Notes about Vecna. Clarifications to quoted text are in brackets.
Veracity of Vecna Lives!
Re: Vecna Lives!: “The following information about Vecna is a collection of truth, contradiction, and misinformation.” (VL, 6)
“Old tales from the Duchy of Urnst even claim Vecna was responsible for the creation of the Bright Desert!” (VL, 6) Confirmed as false by Rary the Traitor.
“Some say his realm was beyond the great mountains to the west. Another theory holds his tower once rose from the very depths of the Nyr Dyv.” (VL 6) Confirmed as false by LGG & Vecna’s Realm.
“A few writers even go so far as to claim Vecna’s dominion extended over another plane and that he was ultimately destroyed by a revolt of the greater powers that dwelled there!” (VL, 6) The first part of this sentence is true (Citadel Cavitius on Plane of Ash, see DVD), but 2nd part confirmed as false via various accounts of Kas’s betrayal.
many sages believe Vecna’s origins lie far to the west, across the Hellfurnaces, in the blasted lands once called the Suel Empire.
“Vecna’s penchant for brutality and his obsession for world domination practically brands him as Suloise — after all, the ancient Suel people were (and still are, in some places) noted for their cruelty and policy of conquest. Then, of course, there is Vecna’s unequalled skill in magic, leading those same studious observers to believe he may have once been a Mage of Power, one of the legendary Suloise wizards responsible for the Invoked Devastation. All of this is conjecture, of course, but it is not beyond reason.” (DR#225)
“some tales claim he was half-elven” (VL, 6-7) Confirmed as false by DVD, VhotR, LGG, others.
“2716 OC One of the small tribes of Flan, the Ur-Flannae, located just west of Aliador send servants as hostage to the Gray elven kingdom, in return for land rights. The 7th High King, Galitholian Glitterhelm, is especially taken by the sharp mind of a young man of promise, named Vecna. Vecna, inspired by the glories of elven splendors, began to study magic. He discovered in the libraries a book from the Seul entitled "The Fate of Tilorop." He secretly begins to worship Tharizdun. (3769 SD/-1747 CY)” (OJ#1.9)
“Vecna (VEK-nah) was a terrifying and evil Flan lich-king who gained a foothold on godhood thousands of years ago.” (LGG.186)
“Vecna and the Ur-Flan: The Ur-Flan were a mysterious group among the Flannae about whom little is known for sure. It is known that several of their number, Vecna and Keraptis among them, made themselves overlords of pre-cataclysm empires and these Ur-Flan empires were quite evil. The druids did not concern themselves with the Ur-Flan as long as they were not a threat to the Balance or the Eternal Cycle. This passive acceptance allowed Vecna and others like him to flourish, and some held whole tribes in bondage to their evil. When Vecna betrayed the druids and twisted their power over nature into a source of undeath, they were completely unprepared. Some druids fled, many died, and the few who remained served the Whispered One. A number of scholars believe that the druids who served Vecna rescued many of the Ur-Flan secrets and the Old Faith preserves that knowledge to this day.” http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/lgpg/20080122a
Ancient flan spoken in Cavitius
“A slight familiarity of the GREYHAWK setting is helpful when dealing the domains of Tovag and Cavitius, since each derives from ancient, nearly forgotten realms of Oerth. Even ancient Flan, the language spoken there, stems from those ancient lands and times.” (VR, 2) see also, p12
“Origins: The human citizens of Cavitius were apparently brought to this demiplane from Vecna's capital in his ancient empire on Oerth, just prior to the empire's collapse. Most have dark hair and eyes, with light bronze skin, though with a sickly yellow hue from poor nourishment and frequent illness. Their universal poverty leaves them gaunt. They speak a form of ancient Flan (detailed below).” (DVD, 49)
“Language: The universal language spoken in Citadel Cavitius is an ancient form of Flan, a tongue of the Flanaess of Oerth.” (DVD, 49)
“Scene Five: This scene is more of a sculpture than a relief. It is a life-size statue of the wizard from the other scenes, except now his features are gaunt and skeletal. His hands are likewise bony talons. His snake-robes are still of the same styling, but a new crown rests upon his brow, a crown that appears to be formed by snakes wrapping themselves around his skull. He is also seated on a different throne, one that is made from the fused bones of humans. Its back appears to be a large spider web that spreads across the wall behind him. Caught in the web are dozens of tiny human and demihuman figures, their faces and bodies contorted in terrible agony. Alongside Vecna's throne are dying, disemboweled victims, each wearing what appears to be a holy symbol on a burning necklace. (This statue represents Vecna in the many decades after he became a lich and rapidly built a vast empire of evil. It serves as the altar in this room, and those who worship here leave offerings at the statue's feet. The disemboweled victims were clerics of various deities, their symbols easily recognized by a hero from the GREYHAWK campaign with the Religion proficiency. The gods represented by those symbols were known in the ancient world to govern nature and various aspects of truth, justice, and goodness; most were Flan.)” (DVD, 96)
“Scene One: An old, slightly bent wizard stands on a windblown cliff. He wears a large gem-encrusted crown and black robes with smoky images of serpents embroidered upon them. A palace that looks like Vecna's palace in Cavitius stands in the distance, beyond a plane littered with the remains of what must have been an epic clash of armies. Overhead, the sky boils with lightning-torn storm clouds. A massive serpent-made partially from the clouds and partially from lightning snakes down toward the wizard, wraps around him, and seems to whisper in his ear. The old man's face seems aglow with understanding. Those who study the image closely note the faces of somber men and woman hidden in the clouds. (This scene portrays the Serpent—the ancient source of Vecna's magical might—telling its loyal servant how he might triumph over Death itself and guide his empire to greater glory. The cloud faces are various deities from the world of Oerth, Vecna's place of origin; any person from the GREYHAWK campaign with the Religion proficiency can name several of the gods, who appear to be Flan in nature.)” (DVD, 99)
Scroll of Mauthereign
Alternate origin; see Open Grave, 215.
Pre-Migrations Flan Kingdoms
"c. -1000 FT: Worship of Beory, the Earth Mother, is very strong throughout the Flan tribes. Her druids have a position higher than clan chief. Beory’s children – Ehlonna and Obad-hai – have a small but growing following. Pelor is present but has no organized priesthood."
