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Old 06-28-2020, 05:59 PM   #21
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

I suppose we should simply agree to disagree on this, maximara. So long as calling something a lich in your games doesn't cause any sort of disconnect/misconceptions for your players, everything should be groovy, it's just been my experience that "lich" brings to mind a fairly narrow definition, with "skeletal" (still having flesh acceptable, but in that case the entity should be exceedingly gaunt with the bones clearly showing through, like the draugr from Skyrim) and "spellcaster" being the most important bits and "has a phylactery" being optional but ideal. I'd be more inclined to accept the titular character from Overlord as a lich (he's a skeletal spellcaster, but doesn't appear to have any sort of phylactery) than I would be to accept Lord Voldemort (who is arguably undead, and certainly has a phylactery - quite a few in fact - but is more akin to a snake-man than a skeleton) as one, for example.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:59 PM   #22
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
My own lich is not necessarily skeletal, but a spirit bound to its phylactery and able to possess a corpse for as long as the corpse lasts, with magic to keep the corpse from decaying further. Should the body be destroyed, the lich retreats into the phylactery until it it brought close to a suitable dead body for it to possess.
This is my preferred take on the lich as well. Just as vampires are defined, for me, as beings that must subsist on others - the lich is defined as an undead being that can change its possessed mortal form across minor undead, making it very hard to kill permanently.

The phylactery is the true house of the spirit force, and the incidental stiffs that it can possess are merely cannon fodder. Unless you find and destroy the soul box, it'll be back.

One single Ravenloft adventure, Roots of Evil, has a line from Azalin the lich, as he sends the PCs back in time to possess bodies in history. He says something to the effect of "know that this existence, of possessing body to body at whim, is the essence of being a lich".
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Old 07-03-2020, 02:45 PM   #23
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

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I took a totally different tack with D&D Lich in GURPS and came up with two variants. I later updated the Demi-lich lens but it could still do with a little more work.
I was tending towards this sort of build as well, where the lich is essentially unkillable as long as its phylactery is still safe. I put this up to Unkillable 3, perhaps with a small discount since there is a workaround.

I'm also interested in how to implement the lich's ability to possess the mortal shell of any inanimate corpse (or, potentially, any corpse under its command as a zombie or similar undead). At first, I thought of doing this as an inverse Possession - one that is changed to allow undead humanoids instead of living hosts.

But then I noticed that your build makes use of the Reincarnation modifier to Unkillable - how does this differ from a Possession mechanic?
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Old 07-04-2020, 01:56 AM   #24
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

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Originally Posted by SolemnGolem View Post
I was tending towards this sort of build as well, where the lich is essentially unkillable as long as its phylactery is still safe. I put this up to Unkillable 3, perhaps with a small discount since there is a workaround.

I'm also interested in how to implement the lich's ability to possess the mortal shell of any inanimate corpse (or, potentially, any corpse under its command as a zombie or similar undead). At first, I thought of doing this as an inverse Possession - one that is changed to allow undead humanoids instead of living hosts.

But then I noticed that your build makes use of the Reincarnation modifier to Unkillable - how does this differ from a Possession mechanic?
Possession expressly states "You can move your consciousness from body to body. (...) However, you cannot survive outside a living host." (sic) So per RAW undead cannot have Possession as either an advantage or an enhancement because their body is already dead. Effectively "dead body" is a forbidden trait for Possession.

Reincarnation on the other hand say nothing about your new body having to be a living body or prevents that body from actually the remains of your old body restored (somehow).

The way a lich worked in the Dragon #26 article is in a weird place between Unkillable 2 and 3 as it can possess a body other then its own per Unkillable 3 but was limited in terms of spell power and does not become unconscious as is true of Unkillable 2 though to regain its full power it must possess its original body. Unkillable 3 (Reincarnation -20%) is a quick and dirty way to model this behavior. It was not perfect but it is a relatively (keep it) simple how to article.

Yes, D&D1 liches were not only nasty but down right weird.
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Last edited by maximara; 07-04-2020 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:38 AM   #25
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

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Originally Posted by SolemnGolem View Post
I was tending towards this sort of build as well, where the lich is essentially unkillable as long as its phylactery is still safe. I put this up to Unkillable 3, perhaps with a small discount since there is a workaround.
To me the standard D&D lich feels like it has Unkillable 3 (Gadget: Breakable, Unique).

