Frequency: Very Rare
Activity Cycle: Nocturnal
Intelligence: Above Average (10 - 15)
Treasure: V (+ R for lair treasure)
Alignment: Lawful Evil
No. Appearing: 1
Armour Class: 3
Hit Dice: 6 + 6
No. of Attacks: 1
Special Attack: Energy Theft
Special Defences: Hit only by silver or +1 or better weapons.
Magic Resistance: Immune to charm, sleep, hold and cold-based spells
Size: M (4’ to 7’)
Morale: Champion (16)
XP Value: 2,750
Desert wights are closer to skeletons in appearance than standard wights. What skin clings to their bones is parchment thin and their empty eyes glow with a constant red light. Where desert wights differ most from the standard wights is in their physical strength and the quality of their equipment; desert wights are much stronger and tougher and they tend to wear chain or plate armour fragments – occasionally full suits – and use weapons of a high quality.
Combat: Desert wights are powerful foes whose reputation as lethal killers is well deserved. Their magical creation makes them invulnerable to all but silver weapons or magical weapons of +1 or greater enchantment.
Damage done by a desert wight is not easily recovered from. While normal wights drain the energy from their victims, desert wights steal that energy and use it to increase their own power; sucking life from the living like the desert sucks moisture. Every hit point of damage the desert wight causes it uses to replace its own lost hit points. So if a desert wight inflicts 5 hit points of damage its own hit points increase by 5, but it cannot exceed its starting hit points. Also, while the wight survives no hit points caused by it can be restored by normal healing. And even once restored by magic these hit points will fade within one week. The only way to recover those hit points permanently is to destroy the wight.
Creatures who are killed by a desert wight will rise up as normal wights within one month and cannot be raised or resurrected even by use of a wish spell until the wight who slew them is destroyed. These new wights are not under the control of the desert wight who created them, since desert wights despise even other kinds of undead and will not tolerate their presence.
Desert wights are more difficult to turn than normal wights; for turning purposes desert wights should be considered as 6HD monsters and turn on the same score as wraiths. Desert wights are vulnerable to holy water, with each splash causing 1-8 points of damage to them. But unlike normal wights the desert wight is not affected by the spell raise dead, but can be instantly destroyed by casting the more powerful spell, resurrection.
Note that unlike normal wights, desert wights have no aversion to sun light or bright lights, and are not necessarily tied to a nocturnal activity cycle.
Habitat/Society: Desert wights are solitary creatures who inhabit places that civilization has forgotten. They despise life because they remember what they were and they despise the undead because they know what they have become. Generally the only indication that a desert wight inhabits a place will be the absence of all other creatures, both living and undead. Although the spells and rituals for creating these creatures are not rare, it would take a necromancer of considerable power to be able to command one.
Ecology: Desert wights are the remnants of a great society that once thrived where no only desert remains. In the cataclysm that ended their lives, cities were destroyed and empires toppled and dark magic permeated all things, causing them to cling to existence even when their life was gone. Desert wights need no form of sustenance; the magic which created them provides them with sufficient power to last until the end of days.
Notes for Saas: Desert wights on Saas are almost always ancient members of the so-called First Empire. They are centuries old and are intermittently trapped in their tomb homes by the shifting sands of the central desert. The terrain thus makes the wights even more dangerous – because if one were to escape after causing injury the chances of it being found again are small. In life they were palace bodyguards and elite troops, in death they can be powerful undead lieutenants if given the right persuasion. There have been instances of desert wights being made on Saas, most recently by the lich known as The Talon who has created 20 of the creatures to serve her in her hidden lair.
(This creature was designed for the custom world of Saas)