Special Qualities: Energy drain, create spawn
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-5)
From the personal journal of Azalai Korias, Elven Wizard
6 Lharvion, 998:
We are frequently asked to come to the aid of workers that have gotten themselves into trouble. Today we went to the rescue of a team of laborers that had broken the seal of a tomb, releasing a horde of undead. The workers managed to flee to a sealed chamber and used a magic item to send a Sending for assistance. Their situation interestingly mirrors our own from a few weeks ago, when we encountered a wraith and its undead legion, but we were able to fight our way out ourselves after resting.
The undead we faced before were simple skeletons and zombies, dangerous only due to their numbers. This time the workers had released a pack of wights - far more dangerous foes.
Wights are twisted creatures, with desiccated, leathery skin stretched tight across their bones. The living corpses know no peace. Hatred replaces any emotion they might have once had, and their bodies reshape themselves to match - their fingernails grow to jagged claws perfect for rending the flesh of the living. Beware the touch of a wight for its energy drains as a vampire’s does, and if you should fall you are doomed to rise again, enslaved as one of them.
Thankfully, wights lack any real defenses against a powerful magical onslaught or a strong blade. They quickly learned that to attack us meant nearly instantaneous destruction and hid, seething in the shadows as we freed the workers from their prison.
Your first experience with level draining is likely to arrive in the form of a wight. Sometimes mistaken by young adventurers for a ghoul or ghast, this similarly craven creature can be found in comparable places: catacombs, ruins, and other places associated with the dead. Like their lesser cousins the ghoul, the wight is not without some malevolent intelligence. They understand the speech of humans, though their undead minds remain immune to the mental spells of wizards, bards, and sorcerers.
The best advice to those seeking to hunt these undead creatures is to bring a trusty cleric dedicated to holy powers. With trust in his god or gods, and a bit of luck, these creatures can be driven off. Even if that attempt fails, spells such as holy smite are quite effective against the creatures. As with all undead, the fighter can brook a direct frontal assault against these creatures, but in that case should pay special attention to the creature's likelihood to engage in an energy drain attack. Experienced combatants of these foes have pointed out that it is often possible to see the wight's claw manifest that negative energy just before the attack appears. Finally, wizards and sorcerers should rely on direct damaging attacks. Wights cannot be said to be especially nimble, and remain vulnerable to elemental attacks such as fireball.
Wights, like many undead, remain a nemesis for bards and rogues. Bards cannot affect them with their fascinate ability or many of their spells. So bards should rely on buffing their companions, and healing them as needed. Rogues also rue these undead, and should make use of their Use Magic Device skill, or else see their ability to deal damage to these creatures, immune to both critical hits and sneak attacks, greatly reduced.