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Vecna v Acererak v Larloch? Who's The Most Powerful Lich?

Forgotten Realms creator Ed Greenwood was recently asked who was the most powerful lich: Vecna, Acererak, or Larloch. Here was his reply!

hand-and-eye-of-vecna-1130095-640x320.jpg



"Heh. I've been asked this many times before, and although part of me wonders what's the point of all "who's more powerful?" questions, the answer is: it depends. In terms of raw personal BATTLE power, the answer is likely Vecna. Though so much of his power is vested in his Hand and his Eye that unless they can all be in one place, Larloch might pack more punch. Not that he would fight toe-to-toe in battle, because that isn't Larloch's way; he views liches who do that as idiot failures. Larloch's way is to manipulate from behind the scenes to lead anyone seeking him, or trying to cross him, astray, so they never come into contact with him. If need be, he'd hurl his many, many servitor liches at them, most of whom are personally more powerful than Acererak.

Larloch and Vecna both have a wider reach and influence on the worlds around them than Acererak, so if you're measuring that way, Acererak is left behind. But when it comes to measuring Larloch and Vecna against each other in terms of influence, it's a matter of style: Vecna has the greater fear-reputation and is "noisier," and Larloch is more the master manipulator, who works unseen. As in, you may never know how much he's affected you. I can only go by what Elminster (and on rare occasions Storm, or Laeral, or Volo[!]) tell me of the Realms, and the three Chosen of Mystra all think Larloch (even wherever he is now, bested by the Srinshee) is the greater threat. As El put it, "Vecna is a bogeyman, and his relics do harm. Larloch undresses thee and ye never even know it." Larloch plays the longer game, and is more patient and empathic and has a greater understanding of the multiverse, whereas Vecna is more self-centered. I trust El's judgment, because I must; without it, none of us know ANYTHING about the Realms.

Acererak is feared throughout the multiverse because he's an almost-always-active destructive force. However, that's a one-trick pony. "Hah! I shall destroy you TWICE!!!" ;}"
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

gyor

Adventurer
I think authors tend to favour their own creations... You could ask Ed whether Mordenkainen or Elminster is the greater wizard & get a similar answer. :D
Elmister has been beaten by the Nerf stick so hard, I would not bet that Ed would say El is stronger then Mord.

Elmister is not the most powerful Archwizard in the realms anymore, I'd argue that exluding Gods Nezram the World Walker is the most powerful Archwizard right now. The most powerful wizard on Faerunthat actually lives on Faerun would be Thoth.
 

Mirtek

Villager
Elmister has been beaten by the Nerf stick so hard, I would not bet that Ed would say El is stronger then Mord.

Elmister is not the most powerful Archwizard in the realms anymore, I'd argue that exluding Gods Nezram the World Walker is the most powerful Archwizard right now. The most powerful wizard on Faerunthat actually lives on Faerun would be Thoth.
Mord has been nerfed pretty hard in too in 5e, just look at his sorry level in CoS.

Hallaster however seems to have escaped the nerf hammer
 
As silly as they were, I always enjoyed those articles.

If they were to do an undead version of The Wizards Three, I feel like Szass Tam would be invited ahead of Larloch for the Realms. Lord Soth for Krynn, maybe Strahd for Ravenloft (if he can get a hall pass from the Dark Powers), and Vecna and Acererak can fight it out for a seat at that table (maybe play a game of Joust to see who gets to go).

I definitely recommend reading The Wizards Three articles from Dragon Magazine, for entertainment value alone.
 

Dausuul

Legend
If they were to do an undead version of The Wizards Three, I feel like Szass Tam would be invited ahead of Larloch for the Realms. Lord Soth for Krynn, maybe Strahd for Ravenloft (if he can get a hall pass from the Dark Powers), and Vecna and Acererak can fight it out for a seat at that table (maybe play a game of Joust to see who gets to go).
I'd probably go with Fistandantilus over Lord Soth. Soth doesn't seem like the type to attend conferences.
 

gyor

Adventurer
I don’t think anyone can top what Vecna did in Sigil. But let’s not forget the near annihilation of Myth Drannor, giving Szass Tam a Death Moon Orb and Thakorsil’s Seat, allowing sanctuary to a clone of Manshoon, saving Mystra’s life during the Spellplague, making an active attempt to become the God of Magic himself, and is a Warlock Patron in 5E.

Ioulaum is the one that has literally done nothing. :p
Aside from creating Ioun Stones.

And both Laroch and Ioulaum used to rule floating Netherese cities right?
 
Is Fistandantilus undead or just dead-dead? I know he was a spirit for a time, but then I thought Raistlin went back in time and killed him permanently. Or is my Dragonlance lore out-of-date (a likely possibility, that)?

