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    Vecna resources since 2009
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:57 am  
    Vecna resources since 2009

    Hey all.

    As some of you may be aware, several years ago, I began compiling a lengthy history of Vecna that I planned to submit to the Oerth Journal as a scholarly article, but abandoned it about ten years ago. However, I've recently been inspired to take it up once more, and hopefully finish it this time.

    The article currently stands at 20 pages (Verdana font, size 9, 8 for footnotes), including over 250 footnotes (and I haven't even gotten to the part where he becomes a lich!). And this does not even include a 30-page timeline (Times New Roman font, size 12, 10 for footnotes), with 200+ footnotes, nor the six-page bibliography!

    In my 10+ year hiatus, I haven't kept up with many new products since 4E came out, so I'd like to know which sources or so have covered Vecna, his empire, artifacts, cult, Kas, the Ur-Flan, etc.

    I think the only sources I have from that era are 2009's Open Grave and "History Check: Kas and Vecna" from Dragon #402 (2011).

    Edit: I'm also interested in good articles covering the same subjects in fan-created material, such as the OJ and Canonfire!, as well as Living Greyhawk publications.

    Thanks in advance!


    Last edited by Robbastard on Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:28 pm  

    The Great Rob Bastard!
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    Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:44 pm  

    Secret College of Necromancy, a d20 sourcebook published in 2001 by Green Ronin, includes an obvious Vecna pastiche called the Ghoul. It's notable mainly for being co-authored by Vecna Lives! author David "Zeb" Cook (the other author is Wolfgang Baur, who also has Greyhawk credits). The unnamed City in which the College is placed is a good match for Shiboleth.

    The Living Greyhawk adventure COR3-18 Through Nature to Eternity by R. Michael Hinds heavily involves Vecna and his relationship to the Ur-Flan who served him. It includes a magic item called the Robe of Vecna and some lore on the history of the Sword of Kas.

    The Living Greyhawk adventure KEO8-02 The Daunting Spire involves an expedition to the Tower of Valadis and includes some background on the Malhel, Nolhast the Unforgiven, and the history of Vecna and Kas.

    The Eye of Vecna and Hand of Vecna are detailed in the 4th edition Dungeon Master's Guide, pages 166-169.

    The 4th edition sourcebook Open Grave detailed Kas on page 204 and Vecna on page 212, including full 4e stat blocks for both.

    The 4e adventure "Betrayal at Monadhan" in Dungeon #170, part of the Scales of War adventure path, involves a quest to Monadhan, a "domain of dread" (which is to say, a Ravenloft-type domain on the Shadowfell), to recover the Sword of Kas. Kas himself appears in the adventure, looking for his sword.

    An aspect of Vecna, calling himself Rithkerrar, appears in Dungeon #171's "Grasp of the Mantled Citadel."

    Vocar the Disobedient, a former priest of Vecna, dwells in the city of Sigil according to the 4th edition Manual of the Planes, page 29. He has a missing eye and hand.

    The incunabula, a humanoid Underdark race detailed in the 4th edition sourcebook Underdark, are currently worshipers of Vecna, though their origins are tied to Nerull.

    There are two minor references to Vecna in Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, a 4e-era supplement detailing magic items. It's suggested that Vecna once owned the Book of Infinite Spells and that his servants are seeking out the dancing weapons for some ritual.

    The 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide mentions Vecna as a purported author of the Book of Vile Darkness (page 222) and his Eye and Hand artifacts are detailed on page 224.

    In the 5th edition Monster Manual, nothics (a one-eyed monster) are said to be the result of one of Vecna's curses.

    The Explorer's Guide to Wildemount includes Vecna in its roster of gods.

    Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus includes a character (a native of the Wildemount setting) wielding the Hand of Vecna.
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    Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:24 pm  

    Sounds great, Rob!

    Do you have a copy of the Venca: Hand of the Revenant graphic novel already too?

    Allan.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:34 am  

    grodog wrote:
    Sounds great, Rob!

    Do you have a copy of the Venca: Hand of the Revenant graphic novel already too?

    Allan.


    I do, and I've relied on it extensively. Using it, I've been able to narrow down Fleeth's likely location, down to the very hex!
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    Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:01 am  

    Where is it? I was just thinking about that question!
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    Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:20 pm  

    I'm also curious if you're going with the earlier Steve Wilson Greychrondex chronology, where Vecna's depredations seem to cross the entirety of the Flanaess; or the later Vecna history from the Oerth Journal (I forget who authored it) mainly confining his activities to the Sheldomar Valley (supported by a few historical mentions in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer).

    I remember Rasgon recommending that the Greychrondex history might work better if all references to Vecna were replaced with Keraptis, though the Hand of the Revenant comic seems to draw on aspects of it.

