D&D 5E Wights....problem with RaW...


Victoria Rules
I didn't see it in a quick skim through the books. B2 isn't AD&D - Keep on the Borderlands is Basic. And there is no reference there.

A google search isn't turning up anything either. Are you sure it was in a product and not just the interpretation of your group?
Fairly sure, yes. It's not something I'd have thought of myself.

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Perhaps this passage from REF5 - Lords of Darkness?
In the dark, the wights look like rockhard, humanoid forms. A life drain victim who is not killed and/or carried away can explain what has happened to him. Unless the characters have seen wights before, there is no need to name them to the players. Be as vague as possible. Give them descriptions that could just as easily cover ghouls or zombies or trolls or really ugly hobgoblins.


Well wights were never slow and shambling like zombies. As a DM the hair was always my description giveaway for wights going off of the 1e MM art.


In 2e MC1 they were described as:

From a distance, wights can easily be mistaken for any number of humanoid races. Upon closer examination, however, their true nature becomes apparent. As undead creatures, wights are nightmarish reflections of their former selves, with cruel, burning eyes set in mummified flesh over a twisted skeleton with hands that end in sharp claws.


This description was repeated in the 2e Monstrous Manual:


and the 3.5 MM art emphasizes the hair to me as well.

as did the 4e MM wight art

Even the 5e one has lots of hair though coming at it fresh the pale wight flesh is a prominent characteristic.


Perhaps this passage from REF5 - Lords of Darkness?
That is saying that because it is dark (and only, presumably, because it is dark), the creatures might be mistaken for ghouls or zombies ... or trolls ... or ugly hobgoblins? That is not saying that zombies and wights are indistinguishable... it is saying that the creatures in that encounter are not distinguisable at all, really.

a couple of points. 1st edition wights where unarmed by default. They only had their level draining attack, unless the DM gave them a weapon. Which brings us to the second point: changing the weapons of monsters is a core rule in 5e. You shouldn't hesitate to adjust the creatures to fit the visuals you are after. Which brings us to my third point: you could do worse than look at The Legend of Vox Machina cartoon for visuals on undead attacks - I think it's around episode 3 or 4.

A historical note, for anyone who doesn't know - wights where a direct lift from the barrow wight in LotR*. You might want to check out Tolkien's description.

*"Wut? I don't remember that bit in the movie!!!!?"

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