Liche 2.0 Build Suggestion


Long Dead
Herald of the Dead
Malleus Monday
OG 2020
Nov 8, 2020
This is a more clean and organized version of my first liche pitch.

I do not own these assets

Feeding Mechanic: Mid-long range Ray, drains enemies of life or essence or mana as per spec allocation, converts to lich mana
Mobility Power: Greater Teleport, Lesser Levitate/flight, Portal
Special Mechanic: Overload mode, can draw more mana than max capacity at drawback of mana burn (physical damage over time with mana bleed off)
Core abilities: Feeding Ray, Raise Corpse, levitation

The liche description as is leads me to believe the animation style would likely find a good visual home with "defiling magic" a concept presented in the old DnD Dark Sun games (fantastic setting if you're not familiar, it's not overtly focussed on the undead, but very much an interesting and fresh take on dark and gritty settings, particularly the desert), except that while they might defile the land, they likely could defile living beings as well.

Liches use a ray that procs multiple times per second, the main advantage they have it to be able to channel any chosen resource from the target into mana that is changed via their spec. More damage and greater conversion rate can be specc'd into. The ray needs to proc a lot to allow for their overload mechanic. There is a specialized build that can allow them to add a draining aura as well (possibly draining a different type) to allow for greater overload potential to feed a "bombing" mechanic.

Lich Mobility:
Liches start with basic levitation as a mana reserved ability (either they are floating or not) this can be specc'd to allow heights over regular jump height for minor flight capabilities for more reserved mana, and can spec to add speed. Floating removes penalties from footsteps for stealth purposes.
Teleportation is unlocked later but starts as a basic dimension door.

Overload Mechanic:
This allows them to hold extra mana and imbues spells cast with that mana with additional damage output or other potency as described by the spell, but that how much they can safely go over that is determined by other passives, ie, too much and it will start to give them mana burn, which likely does physical damage but might be able to be converted to essence with a passive for certain builds pending equipment bonuses and such. Overload mana also bleeds off if not spent within a short time.

If they maximally overdo this it can even cause them to go critical (potentially on purpose) and turn their body into an AoE bomb, which would be only a minor inconvenience since they can just build themselves another body, this would blow their current body apart under normal circumstances but certain equipment and passive builds might allow this to be a persistent bombing effect, though i would recommend that this be an expensive build so that they need to sacrifice in lots of other areas to make it functional. It also requires that enemies are constantly drained, which can be done with the ray, but probably could allow for a passive that also weakens their ray but adds a PBAoE drain to them (possibly draining different aspects to maximize mana overload states).

Some passives might exist to allow them to ignore X points/% of overload damage, which if capped might turn them into a walking constantly exploding bomb, and that would be pretty cool, though it would need a mitigator to offset it, such as overload not being as effective in damage/potency output and perhaps a cool down on say 50% of it, ie, you can say get 53% overload damage reduction or whatever from other passives and gear and then +50% more from a cooldown ability that has X time on it, so you can't just constantly walk around as a forever exploding AoE bomb, plus you also need to be constantly draining enemies to feed said explosion otherwise you'll run out of overload and not be able to go critical. This also indicates overload mana would have a slow bleed off so that it could be maintained between fights, but the longer you go in between the less overload you have for the next fight.

Having passives that reduce cooldowns of physical and essence body reconstructions might also be important, particularly from overload death, since they could quickly reform from an intentional overload. This is also handy for other builds since they'll be comparatively weak in physical forms, so while they might "die physically" a lot, being able to get back in quicker with investment makes good sense as a specialized skill.

Overload could also be used to fund things like low life shield builds reminiscent of PoE or Last Epoch as an alternate to explosions.

Core Abilities:
Liches start with feeding ray, levitation and raise corpse, this gives them some basic pet type survivability early on. From there they can enhance the summoner aspect or ignore it completely favoring other specs.

Ability Groups:
The liche has a lot of ability groups and in my proposed designs will likely only be second to the vampyre in terms of ability options and builds. This allows the liche to build tall or wide based on player preference. Exactly how the liche is built can vary widely based on how they select their abilities and the player preference for the build (solo, trash clear, bossing, group buffing, etc.)

Basic attributes and attacks: this is a general passive tree that allows the liche to pile on more into various attributes and basic weapons attacks. This is for stuff like more health, damage reduction, cast speed, weapon skills, etc.

Overload: Speccing into overload allows it to be channelled directly into shields, or makes them immune to more overload damage from mana burn, increases safe overload capacity, decrease or increase (mutually exclusively) overload bleed off (as needed for spec), increase potency of spells cast with overload mana, etc. The key with overload is you want to measure your usage of your ray and other draining auras so you don't accidentally kill yourself, or alternately, overload and explode yourself and the right time.

