Afej the Black

Afej by Tim Vargason

Jaef of Kale became a Lich in the year 7460 F.R. after being the court wizard and the power behind the throne of Kale for 21 years (The king at the time was young Felmat, who was putty in the aging wizard's, and then the lich's hands.) After becoming a Lich, Jaef remained the power behind the throne until the year 7487 F.R., when a group of adventurers called the Band of Five discovered that he was responsible for the evil and aggressive policies that had been instituted in the kingdom. They attacked him and slew him, although three of their number fell. Two were forced to flee with the treasure and spell books of Jaef, pursued doggedly by the lich's undead minions. The remaining heroes turned to face their undead pursuers in the town of Wotun in Kelerak, where they slew them but then died of their wounds and were buried with the lich's items. Meanwhile, Jaef's sentience had escaped into his phylactery (a pre-prepared golden enruned amulet). The amulet was well-hidden in a secret room beneath the palace in Kale City, and since the lich's undead minions had all been destroyed, there was no one to bring a corpse to the secret room and thus the lich could not escape his phylactery and again take physical form. Thus he spent centuries locked inside the amulet.

Finally, the amulet was found in 8160 F.R. by Valanduil the elf, who did not realize the item's true nature. When the elhan brought the amulet into the proximity of a freshly slain corpse, Jaef was released from it, and he assumed a new body and a new name-- Afej the Black. He immediately established himself in the ruined castle of Carn Marrot in Dessingrove, and, through his underling Widfaral, gained control of the town . He was able to establish a rapport with the dragon Skywing, who had gained a new paranoia about his treasure. Afej began supplying guards for when the Dragon was out hunting, and in return the dragon paid him handsomely out of his vast treasure. The lich used this new wealth to rebuild the castle, and thereupon, he began a two-pronged plan. He allied himself with the cult of Grlarssh, pretending to be an avatar of Grlarssh, in order to use the cult's assistance to recover his lost items, including most of his spellbooks, that were buried in the cemetery in Wotun. He also began an assault on Western Kelerak, and quickly established himself as baron of all lands in Kelerak west of Lake of the Sky. His first plan was stalled by the actions of the Lords of the West, but with the assault of the Lords of Greed and Envy, Afej was able to recover all of his items in the war-wrought confusion. Thereupon, he launched his assault in full, making a bid to capture the ravished Dragonspur after it had been weakened because of its recent battles. Because the Lords of the West recovered the Stone of Silence and even managed to slay his most valued servant Widfaral, however, the army of Afej was defeated and he was forced to recall the remnants of his troops to Dessingrove to plot his next strike. While machinating his next move, Afej also continued his experiments in the necromantic arts, researching a way to open a portal to the Penumbra in order to create an army of invincible undead warriors.

As an individual, Afej is vastly intelligent. This intelligence sometimes leads to overconfidence, but Afej himself is aware of this and often takes measure to counteract it; he is not always successful. He tends to be closed, guarded, and secretive, revealing his plans not even to his most valued underlings. He is also vastly ambitious and values power for its own sake. He does not wish to ally himself with anyone, though, especially the Dweller in the Wintervale (Afej knows that the Dweller has no allies, only slaves). Therefore, he ultimately aims to establish a kingdom in the West that rivals the might of the Lords of Sins, and he hopes eventually to subsume their lands-- then will come the final battle between the Dweller and Afej, and he knows he must be carefully and completely prepared.

Afej the Black

Medium undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 140 (18d8 + 54)
Speed 30 ft.

STR  10 (+0)   DEX  17 (+3)   CON  16 (+3)   INT  20 (+5)   WIS  14 (+2)   CHR  17 (+3)

Saving Throws Con +10, Int +12, Wis +9
Skills Arcana +18, History +12, Insight +9, Perception +9
Damage Resistances cold, lightning, necrotic
Damage Immunities poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Kalish, Kelevan, Dark Speech, Kingdom Common, Elven, Old Speech
Challenge 21 (33,000 XP)

Legendary Resistance (3/Day): If Afej fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead.

Rejuvenation: If he has a phylactery, and if he is destroyed, Afej's sentience retreats inside his phylactery. After 1d10 days, if a corpse is brought within 15 feet of his phylactery, his sentience will enter it. He effectively gains a new body, regaining all his hit points and becoming active again.

Spellcasting: Afej is an 18th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 20, +12 to hit with spell attacks). Afej has the following wizard spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): mage hand, prestidigitation, fire bolt
1st level (4 slots): detect magic, magic missile, shield, Tasha's hideous laughter
2nd level (3 slots): acid arrow, detect thoughts, hold person, mirror image
3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, counterspell, dispel magic, fireball
4th level (3 slots): dimension door, greater invisibility
5th level (3 slots): cloudkill, scrying
6th level (1 slot): disintegrate, globe of invulnerability
7th level (1 slot): finger of death, prismatic spray
8th level (1 slot): dominate monster, power word stun
9th level (1 slot): power word kill

Turn Resistance: Afej has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead.

Staff of Frost: Afej possesses a staff of frost that he calls "Grave-chill." Anyone who is attuned to the staff has resistance to cold damage while holding it, although Afej normally has resistance to cold damage. The staff has 10 charges. While holding it, he can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it, using his spell save DC of 20: cone of cold (5 charges), fog cloud (1 charge), ice storm (4 charges), or wall of ice (4 charges). The staff regains 1d6 + 4 expended charges daily at dawn. If Afej expends the last charge, he rolls a d20. On a 1, the staff turns to water and is destroyed.


Paralyzing Touch: Melee Spell Attack: +12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 10 (3d6) cold damage. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Legendary Actions

Afej can take three legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. Afej regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn. Afej can't use the same legendary action two turns in a row.

Cantrip: Afej casts a cantrip.

Paralyzing Touch (Costs 2 Actions): Afej uses his Paralyzing Touch.

Frightening Gaze (Costs 2 Actions): Afej fixes his gaze on one creature he can see within 10 feet of him. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or become frightened for 1 minute. The frightened target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a target's saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the target is immune to Afej's gaze for the next 24 hours.

Disrupt Life (Costs 3 Actions): Each living creature within 20 feet of Afej must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw against this magic, taking 21 (6d6) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Lair Actions

Afej the lich is almost always found in his citadel Carn Marrot in Dessingrove. His castle is filled with terrible guardians and deadly traps. If he is in his lair, Afej has a challenge rating of 22 (41,000 xps). On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Afej can take a lair action to cause one of the following effects. Afej can't use the same effect two rounds in a row.