The Hand and Eye of Vecna
Date: Thu, February 05, 2004
Topic: Arcana of Oerth

The path of the two legendary (and much dreaded!) relics of Vecna revealed for the first time. Learn when and where these deadly items appeared to plague the Flanaess, and what effect they had on the history of the land.

The Hand and Eye of Vecna
By: Samwise (with an assist by PSmedger)
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

Manifestations of the Hand and Eye of Vecna

Two of the best known relics of the World of Greyhawk Campaign setting are the Hand and Eye of Vecna. They are thought to be the sole surviving pieces of an ancient and ineffably evil arch-lich who once ruled the lands in and around what is now the Rushmoors and Gran March. The relics have long held an incredible attraction to players, both for their raw power, their dangerous curses, and because of the sacrifice required to gain them. They came to even greater prominence in a series of modules (Vecna Lives!, Vecna Reborn, and Die Vecna, Die) that traced the rise of their original ?owner? to the status of a full deity of Greyhawk. But while much was made of their prior history in those modules, particularly Vecna Lives!, details remained sparse. A few names, fewer places, and virtually no dates were given to what should be world altering appearances of these two relics. What follows is a speculative time line detailing the major events during each appearance of the two relics, with notes following each section describing why they were chosen:

-350 CYVecna falls at the hands of Kas the Bloody Handed (according to the Chronicle of Secret Times)
-205 CYLuschan II of Rhola becomes King of Keoland
-203 CYThe Hand and Eye appear among the Yaheetes (a tribe of Flan natives common in the southern Sheldomar Valley)
-193 CYLuschan II of Rhola is murdered as the Insurrection of the Yaheetes begins
-162 CYMalv II of Rhola crushes the last of the Yaheetes, the Silent Ones of Keoland investigate but the Hand and Eye are not found
-161 CYKnights of the Darkwatch are founded in an attempt to eliminate any trace of Vecna's ancient empire and any evidence of Neheli dealings with him
(Notes: This is the first listed appearance of the artifacts. Rumors claim the relics were secreted in the Silent Tower, until they were smuggled south into the Dreadwood, which is at the opposite end of Keoland from where Vecna?s lands were located. This is important to the overall path of the relics.)

-85 CYThe Hand and Eye appear in Tyrus (location uncertain, but thought to be a precursor to Highport)
-72 CYLanchaster II of Rhola is assassinated as Vecna the Second reveals his rule of Tyrus
-63 CYSenestal II of Neheli dies in the taking of Tyrus and the overthrow of Vecna the Second, the Hand and Eye again escape
(Notes: Tyrus is said to have been on the Pomarj coast. At this time, the Pomarj was not part of Keoland and was called the "Suenha Hills", nor was the area conquered and settled til long afterwards. The relics after moving south have now moved east, circling the Sheldomar.)

89 CYA Gnomish explorer of the Blemu Hills claims the Hand and the Eye while exploring the Abbor-Alz and returns home with his prizes
91 CYThe Gnome consolidates his rule over the demi-humans of the Blemu Hills, and takes the title of Gnomelord
98 CYAs his villainy grows, the Gnomelord threatens the trade routes of the Great Kingdom, attracting the attention of the Overking Manshen
101 CYThe Gnomelord is destroyed by armies of Aerdy and the Pholtan Holy Censor of Medegia is entrusted with the Hand and Eye. They are taken and locked away to prevent them from doing anymore damage. However, the destruction of the demihuman enclaves and the subsequent settlement of the Bone March leads to increased barbarian raids from the north and results in the Battle of the Shamblefields

(Notes: The Great Kingdom had at this time conquered Nyrond and was expanding west at a rapid pace. Why they wouldn?t have moved into the area that became the Bone March already is rather mysterious, but the appearance of the relics explains that quite well. Not many people would be interested in taking on their power. The relics have moved further north, but also have been taken very far to the east.)

252 CYThe Pholtans are stripped of the position of Holy Censor and the See of Medegia is reassigned to the church of Zilchus. The deposed Holy Censor takes the reliquary containing the Hand and Eye when he leaves his post
263 CYThe deposed Holy Censor dies and a Paladin of Pholtus discovers the Hand and Eye among his effects and claims them
264 CYThe charismatic Paladin declares he will lead one of the many parties of the most faithful who are escaping to new lands. There they believe they will be free of the oppression gripping the Great Kingdom (many Pholtans have been emigrating to the northern verges of the Viceroyalty of Nyrond at his time)
270 CYThe Holy City of Miro is built in the Far North, the Paladin declares himself King
279 CYThe rule of the Paladin-King becomes increasingly harsh and evil, many Flan are enslaved. Nonetheless migrations of Pholtans from the Great Kingdom accelerate and other towns and settlements are founded.
293 CYThe Council of Prelates organized by St Ceril realizes the Paladin-King is possessed by the Hand and Eye, they depose him, and burn Miro to the ground and swear to purge it?s existence from all records over the ensuing years. The Hand and the Eye are rumored to be later taken by followers of the Paladin-King to Dimre as holy relics of their Evil version of the faith of Pholtus
342 CYWhile the first Theocrat is chosen in Old Wintershiven, the Hand and the Eye are taken from Dimre during a bandit raid. They will be passed from raider to raider, none realizing their significance for many years
(Notes: The location of Miro is not identified anywhere. But since the next appearance of the relics is north of the Shield Lands, it seems reasonable that it was somewhere between the Blemu Hills and that place. The relics are now moving west. Its location is thought to have been near the modern Duchy of Tenh.)

430 CYThe bandit kinglet Halmadar comes into possession of the Hand and Eye, realizing what they are, he immediately claims them
432 CYHalmadar begins conquering the surrounding bandit holds, but his malice is not yet suspected
443 CYHalmadar has conquered four of his neighbors, he begins construction of a capital on the site that will one day be Molag. He draws the attention of Furyondy and the Shield Lands
465 CYHalmadar has conquered nearly a dozen of the small bandit holds but has become increasingly unstable due to the influence of the Hand and Eye, his followers rebel, drugging him, then entombing him in a secret location south of the Nyr Dyv, following his disappearance, the lands around are easy pickings when Iuz arises in less than a generation
(Notes: Halmadar?s lands are said to have been just north of the Nyr Dyv in the Shield Lands. However, at this time, the Shield Lands and Furyondy are quite strong, and it is unlikely that Halmadar would have gained a foothold there. The lands beyond are another story. These ?Northern Marches?, which includes the Bandit Kingdoms, the Horned Society, and Iuz, have always been quite wild. It is very easy to see Halmadar rising to power there, beyond any civilized law. The relics continue to move back west.)

571 CY
Rumors suggest that the demigod Vecna escapes the confines of Castle Greyhawk and plots his rise to prominence once more
579 CYHalmadar is freed by the Circle of Eight, Vecna attempts a supreme apotheosis at Tovag Baragu and fails, partly due to the interference of Iuz
(Notes: This is the initiating event of Vecna Lives! and the lead in to its sequels. It also provides the next step in the movement of the relics towards their original home. It can also be noted that the relics appear every 150 years or so. From this, it is quite likely that their next appearance will be around 700 CY, right where they were originally severed from Vecna. What would happen then is anyone?s guess, but it is unlikely to be very pleasant.)

And thanks Vision@Work for support in researching certain parts of this article.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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