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I made a Wendigo and tried to incorporate all of the things of the legends into it, then I tried to use the CR calculator to have a baseline of CR for the monster, I just don't know if the way it has lots of mechanics for hiding and a lot of movement, that isn't accounted by the CR calculator, will change its placement. And also idk why the passive perception is still 10 even after I had put a different value for its perception skill, I didn't find the spot to change it in D&D Beyond Homebrew thingy... if someone also knows where to fix it please tell me.

Wendigo

Description A wendigo is a horrific creature that was once a humanoid who succumbed to cannibalism in a desperate attempt to survive the harsh winter. Consumed by an insatiable hunger for flesh, the wendigo transforms into a gaunt, skeletal beast with antlers, claws, and glowing eyes. A wendigo stalks the frozen lands, hunting for more victims to devour and spreading its curse to those who eat the flesh of their own kind or are bitten by the Wendigo.

Unkillable. After successfully reducing the Wendigo to 0 hit points, it will return to 1 hit point in 1d4 minutes unless a special ritual is conducted:

To know how to perform the ritual, a creature must succeed on an Intelligence (Religion) check, DC 18. On a successful check the creature knows about the process and can instruct, help or perform the following ritual:

  • You must use a silvered weapon, such as a dagger, a sword, or a crossbow bolt, and make a melee or ranged weapon attack against the wendigo’s AC, on a hit you pierce its heart, The wendigo makes a Constitution saving throw against the weapon's damage or have its heart destroyed on a failed save. If the ritual stops here the Wendigo comes back to 1 hit point in 1d4 hours.

  • Then, a creature within 5 feet of the Wendigo's Body must take one action to make a Strength ability check DC 18 to shatter its heart into pieces and lock them in a silver box. Take the Wendigo's body and salt it and burn it or cast disintegrate on its body, and scatter its ashes to the winds. If the ritual stops here the Wendigo comes back to 1 hit point in 1d4 days.

  • The silver box has to be buried in a consecrated ground, such as one created by the hallow spell, or the forbiddance spell if it has its effects made permanent. At the end of this step of the ritual, the Wendigo is permanently destroyed, and any creature that was affected by the Wendigo's Fever is cured.

Lair and Lair Actions On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the Wendigo takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the Wendigo can't use the same effect two rounds in a row:

Whirling Wind. A strong wind blows in a 30-foot-radius sphere centered on the Wendigo, imposing disadvantage on ranged weapon attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing. A strong wind also extinguishes open flames, disperses fog, and makes flying by nonmagical means nearly impossible. A flying creature in a strong wind must land at the end of its turn or fall. which lasts until the next time the Wendigo uses a lair action or until the Wendigo dies.

Freezing fog fills a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point the Wendigo can see within 120 feet of it. The fog spreads around corners, and its area is heavily obscured. Each creature in the fog, when it appears, must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature that ends its turn in the fog takes 10 (3d6) cold damage. A wind of at least 20 miles per hour disperses the fog. The fog otherwise lasts until the Wendigo uses this lair action again or until the Wendigo dies.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What happens if all characters fail the Intelligence (Religion) check? You can't repeat the check, can you? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Jun 20, 2023 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm... good point... are there any spells that could circumvent this too? like spells that reveal weakness, or class features? Maybe put other ways of acquiring the knowledge other than the check. But also, maybe the GM could give the information via other means, in the campaign via ancient texts or something if he notices nobody has the skill proficiency or spells necessary to unfold the information. But yeah, I also don't know how much of a problem that would be at higher levels, being a CR 16 monster, it would also face Players of level 15+ right? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 20, 2023 at 18:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ How does Wendigo's Fever interact with creatures that don't (need to) sleep (eg., warforged) or dream? \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Jun 20, 2023 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Wendigo's Fever is more connected to the Long Rest mechanic instead of sleeping, maybe I'll change the description a bit to reflect that better, it was mostly just a flavor text the part of "nightmares". So is more about not being able to benefit from Long Rests even if you don't need to sleep. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 20, 2023 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Being a CR16 monster, it could be facing characters of a large level range. This could be a boss monster for level 10 characters. With regards to spells that reveal weaknesses, this seems like a good spot to let Legend Lore shine. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9 at 14:28

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Only playtesting will tell for sure

For complex creatures with unusual abilities, we can't use simple formulas or automated tools to determine an approximate CR. It isn't simple to determine one just by looking at the stat block either.