"c. -800 FT: As the Flannae grow in number in Gyruff, the giants notice their presence and start attacking the Flan tribes. The conflict becomes bitter and gruesome when the Flannae learn that the giants will eat prisoners." (Grand History of Geoff)
"c. -700 FT: Worship of Pelor increases as the Flan tribes struggle against the giants. Trithereon reveals himself to the Flannae." (GHoG)
"c. -500 FT: According to legend, Pelor teaches the Flannae how to make the longbow. Whether that is true or not, the Flannae use this powerful weapon against the giants." (GHoG)
"c. -250 FT: The Flannae and the elves have long lived beside each other peacefully. In an attempt to bring the humans in as allies against the dragons, the elves offer to share their knowledge of magic. They train the first wizards in Gyruff." (GHoG)
"c. -200 FT: To counter the human alliance with the elves, dragons make the same offer to the humans. Dragon magic relies on draconic blood to work. The next generation sees the first human sorcerers." (GHoG)
"c. -175 FT: The Flan tribes are divided on which side to take in the war. Some take the elves; some take the dragons. Some choose neither. Ultimately, the Flannae have little effect on the conflict." (GHoG)
"c.-100 FT: Llywellyn, the Great Druid-King, leads the Flan tribes of the Sheldomar in a crusade against the giants. The giants are pushed into the mountains. Llywellyn unites the tribes living in the Sheldomar into a loose confederation." (GHoG)
"c. -90 FT: With the giants gone, the Flannae discover the gnomes who live in the Stark Mounds and the Good Hills. The two races establish friendly relations." (GHoG)
"1 FT: The Druids of Beory oversee the erection of the Standing Stones at Rhun. The Flan begin tracking the years from this event." (GHoG)
"c. 250 FT: The first dwarves arrive in the Crystalmists. They traveled from the far north, seeking good stone and rich veins of ore. The Flan tribes begin trading with them." (GHoG)
"The descendents of Llywellyn, the Druid King, are no longer able to keep the confederation together. The tribes split and go their separate ways." (GHoG)
"456 FT: Many of the Druids of Beory die suddenly. This includes the Great Druid. Beory herself seems to distance herself from the world. Her priesthood wanes. Without the strong leadership from Beory, the druids of Ehlonna and Obad-Hai start to feud openly." (GHoG)
"1780 FT: Empire of Vecna falls as Kas the Bloody-Handed slays the Whispered One, the Lord of the Spider Throne." (-371 CY) (GHoG)
- "The walled town of Stroun was long famed for its singular mage-priests of Boccob and Istus who were known throughout Tenh as "The Declaimers." Believed to be diviners without peer and to have powers of foreknowledge and precognition, these enigmatic men and women, no more than twenty in number, always refused to attend the courts of Ehyeh or any other noble. They gave their judgements, warnings, and announcements without fear or favor and did so when they deemed the time right. In 580 CY, they stood together in the town square and stated that Tenh would fall within three years. The immediate reaction was one of panic, followed by the budding of the town's walls, and then, after a year, gradual amnesia as the words of the robed masters faded from memory. It was another year before they were proven right, but by then, they had all vanished without a trace on the eve of the fall of Stroun. Now, the Declaimers whereabouts are unknown. They have disappeared as completely as the dervish High priests of Tdon, ten centuries before them." (Iuz the Evil, 75 pdf)
- Two years ago, a Tenha youth called Umenyeh enrolled in the college's history program. To gain credibility with his fellows, Umenyeh showed them an oversized, aged libram he had "liberated" from a partially destroyed wizard's tower as he fled his bome city of Calbut during the Stonefist invasion of 582 CY. The book, written in a phonetic transcription of a time-lost Flan tribal tongue, seemed to Umenyeh and his friends to have something to do with bound spitits an ancient traditions. The budding scholars hope to translate the entire work in order to gain insight into the "quaint" traditions of the primitive Ur-Flan who once inhabited the land that became Tenh."
- "This is the height of folly. as the work is actually the infamous Thrice-Damned Tome of Anashelaq. By personal order of the Duke of Tenh, the malevolent book had been kept under constant guard by a contingent of sorcerers until those adepts were called to the futile defense of Calbut, where they were slain to a man. A montb ago, one of Umenyeh's amateur translators vanished while at work on tbe volume, leaving behind the book and scraps of bloody clothing. Umenyeh covered up the disappearance and is now working more furiously than ever, convinced that the tome soon will reveal some all-important secret." (LGJ#4.7; Grey College entry)
I. Problem of Fleeth: A. Date of destruction 1. Some time after founding of Keoland in -342 CY (VR; date from LGG.64). a. However, Vecna’s empire fell a “few seasons” after founding of Niole Dra c. -359 to -358 CY. (LGG.64) 2. About 900 years after Vecna’s escape as a youth (VhotR.59, 61) 3. Before the destruction of the Kingdom of Mara in -419 CY (WGA4.bc)
B. Location 1. N. Keoish frontier (“Vecna’s Realm”) 2. Eastern plains (VhotR.1) a. E of Keoland? Neheli lands? Sheldomar R? Would this be the D of Ulek? b. E of Lortmils? Veluna, perhaps? (Works if Pholtus=Rao) C. Size 1. Frontier town/city (VR) 2. Town/city (WGA4) 3. Metropolis (VhotR) D. Age 1. Founded “shortly after” founding of Keoland in -342 CY (VR; date from LGG.64). a. However, Vecna’s empire fell a “few seasons” after founding of Niole Dra c. -358 CY. (LGG.64) 2. Stood for “centuries” on the plains (VhotR. 1); a large thriving city even 900 years before its doom (VhotR.15-16)
“Eastern plains” (VhotR.1) Eastern from where? Uhas’s POV (Niole Dra)? Vecna’s POV (Rushmoors?)? Uleks? Unlikely: “The County of Ulek has had a long history as one of the more peaceful lands in the Flanaess.” (LGG.117) “The Old Faith (druidism), as practiced by the common folk throughout the central Flanaess, was the center of culture here. The sovereign was always a member of the druidic hierarchy. . . .” (LGG.117) “The Uleks have provided shelter to Good-aligned nonhumans for untold centuries” (LGG.118) Duchly likely former subject of Celene, due to similar coinage (only ep differs)–LGG.38, 118) D. Of Ulek LG Triad claims elves of Celene ruled Duchy before being taken over by Ur-Flan. (OJ#16.61, 70) Katzman has similar take (OJ#16.72-74) “Dwarves have lived in these hills since well before the Great Migrations a millennium ago. Treated as an extension of the legendary dwarven kingdoms of the Lortmils at their height, there has been a dwur prince in these foothills long before there ever was a human king in Niole Dra” (LGG.121)
Mountains beyond N. Wall (VhotR.23, 24), west wall (29, 30), possibly south walls as well (VhotR.1)
River flowing from mts (VhotR.17)
Religion=Pholtus. Unlikely, Pholtus is Oeridian. Oerid migrations didn’t begin until c. -465 CY (tAB.55) IS a moon god (VhtoR.5) to whom Darknight is important (VhtoR.15) Rao fits bill on both accounts+ is Flan (LGG.129; DNG #41.47) Priests inVHotR wear white robes (some w/ cowls) trimmed in blue or gold) Pholtan priests wear white robes sometimes trimmed in silver, &/or gold (LGG.179; FtA.91; DR#294.28) Rao’s priests wear white robes (FtA.85) Rao’s paladins wear gray or blue-gray tunics trimmed in white and gold, and sometimes wear cowls Though Rao usually thought of as benevolent deity (LGG.181; FtA.85), his priesthood has demonstrated intolerance & fanaticism in a Pholtine vein (DNG#41.47), resulting in branding for theft (nobles), imprisonment for inability to pay church taxes during a bad harvest, and imprisonment for blasphemy (DNG#41.49) Darknight: VhotR, once/ 12 yrs (p. 15); Untrue: yearly on Goodmonth 11 (tAB.46) Could instead be a conjunction involving the moons & 5 wandering stars (WoG.4)
Palm trees in city Possibly transplanted &/or winter-hardy
No “kora” (Kara) fruits in Fleeth (VhotR.50) Kara native to southern flanaess (WoG.6; FtA.50) Found in Celadon (COG:FFF.3)
Possible location: Veluna, near Fals pass; near Mitrik? Mitrik holy site founded 9 CY (location of Crook of Rao) (LGG.129)
Seeing that the presence of palm trees are the only reason to assume Fleeth was located in a tropical region, one must therefore determine whether it is possible for palms to survive in “central” temperate regions, given the fact that kara fruit is only available
"Elves were present in the lands east of the Crystalmist Mountains for uncounted centuries prior to the rise of the first human kingdoms there. Slowly driven from open country to more secluded and better defended strongholds by the growing strength of both human and nonhuman folk, elves still held a number of forest and upland realms at the rime of the Twin Cataclysms. The invading humans, ores, and others pressed them further, until some prominent elven realms made military and political alliances with dwarves, gnomes, and halflings, and even with certain major human tribes (usually Oeridian), Today, elves are dominant in Celene, Sunndi, Highfolk, the Vesve Forest, and the Lendore Isles." (LGG.8)
- Valley elf kingdom: "Gnomes lived as citizens of the valley kingdom even before the first grand duke reigned in Geoff. By the time the Keoish built their empire, humans from the lands west of the Barrier Peaks had immigrated to the Javan Vale." (LGG.127)
This likely means before -342 CY (founding of Keoland), not 316 CY, given implied migrations & length of valley elves time in Vale. WG12.11 implies they'd been there since -14,419 CY: "However, the valley elves are in fact a separate race of elvenkind that traces its presence in the vale back about 15,000 years." Date determined by date of CoG (582 CY, tAB.3, published 1989) & date of Wars boxed set (582-584 CY, published 1991).
