Powerful Archliches have long been a signature villain of Dungeons and Dragons.  Acererak graces the cover of the current Dungeon Master’s guide and is the big bad in Tomb of Annihilation.  Lady Illmarrow hails from Eberron. Vecna helms his own adventure to be released a little later this year. And who could forget Szass Tam from his all-to-brief scenes in Honor Among Thieves?

But what gives a lich that bump to “arch” status? Your bog-standard lich weighs in at a CR 21.  This only gets them to an 18th level spell caster.  The currently published archliches are all 20th level, the max.  This doesn’t end up making a whole lot of difference as they have the same spell levels, slots, and lists.  Their seniors, of course, do benefit from higher Spell Save DCs and Spell Attack Modifiers.  More HP doesn’t hurt either.

Lady Illmarrow

Archilich Lady Illmarrow

Lady Illmarrow distinguishes herself by having a breath weapon.  The sad news for her is that it deals poison damage.  A lot of players will find themselves to be immune to poison damage by the time they get to her.  Hopefully, she’ll get some of those nasty adventurers anyways.  If they are reduced to 0 hit while poisoned, they die and come back as zombies she controls.

Archlich Acererak

Archlich Acererak

Acererak distinguishes himself by having a bigger bucket of hit points, and some nasty toys to play with.  He has the Staff of the Forgotten One.  This item lets him curse creatures, making them vulnerable to necrotic damage and unable to regain hit points. It confers a +3 on attack rolls and deals extra necrotic damage on a hit. The staff is also just plain rad because it has a trapped wizard inside of it.  Acererak also has a sphere of annihilation and the amulet to control it.

Archlich Vecna

Archlich Vecna

Vecna is a little harder to find.  He was published in the Vecna Dossier, which used to be available on D&D Beyond.  I expect we’ll have a new stat block for him when Vecna: Eve of Ruin is published.  For now, the current stat block is the most unique of the Archliches.  He forgoes legendary actions for reactions, of which he can take up to 3 per round but only one per turn.  He has a much-abbreviated spell list, but a lot nasty actions.  My favorite is that he can counterspell and cause psychic damage to the caster if the spell fails.

Szass Tam doesn’t currently have a published stat bock, but I’ve made one for him, in case you’re interested.


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