Liches are not necessarily a race in the classic sense. Rather, they are those who have destroyed their mortal body in order to become a being of pure arcane energy. As such, liches are created, rather than born. That creation begins with an extremely difficult arcane pact, where a very specific number of materials are laid out in a very specific way in a very specific location. If these conditions are even a fraction off, the ritual will fail. Which, in turn, means that the success rate for becoming a Lich is depressingly low, which is why no sane mage attempts it.
But, for those who do attempt it, and succeed, the power is immense. Their souls become tied to an object called a phylactery, a physical manifestation of their pact. If this object were ever to be destroyed, the Lich's soul and energy would disappear into the ether, which is why one of the most important things a Lich must do is channel their arcane energies into hiding its presence, enchanting it with protection against outside forces, and finding a suitable hiding location.
One cannot hide a phylactery anywhere, because if a Lich's vessel, a type of fake body that they use to interact with the physical world, were to be destroyed, the energy would return to the phylactery, essentially making the Lich immortal. Therefore, only a fool would think to hide the phylactery deep in the ground, where it might be crushed, and where it would be impossible to escape from. Nor would they put it in the depths of the ocean, where the water pressure could crush it, the currents would erode it, and so on.
Indeed, most Liches create lairs for the express purpose of protecting their soul, attracting monsters, and so on. A bothersome amount of effort, to be sure, but one that pays dividends.
What would drive a mage to go these insane lengths, taking on insane risk after insane risk? The legends say that liches, through their pact, attain a closeness with the Akashic Record, a conceptual body of information that contains all things that have happened and will happen. No one is certain if that is true or not, and even if it were, the Lich is far from being able to so cleanly read the lines of Fate, but even the mere chance is enough to spur some mages.
Like Vampires, if a Lich were to go into a Dark Zone, their 'magical escape powers' do not play nice. So, likely they would die.
The ritual details turning your entire body into arcane energy, creating a precise entrapment so it doesn't just diffuse into the air, and then transfering that arcane energy as well as your soul into the pylactery. If all is successful, the arcane energy and soul can separate, and there you go. Should you fail, you become focus energy and scatter into nothing.
Karaten views them as heretics, because while Karaten believes in furthering technology through magic, there are certain lines that shouldn't crossed. In particular, due to the very high failure rate of the ritual, it is essentially suicide the majority of the time. Losing your life in the pursuit of greater power is not very praiseworthy or intelligent, and so liches are not allowed to be peers in Karaten.
Usually the core of the form is what's important. Robes and such can be enchanted to be resistant to magic and thus won't always burn up, but what you actually 'stick' your arcane energy to is a little trickier. The reason a lot of liches use a 'skeleton' form is because it is very easy for them, as the lich's body was similar before they performed the ritual. You also want something that doesn't adjust its proportions or shape much, which is why hard materials are best. Things like water, air, materials that are too flexible or flimsy, like paper or cloth, require too much focus (mental focus, not focus the energy) to stay 'stuck' on. The burn something gets from being the center of your arcane energy is a lot more intense than something on the outside, too, so even if heavily enchanted, some materials just won't work at all if they're extremely vulnerable to heat, which is why the above materials and things like flesh or hair simply do not play nice with you. That said, heat transfer isn't much of an issue, so materials like metals can be used without setting fire to everything you touch or walk on. Actual bones are okay too. Anything that doesn't qualify to one of the above works, though (probably).
The Lich cannot consciously tap onto Akashic Records. Though occasionally, the Lich can, and might get flashes of memories, or an inspiration given by the Record. Though it'll be very vague, and weak.
|Racial||Arcane Order, Dissipate, Magia Detremus|