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How much should I charge for lichdom?


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Greetings, all!

As I've informed some people on this board, I started making a lichdom mod.  (This text script has no code yet.)  One of the required components is money, and I wanted to know what would be considered a 'fair' price per lichdom ritual in the Shadows of Amn portion and later in the Throne of Bhaal portion.  (This mod would allow lichdom in the BG2 part of the saga only, and would preferably have the same price if done in SoA and ToB.  The mod is scheduled to be BG2:EE and EET compatible upon release.  There is no guarantee it will work for pre-EE games, and those aren't the intended platforms.  Add support for those if you want!)

In 3.5, lichdom is super expensive at 120,000G per person!  Nothing in BG2 comes close to that price!  (The most expensive vanilla items I could find off-hand were Carsomyr and a Robe of Vecna, each with a buy price of 20,000G.  While I know I could have an install-time option to adjust the price, I still want a standard price that's expensive enough to make people value it assuming only access to vanilla content, but also cheap enough that a party of 6 or more could still undergo this ritual.  Thus, what about 40,000G?  30K?  25K?  50K?  60K?  Other?

(NOTE: The authors of Mazzy's Megamod have granted me permission to do the requested cross-mod dialog.  As of this writing, I asked the maintainer of The Longer Road mod for cross-mod permission.)

Thankee!

Lichdom Stats
 

Spoiler

-The subject becomes Undead, becoming immune to the harmful effects of negative energy (at least if this is standardized so all Undead are affected the same way).  They’re immune to level drain.

+2 INT, WIS, and CHA.  If other Undead in BG lose their CON score, so do liches.  Otherwise, the CON score is the same.

+3 bonus (or is it -3 bonus?) to natural AC.

-Immunity to mundane (that is, nonmagical) weapons.

+50% damage reduction to slashing and piercing weapons.

-Immunity to harmful spells of levels 1-5.

-Immunity to hostile polymorph effects, hostile [Mind-Affecting] effects, poison, paralysis, death effects, and fatigue/exhaustion.

-Immunity to electricity.

-Continual
see invisibility.


-A lich gains a paralyzing touch as a melee weapon.  Any non-immune creature hit with this touch that fails a save vs. death with a -2 penalty becomes permanently paralyzed.  (Implementation-wise, this could be done by adding an innate ability as a toggle for paralyzing touch to be used instead of a typical melee weapon if another melee weapon is equipped.)


-A lich who dies is revived immediately after 8 hours of rest at full HP.

Edited by Endarire
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Bartimaeus is right. It's not just powers you have to weigh against the price, though. They are not the reason wizards choose to become liches, they do it because they don't want to die. If the main character doesn't conveniently ascend to godhood in a pillar of green fire at the end of Throne of Bhaal, he can look forward to descending to mother earth in not too many years. Lichdom is the only more or less commonly available, well-studied way to avoid death. All others are local, partial or unique. You need to develop the mod with this in mind, although a ten year-old is not likely to worry about that distant prospect, and Charname is ten. The Time of Troubles was in 1358 DR, and Baldur's Gate begins in 1368 DR. Which explains a lot. Anyway, he's young, and why would he want to become an undead creep? If you were writing a story about someone older, you could make the case... But I'm making a fool of myself. You aren't writing any story, you just want to give bootlegged powers. Well, if this transformation can be made attractive at all to the hero, there is no reason why he wouldn't pay everything for it. But I suggest making the ingredients expensive rather than forcing him to cart in 120.000 geepies. He ain't bribing death, you know.

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3 hours ago, temnix said:

Lichdom is the only more or less commonly available, well-studied way to avoid death.

Vampirism?

3 hours ago, temnix said:

Charname is ten. The Time of Troubles was in 1358 DR, and Baldur's Gate begins in 1368 DR.

There is a lot of in-game evidence that Bhaal created the Bhaalspawn well before the ToT. ("Bhaal foresaw his own death and sired mortal children in an effort to bring about his return.")

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Purely in terms of the following changes...

Quote

+2 INT, WIS, and CHA.  If other Undead in BG lose their CON score, so do liches.  Otherwise, the CON score is the same.

 

+3 bonus (or is it -3 bonus?) to natural AC.

 

-Immunity to mundane (that is, nonmagical) weapons.

 

+50% damage reduction to slashing and piercing weapons.


-Immunity to harmful spells of levels 1-5.


-Immunity to hostile polymorph effects, hostile [Mind-Affecting] effects, poison, paralysis, death effects, and fatigue/exhaustion.


-Immunity to electricity.


-Continual see invisibility.


-A lich gains a paralyzing touch as a melee weapon.  Any non-immune creature hit with this touch that fails a save vs. death with a -2 penalty becomes permanently paralyzed.  (Implementation-wise, this could be done by adding an innate ability as a toggle for paralyzing touch to be used instead of a typical melee weapon if another melee weapon is equipped.)

 

-A lich who dies is revived immediately after 8 hours of rest at full HP.

...100k almost seems too cheap. A permanent Greater Globe of Invulnerability in of itself is well-worth the price, nevermind everything else. But I'd probably just leave it there (or at the P&P 120k), because going any higher is getting into the realm of absurdity.

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6 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

+3 bonus (or is it -3 bonus?)

Can we please just say "3-point bonus???"

