The False Empire of Vecna

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Sometime before the migrations, a Flan priest of Nerull gathered bothe the hand and eye of Vecna. With these artifacts, he conquered an empire that spanned the northern Sheldomar Valley. This empire prevented Suel from expanding north, nor Oeridians from expanding south through the valley. Thus were both forced eastwards spawning 200 years of battling throughout the entire Flaneass.

The grim cleric called himself Vecna, in demensia believing himself the true lich necromancer. He took the Valley of the Mage as his home, and the valley elves were all too happy to follow. (While not inherently evil, they are overly willing to ally with evil beings, as Jeremiah Krimeeah (sp.) currently attests.) A great fortress was built in the Valley, and undead legions swarmed the northern Sheldomar. It seems Nerull and Vecna worked together to enfuel his power.

The emperor was defeated by Oeridian adventurers who had acquired the Sword of Kas. The Dim Forest was allowed to cover all access to the evil valley, shunned by all people. Oeridian poured south, mixing with the Suel to create the current Sheldomar people. None is sure what happened to the hand and eye of Vecna until surfacing with Haldemar the Cruel centuries later. The Sword of Kas stayed with an Oeridian tribe for over a century, to be given to the rulers on Niole Dra in the great peace accords founding Keoland. The sword stayed with the Keoish royalty until Tavish III allowed his younger brother to wield it, becoming lost in the Amedio when he disappeared.
Forgive my utter lack of knowing if this is canon or not, but is this canon info? If so, cool! If it isn't, then I think I'll adopt it for a future Greyhawk campaign!

--Nerull and Vecna would certainly make devastating allies NB
That is quite interesting, OOE! I never used Jaran Krimeeah in my campaign--stuck with Basiliv--but you have explained some enigmas for those who went that route. Is there anything in Canon about Basiliv, BTW? Scotty?? Bueller?? Anyone??? ^__^
The only "canon" about Jaran Krimeeah is the limited entry in the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, the Valley of the Mage adventure, and minor references that try and ignore him completely in favor of returning the Mage of the Vale to a total enigma, or that try and clear up what his name is.
Basiliv doesn't exist at all except in the novels.

As for a history of Vecna and his relics, try my timeline at Canonfire! There are several canon and semi-canon references to the Hand and Eye appearing well before Halmadar the Cruel.
Also the situation with the Duke of Gradsul who disappeared in the Amedio Jungle has numerous other elements related to current canon that wouldn't be compatible with him having the Sword of Kas, as well as the Silent Ones being certain to have confiscated it as soon as it showed up.
I rather figured Basiliv was a "no-show" as Gary still has the rights to him...
...As for Vecna and Kas, Gary was always vague on them as Mr. Blume originally threw out their names. "Nuff Said! ^__-
Nothing canonical Emperor Nero, merely an attempt to weave the plot lines of the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer with my own history of Vecna, who is far older than the migrations and not even human.
How does one join the Living Greyhawk association?

VENCA IS COOL. Those 2E modules that deal with him are wonderful. There were 3 right?
Erik posted this a LONG time ago when the new WOTC boards came online...It was cut from the LGG

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Vecna’s Realm

Few names in the long history of the Flanaess conjure such frequent nightmares as the Whispered One, Vecna. Though the once supreme lich ruled a kingdom of antiquity, his name has become synonymous with pain, suffering and the price of dabbling in magics not meant for the ken of mortal minds. Few save the most powerful wizards and priests know of Vecna’s bid to dominate all the gods of Oerth in 581 CY, or of his defeat at the hands of Iuz, a most unlikely foil. With each passing day, however, fear of the Maimed God grows, as his cult continues to gain influences in the dark places and secluded corners of the Flanaess. Those to take the long view take comfort that Vecna now seems somehow isolated from Oerth, though many now prepare for his return. The most valuable weapon in this renewed crusade will, of course, be the Sword of Kas, the only weapon known to have harmed him. Short of that blade, which has not been seen in a decade, the folk of the Flanaess must arm themselves with knowledge.

