There is nothing cooler than a mysterious name thrown in somewhere – and then never referred to again. I mean, really, Gardens of the Moon was first published in ’99, and to this day, I still wonder about the Spar of Andii. What is it? What was it used for?
Let’s hope we never actually get an explanation. I don’t want to find out. It’s just a strange name thrown in once – only once – and then never mentioned again, ever, not in nine thousand pages anyway – I’m not kidding. As I said, cool.
That’s what Brian Blume did back in ’76 when he first created the infamous “Hand” and “Eye” of Vecna. But the mystery was much too enticing to resist, I suppose. The arch-lich Vecna (anagram of Vance) eventually got a whole lot of media coverage, so much so that it completely spoiled the mystery and ruined the character itself. Vecna is now the “hero” of a graphic novel, he’s a major villain in the Ravenloft campaign, and his talking skull even makes a cameo appearance in the video game Planescape: Torment. Who paid what kind of money to whom, for all that? Don’t ask me!
Other relics were regularly introduced here and there: the Scalp of Vecna, the Foot of Vecna, the Molar, the Heart... even though it was written that the arch-lich “imbued both his hand and his eye with wondrous and horrible powers enabling them to persist long after his other remains mouldered away into dust.”
Nope, they didn’t moulder away.
To honor what seems to have become a tradition, I give you a new mysterious relic of that poor old chopped-off undead superstar:
The Foreskin of Vecna
The Foreskin of Vecna looks like any other dried-up piece of human prepuce, but more disgusting. When pulled over a circumcised penis, the Foreskin will instantly graft itself to the member, and it cannot be removed without slaying the host – who is now able to use the following magic-user spells, at the 18th level:
Tasha’s Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter
Extension I, II, and III
Childish, I know... And I am sorry, dear arch-lich. I liked you a lot, back in the day, before your mortal remains got turned into IKEA furniture.
P.S. Here I am talking about the Hand and the Eye, but the truth is, I never actually encountered either one of those evil relics in a real campaign – so feel free to let me know about any crazy Eye- or Hand-related tales you can remember. I recall one guy I met in ’83 or ’84, and his fighter had the Sword of Kas; we talked for a long time, but I never saw him again, and our characters never played together. I also remember throwing the Eye of Vecna into my own campaign, and it was my brother’s favorite character, a thief named Nightshadow, who eventually found and kept the nasty thing. But we stopped playing two weeks later and switched to Gamma World, so there was no time for any chaotic event / reckoning / downfall or whatever.
Again, to anyone with such stories of doom to tell – involving the Hand especially – I’d be more than glad to hear about them. The crazier the better!