Gorna founded -311 CY or before: "With the help of the sylvan elves of the forests and the gnomes of the Stark Mounds, the Geoffites erected Gorna more than nine hundred years ago" before 591 CY. (LGG.48)
1st Grand Duke: "In 316 CY, the region was peacefully incorporated into Keoland, its nominal leader gaining the title of Grand Duke of Geoff" (LGG.48)
Keoland founded: "Keoland was officially founded in the year 303 OR (-342 CY), a union between the Neheli, Rhola, and minor Oeridian nobles who came to control large swaths of the central valleys between the holdings of the SueL" (LGG.64)
Gnome migrations: "Rock gnomes of the Flanaess have their origins as trappers and herders in the remote wooded highlands of the north. Their southward expansion began only a few centuries before the Invoked Devastation, bringing them into lands populated by other races. Their lairds and chieftain recognized the authority of elven or dwarven sovereigns, but discouraged any mingling of peoples until the Suel and Oeridian migrations encouraged cooperation between races." (LGG.9)
- Sheldomar: "According to legend, the elves live in the great forests in the Sheldomar Valley. Their knowledge of magic is strong and they war with the Dragons who are also strong with magic." (no date, Grand History of Geoff)
- Hocholve: "This relationship seems to have persisted until at least the end of the last century, despite vigorous and heated protests by the High Lord of Elvend om at Hocholve." (LGG.127)
- Celene: "Celene has ever been home to the gray elves of the Flanaess. In ancient days, elven princes held sway from the Velverdyva to the Wild Coast; by the time of the Migrations, their rule had diminished to isolated pockets such as Celene." (LGG.39)
- City of Summer Stars:
"At the heart of what is now the Coldwood, a great and majestic elven city once stood. Crafted from living woods, marble, silver, and even ice, the City of the Summer Stars was home to perhaps 2,000 gray elves. They were an introverted, studious, mystical people, and they sought no dominion outside their homelands. The spells and lore known to them is virtually beyond comprehension in the Flanaess now. By a wave of her hand, Queen Sharafere could make winds ripple through all the endless miles of the great forest, and summon unicorns, treants, and the beasts and birds of the forest to her glittering palace. The demise of this race is a dreadful tragedy which few alive today know of. Those who know the tale do not speak of it. Mordenkainen, Philidor, Gywdiesin, Calendryen of the Vesve, Immonara, and the Silverbow Sages of the Lendore Isles are among that rare few, and perhaps one or two other mortals. The City of the Summer Stars received emissaries from the Ur-Flannae. Those necromancers and wizards spoke honeyed words, but Sharafere saw the lust for magical power in their hearts and sent them away. In their rage and desire to possess the magic of the elves, the Ur-Flannae brought their own magic to assault the city. Fire and acid rained down from the skies. Fiends stalked the forests. Bulettes, xorn, and other monsters erupted from the very earth to strike at the foundations of the city." (Ivid, 74)
- Sunndi: "These men and women made the place their home, easily befriending the indigenous gray elven lords, who claimed to have lived in the land since the first tree had broken ground." (LGG.110)
- Highfolk: "The Fairdells and the Vesve Forest were home to high elves for untold centuries." (LGG.53)
- Fellreev: "That castle itself is said to be built on the ruins of a high elven city razed by Oeridians neatly nine hundred years ago, and Dahlvier himself is thought to have many unique, ancient, elven magical items and lore in his citadel home." (Iuz the Evil) [-316 CY]
"The dwarves do not speak of their origins to outsiders, so little of their ancient history is known. However, it is understood that they once had great underground halls in the northern Crystalmists that were destroyed by the Invoked Devastation. Their last High King perished in the aftermath, and the clans have ever since been sundered. Led by lords and princes of differing noble houses, the dwarf clans allied with elves and gnomes during the Suel and Oeridian migrations, and even joined humans of reliable disposition to defend their territories. In the present day, dwarves are found in rugged mountains and hills, particularly in the Lortmils, Glorioles, Crystalmists, Iron Hills, Principality of Ulek, and Ratik." (LGG.9)
- Dwarven kingdom of the Lortmils:
"The County of Ulek has had a long history as one of the more peaceful lands in the Flanaess. The native Flan and halfling peoples were willing to accept Oeridian sovereignty in exchange for protection from the more rapacious Suel, then showed an equal willingness to accept Suloise of more amiable disposition. They came under the rule of Keoland in that state's early history, though the county was always a distinct land with its own lord. The Old Faith (druidism), as practiced by the common folk throughout the central Flanaess, was the center of culture here. The sovereign was always a member of the druidic hierarchy, whose position was respected by both the human and nonhuman inhabitants of the county, regardless of the ruler's race or patron deity." (LGG.117)
"The Uleks have provided shelter to Good-aligned nonhumans for untold centuries, while wars and displaced human nations have moved across the Flanaess, consuming most of the habitable lands" (LGG.118)
"Dwarves have lived in these hills since well before the Great Migrations a millennium ago. Treated as an extension of the legendary dwarven kingdoms of the Lortmils at their height, there has been a dwur prince in these foothills long before there ever was a human king in Niole Dra. These dwarven lords protected the wealth and resources of the southern Ulek hills for ages, establishing their lonely halls in the earth and interacting little with the native Flan who inhabited the flatlands. This remained true until the Suel and Oeridians came together in the central valleys to found Keoland." (LGG.121)
Named for Ulaa?
"Halflings originally occupied small settlements in the river valleys of the west-central Flanaess. They spread slowly into other territories, so that by the time of the Suel and Oeridian migrations, few were north of the Gamboge Forest or east of the Harp River. They are common in much of the Sheldomar Valley, interacting freely with humans, dwarves, elves and gnomes. Historically, they prefer to dwell in stable nations ruled by stronger folk Today, halflings are found in much of the Flanaess, but they still favor the central and western regions from the Urnst states to the three Uleks." (LGG.10)
“Where the characters nave arrived is a special, small section of the negative quasi-plane of Ash. Originally, this piece was part of that uniform and deadly wasteland, undistinguished from the surrounding gray. Vecna took an interest in this place and, over the centuries, transformed the hostile environment into his own private fortress and prison-Citadel Cavitius.” (VL, 62) “Vecna has chosen to build his citadel on the border between the plane of Ash and the Negative Material plane. Through spells and magical devices, he has formed a small pocket of solid matter and fashioned it into Citadel Cavitius.” (VL, 62) Cavitius was actually seized from the Doomguard by Vecna (David Cook, Planescape Campaign Setting: A DM Guide to the Planes (Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1994), 37).
