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Vecna is the evil god of secrets, the undead and necromancy. He is usually depicted as a mummified, desiccated corpse missing his left hand and left eye. His many titles include the Arch-Lich, the Maimed God and the Whispered One. He was first introduced in the World of Greyhawk D&D setting.

Born a mortal wizard, he ascended to lichdom after assuming a mastery of the dark arts that no mortal had ever achieved, before or since. He is considered to be the most powerful wizard and lich to ever exist, as well as the most evil. At the height of his power, he was betrayed by his trusted lieutenant, the vampire Kas the Bloody-Handed, who destroyed Vecna's mortal body, leaving only his left hand and left eye behind. Sometime after the battle, Vecna rose to godhood and now seeks to usurp the powers and positions of all other gods until he is the only god left in existence. He is opposed by good gods and some evil gods. While he does not like the Raven Queen, he prefers her to Orcus as the god of death. Vecna's symbol is a left hand holding an eye, to represent the two pieces of his body that were left after his mortal form was destroyed by Kas.

Ioun is often considered to be Vecna's antithesis, because she wishes to share with the world all the knowledge that Vecna would rather keep secret.

Worshippers

New inductees into Vecna's cult are carefully groomed and often believe they are joining an obscure sect of some knowledge god, and are only told the truth when they show their willingness to do anything in pursuit of knowledge and power.

Vecna's clerics amass knowledge and secrets by any means necessary. They are spies, blackmailers and corrupters, using the knowledge they gain to hold power over others. They work to corrupt and destablize nations by turning the rulers or his advisors. The clerics of Vecna seek The Hand and Eye of Vecna, as well as the evil power they grant.

Vecna's cult is extremely secretive, and various places of Vecnan worship have been uncovered in places such as Diamond Lake, Greyhawk and Verbobonc.

Artifacts

The Eye and Hand of Vecna, as shown on the cover of a D&D campaign adventure

After his mortal form was destroyed, two artifacts of Vecna were left - the Hand of Vecna and the Eye of Vecna. Both artifacts are inherently evil and have a will of their own, requiring the host to please them before they will reward the host with powers. They will attempt to corrupt their host with evil, if the host is not evil already. At all times, the two lost pieces of Vecna's body seek to rejoin one another on the same host body and spread the worship of Vecna across the world.

The Hand of Vecna

"All power is within the grasp of this Hand."

The Hand of Vecna is the severed left hand of Vecna. In order to use it, a person must remove their left hand and attach the Hand of Vecna to the stump. The Hand itself is described as being a blackened, mummified hand that is icy cold to the touch. It communicates with its host through a sign language that only the host can understand. It is a suitable artifact for paragon level characters.

When a humanoid character touches the Hand while it is not attached to a host, the Hand springs to life and scratches at the left hand of the creature that touched it. The character feels a surge of power, along with the feeling that their deepest desires are within their reach.

Upon being attached to a host, the Hand grants bonuses to Athletics and competency in combat, which increase when the Hand is pleased with its host. It also grants Warlock powers (Diabolic Grasp as an at-will power, Sign of Ill Omen as an encounter power, and Spider Climb as a daily power). When pleased with its host, the Hand will hurl orbs of necrotic energy. When displeased, it may try to strangle the host or drop an object the host is holding, and when truly angry it attacks the host's allies. Gaining the Hand's acceptance includes doing evil tasks, such as betraying a close friend in a dire situation and wresting important secrets from others.

Eventually, when the Hand sees that it no longer has a use for the host (or it has finished tormenting an uncooperative host), it will consume its owner, body and mind, causing their body to crumble into dust. Even if the character is raised from the dead, they will forever carry a handless stump, a souvenir of having once wielded the malevolent Hand of Vecna. The Hand returns to Vecna and conveys to the god all the arcane knowlege and secrets that its host knew, upon which Vecna releases the Hand back into the world to gain even more knowledge from unwary adventurers.

The Eye of Vecna

"The Eye... it reveals so much to me."

The Eye of Vecna is the left eye of the lich-turned-god. In order to use the Eye, a host must remove his left eye and replace it with the Eye of Vecna. The Eye is described as a red, enbalmed orb that pulses as if it were alive, but is cold as ice to the touch. It communicates silently to its host by showing them intense, hallucinatory visions of what it wants, which gradually become more violent the longer the Eye is implanted in its host. The Eye is suitable for mid-paragon level characters.

The Eye grants the bearer darkvision, bonuses to Arcane, Insight and Perception checks as well as Warlock abilities (Eyebite as an at-will power, Mire the Mind as an encounter power and Eye of the Warlock as a daily power). When pleased, the Eye will fire deadly beams of necrotic energy. When displeased, it will show the host frightening visions and can even speak through an unconscious or stunned host, in either their normal voice or a sinister, eerily loud voice. When truly angry, it will attempt to take complete control of the host, who by this point is actively at war with the Eye, and will attempt to blast the host's allies.

Concordance

In order to please the Hand and Eye of Vecna, a character must perform tasks to gain its acceptance. To please the Hand or Eye, its host must gain levels, be able to cast at least one arcane spell, implant both the Hand and Eye at once, betray a close friend in a desperate situation, or force a captive to reveal an important secret. The Eye and Hand are displeased when their host kills an undead creature or spends 8 hours in the presence of a higher level arcane spellcaster.

Vecna Feats

These feats are available to any divine class member that worships vecna.

Trivia

  • Vecna has been called one of the greatest villains in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game.
  • The name Vecna is an anagram for Vance, the surname of Jack Vance, a fantasy author whose "fire-and-forget" magic system is utilized in the Dungeons & Dragons game.

See also

  • Channel Divinity: Vecna, Dragon Magazine 395
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