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

Hence this thread and the hope for official clarification.

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According to Q&A, Lich is going to be ‘pretty evil’. Even ‘Very Evil’.

Swarm-That-Walks is supposedly the ‘Ultimate Evil’ path. Just as Dragon is the ‘Ultimate Good’ path.

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How is Angel not the “Ultimate Good” path? weird… anyway, I plan to go Angel.


Probably the same way how the Lich isn’t Ultimate Evil.

Though granted, with Angels there’s a rather obvious possibilty:
Fallen Angels or overzealously “ends justify the means”-kind of Angels, I guess.

But as with the Lich, we’ll have to wait for Owlcat’s take on Core Rules and Lore.


I think this also comes to what is good and what is evil for example and what leads someone to the chosen mythic path within the narrative, for instance:
The angel is an avenging angel from the heavens here to smite the evildoer.
The gold dragon is a more earthly beacon of compassion and forgiveness teaching the evil doers the error of their ways.

Assuming that is true then where an Angel meets a sadistic child kidnapper and serial killer and kills them in righeous fury the Dragon may imprison them and seek to understand why they are the way they are so that they can be saved.

On Lich/Swarm-That-Walks it may be similiar where the Lich seeks power the Swarm-That-Walks seeks suffering for instance.

Good and Evil are a bit about intentions after all.

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Lich is the evil of personal ambition, of eternal life at the expense of others, of Undead. It’s the greatest of Undead Evils, but their are other Liches, and while they are threat to individuals and in some case even nations, they aren’t apocalyptic threats usually, and maybe even have anti-hero elements like they are only turning to Lichdom to fight an even greater evil.

The Swarm-That-Walks want revenge on EVERYTHING, it’s hungry and wants to consume everything. It’s a walking apocalyps that starts with devouring demons, then moves on when that threat is over to devour the local food supply, then people, wearing them as meat suits at times, and the Swarm grows and spreads outwards with every victim consumed.

So the Lich represents personal evil, the ruthlessness required to achieve ones goals.

But the Swarm That Walks is genocide, and Famine, and War, and Disease, and Cannibalism, eventually on a Global and perhaps Planar level. It’s an Alien Aberrantion mixed with the agenda and morality of the Four Horsemen of the apocalyptic that rules the Daemons. First you devour the demon hordes and then you turn on Golarion, until nothing accept perhaps lifeless rock remains on the World and then you move onto the next world to feed your hungry and need for revenge.

Do you see the difference in types of evil between the Demon and Lich vs Swarm That Walks. Only one is a threat to Golarons survival.


Ahh, I was thinking more around, in that situation, the Gold Dragon would think that evil doer’s such as on that level, would make for a good snack.

Right on point about the Angel though, in your scenario they deserve no leniency. Send them directly to Hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200 :slight_smile:

That is a very excellent summary, thank you.

Sadly it isn’t the official one, but with that said, if it were the official one, I could be happy with that kind of definition of the different “levels” of Evil.

Upon further pondering, would you agree to the assessment that a Lich is a conscious, thinking, aware being, a directed Evil for specific purposes, whereas S-T-W would be more akin to a force of nature, a walking disaster zone, albeit more or less mindless, not caring for specific goals or maybe even unable to focus on individual steps, but rather overtaken by the manic drive to consume everything, the hunger (again, more or less) overruling higher thought processes?

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The Swarm-that-Walks is in and of itself a template to be applied to evil “spellcasters”. Not unlike the Lich. They may be of the augmented Vermin type, true. But clearly aren’t remotely mindless. Rather, they are for all intends and purposes a hive mind on its own - powered by eldritch magic.

The Lich hungers for knowledge and becomes undead for the sake of attaining it. The Swarm starts dead, hungers for life and finally optains its new undulant “life”. If you can call it that from a human point of view. That’s about it for the differences in their mindset(s).


I don’t mean “mindless” in the sense of being incapable of any kind of thought or basic intelligence, however a hive mind isn’t comparable to a human mind at all, and I hope the devs will find a cool and innovative way to reflect on that in the game.

A hive mind isn’t, as far as current science knows, thinking like a human as in having imagination, future goals, etc, but rather it consists only of current needs and the problem-solving capacities to find the most immediate resolution for said current need.

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I agree with you on that. Something highly evolved and sophisticated like a telepathic hive mind can’t be compared to the single brain of a hairless, shriveled-up primate. :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously though. There is no indication in Pathfinder rules which indicate that a hive mind’s thinking is any more primitive. Or interacts less “cohesive” with its surrounding than any other sapient creature. A Swarm-That-Walks retains all memories of his pre-insectious existence as well. So there will be no sudden memory loss, or likely personality shifts. Although a clear shift in alignment will likely occur. But that’s also true for any of the Mythic Paths, I reckon.

We can get a good understanding of how Owlcat may envision the Swarm-that-Walks if we look at Kingmaker’s Wriggling Man: he was a “Worm”-that-Walks as well after all. Only difference being that we will be of the locust variant instead. It will undoubtly be a fun experience getting inside his slimey shoes ourselves. :bug:


i don’t know a lot about pathfinder nor the game to be since I will only play the game when release but… i hope the ultimate evil thing who eats everything (swarm that walks or something) will not be able to have companions. That wouldn’t be coherent.

How wouldn’t it be coherent?