With that said, there are still a few things I can point out that you may want to keep an eye on during testing, as they may be a source of problems (or not).

Unkillable could cause some issues

Now, this heavily depends on the setting of the campaign. If killing this creature is the main focus of an ongoing quest, for instance, you may assume that at least one person in the group, or a nearby NPC, knows how to do this ritual, and has the materials needed for it.

But if that's not the case, and you need to fall back to the Religion check, then you may have some issues. As I understand it, this check is only done once per character. And if everyone fails it... Well, you're screwed. The best the group could do is run away while the Wendigo is recovering.

Note that this could be the expected result: having the group struggle with an unkillable foe, which they can temporarily incapacitate in order to gain a little bit more time for running away from it.

Blood Frenzy will pretty much always be in play

Advantage on melee attacks is quite strong, especially since it's your creature's main damage output. Now, it has the condition that it needs the opponent to have taken at least a little bit of damage, but in practice this condition will likely never be an issue, except maybe on turn one.

The reason is, the Wendigo has plenty of ways to deal at least a tiny bit of damage:

  • The lair action Freezing fog allows for guaranteed cold damage to every creature in a 20ft area. If used at the start of the fight, there's a good chance that most, if not all the group takes damage from it.

  • Cold Aura also deals guaranteed cold damage, this time to creatures within 10ft of the Wendigo.

  • On top of its quite high speed (50ft + climb 50ft), the Wendigo can also use the Aggressive bonus action to practically double its speed, in order to get into melee range. This both allows it to attack, and to use Cold Aura to make sure the target doesn't stay at full health.

  • The legendary action Move allows the creature to further take advantage of Cold Aura (this time while even ignoring attacks of opportunity, which means even more mobility). Because legendary actions are taken at the end of another creature's turn, it can even move up a creature who's about to take its turn, to make sure it gets damaged by the aura.

  • Even flying creatures are not safe from Cold Aura, since the other lair action, Whirling Wind, will force them down and into the creature's range (although magical flight is unaffected by this last point, it is likely to be the target of the other lair action).

All those elements combined make for a very high chance that your party will rarely ever be at full health during the fight, meaning your creature will almost always have advantage on its attacks.

Intended or not, this should be taken into account when calculating the CR of the creature, as this is potentially a huge increase in damage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 77 average damage from its 3 attacks (expecting the PCs to fail their saving throws). Adding in the chance of crits, the average goes to 88 damage. Plus 10 from the Cold Aura, and then another potential 102 from 3 Legendary action Claw attacks. The average damage per round is 200. The DMG puts that at CR 24. This could be a very lethal encounter at CR 16. I think the crux will be if the party knows about the fire vulnerability ahead of time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Jun 22, 2023 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Something else to note is that the creature has the ability to Hide as a Bonus Action, but with Blood Frenzy the need to do that is almost nil. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9 at 14:33
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What did your play tests show?

Creating a monster isn't just a number-crunching exercise. The guidelines in this chapter can help you create monsters, but the only way to know whether a monster is fun is to playtest it. After seeing your monster in action, you might want to adjust the challenge rating up or down based on your experiences.

DMG p.275.

So, when you did this, did CR16 seem about right?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Agree. This seems like it would be of a challenge rating above 16. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 21, 2023 at 2:16
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Play test this

At first glance, this works, and seems to work pretty well. The only thing that doesn’t match up is the CR. This seems like something that would be on the level of Orcus (Demon Lord, Prince of Undeath, etc.) who has a CR of 26. If you still want it to be a lower CR than a monster of comparable strength to your current Wendigo, you might want to edit the Blood Frenzy feature down to affecting a character with below half health, because with the Cold Aura feature, and the Claw Legendary Action, along with normal attacks, the PCs are going to be below full health very quickly.

The Unkillable Feature

It sounds like each player can only make the Religion check once, which other people have pointed out could be a problem. Is that once per time taking it down to zero HP (meaning they kill it, they all fail the Religion check, it comes back, they kill it again, then they try the check again)? If killing this Wendigo is the focus of the campaign, (or at least this part of it), could a PC (or all of them) or an important NPC know the ritual?

In Total

The actual build is great, but if you want to keep this the way it is, up the CR to the 21-24 range, and put off the fight with the Wendigo until the PCs have leveled up a bit more. Running a one-shot with characters of the same level and having them fight it to see if it’s too powerful, and to see what you might need to change is probably the best thing to do in this situation though.

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