All Liches have a phylactery that they use to trap souls so they can live forever. What exactly happens to those souls when they are trapped? Are they gone forever or just trapped in some magical plane of existence?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I haven't downvoted, because this sounds to me like the kind of question I often get from my daughter, she is super excited about DND but has no idea about the real rules, she just likes playing with DND inspired stories in her head, so often asks me to clarify stuff like this. I think this is a valid type of question in general, it just doesn't fit with what we try and do here on the stack. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


It's trapped, and after 24 hours utterly destroyed

This is explained in the lore entry of the lich, on p. 203 MM, under Soul Sacrifices:

A lich must periodically feed souls to its phylactery to sustain the magic preserving its body and consciousness. It does this using the imprisonment spell. Instead of choosing one of the normal options of the spell, the lich uses the spell to magically trap the target's body and soul inside its phylactery. The phylactery must be on the same plane as the lich for the spell to work. A lich's phylactery can hold only one creature at a time, and a dispel magic cast as a 9th-level spell upon the phylactery releases any creature imprisoned within it. A creature imprisoned in the phylactery for 24 hours is consumed and destroyed utterly, whereupon nothing short of divine intervention can restore it to life.

Note that not only the soul is trapped in the phylactery, the body also is.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @SuperNine09 Why can’t you view the help center? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 10:38

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