It shambles around, the tendons holding its joints together bound firmly only by magic. The weight of its armor keeps it from appearing strong and as healthy as a dead thing could appear. A blade is gripped tightly in its hands – the only parts of it that don’t appear to be rotting yet.
Perhaps the blood that frequently soaks its skin keeps them strong and almost youthful in appearance. Its face is another matter entirely, though. Its skin sags, accentuating the hollows of its cheeks and under its eyes. The skin around its mouth seems to have melded together in places, creating a horrifying visual.
Silver strands of wire-like hair droop from its scalp, casting more shadow onto its face than before. There is a difference between this thing and its zombified brethren, however. There is an intelligence in its eyes, signifying its existence as a Wight. It is an unholy thing, bound in its undead mission to destroy all of humanity. Welcome to a Wight 5e Guide.
- Medium Undead, Neutral Evil
- CR 3
- STR +2 DEX +2 CON +3
- INT +0 WIS +1 CHA +5
- The Wight has a whole slew of resistances and a few immunities but lacks any damage vulnerabilities. Despite being an Undead creature, it is not vulnerable to radiant magic.
- There is no special way to destroy a Wight, just hack away and try to keep out of range of its Life Drain unless you fancy becoming a Wight yourself.
What is a Wight?
One of the most important things to remember as a Dungeon Master, especially when looking at monsters and enemies, is that nothing is set in stone. As a medium undead creature, Wights are not bound to being specifically humanoid, aberrations, beasts, or otherwise.
Although the stat block presented in the Player’s Handbook on page 159 is for a humanoid Wight, these stats can easily be modified. You have (almost) complete control over your game and what your players can be confronted with, so feel free to modify the stats to balance combat or to make it more dangerous.
Wights are shambling zombies, appearing as a twisted and warped reflection of what they appeared as in life. Their skin generally appears to be mummified, with their hands almost claw-like. Their teeth become needle-like and jagged upon their resurrection into undeath. The majority of Wights are zombies in 5e, but it’s worth noting that other races can become Wights as well, assuming certain conditions are met.
Why Are They a Thing?
Yes, they’re horrifying. With all horrifying things, there’s a need to ask why they’re a thing and who thought they were a good idea. The answer is just that Wights have always been a thing of folklore and nightmare fuel.
Wights have been around since 1e, constantly painted as spirits and creatures of malice. Dungeons and Dragons regularly take monsters and spirits from a variety of folklores and put their own twist on them.
In the definition of Dungeons and Dragons, Wights are beings whose dying spirits reached out to Orcus or other evil deities. In exchange for spending an eternity of malice, attempting to destroy all that is living, a person is brought back as a Wight.
They retain their personalities and memories, keeping their free will while still being demanded to perform their murderous task. Theoretically, a Wight can be born anywhere, not just in a burial place.
Wights often follow stronger undead beings as soldiers, focusing more on their lust for death and carnage rather than focusing on strategy.
A Wight can also create other wights. If someone is killed using the Wight’s life-draining attack, they have the chance to come back as an enslaved Wight. If their master is slain, they regain their free will and are left to be as malicious and cruel as they desire.
With that known, it makes it fairly obvious that only certain types of beings can actually end up as Wights. The good-hearted farmer who is panicking about death likely won’t end up reaching out to an evil spirit to keep living. If that farmer does, their view upon coming into undeath would be seriously twisted.
Considering their personalities and free will are maintained, it’s hardly out of the box to assume that those who become Wights already had that murderous desire directed towards their living counterparts or that their perception of reality has been manipulated. While they may have been docile and friendly in life, the sudden warp in perception can cause them to see those who used to be friends as enemies, out to kill them or take everything.
Wights also suffer from sunlight sensitivity. Unlike other monsters, like the Vampire, Wights cannot be harmed by sunlight. Instead, they gain a disadvantage on all attack rolls and Perception checks that rely on sight. As such, Wights are similar to Drow and Duergar, though they do not come from the Underdark.
If it hasn’t been made clear yet, I’ll write it very bluntly: Wights want to destroy everything that lives. The only way that you can become a Wight in the lore of D&D is to make a deal with an evil entity. That entity asks you to destroy all that is living, and in turn, you come back wanting to destroy all that is living.
