How Dungeons & Dragons’ Vecna ​​Compares To Stranger Things

Since the beginning of the series, stranger things constantly referred to Dungeons & Dragons. From the very first episode featuring Mike and his friends playing through a tabletop session to major enemies named Demogorgon and Mind Flayer, Dungeons & Dragons has always been an integral part of the show. With its latest antagonist, Vecna, stranger things references tabletop gaming’s most infamous villain and draws inspiration more directly than ever.


For what it’s worth, stranger things tended to base his creatures only loosely on their Dungeons & Dragons counterparts. The Mind Flayer in stranger thingsfor example, bore almost no physical resemblance to his namesake, but possessed an affinity for mind control and psionic powers similar to the Mind Flayers of Dungeons & Dragons. When it comes to Vecna, however, stranger things drawn more closely from the game than he ever has.

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Comparison of the powers of the two Vecnas

The original Vecna ​​is arguably the strongest being of them all Dungeons & Dragons at its peak. While Vecna’s stranger things possesses an impressive mastery of mind control and psionic magic that makes him a potentially lethal threat, Vecna ​​of Dungeons & Dragons literally ascended to godhood, cementing his place as one of the most powerful magic users in existence – a multiversal threat.

Vecna’s stranger things borrows a few spells from its namesake, but shows significantly less magical abilities. Although he wreaked havoc on Hawkins, Vecna’s abilities are pretty typical of a low-level caster in Dungeons & Dragons. For comparison, the Hand of Vecna ​​- which acts as a powerful magic item in Dungeons & Dragons and is literally Vecna’s severed hand – grants its user the finger of death, teleportation, and a myriad of other high-level abilities that are on par with the feats shown by Vecna ​​in stranger things. When used in conjunction with the Eye of Vecna, these artifacts grant the user access to the wish spell, which far exceeds anything shown in stranger things.

Comparison of the tradition of the two Vecnas

While the tradition of Vecna ​​in Dungeons & Dragons has undergone a number of changes, the foundation has remained consistent. Vecna ​​began life as a human or half-elf before becoming a lich while studying dark magic. From there, Vecna ​​formed a massive army, championed by his lieutenant Kas, to facilitate his rise to godhood. In the end, Kas betrayed Vecna, which prevented Vecna ​​from reaching its full potential, and the two aforementioned artifacts – Vecna’s Hand and Eye – came into creation.

Oddly enough, Vecna ​​from stranger things shares a backstory that, while not framed in high fantasy, remains similar. After being corrupted by her supernatural powers, Henry Creel attempts to manipulate and recruit Eleven to join his crusade, but is sent to the Upside Down and transforms into Vecna. Either way, Vecna ​​begins life as a talented but dark individual who undergoes a complete physical transformation in an effort to reach his true potential. They are both inevitably betrayed by someone they consider close to them, someone who has been personally recruited to help them.

Additionally, Vecna ​​in stranger things bears a striking physical resemblance to Vecna ​​of Dungeons & Dragons 5E, for both are elegant and undead, yet imposing characters. It’s also clear that Vecna’s enlarged left hand is a nod to the powerful magic item of Dungeons & Dragons who made the character so famous. Although the Eye of Vecna ​​is not explicitly referenced in stranger thingsVecna’s victims are often left with mangled eyes.

MORE: Stranger Things: Did Vecna ​​Create The Mind Flayer?

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