In one of my campaigns, my character is attempting to make a deal with a devil in The Nine Hells. One aspect of this deal is my soul. The devil does something for me, I do something for the devil. We discuss who "pays" first when the pact is invoked.

My question is this:

If I pay my soul and assume that it only goes to the devil when I die, could I potentially pursue lichdom as a means of keeping my soul my own? (The pact so far does not expressly prohibit this. My question is more one of mechanics.) Or would the Devil be able to take my soul from my phylactery since the deals are more of an arcane nature?

Note: I plan to take the deal either way and pursue lichdom, I am just wondering as a matter of mechanics.


2 Answers 2


Outside the Book of Vile Darkness (3.5e), which is vague, there are no official rules for becoming a lich, so this is inherently a matter of homebrew. That said, lets consider what the monster manual says.

When a lich's body is broken by accident or assault, the will and mind of the lich drains from it, leaving only a lifeless corpse behind. Within days, a new body reforms next to the lich's phylactery, coalescing out of glowing smoke that issues from the device.

There's no mention of death there- being beaten up and destroyed is probably fine, and won't trigger the soul loss clause. It's worth reading the fine print.

However, there is a catch.

No wizard takes up the path to lichdom on a whim, and the process of becoming a lich is a well-guarded secret. Wizards that seek lichdom must make bargains with fiends, evil gods, or other foul entities. Many turn to Orcus, Demon Prince of Undeath, whose power has created countless liches. However, those that control the power of lichdom always demand fealty and service for their knowledge.

Becoming a lich may mean swearing fealty to an existing great power, which may prevent you from making a deal with the devil, or may supersede your existing deal. You could try to pull a John Constantine, and have both desire your soul and fight over it, but I am uncertain how reliable that plan is.

That said, if you're powerful enough to become a lich, there are safer ways to do this, like the clone spell.

This spell grows an inert duplicate of a living creature as a safeguard against death. This clone forms inside as a sealed vessel and grows to full size and maturity after 120 days you can also choose to have the clone be a younger version of the same creature. It remains inert and endures indefinitely, as long as its vessel remains undisturbed.

At any time after the clone matures, if the original creature dies, its soul transfers to the clone, provided that the soul is free and willing to return.

Just convince the demon that you intend to do many dark and terrible deals with it in the future, and make sure the contract allows the use of cloning.

You should ask if your DM is willing to import some previous edition types of lich, like the archlich (a good aligned lich). Depending on your alignment, this may be a step to far, since if you're making a deal with the devil you're a bit sketchy to start with. Archlichdom does not require deals with demons.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Modest clean up for flow and syntax. Please review to make sure it fits your intent. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 22:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Clone wouldn't work if you made a deal with a devil. The spell specifically states "provided that the soul is free", which (imho) isn't the case if you promised it to a devil. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 0:28

If you make a deal with a devil, and the phylactery does not specifically break any of the rules that you have established, the devil might not do anything.

That being said, if you stretch the deal very thin, nothing inversely stops the devil from looking for your phylactery. The devil probably wouldn't be able to, instantly rip out the soul from the phylactery. More likely than not, the devil would hire creatures of one kind or another to take you down, or simply wait patiently for your defenses to thin.

Work with your DM

I'd make sure you talk to your DM between sessions. That way, you don't get burnt if they have a different opinion on this matter.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE. Please take the tour] and visit the help center to see how a Q&A site is different from a forum. (you'll get some cool badges). I made a small edit for format, please review it to make sure your meaning remains intact. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 22:47

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