If you really wanted, I’m sure you could work it out with your Dungeon Master on how to manipulate this to make a “good” Wight, but it will require a lot of stretching to get there. If you want to play a good undead character or have a good undead character in your party, I really do recommend just playing a Revenant or a Hollow One. You might be able to get away with playing a Zombie, but you will likely need to find a Homebrew race to do so.
- CR 3
- STR +2 DEX +2 CON +3
- INT +0 WIS +1 CHA +5
- Proficiency Bonus +2
- Speed: 30 Feet
- AC 14
- HP 45 or 6d8 + 18
- Perception +3, Stealth +4
- Passive Perception 13
- Darkvision of 60 feet
- Wights have damage resistance to Necrotic, Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from all nonmagical, non-silvered attacks.
- Wights are immune to Poison damage and cannot be exhausted.
Abilities and Attacks
|The Wight can make two attacks: Two long bow attacks, two longsword attacks, or a Life drain and a longsword attack.
|Life Drain is a Melee Weapon Attack.
+4 to hit
Hit: 1d6+2 Necrotic Damage
The target must make a DC 13 Consitution saving throw. On a failure, its hit point maximum will be reduced by the amount of damage taken. This reduction will last until the target takes a long rest. This effect can stack until the target’s hit point maximum reaches zero.
|Melee Weapon Attack
+4 to hit
Hit: 1d8+2 Slashing Damage (Single Handed), 1d10+2 Slashing Damage (Two-Handed)
|Ranged Weapon Attack
+4 to hit
Range is 150/600 feet
Hit: 1d8+2 Piercing Damage
What Can Be a Wight?
Anything can be a Wight, actually. So long as the conditions are met with its dying spirit, anything could come back as the murderous Undead. In the Forgotten Realms adventure book, published by Wizards of the Coast in 2000, 10 Purple Dragon Wights roamed the countryside of Cormyr looking for enemies of their town.
Their undeath twisted their view, however, turning all living beings into enemies of Cormyr. The only box an undead creature has to check off to be a Wight, really, is an unrelenting desire for the desecration and ruin of all that is living and the ability Life Drain.
Dungeon Masters, Listen Up!
Wights are terrifying monsters, and you should absolutely put them into your D&D campaigns. While the CR 3 rating isn’t that bad, you have to keep in mind that Wights are rarely alone. They travel with their zombies or in groups, all controlled by a Wraith or some other higher undead.
If not, they’re with other Wights, all working under the command of one boss Wight. Even if your players were to get the bright idea to slay the boss, they would still have to deal with the no-longer enslaved Wights who are still out for their blood. You can describe a Wight in some of the most grotesque and horrifying ways, immediately setting the mood for an encounter.
Plus, Wights are terrifying on their own, so players, if unfamiliar with the monster, will likely assume that it is the monster. Little do they know that a Wraith or a Banshee is just waiting around the corner to strike. They can bring a fun element to your battlefield, and because of their tendency to work in packs, it is easier to balance encounters on the fly.
Question: Is a Wight a Zombie?
Answer: yes and no. While both Wights and Zombies are undead, Zombies have significantly less intelligence and awareness than Wights do. Enough so that Zombies technically serve Wights.
Question: How do I create a Wight in DnD 5e?
Answer: While I’m not sure you should actually want to do this, considering the murderous and malicious intents of Wights, the spell Create Undead should allow for you to create and control some Wights for 24 hours. Afterward, your Wights will be free to do as they please (mostly murder) unless you cast the spell on them again.
Question: How do I become a Wight?
Answer: You can either goad a Wight into killing you with its Life Drain and then promptly have someone else kill it, or you can have your dying spirit make a deal with some evil entity. As with creating a Wight, I’m still not sure why you would want to become one. Turning into a Wight warps your view enough that all living, even if they were friends at one point, suddenly become enemies and you feel compelled to kill at first sighting of them.
Wights are nightmare creatures, and I desperately hope that I never run across one, whether in-game or in real life. While their CR rating isn’t terrifying as a single entity, Wights are normally accompanied by stronger undead creatures or a hoard of lesser undead creatures.
They control Zombies, are controlled by Wraiths, or move in packs of subjugated Wights. Even if you were to take out the head honcho of Wights, you suddenly have a slew of free-willed Wights who have the same blood-thirsty and murderous desires that their boss did.
They are very cool monsters who bring a lot of possibility to the table and can add a lot to the lore of your world, whether homebrew or from a campaign guide, solely by existing.
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