Kas

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Greyhawk Character
Kas
Kas01.jpg
Kas with his eponymous sword, as portrayed in Vecna: Hand of the Revenant. Art by Kevin McCann.
Homeland Unknown; later Tovag
Gender Male
Race Human Vampire
Age 900+
Class Fighter
Alignment Lawful evil

Kas, also known as Kas of Tycheron, Kas the Terrible, Kas the Bloody-Handed, Kas the Betrayer, Kas the Hateful, and Kas the Destroyer, was the most trusted lieutenant of the despotic arch-lich Vecna. He wielded the Sword of Kas in his master's name.

Description

Domains of Dread depicted Kas in full armor, wearing a horned helm, as did Dragon #341. In Vecna: Hand of the Revenant, Kas is depicted as a muscular human with long, black hair, and minimal armor. Kas is said to have stood 6', 6" tall (DR#402). Fourth edition's Open Grave used recycled art from Monster Manual V to depict Kas, using the art from "The Black Duke" entry under "Vampires" (MMV, 191).

Relationships

Once the trusted lieutenant of the arch-lich, Vecna, the two remain bitter enemies since Kas's betrayal centuries ago. Kas is also the father of Narek, a son he imprisoned while still in Vecna's service.

Home

In recent memory, Kas was the ruler of Tovag, a realm in the Demiplane of Dread. After that realm's destruction, Kas is said to have been nearly destroyed himself, and exists only as a vestige. However, recent sources report that Kas survived the destruction of Tovag, and now keeps new realms in the Demiplane of Dread and Outer Planes.

History

Kas the Betrayer

Kas, as portrayed in Vecna: Hand of the Revenant (2002). Art by Kevin McCann.

After years of loyal service to Vecna, Kas eventually turned betrayer. It is said that the sword itself whispered to Kas, convincing him to slay his master and usurp his power. The battle destroyed Vecna's Rotting Tower, cost the lich his left hand and eye, and Kas himself was flung across the multiverse to Vecna's Citadel Cavitius on the Quasielemental Plane of Ash. The time he spent so close to the Negative Energy Plane changed him into a vampire, and he decided he would be called "Kas the Destroyer."

The first edition of Dungeon Master's Guide does not specifically state that Kas severed Vecna's hand and eye, only that they, and the Sword of Kas, were the only objects that survived the battle. Vecna: Hand of the Revenant depicts the lich losing his left hand and eye to destructive magic casts by priests of Pholtus (presumably to be restored at a future point in the story). Numerous third edition sources state with certainty that Vecna's hand and eye were severed by Kas's blade. Sources are also not in complete agreement as to when or how Kas became a vampire, as some state he gained his dark gift before his betrayal, while others state that he gained it after.

Vecna's return

When Vecna was defeated during his bid for control of Oerth, Kas was freed from his centuries of imprisonment, only to find himself facing a shapeless wall of mist. When it cleared, he was master of the domain of Tovag, across the Burning Peaks from Vecna's domain of Cavitius. Kas waged an endless war of attrition with Vecna's forces in the hopes of retrieving the Sword of Kas from Vecna's citadel, where he erroneously believed Vecna held it.

The Burning Peaks cluster did not appear in the 3rd Edition Ravenloft Campaign Setting, because White Wolf Game Studio did not license characters that are explicitly tied to other D&D campaign settings.

When Vecna escaped from Cavitius, both realms were destroyed (explaining, in-fiction, their absence from 3rd edition). Kas was caught up in the destruction and very nearly obliterated; he survives only as a vestige, a soul outside time and space whose powers can be used by users of magic known as binders.

Magic items

The Sword of Kas

Main article: Sword of Kas

Kas is perhaps best known for the infamous artifact that bears his name, the Sword of Kas.

The Sword of Kas first appeared in the Original D&D supplement, Eldritch Wizardry. It was one of the first artifacts detailed for the Dungeons & Dragons game. The sword has been updated many times and has even been the object of quests as in the adventure Vecna Lives.

The sword, variously described as a short sword, longsword, or greatsword, was crafted by Vecna. The blade is said to have been magically honed to a razor's edge, enhanced the wielder's strength, and could be used to call down lightning bolts from any storm clouds that might be overhead. The sword itself is intelligent, possessing a vile and murderous spirit.

Other magic items

Kas is also associated with another artifact, the Silver Mask of Kas.

Writings

Kas is known to have authored Legendry of Great Arms and Fabulous Heroes.

The False Kas

In the adventure Die, Vecna, Die!, a death knight calling himself "Kas the Bloody-Handed" serves Vecna in the deity's palace in Ravenloft. This death knight is not the true Kas, though he believes himself to be, and his real name is not given. This False Kas seeks to redeem himself for "his" betrayal of Vecna centuries ago.

Publishing history

2nd edition sources agree that Kas was a living human when he betrayed Vecna, but gradually became a vampire while exposed to the forces of the Negative Energy Plane in Citadel Cavitius. 3rd and 4th edition sources indicate he had already been a vampire for some time before his betrayal.

In Domains of Dread, Kas is presented as a 17th level Ancient Vampire Avenger and is given an alignment of Chaotic Evil.

Kas is fully described in 4th edition terms in the supplement Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead (2009). There, he is presented as a Level 26 Solo Soldier, and is said to have attacked Vecna on the eve of his apotheosis, hoping to become a god in his stead. He is fully corporeal in this source, not a mere vestige as in 3rd edition. Kas is said to regularly travel the planes and to rule domains in the Shadowfell and the Astral dominions. He is served by undead spirits housed within stone constructs known as blackstar knights.

In Dragon #378 and Dungeon #170, Kas maintains a small base, along with a number of vampire minions, in a series of converted caves in the domain of Monadhan in the Shadowfell, the plane that replaces the Demiplane of Dread in 4th edition. There, he seeks out the Sword of Kas, which is currently in the horde of the draconic darklord of the domain. The Dragon article claims Kas was cast into this domain, which is the abode of traitors, after his betrayal of Vecna, though it doesn't specify whether this happened immediately afterwards or after Vecna's escape from his own dark domain during the events of Die Vecna Die! in 2nd edition.

Gallery

Kas00.jpg Kas04.jpg Kas03.jpg

Bibliography

  • Connors, William W., and Steve Miller. Domains of Dread. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1997.
  • Gygax, Gary. Dungeon Masters Guide. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1979.
  • Hart, Ken. "History Check: Kas and Vecna." Dragon #402. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2011.
  • Heard, Bruce. "Spells Between the Covers." Dragon #82. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1984.
  • Henson, Dale, and Doug Stewart, eds. Encyclopedia Magica Vol 4. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.
  • Marthaler, David. "Domain of Dread: Monadhan, the Traitor's Hold." Dragon #378. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.
  • Noonan, David. "Betrayal at Monadhan." Dungeon #170. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.
  • -----. Monster Manual V. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2007.
  • Sernett, Matthew. "Spellcraft: The Ties That Bind." Dragon #341. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2006.