    My personal preference is for a Sheldomar-centered Vecna; I'm curious where you come down.
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    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:31 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:
    I'm also curious if you're going with the earlier Steve Wilson Greychrondex chronology, where Vecna's depredations seem to cross the entirety of the Flanaess; or the later Vecna history from the Oerth Journal (I forget who authored it) mainly confining his activities to the Sheldomar Valley (supported by a few historical mentions in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer).

    I remember Rasgon recommending that the Greychrondex history might work better if all references to Vecna were replaced with Keraptis, though the Hand of the Revenant comic seems to draw on aspects of it.

    My personal preference is for a Sheldomar-centered Vecna; I'm curious where you come down.


    I think you might be mixing up those two sources--the timeline in OJ #1, for instance, has Vecna in the Griff Mountains at one point, learning magic from the elves, whereas the Greychrondex pretty much covers just canonical stuff.

    I'm definitely pro-Sheldomar, though I do cover speculation on Vecna's visits to other regions (such as the Trask River valley, and possible connections of the Serpent at Chokestone and to Kerpatis).
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    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:40 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:
    Where is it? I was just thinking about that question!


    Fleeth most likely was in western Veluna, near where the Fals breaks the Lorridges, south of the river and tucked into that cozy little spot north of the southside Lorridges--hex P4-114 on the Paizo map, or right above the "D" in "Lorridges" on the Darlene map.

    EdiT; I didn't have the Darlene map cooridinates worked out right--it's one hex above the "D" in "Lorridges," not the "G" (Hex D5-98).


    Last edited by Robbastard on Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:47 pm  

    Yep, totally conflated the two sources. I meant OJ#1 with all the Griff Mountain stuff and battles in northern Flanaess.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your Vecna stuff.
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    Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:15 am  

    Hey, I noticed on Anna's map that ancient Fleeth would be in about the same location as Falsford (or possibly Fals Keep or Falsridge) today.

    Do you think these modern Velunese settlements might have been built upon the ruins of ancient Fleeth?
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    Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:26 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:
    Hey, I noticed on Anna's map that ancient Fleeth would be in about the same location as Falsford (or possibly Fals Keep or Falsridge) today.

    Do you think these modern Velunese settlements might have been built upon the ruins of ancient Fleeth?


    I would actually put it a bit south, so it's not directly on the Fals. The problem with Fleeth being so close to the Fals is that Vecna's forces presumably launched their initial assaults from the north (VHotR.1, 23, 24), and wouldn't have been able to do so with a wide river on their northern border. VHotR depicts Fleeth with mountains/hills visible some distance to the north behind Vecna's assembled army (p. 23, 24), to the south (p. 1) & much closer to the west (p. 29, 30). Furthermore, Fleeth is described as standing "upon the eastern plains as a stronghold of order in the wild lands" (inside front cover), so presumably it would be east of either Vecna's Rotted Tower (Rushmoors) or Niole Dra (where Uhas of Neheli, the narrator of VHotR lived). Looking at Anna's map, south of Falsridge would probably be a better location than Fals Keep or Falsford.

    Though this doesn't seem as strategic a location as directly on the Fals, I would propose that Fleeth's importance to the Flan of that region was more religious than strategic--there was likely another settlement directly on the Fals that predated & supplied Fleeth. According to VHotR, Vecna's attack on Fleeth was simple revenge--he did not seem to have any other interest in the city, even slaughtering all but a handful of its citizens (see Vecna Lives!). He may have even reduced the city to rubble. Whether left to stand or not, it's likely the locals would regard it as cursed & not bothered to settle there for centuries thereafter (I place the fall of Fleeth around -1420 CY), especially if there were more suitable locations for settlement on the Fals. That said, Fleeth's total destruction might help explain the primitive state of the Flan of the Vale of Luna when the Vollar arrived after the Twin Cataclysms.
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    Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:29 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    Secret College of Necromancy, a d20 sourcebook published in 2001 by Green Ronin, includes an obvious Vecna pastiche called the Ghoul. It's notable mainly for being co-authored by Vecna Lives! author David "Zeb" Cook (the other author is Wolfgang Baur, who also has Greyhawk credits). The unnamed City in which the College is placed is a good match for Shiboleth.

    The Living Greyhawk adventure COR3-18 Through Nature to Eternity by R. Michael Hinds heavily involves Vecna and his relationship to the Ur-Flan who served him. It includes a magic item called the Robe of Vecna and some lore on the history of the Sword of Kas.

    The Living Greyhawk adventure KEO8-02 The Daunting Spire involves an expedition to the Tower of Valadis and includes some background on the Malhel, Nolhast the Unforgiven, and the history of Vecna and Kas.

    The Eye of Vecna and Hand of Vecna are detailed in the 4th edition Dungeon Master's Guide, pages 166-169.

