The first volume of the fourth season of the series “Very Strange Things” presents a new villain from the “Reverse Side” named Vecna, and the origin and meaning of his name should be familiar to everyone who has played Dungeons & Dragons. The characters of “Very Strange Cases” have previously experienced terrible encounters with Demogorgon and the Mind Catcher, and in season 4 they encounter Vekna, who has a personal connection with the Eleven. The last monstrous opponent of the Hawkins gang has a name popular in Dungeons & Dragons circles, but what exactly is the meaning behind it?
The beloved 1980s horror and science fiction series has become even more terrifying than ever in the fourth season, thanks in part to its antagonist, Vecna. Like its predecessors, the villainous creature is named after the plot of the characters of the TV series “Very Strange Things”, inspired by a similar figure from the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The version of Vecna from Dungeons & Dragons is revealed by Eddie Munson (Joesf Quinn) during a game campaign with his friends at the Hellfire Club. It was common for “Very Strange Cases” to refer to monsters from “Dungeons and Dragons” and use their nicknames for the names of the main villains of the show. However, unlike Demogorgon and the Mind Eater, Vecna from Upside Down was once a human, which added an intriguing layer to the character in the first volume of the 4th season of “Very Strange Cases”.
In Dungeons & Dragons circles, Vecna is a powerful lich, a caster who defies death with magic. The name Vecna is actually an anagram of Vance’s name, an ode to fantasy writer Jack Vance, whose work served as the inspiration for the magical system used in Dungeons & Dragons. Vecna is mentioned in early versions of Dungeons & Dragons, but is officially introduced in the 3rd edition of the game. The epithet of the character is “god of destructive and evil secrets”. The description in “Dungeons and Dragons” is very similar to the version of Vecna from “Very Strange Cases”, which turned out to be the general of the Mind Catcher. The connection with Jack Vance and the character’s biography in Dungeons & Dragons were the main hints about his role in season 4.
Of all the villains from the “Very Strange Cases” revealed so far, Vecna is most similar to his counterpart from Dungeons & Dragons. Towards the end of Season 4, volume 1, Vecna turns out to be Henry Creel, a boy with telepathic abilities and abilities similar to Eleven. In fact, Henry Creel was the original children’s experiment number one, which was studied in Dr. Brenner’s laboratory. After the battle with the Eleven, he was sent to the Opposite Side, where his human body was torn to shreds, and he became a monster. The origin and abilities of Vecna from “Very Strange Cases” are essentially identical to the description of his gaming counterpart in Dungeons & Dragons. Henry Creel was a powerful human sorcerer who cheated death to become an even more powerful lich. Vecna from the Dungeons & Dragons lore was also called a devoted god due to the fact that he was attacked by his own lieutenant. This betrayal has been compared to Eleven’s refusal to join Henry Creel and her banishment of him to the Wrong Side.
An interesting part of Creel’s story/The secret in “Very Strange Cases” is that, although the character is a person, he does not identify himself as such. Talking to the Eleven, he declares that they are more than people and can shape the world as they see fit. This grandiose view of himself is similar to the Age from the Dungeons & Dragons data, who, as a human sorcerer, aspires to become a demigod. Both versions of the magic-wielding lich do not seem to achieve their lofty goals, becoming smaller, albeit powerful creatures.
The first volume of the fourth season of the series “Very strange things” gives more depth to “Upside down”. The appearance of Vecna in the mysterious universe marks the first time in the series when a person turns into such a creature. The Mind Eater, like its namesake, known as an illithid in the language of Dungeons & Dragons, is clearly an independent being, as are individual demogorgons. At the moment, there is no explanation as to why the Inverted Position had such an impact on Vecna. This may have something to do with the mysterious powers granted to certain people throughout the series. I hope these questions can be answered as the series continues.