Monster Manual 4e - Lich - p177 - Chris stevens & Jim zubkavich

Lich or magical zombie is a type of undead creature, which is the result of a transformation, as a powerful magician or royal person striving for eternal life uses spells or rituals to bind his/her intellect to his/her phylactery and thereby achieve a form of immortality.

Liches are depicted as being clearly cadaverous, bodies desiccated or completely skeletal. Liches are often depicted as holding power over hordes of lesser undead creatures, using them as soldiers and servants.

Unlike traditional zombies, which are often depicted as mindless, part of a hivemind or under the control of another, a lich retains revenant-like independent thought and is usually at least as intelligent as it was prior to its transformation.

Undead witches and wizards can also become liches.

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