How to Make Vecna the Big Bad of Your D&D Campaign – Posts

Chances are you’ll know Vecna because the Timeless King, the Whispered One, or the Lord of the Rotted Tower. He’s a being so evil and highly effective that almost all dare not even whisper his true title within the concern that he shall be summoned.

This vile being has lived for hundreds of years and has amassed such nice and horrible energy that he has been capable of not solely remodel himself right into a lich however, in some settings, has achieved godhood. Many adventurers have tried and did not cease the dastardly machinations of this darkish creature, and now, with the Vecna File, your celebration can provide it a shot.

This text will go over every thing it is advisable to know to make Vecna the most important and baddest BBEG your celebration has ever confronted.

From June ninth to June sixteenth, all D&D Past customers will be capable to declare their copy of the Vecna File for gratis! Subscribers can have further time—by way of July—to assert a duplicate. All it is advisable to do is head to the redemption web page by clicking the hyperlink under. From there, you may unlock its contents to be used in D&D Past’s digital toolset!

Who Is Vecna?

The archlich Vecna wearing ornate, golden armorVecna is considered one of Dungeons & Dragons’ most notorious villains. His roots stretch all the best way again to the primary version of the sport. For the reason that ’70s, Vecna’s lore has been fleshed out in varied editions of D&D, and, extra not too long ago, he appeared in various popular culture phenomenon like Essential Position and Stranger Issues. If this prolonged resume can verify one factor, it is that Vecna is the Massive Unhealthy Evil Man of D&D.

Vecna began off not because the tyrannical being of pure evil that we see at present however as a pair of magic gadgets, the Eye of Vecna and the Hand of Vecna. These things spoke of a legendary determine of evil, however the story behind Vecna wasn’t absolutely fleshed out till the third version. At this level, Vecna’s backstory within the Greyhawk setting was revealed.

Vecna’s story started on the world of Oerth when his mom, a lowly hedge witch, was exiled for practising necromancy. Now orphaned, Vecna was sure into servitude as a scribe by the very order of wizards that forged his mom out. Little did they know, Vecna snuck into the order’s libraries and started instructing himself the arcane arts. Finally, with the assistance of a darkish deity who fueled his merciless intentions, Vecna’s energy grew to a degree the place he was capable of destroy the order of wizards that uprooted his life.

From there, Vecna’s hatred and craving for energy by no means ceased. He solid a mighty empire on the earth of Greyhawk that lasted for generations. Finally, Vecna’s mortal physique started to fade, and he used darkish magic to turn into immortal.

After reaching lichdom, Vecna grew bored of his kingdom on Greyhawk and sought powers past his world. He appointed Kas, an oathbreaker paladin, as his regent to supervise his kingdom. To assist Kas, Vecna granted him a fell blade, referred to as the Sword of Kas. This sword helped Kas smite the enemies of Vecna, however—unbeknownst to Vecna—a sentience contained inside the blade conspired with Kas to overthrow his grasp. Finally, Kas succumbed to the blade’s will and tried to destroy Vecna.

After the mud settled, all that could possibly be discovered of the combatants had been the Sword of Kas and the Hand and Eye of Vecna. Vecna, managing to flee the fray, now roams the multiverse, in search of to develop his energy. Most not too long ago, Vecna was capable of ascend to godhood and is now past the attain of standard adventurers. Nonetheless, in your D&D marketing campaign, Vecna should be trying to ascend—permitting your celebration to foil his schemes. 

Setting Up Vecna as Your Massive Unhealthy

Utilizing Vecna as a Massive Unhealthy works properly for campaigns going all the best way as much as the twentieth degree, as events under this degree will not stand an opportunity in opposition to such a mighty foe. For campaigns that shall be ending at a decrease degree however that also wish to embody Vecna, take into account making the climax of the marketing campaign a showdown with cultists who intend to summon Vecna. 

Foreshadowing Vecna

Vecna is greater than a being of evil energy. He’s a presence that invades the thoughts of each power-hungry creature with ailing intentions. If you wish to set Vecna as much as be the Massive Unhealthy of your marketing campaign, you need to be delicate and bide your time. Vecna is not like Strahd; he will not invite the celebration to his fortress as quickly as they seem on his radar. As a substitute, Vecna works from the shadows. He corrupts those who additionally search the facility to subjugate others to their will. 

You possibly can roll on the desk under for examples of occasions that foreshadow Vecna’s arrival.




Evil-aligned characters out of the blue get entry to highly effective, darkish magic


Undead start to plague the land


The world’s gods get minimize off from the Materials Airplane


An historic artifact surfaces, and no one is aware of what it does 


Two kingdoms that had been beforehand allies go to conflict with each other


The followers of a selected god out of the blue really feel the god’s presence vanish

Necessary Magic Gadgets

Vecna’s backstory options some extraordinarily highly effective magic gadgets that may function essential set items in a Vecna-centric marketing campaign. It is important to learn up on the story behind these things and their results earlier than working a marketing campaign with Vecna as your Massive Unhealthy.

