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    Vecna and Celene
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:52 am  
    Vecna and Celene

    From the Topic - Specific Druids of the Flanaess:

    rasgon wrote:
    DriveByPoster wrote:
    There is some Druidy stuff in the back story for "The Standing Stone". It is non-specific in location but I have put it in the Suss Forest & some of the description in the module suits this.

    The adventure states that the druids in the area were destroyed by Ashardalon, the Red Dragon but one alone, Dydd by name, survived. Dydd created the spell "Create Faux Human", which is a 5th level spell. this would make him 9th level at the least & I think it would be reaonable to extrapolate that he was of higher level given the cirumstances.


    Bastion of Broken Souls says that Dydd was a legendary female druid who lived a thousand years ago, and that one of the PCs should be her descendant. The Standing Stone also uses female pronouns to refer to Dydd.

    TwiceBorn did a nice job incorporating those modules into the history of the Flanaess in this Canonfire! article.


    This article supposes that Vecna's Empire was based in the Sheldomar Valley. My question is why is there no lore on Vecna and/or his empire and their relations with Celene? (or very little lore - another article supposes Celene reinforced the Grey Elves of the East, but they retreated back to their homeland). If Celene was one of the Kingdoms of the Grey Elves, why didn't Vecna move against the adjacent kingdom in favor of destroying one on the far side of the Flanaess?

    Kwint
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    Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:44 am  
    Re: Vecna and Celene

    kwint wrote:
    This article supposes that Vecna's Empire was based in the Sheldomar Valley. My question is why is there no lore on Vecna and/or his empire and their relations with Celene?


    There's very little lore on Vecna's empire in general. Vecna's empire was mainly probably in the Rushmoors, in what is now the Gran March (see Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, pages 50 and 64, and Dragon #348, page 20) so it was separated from Celene by the Lortmils. The mountains themselves, as well as the dwarves, elves, and other humanoids of that range, would have been a formidable barrier. The elves of what are now the Duchy of Ulek and the Dreadwood would have been much more vulnerable to Vecna's depredations, but it's likely that Vecna's grasp didn't extend far from his tower much of the time.

    I wrote a short history tying Vecna to the history of the Winged Folk from Dragon #51 here, since the LGG (page 143) suggests "winged folk" dwell within that mountain chain.
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    Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:13 am  

    So, would it be safe to say, that Vecna is a Northern Sheldomar/Fals Gap/Lorridges phenomenon, with intentional obfuscation from the Canon in The Dungeomasters Guide(s), The Book of Artifacts, Vecna Lives!, The Vecna Comic and the Spidered Throne Map in The Adventure Begins and yet further obfuscated by Fanon using the vague story of Bitterness in Ivid the Undying?

    Not Judging Canon or Fanon, just trying to find the secrets...

    Kwint
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    Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:20 pm  

    There's some obfuscation in Vecna Lives, but details there like the conflict between Vecna and the Neheli are why later authors associated Vecna with the northern Sheldomar.

    There is some indication Vecna claimed territory as far as the shores of the Nyr Dyv, but I don't think he was very interested in temporal rule beyond vengeance and demanding tribute from vassal states. Kas was from Tycheron, near modern Dyvers.

    Claims that Vecna had a tower in the Isles of Woe are likely spurious.

    The Oerth Journal #1 timeline really did screw up in placing Vecna in the Eastern Flanaess, but pretty much every instance of the name Vecna in that timeline can be seamlessly replaced with Keraptis.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:56 pm  

    And a Rushmoors oriented Timeline would place him there and the existence of Tycheron near "modern day" Dyvers around where in the Common Year chronology?

    Kwint

    PS-Thanks! Rip, et. al. for the clarifications. I generally rely on my memories from the last forty years, but some sources become a bit muddled Wink ...
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:01 pm  

    My best guess for the Occluded Empire and its interactions with the Neheli was written up in Oerth Journal 16.
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    GreySage

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    Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:57 pm  

    kwint wrote:
    And a Rushmoors oriented Timeline would place him there and the existence of Tycheron near "modern day" Dyvers around where in the Common Year chronology?


    According to the back cover of Vecna Lives!, "and so, after the Rain of Colorless Fire, the One-Named-In-Whispers ascended to the Spidered Throne. In the third year of his ascendancy, Burgred, king of the Mara, refused the tribute of heads the Whispered One demanded. The One-Named-In-Whispers took only himself and Kas, his evil counselor, and devastated the land of the Mara with his magic. Burgred paid with his own head. Upon their return, Kas struck against his master, so that he might become the master of the Spidered Throne. In the end, both were slain and good people rejoiced."