Liches can also use this to intentionally go critical and could be specc'd to such with increase radius, damage, lingering effects and similar. In this case their physical bodies are very disposable and investment in reconstruction is likely appropriate as well.

Additionally this can be specc'd into to create mana shards that convert X overload at a lesser rate to shards of mana energy that float around the caster, these don't do mana burn damage to the caster and bleed off much much slower. Mana shards are always used before overload mana, so balancing that is part of the play style. Speccs for shards could include better conversion rate, more shards, larger shard capacity, etc. the key thing with shards is that they are consumed when used entirely, so if a spell has 35 mana cost and the shard has 40, that extra five is junked. Shards would be used for builds that aren't intentionally seeking to overload often/as much as possible.

Draining ray: This can be upgraded with range, ticks per second, status effects like stuns and such, what kind of thing it drains (likely health to start, but could swap to essense for various build options), how much mana is converted, damage per tick, and similar. Could also be specc'd to be a channeled cone (less max range, more area) or a template drop (1 creature size at base) drain that could have it's radius increased at greater cost.

Mage Armor: can be fed with overload or by other means. this can be specc'd to create greater efficiency of charge, greater capacity, Armor Penetration DR (attacks with armor penetration have any penetrating damage reduced) and similar.

Additional mobility
Mobility for the lich is the inverse of the wraith design, wraiths are better (faster, lower cost) at levitation/flight with less cost worse at teleport, liches are better at teleport (better range, lower cost, faster cast) worse at levitiation.

advanced levitation flight
levitation a toggle floating mechanic that uses reserved mana would be thematically good, which would allow them to bypass a lot of terrain obstacles and with additional investment might allow more advanced low speed fly mechanics, so they can sit above the battlefield and drop spells on the enemy, this of course has the advantage of allowing the to harrass and bypass strong melee units (which should also have a minor range attack as back up) but also makes them a very easy to spot high threat target for ranged enemies (archers and other casters). Additionally it makes some sense that certain enemies may have an ability to inflict massive damage and clear the toggle, grounding the caster. Floating should also remove penalties from footsteps for stealth purposes.

I'd also like to see a teleport at higher levels, but while other casters may be speedier, this could be possibly interrupted during a caster animation. This allows them to have the mobility necessary to keep up with the party while maintaining levitation, but also allows for better battle positioning mid fight. Unlike the levitation though, this would need to teleport them to a surface (not necessarily the ground, could be a wall since they can teleport).

The liche can summon a portal out of combat usable by allies and the caster to head to designated player hub (undead city, player home, clan hub, etc.), consent for teleportation is managed by activating the portal. While the liche needs to be out of combat to cast the portal, it can be used while flagged for combat for quick escape. Portals remain for a short ish duration (maybe 1 min unless specc'd otherwise). Liches can only open one portal at a time, so opening a new one closes the former. All liches get portals at base level at a certain point in progression.

Prismatic Blaster Spells: these can come in a bunch of forms (cone, ray, missile, PBAoE, AoE grenade, persistent AoE, Chanelled persistant AoE, etc.) but are damage dealing. The key function that makes the Liche good at these is they can specialize each in different damage types to confront a wide variety of situations, but each one is locked by spec. This allows that you can go pure caster route as well. This can be specialized in heavily to allow with investment to add AoE radius, additional damage, casting speed, etc.

Undead Reconstruction:
This area focuses on how quickly and how potent starting out their reconstructed bodies are as well as any time reduction to return from the phylactery. This could also be used to global enhance summoned necromancer army monsters as well.

Summoning: There are 3 routes to go with this.

Necromancer army
Various upgradeable units can be summoned (lesser: shades, corpses (skeletons/zombies), wights, etc.). upgrades can be stuff like armored knights, archers, big hulking giant beast, etc.

1 very powerful pet is the focus, the liche can still raise fodder skeletons but the point of the eidolon route is to have one very potent creature they command that is upgraded to be more powerful than army units. Additionally a player could split focus on both of these but would likely see mediocre results from both as opposed to specializing in either or for better effect. The last route is the familiar which is used for more battlefield control and enchanter type builds. Eidolons are potent magical creaters and can take on lots of forms that allow for skins like demons, lesser liche copy, lesser revenant champion, crawling chaos beasts, bone dragon, etc. but the exact abilities of the eidolon are determined by the powers they invest in, not the skin itself. Eidolons can also be specc'd in to be used as mounts while out of combat.

