- For the Warcraft III hero unit, see Lich (Warcraft III).
Liches are powerful undead beings. Usually bound to the iron will of the Lich King, they mainly wield frost magic and necromantic spells. Typically appearing as large, floating, skeletal figures wrapped in long robes, they are often found in high-ranking positions within the Scourge.
Unlike many other forms of undead, a lich's soul is not imperfectly attached to its body; instead, liches bind their souls to special containers known as phylacteries, which then allows them to generate a physical form. This is why lich bodies look nothing like their former mortal selves, and also why one has to destroy a lich's phylactery to truly kill them; as long as a lich's phylactery and soul are allowed to remain intact, the being can never truly die and will always be able to regenerate their corporeal body.
While on Draenor, Ner'zhul, the orc who would later become the Lich King, commanded a number of orcish warlocks and spellwielding death knights. Yet, when Kil'jaeden and the Burning Legion captured these sorcerers after that world's destruction, they were transformed into twisted, spectral aberrations of their former selves. These newly born liches possessed tremendous magical powers, yet their immortal, undead bodies were bound to the iron will of Ner'zhul. As payment for their undying loyalty to Ner'zhul, the Lich King granted them control over the furious elements of Northrend. Now, the liches wield frost magic along with their own considerable necromantic spells.
It is possible for mortals to become liches even without the aid of higher powers such as the Burning Legion. During the Third War, the leader of the Cult of the Damned, Kel'Thuzad, was reanimated as a lich by Arthas Menethil using the power of the high elves' Sunwell. It appears, however, that the power of the individual being raised as a lich is directly proportional to the amount of power required to bring them back. For instance, Kel'Thuzad, being an extremely powerful individual, required a nexus of powerful ley-energies in order to be reanimated.
The Third War
Following the defeat of the Burning Legion at Mount Hyjal and the weakening of the Lich King's hold over the Scourge, a few liches, such as Ras Splinterspine and Morbent Fell, chose to serve the Legion and sided with the dreadlord Balnazzar during the uprising of Sylvanas Windrunner.
World of Warcraft
|This section is a lore stub.|
- Ordin Frostbane
- Kali'naj Dethknell
- Din Frostfire
- Naze the Eternal
- Calis Wraithson
- Kryptikk Soulslayer
- Rak Coldskull
- Venim Iceblade
- Alandil Lieng
As a companion pet
- is obtained from a rare loot card in the TCG (War of the Elements).
- is purchasable from the Battle.net Store.
In the RPG
A lich is a powerful undead sorcerer who possesses tremendous magical power. During his mortal life as the warchief of the orcish Horde of Draenor, Ner'zhul commanded a number of orcish warlocks and even some of Gul'dan's death knights. When these wicked sorcerers were captured by Kil'jaeden and the Burning Legion after the destruction of Draenor, they were transformed into twisted aberrations of their former selves. Ner'zhul became the Lich King at this time. The sorcerers' new, undead bodies, though immortal, were bound to the iron will of Ner'zhul. Since the liches showed unswerving loyalty to their master, Ner'zhul granted them control over the furious elements of the cold north. Now, the liches wield frost magic along with their own considerable necromantic spells.
Service to the Scourge
Liches are among the most powerful spellcasters and allies of the undead Scourge, serving their master with evil intent and great power. Often, they command armies as generals, surrogates for the Lich King himself. They are deeply entwined with the cold power of the grave. As a rule, these creatures are power-hungry, devious, and vicious. They utilize their great intellect and dark powers not only to serve the Lich King, but also to defeat each other in subtle political machinations, gaining strength and renown from each opponent's death. A lich resembles a skeleton with a chill blue glow emanating from within its bones. Liches often dress in flowing robes. These creatures are fond of pageantry and deception; they will often dress in the robes of a king or priest and expect their followers to call them by powerful-sounding names. Sometimes, they claim extraordinary powers granted directly from Ner'zhul himself, acting as though Ner'zhul were a god and they were his chosen priests or prophets. Instead of walking on the ground as mortals do, liches float above it on frosty mist. A lich floats from 6 -12 inches above the ground. Liches cannot trigger pressure plates or similar traps, nor do they leave footprints. Most difficult terrain does not inhibit liches, and they can cross calm water and other liquids with this ability. This movement is otherwise similar to normal movement, so liches can still fall down pits, for instance.
Typically, the Lich King elevates only necromancers to lichdom, but rumors speak of the occasional mage or shaman who also attains this status. Some tales imply that a spellcaster with enough personal and magical strength can willingly turn himself into a lich, but these reports are unsubstantiated. Some powerful necromancers can temporarily transform themselves into a lich.
The rogue liches walk Kalimdor with no intention of raising an army as when they were under the command of the Legion. Even a single undead draws attention; putting together a large group will surely get the local populace upset. Instead, these liches harbor a single, driving goal; revenge. They seek out those who helped bring about their downfall, first destroying all that they held dear and then bringing ultimate retribution upon the target.
Human necromancers are the most likely candidates for liches. Chilling mist billows from this skeletal figure. It floats in a cloud of mist, and black robes flow from its evil form. These liches are evil, cunning and loyal to the Lich King. They serve as generals of armies and as advisors to other powerful members of the Scourge. These liches are somewhat inexperienced and probably new to undead existence, but they are filled with power and arrogance. Liches prefer to have hordes of undead minions surrounding them. These lesser undead creatures protect the lich while he casts spells from a distance. Liches have no qualms about fleeing if the situation warrants.
Notes and trivia
- Taam, a rune used in various death magic rituals, is known as "the mark of the Lich".
- Gunther Arcanus has been consistently referred to as a lich, even though he has the appearance of a standard Forsaken.
- Lichling is a term with unclear meaning, as it has been used both to refer to a miniature lich and to Highborne Lichlings, a type of wraith formerly found in Azshara.
- During the Warcraft III alpha, their skull was shaped differently. Their description also said that they were the former warlocks and shamans of Ner'zhul instead of being former warlocks and death knights. This is because originally, the death knights of Warcraft III were supposed to be the same as those of the Second War.
- Despite the Warcraft III manual stating that the original liches were made from orcs, there are no named liches known to have been created in this manner.
Kel'Thuzad from Heroes of the Storm.
- ^ a b c Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Lich
- ^ Nyorloth on the official forums
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 168 - 169
- ^ The Fall of Silvermoon
- ^ Digging up the Dead
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2020-06-11. Shadowlands Preview: Maldraxxus and the Necrolord Covenant. Archived from the original on 2020-06-12.
- ^ Monster Guide, pg. 95
- ^ a b Manual of Monsters, pg. 142
- ^ Monster Guide, pg. 95 - 97
- ^ More Magic and Mayhem, pg. 69
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 239
- ^ Monster Guide, pg. 97
- ^ Invocations of the Scourge
- ^ 2001 Lich FAQ