In the system I’ve written, characters only go up to Level 4, but I didn’t want that to prevent iconic monsters from sensibly working with the game.
Most monsters are going to be OSR Stat-block based, but working within this new system gives me the opportunity to creatively re-work some of my personal favorites. One example is the Lich.
Now, with Wizards capping out at Level 4, I needed to come up with a plausible explanation for the creation of Liches. They’re not going to be level 30 something and they won’t have phylacteries.
Here’s what I came up with:
MV: 90’ (30’) AC* HD 4 AT: By Weapon
Sometimes, when a powerful wizard dies surrounded by too much magical energy, that energy is able to sustain and preserve the wizard’s life force beyond death.
If a Wizard dies of natural causes or by means that do not cause extensive damage to the body (such as trauma injuries) while he or she is wearing two rings and an amulet of at least +3 enchantment each, there is a 10% chance each month, for a full year, the Wizard will arise as a Lich. If the Wizard’s body does not arise as a Lich at the end of 1 year, it will never do so.
Liches do not gain XP from treasure or adventuring, but gain 100 XP for each day they devote wholly to study and meditation. Liches do not gain levels, but may use this XP for the enchantment of magical items.
This goes hand in hand with my thoughts on Necromancy and Undead. Since there aren’t a lot of spells to create undead, yet there is a lot of undead, the creation of undead must be part of a ‘natural’ phenomenon, occuring due to an excess concentration of magic run-off.
Notably, Dwarven magic does NOT lead to the creation of undead, only Human and Elven magic (only +2 or greater items can influence a region in such a way). In the game, this is a minor mechanical point but can be extrapolated to the cultural conflicts and prejudices of the implied setting. But that’s worthy of another post entirely.
Anyway, any suggestions for a bestiary?