    According to the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, page 64, Gradsul was founded in -368 CY and Niole Dra was founded circa -358 CY, "within ten years of Gradsul's creation." The legendary battle between Vecna and Kas occurred "in the next few seasons" after the founding of Niole Dra, so it must have been roughly -358 or -357.

    Taken together, it's conceivable that Vecna's reign only lasted three years, roughly from -361 to -358 CY.

    Now, some caveats. The back cover of Vecna Lives! is written like an in-character legend or dubious history, not in the plain prose of an omniscient game designer. There are a lot of dubious ancient texts quoted within the module, many of them contradicting each other, and we shouldn't necessarily view it as authoritative or canon.

    It's also possible that "ascended to the Spidered Throne" doesn't mean the date that Vecna began ruling, though that would be the most obvious interpretation. There's a scene in the Vecna: Hand of the Revenant comic book where Acererak brings a wounded Vecna to his throne so that its "necrotic energies" would heal him. It's possible that it's this event that Vecna Lives! references.

    That aside, the text of the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer implies that Vecna already ruled in the northern Sheldomar in the earliest days of the Suel migration, and it definitely seems his empire was already extant when Gradsul was founded in -368 CY, so I think the idea that Vecna's reign only lasted three years is unlikely. The Living Greyhawk adventure COR3-18 Through Nature to Eternity references Vecna's "long reign," for what that's worth.

    We can safely say that Vecna was around in the early days of Suel colonization. Vecna Lives! summarizes the Chronicle of Secret Times by Uhas of Neheli, which details the conflict between the Neheli and Vecna.

    Vecna: Hand of the Revenant (which I wouldn't claim as 100% canon) says that Vecna is around 900 (or 1000) years old at the time of the sack of Fleeth. I don't know that there's any source that states definitively when the sack of Fleeth was. We know the story because it was in Uhas' Chronicle of Secret Times, which implies it happened during the time of early Keoish settlement, but it's possible Uhas was merely quoting a much older legend he had heard from the Flan.

    The Living Greyhawk adventure KEO8-02 The Daunting Spire includes a description of an ancient painting depicting "Vecna grasping power in his homeland on behalf of the long-suffering and oppression of the Flan" which again could suggest Vecna took power after the Suel began colonizing the Sheldomar Valley, though the Flan could have been oppressed by other Flan, or even by nonhuman races. In Vecna: Hand of the Revenant, Vecna and his mother belong to a despised untouchable caste, descended from an Ur-Flan tribe who once ruled as god-kings before being subjugated by later civilizations.


    Last edited by rasgon on Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:50 am  

    Wow, Rip, you're like the perfect city inspector for the lazy construction manager who uses said inspector to put together his punch list to pass inspection the next time around. Thanks for the separation of Canon and Fanon and the contextual analysis as well.

    Kwint
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    Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:35 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    There's a scene in the Vecna: Hand of the Revenant comic book where Acererak brings a wounded Vecna to his throne so that its "necrotic energies" would heal him. It's possible that it's this event that Vecna Lives! references.


    On second thought, I don't think this take holds water unless Vecna spent three years recovering on his throne. This is clearly a dating system; societies begin counting regnal years from when someone became king, not from when the king was sick one time.

    The only other interpretation I can think of is that "the third year of his ascension" refers to Burgred's ascension, not Vecna's. The fact that it's Vecna's ascension that was mentioned in the previous sentence makes this untenable, I think, unless the manuscript the back cover of Vecna Lives! was quoting had a gap in it. Like, if there are several pages missing between "Vecna ascended the Spidered Throne" and "In the third year of his ascendency," the second line could have been referring to Burgred's regnal year, not Vecna's.

    The most natural reading is that Vecna was slain by Kas in Year 3 of Vecna's regnal calendar, so Vecna's reign only lasted three years. Other sources do imply a longer reign for Vecna. The first edition DMG says "for a long, long time Kas faithfully served the lich," which should certainly be longer than 3 years, although Kas may have served as Vecna's lieutenant before he named himself king.

    It seems very possible that Vecna ruled from the Rushmoors for centuries without bothering to give himself a title, and only named himself king when the invading Suel tried to claim the land for themselves.
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