    The 4th edition sourcebook Open Grave detailed Kas on page 204 and Vecna on page 212, including full 4e stat blocks for both.

    The 4e adventure "Betrayal at Monadhan" in Dungeon #170, part of the Scales of War adventure path, involves a quest to Monadhan, a "domain of dread" (which is to say, a Ravenloft-type domain on the Shadowfell), to recover the Sword of Kas. Kas himself appears in the adventure, looking for his sword.

    An aspect of Vecna, calling himself Rithkerrar, appears in Dungeon #171's "Grasp of the Mantled Citadel."

    Vocar the Disobedient, a former priest of Vecna, dwells in the city of Sigil according to the 4th edition Manual of the Planes, page 29. He has a missing eye and hand.

    The incunabula, a humanoid Underdark race detailed in the 4th edition sourcebook Underdark, are currently worshipers of Vecna, though their origins are tied to Nerull.

    There are two minor references to Vecna in Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, a 4e-era supplement detailing magic items. It's suggested that Vecna once owned the Book of Infinite Spells and that his servants are seeking out the dancing weapons for some ritual.

    The 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide mentions Vecna as a purported author of the Book of Vile Darkness (page 222) and his Eye and Hand artifacts are detailed on page 224.

    In the 5th edition Monster Manual, nothics (a one-eyed monster) are said to be the result of one of Vecna's curses.

    The Explorer's Guide to Wildemount includes Vecna in its roster of gods.

    Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus includes a character (a native of the Wildemount setting) wielding the Hand of Vecna.


    Thanks, Rip! Some of those I knew or planned to consult, but others I knew nothing (especially those two LG mods--another LG mod with some meaty Vecna bits is Eric Menge's Love as Bright as Blood).
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    Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:27 pm  

    Hey Rob. I recently got Mordenkainen's Book of Foes and read a couple mentions of Vecna:

    On page 13, it states, "rumors exist that Fierna [co-ruler of Phlegethos with Belial] has stolen the secret of how to travel freely between the Nine Hells and the Material Plane from the archlich Vecna."

    On page 60, it features two paragraphs describing "Vecna's Obsession" with "wresting away the Raven Queen's power" — particularly "her ability over knowledge and souls;" and "access to all the lost knowledge stored within the souls she has trapped over the millennia." It further describes Vecna warring against "the Raven Queen and her shader-kai fanatics and against the vampire lord Kas[.]"

    If I find more, I'll post again.

    Rip, I'm interested in your evaluation of this book's treatment of Corellon, Lolth, primal elves, eladrin, etc. as well as the Raven Queen and shadar-kai. I'll check if there's a better thread in which to post my questions.
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    Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:58 am  

    mtg wrote:
    Hey Rob. I recently got Mordenkainen's Book of Foes and read a couple mentions of Vecna:

    On page 13, it states, "rumors exist that Fierna [co-ruler of Phlegethos with Belial] has stolen the secret of how to travel freely between the Nine Hells and the Material Plane from the archlich Vecna."

    On page 60, it features two paragraphs describing "Vecna's Obsession" with "wresting away the Raven Queen's power" — particularly "her ability over knowledge and souls;" and "access to all the lost knowledge stored within the souls she has trapped over the millennia." It further describes Vecna warring against "the Raven Queen and her shader-kai fanatics and against the vampire lord Kas[.]"

    If I find more, I'll post again.

    Rip, I'm interested in your evaluation of this book's treatment of Corellon, Lolth, primal elves, eladrin, etc. as well as the Raven Queen and shadar-kai. I'll check if there's a better thread in which to post my questions.


    Thanks! I'll check it out!
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    Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:28 am  

    mtg wrote:
    Rip, I'm interested in your evaluation of this book's treatment of Corellon, Lolth, primal elves, eladrin, etc. as well as the Raven Queen and shadar-kai. I'll check if there's a better thread in which to post my questions.


    Well, it's not exactly how I would have done it. But I don't hate it. I like how Corellon has no inherent form. I still prefer for eladrins to be entirely unrelated to elves (personifications of chaotic good, as archons are to lawful good, not tied to any specific race, like the azatas in the Pathfinder RPG—but that's my old Planescape bias and the ship has clearly sailed in D&D). The idea that all the elven gods other than Corellon are uplifted mortals diminishes them, in my opinion. I prefer to think of the oldest gods as personifications of natural forces; Labelas Enoreth as the creator of time (equivalent to Lendor among the Suel), for example, rather than a mortal elf who got really good at time stuff. I'm neutral on Lolth as a rebel elven goddess vs. Lolth as a true demon with elven followers. It may be impossible for mortals to know which she was originally.
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    Sat Dec 12, 2020 9:22 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:
    or the later Vecna history from the Oerth Journal (I forget who authored it) mainly confining his activities to the Sheldomar Valley (supported by a few historical mentions in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer).


