A roleplay-focused guide to being a Good(ish) aligned Lich. Spoilers ahead.
Since time immemorial, pathfinders have asked one simple question: Can I be a good-aligned lich? The answers to this question usually range from a definitive “No, not a chance,” to “That’s a great way to lose all your powers,” to “That doesn’t even remotely make sense.” This guide offers a different answer.
Does the idea of having unstoppable arcane power appeal to you? Do you want to use said power to easily blast through the game on higher difficulties? Do you have a hard time being evil in games? Well, look no further! The following is a step-by-step, spoiler-filled guide to being a lich… while being good and upright as possible. Will some heads roll that otherwise wouldn’t on an Angel run? Yes. Will the occasional soul get destroyed and/or enslaved? Yes. Will the game and plot itself be confused by our contradictory actions? Also yes. But is it possible to be a bad guy without really being a bad guy? According to this guide, yes it is!
Character Creation and Roleplay Philosophy
To be a good lich, there are a couple of core philosophies that your character will need to possess:
1. All knowledge is worth learning.
2. It’s always worthwhile to selflessly help people that deserve it.
3. The ends justify the means.
4. The crusade was run really poorly before you came along.
To start, it is highly recommended your character worships Nethys. Not only does this patron of mages fit our character’s journey (One hand saves the world, the other destroys it), it will give your lich several great dialogue options during the game related to arcane knowledge. Your alignment will need to fall into one of Nethys domains. Lawful Neutral works best.
Your class can be whatever you desire, but bonus points for picking Sylvan Sorcerer with a dog pet. Not only do you get a merged spellbook for ultimate power, but the idea of being this scary lich who loves their dog is pretty great.
The following will cover key story moments and decisions. For the most part, it will assume your lich is doing good deeds, saving and helping people when prompted. When you choose dialogue options in this playthrough, keep those 4 points in mind and you’ll find your character’s actions to be pretty cohesive. All decisions here are fully compatible with the ascension ending.
1.1 When you find the light of heaven, feel free to whip it out and use it all the time! As far as our character is concerned, the power here is valuable in how it inspires people to fight back against demons. By the same token, resist your demonic urges at any opportunity. You’re a scholar, not an angry toddler!
1.2 (optional) Recruit Lann and Inspire the Mongrels. Lann knows better than anyone how its possible to be corrupted and still fight demons. He’ll surprisingly end up agreeing with you a lot of the time, and through him the Mongrels will stick by you when no one else will.
1.3 Spare Hulrun and unlock the trickster path. Hulrun may be a bit of a bad guy, but his power will serve the crusade well. Show him the pretty light you found twice to convince him to cool it with the friendly fire. Doing both the above will keep us from having to make some tough decisions later on.
1.4 If you are going for the ascension ending, reconcile the angels. Otherwise, use the purple dagger to grant them all peace.
2 We are now the crusade commander! Time to win this thing. Bringing the queen along with you is (optional), but there is no downside.
2.1 Recruit Regil and the Hellknights. Regil will be your best friend. Sometimes, you have to do a harsh thing to do a good thing. This guy gets that. One of only two characters in your entire party who thinks “Undead? Good idea.”
2.2 Get the Lich wand and meet your angry professor, Zach. For obvious reasons, essential to being a Lich. At this point, your character has seen the crusaders do very poorly against the demons. They get infiltrated by cultists constantly and die to demons in about one hit. Heck, one of the toughest paladins in your army loses her nerve quickly. You know who can’t be infiltrated, killed or scared? The undead. The power of death is what will help you win the crusade, and your character understands that. Sure, Zach seems a bit evil. But he possesses the knowledge you need, and you’ll use it for good… right?
2.3 Discover Nurah’s treachery and recruit her. Maybe by this point, you’re a little fed up with the weakness of your own crusaders. Maybe you see this crazy cultist as being easily manipulated for the crusade’s benefit. Either way, recruit her, as she’ll help us down the line.
3. At his point, you’ve chosen the path of the Lich and people will start getting mad at you for your decisions. Whenever possible, declare your good intentions even as you start doing just a little bit of evil. This is also when you’ll start encountering your graveguard.
