The sweet-sounding but dire Lich-Lord Mellifleur is the god of liches, elevated to godhood through a cosmic accident. Due to the circumstances of his elevation, he acts against the villainous deity, or deities, whose power he inadvertently stole, and as such he occasionally can be an ally to some good powers.
Mellifleur (PDF Version)
(The Lich-Lord, Deathmaster, the God of Lichdom)
Lesser Power of Gehenna, NE
Portfolio: Lichdom, necromantic magic, necromancers, evil liches
Domain Name: Mungoth/Death’s Embrace
Allies: Iuz, Kiaransalee, Maanzecorian, Math Mathonwy, Mystra (formerly), Wee Jas
Foes: Amaunator, Arawn, Asrai (dead), Avani, Bane (dead), Belenus, the Elder Elemental God, Hiisi, Horus, Jergal, Lathander, Myrkul (dead), Nerull, Orcus, Pelor, Pholtus, Ra, Seker, Set, Vecna, Velsharoon
Symbol: Crystal vial in a skeletal hand with ring on fourth finger
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE
Sweet-sounding in name but not in deed is Mellifleur (me-lih-FLEWR), the dire Lich-Lord. He is the Deathmaster, a foul necromancer who gains power from the mortal pursuit of undeath, and so seeks to encourage that ambition on the many worlds of the Prime Material Plane. However, Mellifleur’s fate is inexorably tied to the fates of the great evil powers of the multiverse, for the circumstance of his apotheosis has destined him to oppose them or face his own destruction.
The origin of the God of Lichdom is an ironic one, for his divinity is credited to pure accident. He was once a mortal wizard preparing his pathway to undeath precisely and perfectly, as many had before him. However, in a great cosmic coincidence, at the very moment he conducted the ritual of undeath, a deity of great evil—exactly who varies from world to world—attempted to elevate a fervently loyal priest to divine status. For reasons unknown and unduplicated since, Mellifleur’s ritual resonated with the god-magic and elevated him to demipower status with his transition to undeath. Because of this accident, the Lich-Lord has found himself fated to oppose the deity he inadvertently stole power from, lest he be destroyed, and his power returned to its originator. An incredible version of this tale is told by the most learned of illithid sages. In their telling, some cosmic impulse compelled several great evil powers across the multiverse to conduct the same ritual at the same time, and this resonance transformed Mellifleur not just into a deity but raised him all the way to the status of lesser power. Those who study matters of the divine in the planar city of Sigil have noted the Lich-Lord’s opposition of a wide range of evil powers, and many take this as evidence the illithid tale is the true one.
Given his fated opposition towards the great evil he inadvertently stole power from, it is little surprise that Mellifleur counts many such powers among his foes. Many of these powers are seen in local mythology as the one he usurped power from; for example, on worlds where the Tuatha DÃ© Danann hold sway, he is said to have siphoned power from Arawn, while on Oerth it was supposedly Nerull. Many of these powers hold or desire to hold portfolios related to death, necromancy, and undeath, however, and skeptical sages point out that this is reason enough for a weaker independent power like the Lich-Lord to oppose them. This opposition has created an interesting dynamic in that some powers of good, while not formally allied to the Lich-Lord, have given him succor with the goal of keeping evil forces divided and fractious. Such powers act carefully to ensure their aid does not have adverse effects on innocent or goodly creatures.
Of the permanent alliances he has forged, he has favored other deities with an interest in magic and knowledge. He has a good working relationship with Maanzecorian, the illithid deity of knowledge, and the two have traded knowledge on regular occasions. Similarly, interest in magic has garnered him allies in the likes of Wee Jas and Math Mathonwy, although his overtures towards Hecate have so far been ignored. Recently the Lich-Lord forged an alliance with the Oerthan demipower Iuz due to mutual antagonism towards the lich-god Vecna, who may be seeking to usurp portfolios and power from Mellifleur. He had a tenuous alliance with the old Mystra before her recent rebirth after the Time of Troubles on Toril. It is not just her change of personality that has ended the alliance, however; Mellifleur’s influence in that crystal sphere seems to have been eliminated after the Avatar Crisis.