Most phylacteries are small gems, so relatively low DR, possibly can't be repaired and SM somewhere around -10. The gem can't be stolen in the sense that the lich will lose his Unkillable, so that's not a factor, but it also can't be (easily) replaced so Unique is a given.

If the lich is destroyed when the phylactery is broken, you probably need to give it some variation of "reverse Unkillable" as a baseline trait along with "not 'reverse Unkillable'" that has the same gadget modifier as Unkillable. This way destroying the phylactery will not only remove Unkillable, but it will also free up the "reverse Unkillable" which instantly kills the lich. I can't remember the supplement where I saw "reverse Unkillable" defined or what it was actually called.

Note that without the above, the lich will continue to exist even after the phylactery is destroyed, giving it a chance to make a new one.
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Old 07-04-2020, 04:30 AM   #26
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

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Most phylacteries are small gems, so relatively low DR, possibly can't be repaired and SM somewhere around -10.
One problem is how DR and gemstones work is a little awkward. Hardness doesn't really tell you that much (glass has a hardness of 5.5 to 7 Mohs but it is far easier to shatter then Black Opal which is in the 5.5 to 6.5 range)

Moreover does knocking off a piece count as "destroying" a gem as far as enchantments go? This is one of those areas where things get a little squirrelly.
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Old 07-04-2020, 07:48 AM   #27
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

I’m not certain what the right way to build a phylactery in GURPS is. For the “dead if destroyed” bit, you’d have an Instant Death Disadvantage worth somewhere between [-100] (from Terminally Ill, less than one month) and [-300] (as implied by the value of Heart Attack on Affliction), negated by an appropriately-limited Advantage.

As for the Gadget Limitation, there’s the issue that Gadget is normally for items you keep with you, not “so long as this item exists somewhere*, I have this ability.” The latter opens up a lot more options for protecting the item, making it much less limited than a typical breakable gadget; that indicates less of a discount, but I don’t know how much less is appropriate.

*Not necessarily even in the same plane; in Order of the Stick, Xykon’s phylactery is currently hidden in a fortress in the Astral Plane.
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Old 07-04-2020, 08:28 AM   #28
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I’m not certain what the right way to build a phylactery in GURPS is. For the “dead if destroyed” bit, you’d have an Instant Death Disadvantage worth somewhere between [-100] (from Terminally Ill, less than one month) and [-300] (as implied by the value of Heart Attack on Affliction), negated by an appropriately-limited Advantage.
Ravens n' Pennies has a pulp hunters designer notes article that I just keep coming back to. It has four types of immortals, one of which is object-based:

Weakness (Loss of object; 1d/second; Quickened, +120%) [-22]

It also has Achilles heel limitation applied to its unkillable.
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Old 07-04-2020, 08:40 AM   #29
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

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As for the Gadget Limitation, there’s the issue that Gadget is normally for items you keep with you, not “so long as this item exists somewhere*, I have this ability.” The latter opens up a lot more options for protecting the item, making it much less limited than a typical breakable gadget; that indicates less of a discount, but I don’t know how much less is appropriate.
I think Kromm addressed this once a while ago, and said that it's a wash. You can carry your Gadget with you into danger, but you're there to protect it, or you can leave it somewhere safe and hidden, but can't stop a determined thief from stealing it.
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Old 07-04-2020, 09:47 AM   #30
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Default Re: Different Liches [Magic/Horror]

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Ravens n' Pennies has a pulp hunters designer notes article that I just keep coming back to. It has four types of immortals, one of which is object-based:

Weakness (Loss of object; 1d/second; Quickened, +120%) [-22]

It also has Achilles heel limitation applied to its unkillable.
That could work, instead of a Gadget Limitation.

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I think Kromm addressed this once a while ago, and said that it's a wash. You can carry your Gadget with you into danger, but you're there to protect it, or you can leave it somewhere safe and hidden, but can't stop a determined thief from stealing it.
I don’t feel this works as a wash; you can strap it to yourself, in which case it’s no different from a typical Breakable Gadget, but you also have the option of leaving it somewhere safe, strapping it to a more competent ally, etc. Having additional options is by definition less limiting. How much less limiting, however, I’m not certain of.

Well, unless the original intent was that all Gadgets that lacked Stealable work this way, but I don’t think that’s implied by the text and examples...
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