3.1 Staunton has made some poor choices in life that you’re going to help him atone for by winning the crusade. Resurrect him as your first graveguard. You can even express your sympathy for him if you so desire.
3.2 At some point you’ll have the opportunity to resurrect Delemere as your second graveguard. She is not happy about her new existence. Grant her peace if you wish… but she did, in life, go around running people out of their homes and preventing towns from being built, so she is not exactly a saint and could do with a bit of forced atonement.
3.3 Old man Ciar, your third candidate for graveguard, hates you from the moment he sets eyes upon you. How unreasonable! Through Morweg’s quest, you’ll be able to talk Ciar down from his total hatred of you to merely a strong dislike. This does mean you won’t be able to recruit him as a graveguard, however. The path of the good lich is not without sacrifices.
3.4 Eventually you’ll meet your undead advisors. Insane Zombie Fan, and (guy who totally understands you) Septimius. Septimius understands the enlightened benefits of your rule, and believes also that undead and living coexist in harmony. Side with him and implement the dead laws.
3.5 (optional) You’ll uncover Camellia’s activities eventually and will be faced with a choice. If you choose to believe her, you understand that the ends justify the means and allow her to continue. Or you have a zero tolerance for murder and have her killed. Either work! For the former, if you’re male, feel free to romance the little psychopath. Her “love” will come in handy later for a great story moment.
3.6 After your failed lich transformation, Zach will express how you’re “too good” to be a lich and that you’ll need to be eviler. He’ll prompt you to destroy a random soul in order to set your alignment to evil. He won’t say whose soul it is, so you’re going to assume it’s an evil cultist and/or puppy kicker who totally deserves it.
3.7 Do not bring Staunton with you when you attack the midnight fane, or you’ll be forced to kill Yaniel who will not understand your actions.
3.8 Do not give Galfrey the Lexicon of Paradox if you are going for the ascension ending, or you’ll have to kill her to get it back later. This act is not consistent with a good lich, and there is no benefit to
4. This chapter is, for the most part, pretty straightforward and free of any “morally questionable” decisions.
4.1 Most of the time you’ll be accompanied by the Hand of the Inheritor, a righteous champion of light who, surprisingly, totally has your back! Win his respect and trust through your good deeds in the abyss. The hand will express that, while he knows the source of your power is dark, he knows you’ll use it for good. You’ve got that right, buddy!
4.2 (optional) Bring Staunton with you when you confront Minagho for some well-deserved revenge.
4.3 In the Colyphyr mines you’ll discover Kestoglyr, an undead knight enslaved to the abyss. Kill him, then raise him as your graveguard to help fight back against his captors. He’ll serve you loyally as your bodyguard from now on.
5.0 At the start of this chapter, you’ll be asked to choose your final mythic path. You can, of course choose Gold dragon or Legend and continue guilt free (you’ll even keep a merged spellbook if you don’t respec). Our actions so enable the switch pretty easily., But for the purposes of this guide, we’re going to assume you stay the course and commit to being a full lich. This is also where the game’s plot starts to get confused by your actions.
5.1 Prior to making your final choice, you’ll be confronted by a demon army and be prompted to choose a Lich, Legend, or (if unlocked) gold dragon response. DO NOT pick the Lich response. This will kill nearly every crusader in the city. Pick the Legend option.
5.2 Upon committing to lich, Seelah will leave the party. Regrettable, but nothing you can do about that. However, thanks to picking the legend option in 3.1, you’ll find Drezen still full of crusaders who are perfectly happy with you!
5.3 Now that you’ve made your final choice, people like Anevia will start to reference your “atrocities.” However, they’re just confused. At this point, thanks to your dead laws you’ve only ever raised willing subjects, or the corpses of your foes. And you’ve never committed any massacres against innocents.
5.4 Iz. Despite her poor treatment of you, leadership, and tactical decisions, Galfrey is still your queen and a good person at heart. And Irabeth is with her too. So you’re going to save them. If going for the ascension ending, go to the Iz Archives first, grab the glass key and then leave again without doing anything else. Make a b-line towards the Queen and save her and Irabeth. Galfrey is your last potential graveguard, but there is no way to justify raising her in this playthrough. Thanks to sparing Hulrun, he is now around to defend the sword of Valor. Ciar does die in battle, but that’s his own fault for never giving you a chance.