Empire of Vecna
“From the loneliest chamber of a black tower, he ruled over a now-forgotten nation. Some say his realm was beyond the great mountains to the west. Another theory holds his tower once rose from the very depths of the Nyr Dyv. A few writers even go so far as to claim Vecna’s dominion extended over another plane and that he was ultimately destroyed by a revolt of the greater powers that dwelled there!” (VL, 6)
“Even though his body gradually withered and decayed, Vecna remained “alive” and continued to expand his evil dominion.” (VL, 7)
“The scene shows the remains of an immense palace, shattered and broken. The destruction could only have occurred moments before, since rubble is still crumbling away and people are running in confusion. Even in destruction, the palace looks both majestic and corrupt. This is the palace of the Spidered Throne, the seat of Vecna’s ancient empire. The scene is moments after Vecna’s defeat by Kas.” (VL, 60)
“As an undying king he ruled a land ranging from the Sheldomar Valley [to] the northwest shores of the Nyr Dyv, although his immediate reach was only the land near his stronghold, called the Rotted Tower in the Rusbmoors.” (DR#348, 20)
The Occluded Empire of Vecna, as it became known, served ably as a ulcer in the gut of all migrants. Oeridians flowing east from the Fals Gap had avoided Vecna’s lands by coincidence, at first, but soon learned that the lich-lord’s dominion extended all the way to the northwest shores of the Lake of Unknown Depths. Despite Vecna’s control over such a wide berth of land, his actual grasp did not extend far from his own Rotted Tower, said to be located in the Rushmoors, or the now-ruined town of Tycheron, along the northern banks of the Velverdyva, not far from modern Dyvers. (Vecna’s realm)
“he once controlled an empire that spanned much of the Flanaess of Oerth and a number of extraplanar locations.” (DVD, 110)
“On the outside, this fearsome structure is an exact duplicate of Vecna's ancient seat of power, as his empire reached its height across a now-forgotten region of the Flanaess. The palace housed the legendary Spider Throne and was the site of Vecna's greatest political and magical triumphs (and, perhaps, his greatest mistakes).” (DVD, 57)
“This is the home of Vecna, a perfect replica (from the exterior) of the fabled Black Tower from which he once controlled an empire that spanned much of the Flanaess of Oerth and a number of extraplanar locations.” (DVD, 110)
“Formerly a lich, Vecna has retained the horrid appearance of these monsters. His body is mummified with patches of dry rot showing through the tatters he wears for clothing. His left arm ends in a crumbling stump. Vecna’s face is covered by a silken scarf, veiling his features underneath.” (VL, 73)
Vecna in life: described as a “tall, dark-haired man with handsome features.” (DVD, 120) See also, DVD, 95-96 & 99-100.
Height: "Although the room appears to be unguarded, the seated statue of Vecna (Scene Five) is actually a stone guardian, a type of variant stone golem." (DVD, 95)
Stone Guardian . . . SZ M (6'1" tall) (DVD, 95).
"Scene Five: This scene is more of a sculpture than a relief. It is a life-size statue of the wizard from the other scenes, except now his features are gaunt and skeletal." (DVD, 96)
Vecna prefers to act indirectly in the affairs of men, guiding and steering his followers to goals only he understands. Nursed on treachery and deceit, the Whispered One has no compassion for mortals, even his own worshipers. Those who follow him must commit themselves to being utter pawns to his schemes. Followers who serve him well are rewarded with knowledge, usually damning secrets others would prefer stayed hidden. Those who anger Vecna often find themselves betrayed and blackmailed, their darkest sins suddenly known to those who can hurt them most. (VL, 73)
Even in life, Vecna’s strictness and cruelty were infamous. He built a great kingdom based on his wizardly skills and his fiendish cruelty. Some tales claim he bred entire villages like cattle, simply to keep his foul laboratories supplied with subjects for his experiments. Others describe military campaigns where he annihilated entire cities beneath tidal waves of rock and earth.” (VL, 6)
“So formidable was his temper that men feared to speak his name. Lord Vecna was the Whispered One, the Master of the Spider Throne, the Undying King, and the Lord of the Rotted Tower.” (VL, 7)
“The lich committed horrible evils, exploiting the lives of those unfortunate enough to live under his rule. It is said he sacrificed entire villages of his own people just to fuel the magic of a single spell.” (DR#342)
- Though few admit it openly, a great numberof evil sorcerers and wizards revere Vecna, the Whispered One-possibly the grearest living wizard (and certainly the greatest unliving) of any age." (Complete Arcane, 188)
Vecna’s path to lichdom unknown.
- “As entertaining as these tales are, most sources agree that Vecna was a supremely talented wizard who became obsessed with overcoming death when his beloved mother died." (DR#402, 2)
- "After hundreds of failures Vecna devised a ritual that siphoned power from the planes to animate his lifeless body, giving him immortality as a lich." (DR#402, 2)
- “According to some tales, Vecna amassed enough power to confront his own death and forever imprison it, thus escaping his doom.” (VL, 7)
“According to others, Vecna’s pride and arrogance so offended the Greater Powers of the outer planes that cursed him to dwell forever on the border between life and death, never again to fully live or rest in tranquil death.” (VL, 7)
“A third version is that Vecna found the secret magic of life and thus transformed himself into the most powerful of liches.” (VL, 7)
“Beyond death, he became the greatest of all liches.” (VL, 7)
“When Vecna betrayed the druids and twisted their power over nature into a source of undeath, they were completely unprepared. Some druids fled, many died, and the few who remained served the Whispered One. A number of scholars believe that the druids who served Vecna rescued many of the Ur-Flan secrets and the Old Faith preserves that knowledge to this day.” http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/lgpg/20080122a
“Following this, a large group of Flan from the Velverdyva valley migrated into the Sheldomar. They were pastoralists, leading large herds of sheep, and worshipping Rao. The Old Faith directed their followers, by now settled agriculturalists, to oppose them. This led to years of low-scale warfare that finally ended when the leaders of the Old Faith turned to a warlord with ties to the Ur-Flan by the name of Vecna. They anointed him High King of the Sheldomar, and directed their people to follow him in defeating the newcomers.
Following his victory Vecna began to reorganize the small states of the Sheldomar, turning them into a coordinated nation to support him in his researches. It was at this time that the Great Druid of the Old Faith informed him that he was to be sacrificed in a ritual to restore the land. Feigning acceptance, Vecna allowed the ritual to proceed, but at the culminating moment, he revealed his powers, twisting the ritual, and using the power to turn himself into a lich-like creature. Slaughtering the leaders of the Old Faith, he proceeded to establish his rule over those Flan closest to him.” http://canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&thold=-1&mode=flat&order=0&sid=761 see also: http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=824
“Acererak, who is said to have ruled the swamp in the distant past and now has his burial place somewhere within its confines.” (FTA.61)
“Even when the Great Kingdom swelled to its greatest size in 5516 SD [1 CY] under Overking Nasran, Shar was protected from land assaults by the Vast Swamp. . . .” During the next two hundred years, the Brotherhood continued to develop its information network. . . . Rumors of a powerful lich, Acererak, building a stronghold in the Vast Swamp caused some alarm, as the Brotherhood feared another magical war with possibly cataclysmic consequences–especially as the undead mage was presumably unconcerned about any potential damage to the local ecology. Acererak later entombed himself after killing all of his slaves. . . . The first appearance of the frog-like demigod Wastri in 5730 SD [215 CY] was met with surprise, confusion and disgust.” (TSB, 4)
- D. Cook, Vecna Lives!, 81: “As he lived out the remainder of his years, Kas was steeped in the energies of the Negative Material plane. Slowly these accumulated and transformed him. The energy ate out his body from the inside. Finally, it seized his heart and soul, but Kas did not die. Instead, Kas the Terrible was transformed into one of the most fearsome of undead, a vampire. For centuries now, he has dwelled in the citadel, locked in this undying state. Sometimes the ancient warlord wonders if this was Vecna’s ultimate irony-perpetual life imprisonment.”
- See also–Monte Cook, Vecna Reborn (Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998), 2: “Kas eventually betrayed Vecna, resulting in both of their deaths-and inadvertently saving Oerth. But because evil such as theirs can never completely fade, Vecna arose again, this time as a demigod. His servant and betrayer Kas returned as a powerful vampire.”
- Furthermore, depictions of Kas at Fleeth in Vecna: Hand of the Revenant show him casting a shadow (pp. 7-9, 64), which vampires do not–see: Skip Williams, et al, Monster Manual (Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003), 250. However, these accounts of Kas becoming a vampire after his betrayal are contradicted by Open Grave, which states that Kas “served Vecna faithfully for centuries, first as an evil human paladin and later as a vampire lord.” Discounting Open Grave would lead one to assume that Kas’s service to Vecna only spanned a few decades, given a normal human lifespan. However, Erik Mona states in “Ancient History: Vecna’s Realm” that Kas’s life was extended by Vecna’s magic: “In addition to an unnaturally elongated life, Vecna had granted Kas with a weapon of exquisite beauty and a heart as dark as the lich-lord’s soul.”