E book of Vile Darkness

A leather-bound book with a fiend embossed on the cover in goldThe E book of Vile Darkness is the place Vecna has recorded all of his evil deeds, vile spells, and ugly ideas. Whereas Vecna often carries the guide, it has been recognized to finish up within the arms of various homeowners who add their very own horrible entries to the guide. Nobody is aware of whether or not that is on the will of Vecna or if the guide has its personal sentience and needs. 

The E book of Vile Darkness is helpful for sowing the seeds of Vecna’s arrival. As pages might be faraway from the guide, a celebration of adventurers discovering a yellowing sheet of parchment with abyssal scrawlings could be a nice plot hook to go to an historic library or a purveyor of magical gadgets to decipher its contents and origins. One other plot hook might stem from one of many results of the E book of Vile Darkness, in that nature can’t abide its presence. The ramifications of this impact might present a hook wherein the celebration has to analyze a dying tree that’s sacred to a circle of druids.

The Vecna File states that Vecna at all times carries the E book of Vile Darkness on his individual. Have been the guide to go lacking, a gaggle of Vecna cultists might go on the hunt for it. With the varied secrets and techniques it carries, the guide is likely to be the MacGuffin they should summon Vecna onto the Materials Airplane or might maybe include the situation of the Eye and Hand of Vecna.

Eye and Hand of Vecna

The withered hand and bloodshot eye of VecnaThe Eye and Hand of Vecna are a number of the most well-known gadgets in D&D historical past and are all however required to incorporate in a marketing campaign that makes use of Vecna because the Massive Unhealthy. These highly effective artifacts are infused with nice energy however come at a price—both your eye or your hand relying on which you wield. That mentioned, a watch and a hand are finally a small value for entry to the want spell, which is the primary purpose that unsavory of us search out the artifacts within the first place. Past the facility they supply, they’re additionally a supply of ache for Vecna. They symbolize his biggest failure on the hand of his subordinate. 

An fascinating technique to introduce these things into your marketing campaign can be to have the celebration have a run-in with a gaggle of cultists who’re all lacking both their left hand, left eye, or each. That is an instantly distinguishing—and disturbing—trait that could possibly be used to symbolize Vecna’s minions all through your marketing campaign. Say, as soon as the cultists have been established as no good, your celebration is on the banquet of a pleasant noble once they understand that one of many noble’s servants has a prosthesis on his left hand! And he is pouring the noble a drink!

A novel trait shared by the Eye and Hand of Vecna is that they have to be wielded by the identical creature to be able to be destroyed by the Sword of Kas. Possibly this may end in a sacrifice being made by a celebration member, who gouges out their very own eye, chops off their very own hand, and permits themselves to be smote by the Sword of Kas to permit evil to be destroyed as soon as and for all. This might additionally function a terrifying studying alternative for the celebration once they strike down a creature wielding both the Eye or Hand individually, solely to comprehend that the artifact hasn’t been destroyed.

Sword of Kas

Whereas not initially well-intentioned, the Sword of Kas as soon as served as a foil to Vecna. Because it stands, the sword is the one recognized artifact that may destroy the Eye and Hand of Vecna. Sadly, it may possibly simply as simply be destroyed by a creature that wields each the Eye and the Hand. This may end up in an fascinating ultimate encounter with the wielder of the artifacts—whether or not it is with Vecna himself or simply considered one of his loyal followers—the place the celebration cannot reveal they’ve the sword till the final minute. 

As soon as Vecna has been established as the primary villain, the celebration will probably have to analysis his previous to seek out his weaknesses. After a visit to the library, the celebration might uncover that Kas continues to be rumored to be “alive.” Sadly, he is fairly laborious to speak to as he is at the moment serving time because the Darklord of Tovag—a Area of Dread inside the Airplane of Shadow. Oh, he is additionally now a vampire. The method of discovering a technique to journey to Tovag, surviving the hazards of the Area of Dread, convincing Kas to inform them the sword’s location, and eventually escaping the Airplane of Shadows could be a mini-arch of a marketing campaign all in itself.

Confronting Vecna

The Vecna File gives Dungeon Masters with the stat block for Vecna earlier than he ascended to godhood which, at no shock to anybody, is a CR 26 powerhouse with a daunting quantity of fight tips. However, to use Vecna as your Massive Unhealthy, you will want greater than only a stat block. You must get inside the pinnacle of this evil genius to thoroughly and totally dismantle the puny band of adventurers that dare oppose you.

Vecna’s Minions

A figure in full plate armor with glowing red eyes holds a torchVecna’s darkish energy attracts many alternative creatures into servitude. Whether or not they intend to see Vecna rise once more or to broaden their very own energy, Vecna often has good use for creatures that won’t balk on the vile deeds he duties them.

As a result of concern of loss of life, mortals with brief lifespans are simple targets for the seductive energy the Timeless King can present. As soon as corrupted, expendable followers would turn into cultists, whereas these with a bit extra promise could lead on the ravel as a cult fanatic. For duties that have to be dealt with quietly and successfully, assassins can be considered one of Vecna’s first selections. 

