The Hand of Vecna (EvilHack)

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[   The Hand of Vecna   File:Mummified hand.png
Base item mummified hand
When carried none
When worn
When invoked
  • can only be invoked while worn
  • uses death magic on all monsters in sight
  • kills you if used at -10 luck or lower
  • -3 penalty to luck regardless of outcome
    -7 alignment record penalty if lawful
    -3 alignment record penalty if neutral or chaotic
Base price 50000 zm
Weight 5
For the artifact in SLASH'EM, SlashTHEM and Hack'EM, see The Hand of Vecna (SLASH'EM).

The Hand of Vecna is an artifact that appears in EvilHack. It is unaligned, and its base item is the mummified hand of Vecna.


The Hand of Vecna is only generated upon killing Vecna in a way that would normally leave a corpse, i.e. any method minus disintegration, digesting or stoning - if killed in such a manner, he will either drop this artifact or The Eye of Vecna, with an equal probability of each. Since Vecna is always generated in his Domain, the Hand cannot be wished for and will always revert to its base item if left in bones.


The Hand of Vecna must be worn in order for its abilities to activate, and occupies the gloves armor slot: once put on, the Hand irreversibly fuses itself to the character's left arm and cannot be removed through any method - this applies even when polymorphed into a monster without hands. Monsters fear the power of the artifact and will not attempt to use it themselves. It is possible to eat The Hand unless it is already bound to the character, but doing so will inflict 250–399 damage if cursed, and 150–199 damage otherwise.

The way The Hand of Vecna functions while bound makes it immune to the scroll of destroy armor, disintegration, any type of item theft, or any source of erosion, including the revamped destroy armor monster spell. The Hand can be enchanted up to +7, and attempts to enchant it further will not ever evaporate it: the enchantment instead has the same chance of simply failing without further effect. As the Hand of Vecna replaces the character's hand rather than being worn over it, rings can be put on and removed freely even if the Hand is cursed. The Hand also allows safe handling of objects such as cockatrice corpses that are ordinarily fatal to touch.

While fused to the character, the Hand of Vecna grants 1 base AC and confers hungerless regeneration, half physical damage, immunity to sickness, and sets strength to 25. When a character with the Hand of Vecna fused attacks in melee, they deal a bonus of 1d5+7 cold damage to monsters without cold resistance. Invoking the Hand of Vecna while it is bound has different effects based on your current luck: at -10 luck or lower, the Hand of Vecna turns its magic upon you, which is an instadeath regardless of magic resistance or death resistance. Otherwise, the Hand casts death magic upon all monsters in the character's line of sight, significantly reducing the HP of monsters that do not resist it, and has a 320 chance of killing affected monsters outright unless they have magic resistance. Regardless of the outcome of invoking the Hand, it reduces luck by 3, abuse wisdom, and inflicts a variable penalty to alignment record: -7 for lawful characters, none for unaligned ones, and -3 otherwise.

The Hand of Vecna can be combined with Angelslayer at a forge to create The Sword of Annihilation.


The Hand of Vecna is a very powerful item for most characters: Half physical damage and sickness resistance are stellar defensive properties, especially in EvilHack's hostile late game. Giant strength can also be very powerful, especially if a player wishes to dual-wield heavy weapons that they otherwise couldn't due to insufficient skill - at the very least, it is universally useful for the bonuses to melee damage and carrying capacity. Hungerless regeneration is a comparatively minor boon by the time a player can realistically acquire the Hand of Vecna, but one without cost that will be appreciated regardless. The Hand's enchantment safely going to +7 can also be a bonus, though in practice a pair of dragonhide gloves will provide more protection.

The offensive benefits provided by the Hand are less impressive: the damage bonus is rather insignificant, and only applies versus non-cold-resistant monsters; the invoke, while powerful, has extremely limited use, as it carries a large luck penalty and does not work against death- or magic-resistant monsters, both of which are prevalent late in the game. Despite the drawbacks, it does have some utility in clearing out large groups of non-resistant monsters, such as insect swarms or summoned nasties.

While extremely tempting to permanently give up the gloves slot for, the Hand of Vecna can still be beaten out by other options depending on the character's role or race. For example, a character that already possesses sickness resistance and half physical damage through other sources may wish to use Dragonbane or the Gauntlets of Purity instead: both offer properties that are quite rare and typically hard to work into a given kit outside of self-polymorph, such as Dragonbane's acid resistance or the death magic resistance and energy regeneration from the Gauntlets of Purity. Melee-focused roles may also consider the Sword of Annihilation's overwhelming offensive power worth sacrificing the Hand to forge.


Vecna is an original creation of Dungeons & Dragons, where he originally was a background figure that became popular enough to feature as a major antagonist. He is named for fantasy author Jack Vance, who among other achievements developed the "fire-and-forget" magic system that would come to be used in D&D and many other fantasy works. Vecna is first mentioned in Eldritch Wizardry, the third supplement to the original Dungeons & Dragons game co-developed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, with the supplement authored by Gygax and Brian Blume - the supplement introduces the Hand of Vecna and Eye of Vecna, artifacts which are the only remnants of the long-destroyed evil lich.

While no details of the artifacts were ever revealed to Gygax, the descriptions of the artifacts in the 2nd Edition Dungeon Master's Guide of 1989 further expanded on Vecna's history; the release of the 1990 adventure Vecna Lives! would finally have him debut in person. Though the exact details vary, most versions of Vecna's history state that the fight between him and his most trusted lieutenant Kas left Kas flung across the planes of the multiverse, with Vecna himself seemingly destroyed in whole save for a disemboded left hand and eye - even after eventually resurrecting, Vecna is always depicted with these parts missing from his form.

The left hand and eye of Vecna are high-valued and very dangerous magical artifacts that bestow incredible supernatural strength and spellcasting power upon their users, and provided even more benefits when used together. Such power naturally comes at a terrible cost: using either one requires the removal of the corresponding body part to affix the artifact in its place, and the fragments of Vecna's will left within each one will turn its wearer towards evil while corrupting and decaying their body. Removing the affixed artifact(s) invariably result in death, and both artifacts can only be destroyed permanently if a being that wore both artifacts was slain by the Sword of Kas. The Hand and Eye are considered classic Dungeons & Dragons artifacts that best exemplify the temptations of power and how they can easily tear apart an adventuring party.


You hold The Hand of Vecna high above your <head>, but nothing happens.
You attempted to invoke the un-worn Hand of Vecna.
You hold The Hand of Vecna high above your <head>!
You invoked the worn Hand of Vecna.
The Hand of Vecna turns on you!
The Hand killed you upon invoking it.
The Hand of Vecna annihilates <the monster>!
A monster was instantly killed by the invoked Hand.
<The monster> <screams> in <agony/pain>!
A monster was damaged by the invoked Hand.
<The monster> trembles in <agony/pain>!
As above, but you are deaf.
<The monster> resists the Hand of Vecna's deadly aura.
A monster resisted the magic of the invoked Hand.
You feel a burning deep inside your <stomach>!
You ate the Hand of Vecna.
You can't eat something that's a part of you!
You attempted to eat the Hand of Vecna after it was bound to you.

Encyclopedia entry

The Eye of Vecna and the Hand of Vecna were the only remnants
of the powerful lich Vecna, after he was betrayed and killed by
his lieutenant Kas. The two appendages were left with a
fragment of the lich's will and attempted to work his deeds
wherever they went.