One of D&D's most infamous villains is Dead by Daylight's next killer

Dungeons and Dragons is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and Dead by Daylight is getting in on that action by bringing the powerful lich Vecna to the game as its next killer.

Liches in general are powerful and unpleasant in equal measure, but even by their usual high standards Vecna is noteworthy. He actually ascended to godhood at one point, although—as is so often the way with the obsessive pursuit of power—it didn't work out entirely well for him. 

But that's also what brought him into the world of Dead by Daylight in the first place: Unlike many other killers, Vecna actively pursued entry into the Fog, viewing it as a new realm to conquer and rule.

Vecna is perhaps not quite as powerful in Dead by Daylight as he is amongst the Planes, though, with just four spells at hand:

💀 Fly grants him flying speed for a short time, letting him pass over obstacles in his path.

💀 Flight of the Damned conjures flying spectral entities that pass-through obstacles and cause harm to all they hit.

💀 Mage Hand creates a ghastly, phantasmic hand that completes tasks such as holding and blocking the use of Pallets.

💀 Dispelling Sphere creates a moving AOE sphere that reveals Survivors and disables their Magical Items.

Naturally, a new killer demands balance with a new survivor, and in this case there are two: The bards Aestri Yazr, an elf, and Baermar Uraz, a human. My first reaction was why a bard, but in hindsight it makes sense: Bards aren't likely to start too many fights (at least not on purpose) and unlike, say, an angry dwarf with an axe, they're typically not going to be too inclined to try their luck throwing hands with a lich. They are, however, consummate survivors, which is exactly the role they're meant to play here.

(Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

The D&D trappings in the new Dead by Daylight chapter go beyond just the characters. The new map, called Forgotten Ruins, is a dungeon comprised of a ruined tower sitting atop "an underground lair of terrible experiments and horrifying secrets." In its halls are seven chests which are opened by rolling a D20: Rolling a 2 or 3 will grant you a standard Dead by Daylight item, while rolling 4 to 19 will earn magical gauntlets or boots that can counter one of Vecna's spells.

Roll a 20, however, and you'll score a critical success that will get you either the Eye of Vecna, enabling you to vanish briefly after exiting a locker, or the Hand of Vecna, which can be used to teleport between lockers. But they demand a price: Each use costs a health state, so you'll need to pick your shots very carefully.

Oh, and if you roll a 1? That's a critical failure. You'll see what happens when it happens.

Dead by Daylight: Dungeons and Dragons is set to go live on June 3, but is playable right now via the public test build on Steam. Do note, however, that any progress earned on the PTB will not transfer over to the live build.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.