Archliches were a type of lich that were good beings during their life. They could be of any type of spellcaster and devoted their existence to whatever noble purpose motivated their transformation into lichdom.
The method of becoming an archlich was nearly identical to becoming a lich. They created a practical magical item, unlike a lich's phylactery, as it would be more than just a repository for their souls, typically, and by tradition, it took the form of a small spellbook. Also, like many liches, a magical potion was brewed that the prospective archlich must drink, while holding the created item, at least partially covered in the spellcaster's blood. A secret spell, known only to a few, would then have to be cast. This rite carried a small chance (less than one in ten) of possibly killing them and ruining the process. Otherwise it put the drinker into a deathlike slumber for four to sixteen minutes. If the sleeper survived, they would wake up an archlich. The prospective archlich had to have a direct hand in the creation of their magic item, but work on the item, the brewing of the potion, and the casting of the spell, could all be performed by another - though the process would always result in death if the subject was unwilling.
Unlike most other forms of undead creatures, the archlich retained all of the memories, personality, and abilities that it possessed in life—but it had a virtual eternity to hone its skills and inevitably became very powerful. Like other powerful forms of undead (such as a vampire or mummy), an archlich had unnatural powers owing to its state. For example, they could put mortals in a paralyzed state of hibernation with a touch, making them seem dead to others. An archlich was capable of sustaining tremendous physical damage, and was immune to disease, poison, fatigue and other things that affected only the living. However, despite all these undead "gifts", an archlich (like a lich) counted its vast intellect, its supreme mastery of wizardry and limitless time to research and plan, as its greatest resources.
An archlich could be of any non-evil alignment, retaining whatever alignment it had in life.
The choice to embrace undeath was allowed and considered only on rare occasions, when a clan or settlement had need of lorekeepers or defenders beyond the norm. Sustained indefinitely by magic, archliches appeared largely as they did in life, though an immediate clue as to its undead nature was the appearance of shrivelled and wrinkled skin turning slightly translucent over time. Some of the oldest of archliches seemed little more than the hint of body, hair, and skin around their skeletons. Unlike common liches, whose flesh and organs eventually rotted to the point that they were completely gone, this was the extent of their degeneration.
- Lady Alathene Moonstar of Waterdeep
- Bandaerl Dumatheir.
- Ezzat the Archlich
- Renwick Caradoon
- Rhaugilath the Ageless
- Lady Saharel
- Ed Greenwood (1990). Lost Ships. Edited by Jennell Jaquays, Anne Brown. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 87–88. ISBN 0-88038-831-5.
- James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- Ed Greenwood (1990). Lost Ships. Edited by Jennell Jaquays, Anne Brown. (TSR, Inc.), p. 88. ISBN 0-88038-831-5.
- Steven E. Schend (June 1996). Undermountain: The Lost Level. (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-0399-6.