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Vecna: Eve of Ruin Is Dungeons & Dragons Major Crossover Multiversal Event

Dungeons & Dragons is celebrating their 50th anniversary and on top of gearing up to release a new set of core rulebooks later this year we’re a few short weeks away from the release of Vecna: Eve of Ruin. This adventure puts Vecna in the spotlight for the first time in 5th Edition setting up an adventure that isn’t only high level, but also high stakes as the party seeks to stop Vecna from reclaiming power and bringing about the end of the Dungeons & Dragons multiverse as we know it.

Last week we got to hear from Amanda Hamon, Senior Game Designer, and Trystan Falcone, Graphic Designer, about the creation of this adventure from the artwork you’ll see flipping through the pages to the written adventure within. As we break down Vecna: Eve of Ruin we’ll remain spoiler-free, but there will be a section at the end for DM’s eyes only where we discuss some of the deeper plot and cameos that will appear in the journey.

Vecna: Eve of Ruin will be releasing via Dndbeyond as well as at local game stores on March 7th, and will have a wider release on 5/21.

Who is Vecna in Dungeons & Dragons?

Before diving into the contents of the book we were taken on a brief trip through the history of the character. First being mentioned in 1976 it was only Vecna’s Hand and Eye, powerful magical artifacts, that were introduced by Brian Bloom. At the time when asked about who Vecna was Gary Gygax professed that he had no clue what Brian was talking about. It was then in 3rd Edition that the lore about this evil lich was expanded.

While Vecna hasn’t shown up in D&D 5th Edition as an antagonistic force until this adventure he has been referenced throughout official Adventures, Novels, and Video Games with a wide variety of pseudonyms including The Whispered One, The Undying King, and the Lord of the Hand and the Eye to name a few.

In recent years Vecna has seen appearances as a major antagonist in the first campaign of Critical Role: Vox Machina, as well as the namesake of the primary villain of Netflix’s Stranger Things series. In 2022 an official Vecna stat block was also released to coincide with the show. 

Vecna: Eve of Ruin Artwork Inspiration

The presentation began with a slide showing off multiple iterations of imposing art depicting Vecna eclipsing the moon, billowing smoke filled with faces, and with a legion of followers. This was the piece that inspired the look and tone of the art throughout the rest of the adventure. The color theme of magentas and reds will be consistent throughout and will immediately tell you going forward where this art is from.

“He’s a massive looming specter throughout the entire adventure”

Along with the final version of the artwork (pictured above) we were also shown prior iterations of the brief with notes. This was a very interesting, but also important thing for Wizards of the Coast to show as in the past there have been accusations, some proved true while others false, surrounding the use of AI artwork in books. It was a nice touch to add to the presentation as well as an interesting look at the creative process behind refining the look of such a major villain in the D&D world.

Destruction by Vecna

The Party’s (Spoiler-Free) Adventure in Vecna: Eve of Ruin

“The evil lich-god Vecna has unearthed secrets he can use to unravel and remake the multiverse. Stopping Vecna will require working with three of the multiverse’s most famous archmages, traveling to far-flung locales, and rebuilding the legendary Rod of the Seven Parts”

This is a Level 10-20 one-shot that will let the players take themselves from accomplished and powerful warriors all the way to the peak of their ability. The desire for this to be a high level adventure is directly related to the importance of Vecna as an enemy and his overall power. Knowing that most of the official Dungeons & Dragons adventures conclude around level 12 or 13 there is also important information in the book for how to scale it so that a party can finish their level 13 adventure and roll right into Vecna: Eve of Ruin.

The book will be 256 pages in length, of that 35 pages are dedicated to a bestiary, and a further 12 pages are dedicated to character profiles of some of the important characters that might show up from D&D history. Hamon explained that they wanted to make sure that information was right in front of the DM and that “We don’t expect you to read wikipedia pages to understand this book”

While there are some powerful and well known characters that will be appearing it’s through a strange relationship between Vecna and the Party that they are fated to be the one to assemble the Rod of the Seven Parts and stop Vecna’s plan.

Spoilers That The DM Will Want To Know

The False Lich

If you’re thinking of running this adventure there’s a number of major characters, plot points, and locations that you’ll be interested in hearing.

As rumblings of Vecna related cult activity from across the Multiverse begins to ramp up it’s Alustriel Silverhand, Tasha (famed for her Cauldron and Laughter among other magical feats), and the acclaimed wizard Mordenkainen that will be working with the party to organize efforts to take down Vecna. Mordenkainen, aware of the location of the first part of the rod directs the party to it from Sigil, and from there each piece is able to lead on to the subsequent one.

Important locations that will show up in this Adventure cross the Multiverse and include the Forgotten Realms, Krynn, Spelljammer settings, Sigil from Planescape, and players will even be taken to Ravenloft where Strahd plays an important role. Each location will contain the incredibly important pieces of the Rod of the Seven Parts but will also have their own factions vying for the power in the name of Vecna or another.

Knowing that a Lv 20 campaign in D&D is a lot there will also be additional tools and tips for DMs to make sure that while it’s high power and high stakes so the fun doesn’t get away from them.

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