- “A thousand years ago he ruled as a lich but was betrayed in a moment of crisis by his vampire lieutenant, Kas.” (DR#348, 19)
- “In ages past, the great wizard Vecna became an archlich, ruling a great empire in the Sheldomar Valley of the Flanaess. At the height of the empire (because this is when all great kings are slain), he was betrayed by his lieutenant Kas. Kas later became a vampire, while Vecna returned as a deity. His left hand and eye were reputedly the only parts of his body that survived his betrayal, imbued with great powers. But rumors of other body parts persisted”. (Head of Vecna)
- “Vecna used necromancy to extend Kas’s life, wishing to retain his trusted weapon as long as possible. When Kas’s mortal form had reached the point when even Vecna’s spells could sustain it no longer, the lich fashioned for him a fanged mask of silver, and channeled the energy of undeath into it. By wearing the silver mask and accepting its necromantic embrace, Kas willingly received the dark gift of vampirism.” (DR #402)
- Possibly you have heard that Kas became a vampire after his famous betrayal, as a result of being imprisoned in Vecna’s Citadel Cavitius, on an ashcovered world so cold that it freezes the very soul. That is what Vecna cultists quoting from the Scroll of Mauthereign would have you think, unwilling to admit that their lord so badly misplaced his trust twice." (DR #402)
Vecna & Kas
- Kas served Vecna “for centuries” (Open Grave enhancement)
- Before lichdom: “Long ago, when Vecna was still mortal, Kas was Vecna’s most trusted lieutenant.” (Open Grave, 204)
- After lichdom: “It was during this time that Kas the Bloody-Handed rose to the fore among Vecna’s lieutenants.” (VL, 7)
- “As the arch-lich’s body weakened, Kas became the instrument of rule. Though still supreme in his power, Vecna took less and less interest in the daily affairs of his kingdom. Kas pronounced Vecna’s judgements, presided over the Council in Vecna’s name, and heard the reports from Lord Vecna’s foul army.” (VL, 7)
- “During the time that Acererak was deceiving Vecna, Kas was a human paladin in Vecna’s service, drawn by visions of blood and a thirst for foes who would challenge his prowess at arms. Years earlier he had pledged himself to a god of death, but Kas soon grew bored with mere death. It was the path to dying that fascinated him and the more violent that path, the better. Kas wanted to swim forever in a red sea of combat. Chaining himself to Vecna’s ambition would grant his wish—in more ways than he expected." (DR#402)
- “While Vecna assembled his forces for what would be his first successful major campaign, he became intrigued by Kas’s passion for battle, his skill with a sword, and his recklessness. He was also entertained by the paladin’s hypocrisy in insisting on a fair fight before he mercilessly cut down his opponents. Kas rose through the ranks of Vecna‘s followers—by eviscerating them when necessary—to become the Whispered One’s top lieutenant. He gained the name ‘Bloody-Handed’ on the day he led the conquest of Vecna’s birthplace. After the battle, Kas publicly tortured and then butchered an entire family chosen at random, for no other reason than to torment the city officials who were foolish enough to plea with Vecna for their citizens’ lives." (DR#402)
- “In the heady aftermath of his victory, Vecna believed that Kas would remain a reliable weapon as long as there was blood to be spilled. Oh, he hadn’t forgotten the treachery of Acererak. It was an open sore on whatever piece of skin Vecna still had. But unlike Acererak, Kas had no interest in Vecna’s arcane secrets: the warrior cared only for blood, steel, and dominating his enemies in combat. Vecna was confident of Kas’s loyalty." (DR#402)
- “Over the years Vecna and Kas talked often inside the Rotted Tower. They discussed future targets of invasion and rumors of recently discovered artifacts. Vecna also taught Kas to be craftier in battle: although Kas’s brutality was effective, Vecna’s lieutenant would master more subtle tactics in order to overcome stronger foes that challenged the lich’s power." (DR#402)
Vecna, Kas, & Narek
- “In ancient days, when Kas served Vecna as his lieutenant, the decadent Kas kept a harem of concubines and sired many children. Despicable to his very core, when his children reached an age of maturity that prompted Kas to see them as rivals, he slew or imprisoned them forever. One such offspring was a son named Narek.” (VR, 29)
- “At a very early age, Narek learned sorcerous skills. So great was his aptitude that even Vecna noticed and commented on his potential, granting him a few treasures and tomes in hopes of making Narek a powerful and useful servant. Jealous of this obviously preferential treatment, Kas went into a hideous rage and imprisoned his son in a tomblike vault along with these gifts. Narek thus disappeared, Vecna paid the event little heed, and Kas’s son was forgotten.” (VR, 29)
- Vecna known to have given Narek the Book of Inverted Darkness, but taken it back after Kas imprisoned him. (VR, 30-31)
Sword of Kas
- “As a sign of Kas’s authority (and to protect his lieutenant from the intrigues of others), Vecna forged the sword of Kas, a magical weapon like none ever known.” (VL, 7)
- “Tale-spinners say its iron was taken from the heart of a frozen star and forged in flames stolen from the sun. Though dull and unadorned, it shimmered with evil. Its edge could bite any metal and its blade never dulled. When Kas wielded it, no man could withstand him.” (VL, 7)
- “Fashioned by Vecna’s hand, the sword was evil, even when compared to its creator.” (VL, 7)
“It whispered to Kas in secret voices, feeding the warrior’s pride and vanity. “You are greater now than your master,” it said. “You are the true ruler of all his lands.” Slowly it seduced him, urging him to usurp Vecna’s throne and send the arch-lich to death forever. And gradually Kas came to believe its words.” (VL, 7)
“At last, emboldened by the sword’s sweet voice, Kas struck at his lord. No man saw the battle, but with its end Vecna’s dark tower crumbled into dust, leaving only the sword and a pile of ash. The body of Kas was never found. Of Vecna, all that remained were his lifeless Hand and Eye.” (VL, 7)
“In the final confrontation with Kas, when they were sundered from his body, the gods (perhaps foreseeing his powers) hid them from his senses.” (VL, 7)
“He lost his hand and eye in a fight with his traitorous lieutenant, Kas.” (Deities & Demigods, 95)
"LONG AGO, WHEN VECNA WAS STILL MORTAL, Kas was Vecna’s most trusted lieutenant. He served Vecna faithfully for centuries, first as an evil human paladin and later as a vampire lord. Over time, Kas came to envy Vecna’s power and began plotting against him. In the final ritual of Vecna’s apotheosis, Kas struck out, hoping to become a god in Vecna’s stead. Kas’s attempt to destroy Vecna failed, but he did manage to sever Vecna’s hand and cut out one of his eyes in the epic battle. So great was the fight that it destroyed Vecna’s tower and flung Vecna and Kas across the planes. Kas’s plot failed, though he retains his power." (Open Grave, 204).
"Kas is known also as Kas the Betrayer and is the sworn enemy of Vecna. He was originally Vecna’s trusted lieutenant, but he betrayed Vecna in an effort to become a god in Vecna’s stead. Kas severed Vecna’s hand and eye, and though both survived the battle, each now seeks the other’s destruction. Kas was once an evil paladin, and he still values some knightly principles. He is exceptionally proud and never forgets or forgives insults to him or his honor." (Open Grave, 205)
See also–Monte Cook, Vecna Reborn (Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998), 2: “Kas eventually betrayed Vecna, resulting in both of their deaths-and inadvertently saving Oerth.”
“When a betrayer's blade maimed and cut him down, Vecna rose again, infused with secrets of magic no mortal was ever meant to know. He was now a true demigod, while the relics of his former body gained fame in their own right.” (DVD, 2)
“Vecna’s rule ended when his vampiric lieutenant, Kas, betrayed him. Following the whispered advice of the sword his master had made him, Kas cut off'Vecna's hand, provoking a battle that seemingly destroyed them both, leaving three artifacts behind to be found many years later. Vecna’s hand, his eye, and his lieutenant’s treacherous sword.” (DR#342)
“Little is known of this being except that he eventually met his doom in some awesome conflagration—or at least that his physical body was destroyed. Still rumors persist that one hand (and perhaps an eye) survived even this destruction.” (2nd DMG)
"Vecna died in the last great mage-war, many centuries ago, that killed or forced the permanent withdrawal of most of the first great sorcerers of the Prime Material plane. This glorious battle was fought near the legendary Ring of Flame, a great circle of fire ripped from the very bowels of the planet.