Knowledge of Vecna came early for the Suloise migrants in the dark years preceding the Twin Cataclysms. In that period, entire Imperial Houses fled the empire, seeking refuge to the east. One house, the Kateri, found instead death and gruesome revivification. These migrants, typical Suloise in every fashion, had little time for the original Flannae inhabitants of the Sheldomar River Valley. They avoided what folk they could not slay, ducking from hill range to hill range, from this forest to that. Some one hundred miles south of the Rushmoors, the Kateri encountered tribes of Flan they could not displace. Had the arrogant Suel taken time to speak with the southern Flan, or even the few Oeridian tribes who even then settled the valley, they would have been warned. Instead, Lord Vecna had their heads torn from their necks and placed on spears, which his subjects stabbed into the earth to mark the southern border of his territory. As a grim joke, Vecna’s Ur-Flan necromancers had the heads animated. For seven years, wildly insane, pale-faced heads stretched from the northwest terminus of the Sheldomar to the waters of the Lort, announcing the dominion of Vecna in pathetic, vaguely human rantings.

The Occluded Empire of Vecna, as it became known, served ably as a ulcer in the gut of all migrants. Oeridians flowing east from the Fals Gap had avoided Vecna’s lands by coincidence, at first, but soon learned that the lich-lord’s dominion extended all the way to the northwest shores of the Lake of Unknown Depths. Despite Vecna’s control over such a wide berth of land, his actual grasp did not extend far from his own Rotted Tower, said to be located in the Rushmoors, or the now-ruined town of Tycheron, along the northern banks of the Velverdyva, not far from modern Dyvers. Between these centers of depravity ranged several tribes of debased Flan, who were all too happy to carry out the debased orders of Vecna, or those of his most trusted lieutenant in Tycheron, Kas the Bloody-Handed. Many otherwise good-spirited tribes, however, lived under the depravity of Vecna because, as the fledgling nation of Keoland would learn in the century to come, all but subservience to the Whispered One led to certain death.

Shortly after its foundation, the Kingdom of Keoland attempted an ambitious expansion effort, supporting frontier towns to the south and west and, taking advantage in a lull of activity by the Occluded Empire, even to the north. The fate of this settlement, known as Fleeth, is best recorded by Uhas of Neheli in his Chronicle of Secret Times, a look at the scandals, crimes and cruelties of Keoland’s first era. In return for the lives of all in the city, Keoland’s regional burghers implored Vecna to take their own lives. Instead, the lich had the entire city gutted, the governors’ wives and children executed before their very eyes, their staring heads displayed upon a vast pile of death. As a final show of "mercy," Vecna allowed the burghers to live, that they might take warning to their king.

Armies amassed in the Keoish capital. The king prepared for a great war. Though decimated by cataclysm and largely untested in battle, the skill of his troops would carry the day, despite the numbers of the Flan to the north. But what is a casualty to an emperor who can animate armies of dead with the wave of a hand? Exercises proceeded with a grim undercurrent that Winter. All might have been lost, too, had not one of Vecna’s rare acts of kindness come back with a vengeance.

In addition to an unnaturally elongated life, Vecna had granted Kas with a weapon of exquisite beauty and a heart as dark as the lich-lord’s soul. This blade, the Sword of Kas, whispered dark ambition into Kas’ ear, urging him to make a move for the lands his master had held for a millennia or more. As armies gathered to the south, and the Ur-Flan whipped the northern tribes into war furor, Kas the Bloody Handed made his move for the Spidered Throne. The titanic struggle that followed apparently destroyed both liege and lieutenant, and a great evil was expunged from the world.

When the armies of Keoland pushed northward in a seemingly futile gesture, they found little resistance. Vecna was dead, his empire shattered. The Flan tribes now warred against each other, a primitive rabble easily brought down by a military-religious order of knights formed to do battle with a lich. Compared to that service, settling the lands that would become the Gran March was easy.

Decades later, as indentured Flan dug the foundations of the city of Shiboleth, three remnants of the battle between Vecna and Kas rested upon the floor of the Rushmoors. A hand, an eye, and a sword black as death. Their story had just begun.

--Erik Mona

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And as I pointed out then, by other dates given in various places, Keoland was not formed until after the fall of Vecna, so Fleeth could not have been a Keoish city. It might have been a Suel city of some sort, but it was not part of Keoland, which simply did not yet exist.
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