Some sages in Sigil have managed to piece together what they believe happened to Mellifleur during the Time of Troubles, as the first vents are relevant to the Lich-Lord’s status today. Near as the sages can tell, Mellifleur apparently manifested an avatar as a lich and left a phylactery in the Plains of Purple Dust before setting out to try confronting his FaerÃ»nian foes of Bane and Myrkul. These sages speculate that he did encounter Myrkul but lost the battle and was slain. As the Lord of Bones kept his elimination of the Lich-Lord secret, when he himself was destroyed during the Avatar Crisis there was no other power to take up Mellifleur’s Torilian mantle. Some years later, when the lich Velsharoon attempted to raise himself to demipower status with Talos’s aid, the Sigilian sages believe the Vaunted used Mellifleur’s phylactery in the ritual, and this tied him to Mellifleur’s divine phylactery in Gehenna. As such, the two powers are currently tie to each other in Death’s Embrace, neither able to destroy the other without also destroying themselves. Both powers appear to be slowly researching methods to absorb or sever the other, keeping their plans secret from the other in hopes of gaining the upper hand. How this situation shakes out remains to be seen.
While it seems Mellifleur has few actual priests and not many more true followers, it is said that he gains power from mortals who actively choose to transition to undeath. Whether this is in fact true is unknown, but it would explain his status and apparent vitality despite having few worshippers. Some sages speculate the Lich-Lord even gains power from the evil nature of the Demiplane of Dread, as he is apparently able to communicate directly with many of the powerful liches in the lands of that demiplane. Regardless, his power is undeniable, and while he is feared by those who seek his knowledge and expertise, they still come to him for his aid in matters of necromancy and undeath
The Lich-Lord is quite active on the Prime Material Plane. His fate is believed to be tied to one or many powerful evil deities whose activities he must oppose in order to preserve his own position, and his avatars are a key element in those efforts. They work in darkness to undermine the followers of those powers he must oppose and may even secretly help good forces who are working to stop the plots of those evil powers. Mellifleur is deeply paranoid about the danger his foes represent, however, and so he favors sudden surprise attacks on their forces before they can attack him; these are the only times he acts openly. Rarely, his trips to the Prime include visitations with powerful ancient liches in order to exchange knowledge and magic, and he sometimes subtly encourages powerful wizards and priests to pursue a path towards undeath.
Mellifleur’s Avatar (Necromancer 29, Cleric 25)
Mellifleur appears as a skeletal figure with the straggly remains of dark hair falling to his shoulders. He wears a large silver circlet and immaculate black robes of fine material and cut. Within his eye sockets rest a pair of glowing green faceted gems. The Lich-Lord draws his spells from the schools of abjuration, alteration, conjuration/summoning, divination, invocation/evocation, and necromancy, and the schools of all, astral, charm, combat, creation, divination, guardian, healing, necromantic, numbers, protection, summoning, thought, time, and wards, using the reversed versions where appropriate.
AC −2; MV 12; HP 130; THAC0 4; #AT 1
Dmg 2d10+6+paralysis (chill touch, +6 Str)
MR 40%; SZ M (6 feet tall)
Str 18/00, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 23, Wis 19, Cha 1
Spells P: 12/11/11/10/9/8/4, W: 8/8/8/8/8/7/7/7/7*
Saves** PPDM 1; RSW 2; PP 4; BW 6; Sp 3
* Numbers assume one extra necromancy spell per spell level.
** Numbers include +1 bonus to all saving throws from robe of stars.
Special Att/Def: Mellifleur prefers using his magic exclusively, but if forced into melee he attacks with his chilling touch. Those struck must make a successful saving throw vs. paralyzation at −2 or be paralyzed until the condition is removed by magic. While he has no commonly carried weapons, he has a vast store of rods, staves, and wands he can make use of if he wishes.
The Lich-Lord’s emerald eyes are quite powerful. Twice per day the right gem-eye can project a symbol of insanity, while the left gem-eye can project a cone of cold. His black robe is a robe of stars that can function as a robe of scintillating colors as he wishes, and he wears a ring of shooting stars on his fourth finger. The Lich-Lord also possesses a sphere of annihilation that is always under his automatic mental control.
Mellifleur is immune to cold, electricity, mind-affecting, and paralyzing attacks, as well as death magic, insanity, petrification, and polymorphing. He is unharmed by weapons below +2 enchantment. Creatures of 8 HD/levels or fewer who see him must make a saving throw versus magic or flee in terror for 6d6 rounds. The Lich-Lord can be turned as a Special undead, but any attempt to do so is made as if the priest or paladin has four fewer levels of experience. Finally, Mellifleur must secret away a phylactery on any world in which he manifests an avatar for a significant amount of time; should this be discovered and destroyed, any avatars currently on that world are instantly banished.