"When Vecna fell beneath a hail of swords and sorcery, his corpse was flung into the great pool of lava at the very heart of the Ring of Flame's huge central crater. Legend has it that the ground heaved in disgust as it was forced to eat the horrid remains, and the ensuing eruption obliterated all of the remaining victorious forces.
"But in the chaos, one of Vecna's minions escaped with the eye and hand you see before you..."
- In Vecna's quest to achieve full and permanent godhood, he instigated several alternative strategies in the millennia of his existence. (DVD, 2)
- "Vecna's terrible accomplishments are still spoken of long centuries after his divine ascension, and those enthralled by the love of secret power are often drawn to worship the Maimed Lord." (Complete Arcane, 188)
“But the history of the artifacts is not all that remains to be told of Vecna. His will, evil and perverted, was too powerful to be destroyed when his body perished. For untold centuries it drifted, refusing to surrender. Strangely, small traces of power flowed to it, the energy of worshipers on Oerth. Even one as depraved as Vecna attracted those who revered and adored him.” (VL, 7)
“Gradually, Vecna’s cult grew and he assumed the powers of a demigod. The process took a long time-gathering his power, responding to his worshipers, and settling himself among the greater powers. Vecna persevered and eventually reached the point where he was accepted as a minor demigod in the legions of evil.” (VL, 7)
“Guaranteed immortality, Vecna was still not satisfied. With his scheming mind, he has devised a plan to ascend to greater godhood and humble his rival deities. With his usual long patience, Vecna has been working on this plan for centuries. Working through his avatar or others, the Whispered One has carefully found seven magical items. Each item has been placed in a secret location, the position strategic to his plans.” (VL, 7)
“These items, when fully powered, will cast a mystical web of energy over all of Oerth, cutting off all other gods from their followers. Already they are creating interference on a local scale. Only Vecna will receive the adulation of his worshipers: the other gods will weaken and leave the path open for Vecna to rise to the fore. Then the Whispered One will open the gates of time and bring forth his faithful followers from the past. Feeding on their devotions, Vecna will become the greatest of gods.” (VL, 7)
“There is only one difficulty that remains for Vecna-finding his Eye and Hand. They are the final keys to fully empower the web, the final keys that open the gate of time. He knows not where these are. In the final confrontation with Kas, when they were sundered from his body, the gods (perhaps foreseeing his powers) hid them from his senses. Vecna cannot detect their energies; he can only find them by seeing their effects on others, much like finding a boat by the wake it creates. Too many times he has come close, only to have them escape his grasp. This time, he is determined not to fail.” (VL, 7)
The artifacts of Vecna & Kas
“In the millennium and centuries that passed, these three objects have surfaced time and again, first in one distant land and then another. Each time, their discovery brings great power and ultimately great woe, for the evil of their masters still lingers within them.” (VL, 7)
“When Vecna was slain, his Eye and Hand were lost to him. Vecna the demigod cannot locate these artifacts, as their emanations are somehow blocked from him. The only way Vecna can trace the artifacts is when someone uses them to amass power. Although he cannot detect their energies, he is wise enough to deduce their presence from sudden changes in the balance of power throughout the Flanaess.” (VL, 28)
“In the past, the demigod has come close to recovering them, only to have the artifacts disappear from sight. This time, with Vecna/Halmadar interfering in his own cult, Vecna the demigod has been able to move swiftly.” (VL, 28)
Vecna’s Ineffuble Variorum
“Nonetheless, some of that speculation is based on information regarding Vecna’s Ineffuble Variorum. Some 400 years ago, a band of adventures sold an ancient Suel text to a book dealer in Niole Dra, claiming to have recovered it from a ruined city in the Sea of Dust. The tome, though untitled, contained the dates of a great many events and happenings, the most recent of which preceded the Invoked Devastation by nearly 200 years. What makes this book so relevant, however, is that it describes what many scholars regard as the finest and most accurate description of Vecna’s Ineffable Variorum. This fact alone places the Variorum and, by extension, Vecna himself in the Suel lands prior to the Empire’s demise.” (DR#225)
Hand & Eye of Vecna
Paddin the Vain
The first recorded appearance of the Hand was during the Insurrection of the Yaheetes, 136 years after the passing of Vecna. With the overthrow of Paddin the Vain, leader of the clan, the Hand apparently disappeared. DMG 2e
BTW, I also have a candidate for Vecna II of Tyrus (the elven host of the artifacts in Citadel Cavitius who is convinced he is actually Vecna–see Vecna Lives!–p. 22, 65), but that one’s harder to pin down.
From DMG 2nd ed: “The Hand of Vecna: Seldom is the name Vecna spoken, and even then only in the most hushed and terrified tones, for legends say the shade of this most supreme of all liches still roams the world. Little is known of this being except that he eventually met his doom in some awesome conflagration—or at least that his physical body was destroyed. Still rumors persist that one hand (and perhaps an eye) survived even this destruction.
These rumors ascribe strange and powerful abilities to the Hand of Vecna, still imbued with the unquenchable spirit of Vecna. The Hand is variously described as large and small, but all accounts agree that it is extremely withered and blackened, as if from a burned body.
The first recorded appearance of the Hand was during the Insurrection of the Yaheetes, 136 years after the passing of Vecna. With the overthrow of Paddin the Vain, leader of the clan, the Hand apparently disappeared.
During the reign of Hamoch of Tyrus, the hand was discovered by the fisherman Gisel. For several decades he kept it as a curiosity, until he was slain by his brother who stole the artifact. The brother was waylaid en route to Tyrus and the Hand fell into the possession of the outlaw Mace.
With a single gesture of the Hand, Mace is said to have struck down the gates of Tyrus and brought plague onto the royal house. Stories are told how he spent one night in the royal bedchamber where he was visited by the spirit of Vecna. Undoubtedly he changed, for the next day he ordered the execution of his former followers to appease the wrathful shade.
In the 100 years of Mace's reign, the city of Tyrus grew in power, but it became illfamed as the Slaughterhouse of the Western Shore. Mace (now styled Vecna the Second) was struck down by a Yemishite assassin when the power of the Hand inexplicably failedhim.
Since that time the Hand has appeared briefly in a number of widely scattered lands.
Most of these appearances are unsubstantiated, but the corruption of the Paladin-King of Miro is a well-documented case. Foolishly fixing the Hand onto his own arm, the Paladin-King discovered too late that he could not remove it and in the end it destroyed him. For the Hand to function, it must be touched to the stump of an arm, to which it grafts instantly. The grip is immensely strong (19 Strength, no attack roll or damage bonuses however).
At first, the Hand seems useful and harmless enough, but within it resides some portion of Vecna's evil spirit. Gradually the owner comes to believe he is Vecna. Good characters becoming cruel and malevolent; evil characters become the embodiment of corruption, eventually turning on their friends and allies.
Suggested powers for the Hand include: death ray (no saving throw, once a day), cause disease (100-foot x 100-foot area/2 times per day), animate dead (1/day), darkness (at will), +2 protection, web (1/day), disintegrate (1/day), regenerate 2 hp/turn, lightning bolt (12 dice, 1/day), and time stop (1/week).
Aside from the fact that the Hand is corruptive, its other major drawbacks include the fact that it cannot be removed short of chopping off the arm and the fact that those who see the Hand will covet it, attempting to take it from its current owner. Finally, the Hand foresees the moment of its owner's doom and its powers will fail just at that given time.”
