Ancient Lich

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thespaceinvader
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Ancient Lich

Post by thespaceinvader »

Since we seem to have settled on the idea of Ancient Liches having a somewhat freeform anatomy, I thought I'd take the liberty of coming up with a unit description which should fit whatever layout the final generic Ancient Lich takes:
thespaceinvader wrote:Ancient Liches are artisans of necromantic power, consummate masters of the dark magics they wield. It can take centuries of study and difficult experience to achieve the level of ability and sadly, inhumanity, needed to abandon the bones one was born with, though some manage the process much more quickly. Once a Lich reaches this point, it can leave most of its human bones behind, and begin to incorporate parts of other creatures. This can have high costs for the former necromancer's sanity, however.

Many have said that no two Ancient Liches look alike, since each tailors its body to its own desires and the necessities of its existence. Few, however, have lived to tell the tale of seeing one such creature, let alone two, so it is difficult to be sure. The only certain constant is a human skull, the one piece the Lich always retains from its original body, and usually at least one pair of hands, for the casting and preparation of spells.

All Ancient Liches are powerful and potentially deadly opponents. Their magics and unusual bodies make them unpredictable and supremely dangerous.
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Simons Mith
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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by Simons Mith »

That's fine, but, personally I'd prefer it if the new exotic liches that are appearing in the portraits threads were instead given custom descriptions within their campaigns. Only a minor quibble, though.
 

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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by thespaceinvader »

I'd agree with that, I have to say. It would be nice for each artist to let us know the intended influences etc that way.
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boru
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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by boru »

Suggestions:
thespaceinvader wrote:Ancient Liches The Ancient Lich (assumes we are facing just one of these guys, and avoids the somewhat clumsy plural) is an are artisans of necromantic power, [a] consummate masters of the dark magics they wield it wields. It can take centuries of study and difficult unimaginable experience to achieve the level of ability power and sadly, inhumanity, needed to abandon the bones one was born with, though some manage the process much more quickly. Once a Lich reaches this point, it can leave most of its human bones behind, and begin to incorporate parts of other creatures. This [process] can have high costs for the former necromancer's sanity, however.

Many have said that no two Ancient Liches look alike, since each tailors its body to its own desires and the necessities of its existence. Few, however, have lived to tell the tale of seeing one such creature, let alone two, so it is difficult to be sure. The only certain constant is a human skull, the one piece which the Lich always retains from its original body, and usually at least one pair of hands, for the casting and preparation of spells.

All Ancient Liches are powerful and potentially deadly opponents. [The combination of] Their magics and unusual monstrous bodies make them unpredictable and supremely dangerous.
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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by thespaceinvader »

Mostly seem reasonable, except for one particular thing - I used the word ability, rather than power, on purpose. It fits better, and avoids the repetition of the word power within two sentences. I also think the 'most of' is important, as the original skull, the way I would see it, has to be maintained.
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boru
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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by boru »

Okay :)

Just wondering about this line:
thespaceinvader wrote:Few, however, have lived to tell the tale of seeing one such creature, let alone two, so it is difficult to be sure.
I'm not sure anyone would actually need to have seen two or more liches personally in order for there to be a shared description based on word-of-mouth, or drawings.
“It is written in my life-blood, such as that is, thick or thin; and I can no other.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by thespaceinvader »

If few even live to tell the tale of seeing one ancient lich, it's still difficult to be sure exactly what they look like...
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monochromatic
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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by monochromatic »

One thing I have to say about Ancient Liches: most of them that we face are NOT ancient! Think about all the ancient liches in the mainline campaigns: Mal M'Brin (TSG bandit branch), Mal Ravanal (EI), Mal Keshar (DiD), Lich-Lord Jevyan (TRoW), Ro'arthinian (NR): I'm not sure about Ro'arthinian and Jevyan, but none of the other 'ancient' liches are over a few decades old! Let alone centuries.

Since we are re-defining this unit, I'd say we should change the name as well. I don't have any ideas at the moment, but I definitely think the name should rather imply the lich's growth in power and ability, rather than age.

More suggestions:
Maybe along those lines we could possibly re-balance that unit to being a level 4, and thus a leveling option for the lich?
If we also wanted that 'super-boss' flavor still in there, maybe we should also create a standalone level 5 abomination sort of unit? Possibly these re-designs could apply to that unit rather than the level 4?
If we still wanted to keep things sort of as is, could we find an explanation for the centuries-old thing? Maybe it has something to do with the 'Land of the Dead' in DM? (like living through a couple centuries in that land?)

EDIT: I know this is slightly off-topic seeing this thread, but I thought since this is the Writers' Forum and we're talking about Anicent Liches.... I guess it directly affects the description as well.

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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by Simons Mith »

Yes, elvish_sovereign touches on core reason for my niggle earlier. Boring bog standard level 4 'ancient liches' are nothing special. /Campaign/ liches, on the other hand, are as unique as Delfador, Konrad, Kapou'e et al, and deserve special treatment. I'm starting to think campaign liches ought to be level 5s, like Delfador, and unattainable outside of campaigns. So we need one or two new unit names, one for campaign liches (- and we could re-use 'ancient' for that, because these units are otherwise unattainable), and one for standard level 4 liches. Perhaps we could use 'lich' for the level 4, and demote the level 3s to demiliches.

Or we could ditch the 'ancient' term for these creatures and replace it with 'greater', 'arch' or something. In other words, de-emphasise their supposed great age, which doesn't make a great deal of sense in the Wesnoth setting anyway, given our advancement system, and instead emphasise their power, rarity or other notable traits. 'Campaign lich' is exactly what I'd want to convey, but you can't really use that word in a unit description.
 

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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by thespaceinvader »

I'd be fine with leaving out the ancient part and making it greater, arch, whatever works. But it's something that would need raising on IRC when I have more time, it's not a decision to be made lightly.
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boru
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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by boru »

elvish_sovereign wrote:One thing I have to say about Ancient Liches: most of them that we face are NOT ancient!
Did I miss something? Where is the evidence that Jevyan is not ancient?
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monochromatic
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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by monochromatic »

@Boru
elvish_sovereign wrote:One thing I have to say about Ancient Liches: most of them that we face are NOT ancient! Think about all the ancient liches in the mainline campaigns: Mal M'Brin (TSG bandit branch), Mal Ravanal (EI), Mal Keshar (DiD), Lich-Lord Jevyan (TRoW), Ro'arthinian (NR): I'm not sure about Ro'arthinian and Jevyan, but none of the other 'ancient' liches are over a few decades old! Let alone centuries.
I am not talking about Jevyan. Look at the other liches I mentioned.

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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by thespaceinvader »

Mal Keshar, once he becomes an ancient lich, is indeterminately old, certainly more than a few decades, to my reading of the campaign. The others, yeah, they're kinda not that old. But that's why I put in the clause about some being able to do it more quickly...
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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by monochromatic »

Hm. From what I understand from the dialogue, every couple years or so (let's say 10 for now) a hero gathers his followers to kill the lich. I've managed to level Malin in the previous scenario before. That's a time span of like - no more than a couple days! That's what I have a problem with. Going from Lich -> Ancient Lich in a couple days is, uh. That's not ancient.

Yes, one can manage the transformation process more quickly than others, but that further proves that 'Ancient' is probably not the right term for the unit we are describing.

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Re: Ancient Lich

Post by thespaceinvader »

The other issue is that the levelling process in the game, and storyline things are not necessarily always the same. It canonically takes years of study for a mage to advance within the order, but it can be done within the space of a single scenario.

We may have to accept some level of gameplay and story segregation on that particular issue.
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