    You are possibly referencing the "Geopolitical History of Keoland" I wrote, the first part of which appears in the Oerth Journal. I did reason that the Occluded Empire was largely in the Sheldomar. The central conceit of the piece was that it was the remnants of the Empire which resulted in the curious post-Cataclysms migration pattern of the Oerid, since they appear to have been 'deflected' around the region, when crossing it would make more sense geographically. I used the sources available to me at the time (which did not include the graphic novel - I have been looking for that for years and never have actually seen a copy).

    As far as Vecna and 5e, there is not much official (and see also https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/178457/are-there-official-rules-for-vecna-published-for-5e). I am currently playing in the 5e Baldur's Gate module and so am unable to read it. As rasgon writes, there is a paladin in the adventure, Arkhan the Cruel, who currently has the Hand; he serves Tiamat and is trying to free her. This character is inspired by the character played by Joe Manganiello on Critical Role, which might make Matt Mercer's take on Vecna some sort of 5e backdoor canon?
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    Last edited by Kirt on Sun Dec 13, 2020 7:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:53 pm  

    Kirt wrote:
    This character is inspired by the character played by Joe Manganiello on Critical Role, which might make Matt Mercer's take on Vecna some sort of 5e backdoor canon?


    More than backdoor, since The Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, written by Matt Mercer, is also based on a Critical Role campaign. So the version of Vecna described there is his take.
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    Sun Dec 13, 2020 7:59 pm  

    Quote:
    The 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide mentions Vecna as a purported author of the Book of Vile Darkness (page 222) and his Eye and Hand artifacts are detailed on page 224.


    Page 10-11, which uses the 4E pantheon as an example of how to build a pantheon, describes Vecna as "god of evil secrets" and states that his alignment is NE and his "suggested domains" (for clerics) are Death and Knowledge. His symbol is stated to be a "partially shattered one-eyed skull".[/quote]
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    Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:59 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    mtg wrote:
    Rip, I'm interested in your evaluation of this book's treatment of Corellon, Lolth, primal elves, eladrin, etc. as well as the Raven Queen and shadar-kai. I'll check if there's a better thread in which to post my questions.


    Well, it's not exactly how I would have done it. But I don't hate it. I like how Corellon has no inherent form. I still prefer for eladrins to be entirely unrelated to elves (personifications of chaotic good, as archons are to lawful good, not tied to any specific race, like the azatas in the Pathfinder RPG—but that's my old Planescape bias and the ship has clearly sailed in D&D).

    Thanks. I recalled your earlier stated preference for the eladrin not to be conflated with elves and the Seldarine, so I wondered if you enjoyed the "original" formlessness of the entity now known as Corellon Larethian. I found the origin myth promulgated in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes a novel effort to reconcile earlier editions' myths, and I'm particularly interested in the broken continuum or shattered spectrum that it suggests connects the beings that became Corellon, other members of the Seldarine, Titania, other members of the Seelie Court, the Queen of Air and Darkness, other members of the Unseelie Court, and possibly even Cegilune. I've long pondered how to relate olves and the fey, and I found this treatment generative.

    rasgon wrote:
    The idea that all the elven gods other than Corellon are uplifted mortals diminishes them, in my opinion. I prefer to think of the oldest gods as personifications of natural forces; Labelas Enoreth as the creator of time (equivalent to Lendor among the Suel), for example, rather than a mortal elf who got really good at time stuff.

    I agree with you that all of the Seldarine should not derive from Corellon. In particular, Deep Sashelas, Labelas Enoreth, Hanali Celanil, Rillifane Rallathil, and Sehanine Moonbow should be contemporaries with Corellon.

    rasgon wrote:
    I'm neutral on Lolth as a rebel elven goddess vs. Lolth as a true demon with elven followers. It may be impossible for mortals to know which she was originally.

    I'm too fond of Lolth / Lloth as once Araushnee and/or Megwandir to give up on that part of her origin myth (i.e., that she was once a member of the Seldarine), but I take your point to suggest that one or more of the beings who ultimately became Lolth might have been these proto-eladrin / ur-azata who later splintered / became the Seldarine, Un/Seelie Court, hag goddesses, etc.

    Finally, writing this response makes me wonder if Araushnee and Megwandir were twin sisters who took form on opposite sides of Limbo (i.e., Arborea v. the Abyss), and how they might help account for (i.e., make more interesting) the different myths of Lolth's creation of the drow and betrayal of Tarsellis Meunniduin and Fenmarel Mestarine.
    GreySage

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    Tue May 18, 2021 11:40 am  

    Kas is briefly described in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, which informs us he is still ruler of the domain of Tovag, still fighting an endless war with Vecna, who he does not realize has escaped the plane.
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