I'd probably go with Fistandantilus over Lord Soth. Soth doesn't seem like the type to attend conferences.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Is Fistandantilus undead or just dead-dead? I know he was a spirit for a time, but then I thought Raistlin went back in time and killed him permanently. Or is my Dragonlance lore out-of-date (a likely possibility, that)?
Well, yes, but Raistlin was killing his undead granddaddy there. I mean, if Fistandantilus was killed in the past, he couldn't have been around to save Raistlin's life during the Test, so Raistlin would die in the present and never get a chance to go back and kill Fistandantilus.

In any case, the Sword Coast Adventurers' Guide lists "the deathless wizard Fistandantilus" as a possible Undying patron for warlocks, so he is canonically around in 5E.
 
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Iry

Villager
As silly as they were, I always enjoyed those articles.
Undead Wizards Three would definitely be amazing.

I agree that Szass Tam would be invited ahead of Larloch for the realms. Szass Tam is much more popular. I would love to have Lord Soth show up, but he would be a miserable bump on the log and barely participate. At best he would show up and glower at people like The Simbul did. Vecna is way too popular to not have a spot at that table, so he would represent Oerth. You are right on the money with Strahd.

So Szass Tam, Vecna, and Strahd. With special guest appearances now and then by Soth, Fistandantilus, Acererak, Kaius, Malevanor, etc.

But they need someone to write everything down! I could be the same guy again, but if we need an undead you can dump Rhaugilath in the corner, just looking like a downcast puppy in chains while transcribing it.
 

Wrathamon

Explorer
since Larloch is pretty much unheard of Vecna vs Acererak ... one became a god and the other thinks gods are dumb
 

D1Tremere

Villager
At least Vecna did stuff. Larloch has literally done nothing. He's just a Mary Sue write-up.
Done nothing? Did you not see the list of his accomplishments I posted? I would argue that he has accomplished more (According to published books) than Vecna.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Done nothing? Did you not see the list of his accomplishments I posted? I would argue that he has accomplished more (According to published books) than Vecna.
Those "accomplishments" were entirely written up in a very Mary Sue fashion. Very little has ever been done with Larloch. Vecna on the other hand has had his artifacts found, used, and/or destroyed for decades. He has been the villain in multiple modules, a god to worship and grant spells, used by countless DMs in their games, and probably used by Gygax himself in some of his games. Below is a link that provides some references for Vecna. Larloch doesn't even come close to being used like Vecna.

Read the references and further reading.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vecna
 

D1Tremere

Villager
Those "accomplishments" were entirely written up in a very Mary Sue fashion. Very little has ever been done with Larloch. Vecna on the other hand has had his artifacts found, used, and/or destroyed for decades. He has been the villain in multiple modules, a god to worship and grant spells, used by countless DMs in their games, and probably used by Gygax himself in some of his games. Below is a link that provides some references for Vecna. Larloch doesn't even come close to being used like Vecna.

Read the references and further reading.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vecna
It seems strange to me that anyone would differentiate the value of activities of a fictional character that appear in reference material such as Lords of Darkness and Volo's Guide to the Sword Cost from those of a fictional character that appear in different reference material such as Die Vecna Die!
Essentially your counter to the argument that Larloch is more powerful than Vecna is to agree that he is, but then refuse to accept it because you value some types of fictional sources differently than others.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
It seems strange to me that anyone would differentiate the value of activities of a fictional character that appear in reference material such as Lords of Darkness and Volo's Guide to the Sword Cost from those of a fictional character that appear in different reference material such as Die Vecna Die!
You don't see the difference between active use in all kinds of adventures and products, and being nothing but a story?

Essentially your counter to the argument that Larloch is more powerful than Vecna is to agree that he is, but then refuse to accept it because you value some types of fictional sources differently than others.
Um, I've said multiple times that Vecna is more powerful, so I'm not sure where you get that from. I also don't buy the whole, a lich is more powerful than a god schtick. I think that's a silly idea.
 

Dausuul

Legend
It seems strange to me that anyone would differentiate the value of activities of a fictional character that appear in reference material such as Lords of Darkness and Volo's Guide to the Sword Cost from those of a fictional character that appear in different reference material such as Die Vecna Die!
Essentially your counter to the argument that Larloch is more powerful than Vecna is to agree that he is, but then refuse to accept it because you value some types of fictional sources differently than others.
Vecna and Larloch both had schemes to become gods. Vecna is now a god. Larloch... isn't.

Larloch's activities are pretty well confined to the Forgotten Realms. Vecna transcended his Greyhawk origins long ago and now schemes across the multiverse.

