Demi-Lich, Greater

Tiny undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 21
Hit Points 180 (24d4 + 120)
Speed 0 ft., fly 40 ft. (hover)

4 (-3) 21 (+5) 20 (+5) 22 (+6) 20 (+5) 20 (+5)

Saving Throws Dex +13, Con +13, Int +14, Wis +13, Cha +13
Skills Arcana +14, History +14, Perception +13, Religion +14
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from magical weapons; damage from spells
Damage Immunities cold, necrotic, poison, psychic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, stunned
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 23
Languages telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 25 (75,000 XP) or 26 (90,000 XP) in lair


  • Evasion. If the demi-lich is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, the demi-lich instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.
  • Legendary Resistance (3/day). If the demi-lich fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
  • Turn Immunity. The greater demi-lich is immune to effects that turn undead.
  • Rejuvenation. If it has a phylactery, a destroyed demi-lich’s skull reforms in 1d4 days, regaining all its hit points and becoming active again. The skull reforms within five feet of the phylactery.
  • Innate Spellcasting. The demi-lich’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 24, +16 to hit with spell attacks). The demi-lich can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:


  • Drain Life. Deep violet beams lance out from the demi-lich’s gemstone eyes and strike up to three creatures within 40 feet of it. Each target must succeed on a DC 21 Constitution saving throw or take 24 (7d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the demi-lich regains hit points equal to that amount. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.
  • Soul Scream (recharge 5-6). The demi-lich unleashes a soul-shattering scream. All non-undead creatures within 30 feet of the demi-lich who can hear the scream must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or drop to 0 hit points. On a successful save, the creature takes 22 (4d10) psychic damage and is frightened until the end of its next turn.
  • Soul Steal (recharge 6). The demi-lich chooses a creature it can see within 60 feet. That creature must make a DC 18 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, the creature’s soul is ripped out of its body and stored in one of the demi-lich’s skull gems. The demi-lich can never capture more than eight souls, one in each of its gems. Killing a demi-lich and destroying one of its gems within 48 hours of the soul being captured releases any soul trapped therein. The soul automatically reoccupies the creature’s soulless body if it is still intact, and the creature is immediately conscious. On a successful save, the creature is stunned until the end of its next turn.


The demi-lich can take three legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The demi-lich regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

  • Flight. The demi-lich moves up to its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.
  • Bone Dust. Blinding bone dust swirls magically around the demi-lich in a five-foot radius. That area is heavily obscured to creatures other than the demi-lich until the end of the demi-lich’s next turn. This effect moves with the demi-lich.
  • Disrupt Life (costs 3 actions). Each living creature within 20 feet of the demi-lich must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw against this magic, taking 35 (10d6) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • Profane Curse (costs 2 actions). The demi-lich targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 21 Wisdom saving throw or be magically cursed. Until the curse ends, the target has disadvantage on ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the curse on itself on a success.
  • Dreadful Glare (costs 2 actions). The demi-lich targets one creature it can see within 60 feet of it. If the target can see the demi-lich, it must succeed on a DC 21 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened until the end of the demi-lich’s next turn. If the target fails the saving throw by 5 or more, it is also paralyzed for the same duration. A target that succeeds on the saving throw is immune to the demi-lich’s Dreadful Glare effect for the next 24 hours.


On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the demi-lich can take a lair action to cause one of the following effects. The demi-lich can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row.

  • Healing Suppression. All living creatures within 60 feet of the demi-lich must succeed on a DC 21 Wisdom saving throw or be unable to regain hit points until initiative 20 of the next round.
  • Malevolent Echoes. Two separate short-lived echoes of the demi-lich’s former self appear in the form of wraiths in two unoccupied spaces within 30 feet of the demi-lich and obey the demi-lich’s telepathic commands (no action required). Each rolls initiative, acts on its own turn, and disappears after one minute or when it drops to 0 hit points.
  • Tap Phylactery. The demi-lich draws negative energy from its phylactery, if it exists and is on the same plane as the demi-lich, and regains 33 (6d10) hit points.


When the lifeforce of an ancient lich of incredible power finally diminishes and its material body decays – a process that often takes centuries of undeath – the undead being’s soul lingers in the area and possesses the only viable remains: the skull. After this second death, the eye sockets and the teeth of the demi-lich-possessed skull oddly transform into clear gemstones (each worth 1,000 gp), with a single gemstone growing in each eye socket to match the six gems that replace the teeth.

A greater demi-lich is a demi-lich that has spent eons traveling the planes of existence and exploring dark, arcane secrets. It has succeeded in recovering some of its former spellcasting ability and developing other unholy powers beyond even those it had as a lich. Some say such demi-liches deliberately abandoned their bodies in order to more fully focus on their sinister studies. Although a greater demi-lich can never regain its lost body, it has learned to capture the souls of the creatures it encounters and store them in the gemstones embedded in its skull. It then transfers the souls to once again power its phylactery.

Greater demi-liches very similar to ordinary demi-liches, with a skull with clear gemstone eyes and teeth sitting on top of, or floating over, a pile of bones and dust. However, greater demi-liches seem much more purposeful than ordinary demi-liches, often employing lesser undead as guardians and servants. Although they still almost always remain in their lairs, they actively seek paths to transcendence and even loftier levels of power such as godhood.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Tome of Horrors 2020, (C) 2020, Necromancer Games

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