Wendigo (5e Race)

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Wendigo[edit]

And they were ever hungry. They craved the flesh of humanoids, which was the only substance that could effectively sustain them. The irony lies in that, having eaten human flesh, the wendigo would grow in size, so their hunger and craving remained in proportion to their size and as such they were eternally starving.” -- Unknown

A deep silence fell over the camp. It was as though everyone knew what was to come, yet no one dared to express it any spoken language. They had planted their encampment deep in the jaws of the wilderness. The lake in front of them gleamed like black glass below the starry sky. The cold air stung in their eyes and they had long since lost the feeling in their ears. The wind brought forth messages of trees without leaves and forever frozen lakes. The bleak odors of coming winter lay before them - they were in the lands of the wendigo.

Physical Description[edit]

who_what_where_wendigo_by_lukedenby-d4cz6oi.jpg
[1] Wendigo by LukeDenby

A wendigo's appearance reflects the bitter winters of the remote north and its presence is often signaled by sudden cold and wind. Though the appearance varies greatly per wendigo, depending on it's personality, region and age, they are all a terrifying sight to behold. Standing between 7 and 9 feet tall they easily tower over all creatures they encounter. They are gaunt to the point of emaciation, with dessicated skin pulled tightly over protruding bones. Their complexion is that of ashes with supperations littering their flesh. Long limbs end in sharp, crooked claws. Yellow eyes are pushed back deep into their sockets and what lips it once had are tattered and bloody. A strange and eerie odor of decomposition seems to emit from each and every part of them.

No wendigo looks the same and yours too is a unique creature, shaped by the wilds it lives in, the hardships it has faced and the creatures it has encountered and consumed. A wendigo that lives in an extremely cold climate may have patches of matted, off-white fur covering its body while another could be covered in mud and moss, with mushrooms growing in the crevices between their ribs. Branches could grow out of their skull and down their spine like manes. Some wendigo possess facial features that no longer resemble those of a humanoid but instead of a creature of the forest; it is rumoured that wendigo with heads like deer stalk the forests - their massive horns giving them an impressive silhouette.

Be creative - what area does your wendigo originate from? Do they live in the tall, cold pine forests or are they from a towering primordial forest, where starvation in winter is a concept that has long since been forgotten?

History[edit]

Because tribal history is rarely passed around by any other means than the word of mouth, the history of wendigoes is vague. The very first wendigo was said to have been a warrior who sought out a deal with a devil to aid his tribe in a war they could not possibly win. In exchange for the skills and stature to outfight his rival tribe, the devil took his soul. When the battle was won and the enemy lay dead at his feet, the warrior found that his mouth watered and his stomach roared at the sight of the corpses - the devil had cursed him with a hunger for human flesh. Rather than praising him, the tribe turned against the warrior and banished him, for he no longer served a purpose to them. The wendigo left his tribe behind for the forests and traveled north until his legs felt like they could not go any further and even then he still kept going, his body numb from the cold. Here the wendigo remained, forever hungry.

Other stories tell of travellers and tribes in times of extreme famine during the cold harsh winter and how they were forced to resort to cannibalism as a last resort to remain alive. The consummation of another humans flesh, whether done intentionally or because there was simply no other way to survive, leads one to be overcome by evil spirits and transform into a wendigo.

Society[edit]

Wendigos are mostly solitary creatures. Whether your wendigo was tricked into this state of being by a force of evil or a human who committed cannibalism, you are not welcome to be a part of any tribe or form of society. Few creatures are capable of seeing past the outer appearance of a wendigo and into the human that still resides deep inside, but those who do so may find a powerful ally in them.

Despite their terrifying presence, not all wendigo are inherently evil - most young and newly formed wendigo experience an intense guilt for their constant hunger for more flesh. Some are even overcome by grief for the crimes they have committed against their fellow humans and seek to find redemption. The flesh they consume does not have to be fresh and as such some of these wendigo have resorted to robbing graves to satiate their endless hunger. It is not uncommon for them to attack bandits and other trespassers who dare venture into their domain either.

The older a wendigo becomes, the more detached they become from their human side. Everyone they once knew is dead - their bones dust in the wind. By now, all they know day in, day out, is an ever-growing hunger. It might be easy to control at first - to fill the empty pit of their stomach with nothing but morals and values but with each time they give into the hunger, with each corpse they consume - the hunger grows.

There comes a point where there is no turning back - the last shreds of humanity they clung to have slipped through their fingers. They become an evil force to be reckoned with. Once their hunt begins, they engage in torturous games - baiting their prey with shrieks and growls, even going as far as to mimic human voices crying for help.

Wendigo Names[edit]

Wendigo might stick with their human name until they can no longer remember the sound of a loved one calling for it. They may also take on a name that sounds like a shriek, gargle or scream. Few wendigo adopt names that are given to them by the frightened townsfolk.

Male: Ander, Blath, Bran, Helm.

Female: Chernin, Hornraven, Calabra, Muiri.

Titles: The Curse of the Blackmarsh, The Pale Demon, The Wendigo, The Beast of the Blackwoods, The Shrieker.

Sounds: The sound of a shriek, gargle, scream or whisper.

Wendigo Traits[edit]

An abhorrent looking creature created from a cursed humanoid, with an affinity for human flesh.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength, Constitution and Intelligence scores each increase by 1.
Age. Age is not a physical concept for the wendigo but rather a mental one - the older they get, the larger and hungrier. You cannot die of old age.
Alignment. Wendigo generally lean towards a chaotic alignment. At a younger age, their morals may outweigh their hunger.
Size. Wendigo stand between 7 and 9 feet tall. Despite this size, they weigh as much as the average human at 140 to 160 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet and your climbing speed is also 30 feet.
Monster. A human heart still beats inside your decaying chest. Your type is both humanoid and monstrosity.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Dark Trickster. The thrill of the hunt and the smell of their fear are almost as good as the taste of their flesh. You know the cause fear[1] spell. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the blur spell once and need to finish a long rest before you can cast it again. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the fear spell once and need to finish a long rest before you can cast it again. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Primal Hunter. Your claws are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
Keen Smell. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Beast of the Wild. You are proficient in the Stealth skill.
Everlasting Hunger. You must consume at least one humanoid corpse each week, if you fail to meet this requirement you suffer one level of exhaustion at the beginning of each day. This exhaustion cannot be removed through any other means than the consumption of a humanoid corpse, which can be done over a short or long rest.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Abyssal.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

Base
Height
Height
Modifier*
Base
Weight
Weight
Modifier**
7′ 0″ +2d12 140 lb. × (2d10) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

References[edit]

  1. Xanathars Guide to Everything p.151

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