Vecna has had far more visible impact on the cosmos, including reshaping the planes themselves in "Die Vecna Die!" Ed Greenwood suggests that this is because Vecna is just flashier and noisier, but this is hard to reconcile with the fact that Vecna is literally the god of secrets. Both Larloch and Vecna keep their activities largely in the dark; if we have seen more results out of Vecna, the simplest explanation is that Vecna has in fact produced more results.

There is obviously never going to be any definitive answer to who is more powerful, but the available evidence suggests that Vecna is the strongest of the three. (Acererak is far behind the other two in power--no question there--but he makes up for it in style. Any two-bit lich can come up with a nefarious scheme to obtain phenomenal cosmic power by some weird ritual. But creating a device to trap the souls of resurrectees, in order to empower an undead god, apparently for the lulz... now that is a nefarious scheme to be proud of.)
 
And what about Dregoth [from Dark Sun*]? Not actually a god, but that's only because godhood isn't actually possible to attain on Athas.

His 2E stats are absolutely crazy. Unfortunately, 2E didn't stat gods, so he might or might not be stronger than Vecna... but still: AC -8, 173 hit points, 20d12 breath weapon, 29th level Athasian dragon (20th-level wizard/20th-level psionicist/9th-level dragon, with "psionic enchantments" - early 2E version of epic spells).

His entry is rather confusingly written, so it's not easy to figure out how much melee damage he's actually supposed to do- probably 2d10+10/2d10+10/4d12/5d10, with the lich's 1d10 cold + paralysis touch added to at least some of them?

*Dregoth is a "kaisharga" - Dark Sun equivalent of a lich, but they can be any class. He's also undergoing the dragon transformation that Dark Sun sorcerer-kings do, which is where he gets the ridiculous melee damage and breath weapon.
 

Azzy

Explorer
(Acererak is far behind the other two in power--no question there--but he makes up for it in style. Any two-bit lich can come up with a nefarious scheme to obtain phenomenal cosmic power by some weird ritual. But creating a device to trap the souls of resurrectees, in order to empower an undead god, apparently for the lulz... now that is a nefarious scheme to be proud of.)
Acererak's schemes have successfully spanned multiple planes (including multiple material planes). So, I think it's not a safe bet putting him in third place.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
And what about Dregoth [from Dark Sun*]? Not actually a god, but that's only because godhood isn't actually possible to attain on Athas.

His 2E stats are absolutely crazy. Unfortunately, 2E didn't stat gods, so he might or might not be stronger than Vecna... but still: AC -8, 173 hit points, 20d12 breath weapon, 29th level Athasian dragon (20th-level wizard/20th-level psionicist/9th-level dragon, with "psionic enchantments" - early 2E version of epic spells).

His entry is rather confusingly written, so it's not easy to figure out how much melee damage he's actually supposed to do- probably 2d10+10/2d10+10/4d12/5d10, with the lich's 1d10 cold + paralysis touch added to at least some of them?

*Dregoth is a "kaisharga" - Dark Sun equivalent of a lich, but they can be any class. He's also undergoing the dragon transformation that Dark Sun sorcerer-kings do, which is where he gets the ridiculous melee damage and breath weapon.
The Dragon was one level higher. Both were roughly on par with avatars of the FR God's. Mystra avatar in 2E was a level 40/40 wizard/cleric with unlimited.

spells. Mystra is one of the more powerful FR God's though.

Dregoth would be weaker than Vecna more powerful than Acerak, and it's a toss up with him and Larloch. Larloch is 3 levels higher as a wizard and is probably smarter, Dregoth level 29 psion as well though.
 
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D1Tremere

Villager
You don't see the difference between active use in all kinds of adventures and products, and being nothing but a story?
I do not, no. Not to the extent that you do.



Um, I've said multiple times that Vecna is more powerful, so I'm not sure where you get that from. I also don't buy the whole, a lich is more powerful than a god schtick. I think that's a silly idea.
You stated that you think Larloch is a Mary Sue. "A Mary Sue is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character. Often, this character is recognized as an author insert or wish fulfillment." If you believe him to be perfect and an object of wish fulfillment then you must think him more powerful than Vecna, who is not.

I believe the idea that a god is more powerful than anything else is flawed. Gods are actively opposed by other gods, bound by rules, traditions, and often powerful cosmological laws. Their power is often tied directly or indirectly to their believers, making them a bit like politicians in most regards. They cannot act without setting in motion a series of cosmic checks and balances that more often than not end in divine stalemate. I would also submit that even as a greater god, Vecna failed in his mission to remake reality as he would have liked at the city of Sigil due to non-divine intervention from ordinary adventurers. He even lost a large portion of his divine power in the process. How powerful can a god be in a system where they can be defeated, de-powered, or even killed by non-divine agents?
 
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