The Maimed Lord, The Whispered One, The Master of All That Is Secret and Hidden, The Arch-Lich, Master of the Spider Throne
Lesser Power of the Prime Material Plane
Symbol:A left hand clutching a human eye
Home Plane: Prime Material Plane/Oerth
Alignment: Neutral evil
Portfolio: Destructive and Evil Secrets, Intrigue
Core Worshippers: Humans, Flan
Worshipers: Wizards, sorcerers, conspirators
Cleric Alignments: CE, LE, NE
Domains: Destiny* (RoD), Dream* (CD), Evil, Knowledge, Madness* (CD), Magic, Mind* (CD), Oracle* (CD), Tyranny* (CW).
Favored Weapon(s): Afterthought (+5 dagger with the ghost touch)
Description: The deity of secrets, Vecna (VEK-nah) was once a mortal king before becoming a terrifying and evil Flan lich-king who gained a foothold on godhood thousands of years ago. He lost his hand and eye in a fight with his traitorous lieutenant, Kas. Betrayed by his lieutenant Kas, the Whispered One disappeared from Oerth, leaving behind his legend and his two great artifacts, the Eye and Hand of Vecna. He recently became a lesser god after freeing himself from an extraplanar prison and now plots the destruction of all other gods so that he may take Oerth for himself. He has a great hatred for luz and is hated and feared by other deities. He usually appears as a lich who is missing his left hand and left eye. Vecna rules that which is not meant to be known and that which people wish to keep secret.
History: Vecna is very much a figure of mystery. He dates back to a time of near-prehistory in Greyhawk, before the migrations, before the wars between Suel and Baklunish, perhaps even before the ascendancy of the Suloise Empire itself.
In his time, Vecna was considered the mightiest of all wizards, unsurpassed in his knowledge of all the arcane arts. 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!
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. Old tales from the Duchy of Urnst even claim Vecna was responsible for the creation of the Bright Desert!
With time, like all things human (although some tales claim he was half-elven), Vecna grew old and neared death. The black oblivion caused no terror in him, only anger and rage. He was determined not to die and in his conceit came to believe that immortality was not merely possible, but was his right. He began a search for ultimate power needed to overcome the Greater Power, Death.
What happened next is not known for sure, as no witness from this time set his words to parchment. According to some tales, Vecna amassed enough power to confront his own death and forever imprison it, thus escaping his doom. 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. A third version is that Vecna found the secret magic of life and thus transformed himself into the most powerful liches.
Whatever the method, there is no doubt that Vecna entered a new stage of his foul history. Beyond death, he became the greatest of all liches. Even though his body gradually withered and decayed, Vecna remained “alive” and continued to expand his evil dominion. So formidable and hideous 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.
It was during this time that Kas the Bloody-Handed rose to the fore among Vecna’s lieutenants. As the arch-lich’s body weakened, Kas became his 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.
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. ale-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.
Fashioned by Vecna’s hand, the sword was evil, even when compared to its creator. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vecna plots the destruction of the other deities so that he may take the world for himself.
“No matter how powerful a being is, there exists a secret that can destroy him. In every heart is a seed of darkness hidden from all others; find that evil seed, and your enemies are undone. Strength and power come if you know and control what others dare not show. Never reveal all that you know, or your enemies will take your seed, too.”
Clergy and Temples
Vecna’s clerics subvert governments, seduce good folk to evil, and plot the eventual control of all Oerth. Naturally, these plans mean that their lives are forfeit if they are discovered, and they are very secretive to prevent this. They can be found in any part of the world, spreading evil or looking for documents or items that date back to their master’s ancient empire. Of particular interest are their master’s relics (his hand and eye), which have once again been lost. Black and red are their favored colors. Vecna’s priesthood is made up of isolated cells of cultists who seek dark, arcane secrets to further their evil schemes. Black and red are the favored colors of clerics of Vecna.
Cleric Training: New clerics of Vecna are so carefully groomed that they often don’t know what they’re being trained for. Many think that they’re joining an obscure sect of Boccob or Wee Jas. The truth revealed to them only after they’ve proved their willingness to do anything in exchange for power and knowledge.
Quests: Vecna’s followers spy on the merchant princes of a port city, blackmail the high priests of other religions, and encourage corruption among the king’s advisors. Periodic attempts to recover the Eye and Hand of Vecna are common as well.
Prayers: Vecna’s worshipers always whisper their prayers. Many clerics reflexively start sentences with the phrase, “You know that…” Which figures prominently in their psalms as well.
Temples: When secrets are your portfolio, you naturally don’t have public temples. But those who know the secret location of Vecna’s temples find them to be good sources for death magic and (especially) divinations. Temples to Vecna serve as bases and safe houses for his clerics. They are always well hidden and warded against unauthorized entry. They usually also include vast archives of information, secrets that Vecna’s clerics have uncovered over the centuries.
Rites: Vecna’s rites are never performed in front of those of other faiths, and the Maimed one’s followers often establish secret passwords and hidden shrines for particularly important ceremonies.
Herald and Allies: Vecna uses a lich 15th-level wizard as his herald—but rarely for anything truly important. After his experiences with his traitorous lieutenant, Kas, Vecna doesn’t give his subordinates enough power to become rivals. Allies are nightmares, erinyes devils, and noble salamanders.
Relics: Dagger of denial, tome of the stilled tongue. Though not exactly relics, the artifacts known as the Eye and Hand of Vecna are of paramount importance to his worshipers.