Product Spotlight: Rise of Vecna

Published on February 6, 2022

Set in an apocalyptic Forgotten Realms setting, Rise of Vecna explores what would happen if heroes could not rise to the challenges of evil.

This adventure takes players from 3rd level to 10th level while they travel a landscape overrun with creatures of the dark. Will your players rise to the challenge? Or will they too fall before the might of Vecna? 

Arcane Eye may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn more.

What is Rise of Vecna?

Rise of Vecna is a 5e-compatible adventure published by Quill and Cauldron. It takes place in an apocalyptic version of the Forgotten Realms, ruled by dark, powerful beings.

The adventure starts out in Mirabar. Over the course of the campaign, players will travel across the Sword Coast before concluding their adventure amidst the abandoned ruins of the Maelstrom.

This is the 2nd adventure in the Doomed Forgotten Realms series. The 1st installment is Academy of Adventure.

Rise of Vecna Product Overview

Pages: 124 pages
Price: $9.99
Published: 2 February 2022
Levels: 3 – 10

Buy Rise of Vecna on DMs Guild

From the DMs Guild:
Imagine a world where Tiamat was summoned successfully. Where the Princes of Elemental Evil tread unfettered. Where Demogorgon prowls the Underdark with the Wand of Orcus, leaving an army of undead in his wake. Where the storm giants have been cast to the bottom of the Ordning. Where Baldur’s Gate has been banished to the Nine Hells…

Imagine a world where good has lost and evil prevailed. 

The Sword Coast has been divvied up by the Zhentarim, the mountain giants of Grudd Haug, the Cult of the Dragon, and many other sinister factions. But above them all looms the Archlich Vecna, who has orchestrated or exploited a series of ever-escalating calamities to conquer the very Realms themselves.

Will your players rise to the challenge? Or, will they too, fall before the might of Vecna? 

This adventure is designed to take players from 3rd to 10th level. As they tread the dark paths of the Doomed Forgotten Realms their journey will take them through multiple dungeon delves, they will discover familiar locations now changed forever, and little by little, the darkest of plots will be unraveled:

  • Exterminate a gang of mephits amidst the streets of Mirabar!
  • Take a nightmarish trek through an underground highway haunted by the fiendish Dem’ghot’nec, He Who Wears the Flesh of the Dead!
  • Make a cross-continental journey along the Sword Coast, witnessing firsthand the ravages of a world without heroes! 
  • Race through the streets of Helm’s Hold in an infernal vehicle, before facing off against the dread purple worm, Gigantus!
  • Assault a tribe of slime-worshipping bullywugs laired within Thornhold, before braving the keep’s trap-riddled catacombs in hopes of making an unlikely ally!
  • Infiltrate Grudd Haug, the mountain giant capital, to steal a magical conch shell from the monstrous Chief Guh!
  • Battle the infamous Krakolich amidst the ruins of the Maelstrom, with the fate of the Realms hanging in the balance!
Chief Guh art by Jimmy Nijs

What’s Included?

An Adventure

Most of the book is dedicated to a fully detailed adventure intended to take characters from 3rd to 10th level. This book contains everything you need to run this apocalypic Forgotten Realms adventure. 

In addition to the main storyline, the adventure contains multiple side quests, random encounters, original art, and colorful maps. One of the most awesome maps is a full-scale map of the Sword Coast rendered by Christian Zeuch. The map reflects how the various apocalypses have permanently changed the landscape of the Sword Coast.

Secrets of the Whispered One

The adventure takes place five years after the archlich Vecna, also known as the Whispered One, has laid claim to the Sword Coast. For those who are unfamiliar with the infamous lich, Vecna is an age-old villain who has haunted D&D throughout its various editions. The Secrets of the Whispered One is an appendix that provides lore as to how the Realms have changed since their conquest. In particular, the appendix discusses the fate of the northern dwarfholds, the reshuffling of Annam’s Ordning, and provides tips on how to roleplay a post-Vecnan society.

Stat Blocks

Included with the adventure are 35 monster/NPC stat blocks. About half of these are from pre-existing supplements such as Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. Original stat blocks include — unified elementals, mountain giants, giant severed hands, as well as NPCs such as Whalebane, She Who Feeds, and the Krakolich.

There are also original magic items such as Bugsmasher, a huge club designed for killing swarms; A magical looking glass that can augment its wielders senses; and shatterskulls, a necrotic hand grenade made out of human skulls. The book also includes a stat block for a new infernal vehicle, the Redeemer.

Rise of Vecna Story Overview (Spoilers)

The adventure begins in Mirabar where the characters unexpectedly find themselves in a version of the Sword Coast where the forces of good have fallen and evil rules the lands. It is suggested that the players discover that they are artificial lifeforms created by Vecnan bioengineers although this unusual twist is not necessary for groups that would find it unenjoyable. While in Mirabar, the characters fight a gang of mephitis, explore a haunted garden, and delve into a zombie-infested underground highway while working for the local resistance. Eventually, they gain the first of three gemstones that will prove necessary to bring about Vecna’s downfall.

The characters then leave Mirabar in search of the second gemstone. Along the way, they can visit a slaad-infested keep, explore the ruins of Longsaddle, or involve themselves in the local politics of Triboar. Eventually, the characters secure an infernal vehicle and discover the second gemstone in Helm’s Hold.

The next part of the adventure has the characters deliver a mysterious cargo to some hidden catacombs beneath the swampy ruins of Thornhold. Unbeknownst to the characters, the cargo is Sylgar, the magically preserved pet of the former beholder crime lord, Xanathar. After reuniting the beholder with his wayward pet, the characters form a tenuous alliance with the crime lord to fight the greater evil of Vecna.

With the help of Xanathar, the characters discover that the third gemstone is guarded within the Maelstrom, an undersea fortress once inhabited by storm giant royalty. To get to the Maelstrom the characters must first infiltrate the goblinoid capital of Grudd Haug and planeshift to the Elemental Plane of Water.

Once in the Maelstrom, the characters begin to unravel the story behind the storm giant’s fall from grace. By allying with Imperator Uthor and defeating the Krakolich, an undead aboleth who currently dwells in the Maelstrom, the characters obtain the third gemstone and give the storm giants a shot at redemption. At this point, the adventure can be concluded with a number of optional endings or used as a springboard for the upcoming third volume which will take the characters from 11th level to 20th level.

Krakolich art by Jimmy Nijs

Thoughts on Rise of Vecna

This is an innovative idea and a well-made adventure. It takes an antagonist that dates back to the earliest editions of D&D and embeds him firmly within a modern, 5th Edition Forgotten Realms. This updated world includes a wealth of references and easter eggs ranging from Avernus-inspired infernal vehicles to Storm King’s Thunder callbacks to Chief Guh and Princess Serissa. It has a variety of encounters and balances exploration, combat, and social interaction very well. This adventure will certainly go over well with D&D veterans, as they will get to peer through the looking glass on what would happen if all of their past adventures had failed. 

If you would like to buy Rise of Vecna you can do so by clicking the button:

Buy Rise of Vecna on DMs Guild

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. He is a Mithral best-selling author of Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery on DMs Guild and is a contributing author at D&D Beyond. Follow Mike on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.