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I am currently thinking how to build a sheet for a powerful villain in my campaign.

This creature was created by an ancient people as a way to control artificial dragons and to kill powerful real dragons. They gave him a strong artificial dragon body the capacity to control this artificial dragon and excellent mind (strategy purpose). The creature, however, turned against its creators. They tried to defeat it, but it survived and to avoid death it merged with a powerful lich.

I was thinking a CR 26 to 30, with cool lair / boss features (like Demogorgon, Orcus, etc).

Which monster should I consider as a barebone?
How can I deal with spellcasting related to the CR?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m not seeing why this is too broad. Even a brief walkthrough of the standard tools for creating monsters would be suffucient answer; it’s not multiple questions, and it doesn’t require a whole book to answer. I’ve reopened it for now. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 11 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you looked at any monsters in the Monster Manual? If so, which ones and what issues did you find with them? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 11 at 19:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I was trying to gauge how familiar the OP is with existing monsters and see what exactly was the intended difference between them and the wanted creation, but I can see how that could be misinterpreted as a (partial) answer. No worries. \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Jan 11 at 19:33
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You don't have to make something super customized - use the Dracolich template on an Ancient Dragon

There actually already exists options that do basically what you want. In the Monster Manual there is a monster template called Dracolich that you can apply to a stat block of any dragon adult or above (also in the Monster Manual) to create a dracolich.

Even as long-lived as they are, all dragons must eventually die. This thought doesn’t sit well with many dragons, some of which allow themselves to be transformed by necromantic energy and ancient rituals into powerful undead dracoliches.

Apply this template to any Ancient Dragon will get you a dragon with lich traits, spellcasting built in, and legendary and lair actions.

The only thing is doesn't quite do it match your expected CR. The CR of an Ancient Gold or Ancient Red Dracolich would be ~24 according to the template rules, which is just below the range you want.

If getting up to a CR 26+ is important to you, you still have options. Refer to DMG, Chapter 9, "Dungeon Master's Workshop", under the section "Creating a Monster", subsection "Modifying a Monster" (DMG p 273) and use that advice to add things to the monster to increase its CR to your desired level.

At the very least, using this template gets you 99% of the way to what you want without any from-scratch work needed and the DMG can get you the rest of the way there if needed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "don't reinvent the wheel" ... \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 11 at 23:22

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