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No... No! Too long... TOO LONG!!
– 
Vecna's final words, as he was banished by Keyleth from the Prime Material Plane[12]
[!h]

Vecna, also known as the Whispered One, the Undying King, and the Lord of the Rotted Tower, was a powerful, mortal-born archlich who achieved godhood.[13]

Description

Appearance

Fan art of Vecna, by Stephen Oakley.[art 2]

When Vecna was first reborn, he appeared as a gaunt husk of a man wearing long tattered red, purple, and black robes. His skin was weathered and decayed, pulled taut against his skeletal frame; there was no hair on his spotted head. His cheeks were sunken around skeletal teeth in a terrible grin. His left hand was missing, and where his left eye would be was just an empty socket constantly streaming sickly green magical energy upwards.[14]

When he later appeared in incorporeal form, he was wearing beautiful crushed velvet robes with gold trim, and had adorned himself with lavish gems, baubles, and other jewelry. His right eye was a sickly pale blue.[15]

After he ascended, Vecna was physically transformed: he had become huge, with screaming souls entwined within his limbs. The left eye socket was almost blindingly bright. He had recovered his left hand, which pulsed with the same green energy as the eye socket, and his ribcage glowed from within with sickly green light, where he kept Velora Vessar encased as a shield against Vox Machina's impending attack. He wore red robes over golden armor.[16]

Personality

Vecna was arrogant, egotistical, and ambitious. From the beginning of his attempted ascension he maintained a confident and condescending veneer, believing he had already won. Vecna treated those beneath him as insignificant mortals or pests too unimportant to worry about. Despite this, he proved he could be cold, calculating and ruthless when it suited him, able to manipulate people's greatest fears to his own benefit and enjoy it. He sought to "play with the toys" left by other gods beyond the Divine Gate and reshape the world, his Exandria, to his liking.[17]

Biography

Background

Ioun told this history to Vox Machina in "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106).[18] Shaun Gilmore believed these events happened much later.[19]
A century before the Calamity, the archmage Vecna achieved lichdom, amassed followers and undead forces, and with them disappeared into the Shadowfell, where they conquered the city of Thar Amphala and there built a tower called Entropis that served as his base. From there Vecna exploited the celestial solstice, a merging of ley energies, that gave him the power to open portals at a whim, so that his forces could strike with precision and retreat to Thar Amphala before retaliating forces could muster. Thus he overcame some old enemies and forced them to bend the knee, at which time he slew them and raised them as undead to serve him. One such rival, Kas, was offered vampirism in exchange for fealty as a Vecna's chief lieutenant, and Kas accepted.

Vecna forged for Kas a relic blade with a fraction of Kas's consciousness. In the months of terrorizing Vecna's enemies that followed, he became Kas the Bloody-Handed.

Then, Vecna's foes figured out how to reverse-engineer the celestial solstice. Just as Vecna was attempting to ascend to godhood with the Ritual of Seeding atop Entropis, a holy army[20][21] led by Yos Varda attacked Thar Amphala. Yos Varda climbed Entropis and fought Vecna directly. Vecna defeated Yos Varda but was winded by the effort, and as Varda lay dying, Kas attacked Vecna with that gifted blade in an attempt to usurp the lich. The ensuing battle destroyed them both: all that remained of Vecna were his left eye and left hand, and all that remained of Kas was in that blade.

Vecna was later considered a lesser deity or "patron saint" of dark, coveted secrets,[22] and this belief and worship lent him new power.[23].

"Echoes of the Past" (1x38)

When Vox Machina interrogated Riskel Daxio after disrupting the Briarwoods' ritual, Riskel claimed that he would be reborn, that he is the blood of Vecna, and that other parts of Vecna are "everywhere".[24] Although he did not know the purpose of the Sphere of Annihilation beneath Whitestone, Riskel explained that his deal with Vecna would provide him "power through not knowing", and the fact that Vecna kept his followers in the dark meant that he trusted them.[25]

Riskel also explained that the Briarwoods' ritual was part of the same effort that had been attempted before,[26] implying that this was another attempt to turn Vecna into a god. Since Riskel wasn't present for the Briarwoods' attempt, he wasn't sure if it was successful or not.[27]

