It may have only been just over a month since we posted our initial What We Know About post about Vecna, but so much has happened since then that we found it only fitting to give an update. We’ve also done a lengthy update on our Vecna quote compendium. Spoilers through Episode 106!
Here comes the archlich, rise up (from the dead)!
Vecna started his existence as an incredibly intelligent mortal. He not only learned arcane theory, but he put it to practice, creating artIfacts that, 100 years later, contributed to the inception of the Calamity. His peers recognized his work, but didn’t give him the credit that he was due (or that he deemed he was due). As any rational individual would do, Vecna elected to learn everything he could about forgotten magics, and then killed everyone else who knew that information. Rather than dying, he achieved what Thordak and Raishan could not: he became a lich. He, along with this cadre of followers, left the Prime Material plane and took up residence in the Shadowfell. During the Celestial Solstice, he combined ley energies to create manses across the Prime Material that he used as portals to send armies through to wreak havoc. This puts the letter found in Anders’ desk in Episode 33, detailing the, “notes on best construction methods using the mined whitestone in the repairs for the manse in the ziggurat,” into rather harsh perspective.
...And his left hand man!
During Vecna’s initial rise, one of Vecna’s many rivals was a human named Kas. Upon his defeat, Kas was offered eternal life via vampirism in exchange for loyalty to Vecna. Kas accepted, and became Vecna’s bodyguard and lieutenant, Kas the Bloody-Handed. In addition, Vecna gifted him a powerful sentient blade that became known as the Sword of Kas. When Vecna was assaulted by Yos Varder and the Beacon of Arms, Kas turned on his master and killed him with this same blade. Kas was also slain in the struggle, turning to ash. Left behind in the battlefields of Thar Amphala from the struggle were Vecna’s left hand, Vecna’s left eye, and Kas’s sword.
The Sword of Kas is incredibly powerful, and is driven by vengeance and hatred for Vecna and his followers. According to the DMG (p226), it is the only thing capable of permanently destroying the hand and eye of Vecna, and can only be destroyed by someone wielding the combined power of the hand and eye. (Pelor seemed to destroy the eye of Vecna that Vox Machina kept in a box, though it remains to be seen if that destruction will be permanent.). The sword was last seen in Thar Amphala, when Kas and Vecna killed each other. The current location of the blade is unknown, but it could prove useful against Vecna, if someone could find it and tame it...
World Turned Upside Down
Before the Calamity, the Raven Queen ascended to godhood through a process known as the Ritual of Seeding. The Prime Gods weren’t exactly enthusiastic about her ascension and attempted to hide all knowledge of the ritual, trying to prevent others from following her “hubris.” In the last few days, however, Vecna has not only started the ritual, but completed it, becoming the only deity with direct access to the Material Plane and all the inner planes on this side of the Divine Gate. He now calls himself Vecna the Unholy. Considering the other gods have impressive sounding names like The Allhammer and The Knowing Mistress, Vecna has a ways to go in the naming department.
What comes next?
Just after Vecna was returned to “life” by Delilah Briarwood, the city of Thar Amphala was transported to the Material Plane. As we’ve since learned from Vax’s “Vecdar,” it appears that Vecna and the city are now located approximately 350 miles northwest of the city of Vasselheim. According to Ioun, as a new god, Vecna is still fairly weak; he needs to gain worshippers to expand and solidify his power. This will require a “miracle of terror, a wave of despair that would occupy the hearts of many in but a moment.” It is unknown what exactly he has planned, but it is clear from Keyleth’s scry on Delilah Briarwood (who has returned to life, again) that something is in the works. Vecna and his followers appear to be constructing some kind of tunnel in the mountains north of Vasselheim, and according to Delilah, “It’s almost ready.” Time may be a luxury that Vox Machina can no longer afford.
According to Ioun and Pelor, it should be possible to seal Vecna beyond the Divine Gate using the same methods used to seal the Chained Oblivion at the end of the Calamity. Vox Machina needs to forge Prime Trammels on the Core Anvil in The Allhammer’s forge, creating them from pure platinum and fragments of divinity collected from their various patrons. These Prime Trammels, once attached to Vecna, will be used to draw and seal him beyond the Divine Gate through the Rites of Prime Banishment. So far, Pelor, Ioun, and the Raven Queen have provided fragments of divinity, though it seems unlikely that Vox Machina will be able to collect any more before needing to challenge Vecna. Ioun stated that it took four trammels to bind the Chained Oblivion, though he was a god at full power when this occurred. Three trammels could be sufficient for Vox Machina to bind Vecna, provided they get to him early enough in his ascension.
The realm of a deity is their body. When a god holds their form as a single avatar, their power is focused, but they are vulnerable to serious injury. While Vecna remains in avatar form, he can be wounded by Vox Machina, and it will be easier for Vox Machina to apply the trammels to a wounded Vecna.
While Vox Machina has a plan, it is certainly not a secret one. Since his return to “life” and his ascension, Vecna appears to be able to spy upon them at-will, except when they were in the Endless Atheneeum. Even though he was unable to see them in Ioun’s realm, it is almost certain that he is aware of the methods used to bind the Chained Oblivion, and therefore knows what Vox Machina is up to. This was demonstrated in his foreboding farewell after failing to convince them to end their crusade against him: “Enjoy the Forge.”