Skill Challenge: Unlock the Phylactery

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on October 29, 2009

The Lich

The Lich

In our earlier skill challenge, the PCs defeated a Lich and managed to find its phylactery. Liches are wily combatants and they plan for all contingencies, including having their phylactery found. If the PCs thought vanquishing a Lich was based on pure combat, then they didn’t do their research properly.

This is the second of two skill challenges that deals with Liches and their phylacteries. In part 1 the PCs must Find The Phylactery and in part 2 the PCs must Unlock The Phylactery.


The PCs have found the phylactery of the lich they defeated in combat. Destroying the phylactery is not as simple as they might have imagined.


4 PC Level +2 (10 successes before 3 failures).

Primary Skills

Arcana, Athletics, Religion, Thievery

Other Skills


  • Each skill can only be used to accomplish 1 success towards the overall skill challenge unless noted otherwise.
  • Skill checks denoted as assist do not count as a success or failure towards the overall skill challenge.
  • A minimum of 2 Arcana, Religion and Thievery checks are required to complete this skill challenge.

Arcana (hard DC, maximum 3 successes)

Complex arcane energy surrounds the phylactery. This energy needs to be unravelled in order to destroy the phylactery.

A failed Arcana check causes a flash of mystic energy resulting in a -2 penalty to all perception checks for the remainder of the skill challenge, this penalty is cumulative.

Athletics (hard DC, maximum 2 success)

Unravelling magic energy and interpreting religious rituals isn’t your thing and your fingers are far to thick to manipulate tiny gears. Brute force will destroy the phylactery.

Perception (moderate DC, assist)

You spend time studying the phylactery gaining a +2 bonus to your next arcana, religion or thievery check.

Religion (hard DC, maximum 3 successes)

Necrotic energy is bound to the phylactery and the Lich has clearly used ancient and very evil rituals to bind its spirit to the phylactery. You call upon your knowledge of religious rites to banish the taint of evil on the phylactery.

A failed Religion check releases a wave of necrotic energy which weakens all PCs, resulting in a -2 penalty to all strength based checks for the remainder of the challenge, this penalty is cumulative.

Thievery (hard DC, maximum 3 successes)

In addition to arcane and religious wards, the phylactery is guarded by mundane traps and locks. Delicate finger work and patience is required to unlock and destroy the item that binds the Lich to life.

A failed Thievery check releases a hidden trap. You loose one healing surge, if you are out of healing surges you fall unconscious.


The PCs manage to unlock the phylactery, allowing them to destroy it and the Lich. The PCs will be immortalized in tale and song for their heroic deeds.


The PCs are unable to the unlock the phylactery. While the PCs have attempted to unlock the phylactery the Lich has regenerated and is seeking revenge. Prepare for combat!

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