D&D: How Vecna ​​Ended An Entire Edition

Vecna ​​is one of the most powerful beings in the Dungeons & Dragons multiverse and he managed to perform one of the most notable deeds in the history of the game, as he was responsible in-universe for the changes that led to the end of one edition and the beginning of another. d&d‘s Greyhawk setting is the home of Vecna, where he resides as the god of secrets, yet his name is feared throughout the multiverse, both due to his wicked deeds, and the reputation of some of his missing limbs. In d&dthe most powerful magical items are referred to as artifacts, and the Hand and Eye of Vecna ​​are two of the strongest in the game.


Before Vecna ​​ascended to godhood, he was once a powerful lich. Vecna ​​was betrayed by his lieutenant, Kas the Bloody-Handed, who used his powerful sword to remove Vecna’s hand and one of his eyes from him. These missing limbs have since made their way across the multiverse, causing chaos wherever they go. In d&d, the Hand and Eye of Vecna ​​can be used in the place of a missing limb, granting a portion of Vecna’s power to their new wielder. This incredible power comes with a cost, as using the magical abilities of these items will eventually cause the user to lose their soul to Vecna.

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Vecna ​​dates back to some of the earliest d&d books, but he performed his greatest deed during the 2e era when the game was known as Advanced Dungeons & Dragonsor AD&D for short. When the time came for AD&D to end its run, it was Vecna ​​who was responsible for causing the universe to transform, heralding the d&d 3rd era.

The Transition From 2E & TSR To 3E & Wizards Of The Coast

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook Cover

the AD&D era of the game was produced by a company called TSR, which was run for many years by d&d co-creator Gary Gygax. The company would eventually fall under different ownership and TSR’s financial problems grew worse over time, to the point where the company was facing bankruptcy. In 1997, TSR was purchased by Wizards of the Coast, the company behind Magic: The Gathering. Wizards of the Coast is responsible for d&d to this day. It was under Wizard of the Coast’s direction that d&d 3e was made. Eleven d&d 3e launched in the year 2000, the TSR branding was dropped for good, and the Wizards of the Coast branding started to appear on the d&d books.

d&d 3e was a drastic departure from AD&D. The new d20 system was a lot simpler than the hodge-podge of rules that made up AD&D, and it was a lot easier for new people to pick up and play. A lot of the frustrating rules from AD&D were also cut, such as race/class restrictions and the level limits for demihumans. the d&d 3e Player’s Handbook also introduced some key changes, such as putting half-orcs in the main rulebook as a playable race, along with the barbarian, monk, and sorcerer class. The addition of the sorcerer was a major shake-up, as it meant that there were people who could naturally develop the ability to cast arcane spells, and they didn’t need to spend years studying as a wizard or need to use a spellbook. The question of whether d&d‘s sorcerer or wizard is the better class is still asked to this day.

The Events Of Die Vecna ​​Die!

Dungeons & Dragons Vecna ​​Lives Cover

The transition from AD&D and d&d 3e was given a canon explanation in the Die Vecna ​​Die! campaign for AD&D. The City of Sigil is part of the Planescape campaign setting in the d&d multiverse and it’s said to be the center of existence, if such a thing can even exist. The City of Sigil would be an incredible prize for any invading army of fiends to take, but it’s not so easy to invade, as it’s protected by the Lady of Pain. It’s said that the Lady of Pain is one of the most powerful beings in the d&d multiverse and her strength is such that even the gods themselves are unable to enter the City of Sigil, by her decree alone.

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In Die Vecna ​​Die!, Vecna ​​goes from being a demigod to a full-fledged deity. Vecna ​​became one of d&d‘s best and strongest villains at this point. The path of ascension is not enough for Vecna, however, as he seeks to enter the City of Sigil and uses its position of him to remake reality in his image of him, as the new supreme deity of the cosmos. The Lady of Pain could probably squash Vecna ​​like a bug, but the campaign wouldn’t be much fun if she won the final battle for the players, so they must take on Vecna’s newly-formed avatar before he destroys the multiverse. Once the battle is won, the Lady of Pain tries to repair the multiverse, but the damage is done, and reality will never be the same again. In the shuffle, some old plans are destroyed, many new ones are created, and the existing plans are altered in a way that the denizens are unaware of. Vecna ​​also survives this transition with his godhood intact, and he continues to menace the Oerth campaign setting into the d&d 5th era.

Vecna’s Deeds Offered A Canon Explanation For The Shift Between Editions

Planescape The Lady of Pain

d&d‘s different editions brought many changes to the game, and Vecna’s actions were given as a reason for one of the transitions between editions. Vecna’s attack on the City of Sigil and the Lady of Pain’s response is used as the canon explanation for the shift between editions. The Lady of Pain used the power of the most ancient form of magic to rewrite reality, which is why so much was different in the 3e era. A similar event was used in the Forgotten Realms campaign years later to bridge the gap between 4e and 5e d&dwhich was known as the Second Sundering, and it reversed a lot of the unpopular lore changes that happened during the 4e era, such as the death of popular gods, like Mystra.

the AD&D era of the game was a popular one and it introduced many people to the hobby. the AD&D ruleset was also used for the popular Black Isle Studios d&d games (except for Icewind Dale 2), which introduced people to the d&d multiverse who had never picked up says before. The ruleset for AD&D might be clunky compared to modern RPGs, and the fact that it houses d&d‘s awful THAC0 rules is something that Baldur’s Gate fans might not be quick to forgive, but it’s still a system loved by many players, and it was great that Vecna ​​got the chance to see the second era of Dungeons & Dragons off with a bang.

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