The familiar
a non combat unit that is targetable by enemies but follows the caster and provides AoE buffs and can be invested in to add more potent buffs and additional passive CC around the caster. This is option for people that don't want to focus on summoning as part of their lich out of the summoning school, though if invested in the familiar can be a potent non offensive tool in it's own right. This also provides lots of various skin opportunities for familiars since their animations are cosmetic and don't require use of melee combat so rigging it is much easier. Examples of buffs might be increased casting speed, more DR, persistent enemy chill, etc.

This area focuses on stuff like: Next cast has increase radius or damage, range, or duration, less channel cost, etc. it augments existing abilities in the arsenal. It also has a specialization for a cooldown ability that clears all other cooldowns. This also has another specialty with a cooldown that has increased global cast speed for X duration that can be increased, as well as the cast speed that can be spec buffed. Meta can also can be focussed on to allow counter spell, where the liche generates a short lived shield that absobs the next incoming spell on them, that can be upgraded to reflect or increase duration of the shield or similar. Another spec might be caster power overall where global saves of enemies are reduced by X.

The main trade off with meta magic is that you need 2 uninterrupted casts and also pay extra mana to augment the spell, which is also increase your cast time and decreasing your mobility. As a standard this is generally best used when opening a combat with advantage, or if someone else is holding the enemy threat levels. Meta is also likely one of the last areas unlocked as it demonstrates a level of mastery.

This is the buffer school area, but unlike the familiar isn't focused on the caster's immediate area necessarily. Buffs are applied to target allies (including the self and summoned creatures) and can take on a wide variety of forms. This could include stuff like haste, bone armor for additional DR and damage reflect, +% increased magical damage type to weapons (ie your weapon is not flaming purple and has void damage added), and similar. The key thing here is that the enchants should be more potent if invested into than anything the Familiar passively produces.

Hexes: Hexes are AoE template dropped debuffs/non-damaging status effects, different debuffs can be specc'd for duration, effect potency enhancement, type of effect, caster power (additional enemy saving throw reduction), cost reduction, additional radius, etc. Hexes are generally instant casts that then affect duration on the target, but can also be specc'd to drop a ground template to enchant the area and effect all those that remain within or enter, and then count down duration upon exit of the area.

Curses: Single target debuffs and dot damage, curses are generally going to have a damage and debuff component and can be specc'd like hexes but also have increased specc'd dot damage and such. The idea of curses vs hexes is you want to dump hexes on mob groups and save curses with greater CD's for uniques and boss enemies. Other curses like silence (interrupts and prevents spellcasting) and tongues (increased spell casting time) and various others can exist as well.

Auras: Liches can specialize in damage and draining auras for reserved mana as toggles. I'm thinking it might make sense not to give them a physical healing aura since the idea is that their bodies are disposable, but it also is a perfectly viable way to build I suppose.
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  • Magus - Great Design Input
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Long Dead
Herald of the Dead
Malleus Monday
OG 2020
Nov 8, 2020
I'd like to add something I'd like to see for the liche's progression.

I'd like the magic that manifests in the body to be in the bones. This makes the flesh itself more like clothing that contributes to your weight burden and, outside of the protection it provides the bones, is essentially dead weight that slows your movements. Shedding the flesh makes your movements faster at the cost of losing its protection. It'd be neat if the flesh went through the stages of decay as time passes in game with the corresponding increase in movement speed.

With advancement in your magic its possible to allocate mana towards rejuvenating the the flesh, reducing the weight burden as you do so at the cost of shortening the mana bar until it could be possible to have a body of flesh that is full of vitality at the price of being greatly limited in terms of mana for other magic.

When it comes to the subject of pets as they pertain to the mindless undead I'm hoping for some utilitarian functions, outside of crafting or harvesting stuff for crafting.

Picture you want to get to a dungeon in an area you have yet to explore and acquire a certain relic. Instead of going yourself you conjure a spirit from the underworld, a spirit that knows this area and has unfinished business. You make the deal that they'll be able to finish said business and then go into the tomb. You infuse one of your mindless with the spirit, along with half of a portal spell and send them on their way. Now there might be warnings that the journey could be too dangerous for a single, insignificant undead to make so you pair it up with numerous other undead drones or something more destructive and task them with protecting it at all costs. If for whatever reason they perish while making the journey then their half of the portal spell activates where they fell and you travel through the portal to either carry on the journey yourself or remove what caused the first to fail before sending out another.

@Livin I swapped your response over to this thread as a quote just because this is almost the same thing but updated and better organized.

I realized that while I was more specific with the other suggestions for classes, the one that is most important to me for design was also the first and worst described so I gave it a second crack at.
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