[LORE/CORE RULES] Is Lich not considered to be "Ultimate Evil" by Owlcat?

Dear devs and users,

during yesterday’s livestream, which sadly stopped mid-sentence (at least on Youtube), one of the things that struck me but sadly didn’t get an answer in time, was a statement by the quest designer whose name I sadly do not know (the guy at the bottom during the first half of the stream).

He said that one of the “secret” paths were that for “Ultimate Evil”: Swarm-That-Walks.

And that made me wonder (and worry a little bit, heh) about the Lich… because to me, a mass-murdering, newborn-sacrificing immortal Undead is the embodiment of Ultimate Evil.

So are the devs seeing this fundamentally different?
Is the Lich only “somewhat Evil” and only the S-T-W officially “Ultimate Evil”?

If it’s just fluff, that’s mostly fine… but if, for example, the Lich were locked out of some truly horrifyingly evil deeds just because he’s a Lich and not a cluster of insects, that would sucko mucho.

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Depends how you categorize the “ultimate” evil, I think. Owlcat’s outlook for the Lich seems to be primarely inspired by Lawful Evil. And while players don’t seem to have to be of that particular alignment for entering lichdom, they probably still have to be one step outside of Lawful Evil. Which may very well rule out this undead path for Chaotic Evil characters.

From the sounds of things, our walking insectious harbinger of doom is intended as the “Neutral Evil” Mythic Path - unbound by the petty concepts of Law and Chaos. For all we know Owlcat’s own take is for it to become the purest form of attainable evil in WotR. At the very least it has the potential of becoming the most repulsive and alien one.


Well put, however I have one slight correction to your logic:

The official Paizo retcon ruling on the Lich makes it firmly Neutral Evil, so that should put it on the same “level” as the creepy-crawlies. :man_shrugging:

And that’s actually one of the reasons for my wondering here; as per official rules, both creatures apparently are Neutral Evil, so that in and of itself shouldn’t make for a solid basis of considering one the Ultimate Evil and the other some degree of lesser Evil.

So I’m expecting that there’s something Owlcat themselves have “changed”, or that alterrnatively this was just an ambiguous choice of words from the writer dev, especially given that english isn’t these guys’ first language… who knows.

Hence my hope for clarification. =)

Who knows? Could be that while the Lich creature itself is Neutral Evil, Owlcat decided to bound their souls to a pledge of some kind. Oath-bounded even in death to endlessly wage war against the demons for all eternity? Sounds like a fun pastime. :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess it’s all a matter of how its Mythic Path’s story will pan out inside WotR.

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Welp, I for one would not think that being bound for eternity is something fitting the Lich Path at all… becoming a Lich after all is all about ultimate freedom, even from Death itself!

Why would anyone go through all that insane effort, take these nigh-on insurmountable risks (many more Necromancers, even the very powerful, die after all, rather than achieve Lichdom), only to still be bound to someone else’s will?

Nah, I really hope it’ll be more like the Sith Code, all about breaking those chains! #darkside


Fascinating. It’s like arguing if freddy Krueger is more evil than a cenobite

Ahhh not so fast. Can argue that binding thing. Total freedom would be death itself, free from all ties. (Or are we?) Instead a lich binds himself to undying life. Plus the vessel thing that they bind themselves too.

That’s not the same as being bound to another entity’s will.

Binding oneself to a Phylactery is just the necessary means to ensure factual immortality.
The Phylactery doesn’t dictate the Lich’s actions, nor does it preclude him from following his whims and desires in any meaningful way, outside of having to keep it safe.

Being bound to another’s will is effectively slavery, and no being as powerful as a Lich would ever tolerate being enslaved to anyone else, or rather no extremely powerful and intelligent Necromancer (which is the requirement to even find a way to and stand a chance at surviving the transformation) would ever accept being someone’s slave for eternity.

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Sure good arguments but then again what if that promise of Lichdom was tied to that promise. I mean whos to say having eternity to unravel the binding is something that the Lich is counting on too. Why would anyone go through all that insane effort? Well they are insane with becoming immortal and willing to sacrifice anything even their freedom. I mean their always another side of why this and why that.

