The (highly updated) lich(e) from the Dead Wedding adventure. I like tactical encounters but I can’t do them often as they are time-consuming – for example, this encounter took 4 hours with six PCs. But it was a lot of fun for both me and the PCs. Stole the setup from Dungeon 175. I find 4e a great source to pillage for these type of set-piece combat encounters.
The deathshrieker shutdown their action advantage and the liche’s silence ability (inconsistently) shutdown the oiran’s singing abilities which the party depends on heavily since they do not have a dedicated healer. In the end, the battle took 8 rounds, the Bronze Liche died 2 rounds after the deathshrieker went down and 3 rounds after the terrifying iron cobra was destroyed.
I used the dead wedding as part of a side-quest when one of my PCs (the oiran) married the prince and second in line of the unicorn clan. The whole “the liche hates sound” works quite well with the “oiran that sings”. I also run many of my intelligent undead as wanting to be left alone – they want quiet, life is too noisy for them. So slotted in nicely.
This was a brutal fight with all the action restrictions combined with legendary actions.
The Bronze Liche
Encounter – CR 25 (68000 XP)
When the characters reach the entrance to the chamber, read:
This grand chamber features statues of dragons everywhere, including rampant-pose dragons around the room?s edges and three dragons depicted in soaring poses attached to the ceiling with chains. At the far end of the room sits a menacing statue flanked by a warrior and a wizard statue. At the base of the statue sits the bronze lich. She looks at you and says “You are the source of this noise. I will have quiet!”. The giant statue behind her animates and moves forward. Something also moves stealthily around the roof area moving quickly to and fro.
- DC 28: The room smells strongly of chlorine.
- DC 23: You recognize several of the dragons as terrors from bygone ages, notorious for their rapacity and cruelty.
The heroes get to tangle with three very different foes: a spell-slinging lich, a golem that acts as a defender, and a deathshrieker that’s mobile even as it reduces the PCs’ ability to maneuver. This battle should feel as if the monsters are employing character-style tactics against the heroes.
This battle is a triangulation challenge for you as the DM; try to keep the iron cobra engaged with the characters, the deathshrieker darting in and out of harm’s way, and the wizard causing trouble from the periphery
The Bronze Liche: Ideally, the lich stays away from the fight and launches a shadow storm at the heroes every round, but inevitably the PCs will engage the lich in melee. When that happens, the lich responds with gaze of command. If the gaze doesn’t work or isn’t available, then it uses lich?s disdain, and if that somehow fails, it resorts to death touch. Near the midpoint of the battle, when combat has settled into a pattern, the lich will use a lightning storm, which thereafter becomes the best place to teleport someone to with lich?s disdain. The lich will place the lightning storm without regard to the position of the golem or the deathshrieker. It didn’t get to be a lich by worrying over friendly fire incidents.
It’s easy to forget two small but important aspects of the lich: its regeneration 15 at the beginning of each turn and the free close blast 3 attack it can make when it hits with lightning damage. Keep those in mind.
She is also quite chatty, some possible lines to use:
You speak with Regetta, the Bronze Queen, know that you are not worthy.
Marvel at the mighty beasts I have slain, know you will never achieve such majesty!
- Terrifying Iron golem: Running the iron golem is simple: Mark as many characters as you can with cleave, then be alert for opportunities to trigger dazing fist. Don’t forget that the golem gains a poison aura once it?s bloodied, and both the deathshrieker and the lich are immune to poison.
- Deathshrieker: The deathshrieker has an aura that slows characters automatically. With its fly speed, it should be able to run rings around the slowed heroes. This is also a great way to pin characters in the golem’s noxious fumes. Set yourself up for screams of the damned as often as possible, but neither the golem nor the lich are immune to it, so keep them out of the burst.
- Illumination: This cavern has only the illumination the PCs bring with them.
- Ceiling: The ceiling of the cavern is 40 feet high.
- Columns: They’re solid ivory, inlaid with gold, and they’re blocking terrain.
- Statues: each statue is encrusted with 10,000 gp in gems that take 30 minutes to pry off each statue. Placed at the base of the statues are treasure parcels C and D.
- Suspended Statues: The chains holding up the statues have 25 hp and defences of 25. If the chains are destroyed, the statue falls to the ground, dealing 5d10 + 50 damage to any creature underneath it and turning all those squares into difficult terrain.
- Warrior and Wizard statue: Each statue holds a weapon – a +3 construct bane longsword and dagger. Construct bane weapons do an additional 3d6 damage to constructs.
When the bronze lich phylactery is destroyed a black smoke emerges with the face of the bronze liche when she lived. Before the smoke Regretta dissipates she says “I forsee your victory over your enemy, but in that victory, all else will suffer defeat” (Ed: linked to my campaign).
If the PCs have not destroyed the phylactery yet they will see the smashed remains of Regretta slowly reforming and rebuilding.