Lich Physical / Metaphysical Law in Totania | World Anvil
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Lichery is an advanced form of Necromancy, which allows the Necromancer to gain immortality by becoming a Lich.  
N'hog'zadh'goz by Jarhed

What is a Lich?

A Lich is an immortal, skeletal form that a Necromancer becomes after completing a process, which requires mastery of Magic in a form even greater than just Necromancy. The body of a lich cannot be harmed until its Phylactery has been found.  

How to Become a Lich

To become a Lich requires mastery of multiple magical skills. First, of course, the art of Necromancy.   Then, they must learn both Enchantment and Alchemy. This is all to make the key ingredient in the process of becoming a Lich: the Phylactery.   When using Enchantment, they enchant the Phylactery, which is in all truth a glorified storage chest with fancy decorations on it. This enchantment is a special one specific to Lichery, where it links the caster to the Phylactery and makes the Phylactery a core component of the life of the Caster. However, this then requires great alchemy to make the process succeed.   For the Necromancer must remove their own heart and place it in the Phylactery, alongside an item or items that remind them of their Humanity or, rather, mortality. Their vulnerability. They must ensure the Heart does not wither or die outside of the body, so they cover it in a potion as it leaves the body.   Then, in most cases, they use alchemy to create an artificial heart to keep them going. They then only become a Lich when they die. Some opt out of this step, dying after the heart is in the Phylactery so they can immediately become a Lich, but others wish to live out their lives as long as they can before becoming a Lich.  
Evity Skeleton by Jarhed

The Heart of a Lich

Lich need constant reminders of their time as mortals. This is the intention of a Phylactery, where they can keep these reminders with their hearts. However, most Lich hide away their Phylactery, and then forget about this mortal life.   Due to this, they will grow cold and often emotionless, only caring about living longer and studying more magic. They will not risk anything that could get them killed, instead building up their necromancer powers and even sometimes making an army of summons like Evity Skeletons.   This is also why the Phylactery is their point of weakness. It contains the part of them that is mortal, their heart and their memories. Attacking it is attacking not the immortal Lich, but the mortal that still remains somewhere within there.  

Phylactery Replacements

Some Lich will make their Phylactery a bit differently from the simple box. They'll put it in an accessory, or store it somewhere more secret. They'll put it in something mundane. It is much more difficult to do this.   For example, one story of a failed Lich tells of a man who attempted to store his Phylactery in a ring. He cut apart his heart and tried to use Alchemy to keep himself alive. However, in reaching for immortality, he killed himself.   This story not only shows the absurd lengths people will go to for eternal life, but also is meant to show that while the road to Lichdom can grant life immortal, it can also just as easily kill you.  

Famous Lich

There are a few famous Lich. It is unknown who among them have been killed, and who still live among the world.  
Licvan by Jarhed


Licvan is believed to have been the first Lich, an Elven noble who clung so long to his life, claiming that the 700+ years of Elves was not enough to do all he wanted.   When Chadzar Dalarune led his revolt and left Camor with the Stemine, Licvan took this as an insult. Who would want to leave their lives behind? Who would want to change things?   So Licvan studied necromancy, hoping to stay the same forever. And when he turned 758 and died, he became an immortal Lich. And nothing ever did change, except his skin decaying to become a skeleton. He is said to perhaps still live in Camor, though some accounts said he was killed.  


N'hog'zadh'goz is a Emetian who managed to study magic. This was rather uncommon, as most Emetian instead preferred physical fighting to the magical arts.   N'hog'zadh'goz, however, understood the benefits of Necromancy. He had travelled not far west from his desert home to find Evity, the Draconian village of Necromancers. There, he found out that he would be able to raise the dead to fight for him, and to live forever. N'hog'zadh'goz was sold.   N'hog'zadh'goz had always been scared of death. In Emetian society, there was never anything stopping a Worldbreaker from showing up one day and slaughtering half of, if not an entire, tribe of Emetians. N'hog'zadh'goz wanted things to be different. He wanted to live without fear of death.   His name was not always N'hog'zadh'goz. The original name is lost to time, with N'hog'zadh'goz being a name he created so that people would speak of him as little as possible. He thought the less pronouncable his name, the less trouble people would look for.   N'hog'zadh'goz would eventually fully gain the secrets of Lichery, carving out a place for himself in the Grey Caverns under Dwarven Territory, where the Dark Elves lived.   He kept to himself mostly, building a large cave empire of necromancy to defend himself so that he would never be killed. Ironically, he became a Lich so he would never fear death, yet even to this day he hides away, afraid of death yet living eternally.  


Tichet was a Goblin who gained the power of Lichery. Not much is known about his life, it is said he studied in the Magic College Class of 246, but that era has been left out of many history books due to the Grand Wizard Struggle.   Tichet is known to have been killed after reaching Lichdom by the Grand Wizard at the time, who wished to show how great he was by killing a Lich. Tichet was never given the justice he deserved.
Vonlichter by RovaRed


Sometimes Vonlichter is disputed as the First Lich, as he was around for the first Grand Wizard, Kilprax Ildial. Thus, believers in Licvan and Vonlichter often fight for this claim.   Vonlichter was a Lizardman, and knew that Lizardmen die quite early due to their environment. So he left, moving to Zephys where he wanted to study at the Magic College.   Kilprax refused to let anyone in who wasn't a Draconian, so Vonlichter was left alone. However, soon he discovered the Phylactery idea when trying to study purely from things he overheard students say. Vonlichter had also gained knowledge of magic from Zephys, and upon seeing how wonderful and powerful Kilprax was, his opinion shifted drastically.   Vonlichter wanted to become as powerful as Kilprax, to become immortal and have every power imaginable. It was not some sort of greed, nor envy of wanting to be someone he was not.   Vonlichter simply wanted power. Vonlichter has been seen even in receny, and is known to still be alive.  


The word Lich is derived from the term Witch, with the first record of Liches coming after fourth Grand Wizard Wiscys Nicandir was given the title Witch. Both Licven and Vonlichter's names contribute to this, putting the L where Wiscys's W would normally be, so it does add up.   It is believed by many that a Lich is the Necromancer equivalent to the Alchemical Witch. Whether they are truly equivalent is questionable, but the words have a common origin.

Cover image: Skull by joaoluis98


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