10 Things About Dungeon’s Vecna That Stranger Things Leaves Out

Vecna is the main threat to Hawkins in Stranger Things season 4, but there’s a lot that the Netflix series leaves out about the infamous D&D villain.

Just like the Demogorgon, the Mind Flayer, and every other monster that has terrorized Hawkins, Vecna’s origins lie in Dungeons & Dragons, but not everything about the evil wizard was included in season 4 of Stranger Things. Eddie Munson, the dungeon master of the Hellfire Club, introduces Dustin, Mike, and their cohort to Vecna through his campaign, having no knowledge that the Master of the Spider Throne lurks in the Upside Down.

>>> Related: Vecna Stranger Things: Origins, Powers, and Possible Hypotheses

First introduced as a pair of items (the Eye of Vecna and the Hand of Vecna) in Eldritch Wizardry, OD&Dā€™s third supplement, The Whispered One’s story has only grown in the decades since, resulting in him becoming one of the most powerful villains in the D&D franchise. In more ways than one, Vecna is the most human ā€” and humanized ā€” villain to shape the Stranger Things story, and his origins needed to reflect specific plot twists in season 4’s narrative. It makes sense that Vecna had to be altered to fit into the world-building of Stranger Things, but now fans can learn all the things that were left out of the Arch-Lich’s history.

Vecna Seeks Immortality

According to D&D’s 2nd edition adventure, Vecna Lives! by David “Zeb” Cook, Vecna was a wizard who wanted to gain immortality. His quest to cheat death ultimately granted him the ability to live forever but unfortunately for the lich, in a festering corpse-like body.

While the Vecna depicted in season 4 of Stranger Things is certainly gruesome, his appearance is due to Eleven sending him through an inter-dimensional rift into the Upside Down, not because he sought immortality.

Vecna Only Has One Eye (& One Hand)

Whether he’s a withering wizard tyrant, a lich king, or a demigod, Vecna only has one eye and one hand in every iteration. According to Black Citadel, he has “a glittering gem in place of one of his eyes [and] his hand is either missing completely or replaced with a ghostly appendage made of light.” Both his eye and his hand are artifacts capable of granting possessors foresight and incredible strength.

As Eddie tells a horrified Dustin and Mike, Vecna only has one eye and one arm, which is true to the D&D version he’s referring to. However, the Vecna that preys upon the shame and guilt of teenagers in Hawkins has two eyes and two arms.

The Serpent Taught Vecna Magic

Also in the 2nd edition is the adventure Die! Vecna Die! by Steve Miller and Bruce Cordell, which tells of how Vecna created two tablets in primeval, a language taught to him by The Serpent, a mysterious entity who whispered to the demigod the secrets of magic and lichdom. The Serpent is seen to be either the embodiment of magic itself or a manifestation of Vecna’s eroding mental state.

It’s unclear in season 4 how Vecna got his powers; it’s implied he was born with them and they remained dormant until his contact with spiders. However, since all of Vecna’s story hasn’t been revealed, it’s possible there will be more secrets unearthed, just like the tablets Vecna made shortly before being entombed in the Domains of Dread, waiting for unsuspecting new D&D dungeon masters to free him.

Vecna Has An Apprentice

Across Vecna Reborn! and Die! Vecna Die! the lich has an apprentice named Kas, who was given the Sword of Kas for his loyal devotion. Unfortunately, after many years of service, he eventually betrays Vecna, becoming the reason Vecna only had one hand and one eye. Kas gets hurtled into a pocket dimension that contains Citadel Cavitius, Vecna’s lair that resembles a human skull (it’s possible this was the inspiration for Skull Rock, where Eddie hides out from the police).

Vecna doesn’t have an apprentice as such in Stranger Things, instead it’s implied that he wants Eleven to join him so that they can “reshape the world” according to their own desires.

His Apprentice Becomes His Enemy

While at Citadel Cavitius, Kas spends a lengthy amount of time near the Negative Energy Plane and eventually transforms into a vampire. Going by “Kas the Destroyer” he goes on to become the ruler of Tovag, which is directly across from Citadel Cavitius, and both domains wage war on one another.

Given Vecna has no apprentice in Stranger Things, no one directly betrays him; if anything, he betrays Eleven. But her refusal to join him does make her an enemy to him, and it seems the two will wage a war of sorts in Vol. 2.

Vecna Feeds On Secrets

One of the most fascinating ways that Vecna is different from his iteration in Stranger Things season 4 comes down to his primary goal. In D&D, Vecna knowingly preys on the innermost thoughts of his victims, using their secrets to directly influence them and amass more power.

The televised version of Vecna doesn’t so much use secret knowledge as he identifies painful moments from a character’s past and terrorizes them through their current guilt. Rather than reveal their secrets, he allegedly shines a light on their true character.

Vecna Vowed To Avenge His Mother

In the graphic novel Vecna: Hand of the Revenant, most of the narrative is devoted to his sack of Fleeth, but it also includes flashbacks of Vecna living there as a boy, almost a thousand years into the past, and his mother Mazzel who taught Vecna all about magic. When she was executed for practicing witchcraft, he vowed to return one day to Fleeth and make the city pay for her death.

Vecna’s early years are chronicled in Stranger Things as they pertain to Henry Creel, and his mother is mentioned, but he shows no devotion to her. Instead, he views both of his parents as hypocritical guardians who won’t reveal their true natures. In fact, he doesn’t trust most adults.

Vecna Is The Sworn Enemy Of The Lady Of Pain

Following Vecna’s resurgence of power from the tablets in Die! Vecna Die! he leaves the Domains of Dread and obtains full god status, resolute in being the only true god in the multiverse. He attacks Sigil, a city off-limits even to gods, and ruled by the Lady of Pain, threatening the very fabric of creation in the process.

The Lady of Pain is a Dungeons and Dragons monster that could still appear, but so far Vecna is not her enemy unless fans consider Eleven to be his Lady of Pain after their confrontation.

Vecna Is The Master Of The Spider Throne

Prior to becoming a demigod, Vecna sat on a throne that had a spider motif at the top of the Rotted Tower, the tallest point in the city of Ykrath. In Stranger Things, Vecna doesn’t sit on a throne, though the tentacles that connect to his body fan out to somewhat resemble arachnid legs.

Season 4 does feature spiders, perhaps in reference to Vecna’s in-game lore, but the wildest fan theories about Stranger Things season 4 Vol. 2 feature Vecna gaining powers from them like some sort of superhero, as well as possibly teaming up with the Mind Flayer, which itself resembles a giant spider.

Vecna’s Cult Has A Hierarchy

According to Bell of Lost Souls, while Vecna isn’t as much a part of D&D in the 4th and 5th editions he had made the transition from demigod to god and was worshipped by followers throughout the Prime Material Plane. Within the Cult of Vecna, members have positions named after Vecna’s body parts, including the Voice of Vecna, the Heart of Vecna, and the Teeth of Vecna, made up of priests, wizards, and thieves who do his bidding.

In Stranger Things, Vecna’s cult is mentioned by Eddie as a part of his campaign, but the Vecna in the Upside Down has no followers, lieutenants, or assistants unless something particularly nefarious is revealed about Max’s school counselor.

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