Scales of War
Deity of Undead
Vecna, deity of the undead, was once a mortal king who became a lich. He usually appears as a lich who is missing his left hand and left eye. He lost his hand and eye in a fight with his traitorous lieutenant, Kas. Vecna rules that which is not meant to be – the realm of the undead.
Vecna’s clerics subvert governments, terrorize townsfolk, seduce good folk to evil, and plot the eventual control of the world. 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.
The cult of Vecna is mainly composed of twisted creatures with a morbid fascination with the undead, such as necromancers, as well as creatures deliberately seeking the path to undeath, such as would-be liches and vampires. They often wear macabre costumes decorated with bones and skulls.
Clerics of Vecna are in charge of promoting necromancy, pain, torture, undeath, and the destruction of all that is good. They pray for spells at midnight. Their colors are red and black, although bone white is often used as decoration.
Leaders in Vecna’s church are called Skull Lords. If they achieve great enough status on Azolin, they may be invited to Thanatos in person, where they are expected to lead a horde of undead against a material world or one of Vecna’s foes. If they succeed in this, they are rewarded with the title of Skull King. If they fail, they are reanimated as liches and imprisoned in the city of Golmin Thur forever.
While many small and secret temples to Vecna exist throughout the world, the most famous one is Kala’Ushum located in Glensea. This ancient temple and its catacombs is the site of the Black Head of Vecna, an obsidian humanoid head built into its main altar in the underground temple. The head, when activated, will serve fell purposes, it is said.
The vilest ritual in Vecna’s already vile faith is the Unhallowing. This ceremony involves sacrificing a paladin to the Undead God and creating a self-loathing undead creature from the remains.
Myths and Legends
- Hand and Eye of Vecna
Vecna’s left hand and eye of his original “mortal” lich form, which have never been replaced in his later more powerful incarnations, are now high-valued and very dangerous magical artifacts. To use the powers of the Hand of Vecna or the Eye of Vecna one is required to remove one’s own corresponding body part and affix Vecna’s in its place.
A number of Vecna’s other body parts are mentioned in other myths and legends, including the First Digit (right thumb), Second Digit (right index finger), Third Digit (right middle finger), Last Digit (right pinky finger), Incisors (a pair of inappropriately named fang-like canines), Molar, Scalp, Skin, Heart, Foot (left), and Right Eye. These artifacts are collectively known as the Fragments of Vecna.
- Relic Books
The Compendium Maleficarum is a book of spells, doctrines, and secrets crafted entirely from bone (even the pages) and penned in blood, that is on par with the Fragments of Vecna.
The Tome of Shared Secrets is an illustrated bestiary of relic status, with the ability to impart knowledge of dark and evil creatures at the cost of a portion the user’s life force.
Vecna has many secret strongholds in far-off regions of the multiverse. The souls of those who worshiped the Whispered One in life continue to serve him in death. For a millennium or more, Vecna kept a prison in the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Ash known as Citadel Cavitius. It was there that the souls of those who displeased the Maimed God were incarcerated.
Vecna’s realm is Thanatos, the 113th layer of the Abyss. Thanatos is a frigid and frozen layer infested with the undead. Several cities dot the layer, most of which are ruled by minions of Vecna, including a powerful succubus and Quah-Nomag himself. The Prince of the Undead rules from his palace of Everlost in the Boneshatter, a vast mountain chain that cuts across the layer. Despite Vecna regaining control over Thanatos, Kiaransalee’s taint can still be found in the city of Naratyr on the Frozen Sea south of the layer, and in the so-called Forbidden Citadel in the city of Lachrymosa, located in the Fleshtorn Hills.
Vecna teaches no particular dogma to the living, focusing instead on his undead minions. He does have a cult devoted to him, however. Its members feel that society unjustly imprisoned, exiled, or ignored them, and often seek revenge for real or imagined slights.
Vecna plots the destruction of the other deities so that he may take the world for himself. According to Vecna, there exists a secret that can destroy any being, no matter how powerful that being is. In the middle of every heart hides a seed of darkness kept hidden from all but the self. Finding that secret evil and exploiting it is the key to undoing one’s enemies. Court the followers of Vaermina to learn these secrets. Strength and power, says Vecna, come from knowing and controlling what others do not, can not, or will dare not.