6 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

But I'd probably just leave it there (or at the P&P 120k), because going any higher is getting into the realm of absurdity

I mean, why isn't everyone and their brother doing this? Every noble who has millions of gold and armies of retainers to find requisite artifacts and/or sacrifice? Why isn't Faerun overrun with liches? Why isn't every barkeep and courtesan a lich? This should be quite rare, and extraordinarily difficult, and there should be good reasons not to do it - I don't mean reasons like "I don't want to be a lich;" I mean this is a game so make in-game reasons not to do it, i.e. real mechanical disadvantages. It should be a trade-off - attain the power that goes along with lichdom, but give up some other kinds of power. Interesting choices are what make for good PC development.

As far as cost: it should basically cost everything. Like, I routinely see people post things like "lol, by the end of chapter 6 I had 400,000 gp." Or whatever. I say, find whatever that number is, and make that the cost.  You are buying immortality and immense, unending power over normal mortals; from a general storytelling perspective, the cost should be all the money.

Hopefully goes without saying that almost every companion should leave the party and refuse to re-join.

Finally, let's remember that the end quest here is for the Throne of Bhaal - not Myrkul. Myrkul is the god of undeath, while Bhaal is the god of murder, i.e. of dying, i.e. the god of the process of moving from life to death. If you become an immortal undead thing then you remove yourself from that process entirely. I would seriously suggest that a mod to allow Charname to become a lich should modify the end of the game, as such:

Spoiler

While the normal game ending gives you a choice between taking Bhaal's power and becoming a god, vs. remaining a mortal, if Charname is a lich then the only choices should be 1) remain a lich, or 2) undo your lichdom and become a living mortal again (maybe the player will have buyer's remorse?) But the chance to become a god of murder/dying should not be available to an undead Charname.

IMO.

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2 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

It should be a trade-off - attain the power that goes along with lichdom, but give up some other kinds of power. Interesting choices are what make for good PC development.

IIRC, lichdom is basically never truly enjoying anything ever again and becoming a complete husk of your former self, plus there is the vulnerability of the phylactery itself. However, neither of those can represented in these games, not really.

4 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

Can we please just say "3-point bonus???"

I prefer "+3 bonus", but the important bit is that if it's a good thing, it should say "bonus"; if it's a bad thing, it should say "penalty".

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8 minutes ago, Bartimaeus said:

IIRC, lichdom is basically never truly enjoying anything ever again and becoming a complete husk of your former self, plus there is the vulnerability of the phylactery itself. However, neither of those can represented in these games, not really.

I mean, a modder can be creative and try to get that across. My point is that it should be something that affects gameplay - we are, after all, playing a game. To make a mod where a major effect of the player's choice is a piece of throwaway fluff text, is IMHO a bit of a wasted effort.

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8 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

I mean, a modder can be creative and try to get that across. My point is that it should be something that affects gameplay - we are, after all, playing a game. To make a mod where a major effect of the player's choice is a piece of throwaway fluff text, is IMHO a bit of a wasted effort.

Yes, I think the mod author will have to come up with their own penalties (if they so desire to try to make it have at least some kind of drawback), because none of the P&P ones can really be applied to Baldur's Gate. Heck, not even the "you don't have a constitution score because you're undead" really works, especially because liches apparently get all of their hit dice replaced with 1D12, which is superior just in of itself to BG's 1D4 + 2 (if you have a constitution of 16)/level (average 4.5 vs lich's 6.5). Functionally speaking, it's all bonuses.

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All true. Which means either:

  1. Get creative, veer off PnP and just make stuff up that makes sense and makes for interesting choices/challenges. (This is after all a particular game and not a pure representation of the PnP rules... the whole game from level 1 to level 30 transpires in fewer days than it probably takes a PnP lich to achieve lichdom. Look at IWD for a canon-ish example of how an abbreviated lichdom process can create a lich that lacks full lich abilities.)
  2. Make it affect the story somehow, like drastically curtailing various choices the player can make. (See my suggestions above as possible examples.)
  3. Both? Something else entirely? It depends on the vision being implemented.
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There are serious dangers in becoming a lich, if the Monstrous Manual is to be followed. The process ends with the caster drinking a special potion that fails to work or kills him permanently about half of the time. If I were role-playing someone aiming for that threshold, I would direct my resources on improving that d20 roll with better ingredients, more exact formulae and so on. A good dungeon master would meet me half-way. This would all be dangerous and take me to faraway places, no doubt, as would even the basic process. But liches are not so rare as roc's teeth in the Forgotten Realms. It's not such a bad proposition either, to those who don't want to die. They don't all fall apart and limp about, there is magic to stop the decay or conceal it. One of the zulkirs of Thay is a lich, if I'm not mistaken, and he only looks like a pale, gaunt man. Undeath will also liberate one from the muddling of emotion and set the mind free to truly develop. I haven't read van Richten's Guide to Liches, for Ravenloft, but it probably gives a very good treatment to its subject. I know that the Guide to Vampires does, and it quite expanded my concepts about what they may be like. Yes, vampirism is another way to immortality, but the drawbacks are more obvious here.

And the game says that Bhaal did his inseminating during the Time of Troubles, no two ways about it. String number 24415. It's just another hole in the story, not the first, not the last.

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1 hour ago, temnix said:

And the game says that Bhaal did his inseminating during the Time of Troubles, no two ways about it. String number 24415. It's just another hole in the story, not the first, not the last.

"You are a product of the Time of Troubles" does not mean "you were conceived during the Time of Troubles" though. Without the Time of Troubles, you would not exist. All that bother because of some prophecy.

"This god strode the land before he was made to" literally says that Bhaal went on his insemination spree before the Time of Troubles. Right there, in the string you are referring to.

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