10
\$\begingroup\$

I'm creating a campaign, and I'm thinking about having Vecna take over the body of an NPC attuned to his eye and hand (because of the 5% chance that Vecna takes over a body after a spell is cast), which would have the characters go looking for the Sword of Kas.

Can the Sword of Kas destroy Vecna while Vecna destroys the Sword of Kas?

\$\endgroup\$

2 Answers 2

21
\$\begingroup\$

Not by RAW combat rules

To destroy the Sword, someone attuned to the Hand and Eye needs to cast Wish which the artifacts enable them to do.

To destroy the Eye and Hand, the creature attuned to them both needs to be slain by the Sword.

This means that one creature would need to cast a spell while another creature kills them. With standard combat and initiative rules this is impossible. Even with a Ready action, because you cannot Ready the Wish to be cast while you are dying.

As the GM you can enable this

Modifying the game rules to create a memorable game is an important part of the GM job so you can totally make this work.

I have two pieces of advice learned from implementing similar ideas*:

  1. As a GM, you tell a story but the players are also part of the story. Enforcing the story exactly like you imagined it can undermine the players' agency. However, you can run a game in such a way that a specific turn of events is strongly suggested. If it is fun and the players still have a say in this, there's nothing wrong with this.

  2. If you have something specific in mind you should prepare it in advance (foreshadowing) so that it seems like one, or even the only, logical conclusion rather than feel contrived.


* For the finale of the campaign, I wanted the players to True Polymorph the villain after defeating them. I let them find the Scroll shortly before the final combat and had NPCs who offered information saying something about transmutation magic and how it works best if the target is knocked out. My players picked up on this and turned the villain into a frog.

\$\endgroup\$
9
\$\begingroup\$

Yes, with a lot of hand waving

As a DM, you have the right and responsibility to shape a compelling narrative, and an aiuchi or 'mutual kill' of important characters or plot elements can be a powerful climax to a storyline. If you need to bend or suspend a few rules to do it, that's fine. You should be cautious of any rules changes that directly affect the players, because that can easily frustrate their expectations or sense of fairness. But if the interactions happen mostly to NPC's, then bend away. For example, if the players specifically quested after the Sword of Kas with the sole intent of using it to destroy the Eye and Hand, they may be very satisfied with the mutual destruction of all three artifacts. If you had players who thought, 'this sword is so cool' and had plans to keep it afterward, adjusting the rules to assure its destruction may seem unfair.

As a possible example

What if the person possessed by the Eye and Hand of Vecna is not completely controlled? Vecna is pulling strings and shaping events, but the corrupted person retains their consciousness and may not realize the extent to which they have become a pawn. Not knowing that the Sword is out there, available to the players, or at a conscious level perhaps not even knowing what the Sword is or that it exists, the NPC bearer of the Eye and Hand makes the following Wish:

"I wish that any weapon used to attack me would be destroyed."

As a PC-use of Wish, that would probably be too powerful. As an NPC use of Wish, in the service of plot, can we hand wave it just enough to work?

Can wishes create future contingencies?
Well, we know that the Wish spell can affect time. One of its explicit uses is to "undo a single recent event" and many of its "off-list" effects are undoing the results of effects in the past, sometimes the distant past1.

We also know that one of its explicit uses is to duplicate any spell of 8th level or lower, and that the 6th level Contingency spell can be set to trigger on events that will happen up to ten days in the future. Further, we know that Wish can explicitly be used to retrieve up to seven characters from ten years in the future (at least if they were sent there by the lair effect of a Sphinx).

So it doesn't seem like too big a stretch for our NPC to make a wish that is contingent on, and triggered by, a future event.

Can a wish spell destroy something?
Interestingly, when they are not restoring or reversing something, most of the known uses of wish, both explicitly in the spell description and off-list in other places, are instead creating something. There simply aren't many examples of a wish being used for pure destruction. Since we know that it can duplicate spells, though, it must have the destructive power of at least a Disintegrate spell (6th level). Since we want to destroy an object ('the weapon I am attacked with') we could consider a contingent-Shatter spell, but that specifically affects only non-magical objects, and clearly the Sword of Kas would be immune to that. Fortunately we do have one official example of Wish being used to destroy something magical, in the Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage adventure, where it can:

permanently destroy one of Halaster's gates

So now we have our justification for the recipient of the Eye and Hand having made a naïve wish for any weapon that is used to attack them to be destroyed.

Enter the party with the Sword of Kas. As part of their quest to recover it, they have been advised not to reveal that they have it until the last moment, otherwise the bearer of the Eye and Hand will immediately teleport away (an explicit property of the Hand), deal with the party from afar, take the Sword once they are dead, and then destroy it. They have also learned that the bearer is 'protected from weapons', so they plan their fight around using spells and other non-weapon attacks.

The party conceals the Sword at the beginning of the fight. They bring the bearer to unconsciousness using mostly spell attacks before finally pulling it out and using it to attack the unconscious bearer for the automatic-critical failed death saves. This triggers the bearer's Wish to destroy any weapon used to attack them, but does not interrupt the fatal blow itself.

The bearer is slain, triggering the Eye and Hand's destruction condition:

If the Eye of Vecna and the Hand of Vecna are both attached to the same creature, and that creature is slain by the Sword of Kas, both the eye and the hand burst into flame, turn to ash, and are destroyed forever.

Just after the fatal attack is resolved, the already-triggered wished-for contingent effect resolves, and the power of the Wish destroys the Sword. This then trigger's the Sword's destruction condition:

A creature attuned to both the Eye of Vecna and the Hand of Vecna can use the Wish property of those combined artifacts to unmake the Sword of Kas. The creature must cast the Wish spell and make a Charisma check contested by the Charisma check of the sword. The sword must be within 30 feet of the creature, or the spell fails. If the sword wins the contest, nothing happens, and the Wish spell is wasted. If the sword loses the contest, it is destroyed.

Here we have to interpret the "within 30 feet" to apply when the Sword is destroyed, but not when the wish made by the bearer was made, we have to have a generous interpretation of 'unmake' and not require that the word specifically be used in the wish itself, and we may have to use DM fiat to say that the Sword failed the contested Charisma check.

We have thus destroyed all three artifacts.

And the world was made brighter thereby.


1See What are all of the published "off-label" uses of the Wish spell? and look at how many of the effects under Monster Abilities are variations on Return / Reverse / Restore / Revive.

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's no need to go into the destructive capability or lack thereof of Wish... the Sword itself gives rules for the fact that, at least the Hand and Eye's Wish, can be to destroy it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    May 24, 2023 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso The difficulty is creating a situation in which the artifacts can destroy one another. If you simply use the power of the Hand and Eye to Wish the Sword destroyed, that does not destroy the Hand and Eye. The point of my answer was to demonstrate that you could achieve mutual destruction through a naive wish - wishing to destroy 'any weapon' that attacked the wielder of the Hand and Eye. For that, you need to know that Wish is capable of destroying things in general. For this to work, you need to be able to Wish the Sword destroyed without realizing that is what you are doing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    May 24, 2023 at 16:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .