Eye of Vecna

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The Eye of Vecna is an artifact of great power in many campaign settings for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Originating in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting, the Eye appears as a small red pebble or shriveled grape.

Publication history[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)[edit]

In the third supplement to the original D&D rules, Eldritch Wizardry,[1] Brian Blume invented two artifacts he called the Hand and Eye of Vecna.[2] These were supposedly the only remnants of an evil lich, Vecna, who had been destroyed long ago.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The Hand and Eye of Vecna were also mentioned in 1979's Dungeon Master's Guide.[3]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

Ten years later, in the second edition Dungeon Master's Guide (1989), Vecna's history was expanded under the description of his Hand and Eye.[4] This information was further developed in 1993's Book of Artifacts.[5]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The Hand and Eye of Vecna appear in the Dungeon Master's Guide (2000) for this edition.[6]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The Hand and Eye of Vecna appear in the Dungeon Master's Guide (2003) for this edition.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The Hand and Eye of Vecna appear in the Dungeon Master's Guide (2008) for this edition.[7]

In-game history[edit]

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

In the 5th 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 in 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.

As of 596 CY, the Hand has resurfaced, but the Eye's whereabouts remain unknown.


In order to use the Eye, a player must declare that his character (PC) has placed it into the PC's empty eye socket; most PCs must first pluck out their own eye to "free up" the space. The Eye magically grafts itself into place and takes on the appearance of a shriveled eye, and glows with a foul crimson light. The PC can see out of the Eye normally, and it grants an array of magical powers, such as the ability to see perfectly well in the dark or to see magical auras. Additional abilities become evident if the PC also possesses the Hand of Vecna.

The abilities the Eye offered has varied with different editions of Dungeons & Dragons. In the second edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the Eye gave its "wearer" the ability to see through all illusions, lay curses on others, dominate the will of those the user made eye contact with, and three other random divination abilities. In Dungeons & Dragons third and 3.5 editions, the Eye granted the ability to see through illusions, see in any darkness, dominate the will of others, kill subjects with a gaze and disintegrate their remains, and unhallow areas. In the 4th edition, the Eye grants a number of powers based on how pleased it is with its host. It defaults to granting the host a trio of vision-based Warlock powers (Eyebite as an At Will, Mire the Mind as an Encounter and Eye of the Warlock as a Daily), as well as Darkvision and a bonus to Arcane, Insight and Perception skill checks. When satisfied with the host, it increases the skill bonus and grants the power to unleash a beam of necrotic energy from the eye, while a pleased eye grants an even greater skill bonus and the power to see into the souls of those around the host via an aura of clear sight. If displeased, however, the eye induces frightening visions and when truly angered it tries to take control of the host, as well as blasting allies on occasion.

Use of the Eye is not limited to PCs. The Dungeon Master can have it show up in any non-player character (NPC).

In other media[edit]

In the CRPG Planescape: Torment, the Eye makes an appearance in a curiosity shop in the city of Sigil.

In the television series The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, the Eye of Vecna is one of the items Billy tosses out of Grim's trunk in the episode "The Crawling Niceness."


  1. ^ Gygax, Gary; Blume, Brian (1976), D&D Supplement IV: Eldritch Wizardry, Lake Geneva WI: TSR, pp. 43–44 
  2. ^ Gygax: "Brian blume (sic) was the creator of the Eye and Hand of Vecna, and nary a detail of those items did he ever reveal to me--beyond what appeared in print."Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part I, Page 13), EN World, 2002-09-16, retrieved 2009-08-28 
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary (1979), Dungeon Masters Guide, Lake Geneva WI: TSR 
  4. ^ Cook, David. Dungeon Master's Guide (TSR, 1989)
  5. ^ Cook, David. Book of Artifacts. (TSR, 1993)
  6. ^ Cook, Monte, Skip Williams, and Jonathan Tweet. Dungeon Master's Guide (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  7. ^ James Wyatt. Dungeon Masters Guide (Wizards of the Coast, 2008).
  • Cook, Monte. Vecna Reborn (TSR, 1998).
  • Mona, Erik. "Ancient History: Vecna's Realm." [1]