Mellifleur’s manifestations tend to take the form of happenstance and coincidence that encourage a spellcaster to consider or continue a path towards achieving undeath. For example, gentle gusts of wind that turn the pages of a book to a helpful passage, or a dropped object rolling to rest next to a forgotten or hidden tome with relevant information. He has not been known to manifest in any other way.
Mellifleur is served primarily by a variety of undead, including those that are sentient and non-intelligent, as well as incarnates of pride, nightmares, vargouilles, and yugoloth mercenaries. He expresses his favor through the discovery of emeralds, jet, milky quartz, onyx, pure silver, and naturally polished skulls of all sorts. He displays his displeasure through the ghostly sounds of death rattles, breaking bones, and an ephemeral pair of glowing green points of light that seem to stare at the offending creature.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, necromancers, wizards
Clergy’s Align.: LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: C: No, SP: No, Nec: No, W: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: Yes, SP: Yes at level +2, Nec: No, W: No
All clerics and specialty priests of Mellifleur receive religion (Mellifleur) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.
The Lich-Lord’s small cult is secretive and hides itself from the living world. Only those faiths and organizations that have regular contact with undead and necromancy are even likely to be aware of its existence, with their attitude towards Mellifleur’s faith dependent upon their opinion of dark necromancy and undeath. The Deathmaster’s clergy is generally not aggressive, with violence usually motivated by self-defense; instead, they focus on studying and spreading the necromantic arts. In fact, many cults are on good terms with the followers of the very deities Mellifleur opposes, as promoting the transition to undeath among their god’s foes only serves to strengthen him. Similarly, they may aid good opponents of undead followers of Mellifleur’s enemies, for it is only the transition to undeath, rather than continued existence in that state, which strengthens him.
Temples and shrines to the Deathmaster are rare. Members of the clergy sometimes create small shrines in his honor in their abodes; such shrines are decorated with a human or humanoid skull with a pair of green gems set in the eye sockets. Temples are sometimes built by especially devout and powerful liches and are rarely patronized by any flock. These temples are invariably found underground beneath burial grounds and feature deep shadows, black fabric hangings, and a large stone-carved human skull set with a pair of green gem eyes.
Novices in the service of Mellifleur are called the Unprepared, while full priests of the Lich-Lord are called the Death Surpassed. Due to the small size of the priesthood, no formal ranks exist, with each individual priest creating their own title; however, living priests are always expected to defer to those who have achieved undeath. Specialty priests are known as deathmasters. Necromancers make up the majority of Mellifleur’s clergy (62%), with roughly equal numbers of specialty priests (19%) and clerics (18%) and a small minority of other wizards (1%). Half of the Lich-Lord’s priesthood is made up of humans (50%), with the rest consisting of undead of various races (40%), half-elves (5%), elves (3%), and various other races interested in undeath and necromancy (2%). Mellifleur’s priesthood draws a significantly greater number of males (80%) than females (20%).
Dogma: Death is a burden that the powerful need not bear. Death can be transcended by those who know the right rituals and execute them perfectly. Use your eternal unlife to accumulate power and knowledge, and guide others towards the same transcendence you have obtained.
Day-to-Day Activities: Living members of Mellifleur’s clergy spend much of their time researching magic and the processes necessary to becoming a lich. Many often spend time searching for rare ingredients or obscure lore in ruins or other remote locations, while others favor hiring adventurers to do the searching for them. Those who have attained lichdom tend to isolate themselves far away from the living to conduct endless magical research or ponder obscure philosophical conundrums.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The Lich-Lord’s clergy observe no holy days, seeing the act of researching the process for becoming a lich, and the transition to undeath itself, as holy acts. They feel no other activities are necessary, and Mellifleur apparently has seen no need to instruct them otherwise.
Major Centers of Worship: No known holy sites or major religious centers dedicated to Mellifleur are known to exist.
Affiliated Orders: While the church of the Lich-Lord sponsors no martial or monastic orders, in especially magocratic societies the clergy may be formally or informally associated with magic colleges or magic guilds that have a strong emphasis on necromancy.
Priestly Vestments: The priesthood of Mellifleur wears expensive black robes trimmed in silver or green as their ceremonial garb. The robes must be kept immaculately clean at all times and are worn when a member of the clergy attempts the transition to lichdom. The holy symbol used by the priesthood is a silver ring with an emerald or a small vial made of green glass or emerald; in both cases, the symbol must be worn on a silver chain around the neck.
