Monday, June 15, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Philosopher Lich and Notions (BECMI Special)

This week I am going to cover the Companion series and what that meant to me before it came out when it came out and now.

Today we have nearly unfettered access to RPG material.  One of the things I did not have access too was the original AC9 D&D Creature Catalogue.  My DM though in 1986 did.  One of the creatures I liked was the Gray Philosopher. I really liked undead monsters for my game, so I went home after seeing this and wrote my own version for my AD&D game.  Liches would not appear in D&D until the Master Set, which I never saw till much later, but they were a staple of AD&D.

Later I expanded on it for AD&D 2nd Ed and called it an "Occult Lich."  Though I was never 100% happy with it.

This creature is based on some ideas I had for the "Occult Lich" and something I was calling the "Accidental Lich."

This lich was/is my "clerical" version of the "magic-user" lich.
The name is also a nod to the "Philosopher's Stone."

Lich, Philosopher
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 10-14*
Move: nil
Attacks: nil
Damage: nil
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: Cleric 10-14
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: V x2 + Special
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value:
  10 HD: 1,600
  11-12 HD: 1,900
  13-14 HD: 2,300

The Philosopher Lich is most often created when an evil cleric is pondering some evil plan or a philosophical bit of occult knowledge that they extend beyond death.
The Philosopher Lich will often be found seated, typically in a pose of deep contemplation.  They appear as do other liches; skeletal wearing robes common to their station in life and with eyes that glow of a deep and profound evil intelligence. It is this malevolent glow that keeps them from confused with normal skeletons or an undead one.
Philosopher Liches were once great clerics dedicated to foul beings beyond the understanding of humans.  Their evil thoughts pre-occupy their very existence. They do not move and rarely speak.
They are guarded by their evil thoughts made manifest known as notions.
If all the notions are defeated the Philosopher Lich can attack with spells it knew as a high-level evil cleric.  They will also have 2-5 (1d4+1) magic items common to high-level clerics with the exception of arms and armor. This is in addition to double the type V.
Philosopher Liches are turned as Liches, but they cannot be turned as long as their Notions are still active.

Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 4**
Move: 90' (30')
   Flying: 240' (60')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 2-5 (1d4+1) + Special (Intelligence Drain)
No. Appearing: Same as HD of Philosopher Lich
Save As: Cleric 4
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 175

Notions are the manifestations of the evil thoughts of the Philosopher Lich.  The notions appear as wraith-like horrific versions of the Lich as he or she appeared in life, though twisted.  Each notion is a reflection of the horrible thought the Lich has.  So thoughts of murder manifest as a bloody looking notion, greedy notions are covered in chains, gluttonous notions are fat, and so on.
The notions attack with a single touch that feels like an electric shock or cold chill, depending on the notion, that does 2-5 hp of damage.  The victim attacked must also make a Saving Throw vs. Death or lose 1 point of Intelligence.  The notions "feed" on this mental energy and give it to the Philosopher Lich.
Victims restore their Intelligence score at a rate of 1 per week.

Notions can be turned as Spectres.


Lance Duncan said...

Just to note, another creature called a Notion was introduced in the Immortal Set.

I don't think I have ever seen the Gray Philosopher or the associated Malice in a game. I actually like your version better than the one in the book. Related to Clerical Liches, I have been thinking of having the mummy or some type of greater mummy being the equivalent of a Lich, and restricting the Lich to the Magic-User Type.

Olde House Rules said...

Great post! There's so much untapped potential with clerics...