Dungeons & Dragons Lore Wiki

Welcome to the Dungeons & Dragons Lore Wiki, an encyclopedia of official first-party D&D canon from 1974 to the current day.

We need editors! See the editing guidelines for ways to contribute.

READ MORE

Dungeons & Dragons Lore Wiki
Advertisement
"An entity known only as the Serpent speaks directly to Vecna. Others—daring to call themselves wizards, magicians, and sorcerers—manipulate the tiniest aspects of the Serpent and call it magic. But Vecna speaks to the Serpent, and the Serpent speaks back."
Vecna Reborn (1998), p.4

The Serpent is a mysterious and powerful entity associated with the lich-god Vecna, who whispered to him the secrets of power and lichdom. It is believed by some to be a deity of overwhelming power, by others the force of magic itself with a will of its own, and by some a fiction of Vecna's madness.

Nature[]

The Serpent's true name and identity are a mystery to the multiverse. Even Vecna himself, god of secrets, does not know the Serpent under any other name, if it has one.[1]

The Serpent is thought to be an alias for a mysterious godlike entity named Mok'slyk. Others suspect its true identity is Asmodeus, whose true form is that of a miles-long serpent more ancient than the gods of humans.[2] It is thought by some to be a godlike being of unimaginable power greater than even the greater deities.[3]

Another theory is that the Serpent is not a real being, but rather a personification of the raw power of magic itself.[2] It has been considered by some as a personification of epic spells, spells greater than those of 9th level created through understanding of the true language of magic.[4]

Some believe that the Serpent is merely a hallucination in the mind of Vecna brought on by madness, although the cult of Vecna consider this heretical.[2]

The Serpent is known to be a member of the Ancient Brethren, a group of beings which also includes the Lady of Pain.[5] He is equal in power to be being which created the wards which ban gods from stepping foot into the planar city of Sigil.[6]

Worship[]

The image of the Serpent is considered sacred to the followers of Vecna. A banner of a snake wrapped around a starbust is used on the highest of holy days.[7] It is depicted in religious iconography as a serpent made of cloud and lightning snaking down from the sky and whispering into Vecna's ear, telling him the secret of lichdom. In other scenes it is depicted wrapped around Vecna during his rise to power.[8]

History[]

Ancient history[]

"Paet vi har skylkning."
— Saying in the language of the Ancient Brethren
"We have faith in the Serpent."
— Translation

The Serpent spoke to Vecna while he was still mortal, and revealed to him great secrets powerful magic, including the path to lichdom, the location of Citadel Cavitus,[2] and the true nature of beings including the Lady of Pain and the dark powers of Ravenloft.[9]

Recent history[]

The Serpent is last known to have stirred when Iuz the Old of Oerth attempted to strike down Vecna. The Serpent revealed Iuz's plans to Vecna, allowing him to prepare a counter-plan enabling his ascension to godhood.[9]

Publication history[]

AD&D 2nd edition[]

The Serpent is attested in Vecna Reborn (1998) and Die Vecna Die! (2000).

D&D 3rd edition[]

The Serpent is mentioned in Manual of the Planes (3e) (2001), p.88, Epic Level Handbook (2002), p.71,238, The Secret History of Vecna, Dragon #348 (Oct 2006), p.32, and Unsolved Mysteries of D&D, Dragon #359 (Sep 2007), p.28-29.

Apocryphal[]

The Serpent appeared in a Living Greyhawk core adventure series Windows to the Serpent's Soul. It consisted of four adventure modules: COR4-01 Shedding Scales, COR5-08 Clipping Wings, COR6-08 Catching Breath, and COR7-15 Taking Flight.

In this series, the Serpent is described as a primordial force of magic, tricked by the gods into assuming the form of a massive serpent which the gods petrified so it could steal its power. The gods could not completely destroy its form, so they broke it down into chunks which became planets, upon which life grew from the Serpent's energy and learned to use magic. Something in Vecna's heritage or destiny gave him a special connection to the Serpent.

The Serpent also referenced in COR5-14 All Roads Lead to Rauxes, where it is referred to as an ancient Flan belief that the universe, magical or otherwise, is one great dragon, with its own will and agenda, which can be manipulated by ritual; COR6-01 A Story for Another Day, where the Serpent speaks to a follower of Vecna; and CORSP4-02 Dragon Lore Prophecies, which is linked to Windows of the Serpent's Soul and leads into CORS4-02 Here There Be Dragons.

References[]

  1. Vecna Reborn (1998), p.4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Secret History of Vecna, Dragon #348 (Oct 2006), p.32.
  3. Manual of the Planes (3e) (2001), p.88.
  4. Epic Level Handbook (2002), p.71.
  5. Die Vecna Die! (2000), p.129.
  6. Die Vecna Die! (2000), p.122.
  7. Die Vecna Die! (2000), p.94.
  8. Die Vecna Die! (2000), p.99-100.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Die Vecna Die! (2000), p.57.
Advertisement