Adventuring Garb: When traveling or not acting in an official capacity, members of the Lich-Lord’s clergy wear simply nondescript robes, often appearing as a traveling wizard or priest. If allowed they may wear armor under these robes, but never armor heavier than mail. They typically use weapons common to wizards, especially staves, but some prefer maces. Magical protections are always eagerly sought by the clergy.
Specialty Priests (Deathmasters)
Requirements: Intelligence 11, Wisdom 16
Prime Req.: Intelligence, Wisdom
Alignment: LE, NE, CE
Weapons: Any bludgeoning (wholly Type B) weapons, plus dagger, dart, knife
Major Spheres: All, divination, guardian, healing (reversed only), necromantic, protection, summoning, sun (reversed only), time, wards
Minor Spheres: Combat, thought
Magical Items: Same as clerics, plus wizard items specifically to use by necromancers
Req. Profs: Herbalism
Bonus Profs: Necrology (The Complete Book of Necromancers)
- While most deathmasters are human, any race capable of becoming wizards are called to be specialty priests of Mellifleur.
- Deathmasters are not allowed to multiclass.
- Deathmasters may cast wizard spells from the school of necromancy as defined in the Limited Wizard Spellcasting section of “Appendix 1: Demihuman Priests” of Demihuman Deities.
- Deathmasters can cast chill touch (as the 1st-level wizard spell) or deathly visage (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 3rd level, deathmasters can cast ghoul touch (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) or speak with dead (as the 2nd-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 5th level, deathmasters can cast animate dead (as the 3rd-level priest spell) or skull trap (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At 7th level, deathmasters can cast undead form (as the 4th-level priest spell) or wraithform (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At 9th level, deathmasters can cast deathmaster’s vial (as the 5th-level priest spell) or lich touch (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 10th level, deathmasters can commune with Mellifleur once per year in order to gain advice or guidance on the process of becoming a lich, either for themselves or on behalf of another spellcaster. This advice is limited but can be quite specific, and if followed precisely can grant a maximum of +4 (or +20%), as determined by the DM, to rolls to research spells or processes related lichdom. The bonus is never applied to saving throws, system shock rolls, or any rolls related to the transformation into undeath; it may only be applied to rolls related to researching or properly preparing aspects of a potion of lichdom.
- At 12th level, deathmasters can cast slay living (as the reverse of the 5th-level priest spell raise dead) once per week.
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Lich-Lord can cast the 4th-level priest spell undead form, detailed in Powers and Pantheons in the entry for Velsharoon (listed there as assume undead form). The DM is also encouraged to grant priests of the Lich-Lord access to the spells listed in The Complete Book of Necromancers (TSR2151).
Deathly Visage (Pr 1; Illusion/Phantasm, Necromancy)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 turn/level
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: Special
By means of this spell, the caster shrouds their face and physical appearance with that of one of the corporeal undead. Any sort of corporeal undead that the caster has encountered can be used as the deathly visage. While under the effect of this spell, undead of Low intelligence or less are automatically fooled by the appearance and treat them as one of the appropriate types of undead, while those with higher intelligence scores are allowed a saving throw versus spell to detect the illusion. Undead of 10 or more Hit Dice are never fooled by this spell. As the deathly visage is just an illusion, physical contact may reveal the truth; for example, touching the caster while masquerading as a skeleton will clearly reveal that they are not skeletal. This illusion is complete for visual, auditory, and olfactory senses, although it grants no special powers in the case of taking the form of a ghast. Living creatures react as they would to seeing the type of undead the spellcaster is disguised as, but a successful attempt to disbelieve the illusory magic will reveal the caster’s true appearance. Finally, any priest or paladin attempting to turn or control the caster allows an automatic disbelieve attempt.
The material component for this spell is a piece of human bone.
Deathmaster’s Vial (Pr 5; Necromancy)
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 5
Area of Effect: 1 or more vials
Saving Throw: None
This spell activates an evil fluid that has been sealed in specially prepared vial. The activated concoction can be hurled as a grenade-like missile. A direct hit inflicts 2d8+3 points of rotting damage. A miss within 5 feet inflicts 1d4+1 points of rotting damage.
