The key thing about being a lich is that destruction never sticks - the lich's soul is locked away in his phylactery, and ensures that the lich always returns to plague the living:

Unless its phylactery is located and destroyed, a lich reappears 1d10 days after its apparent death.

But there don't seem to be any rules in the Monster Manual, nor Libris Mortis, that elaborate on this. Specifically, the location of the lich's reappearance. So a would-be band of lichslayers are left to wonder where they ought to lie in wait for their foe.

When a lich reappears after death, where does it reappear?

There are some tangentially related cases I know of: Dracoliches explicitly regenerate near their phylacteries, and Pathfinder sensibly plugs this rules hole. The webcomic Order of the Stick famously depicts a lich regrowing its body from scratch near its phylactery. But none of them directly address the issue.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - Please don't remove the "rules as written" tag. I am asking about rules regarding the lich that I may have missed, that appear somewhere other than the sources I have checked. This is an unambiguously correct use of the tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – SPavel
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ That is an incorrect use of the tag. The tag is not for asking about rules, the tag is for asking questions about the literalist interpretation tradition known as “RAW” and “rules-as-written”. To ask merely about what rules exist or say, the name of the system of rules being asked about is the only tag necessary. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe the answer to this question was one of the details from the rules that didn't make it into the SRD? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 0:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Maybe that should be stated clearly in the wiki, then, because I read it and it didn't say anything of the sort. \$\endgroup\$
    – SPavel
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 15:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it needs a rewrite. It currently does describe what it's for, but now that I look at it in light of these comments, it's ironically only clear if the reader is already familiar with the RAW community and philosophy. It doesn't attempt to explain anything to the uninitiated, and really should. The tag is a topic of long-standing contentious debate, so there are some hurdles in the way of just rewriting it… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 23:45

1 Answer 1


A destroyed creature with the template class lich refoms up to a few miles from its phylactery

The Wizards of the Coast Savage Progressions Web column "Lich and Weretiger Template Classes" includes in its description of the lich template class's class feature phylactery the following text:

Once the phylactery has been completed, the lich can avoid permanent destruction as long as her phylactery survives. If she dies or is destroyed, she reappears 1d10 days after her old body's death. She gains her new physical form by grafting her undead spirit to a humanoid corpse, mindless undead, or some weak-minded creature within a few miles of her phylactery. The new body has all the abilities and powers of her old one, though any items she used to carry are lost (probably taken by those who slew her old body). Likewise, any spells or effects bound to her old body with permanency do not spontaneously appear on her new one. Most liches who recover from death spend a year or more tracking down their items and learning more about their attackers, and it is not unusual for a lich to wait decades before exacting her revenge.

Emphasis mine. Whether the same is true of all basic liches is unknown, but without additional guidance this seems a good enough rule as any.


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