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Author Topic: How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?  (Read 3831 times)

Azraele

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« on: January 22, 2018, 12:43:18 am »
So I'm running my Carcosa campaign and one of the two thieves pleases a death god and is granted a wight servant as reward. Y'know, regular stuff.

He sends the thing into a family shop and has it kill the family that runs the place. Now, he has six wights. And a shop.

What prevents him from bringing about the end of the world, exactly?

The only thing that can harm wights is magic. So unlike vampires, they're cool with light and crosses and fire and garlic. They can continue to produce one another indefinitely. The wights created are under the control of their creator, making them perfect servants. This is a recipe for an unstoppable zombie apocalypse, except they're wights.

I'm in a bind here. I don't want this to eat my campaign. Thoughts?
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Kyle Aaron

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 01:13:41 am »
Answer us why wights haven't taken over the world already? I mean long before this doofus came along.
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Azraele

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 01:26:32 am »
I never gave it any thought? I didn't design wights, I'm just using a retorclone where they exist. The game doesn't address it
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Kyle Aaron

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2018, 02:21:55 am »
Then give it thought. Given what you've said, the existence of even one wight means there will be two, if there are two there are four, and so on. In 20 generations there are over a million of them.

Do they require "food", even if souls? If so, how long without feeding before they become weakened and now vulnerable to this or that? Does daylight hurt them? Etc. Remember that whatever's written in the book is just a guideline, I mean if you want an ogre cleric or a bullette the size of a fox or wights that can't cross running water or whatever, you can do it.
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Azraele

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 03:17:06 am »
It's notable that this is literally the first instance of a rule being a danger to the integrity of a campaign that I've encountered since adopting this system (ACKS if anybody cares)

I hate to add something to the game after its been introduced, so I'm reluctant (not unwilling, just unhappy about) adding vulnerabilities, restrictions etc. We've done such a stellar job of running by the book, it irks me to tweak a game in motion.

The problem, for me, isn't "I can't think of restrictions for the undead". Yeah I don't have a lack of imagination; that's not the issue

The issue is, as written, wights should rule the fucking world. And that's weird, because no other monster does this.

Vampires fry in sunlight, a thing that literally floods every exposed surface of the world half of all time. Raising a single skeleton is a level 5 spell, one of the most powerful in the game. Zombies don't transmit their curse via killing their enemies.

Wights have no weaknesses save magic, which is rare and costly. They reproduce by conquest with a lag time of days to rise, rather than the 10-20 years human beings need to raise a new generation of soldiers. And every wight has this ability.

To the best of my knowledge these things have existed in every edition of D&D. There's no way that Gygax's players didn't see this threat; there's a line in my AD&D monster manual about the new wights being "half strength", though as typical with that tome I'm not clear on what that's referencing (hit dice? Strength score?)

Where were the armies of wights swarming greyhawk, or flooding eberron, or hell, ravenloft?

Is it just that wights were never militarized? That can't be right; just try and tell me this guy isn't in some army of the dead:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]2165[/ATTACH]

I'm experiencing my first bout of cognitive dissonance with OSR mechanics. Did my players seriously find out something that nobody else has dealt with?


EDIT: Hey this is unrelated, but you have the exact same name as my brother. Isn't that weird?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 03:30:50 am by Azraele »
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S'mon

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 04:38:29 am »
All these Spawning undead need implied restrictions not spelled out in the book, if you want to explain why they don't rule. (Incorporeal undead can hide from sunlight during the day)

Wights are normally bound to their barrow cairn or similar (they're based on the barrow wight in Fellowship of the Ring, except those were non-spawning evil spirits infesting the 'wights' - bodies - of Men).
I would have your wight family bound to their shop. I have mobile wight soldiers IMC, eg Cormarrin's Three Hundred, but they are bound to their unit and can't spawn additional unit members by killing people.

In pre-3e D&D Clerics of moderate level can destroy any number of this sort of undead; if Carcosa nerfed this but kept D&D undead stats then you have a problem.

AIR wights in BX are 'helpless in sunlight'; does Carcosa/ACKS not have this?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 04:42:13 am by S'mon »
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Kyle Aaron

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2018, 05:10:03 am »
AD&D1e wights are affected not only by magical weapons, but by silver weapons and holy water. So a bunch of peasants could pelt them with silver pennies from slings and ruin their day. Clerics can turn them, with even a 1st level cleric being able to do so on a roll of 20 on a d20. A sensible DM would give a bonus to turn the "half-strength" (this will mean half hit dice) wights.

The half-strength wights are under the command of the wight who created them, not some PC; though in principle a lawful evil cleric who "turns" them would be able to control them. But this control is not indefinite, it lasts for 24-save required (eg 20 for the 1st level cleric vs a wight) hours, and after that must be renewed; even an automatic "T" result has to be renewed every 6 days. Any "hostile acts" remove the control, and the examples given are entering into areas the undead was ordered to guard, taking its personal treasures, and so on. As S'mon said, the implication is that most undead - not merely wights - are more or less bound to their lair, not wandering the lands like tinkers.

Now, your game may do these things differently, but it's not true that wights have been as you describe in every version of D&D. It's quite possible the writers just fucked up. If you write a whole game, there'll be some stuff that's never looked at much even with extensive playtesting.