The casting activates 1 vial per 3 levels of the caster, up to a total of 5 vials at 15th level. The vials must be used within 2 hours of exposure to direct sunlight, but will last for 2–20 days if kept in darkness. Exposing the liquid to the air after activation destroys it within a round. The vials radiate evil.
Preparation: The base fluid is made from boiling the remains of a ghoul or ghast for 24 hours and adding various noxious substances worth about 300 gp. This yields enough liquid to fill up to 5 small vials (like those used to carry holy/unholy water).
Lich Touch (Pr 6; Necromancy)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 9
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: Special
By means of this spell the caster gains both the chilling touch attack of a lich and invulnerability to several special attack forms. The caster is immune to all types of paralysis and fear for the duration of the spell. When the lich touch is in operation, the hands of the caster glow with an unearthly greenish brilliance.
The caster can touch individuals and affect them as a lich would, inflicting both 1d10 points of damage and paralyzing the individual unless a successful saving throw vs. paralysis is made. The touch damage is always taken, even by undead and creatures immune to paralysis. Those paralyzed by this spell remain so for 2d4 hours or until the paralysis is countered by a dispel magic, remove paralysis, or similar magic. The lich touch spell cannot be ended before its duration expires. The caster affects everyone touched; its effects cannot be voluntarily suppressed.
The material components of this spell are a scrap of rotting meat or fish.
Mellifleur’s Blessing (Pr 6; Necromancy)
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 2d4 hours
Area of Effect: 1 potion
Saving Throw: Special
This spell calls upon Mellifleur the Lich-Lord to bless a potion of lichdom in order to increase the chances of a successful transformation. The blessing grants the imbiber a +5%, or +1 on a d20, to any rolls towards the success of the potion, such as saving throws, system shock rolls, or the like. The specific nature of the bonus varies by the chart or system used by the Dungeon Master for determining effects of a potion of lichdom.
In order to complete this spell, the caster requires the living, beating heart of a sentient humanoid creature. The creature in question may not be magically compelled or restrained in any way, although physical restraints may be used. The spellcaster must hold the potion in one hand while their other hand is placed on the chest of the victim for the full duration of the casting time; at the conclusion of which the victim is allowed a saving throw versus petrification with a −2 penalty or have their heart consumed by the spell, instantly killing them. If the caster tries to use this as an execution method without a properly prepared potion of lichdom, the victim is unharmed, and the caster instead suffers 6d6 points of damage with no saving throw.
Very nicely filled out. I remember reading about him in Monster Mythology and thinking “this is the type of Evil deity that good characters could work with. Not easily manipulated, but goals can often align”
I noticed a typo “Deathmastet” in the first Paragraph after the intro.
Thanks! Really appreciate the spellcheck, too. :D
This is an entry in which I am very interested and appreciative. I’ve been really into necromancy vis a vis AD&D since the mid-1990s. There were not a lot of options for such in 2nd Edition material, and the school itself was quite anemic until the publication of the Complete Book of Necromancers, which wasn’t even supposed to be used by PCs. The Forgotten Realms supplement Cult of the Dragon also provided some spells and background, as did random entries in Dragon or Dungeon magazines, but by and large, if you wanted to play any sort of character with a necromantic bent, you were pretty lacking in material open to your character, assuming your DM would even let you (queue discussion on white, grey, and black necromancy…). Fast forward two and a half decades, and I’m playing a necromancer. I’m leaning heavily on the aforementioned Complete Book and Cult of the Dragon, and have spent many hours researching everything possible, because, again, the official material is pretty basic. This character, despite being evil, is one of my favorites and one of the most interesting and complex I’ve ever played. I do wish that I’d had this entry as a reference when I made him, but I can assure you that I’ll be incorporating some of this lore as we move forward. Many thanks.
A great entry, but I’m seeing text distortion all over the page. The characters “Â Â Â Â ” are all over the headers. Did something happen, or is it on my end?
Yeah, I’m seeing that. My webhost just did a database update/migration, which looks like it has messed up the special characters in the text. It’ll take me a while to fix since it has affected every entry to varying degrees. Sorry about that!
Looks good now, thanks for fixing it!
I have been building an undead-centered theme for an upcoming campaign. Gathering resources has been difficult because, as Telari said, the material is scattered over many resources. Orcus will have a role and I threw in Lathander as an obvious balance. But this entry is fantastic, and a great addition. I think giving a lich-god to the PC’s as an ally, in some measure, will add atmosphere and great role-playing. Thanks for this, and every page on this blog.