Immortality without freedom is pointless, that’d be eternal servitude and no one would risk their life just to become a slave for eternity. :wink:

Which would require to actually know about it from the beginning. More often than not such clauses will not come to light until a much later date… after all, it’s rather common to not know about the small printed stuff inside your very own soul contract. Just ask a devil and see if he tells the (whole) truth. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Well, that’s a good point if you actually make a deal with a devil, sure, but Necromancers don’t (usually) do that to become a Lich at all, at least not as per Paizo official lore.

But I also do not think that being a Lich while not “owning” one’s own soul would work, because how can you be an intelligent, aware Undead, if you don’t control/own/have your own soul?
Isn’t that the big difference between a Lich and any random shuffling corpse, that the former still has their soul (albeit in a Phylactery) and the latter being just re-animated flesh without a soul?

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That would normally be the case if the necromancer in question was the one in control of the ritual, yes. I don’t think this will be accurate here, however.

Usually it takes decades of research and numerous thousands of gold to undergoe lichdom. I see it more likely that your character will be either an inheritor of already existing powers. Like Vordakai made a deal with daemons, for instance. Or will become an apprentice to an undead master who will complete the ritual for you instead.

Either way, a debt is likely to be collected later on. “Free” isn’t exactly part of Evil’s work philosophy. There’s always some strings attached.

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I think that Ultimate Evil needs to be considered within the narrative, imagine the following:
Lich: seeks greater power to fight demons.
Demon: using demonic power to fight demons.
Swarm-That-Walks: Wants to eat things.

Within those three options the Lich and the Demon are engaging ‘for the greater good’ where the Swarm-That-Walks is more ‘for the personal good’.
Now ‘for the greater good’ can lead to greater acts of evil then ‘for the personal good’ but it is difficult to categorise it as the ‘Ultimate’ evil.

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That needn’t be the case at all, as Paizo lore itself, and thus officially, states quite explicitely that there are as many ways to become a Lich as there are Necromancers out in the world, or something to that effect.

Basically what this means is that while the “years of study and tons of gold”-way might be the most well-known or most heavily used trope, it isn’t even remotely the only way to Lichdom.

From what I’ve heard in yesterday’s livestream, it also didn’t sound like we would simply inherit the powers… we will need to work for them, Lich was specifically mentioned as having to perform several horrendously evil deeds before becoming a full, true Lich for example.

So while we might inherit a certain potential, I do not expect we’d inherit the entire Lich-state.

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Also a valid point, however I would counter that you’ve just generalized all Demons and all Liches, despite there surely being as many motivations as there are individual beings of such power.

I for one would never play my Lich as just a means to an end for fighting demons… quite the opposite, in fact, I would become a Lich for the sake of becoming ever more powerful and immortal, and the fight against demons is just a convenient cover to explain away my fake death to the rest of the world, so as to throw off the Inquisition and other annoying pests that would try to hunt me down. :wink:

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You are certainly missing the point. Every persons desires, goals, reasons for doing something are different. Just because YOU think they should act one way doesn’t mean they are supposed. Lets not even bring in the insane part where things are beyond reason. The Phylactery in essence can easily become the Lich’s master and be enslaved by it as they become obsessed in its protection sacrificing anything to protect it.

To many factors for it to be even an argument on your point because its a story unexplored yet. For instance what if the entity provided the Phylactery to the Lich but kept it as a whim to torture him with.

“Working hard” is an apprentice’s lot even in unlife. No rest for the wicked trainees, as the saying goes. :skull:


The Phylactery isn’t sentient and thus cannot ever become “the Lich’s master”.

And I thank you not to put words in my mouth; I have never once demanded that my opinion had to be the objective truth.

And you are fine to have that as your internal canon of what is happening, but the game narrative may not support that.

For instance in Pathfinder: Kingmaker you might have been moving your nation towards being a Democracy but the narrative does not assist with that.

So while your Lich character might get dialogue options such as ‘I need this power to defeat the demons’ your character might be thinking ‘Ha ha the power is mine, all mine’.
The Swarm-That-Walks might have dialogue options such as ‘I will take this power source because I want the power and you can’t stop me’ and might be thinking ‘I need this to stop the demons’.

Effectively regardless of personal thinking that you might have for your character it is only the dialogue options that the game will be able to act on - and (without knowing) it is possible that the Lich ones offer more justification then the ones available for The-Swarm-That-Walks, and as such that the game treats the Lich as a more palatable option.

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