Whereas his cultists and assassins handle the on a regular basis preparations for his return, Vecna’s archmage will lead their staff of mages in additional arcane issues. As followers of an undead lich, these magic customers could also be extra inclined to organize necromantic spells like toll the lifeless, trigger concern, or animate lifeless over the spells instructed of their stat blocks.

When in search of supernatural forces, Vecna is extra probably to make use of controllable undead minions fairly than one thing with autonomy like a demon, satan, or aberration. For unimportant duties, any corpse of a earlier sufferer can turn into a zombie or skeleton to bolster his ranks. As some humanoids could also be intimidated by the considered main an undead horde, wraiths are perfect commanders of those forces.

On the high of the pecking order, proper under Vecna when it comes to command, might sit a loss of life knight. As a weird repetition of what occurred with Kas, Vecna might search one other paladin who has fallen from grace and twist him right into a monstrosity of malevolent magic. Nonetheless, this time it might be completely different. Vecna’s jaded delight wouldn’t get in the best way of fully breaking the loss of life knight’s thoughts in order that they’ve little doubt who’s the grasp and who’s the servant. 

Vecna’s Lair

A party of adventurers approaches a desolate, broken tower

As his title of Lord of the Rotted Tower suggests, Vecna as soon as dominated from an obsidian tower that rose from the waters of a fathoms deep lake. As a result of beings of immeasurable energy and immortal life aren’t more likely to strive new issues, it stands to purpose that Vecna would as soon as once more look for a tower to make use of as his stronghold. This tower would probably be in a not often traveled, desolate space the place he’s unlikely to be bothered as he places his schemes into place.

Adventurers daring sufficient to aim to invade Vecna’s tower would do properly to count on all types of traps, highly effective magic, and lethal creatures. As a lair of some of the paranoid, highly effective magic customers within the multiverse, the traps encountered in Vecna’s stronghold will probably be elaborate and lethal. For those who’re struggling to assume up traps dastardly sufficient for Vecna, the Advanced Traps in Xanathar’s Information to Every little thing are an important place to start out.

Those who survive the tower lengthy sufficient to come across Vecna will should face the lich at his strongest, as he shall be surrounded by sources of darkish magic to attract from. For those who’re trying to improve the problem of the encounter with Vecna, take into account including the Lair Actions from the lich’s stat block. We additionally supply homebrew lair actions on this degree 20 journey that ends in a showdown with Vecna.

Concepts for the Last Encounter 

Despite the fact that Vecna is without doubt one of the strongest liches ever to exist, it would not excuse him from the truth that he’s nonetheless a lich. As a result of they’re launched from their mortal tether, liches turn into useless, merciless, and at all times seek for extra energy. After reaching lichdom, Vecna quickly set his eyes on a good loftier purpose, godhood.

In some tales, Vecna has already ascended to godhood and can want divine intervention from one other deity to face instantly. In different tales, Vecna continues to be looking for the vile rituals required to turn into a god or maybe was forged out of the Outer Planes by his fellow gods and seeks a technique to return. Nonetheless extra tales might take care of a Vecna in a catatonic state or imprisoned in a demiplane the place he can’t contact the Materials Airplane. No matter Vecna’s intention, the story will probably culminate with a mad sprint to forestall Vecna from enacting no matter ritual he wants to realize his purpose.

Stopping the Ritual

Utilizing a ritual because the climactic ultimate battle is a wonderful technique to add suspense to the ultimate combat. As a substitute of an easy initiative, an occasion with a timer might result in a number of different targets to the state of affairs. When planning the ultimate battle with Vecna, you may roll on the desk under to assist brainstorm concepts to make the fight multidimensional.




A portal is opening and 2d6 magical obelisks are its energy supply. The obelisks have to be destroyed in 1 minute, or all shall be misplaced! This state of affairs could possibly be made even higher in case your participant’s earlier successes and failures decide the variety of obelisks Vecna was capable of acquire.


The physique of a robust and pleasant NPC is possessed by Vecna and is getting used to realize his purpose. Will the celebration be capable to save the NPC and nonetheless defeat Vecna?


Vecna or considered one of Vecna’s followers wields the Eye and Hand of Vecna and can use it to realize their targets until stopped. The celebration must strike them down with the Sword of Kas however cannot get inside 30 ft. of the Massive Unhealthy till they’re incapacitated, lest they use the want spell to destroy the sword. 


The celebration must destroy Vecna earlier than his undead military overruns a magical web site that comprises an artifact stopping Vecna from reaching his purpose. A magical barrier across the web site will maintain for twenty-four hours, so the celebration should rush to confront the lich however should first overcome his tower of terrors.

The Time of Vecna is Nigh!

Vecna’s evils and starvation for energy know no sure. This, mixed along with his data of the multiverse’s internal workings, permits Vecna to be the villain in nearly any marketing campaign you may think about. With the assistance of the Vecna File, you can also unleash the terrifying energy of Vecna in your desk. Will your celebration be sufficient to foil the Timeless King’s machinations? Solely time will inform!

Mike Bernier (@arcane_eye) is the founding father of Arcane Eye, a web site targeted on offering helpful suggestions and tips to all these concerned on the earth of D&D. Outdoors of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time taking part in video games, mountain climbing along with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants which have invaded his home.

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