic energy and allows you to channel spells from the wizard spell list.


At 1st level, you know three cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list; these are lich spells for you. You learn additional wizard cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Lich table.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The Lich table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your lich spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short rest.

You prepare the list of lich spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the wizard spell list. When you do so, choose a number of lich spells equal to your Intelligence modifier + your lich level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

For example, if you are a 3rd-level lich , you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With a Intelligence of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell magic missile, you can cast it using a 1st-level or 2nd-level slot. Casting the spell doesn't remove it from your list of prepared spells.

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of lich spells requires time spent channeling the knowledge of spellcasters who have perished: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Spellcasting Ability

Intelligence is your main spellcasting ability for your lich spells, as you have spent your time practicing spells and learning as much as you could before the rituals. You use your Intelligence modifier whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a lich spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Ritual Casting

You can cast a lich spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your prepared.

Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your lich spells. This can include your phylactery.

Path of the Lich[edit]

At 1st level, you can choose one of two Paths of the Lich, as a Subclass; The Dark Lord or The Death Knight. Your choice grants you features at 1st level and again at 6th, 14th, and 18th level.


Your Phylactery is where your essence is stored, it can be any small object like a ring or an amulet. If it is destroyed, you are permanently dead. Your phylactery has gives you the following benefits:

  • If you drop to 0 hit points and don't die outright, you can make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. If you succeed, you drop to 1 hit point instead. Each time you use this feature after the first, the DC increases by 5. When you finish a short or long rest, the DC resets to 10.
  • When you drop to 0 hit points your body begins to crumble to dust though any amount of healing can halt the process. If you would die your body is destroyed and your mind is drawn back to your phylactery and a new body is formed. You reform within 10 ft of your phylactery without the equipment your previous body had unless the equipment is within 10 feet of your phylactery. You then gain 2 levels of exhaustion. Once you resurrect in this way, you can't do so again until you finish 1d6+1 long rests.
  • Your phylactery can function as an arcane focus for your spells.
  • While usually small your phylactery is resilient against mundane means of destruction and requires a special ritual to be destroyed. Talk with your DM about what measures should be taken to destroy your phylactery.

Lich Transformation[edit]

Your transformation into a Lich has given you the following abilities:

  • You are immune to disease and poison as well as the poisoned condition.
  • You don’t need to eat, drink, or breathe.
  • You gain the undead creature type in addition to your racial creature type.
  • You have resistance to necrotic damage.
  • You no longer need to sleep and can't be forced to sleep by any means. To gain the benefits of a long rest, you can spend all 8 hours doing light activity.

Life Manipulation[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, you gain the ability to manipulate a creatures life force siphoning it to heal yourself or your allied undead. You have a pool of d6s that you spend to fuel this ability. The number of dice in the pool equals your lich level + your intelligence modifier.

As a bonus action, you can cause one creature you can see within 60 feet of you to make a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed save, a creature takes necrotic damage equal to a number of d6 of your choice, spending dice from the pool. The maximum number of dice you can spend at once equals your Intelligence modifier (minimum of one die). Roll the dice you spend, add them together, and deal an amount of necrotic damage equal to the total. You can heal for half the amount of damage dealt or redirect that healing to a friendly undead creature within 60 feet of your target. You can instead decide to sacrifice your own vitality to heal a friendly undead, causing you to take the damage from this ability in place of an enemy. If you deal damage to yourself with this ability the damage ignores resistance and immunity to necrotic damage. In addition, any healing over you or your undead's maximum hit points is added as temporary hit points.

Your pool regains half of your total number of dice when you finish a short rest and all expended dice when you finish a long rest.

Mask of Unlife[edit]

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to temporarily disguise yourself as the living. As an action you make yourself—including your clothing, armor, weapons, and other belongings on your person—look different until the effect ends or until you use your action to dismiss it. You can seem 1 foot shorter or taller and can appear thin, fat, or in between. You can't change your body type, so you must adopt a form that has the same basic arrangement of limbs. Otherwise, the extent of the illusion is up to you. While disguised in this way spells and effects that can determine your creature type, such as a paladin's Divine Sense or the trigger of a Symbol spell see you as a creature type of your choice. The effect lasts an amount of hours equal to your Intelligence modifier. You have a number of uses of this ability equal to your intelligence modifier and you regain all uses when you finish a long rest or when you expend a spell slot of 2nd level or higher.

Ability Score Increases[edit]

When you reach 4th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature. You gain further increases at 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level.

If your DM allows the use of feats, you may instead take a feat.

Strength of Will[edit]

At 5th level, as your power differs greatly from more common undead you gain the following benefits:

  • You are immune to spells and effects that Turn Undead.

Dimensional Step[edit]

At 10th level, you have dimension door prepared. It counts as a lich spell for you and it doesn't count against the number of spells you can have prepared. You can cast dimension door without expending a spell slot. You can do so a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Undead Domination[edit]

At 10th level your natural mastery of undeath allows you to gain control over various Undead.

As an action, you can target one undead creature you can see within 30 feet of you. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed save, the target must obey your commands for the next 24 hours. You can control up to 3 undead with this ability. If you bring another undead creature you control while at your maximum your first controlled undead becomes hostile and attacks you. An undead whose challenge rating is equal to or greater than half your lich level is immune to this effect. Any undead creature that succeeds against the saving throw is immune to this ability for the next 24 hours. You have one use of this ability. You must then finish a long rest to use this ability again unless you expend a spell slot of 5th level or higher.

