Ancient Lich Development

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thespaceinvader
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by thespaceinvader »

Fo a generic, I quite like the idea od an elongated skeleton, particularly a long neck, and a second, smaller set of arms for holding a book, swathed in a similar costume to the current lich, actually, based ont eh persuasive arguments in this thread...
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Darker_Dreams
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by Darker_Dreams »

zookeeper wrote:Personally I feel that a lot of these ideas go way too far in the "bone monster in a cheap horror movie" category. The way to make something scary is to make them mostly human but with a few non-human aspects. If one just mixes together whatever cool bones one can think of, then it's very hard to make it not just another "bone monster from a cheap horror movie".
One of the things that always struck me was that a lich's modifications would often be better spent on servitors and guardians. Liches aren't front-line fighters and their strength comes from being able to cast spells. While I can understand not wanting to be a glass cannon I can't imagine doing things that would get in the way of better spellcasting.
zookeeper wrote:Want a lich to have four arms? Great, but it's better to tuck the extra pair somewhere where they're just barely visible from under the robes than to make it wave all four around in plain sight: it's creepier that way. Want snake heads? Sure, good idea, but one is better than three, and so on...
I agree on the arms (unless you can find something interesting to do with them). Though I'm not sure one is better than three with the heads, though. If they're usable for spellcasting (ie; can speak/chant spells) multiple heads is an interesting idea. On the visual side I'd think you'd want to be careful that one doesn't just look like an odd pet rather than a modification. Two-three seems ok, again assuming they are engaged in something and not just waving around saying "I'm creepy," more seems like it might be trying to hard
zookeeper wrote:To convey the idea that ancient liches are really creepy and can and tend to modify their "body" doesn't require one to have four skeletal snakes for legs, a drake skull for a helmet and having one arm replaced with a thunderstick-wielding dwarf skeleton. I'd suggest picking one major freaky feature, and then keeping everything else reasonably subtle. If you want skeletal snakes for legs, then sure, go ahead, but don't also make it have gryphon wings and four arms flailing around casting spells.
As with any art the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and impression is in the eye of the beholder. I entirely agree that with the ancient liches subtlety should be a watchword. I'm not sure a limit of "one per customer" isn't too small- I think it depends on the modifications. I'd argue that multiple "small" modifications are better than one extreme one. These categories are somewhat hard to define though- Multiple arms doesn't seem mindbending to me, who hasn't wished for an extra hand or two now and again when they were carrying a heavy load or working on a complex task?

On the other side; the ghoul line, and examples elsewhere, are horror-in-extrema which isn't bad. It's going to be difficult to do with a lich without breaking willing suspension of disbelief and thus horror (that thing casts spells and commands armies?).
Sleepwalker wrote:Yeah you have a point there. I realize now that my post was a little hypocritical... Oh well.
I liked yours. There are three visible (and clearly useful or reasonably impressive) modifications- elongated neck, two extra arms, and more stabilized base. It does remind me a bit of the monstrous Dr. Smith from the Lost in Space movie (not a bad thing!).
Geirroed wrote:...
it looks like his back is broken. I like the concept, but it's not one that has to merge Lich with throne. Why not just give him an animated throne and have him sit properly in it?
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SFault
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by SFault »

More humanoid lich with some demonic features. First I was disappointed about it's plain clothes, so I got an idea to add a shadow creature behind it.
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Simons Mith
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by Simons Mith »

I think a lot of these examples are crossing the line from liches into what I'd call 'bone golems'.

As a piece of background information, undead leaders can often be assumed to have extensive ossuaries; an 'armory' of skeleton parts that can be used to assemble their Bone Shooters, Skeleton Archers, Draugs and all. Just look at the recruitment animations for these units. Maybe in order to have a sketelon warrior, you have to have a mostly complete set of bones from one person. Or maybe bones can be treated as interchangeable components, I don't know. So, what do you do when, thanks to recent combat, you've got an excess of ribcages, skulls and humeruses, but a tibia and fibula shortage? How about, summon a shapeshifting demon spirit of some kind, instead of the ghost of a human/dwarf/elf warrior, and give it some sort of bone spider skeleton construct to inhabit? Result: some of the distorted monstrosities in this thread, many of which will be unique.

Yes, there may well be liches that use this technique too, but I think these could make an interesting new class of monsters in their own right. Possibly split to a new thread if you want to explore this area.
 
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by Darker_Dreams »

Simons Mith wrote:How about, summon a shapeshifting demon spirit of some kind
relatively minor fluff quibble (I generally agree with the rest of what you had to say), but why does it have to be a demon or spirit of any kind? Aside from religion concerns with demons, fantasy is just as rife with examples of animating objects without any sort of recognizably pre-existing external spirit as with animating things through grabbing a spirit and stuffing it into the object. I, for one, like the idea of not requiring this sort of thing being "auto-evil." Sure, in general it's not a good (or sane) thing to do, and will offend the heck out of people, but it seems worthwhile to stay out of that sort of two-dimensional "always chaotic-evil" land. Then again, there are examples of characters working with demons that aren't automatically chaotic evil (dresden files, ethshar).... I suppose my concern is it's already easy to have that paintbrush on hand when you start with "necromancer."
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A-Red
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by A-Red »

Starting with something a little more on the basic side. How's this for, say, Mal Ravanal? He's such a generic "card-carrying villain" that I think playing the lich concept relatively straight works for him. He's also one of the younger lich bosses, and less likely to be modified to the extreme. Could also work for Sothian (Arthian? Whichever one Valk didn't do the concept for yet) since he'll be leveling up directly from a normal lich.
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Darker_Dreams
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by Darker_Dreams »

The arms being up left me hearing a little kid's voice going; "Teacher, I have a question." Can they be positioned in another way?
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

The upper left arm would be better if it came out of his chest.
But this is not bad, not bad at all. 8)
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by woodmouse »

Okay, I don't know if I'm qualified talented enough, but I thought I'd post an image I drew.
Image

...And I don't know about Orc skeletons' looks, so I just tried to make them similar to neanderthal people. :whistle:
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axl
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by axl »

Hello

Complete Noob to Wesnoth forums so forgive me if i've missed/miss any etiquette, i hope the image isn't too big.

