Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Why Vecna is the Ultimate Dead by Daylight Killer

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Dead By Daylight’s developers celebrated their eight-year anniversary on Wednesday and detailed what they intended for Year Nine. One of the very first announcements was one that caught many fans’ eyes; the unveiling of the arch-lich Vecna as the next killer.

Vecna, one of the more iconic villains in Dungeons and Dragons history as well as Stranger Things, is an arguably different addition to the DBD setting, considering he’s not a character that has held a significant presence in visual media until the last season of Stranger Things. And even that version is merely the villain’s name, not the actual creature himself. So why is he a Dead by Daylight Killer?

It seems that Vecna’s addition to DBD is particularly special because of his role in DnD’s 50-year history and his interest in twisting the dark forces of the multiverse to his whim.

Who is Vecna?

Vecna is a god in his own right. A once-human king from the plane of Oerth who became a lich and even a god, Vecna remains one of Dungeons and Dragons’ longest-running villains. His cults spread across the multiverse, where they attempt to steal the secrets of anyone they can so that they can be used by their dark master.

Vecna himself travels the worlds while working out his schemes in hopes of twisting the universe to his interest. The villain spends the entirety of Vecna: Edge of Ruin guiding his cultists to steal secrets from others in hopes of enacting a ritual that will rewrite everything in existence in his image.

So it’s quite interesting that this master of the dark powers would agree to a game of serial killing.

Dead by Daylight, for those unfamiliar with the game, is about groups of “Survivors” and “Killers” stuck in a dark dimension. All of the people are there at the whims of “The Entity,” an invisible creature whose fog has spread across the multiverse and stolen heroes and villains away to play in its fields.

The Entity feeds on the violence and emotions that come from the cat-and-mouse games that the two groups engage in, allowing them to continue to consume and corrupt worlds across the multiverse. Most of the Dead by Daylight killers are terrifying combatants, whether they be the predatory Alien or the murderous Leatherface. But they are all mortals. So why would a lich join their ranks in these games?

Vecna in Dead by Daylight
Dead By Daylight’s Vecna
Why Vecna became a Dead by Daylight Killer

Vecna, according to the game’s lore, started his journey into the Entity’s grasp when he was given a strange text written in a language he had never seen before. The text’s unique nature was so intoxicating that the arch-lich abandoned all of his other interests to study it. He also began to notice how certain people disappeared from existence because of the Entity. That led him to cast the spell. And as he did, he made contact with the Entity. And it all went downhill from there.

“….as [Vecna] gazed into the darkness, he felt that alluring energy from it; a despair, an evil he could scarcely imagine. A sick curiosity overcoming him, he dropped his concentration, and let the fog take him. Whatever it was, wherever it was, he understood that the only way to harness it was to submit to it. He knew, in his cold, unbeating heart, that its dark secrets would one day be his.”

In-Game Lore

Vecna is arguably the first Killer to consent to the Entity’s capture. He wants to grasp the eldritch power and master its secrets for his own purposes. Secrets are something that Vecna sees as the ultimate source of power. Add onto that the fact that Vecna is an immortal being who is used to taking long periods of time to pursue his grand schemes. So what’s a few years of torturing Survivors in exchange for the secrets of the Entity?

The archlich is also the perfect multiversal addition. Dead by Daylight is, by its very nature, a silly game where players can have the Xenomorph chasing Resident Evil’s Leon Kennedy around a map. It’s hard to truly justify a lot of the possibilities that the game presents.

Vecna, however, fits right in. He already exists as an entity that can travel between the planes of the Dungeons and Dragons setting, allowing him to steal the secrets of gods, heroes, and villains from a number of worlds for his own malicious purposes. Why couldn’t he also travel the multiversal antics of the Entity?

Will anything come of Vecna’s willingness to join the DBD universe? It’s difficult to say since the game isn’t one with a forward-moving narrative, but rather a focus on offering a fun multiplayer experience to all involved. Once a Killer or Survivor is in the fog, they’re stuck there. But Vecna is a patient creature.

Perhaps he could play a role in unraveling the Entity’s grip over these mortals. Only the players will be able to tell the tale. But for now, he’s a delightful addition to the setting that also recognizes how the Dark One’s presence captured millions of player’s imagination over the last fifty years.

Images via Behaviour Interactive

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