Monday, September 28, 2020

WIGHT: Monster Conversion - Dragonwarriors to Call of Cthulhu 5e

Gods of Lankhmar, Keith Parkinson.
Not Wights? Not according to RAW, no.

Have I mentioned before that Wights are one of my all-time favourite monsters? 

For D&D adjacent, referring to my last post, you could reskin the Shadow, Troll, Spectral Hound, Wood Golem or even -shock!- the Wight, for your barrow-dead.

Rather than just working straight from the conversion I did for Dragonwarriors to D&D adjacent, I've drawn on the Mummy and the Zombie from CoC 5e for stats - but this is spiritually a variation on the theme of the DW Wight.

Wights, All Hail the Tumulus King!

Emaciated, pale, hollow - the dreaming dead of forgotten and mis-remembered peoples - Wights are the sorcerer-priests, shaman-queens and trickster-heroes of a distant, uncertain past. Some are attached to names we would recognise, figures from history and myth - Wights named as Arthur can be found from Ireland to Kazakhstan. 

Others hail from even weirder pasts and otherworlds - Melnibone, Lyonesse, Avalon, Tir na Nog, Hyperborea, Averoigne, the Dreamlands, the Hyborian Age, even the Demiplane of Dread (if you want to go that far). To encounter a Wight may be as upsetting to consensus reality as it is deleterious to mortal life.

Still others will be analogues of deities, and accumulate the trappings of their cult - even to some of those dreaming kings being associated with Cthulhu (adding another layer to your adventure onion). 

The Wight's millennial dreaming is sustained by its single point of POW. It can use the magic point this gives to animate itself for a day; it regenerates over a lunar month - otherwise, Wights cannot regenerate magic points and must drain STR to build their reserves (see below). 

A Wight must spend one magic point to maintain animation every day - if it deanimates, it returns to its dreaming and any remaining accumulated magic points dissipate at the rate of one per day (the dreaming is particularly wonderful during this period).

Wights do not recognise or understand firearms. Most are composed of conventional matter, but may incorporate more exotic substances, alien or arcane. 

They use their current magic points in place of POW.

STR 3d6 x 1.5 (16)     CON 3d6 x 1.5 (16)     SIZ 3d6 (10.5)     INT 3d6 (10.5)     POW 1

DEX 3d6 (10.5)

Hit Points av. 13         Damage Bonus +d4     Move 6

  • Touch, DEX x 3%, ignores armour and drains 2d6+1 STR from the victim - this is recovered on their being taken into the sunshine (1 point per minute). Drained STR converts to magic points for the Wight at the next moonrise.
  • Hand weapons (and bows) at DEX x 5%; thrown weapons, Parry and shields at DEX x 3%.
  • A Wight could have enchanted weapons and magic items from BRP-compatible settings. These should not become treasure trove for investigators (lay a curse), but could be instrumental in vanquishing the Wight.
Armour: None, but all hits from unenchanted weapons cause minimum damage and then 'shatter as though from centuries of rust' (Dragonwarriors p.124).

At the Keeper's discretion, weapons and armour contemporary with the Wight's burial might be effective against it.

Skills: Shadow on the Mist 80%, Pursue Ancient Grievance 60%.

Wights can communicate with anything they make a minion, but otherwise are unlikely to understand a language more recent than Latin.

Spells: In addition to any known in life, Wights can use the following spell-like abilities:
  • With a glance or a gesture, for 1 magic point, slam open or hold shut a door or other opening. If the door is barred, barricaded, chained, held by investigators or nailed open/shut, the Wight can apply extra force equal to its STR + current magic points at the cost of being unable to use this ability until the next moonrise.
  • At will, the Wight can raise a 1 mile radius zone of mist that lasts 1 hour per magic point spent. The Wight and any human, animal or undead minions gain 15% to stealth, stalking and evasive abilities (including Dodge) while in this mist.
  • For 1 magic point, create an illusion. It can be static or animated, but makes no noise, is the same temperature as the air, and has no scent; it is dispelled by the touch of naked flesh. 
  • For 4 magic points, the illusion will draw on the personal fears and failings of up to 4 mortal targets, creating a nightmarish vision. Those who fail to match magic points with the Wight lose control of their character for one appropriate involuntary action, as determined by the Keeper.
  • For 6 magic points, the Wight exhales a languid coil of sooty vapour (the Black Breath) that unerringly wraps around a single target. If they succumb to a poison attack of POT equal to the Wight's magic points, they rot to nothing (along with organic material equipment) in a matter of seconds, leaving only an agonised shadow behind.
  • For 1 magic point + the cost of the spell, the Wight can implant one-use spell-ability into a minion. The magic points of the spell are temporarily unavailable to the minion, but regenerate normally once the spell is released. Use of the Black Breath also attacks the caster (if mortal).
Wights can know Mythos and non-Mythos spells, and can use Dreamlands spells in the waking world (though restricted to their lair and/or their zone of mist). They can also use spells from other BRP systems (principally RQ and Stormbringer), and may even be run as casters from that system. 

A Wight may also use reskinned spells from your favourite fantasy rpg systems, but investigators can never learn these (though they can be implanted into minions). 

Their ability to create, compel and/or summon minions is a narrative assumption, but some Keepers may prefer to tie this to pre-existing spells.

Habitat: From lonely burial mound to mythic underworld, Wight lairs may exhibit characteristics of the Dreamlands, whether or not that is canon for your campaign.

Sanity Loss: 1/1d8 to see a Wight; 0/d3 the first time you suffer STR drain; 1/d4 to see someone reduced to a shadow by the Black Breath.


While there's nothing intrinsic (except for it being 'mine') that ties this Wight to the British Isles and/or Northern Europe, it's clearly Tolkienesque and carries a heavy flavouring of dark Euro-fantasy. 

The Mythos ties for the Wight can be via the weird fantasy horror of Robert E. Howard or Clark Ashton Smith, but also along the lines of similarity to cults of the Great Old Ones. 

Above, I mentioned Cthulhu specifically because 'That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die' applies to all ancient dreamers, not just Old Squid Face.

I like the idea of the world-spanning Cthulhu cult being a mangled retelling of prophecy relating to some obscure semi-mythical Eurasian priest-king rather than the secret revelation of vistas of cosmic horror.

Furthermore, my personal take is that this Wight is a figure that can reflect nationalist (and racist) myth, which is why I explicitly mention King Arthur (the Hellboy mythos and Slaine (#BOSR) are important touchstones, too).

The Wight reflects, it does not embody, because a) just because someone says it's Arthur (or Boudicca or Odin) doesn't mean it is, and b) Nazi/white supremacist occultists fuck off - the Wight is always ultimately going to be the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark for you. 

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