Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

A common Lich in Oblivion.

Liches are a powerful type of undead creature. They are mages that have prolonged their lifespan through the use of necromancy and black magic, turning themselves into powerful immortal beings.

By game[]



An unnamed Lich is known to have existed sometime during the Merethic Era, during the rule of the Dragon Cult over Skyrim.[1]

One of the first Liches ever created was the Altmer mage Mannimarco, a former member of the Psijic Order, who delved into the dark arts of magic. It was not long until Vanus Galerion, a fellow student of the order, discovered Mannimarco's activities, and the latter was cast out from the institute. During the great battle between Galerion's army and the Order of the Black Worm, Mannimarco transformed himself into the first ever Lich, making him immortal.[2]


"In life, Hevnoraak drained his own blood from his body. His goal was to transfer his power back into himself after death, becoming a powerful lich."
Valdar, on Hevnoraak[src]

In Oblivion, a Lich is a mage who seeks immortality, using powerful magics to expand their lives. One mage named Celedaen attempts to surpass death by using the Sands of Resolve, an hourglass that must remain on his person until the transformation is completed.[3]

In Skyrim, it is mentioned that the process of becoming a Lich involves draining the life force of someone and transferring it back to the Lich's body. The Dragon Priests of Skyrim managed to do this by making their servants give their energy to them.[4] However, this is not always the case, as the Dragon Priest Hevnoraak managed to get some of his life force back by transferring blood into his body.[5][6]

In Online it is said that to become a Lich, one must force their body into death and beyond. The next part of becoming a Lich is having great necromantic knowledge in the dark arts. Then the soon to be Lich must steal souls from their vessels as painfully as possible, as the higher measure of pain and torment from the sacrifices the purer the ascent to Lichdom. Finally a powerful relic either evil or good that can be perverted, has to be used as a focus point for casting the spell used to take souls from their owners. The more powerful the relic, the more powerful the soul rending.[7]

Powers and abilities[]

Liches are some of the most powerful undead as they are able to cast vast amounts of spells such as destruction magic, and are able to summon undead such as skeletons and zombies. They apparently can resist magical attacks, and therefore are not to be trifled with; extreme caution should be taken when fighting with one. Liches can see those that are invisible, and have an immunity to all weapons besides Mithril and silver, although they are able to be killed by fire. Additionally, they are able to regenerate health when wounded.[8]

Physical appearance[]

Physically, Liches appear to have decaying skin and bodies. They generally wear robes with a helm and shoulder plates, an amulet, and carry a staff that they use for combat.[9] Another form of Lich is the Nether Lich, which have a transparent, ghost-like form; they are weaker than regular Liches, however.[10]


During combat, Liches prefer to distance themselves from their foe, and frequently use destruction magics such as Flames and Sparks to kill their enemies. They often summon undead such as skeletons to fight for them, while they stay in the background, casting various destruction spells.[11] Also, a Lich apparently becomes hungry from time to time. Because of this, a wandering lost spirit of a child may be a Lich in disguise.[12]

Notable liches[]