Sounds like Carcosa is about teh evi1 play. Which usually turns out retarded.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 05:17:21 am by Kyle Aaron »
Rules for effective DMing:
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3. I master the game, the game does not master me.
4. Momentum over perfection.
5. The game must go on!
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Omega

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2018, 08:10:51 am »
Jesus wept not this brain stunted argument AGAIN?

I believe a clarification in Dragon stated the lesser ones didnt have the same ability to spread. Also some are ties to their tombs or resting places and have no interest or ability to venture out unless really annoyed.

In AD&D the wight can only turn humans and those turned are half strength wights with no mention that they can turn others as well. They average a little over 20hp. About 4-5 vials of holy water will kill one. As will a Raise Dead spell and of course they are turnable. In BX though it was little different with some undead turning anyone they killed into the same type a day later. But they are not inherintly evil and could just as easily be friendly as they might be hostile.

At least in AD&D who is to say they dont run amok? The place is littered with ruins of towns and castles. Take a guess how some of those might have gotten that way. But eventually they either depopulate the area or are put down or at least contained. (or even pulled into the demiplane of Dread in 2e)

Willie the Duck

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2018, 09:37:00 am »
Quote from: S'mon;1021108
All these Spawning undead need implied restrictions not spelled out in the book, if you want to explain why they don't rule. (Incorporeal undead can hide from sunlight during the day)

Same with demons who can summon other demons.
The underlying principle I always use is that the monsters are written in the monster manual with defined mechanical abilities which suit their purpose as opponents for PCs going into the dungeons to stomp them and take their loot. Where those abilities create illogical situations (or 'so why hasn't the world ended?' situations), I always say 'the DM has to decide.'

It's really no different than the fact that D&D economies rarely make sense, and create illogical situations like 10' ladders which cost less than the 2 10' poles that would go into their construction or the peasants who don't earn enough to feed themselves. The world is PC-facing, and where it isn't, the DM needs to come up with the answers.

Quote from: Omega;1021127
Jesus wept not this brain stunted argument AGAIN?

Other than the fact that you've seen this topic repeatedly, what exactly makes this issue 'brain stunted?' If there was a clarification in Dragon (which by now most players would not have seen), then clearly there is/was and problem/concern with the original rules.

Baron Opal

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2018, 10:44:03 am »
My wights shun sunlight and seek to be near their burial mounds. Really it's their grave goods, so you might see them out and about if their stuff gets stolen. Wights that roam about without any treasure do so sometimes because someone used speak with dead too many times, and the corpse just decided to stay awake.

So why haven't wights taken over the world? Simply, they don't want to. They just want to be left alone to count their coins until they rot away. (Which takes a little longer.) I also tend to have creatures slain by wights turn into shadows, unless they had some profound greed or envy in life to keep their bodies moving.

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2018, 11:52:28 am »
Without retconning what you've already introduced you could always create an unforeseen limitation to your players control over the wights, which could also introduce some new story threads.  Maybe the wight grows more powerful the more people it turns, eventually breaking free of control and taking its army with it.  This could initially be shown as slight disobedience worsening over time.
Maybe the control the player has over the created wights grows weaker the more are created, until soon the players have an uncontrolled wight apocalypse on their hands which they will have to deal with, providing more adventure opportunities.
Or a final possibility could be that wights are intrinsically territorial and hostile to each other when their numbers exceed a certain point, this would also explain why "natural" wights have never destroyed the world, falling to infighting and self correcting the problem.

Tulpa Girl

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2018, 12:14:18 pm »
Quote from: Azraele;1021078
Now, he has six wights.

Not familiar with Carcosa, but is there any reason why he would automatically have control over any wights that 'his' wight created?  Unless it's specifically stated to be the case, I wouldn't take that as a given.

As for the larger question, I have to agree with S'mon's take on it.  Wights are *extremely* territorial, and don't really give a shit about anything that doesn't enter their turf.  If they have any free will, it's extremely limited and mono-focused.

Dumarest

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2018, 12:23:01 pm »
Quote from: Azraele;1021078
The only thing that can harm wights is magic.


Didn't you bury your own answer in your question?

Doom

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2018, 12:30:54 pm »
You rather messed up in line 1: wight as personal slave.

It's more of a servant, at best, and probably hates its service, hates its master (wights hate all life, after all). The Death God says it must obey, but says nothing of the wights under its control. So it tells the wights under its control: "Kill my master and ignore all further instructions."

In general, wights don't play well with others, only serving powerful masters in rare occasions (and those masters are nonliving, nonwights). So they don't form armies, kingdoms, or whatnot. They generally find a place away from sunlight (they don't like it), away from life (don't like that either), away from other wights (don't like those)...and sit in darkness for all eternity if left alone. They'll tolerate some other undead, namely skeletons and zombies, provided they don't do much.
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Imaginos

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How do YOU prevent the wight apocalypse?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2018, 01:00:03 pm »
Not familiar with Carcosa, but from ACKS rule book.  Wights can be turned by 1st level clerics.  9th level automatically destroys them.  Wights may be harmed by "magical weapons, spells, and weapons made of silver."  That is from the ACKS core rulebook.

The PCs are not the ONLY classed characters that are leveling is a base assumption here.  If wights start appearing, adventurer's will be hired to take care of them.  Or the "church" will send a force of clerics and warriors to combat them.