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In Volo's Guide to Monsters (p. 75), I found that an ulitharid could, upon non-natural death, spawn a new colony:

After the death of the ulitharid's body, mind flayers take its brain and place it in a brine pool, where it grows into an elder brain over a few days.

Also, because an ulitharid seems like an all-around better version of an illithid, it seems like a good candidate to achieve true lichdom instead of the alhoon kind achieved by the illithid.

Could such an ulitharid lich transform into some sort of elder brain lich?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it a generic question, or do you ask about a specific situation happened in your game? Do you ask as a player or as a DM then? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Nov 13 '17 at 16:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ More of a generic question and as a DM. Unless there is something obvious that would make this very unlikely this seems like a cool plan for my bad guy. \$\endgroup\$ – turoni Nov 13 '17 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ ♦ Reminder: comments are for clarifying content, not posting small or incomplete answers. Please only use answer posts to submit answers on the site. Prior comments containing answers have been removed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '17 at 20:45
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According to Volo's Guide to Monsters, that's very unlikely. Specifically in the part that talks about the conversion of a Ulitharids into an elder brain:

After the death of the ulitharid's body, mind flayers take its brain and place it in a brine pool, where it grows into an elder brain over a few days. This process doesn't work on the brain of an ulitharid that dies a natural death, as a brain that succumbs to old age is too decrepit to be used in the creation of an elder brain,

This implies that the brain must be harvested immediately after its death, and that it must be not decrepit. This is somewhat incompatible with lichdom, as the emaciated and dessicated brain of a walking corpse could hardly be described as "not decrepit", and it is hard to create a lich (or variants like the Alhoon) from a brainless body.

Of course, nothing says it is impossible for a living elder brain to become undead.

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