Much feared for their ability to drain a foe’s vital life force, wights are dangerous opponents. More cunning than mindless skeletons or zombies, they represent a clear threat to weak, incautious or distracted adventurers.
However, wights rarely received much design space in an adventure’s text. They are just wights. Use the tables below, to add some depth, flavour and—dare I say—life to the wights encountered by the PCs.
A standard wight appears thusly:
Rotting and putrid flesh hangs from this walking corpse. It eyes glow with baleful red light.
To this basic description, apply one of the entires below:
- One of this creature’s arms has lost all its flesh; nothing but gleaming white bone remains.
- Still clad in ripped and torn furs, this creature had its throat ripped out before it died.
- The creature’s face is horridly decomposed; muscles and sinew can easily be made out through the ruin of its cheeks.
- The back of this creature’s skull is caved in; a putrid mass of dark grey brain is clearly visible.
- The creature’s throat is horribly blackened and desiccated.
- Long claw marks run up the creature’s legs. The rotting flesh around the wounds is mottled with sullen red splotches.
- The creature has suffered a vicious head wound; one of its eyes hangs from its socket and jiggles disconcertingly when the creature moves.
- This creature’s face is locked into a horrible grimace of fear and revulsion.
- As it advances to battle, this creature begins to weep thick, oozing dark-red tears.
- This creature’s back is a mass of claw and bite marks. The wounds are so deep, its gleaming white ribs are clearly visible.
In battle, some wights fight differently to their brethren:
- This wight tries to sneak round the back, and prefers to fight weak, unarmored opponents.
- This wight clutches a spear, and hurls it before charging into battle.
- Before it charges into battle, the creature screams at the top of its lungs.
- Hungry for flesh, but cautious, this wight fights defensively unless it believes its foe is no real threat.
- If injured by a melee weapon, in the next round the wight tries to rip it from its attacker’s hands.
- If the wight slays an opponent, it immediately feasts on the yet-warm corpse (until the newly slain unfortunate rises to join the undead).
- This creature has a shattered left leg. It uses a broken spear as a crutch and, consequently, moves at only half speed.
- This wight wields a huge two-handed axe. It seeks out the toughest-looking opponent and batters it into submission.
- Sneaky and cunning, this wight always seeks a flanking position.
- Cunningly, this wight tries to rip a defender’s shield from his hand. If successful, it uses the shield as a missile weapon.
Sometimes, wights have some small trinket or treasure about their person. Roll on the table below, if you determine the creature has a small item of personal treasure:
- Four golden rings gleam on the fingers of this wight’s right hand. Three are plain (worth 20 gp each). The fourth is a signet ring and displays the sigil of a rampant swan. It is worth 50 gp.
- This wight yet wears a belt with pouch attached. The pouch holds a score of marbles and a set of slender lock picks in their own small pouch.
- The wight has a sheathed dagger at its belt. The wickedly sharp dagger is of gleaming steel and shimmers when exposed to the light.
- The wight wears a grimy silver necklace festooned with charms. The charms—also silver but covered in dirt and dried gore—depict several good-aligned deity’s holy symbols. The whole is worth 50 gp.
- A steel potion vial fills a secret compartment in the heel of one of the wight’s knee-length hard leather boots. The vial is broad and flat to better fit the heel, but is sadly empty. Only perceptive PCs find the hidden compartment.
- A packet of mouldy trail rations fills the wight’s pouch. The food is inedible, but is packed in a cloth wrapping decorated with a simple map of the surrounding wilderness. The cloth must be cleaned to reveal the map’s secrets—which could include a hitherto unknown adventure site.
- The wight yet has a longsword scabbard at its belt. The sword is long lost, but the scabbard is a thing of beauty: black leather picked out with silvered thread. An intricate design of a fisherman’s net decorates the scabbard’s tip. It is worth 15 gp.
- The wight carries a mouldy pouch full of coins (17 cp, 45 sp, 3 gp). When slain, the wight falls which bursts open the pouch. Coins spill all over the floor.
- This wight has a pair of battered, gold-rimmed spectacles shoved into a pocket in its cloak. The lens are missing, but the spectacles are worth 4 gp as scrap metal.
- A broken arrow protrudes from the wight’s left calf muscle. Its tip is of preternaturally tough metal—adamantine.
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