The ultimate evils in the setting - Evil Gods, Archdevils, Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Demon Lords (take your pick), have companions.

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Exactly… and on top of the general precedence of seriously evil characters/NPCs having companions, followers, servants, etc:

In WotR, our party members are also Mythical Characters… while apparently not to the same degree as our PC, probably so as to not steal his thunder all the time, they will nonetheless also be immensely powerful and thus fully capable hold their own in the company of a Lich or S-T-W.

Always under the premise, of course, that their alignment gives them some kind of motivation to want to put up with that kind of life… but that much is true for any PC, no matter their class or own alignment.

I personally look at lich through Nagash (warhammer) eyes - if your enemy is so strong, that basically for all to become undead is the only option for win - how is that ultimate evil? Gotta do what you gotta do, sacrifices are always made, even by “good and noble”.
For me lich is, at worst, neutral evil. And can easily be at least chaotic neutral.

As others have argued quite well on this forum, in Pathfinder lore/rules, Neutral Evil actually should be considered to be the ultimate Evil.

Also, the rules quite clearly state that a Lich is at the very least a creature of pure Evil, because the Pathfinder lore/worldbuilding doesn’t feature the trademark fatalistic pragmatism that Warhammer does.

I’ve been a part of a truly epic WFRP PnP campaign that spanned almost five years in total (yes, real time years), and there I was able to play a magician who was dabbling with Warpstone Powder to gain power (and mutations, and insanities), and my non-evil group still found ways to accept that, as you said, as a “necessary evil” in the face of near-insurmountable odds stacked against them (final boss was a certain Greater Demon of Tzeentch).

In Pathfinder however, becoming a Lich isn’t as simple as just being any old regular spellcrafter who does some light dabbling on the side… becoming a Lich, or rather: even just attempting to become a Lich, requires you to regularly perform acts of unspeakable, unfathomable Evil (yes, with a capital E!), like for example murdering newborn children to claim their souls, mass-murdering a village for their meatsacks, bones and again souls, stuff like that… nothing that even remotely could be put off as morally-acceptable necessary evil… Liches, just like S-T-W, blow right past necessary, ignore gratuitous and come out on the other side of the spectrum, and that’s only where they get started.

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I will 100% wait until a mod allows you to play a good Lich and removes the evil things supposedly needed to become one and their alignment hits.

I never understood the need to do evil things to become Lich. Why need I kill someone ? Why need I perform evil things ? What does it help in becoming a Lich ?

I always play Neutral characters and never understood certain dialogue options being locked out for me. The only restriction I understand is a Cleric that does the opposite that her Deity wants or a Paladin that murders innocents is kicked out from his Class or organization / church / monastery when they learn of this.

But a Lich is a 100% Neutral entity for me. If that Lich kills innocents than hes an evil Lich, if he protects innocents against Demons than hes a good Lich. Hes not bound to a Deity or any organization and thus is free to do whatever he wants including doing good things if he wants to.

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In pathfinder you need to do evil acts to become a lich. Not in the vein of “oh this evil act is the fast means to an end and I can avoid it” no it’s a requirement. Here are some examples of what may be done to achieve those ends:

Sacrifice of innocence

The use of new born babies blood

desecrating of a source of magical energy in use of the ritual.

Calling of an ancient demon willing to impart necessary knowledge, cost may vary, but no good will come of it.

Sacrifice of a good aligned being

Use of unicorns blood

Capture and selling of souls

–shamelessly stolen from reddit.

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Where is it stated in the official rules ? You said you took that from Reddit, but I cannot find anything close to ie in the rules. The closest to it is in the description of the Lich Template and it only says : “While many who reach such heights of power stop at nothing to achieve immortality, the idea of becoming a lich is abhorrent to most creatures.”
The proess itself is not described anywhere that I could find.

The only steps that can be found are either houseruled fluff that people make up, like this thread from Reddit that you took your examples from, or optional rules like the Occult Adventures Rituals that create a very specific Lich.

So, all in all, apart from the rules that says thal all undead are Evil, there is nothing that explains why you have to do unspeakable evil things to become a Lich.

In the Forgotten Realms, there were liches that could be Good, as someone said, the Baelnorn, former elven spellcasters who had decided to sacrfice their afterlife in order to always protect their clan/family/realm. But that was DnD, not Pathfinder.

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That in and of itself already speaks volumes:
The idea of becoming a Lich is so “abhorrent to most creatures” exactly because of everything becoming a Lich means and stands for!

In Core Rules/Lorebuilding Rules, the terminology matters!

If it were possible to become a Lich “for the right reasons” or even become a “good” Lich, then the mere idea of becoming a Lich would never be described as abhorrent to most creatures.
And there’s another major telling point right there: to most creatures!

Not “to most humans” nor “to most civilized people”, but creatures… that includes pretty much all sentient beings on Golarion, and in other words, becoming a Lich is an abhorrent idea to almost anyone capable of having ideas in the first place… that just wouldn’t be the case if a potential for Good were included.

Besides which, even the Owlcat devs themselves have already told us a couple of times that it is impossible to have a “good” Lich in their game, and that in their game as well, in order to become a Lich, we’d have to perform acts of unspeakable Evil too.

In Pathfinder, there are no good Liches, or rather: the concept itself on a good Lich does not exist, and for good reason, in my own opinion… a “good Lich” is a bad joke.