D&D 5E How would YOU build Vecna?


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Reynard

Legend
OK @Reynard and @Thomas Rainsborough and others, here is my take on the Archlich Vecna. Deity version to come later.
Notes:

1. That image is AWESOME. Source?
2. Turn resistance says Acererak.
3. I feel like Rotten Fate needs a recharge as well.
4. Is the Shield reaction intended to be his casting the Shield spell. if so, make explicit.

More generally: I still don't like a long list of spells I have to look up in the middle of combat. Otherwise I like it. The save boost was sorely needed. I would give him magic resistance, too.
 

dave2008

Legend
Notes:

1. That image is AWESOME. Source?
Update with source link (I was rushing to post it before I had to run an errand)
2. Turn resistance says Acererak.
Corrected - thanks
3. I feel like Rotten Fate needs a recharge as well.
No needed IMO. It would be a nerf to make a recharge, but if you want him to use his more traditional spells, then sure, make it a recharge.
4. Is the Shield reaction intended to be his casting the Shield spell. if so, make explicit.
It is in his list of spells and noted with an asterisk and note. I feel that explains it, but I clarified it a bit more.
More generally: I still don't like a long list of spells I have to look up in the middle of combat. Otherwise I like it. The save boost was sorely needed. I would give him magic resistance, too.
I agree, but several people on this board seem to want them. I noted all spells with an Asterisk I assumed when calculating the CR and the description of those spells is included in stat block. You get 5 spells described, plus 5 additional unique magical abilities. That seems to cover a lot of ground to me.
 



Gods are boring and not especially useful for play, so I much prefer the epic level arch lich.
Gods are indeed not supposed to be played. They literally with a raised eyebrow can blink out of existence a char, their kids, their parents, even those who owed the char money. If your eye and hand are so powerful to last an eternity, with the amount of power they possess, yeah, you may not be a good, but you are someone that only 20th level chars should trifle with.
 

Reynard

Legend
Gods are indeed not supposed to be played. They literally with a raised eyebrow can blink out of existence a char, their kids, their parents, even those who owed the char money. If your eye and hand are so powerful to last an eternity, with the amount of power they possess, yeah, you may not be a good, but you are someone that only 20th level chars should trifle with.
So we stat the thing we want the characters to fight, not the thing that just hand handwave reality. Although I would contend that in MANY D&D world's, the gods are not omnipotent because they take their cues from Western mythological traditions (Norse, Greek, and others) in which there are many instances of mortal besting or at least standing up to the gods.
 





the Jester

Legend
My take on Vecna is absurdly overpowered, so fair warning.

I'd have spell-like action options, like in the new monster stat blocks, while also keeping a large number of utility and divination spells available. His go-to, at will, cantrip-equivalent power ought to target multiple enemies and do buttloads of damage.

He would have lots of hps, but not ridiculous amounts- but lots of ways to self-heal (generally by absorbing life from enemies), soak or avoid damage, and end conditions and effects on him. He'd counterspell like crazy.

He would be very tricky. His wouldn't be a stat block for beginners. You'd need to spend some time with it to really use him right.

I'd probably also take something from 4e and give him some action points that he can use to take an extra action on his turn.

Finally, and here's the one that makes him truly, irreparably broken, he would roll a d30 instead of a d20 on attacks, checks, and saves. This was one of the main features he had back in my 2e campaign, and it makes him a terrifyingly competent foe.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Cool, thanks. :D So I guess I would stat out Vecna as:



I know that the "godkiller" thing is a fantasy trope (hat tip to @Uni-the-Unicorn! ), and that it's a key premise in many excellent stories like Princess Mononoke and so forth, but that's not how I do things at my D&D table. In my game, the gods are distant and all-powerful, utterly beyond the reach of mortals, and only other gods could ever fight them. (shrug)

These stats for Vecna are amazing, though. I can definitely see this being an excellent major villain in a story, the Big Bad of a 20-level campaign that spans years. Looking at the stats, I can understand how such an entity would be worshipped as a god by others, maybe even fancy itself as a god. But the other gods, the real gods in my multiverse, probably don't even know he exists...and if they do, they aren't impressed.
 




cbwjm

Legend
I would probably just take the recently released Vecna and replace his spellcasting with the slots and spells of a 20th level wizard. He'd still have his various actions, bonus actions, and reactions in his stat block, maybe I'd add the extra line for flight of the damned which says "Vecna can use a spell slot of 6th level or higher to cast this again if it hasn't recharged."

Even if I used the current version, I'd probably change up a lot of his spells anyway, it's what I do for every spellcaster.
 

dave2008

Legend
I would probably just take the recently released Vecna and replace his spellcasting with the slots and spells of a 20th level wizard. He'd still have his various actions, bonus actions, and reactions in his stat block, maybe I'd add the extra line for flight of the damned which says "Vecna can use a spell slot of 6th level or higher to cast this again if it hasn't recharged."

Even if I used the current version, I'd probably change up a lot of his spells anyway, it's what I do for every spellcaster.
I already did that for you: Vecna the Archlich (standard, CR 26)
 


I am not a fan of "slots" for enemy spellcasters in fights. It is an over design, I think, since that guy only has 3 to 6 rounds anyway.
See while I feel slotless design makes sense for the "only there for one fight npcs", I would argue that a Big Bad spellcaster is not that. They are more like a super high level antagonist PC opposing the PCs all day long. They are not just about the one fight (even if that ends up being their whole appearance), they need to be ready to use magic even when they are offscreen to scry on the PCs, haunt their dreams, set traps, create pocket dimensions, etc. I think it's more fair (and probably more intuitive by the time you are running a game with high enough PCs to fight Vecna) to manage his spellcasting as you would that of a 20th level Wizard, with maybe some extra spell slots, rather than create sui generis spellcasting rules for him to be able to do what he needs to do.

Basically my Vecna design would be 20th level Wizard, plus all the elements of a Lich, plus mythic actions, plus anything a baseline Demon Prince can do if not already covered. I might go for a simpler design if I'm damned sure he will only become aware of the group and fight them in one encounter, but otherwise I anticipate he's going to be a busy boy making their lives hell and pursuing his other villainous endeavors, and his spellcasting will be a key part of that. The new paradigm of NPCs just having the few spells they need for their one encounter doesn't make sense for that sort of character.
 

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