Hand of Vecna

The Hand of Vecna is a powerful artifact in many campaign settings for the "Dungeons & Dragons" role-playing game. Originating in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting, the Hand appears as a severed left human hand, blackened and charred, with long, claw-like fingernails.


Once the left hand of the arch-lich, Vecna, the Hand, and its sister artifact, the Eye of Vecna, were all that remained of the lich-king after his battle with his renegade lieutenant, Kas the Bloody-Handed.

In the fifth century CY, both the Hand and the Eye fell into possession of a Shield Lands warlord known as Halmadar the Cruel, who terrorized the region from 420-455 CY. Halmadar was defeated only after being drugged and interred alive in a tomb the Kron Hills.

In 581 CY, Halmadar escaped with the help of Vecna himself, who had by this time become a god, and sought to become even more powerful with the aid of the artifacts, which he reclaimed after destroying Halmadar. Vecna's plans were thwarted by adventurers, and the artifacts once more became separated from his body, vanishing into the Flanaess.

The Hand resurfaced in 595 CY in the possession of a man named Darl Quethos, a powerful cleric of the Whispered One who used the artifact to take control of a Vecnan cult known as the Disciples of Darkness. Darl now seeks knowledge leading to the recovery of the Eye of Vecna.

The Hand of Vecna in "Living Greyhawk"

In the "Living Greyhawk" campaign, the Hand resurfaced in 594 CY, in the possession of a cultist of Vecna known as Pacanan. Pacanan performed an ancient Ur-Flan ritual and proclaimed himself the Voice of Vecna.

Pacanan, in 594-595 CY acquired the Eye of Vecna. He then sent one of his servitors to reclaim the dread Sword of Kas from an ancient Baklunish fortress. During a ceremony at Tovag Baragu, Pacanan completed a ritual whereby he seemed to call forth and become the Ruler of the Spider Throne. This ceremony was overseen by Wilf Hewitt (a Thought of Vecna), and Diraq Malcinex, the Heart of Vecna. Those cultists who survived the ceremony accompanied Pacanan/Vecna through one of Tovag Baragu's dimensional portals.


To use the hand, it must be touched to the stump of one's own left forearm — most would-be users must chop off their own left hand to do so. The hand magically grafts itself to the person's stump, and from then on can be used as a normal hand, though it retains its charred and rotting appearance. It grants an array of magical powers, such as the ability to conjure forth missiles of magical force. Additional abilities become evident if the user also possesses the Eye of Vecna.

The abilities the hand bestowed on its user has varied with different editions of "Dungeons & Dragons". In the second edition of "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons", the hand gave the user superhuman strength, the ability to damage plant-based creatures by touch, and fifteen other spell-like abilities, each being activated by a unique gesture. In "'Dungeons & Dragons" third and 3.5 edition, the hand dealt cold damage to whomever it touched, could drain the abilities of others and transfer them to the user, and could be used to daze, weaken, paralyze, or kill non-evil creatures.


*Cook, David. "Book of Artifacts". (TSR, 1993).
**Cook, David. "Dungeon Master's Guide" (TSR, 1989).
**Cook, David. "Vecna Lives!" (TSR, 1990).

*Cook, Monte. "Vecna Reborn" (TSR, 1998).

*Cook, Monte, Skip Williams, and Jonathan Tweet. "Dungeon Master's Guide" (Wizards of the Coast, 2000).

*Cordell, Bruce, and Steve Miller. "Die Vecna Die!" (Wizards of the Coast, 2000).

*Hinds, R. Michael. "Immortal Longings". (Wizards of the Coast, 2005).
**Hinds, R. Michael. "A Wretched Soul". (Wizards of the Coast, 2004).

*Gygax, Gary. "Dungeon Master's Guide" (TSR, 1979).

*Gygax, Gary, and Brian Blume. "Eldritch Wizardry" (TSR, 1976).

*Henson, Dale, and Doug Stewart, eds. "Encyclopedia Magica" Vol 2. (TSR, 1995).

*Holian, Gary, Erik Mona, Sean K Reynolds, and Frederick Weining. "Living Greyhawk Gazetteer" (Wizards of the Coast, 2000).

*Logue, Nicholas. "The Library of Last Resort." "Dungeon" #132 (Paizo Publishing, 2006).

*Mona, Erik. "Ancient History: Vecna's Realm." [http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=220]

*Thorsson, Modi, and Kevin McCann. "" (Iron Hammer Graphics, 2002).

*Weiss, Samuel. "Grand Sheldomar Timeline, Part I." [http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=506]
**Weiss, Samuel. "The Yaheetes and Tyrus: The Wars Against the Hand and the Eye in the Sheldomar." [http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=733]

*Weiss, Samuel, and Gary Holian. "The Hand and Eye of Vecna." [http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=398]

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