We recently stole a phylactery. We now have to figure out how to destroy it, and in the meantime need to conceal it from being located by its owner that will soon be realizing what is going on. We figure the lich knows wish, and so simply putting it into a lead box will do us no good -- the lich could just wish for the thing to be in their possession again.

So our current plan is to put it into a dead-magic zone we know of, that suppresses all magic and put it into a lead box there. There is a Q&A about wish being able to overcome such an effect, but that at least would force the lich to burn one wish to try and locate or retrieve it, then when that does not work another one to become immune from whatever is shielding it, and lastly a third one to finally really locate and retrieve it. If we are lucky, one of the first two off-label uses would burn the lich's ability to ever cast wish again.

However, this plan hinges on the assumption that there are no other spells that could locate an object shielded by lead. If there are they'd only need a single off-label wish, and that would always be possible. Are there any such spells?

  • \$\begingroup\$ So, a super-powerful, super-intelligent immortal has a dear thing, and it can be stolen. Surely any such being would have custom-crafted ways of finding the item, and probably more than one. Consider, a bank has a vault and cameras. You'd best get ready for a fight but on your own terms. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 19:26

3 Answers 3


Yes, the usual suspects should work here

The divination spell allows you to ask a god a single question "concerning a specific goal, event, or activity to occur within 7 days". It's not immediately clear if "where is my phylactery" qualifies as a valid question, but "I'm going to embark on a seven-day search for my phylactery, where should I look" seems like it should work.

The legend lore spell allows you to get information about an object or person, provided that object or person is "legendary". It seems to me that a lich's phylactery would qualify; if the phylactery isn't legendary enough, the lich could try casting the spell to learn more information about itself, which might reveal where its phylactery was.

Neither of these spells directly affects the object, so I think there's a strong argument that either of them would ignore a dead-magic zone. In particular, an antimagic field suppresses spells "except those created by [...] a deity", so presumably the lich's god still knows what you did.

The wish spell can replicate the effect of either spell, without risking losing the ability to cast wish.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Where did the lich learn divination? Oh, did the lich purchase Tasha's Cauldron of Everything to gain access to the optional expanded spell list? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 18:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ My last sentence addresses this question. : ) \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 18:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh right. Stupid wish. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 18:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Gotta love the irony of the School of Divination wizard not being able to learn the spell divination. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 18:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure Legend Lore works here. "The lore might consist of current tales, forgotten stories, or even secret lore that has never been widely known." That's no guarantee that it'll give you the current location if it's just in someone's attic. As DM, LL on a phylactery would tell you "this is the phylactery of the dreaded lich Garry" and not the current location. Unless the location was the subject of stories, tales or songs known by bards or others. \$\endgroup\$
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 2:57

Check the phylactery for Drawmij's instant summons.

If I am a Lich, I'm putting Drawmij's instant summons on my phylactery:

You touch an object weighing 10 pounds or less whose longest dimension is 6 feet or less. The spell leaves an invisible mark on its surface and invisibly inscribes the name of the item on the sapphire you use as the material component. Each time you cast this spell, you must use a different sapphire.

At any time thereafter, you can use your action to speak the item’s name and crush the sapphire. The item instantly appears in your hand regardless of physical or planar distances, and the spell ends.

If another creature is holding or carrying the item, crushing the sapphire doesn’t transport the item to you, but instead you learn who the creature possessing the object is and roughly where that creature is located at that moment.

Upon finding a Lich's phylactery, one should immediately attempt to dispel Drawmij's instant summons from it, because any Lich who isn't an idiot has cast the spell on their phylactery, which would allow them to either summon or locate their phylactery the moment they know it is missing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Very useful, we will definitely do that! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's what the antimagic zone is there for. Yes, there is a risky phase before setting that up, but OP said the Lich didn't notice the theft, so they're good now \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ We also screened it with Detect Magic, and it does not even register as magical itself, also no glyph or anything. Unfortunately, that does not mean it could not have an instant summons, as Nystuls Aura could mask it (although the liches polymorph traps were not so shielded, but it may extend more effort on its phylactery). So we'll burn a dispel magic, just to be safe. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 12:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin You might have stolen a decoy phylactery, then. I've once used such a trick to fool my players - the phylactery wasn't the golden cube with strange runes - it was the box that was hiding it inside that was the phylactery. The cube itself wasn't magical, but since it should have been the phylactery, then it was probably just cleverly disguised. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar, Very clever. It of course is possible, in which case, we will soon enough learn (after we cast our own Legend Lore for it, which I first need to learn now from the lich's also stolen spellbooks). But I think given some meta-commentary our DM uttered, it is the real thing. For example that it is too powerful to be identified and my mage thinks he'll need to cast legend lore on it to find out how to destroy it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 17:19

Legend lore is the classic answer to anti-divination protections, and in this case, we can presume that the lich is very familiar with their own phylactery. It’s not entirely clear if the phylactery of a legendary lich is itself a legendary item, but I’d argue it probably ought to be, and certainly rule that way when I’m the DM—so it will be down to how well-known the lich is.

Unfortunately, there is no protection against legend lore when it applies—you aren’t targeting the legendary object or figure itself, so the conditions or protections that apply to it don’t matter to the spell. You’re effectively querying “the cosmos” for information about something that has been significant enough to affect history, and there’s no erasing or hiding that information.¹

One presumes that wish can operate in the same manner. Wish’s divinatory abilities are thus unlikely to be blocked by your preparations, though they probably will block attempts to summon the phylactery.

  1. Short, perhaps, of divine intervention—and even that is only a maybe.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now I'm wondering how often the magical archives of legend lore are updated. Got any further reading on exactly what that spell is doing to retrieve and provide the information that it grants? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 20:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Almost certainly; the spell’s be around for a long time. Unfortunately, I can’t point you in any useful directions off the top of my head. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ A trick my party used once to fool this spell was to hide the mythical sword they were carrying in an inn called "Somewhere Unknowable". "Somewhere Unknowable" was in the middle of the road to "Nowhere in Specific", a large avenue that split their very small kingdom of "Unfathomable Void" in half. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 16:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ So it was said that Worldrender, the Migthy Blade of the Old Ones was hidden away in a small expanse in the Unfathomable Void, in the perilous path to Nowhere in Specific. Only those that reached Somewhere Unknowable could catch a glimpse of the blade if, and only if, they could get past its guardian, the "Mighty Beast of the Nine Hells". The argument done is that Legend Lore is about specifically that - Legends, and as such the accuracy of the information it reveals can not be asserted to be 100% accurate. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 16:46

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