Stranger Things 4: Who is Vecna in Dungeons & Dragons?

Much like Season 1’s Demogorgon, and Season 3’s Mind Flayer, Stranger Things 4 invokes yet another classic Dungeons & Dragons villain.

Without getting too much into spoiler territory, the kids of Hawkins dub the season’s big bad after Vecna, the villain in their current D&D campaign. The show’s “Vecna” is a seemingly immortal creature with the power to destroy its foes by invading their minds, but what similarities does he have with the Vecna from D&D’s Greyhawk setting? Just like way back in 2016 in one of my first blogs ever for this website, I’m here to give you a look inside at what makes Vecna such a terrifying force on the tabletop.

The Scourge of Civilization

In Dungeons & Dragons lore, Vecna was once a human king who sought out to transform himself into a lich (an evil, undead wizard), and then later ascended to godhood. Vecna is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most powerful villains in D&D’s storied history, and those titles are not given out for no reason. His powers are incredibly vast, and – much like many other “big bads” in Gary Gygax’s pantheon, he’s effectively designed to easily kill even the most high-powered player characters with ease.

Vecna first appeared (in name only) in Dungeons & Dragons’ first edition via a couple of items in 1979, but was later given his own adventure in Vecna Lives! in 1990 in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. This actually throws the show’s timeline out of whack just a bit as the campaign the Hellfire Club are playing wouldn’t have existed for a few more years – but who cares, the show rules.

Think You Can Take Vecna Down?

Of course, this wouldn’t be a true Dungeons & Dragons partnership if there wasn’t some way Wizards of the Coast could work Vecna back into the game’s canon and current edition, right? Exactly.

Just last week, WotC released the Vecna Dossier, a full primer on everything Dungeon Masters needs to pit their players against the legendary arch-lich. They also released the companion video below to give players, fans, and just curious Stranger Things bingers alike a look inside just how fearsome the iconic villain truly is.

Last, but certainly not least – the folks at D&D Beyond released an official one-shot adventure – entitled “Don’t Say Vecna!” – in case any of you are feeling particularly brave, heroic, foolish, or all of the above.

The adventure is made for a full party of 20th level characters in D&D’s fifth edition, and is said to take about 3-4 hours to complete. I would assume this time is even shorter in case your would-be heroes bite the dust early while in pursuit of Vecna himself.

So yeah, Vecna is absolutely nothing to mess with. But if you’re in the mood to do it anyway, WotC is giving you the chance. Stranger Things 4 returns in July to Netflix. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go smash every grandfather clock in a 20-block radius.

Papa Dom

Co-founder, lead blogger, graphic designer, and manager of WGG's writing team - Dom has been writing about video games for over ten years. Dom's work has been featured on some of the world's biggest gaming news outlets - including Dexerto, GameInformer, and IGN.

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