5.5 Your undead advisors will eventually get into a war with each other and zach tells you to stop it. Side with Septimus against the crazy zombie lady, and then choose not to kill Septimus after she has been dealt with. He’ll be useful in your rule to come.
5.6 When returning from Iz, the queen will demand you surrender and leave Drezen. Obviously, this is not acceptable. However, it is important that you spare the misguided crusaders so they can return to their lives in peace. The dead will accomplish what they could not. Let them go.
5.7. The time has finally come for your full lich transformation! You’ll need to perform at least 2 out of the 3 sacrifices that ole Zach demands of you. The only morally challenging one is sacrificing your love, which will be covered below. After the ritual, a band of crusaders and the crazy Zombie lady will attack you. Spare the misguided crusaders and do whatever you want with Zombie lady. Now, because you spared Septimus and/or refused one of the ritual sacrifices, Zach is going to demand that you grovel. If you decide you’ve had enough of his evil dickishness, this is your opportunity to attack and permanently kill him at the cost of your phylactery. Both options are acceptable here. After all, what’re 5 seconds of groveling when compared to eternity. Besides, you can always smite him later if you become a God.
5.7.2 Romance. As mentioned above, if you are in a romance Zach will tell you that you’ll need to kill that person for the lich ritual. Therefore, it is highly recommended not to romance anyone (thereby skipping this step. They’ll break up with you anyway even if they live)… except for Camellia, if you’re male. At this point in the game, you’ll have learned that she was lying to you and made up her reason for the murders. She just enjoys it. This makes her the perfect candidate for a lich sacrifice. There is great poetic justice in her being killed in the exact way she murders others. The difference being her death accomplishes a greater good. Makes for a great breakup story!
5.8. Congratulations, you are now a full lich! No longer having to listen to Zach, you can be as good as you want from now on. The moment you transform, the crowds in Drezen will completely vanish. Where did they go? Who knows! Maybe it took a little bit for everyone to leave after your speech in
5.6. People, like Anevia and Lady Konomi will occasionally reference the dark things you’ve done to the crusaders and “what happened to them.” But both they and the game are just confused. You didn’t see anything or order anything bad happen! Your companions and advisors, many of whom vocally disproved of your choices, all greet you with smiles now. All is well.
5.9. The ineluctable prison. Two things of note happen here. Firstly, thanks to gaining the Hand of the Inheritor’s trust in act 4, he’ll accept his heart back from your boney fingers. He’ll still be sad about his actions, but he’ll heal in time.
5.9.2 It is essential that you bring Kestoglyr with you to the Prison. During your adventures there, you’ll meet the ghost of his dead wife who laments at how the demons have robbed Kestoglyr of his soul. She’ll ask you to retrieve the sword and purify it. Follow her instructions and do not take the evil option. Give Kestoglyr the sword when he asks for it, and you’ll awaken his dead soul by reminding him about the love he held for his wife. He’ll regain his free will and knightly spirit, but will still choose loyally serve you to fight the Worldwound. It’s a genuinely great moment that feels right for the good lich.
5.10. Thanks to sparing Nurah, you won’t have to choose between Ascension research and saving innocents
5.11. The followers of Pharasma will eventually attack you in Drezen. For your part, you’re acting in self-defense so you’re completely justified.
From here on out, things more or less proceed the same. You’ll get some comments about how you’re a dark soul, but once again you haven’t done anything too to people who didn’t deserve it! Feel free to either pursue the ascension ending and become the good god of necromancy, or throw your phylactery into the Worldwound to save everyone. You’ll get some lines about how Mendev becomes a dark place due to all the undead you unleashed, but thanks to siding with Septimius you’ll also get an ending slide about him dedicating himself to making sure the living and the dead co-exist in your land together. The best possible outcome.
Everyone lived happily ever after… except for everyone who died, Seehla, and Galfrey. But you can (not) live with that.
Thanks for reading! Hope this helps others that want to try this wonky way to play an otherwise very evil path. If I’ve forgotten anything big or missed any good lich interactions, let me know. Happy Liching!
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