I tried to go for the going beyond human and skeleton thing people talked about. I wanted (but failed) to make it look like its putting all its weight on that sword (which might be a mistake in itself but my reasoning behind it went along the lines of: if you're an ancient lich, you're already pretty hard core. And smart as anything so you're not going to take the chance not arming yourself (i.e only having a wand to do hand to hand damage) so that some strong arm comes and tries his luck hand to hand with a pile of bones and flesh...you're gonna want a big sword as the ultimate back up).

The left arm would a hairy sort of orc arm and the other one bone and a snake to boot (not sure if that would necessitate another attack?)

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A-Red
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by A-Red »

Some tweaks, including anti-alias, which I've always been bad about. Pretty happy with the arms as they are.

The more I look at this lich, the more I think he's too neutral for Ravanal. Either one of the generics, or Sothian, possibly with the Face Guard of Malevolent Intent removed. What do you guys think? Is this good enough to use?
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Kraus
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by Kraus »

Just to toss in compliments, I'm thrilled about the direction axl took with his lich. Just sticking out extra arms seems pretty obvious, generic and - above all - not that useful. Ancient liches, I reckon, will have lots of material to build their bodies from, and taking advantage of other races than human should be a given.

And I'm a big fan of were-something concepts. :) As I've been skimming through this thread I've had similar ideas myself; if I were to do a design, I'd like to see liches aiming at conviniency at all costs, but never forgetting that they actually are superior beings, and with their human backgrounds they should have retained a sense of dominance over others. To maintain this image, decorated robes and other ornaments could be added.

But yeah, I'm a big fan of axl's design, and it's fun to follow the process. :)

A-red: Why would he not add a pair to his third hand? Having just one extra hand seems like an inconvenience to me. And, artistically, I think one would bring a bit of balance to the sprite. The staff does this to an extent, but right now the concept seems a bit odd.
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by nindjo »

i like the new lich red more then good enough to be used atleast as a campain unit and i woulden't ad another arm kraus say he looks cooler this way
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by lostnumber »

Lord valk had some really cool ideas in the other thread, but I think his were more dynamic and unique and probably better befit unique campaign liches. Of the concepts posted here so far I'm definitely a big fan of both Sleepwalkers and Valks most recent post (the one with the elongated neck).

I feel like Valks 1st concept would be great for a spider lich, which is a unit in one of the campaigns I know
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Re: Ancient Lich Development

Post by axl »

Kraus wrote:To maintain this image, decorated robes and other ornaments could be added.
I don't think this is appropriate simply because if a Lich has gone past Wealth and Power (as in its presumably reached a stage in necromancy is doesn't need the first and has an abundance of the second) i really don't think its going to bother with bling, or clothes for that matter.

Have you ever wondered why we (fantasy designers/fans) always put robes on skeletons/Lichs/etc? Robes don't protect. And do Lichs suffer from the cold? They're dead so i don't think so. Secondly what do they have to be ashamed of? They're dead...and have no genitalia...and their evil so even if they did they'd probably have it hanging out anyway.

I think the robe/bling thing is passé and useless particularly for this character. A Lich is the ultimate stage of necromancy, I don't think it bothers with clothes of human trivialities. Bling should only be applicable if it has a super magical necklace or ring (not that it would need them anyway) but just caking it on doesn't make any sense to me.
Kraus wrote:A-red: Why would he not add a pair to his third hand? Having just one extra hand seems like an inconvenience to me. And, artistically, I think one would bring a bit of balance to the sprite. The staff does this to an extent, but right now the concept seems a bit odd.
Someone made a comment in another thread about extra hands for casting spells, again i don't know if that's necessary. Does the ultimate evolution of necromancy use hand symbols still? I'd propose it doesn't and does it all through its mind...realistically i don't think it would even bother with a body but then what would we hit? Valk's smoky concept is good except that it looks too much like a wraith or a ghost.

*On a separate note the driving force of the Lich should be sadness/despair/anguish in my opinion. It's gone past wealth (stage one evil, Dr Evil) past power (stage two, Politicians) past control (stage three, the Sith) past hatred (for life, something like Darth Vader). The Ancient Lich doesn't Hate because it doesn't/can't love, Darth Vader Loves/ed Padme and that's why he Hates life and seeks to control it. The Ancient Lich has nothing to love, it has lived so long and is so far into the realms of evil that it just despairs.
So finally it gets to the stage where it's forgotten happiness and love and hate, even in doing evil it isn't happy or joyous or elated. it's just pure sadness or despair, unable to die peacefully and unable to live happily or derive any joy from its existence (even killing doesn't bring him joy) it just continues. It becomes more led than leader (though of course its followers are scared to &%* of it).
I think this gives the Ancient Lich a personality as well. Instead of just being 'motivated' by hate (which is fairly boring tbh and that's the deal with younger Liches) it's just sort of a sad sack of bones and smoke existing for no reason except existence itself a coil it can't/won't cut by itself. Also it's like the deepest sense of narcissism as well which i think would be really interesting to write for*
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