Wights - The Guardian Undead?

Jerion 'Wyverntamer' Kràl

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Wights... Are not undead. At least, not before William Morris's translation of the Grettis Saga. In that translation, haugbui, a type of undead closely related to the Draugr, was translated as barrow-wight.

So, if the word wight did not mean a specific undead creature, what did it mean? It meant 'creature' or 'living being'. It's closest etymological relation is the Dutch wicht, which specifically means 'little girl'.

So then, where does the concept of wights as undead come from? For that, we can thank our old friend Tolkien, who, as he did with so many other concepts, heard about the barrow-wight in the Grettis Saga, and fleshed out the concept into something he could use for his stories.

The Haugbui
From the translation of the Grettis Saga by William Morris, we know what the barrow-wight is in its first appearance as an undead. Haugbui are a type of undead closely related to the Draugr of Norse mythology. Terrifying undead mages, these shapeshifters are a terrifying mix between the modern liche and revenant. Haugbui are the draugr who are tied to a specific place, a haugr (Old Norse for barrow). They only attacked those who entered their home.

Sometimes they would leave their barrows, though only alone, they would travel by boat or just swimming through the waters. They are either capable of shapeshifting themselves, or just disguising themselves as a moss-covered rock or passing for seaweed.

In the Grettis Saga, Grettir, the main character, fights with Glamr, when the man returned from being missing presumed dead for a year. Glamr cursed Grettir with the last of his power, leading to Grettir's unlucky life after the encounter, ending in Grettir being declared an outlaw.

Tolkien's Barrow-wights
Tolkien had heard of wights, and used them in his work. In earlier notes on LOTR, the Nazgûl were simply horsed wights, but that connection was lessened to the wights being spirits summoned by the Witch-king. A wight was the spirit that almost killed Frodo and the others at the start of the journey.

They are tied to the Barrow-Down, where they had been sent by the Witch-king to prevent the resurrection of the kingdom Cordelan, a Dunedain kingdom. The Witch-king had stayed in Barrow-down for a time when the events of the books were starting up, in order to rouse the Barrow-wights.

The wight was defeated by Tom Bombadil, through his magical power, though no mention is made on whether they were defeated permanently or not.

Dungeons and Dragons
In Dungeons and Dragons, there are a multitude of different wights, of all shapes and sizes. Wights in 5e are undead who retain their autonomy, swearing allegiance to the dark force that resurrected them and pursuing their own agenda when not ordered to work for said dark force. They are people who were awful in life and do not want to pass on. When they die, their soul screams out for another chance at life, and it is granted. In undeath.

Wights still possess their memories from who they were in life, a difference from most undead in DnD. They had a 'bright spark' in life, that is now gone, and replaced by a hunger for all those who do still possess it. Their attacks can drain the life energy of the target and reduce the target's maximum health by the damage dealt. If a living being (there are no restrictions other than that it is living) is slain in this manner and not resurrected or otherwise prevented from rising in undeath, the wight gains an additional zombie for its retinue. These zombies do not have any special powers.

Wights do not feed by draining the energy of the living, though it might seem as such at times. When draining the energy, it passes through them and causes them to feel vitality as though they are alive for a moment. The main reason they do this though, is to cause pain and suffering to their victims, and to desecrate those they kill.

The reason that wights in DnD are usually found in barrows and other gravesites is because they dislike the sun, though it does not do them any actual harm. They prefer to hide away in barrows and travel during the nights.

Wights in Deadhaus Sonata
So what does it all mean for Deadhaus Sonata? Well, since Wights are on the extreme of the Essential part of the Trinary Archetype system, playing of their power over souls could be played off. They could curse their target's souls, draining away their ability to deal damage, to regenerate, or even, to raise them as zombies when they die.

Wights could be the magic knight to the other two 'extreme' archetype wizard (liche) and warrior (revenant). Normally I would suggest something along the lines of rogues, but with wights ultimately coming from the Draugr, I think a warrior mage who deals damage to the enemy's soul, debuffing them with max-health reduction, lesser crit chances (if that's a thing) and lesser healing would be more appropriate.



But ultimately this is a collection of what little lore there is on actual wights, since these are based on draugr, maybe I will collect information on those later, but this is it, for the wights.

As there are wights in GoT and ASoIaF, but since I have not watched or read it, I left them out of the explanation. What little I have seen, they fit with the DnD version of wights.
 

Denis Dyack

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This post has excellent research within it, @Jerion 'Wyverntamer' Kràl, well done. We have found the same really; there is no definition for Wights (which is what we like) as we will be defining this class. As we start to roll out details for the class, please let us know what you think as feedback on this class will be critical to its success! :)
 

Cacophonyx

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Just a thought.

Of RPG stereotypes the Liches are mages and Revenants are warriors, so that would a few staple obvious classes that have yet to be represented. There will most likely be a rogue class, and a healer class.

If each class represents a different rpg stereotype than the Ghoul seems very thief like with its snatching bodies and avoiding contact, but if the classes are more fluid then the behavior of the Ghoul class which is a hybrid of Revenants and Wights implies that the Wights will be rogues.

Which means it will probably be about suffering, isolation, hiding from others, lamenting and other such emo things, if Wight = Pain is true.
 

Jerion 'Wyverntamer' Kràl

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Just a thought.

Of RPG stereotypes the Liches are mages and Revenants are warriors, so that would a few staple obvious classes that have yet to be represented. There will most likely be a rogue class, and a healer class.

If each class represents a different rpg stereotype than the Ghoul seems very thief like with its snatching bodies and avoiding contact, but if the classes are more fluid then the behavior of the Ghoul class which is a hybrid of Revenants and Wights implies that the Wights will be rogues.

Which means it will probably be about suffering, isolation, hiding from others, lamenting and other such emo things, if Wight = Pain is true.
Where did I mention Wight = Pain? And if I didn't mention it, where do you get that thought from?

I also have to disagree with the conforming to the classical trinary system with rogue as a third class, because that does not seem to fit with the origins as terrifying warrior-mages, I think that they'd better fit as a support/dps, with the focus of the support being on debuffing the enemies.
 

Varik Keldun

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Though the liche may be more magically adept... And the revenant more a brute... It has already been stated that all of them will be able to heal tank and dps to make it solo friendly
 

Cacophonyx

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Yeah I didn't think it would be as rigidly structured, I'm just saying that the classes so far have obvious class archetype influences so that might be a clue to the Wight's influence.
 

Elveone

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A thing to have in mind is that DHS is not trinity based so you won't see purely DPS, tank or healer classes. Also the game is striving to be very lore-focused. As such the classes are more likely to be themed around concepts and not around combat roles. If I had to guess the Wights being the main essential class - the class focused the most on souls - they are likely to have some kind of possession mechanics that allows them to inhabit different items, environment objects or enemy bodies and to swap them quickly during the gameplay.