Lich, Bardic

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Lich, Bardic
Climate/Terrain:Any in Ravenloft
Activity Cycle:Night
Diet:Magical energies
Intelligence:Genius (17)
Alignment:Neutral good
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:0
Hit Dice:9 (45 hit points)
No. of Attacks:1
Damage/Attack:2-8 (2d4)
Special Attacks:Magic absorption
Special Defenses:+1 or better weapon to hit; fear aura
Magic Resistance:Special
Size:M (6' tall)
Morale:Champion (16)
XP Value:13,000

Throughout the domains of Ravenloft and in countless other worlds, there are few creatures more terrible than the lich. In most cases, these diabolical creatures seek out the means by which they attain unread status, willingly sacrificing their humanity in the quest for forbidden knowledge and unchecked power. In rare cases, the curse of eternal life has been thrust upon somone quite accidentally. Such tragedies are few and far between, but sadly they do occur.

Combat: Andres Duvall is not a true lich. Still, his powers resemble those of these foul undead so strongly that it seems best to classify him among their number.

Like a true lich, Duvall radiates an aura of magical terror that causes all creatures of fewer than 5 Hit Dice (or 5th level) to make a fear check or flee in terror for 5-20 (5d4) rounds.

In melee combat, Andres strikes with a chilling touch. This effect is somewhat less potent than is common in true liches. As such, it inflicts only 2-8 (2d4) points of damage. Anyone struck by Duvall must make a Saving Throw vs. Paralysis or be unable to move for a number of rounds equal to the number of damage points inflicted. This paralysis can be dispelled normally. In addition to his chilling touch and the paralysis it causes, Duvall can drain the magical energies of spellcasters in the manner described in more detail below.

Duvall is immune to injury by weapons which are not of at least +1 magical enchantment. He is immune to all manner of sleep, charm, hold, cold, enfeebletnent, polymorph, lightning, insanity, or death spells. Duvall can be turned as any other 9 Hit Dice undead.

As a 9th-level bard, Duvall has the use of some magical spells. On any given day, he can employ three first-level, three second-level, and two third-level spells, with the following being his favorite choices: color spray, phantasmal force, and sleep; glitterdust, improved phantasmal force, and pyrotechnics; fire ball and wraithform. Duvall also has the thievish abilities to Climb Walls (80%), Detect Noise (50%), Pick Pockets (50%), and Read Languages (45%). He has lost his ability to influence crowds, inspire friends and allies, or counter magical songs but does retain his 45% chance to know the history or lore of any magical item he comes across.

Because of the unusual way in which Andres Duvall became undead, he does not have a phylactery or similar vessel containing his life force.

Duvall's transformation resulted in the creation of a special ability unknown among true liches. Magical energies directed at him do not affect him in any way. Rather, these energies are absorbed and serve to strengthen his life force. When Duvall is injured, he does not regain hit points through normal healing or any form of regeneration. Rather, he must absorb spell energy. He can do this in two ways. The first, and easiest, is to simply have spells cast at him. Any spell, regardless of its nature, will have no effect upon him other than to restore 1 lost hit point per level of the spell. Thus, a 5th-level spell like magic jar cast upon him will restore 5 hit points. Spell effects from objects work the same way, with the DM having the final word in deciding the effective level of any such spells,

Alternately, Duvall can absorb spell energy by touching a wizard, cleric, or other spellcaster. In combat, this requires an attack roll; in other situations it may not. As soon as the victim is touched, the highest level spell he or she (or it) had memorized is lost and Duvall gains its energy in the form of regenerated hit points. If more than one spell of the highest level is available, the one absorbed should be determined by a random die roll.

Duvall is able to absorb spell energy even when he is at his maximum hit point total, but he gains no additional hit points from this process.

Habitat/Society: Andres Duvall was a half-elf born in the domain of Darkon some one hundred and fifty years ago. He was born to an elven mother and a human father in the community of Sidnar, south of Lake Korst. The status of his parents was great enough that he was accepted by the community. Indeed, the young Duvall was so sweet a child that he was cherished and loved by all the elves. In return, Duvall loved the elves. He learned their songs, their stories, and their legends. As a young man, their love of beauty and magic drove him to wander the world, seeing out its majesty.

As he travelled, Duvall mastered his skills as a bard. He learned many things, many bright and happy, some dark and sinister. It was his unending search for new stories and songs that brought the terrible curse of undeath upon him.

While visiting the elves of Neblus, he came upon the fragments of an ancient tome. This mysterious document told the tale of a young wizard who sought greater and greater power. At first, he found the story distracting. As he read more, he found it engrossing, though horrifying. In the end, he knew that he had found an account detailing the process by which Azalin, the Lord of Darkon, had become a lich.

Unable to believe what he had read, he destroyed the book and tried to forget what he had read. His soul, however, had been tainted by the evils he had studied. Every night, terrible visions haunted his dreams. Every night, he awoke in a trembling fit with the image of Castle Avernus searing his mind.

At last, he travelled to the terrible fortress where Azalin dwelt. Timidly. he approached the door and, to his surprise, it swung open to admit him. All but entranced, he wandered in and the door slammed shut behind him.

For the next week, Anders was both a prisoner and a guest in Castle Avernus. By Azalin's command, he told stories and sang songs, lightening the dark mood of the domain's master. In return, the lich told him the tale of his life and his years in Ravenloft. It seemed to Duvall that Azalin found it almost a relief to tell another his morbid story.

Duvall was certainly fascinated by the story of Azalin's life, death, and unlife. He was also convinced that the dark lord was not telling him all that there was to know. He decided that he must learn more and slipped quietly into the lich's inner sanctum.

As he explored this terrible place, Azalin discovered his trespasses and confronted him. Enraged at this violation of his hospitality, the lich unleashed a stroke of magical lightning at the bard. Reacting quickly, Duvall attempted to shield himself with the great book he had been about to examine. The lightning struck the tome, which happened to be one of Azalin's most potent books of spells, and a terrible explosion shook the castle. Showers of blazing fragments ignited fires around the room and thick, acrid smoke boiled into the air.

Dazed, but amazed that he had survived at all, Duvall fled. Azalin, intent on saving his magical laboratory, did not pursue. Thus, Duvall escaped and went into hiding.

As the days passed, it became more and more clear to Duvall that the accident in the laboratory had made some great change in his body. To his horror, he found that his heart no longer beat and that he did not breathe. He had not survived the attack, after all. Gradually, Duvall's appearance began to change as well. His skin dried and stretched tight across his bones. He began to look more and more like the withered Azalin. Within a week, he was so horrible to look upon that most folk fled from him in terror at first sight.

Ecology: Duvall survives by feeding upon magical energies. Each day, he must absorb a minimum of one level of spell energy to satisfy his hunger.