Recently, while combing through Die Vecna Die!, I found a very interesting tidbit that may identify the Paladin King of Miro (AKA Miro the Paladin-King), and the period during which he lived.
Pages 108-109 of DVD, area 60c of Vecna’s palace in Citadel Cavitius, has an encounter with a radiant spirit who was once a paladin. The spirit has gone mad, & cannot remember his name or deity. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll refer to him as the “radiant paladin.” This paladin once served a “Prelate Verlamis,” who is identified as “the leader of an ancient lawful good coalition that centuries ago launched crusades against many evil religions.”
While “centuries” implies at least 200 years, DVD also mentions that the Prelate sent the radiant paladin on his mission to recover the Sword of Kas from Cavitius “many decades ago” (p. 109). While measuring the same timespan in both decades & centuries is unusual, it is believable that some people might do so for small spans of only a few centuries.
As for Prelate Verlamis, since the Theocracy of the Pale seems to be the only state in the Flanaess that commonly uses the title “prelate” (LGG, 80, 81, 82), it seems quite plausible that he may have been one of the nine prelates that report to the Theocrat. As the Pale was established in 342 CY (LGG, 82), Verlamis would have to had launched his crusades between that time and 391 CY (Die Vecna Die! takes place in 591 CY) in order for them to have occurred “centuries ago.” Additionally, the words of the radiant paladin himself seem very Pholtine in character: “The pureness of my soul blazes like a sun against the evil taint of this place!” (DVD, 108).
Almor was a prelacy, but probably did not gain independence from GK until reign of Ivid I: “Following the secession of Almor, Ivid I also had drawn up the infamous Sedition Proclamations. . . .” (Ivid, 15). This probably happened shortly before (or after) 450, as Almor was at the Council of Rel Mord in 450 CY.
Possibly Verlamis founded the heretical Pholtine cult which claimed Dimre. (LGG, 26)
DVD states that Verlamis claimed that Vecna could only be slain by the Sword of Kas wielded in the Hand of Vecna (p. 108-109). The radiant paladin “had fully intended to sever his own left hand and attach the Hand of Vecna to his wrist” (DVD, 109) once the Sword of Kas was recovered from Cavitius, but Vecna’s forces in Cavitius slew the entire invading force, save for the paladin & his squire. The radiant paladin prevented the worst by sending his squire from Cavitius with the Hand “so it would not fall into the hands of the minions of evil” (DVD, 109), while he himself pressed on in search of the Sword, which he failed to find.
I think that this unnamed squire makes a very good candidate for the Paladin-King of Miro, for a number of reasons:
1. He was in possession of the Hand.
2. As a paladin’s squire, it was likely that he was a paladin himself.
3. If indeed Verlamis was a Prelate of the Pale, the squire fits the timeline. Note that Vecna Lives! states that the Paladin-King was the last known to possess the Hand before Halmadar the Cruel (VL, 22; see also Book of Artifacts, 35), who came into possession of the Hand and Eye in 420 CY (LGG, 104).
4. This theory also fits the location, as the Pale is west of the Blemu Hills (the Gnomelord of Blemu possessed the Hand before the Paladin-King–see VL, 22), & east of Halmadar’s realm near Delcomben (LGG, 104).
I therefore postulate that the following may have occurred after the radiant paladin’s squire returned to Oerth:
Not being as strong-willed as his master, the squire is “corrupted by the power of the Hand” (BoA, 35), and seeks to establish a power base. Not having the resources at hand to take on the Pale, Tenh, or Nyrond, he heads for easier pickings to the west, probably something in the Combination of Free Lords (possibly even land west of the Ritensa–note that this is prior to Iuz’s birth or the Horned Society’s rise).
The Paladin-King may have eventually been slain, and his holdings taken, by Halmadar the Cruel (who may have already acquired the Eye of Vecna by that time) around 420 CY.
Thoughts? Anyone have a better candidate?
“Years ago, but not beyond the reach of a historian’s quill, an Oeridian archmage named Tsojcanth rose to power. The predecessor of more famous wizards, such as Mordenkainen and Otiluke, Tsojcanth was a student of great magic and a protector of the mortal realm. For many lifetimes, Tsojcanth defended Oerth from incursion and assault. He battled the minions of the demon princes, Orcus and Graz’zt, slew a wielder of the horrific Hand of Vecna, and even stood against the forces of the mad god Tharizdun. Yet these battles exhausted him, and the time soon came when even the great Tsojcanth knew he must pass on. Legend says that he made his crypt deep in the caverns beneath the mountains, where he, in his final rest, might serve to dampen the area’s evil energy.” “In truth, everything known of Tsojcanth—even his name—is myth and misdirection. The being who called himself Tsojcanth was no human wizard, however powerful, but the half-breed child of an Abyssal prince. A master of sorcery and deception, Tsojcanth learned many secrets from the orders of good. He steered them away from his own machinations, and aided them in fighting both his own rivals and those of his demonic sire. After Tharizdun’s defeat, Tsojcanth determined that he had spent long enough masquerading as a mortal and allowed that identity to fade as he moved on to other diversions.” (Ari Marmell and Edward Albert, “Iggwilv’s Legacy: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth,” Dungeon #151, WotC, 2007)
As Tsojanth “retired” after Tharizdun’s defeat, & Tharizdun was last heard from c. -410 CY (LGG, 184), it’s unlikely Tsojanth ever defeated a wielder of the Hand of Vecna, as Vecna was not betrayed by Kas until c. -358 CY.
Dungeon #17 (Flame)
Vecna’s war w/ elves (OJ #1)
Vecna imprisoned by Iuz? (DVD)
Lum, Druzniath, & Ahlissa: c.-210 CY (DR#294)–Bonewood
Anyone have any theories on the origins of the Flannae Tracking reckoning (1 FT = -2150 CY).
I have a theory that it may have originated with Vecna.
Note that the LGG states that Vecna "gained a foothold on godhood thousands of years ago" (186), meaning that this took place no later than -1410 CY (740 FT).
Vecna is certainly megalomaniacal enough to decree that the years be tracked according to his whim, and he is said to have held his lands "for a millennia or more" ("Vecna's Realm"). As his empire ended c. -358 CY (LGG, 64), his realm must have been formed no later than c. -1358 CY.
Given this, Vecna would certainly have the temporal power and longevity to influence the adoption of the Flannae Tracking by other Flan groups. What other Flan rulers or kingdoms would have as much influence?
The year 1 FT might represent any number of things: Vecna’s ascension to lichdom, his “foothold on godhood,” his birth year, his mother’s birth year (VHotR, 50), the formation of his empire, his first meeting with the Serpent (VHotR, 60), etc.
Timeline stuff plus FT
Dates in bold are canonical.
Dates in regular type are apocryphal, though great effort has been taken to support these dates with canonical materials. Explanations for why such dates were chosen can be found in the accompanying footnotes.
AL: “After Lichdom.” This designation is used to mark the passage of years after Vecna became a lich.
BF: “Before Fleeth.” This designation is used to mark the number of years before Vecna’s destruction of Fleeth. See b. -1419 CY for further explanation.
a. “after” b. “before” c. “circa”
Timeline based on a number of references to Vecna being thousands of years old (LGG, ToM, etc), plus the statement that the Hand & Eye “are items that have existed for thousands of years or even longer” (VL. 70). Since the LGG places Kas’s betrayal c. -358 CY, less than 1000 years have passed between date of betrayal & date of VL! (581 CY). This discrepancy can be rectified by looking at V:HotR, which shows Vecna losing his hand & eye before Kas’s betrayal; we can therefore assume that after this initial loss, Vecna empowered these items, which explains their survival after Kas’s betrayal so many years later.
Counting back 2000 years from 581 CY (and accounting for the lack of a year zero), gives us -1420 CY as a possible date for the initial loss of Vecna’s hand & eye at Fleeth. As the flashbacks to Vecna’s youth shown in V:HotR are said to take place 900 years before the siege of Fleeth, we can assume that Vecna was born no later than c. -2334 to -2332 (while also accounting for his apparent age of 12-14 in the flashbacks), making him about 2930 to 2932 years old in 599 CY.