In addition if another creature attempts to seize control of undead dominated by you, your undead add your intelligence modifier to any saving throw they make against being controlled and to effects that would turn undead.

Frightening Gaze[edit]

At 16th level, your prowess for manipulating life and death allows you to strike fear into those around you. As an action you can sweep your malevolent gaze over any creatures of your choice that you can see within 15 feet of you. The targets must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC or become frightened for 1 minute. The frightened creatures 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 lich's frightening gaze for the next 24 hours.

Once you use this feature you you can't do so again until you finish a short or long rest, unless you expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher to use this feature again.

Lichdom Awakening[edit]

You have now reached the peak of Lichdom, becoming a true master over life and death. At 20th level you gain the following features:

  • Your Constitution and Intelligence increases by 4. Your maximum for those scores is now 24.
  • You are now immune to exhaustion and can no longer be paralyzed.
  • You gain resistance to cold and lightning damage.
  • Your senses are enhanced, giving you truesight up to 120 feet.
  • If a creature dies within 60 feet of you, you can use your reaction to animate it, causing it to stand up immediately. The creature uses the zombie stat block in the Monster Manual. It remains animate for 1 hour, after which time it collapses and dies. In combat, the zombie's turn comes immediately after yours. It obeys your mental commands, and the only action it can take is the Attack action, making one melee attack.
  • Any creatures of your choice within 15 feet of you takes 1d8 necrotic damage at the start of their turn. This damage is increased to 2d8 if the creature is below half health. This feature has no effect on undead.

Lichdom Paths[edit]

Dark Lord[edit]

The Dark Lord is a powerful spell-caster, utilizing and maximizing the use of all their spells. Those who follow this Path are often recognized as some of the most powerful and fearsome Liches, able to tear their enemies apart with ease.

Dark Arts

At 1st level, your knowledge of the dark arts and attachment to necrotic energy allows you to control it with ease. You can choose three cantrips from any class's spell list. The cantrips do not need to be from the same spell list. These cantrips don't count against your number of cantrips known and any cantrip you cast with this feature is considered a lich spell for you.

In addition, when you cast a spell that deals damage you can change its damage type to necrotic. At 6th level you can add your intelligence modifier to the damage rolls of your spells or effects that deal necrotic damage.

Necrotic Potency

At 6th level, your ability to control the necrotic energies that suffuse your form strengthens. Any spell or effect you create ignores resistance to necrotic damage and when you roll damage for a spell or effect that deals necrotic damage, you can treat any 1 on a damage die as a 2. At 18th level your ability to overcome resistances grows and any spell or effect you create that deals necrotic damage now treats immunity to necrotic damage as resistance.

In addition, if a spell or effect you create deals necrotic damage you can empower it making it deal extra damage. The extra damage equals a number of d6's equal your intelligence modifier. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier and you regain all expended uses of this feature when you finish a long rest.

Death's Surge

Starting at 14th level, you can increase the power of your spells. When you cast a lich spell of 1st through 5th-level that deals damage, you can deal maximum damage with that spell.

The first time you do so, you suffer no adverse effect. If you use this feature again before you finish a long rest, you take 1d10 necrotic damage for each level of the spell, immediately after you cast it. Each time you use this feature again before finishing a short rest, the necrotic damage per spell level increases by 1d10. This damage ignores resistance and immunity.

Knowledge from Beyond

At 18th level, your ability to tap into magic strengthens and you occasionally acquire knowledge from spellcasters who have passed on. At the end of a long rest you can choose four spells from any class's spell list, one of each of the following levels: 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th. You add them to your list of prepared spells and they don't count against the number of spells you can prepare. These spells count as lich spells for you can you can replace them at the end of a short or long rest separate from your normally prepared spells.

Death Knight[edit]

The unholy strength coursing through your body invigorates you. Instead of focusing solely on building your spell casting abilities, you take up a weapon and physically hone your undead body as well. Combining your magical prowess and physical strength makes you a deadly foe on the battlefield, especially with an undead horde at your beck and call.

Warrior's Armaments

At 1st level, you gain proficiency with martial weapons, heavy armor, and shields. Additionally, when you attack with a melee weapon you are proficient with, you can use your Intelligence modifier for the attack and damage rolls instead of Dexterity or Strength. In addition, you can add your Constitution modifier to the damage rolls of your melee weapon attacks.

Extra Attack

At 6th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. Moreover, you can cast one of your cantrips in place of one of those attacks. At 14th level, the number of attacks you can make increases to three.

Call of the Master

Once you reach 14th level you learn the Summon Undead and Summon Mount spell if you do not know them already and can cast them without needing material components. Your summoned mount is undead when cast with this ability. These versions of the spell do not require concentration but you can only have one creature summoned from both of these spells at one time. When casting these spells you can choose to also reduce your maximum hit points by your lich level to increase the power of your summoned creatures. Your summoned undead gain a bonus to their AC and attack and damage rolls equal to your intelligence modifier and its HP increases by twice the amount hit points you reduced. You can apply this benefit to any undead you summon or take control of. When an undead is affected by this feature, you can use your action to drain it of its life, returning your maximum hit points that were sacrificed and healing you for the same amount.

Army of the Dead

Starting at 18th level, your ability to control your undead minions strengthens. The number of undead you can control through the Summon Undead spell increases to three and your summoned undead no longer have a duration and disappear only when they reach 0 hit points or you dismiss them as an action.


Because of how powerful Liches are, this class and it's subclasses CANNOT be Multiclassed by anyone.

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