The Hand of Vecna
|% The Hand of Vecna|
|Base item||severed hand|
|When wielded||drain resistance|
|When invoked||see text|
|Base price||700 zm|
The Hand of Vecna is one of the most powerful artifacts in SLASH'EM. It can be obtained by killing Vecna in the Chaotic Quest, provided you don't digest or disintegrate him. Although it is guarded by an army of L, Z, V and Vecna himself, most players go through the trouble of killing them to acquire it. Like the other two alignment quest artifacts, you can't wish for it ("For a moment, you feel something in your hands, but it disappears!"), and in a bones file, it will revert to a severed hand.
If you eat the hand, you will take 150–199 damage, so this is a Bad Idea. The game will have the courtesy to ask if you're sure you want to eat a severed hand, though ("Are you sure you want to eat that? [ynq] (n)"). If you survive the Hand scrabbling around inside you, you gain all of 40 nutrition points ("This Hand of Vecna is delicious! You feel the hand scrabbling around inside of you!") You can sacrifice the Hand ("You offer this evil thing to <your god>..."); this gets rid of it permanently, and thus is also a (somewhat less, admittedly) Bad Idea.
When carried, the Hand provides cold resistance, half physical damage, and hungerless regeneration. Given that for many characters it will be the only possible source of the latter two properties, it is extremely desirable simply to have in one's inventory. Be sure not to eat or sacrifice it—a good idea is to set it to an inventory letter you are unlikely to accidentally press.
While the Hand is certainly no weapon, for those who lack a source of drain resistance, it provides a handy way to gain it at the snap of a finger. It is quicker, in fact, than carrying an amulet of drain resistance, since you don't lose a turn (and thus possibly a level) taking anything off. While wielding it, you can then select an appropriate wand or other means to dispatch whatever monster is zapping a wand of draining at you.
If your Luck is lower than −9, you get the following message:
- "The Hand claws you with its icy nails!"
and receive 5–24 damage.
- "Creatures from the grave surround you!"
In SLASH 6, a precursor to SLASH'EM, killing Vecna could produce either the Hand of Vecna or the Eye of Vecna, with an equal chance of each. As in SLASH'EM, the Hand conferred regeneration, cold resistance, and half physical damage, and could summon the undead when invoked.
The Eye of Vecna was an artifact eyeball that conferred ESP, cold resistance, and half spell damage when carried. Invoking it would turn its icy gaze on all monsters within the player's line of sight, reducing their health to a fraction of its current amount. Just like the Hand, the Eye's invocation effect came with a −3 penalty to both Luck and alignment record. Attempting to invoke it with a Luck of −9 or less would kill the player instantly.