While searching the former house of General Krieg, Vox Machina kept a cautious eye out for any references to Vecna. Pike took the time to look for religious iconography that might be related to Vecna,[28] and when they found a series of busts depicting J'mon Sa Ord, Vex suspected they might be related to the "god of secrets" since Riskel Daxio was planning to flee to Ank'Harel.[29] Suspicions were further aroused when they found a humanoid skull with a gem in one of the sockets, but their worries subsided slightly when it was seen that the gem was in the right eye socket.[30]

"Return to Vasselheim" (1x43)

Vex, still on the lookout for signs after the Chroma Conclave attacked, asked Osysa if she knew anything about Vecna. Osysa reacted violently at the mention of his name, stating that he was one of the few forces capable of limiting her sight. After Percy told her of the attempted ritual beneath Whitestone she scried to the location and revealed that the Ziggurats were originally built as temples for Ioun, but were taken and corrupted by Vecna and his followers.[31]

"Unfinished Business" (1x100)

Fan art of Vecna, by DJ Crumrine.[art 3]

After receiving information from Scanlan and Lionel of a second Ziggurat within the Smouldercrown mountain range, in the deserts of Marquet, Vox Machina set out to investigate and defeat the cult that had taken residence there.

Upon reaching the heart of the Ziggurat, where the pyramid's Orb of Annihilation was located, Vox Machina found the cult and its leader...who turned out to be the supposedly deceased Lady Delilah Briarwood. After a fierce battle with the aid of her cultists, Delilah retreated by traveling through the Orb to the Shadowfell beyond.

Pike cast Speak with Dead on one of the deceased cultists. The cultist revealed that one can only pass safely through the Orb using specially crafted stones, one of which Delilah carried. The cultist revealed that his group was one of the Remnants, who serve "the Undying King": Vecna. When asked how Delilah was able to return, the cultist simply replied, "I know not the means, but she is a powerful necromancer." Vox Machina speculated that she was able to avert her death with some kind of preventative spell that she had prepared before the fight in Whitestone. As the spell faded, the party was left to contemplate the cultist's last words: "His return is nigh. The Whispered One will come."

"Race to the Tower" (1x102)

After Vox Machina traveled to the Shadowfell and the city of Thar Amphala, they discovered the power of the siphons within the ziggurats was being tranferred to the Tower of Entropis. A ritual atop the tower concluded with a burst of released energy, the death of most of the gathered cultists atop the tower, and the fading of the tethers from the three siphons. The city was then teleported to another location within Exandria, where snow was falling around them.

As the party came within range of the base of Entropis, they were addressed by an omnipresent, directionless voice – Vecna, advising them to give up and join his army. They unanimously ignored it and brought down the tower with Earthquake, but its apex remained levitating far above them. Making their way there, they fought a death knight, Delilah Briarwood, and the newly reborn Undying King, Vecna. The fight went badly and Vax'ildan was Disintegrated. Percy succeeded in killing Delilah, but little damage was done to either Vecna or the death knight. Keyleth cast Planeshift and the surviving party members escaped to the Feywild.

"The Fear of Isolation" (1x105)

Vecna made a brief, non-corporeal appearance, launching a surprise attack on Sprigg's house, wounding the gnome.

"The Endless Atheneum" (1x106)

"I am Vecna the Unholy. I am god upon Exandria. I come to play with the toys left by insolent, forgotten ancients and make this world into a new epoch. What this means, however, is an end to all. An end to borders and nations. There will only be the will of Vecna. So. Ask yourselves. You want peace? There is no peace, the way things are. You all bicker and stab and murder in the names of your mothers, your fathers. But this one? Everyone will live, and when they die, that need not be the end, either, under my banner."
– 
Vecna, to Vox Machina shortly after his ascension[32]

While Vox Machina was talking with the Goddess Ioun, she sensed Vecna's ascension. Once they returned to the Material Plane, an avatar of Vecna appeared and taunted the party to surrender, as he'd already won and achieved godhood. Naturally, Vox Machina turned him down in spectacular fashion, and then fled to Vasselheim to continue completing the Trammels.

