Myths and legends of the wendigo have existed for centuries with the earliest tales going back to the Algonquian Indians of North America. The word “wendigo” is from the Algonquian language and roughly translates to “spirit of lonely places”.
All the legends agree that the wendigo is created when a man in direst of circumstances resorts to cannibalism. The very act corrupts and taints the man’s soul as it disfigures the body.
One of the earliest documented reports of an actual wendigo sighting is from the late 1870’s when a Native American named Swift Runner who murdered his entire family in the dead of winter. He insisted that the spirit of a wendigo possessed him. He was tried and hanged. While this is the most famous and best documented case of a possible wendigo, there have been dozens of reports of wendigo attacks from Northern Quebec all the way to the Rockies and all along the Great Lakes region.
Wendigos are often described as having owl-like eyes, large claws and teeth, and towering over normal men with its emaciated frame. Often the description says the skin is ashen and dull, others say it has patchy fur like that of a badly molted animal. In all cases, the face is barely human, either being twisted into horrible disfigurement or looking animalistic, like a gaunt wolf or bear.
Author’s Note: This series looks at the various North American Cryptids as if they were real, tangible beings that have managed to elude scientific observation. Many of the creatures I will be featuring have appeared in other Savage Worlds products. Often times they have been altered and tweaked to fit that particular setting or to make them more interesting or challenging. My interpretation tries to stay closer to the available lore I could find on each.
I hope you enjoy this series and like my interpretations of these wonderfully imaginative creatures!
NOTE: This has is updated to the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition!
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d12+1, Vigor d12
Skills: Athletics d10, Fighting d12, Intimidation d12, Notice d8, Stealth d8, Swimming d6, Survival d8,
Pace: 8, Parry: 8, Toughness: 10
• Bite/Claws: Str+d6.
• Combat Reflexes: +2 to recover from being Shaken.
• Terrifying Visage: A wendigo’s horrific visage is such that anyone seeing it for the first time must make a fear check at –2. Additionally, once per combat, the wendigo can try to intimidate a target as a free action.
• Fearless: Wendigos are completely immune to Fear and Intimidation.
• Night Vision: Wendigos can see normally in low light, suffering no penalties in dim and dark illumination.
• Size +2: Wendigos have tall, emaciated frames, standing up to 10′ tall.
I hope you enjoyed my vision of this wonderfully terrifying cryptid!!
Patrick “ShadowDad” Greenlaw