The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons has just received its final adventure, celebrating 50 years with a story spanning multiple beloved locations, familiar characters and a unique approach to a multiverse story. In Vecna: Eve of Ruin, the titular antagonist is attempting a ritual to essentially reboot the multiverse, leading to him being in charge. The player characters, now mysteriously and accidentally linked to Vecna’s ritual, begin their journey to stop him.

So, who is Vecna? Vecna has his roots way back in the 70s, with his most famous items, The Hand and Eye of Vecna appearing in the Dungeon Masters Guide. He was an incredibly powerful wizard who began to fear his eventual death, so he took the steps to learn how to become a Lich, which led to him becoming the first, and most powerful Lich. Eventually, with all of his newfound power, he became an incredibly powerful and feared ruler, so much so that people refused to say his name, leading to him receiving a slew of nicknames, from “The Whispered One” to “The Undying King”. Eventually, his right hand man, Kas, decided he wanted Vecna’s throne for himself. This fight between the two of them is the reason for all that was left of Vecna 
was his hand and eye. His presence is so strong in the various adventures that he is a part of that he rarely needs to actually be introduced, he is merely felt and everyone knows what that feeling is. He is such an important character to Dungeons and Dragons that he became the antagonist of Stranger Things' most recent season. 

As I said, Vecna has been around as a lingering threat since the mid 70s, with his Hand and Eye first appearing in a 1976 module called “Eldritch Wizardry”, with those artifacts appearing in every subsequent edition, getting more and more fleshed out each time. It wasn’t until 1990, when “Vecna Lives!” came out that he finally appeared in the flesh, being the primary antagonist of that campaign. Ever since then, he has disappeared and reappeared every few years, with him rarely being the primary threat until now. 

So, in Eve of Ruin, Vecna is back and needs to be stopped. This adventure has the player characters start at level 10, rather than the typical level one. This adds an immediate sense of power and importance to the adventure, as you start and will get stronger than you do in an average campaign. Most of the chapters of the campaign feel like they could be fun little asides, not related to a greater campaign, but they are stitched together in such a way that makes their self-contained narrative still feel exciting, but also the players can focus on unraveling the grand mystery ahead of them. 

Bringing back an all-time classic villain for the sendoff to 5E was a fantastic idea, especially with the crossover appeal Vecna has now in popular culture. If you’ve enjoyed any 5E adventures, definitely hop into a campaign of this one, I guarantee you will not be disappointed by the execution of locations, characters, story and Vecna himself. Hopefully more old school, feared, beloved and potentially forgotten classic villains come back in the future, as the recent reintroduction of Vecna has proven to be incredibly successful.