"The Ominous March" (1x109)

"Dark Dealings" (1x112)

"Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114)

Fan art of Vecna's Banishment, by Elaine Tipping.[art 4]

Vecna, using his undead Earth Titan thrall, laid siege to Vasselheim. As the Dawn City fought to defend itself, Vecna battled with Vox Machina atop the Tower of Entropis. Vecna used his magic to shatter the tower and levitate the remains, forcing Vox Machina to fight among the floating "islands".

After a fierce battle, Vecna was weakened enough that three wounds appeared on his body: one in his shoulder, one in his chest, and one on the side of his head. Though the Raven Queen's trammel shattered upon attempting to thrust it into the lich-god, Grog succeeded in fusing the remaining two trammels into Vecna. Keyleth then read the ritual from the Tome of Isolation, and Vecna's divine form was forced out of the Prime Material Plane to a plane beyond the Divine Gate: permanently sealed away.

No Lights in the Darkness

In the original Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting sourcebook, which is set "one year" after the fall of the Chroma Conclave (the last member of whom was slain on 12 Misuthar 811 PD), the adventure hook No Lights in the Darkness involves a supposed cultist of Vecna known as the Nameless who has stolen some of Vecna's secret knowledge and breached the lower gates of Gatshadow Mountain in search of the spirit of Acek Orattim, priest of Tharizdun; the Nameless was pursued not only by heroes sent by the Arcana Pansophical but also by the Remnants she had betrayed.[33] According to Vincent Clor, "The Fate-Touched" (1x103) took place on 12 Misuthar 812 PD.[34]

Commandments of the Whispered One

Commandments of the Whispered One


  • Learn all you can, and keep hidden that which you know. Reveal what pieces you must, but never the whole.

  • Express and cultivate the evil within yourself, and in doing so, recognize it in others and exploit them for your own benefit.

  • Seed the ruin of all who worship other deities, until only those who kneel before Vecna remain.

– 
[!h]

Relationships

Known Followers

Character Information

Abilities

The Hand of Vecna granted Vecna many benefits while he was attuned to it. These included, according to the Dungeon Master's Guide:[39]

  • Strength score increased to 20 (unless it was already higher than 20)
  • Melee spell attacks cast with and melee weapon attacks made using the Hand of Vecna deal an extra 2d8 cold damage.
  • The Hand had 8 charges that enabled Vecna to cast spells with it. These included:
    • Finger of Death (5 charges)[40]
    • Teleport (3 charges)[41]

When Vecna made a melee attack with that hand, he dealt substantially more than 2d8 cold damage and had the power to paralyze those he struck.[42]

Wizard Spells

As a deity, Vecna had the ability to cast high-level spells more often than any mortal wizard could hope to achieve. Notably, he had three 9th-level spell slots, whereas the maximum for player characters is one.[43]

Cantrips
3rd-level
4th-level
5th-level
6th-level
7th-level
8th-level
9th-level

Notable Items

Fan art of Vecna, by Callum Lyall.[art 5]

Quotations

  • "I can help you." (Vecna's first words to Delilah Briarwood)[citation needed]
  • "I can give you the secret to bring your love back to life...but then you owe me. You're mine." (Vecna offering the Rites of Vampirism in exchange for the service of the Briarwoods)[citation needed]
  • "Sleep."[64]
  • "Don't worry: if you love her that much, I'll send her to you." (to Pike)[65]
  • "No... No! Too long... TOO LONG!!" (final words before being banished)[66]