I personally see little need for Vecna to be much older than 3000 years, as to place him further back in history might make the apparent sophistication of Flan society (& size of the cities) depicted in VHotR & other sources less believable.
Of further interest is the fact that Year One of the Flan Tracking occurs in -2150 CY, less than 200 years after Vecna’s birth. It is natural to assume that Vecna, being the most powerful wizard of his day, would first attempt to extend his lifespan via potions of longevity or other magics before resorting to lichdom. Given the fact that his empire was extant for centuries, it would be easy to envision Vecna reckoning the years in his empire from the time he took his first step to true immortality—lichdom, and to see his Ur-Flan necromancers carrying this system of Reckoning to other Flan, whose descendants have all forgotten the true reason the Flan Tracking was established. I find the irony that Vecna left something “good” behind fascinating, especially this could be seen as another way his cult has infiltrated the mainstream.
Oerth Journal articles
OJ#1: Vecna’s war w/ elves
OJ#7: “Vecna affair”
OJ#11: “After his ascent to lichdom was completed, Acererak created (or took control of) the [Crypts of Iron Souls] in order to amass an undead army beyond the prying eyes of mortals.”
OJ#12: Interview w/ EGG claims Flan predated demihumans. + reasons for Zagyg imprisoning demigods: “Actually, the idea was that from time to time one or another of the named deities “crossed” the Mad Archmage, or asked some favor, and in return Zagyg confined each in a special prison. Of course, he, and they, knew it to be a temporary matter, and that release was forthcoming through some heroic or antiheroic activity, as it were. (It was a prop for adventuring, of course.)”
OJ#14: age of Vecna– “Vecna, the once human Emperor-Mage of awesome power that terrorized his own people some millennia ago.”
OJ#16: much on Vecna in Wackford’s article; Acererak & Ahlissa in Casper’s article.
OJ#17: Kas mentioned as vampire god; Info on Queen Ehlissa’s kingdom.
OJ#18: info on Vecna & elves in Miller Info on Ehlissa in Broadhurst
OJ#20: info on ur-flan, Isles of Woe, etc in Weiss
OJ#21: location of Vecna’s realm, Flan civ (Tostenhca, Ahlissa) in Broadhurst Ahlissa info in Haarlaa
OJ#22: Ur-Flan info in Almor article ancient elf lands in weiss article ur-flan in r. miller Vecna & Kas as constellations in astrology article
OJ#24: elf lands in Weiss ur-flan in watson
OJ#25: Flan in Broadhurst Ahlissa in Miller
Vague references to the age of an individual (middle-aged, old, etc) in a source will be determined in the context of that source’s edition.
Starting age, human wizard: OD&D: 1E: 24+2d8 (30+1d6 illusionist) (DMG, pg12) 2E: 15+1d4 (phb, 24) 3E: 15+2d6 (phb, 93) 3.5: 15+2d6 (phb, 109) 4E:
Max human age: OE: 1E: 120 (dmg, 13) 2E: 90+2d20 (phb, 24) 3E: 70+2d20 (Phb, 93) 3.5: 70+2d20 (phb, 109) 4E:
Human age categories Edition Young Adult Adult/Mature Middle Old Venerable OE: 1E (dmg, 13): 14-20 21-40 41-60 61-90 91-120 2E (phb,24): N/A 16-44 45-59 60-89 90-130 3E (phb, 93): N/A 15-34 35-52 53-69 70-110 3.5 (phb,109): N/A 15-34 35-52 53-69 70-110 4E:
The Beasts of Humanity by Balar (date unknown) (Parts of Vecna Lives!) Eye and Hand monsters
The Book of Hours by anonymous priest of Delleb c. 300 CY) (See Dragon #253) Historical events (to the hour) of Keoland, Veluna, & Furyondy, + Nyrond & Great Kingdom
The Book of Inverted Darkness by unknown (See Vecna Reborn, 50: “one of Vecna’s most cherished possessions”)
The Book of Keeping (See Dragon #342)
The Book of Kings by unknown (see Dragon #272)
The Book of Stone (written between 445 & 580 CY) (Parts of Vecna Lives!) Halmadar the Cruel
The Book of Vile Darkness by various, including Vecna
The Books of the Brethren by unknown (see Dragon #272)
A Catalogue of the Land Flanaess, being the Eastern Portion of the Continent Oerik, of Oerth by the Savant-Sage (Vol. III published 576 CY, IV-V between 577 & 591) (See 1983 boxed set; could also likely include material from From the Ashes, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Adventure Begins, the Player’s Guide, and The City of Greyhawk)
The Chronicle of Secret Times by Uhas of Neheli (written between 192 & 286 CY) (Vecna: Hand of the Revenant, parts of Vecna Lives!) Vecna’s life and empire
A Chronicle of the Flan People by Rexidos http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/lgmp/20080429a & Rary the Traitor
The Compendium Imortale Magica Malifica by unknown (see Dragon #272)
The Compendium Maleficarum by unknown (Vecna) (See Die Vecna Die!) Holy book of Vecna
Crosse Ways of Ulek by Andreas Wythe (published 155 CY) (See Dragon #253)
The Dragon-Scale Tome by Timonas of Jalpa (written between 449 & 580 CY) (Parts of Vecna Lives!) Hand and Eye of Vecna
Gnomicspheris (written between 445 & 580 CY) (Parts of Vecna Lives!) Halmadar the Cruel
Historical Reign of Ulek by Geohegan Munt (published c. 50 CY) (See Dragon #253) Reign of Count Cartair of Ulek
A History by Courlan Attlander (written between 209 & 580 CY) (Parts of Vecna Lives!) Cult of Vecna
History of the Priests of the Church of Saint Cuthbert by Dehm Brenner (375 or 575 CY) (See Dragon #253) Up to 150 CY–Shield Lands, Bandit Kingdoms, & Tenh
An Honest Appraisal of the City of Clay by Bearne of Schwartzenbruin (See DNG #145 & Mona’s “Mystery of Exag”)
The Nethertome of Trask (rumored to have been written by Vecna) (Parts of “The Three Faces of Evil”) Vecna’s experiments in the Cairn Hills
The Official History by Uhas of Neheli (written between 192 & 286 CY) (Parts of Vecna Lives!, + any source on Keoland) Official history of Neheli dynasty
Treatise on the Practices of Hidden Ones by Bishop Imphalas of Furyondy (written between 254 & 580 CY) (Parts of Vecna Lives!) Cult of Vecna
The True Relation of the Nyr Dyv and the Lands Surrounding by Norfil van Defflitter (written between 445 & 580 CY) (Parts of Vecna Lives!) Halmadar the Cruel
Works by: Iquander (Erik Mona) (“Ancient History: Vecna’s Realm”) Sergeant Silver (Carl Sargent) (From the Ashes, Ivid the Undying) The Shadow-Sage (Gary Holian) Finnobhar Aodhin (Steve Wilson) Nezirdas of Rel Deven (Dragon #293, March 2002) Raseane Greycloak (Broadhurst, OJ#21)
The Forgotten History of the Southern Lorridges: Vecna, the Mara, and Ashardalon’s Cult: http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=824
Grand Sheldomar Timeline Expansion and Revision, Part I: http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=506
The Hand and Eye of Vecna: http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=398
The Icons of the Kings of Burgess: http://skaldgirl.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-icons-of-kings-of-burgess.html
The Pre-Cataclysm Era in the Sheldomar: http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=761
The Yaheetes and Tyrus: The Wars Against the Hand and the Eye in the Sheldomar: http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=733
Vecna in the Godtrap 
3E City Size
20-80 = Thorp
81-400 = Hamlet
401-900 = Village
901-2000 = Small town
2001-5000 = Large town
5001-12,000 = Small city
12,001-25,000 = Large city
25,000+ = Metropolis