Trivia

  • Because Vecna is a licensed character, he is never mentioned in the original Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting sourcebook by name (along with all the deities). Instead, he is referred to exclusively by his most popular title, "The Whispered One".
  • Vecna was added to the list of "Betrayer Gods" in the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, effectively giving him a "promotion." (This makes sense in-universe in light of the events of Campaign 1.)
    • This is also not unprecedented, as Vecna was one of the 20 original core deities of the Dawn War Pantheon.
  • The Ritual of Isolation did not kill or destroy Vecna, but rather it forced his divine form to another plane on the opposite side of the Divine Gate. It is unknown which of the Outer Planes that Vecna was banished to, but it is assumed to have been one of the planes of the Betrayer Gods. Based on Vecna's alignment (Neutral Evil), it was likely Carceri, The Gray Waste, or Gehenna. In any case, he has not yet established a home plane, "instead wandering in search of powerful artifacts and secrets to further his unknowable ends."[67]
  • The miniature used for Vecna on the battle map was a conversion of the Warhammer End Times model for the Great Necromancer Nagash,[citation needed] another powerful necromancer who achieved lichdom and godhood.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 27.
  2. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:49:24.
  3. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:49:24.
  4. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:49:24.
  5. See "Denouement" (1x35), part 1, at 0:36:55.
  6. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:49:24.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Matthew Mercer stated that Vecna is beyond the boundaries of a "typical level 20 wizard". (source)
  8. See "What Lies Beneath the Surface" (1x81) at 2:21:21.
  9. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 26:20.  Matt states that Vecna's spell save DC is 26.
  10. Vecna had his left hand, the Hand of Vecna, which means his Strength score must be 20.
  11. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 3:13:13.
  12. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 5:27:30.
  13. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:49:24.
  14. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 2:34:12.
  15. See "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 2:22:17.
  16. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) from 15:04 through 17:31.
  17. See "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 2:24:55.
  18. See "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) from 1:17:39 through 1:22:16.
  19. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:49:24.
  20. Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 38. Here it is called the Army of the Just.
  21. See "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 1:20:23.  Here it is called the Beacon of Arms, under the banner of Pelor.
  22. See "Denouement" (1x35), part 1, at 0:55:18.
  23. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:49:24.
  24. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) from 0:16:50 through 0:19:55.
  25. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) from 0:22:15 through 0:27:31.
  26. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:25:55.
  27. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:25:55.
  28. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 2:22:58.
  29. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 2:25:30.
  30. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 2:28:46.
  31. See "Return to Vasselheim" (1x43) from 33:20 through 36:35.
  32. See "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 2:24:55.
  33. Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 64.
  34. See "The Fate-Touched" (1x103) from 2:41:45 through 2:43:51.
  35. 35.0 35.1 It is unclear if Delilah and Sylas Briarwood genuinely worshipped Vecna, or if they were simply bound to his service to pay the debt Delilah mentioned.  See "Denouement" (1x35), part 1, from 0:49:40 through 0:51:30.
  36. See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) at 4:14:20.
  37. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) from 16:50 through 19:55.
  38. See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 2:01:45.
  39. See D&D: Dungeon Master's Guide, 5th ed., p. 224.
  40. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 4:33:12.
  41. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 4:54:42.
  42. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 5:22:43.
  43. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 3:22:58.
  44. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 3:52:14.  Vecna casts Fire Bolt.
  45. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 3:50:38.
  46. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 59:12.  Vecna casts Dispel Magic.
  47. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 3:12:22.  Vecna casts Fireball.
  48. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 4:31:11.  Vecna casts Banishment.
  49. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 4:38:07.  Vecna casts Polymorph.
  50. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 5:12:08.  Vecna casts Dominate Person.
  51. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 2:41:27.  Vecna casts Hold Monster at a higher level.
  52. Matthew Mercer clarified on Reddit that the spell used at the start of the fight in "Race to the Tower" (1x102) was the equivalent of a Hold Monster spell.
  53. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 3:17:41.  Vecna casts Telekinesis.
  54. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 3:55:10.  Vecna casts Circle of Death.
  55. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 3:33:18.  Vecna casts Disintegrate.
  56. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 3:55:07.
  57. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 2:30:17.  Vecna casts Forcecage.
  58. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 1:22:58.  Vecna casts Feeblemind.
  59. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 39:17.  Vecna banishes Grog to a labyrinth, consistent with Maze.
  60. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 23:22.  Vecna casts Meteor Swarm.
  61. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 3:15:22.  Vecna casts Power Word Kill.
  62. See "The Final Ascent" (1x113) at 4:47:08.  Gilmore describes the spell Gate.
  63. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114).[citation needed]
  64. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 3:15:00.
  65. See "Race to the Tower" (1x102) at 4:12:16.
  66. See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 5:27:30.
  67. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 29.

Art:

  1. Symbol of Vecna from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount by Claudio Pozas. (source)
  2. Fan art of Vecna, by Stephen Oakley (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Vecna, by DJ Crumrine (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Vecna's Banishment, by Elaine Tipping (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Vecna, by Callum Lyall (source).  Used with permission.


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