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“Few creatures, real or imagined, terrify West Virginians quite like the Wendigo. Possessing alarming speed, razor-sharp claws and an insatiable hunger for raw flesh, it is truly the stuff of nightmares.”— Fallout 76 loading screen
Wendigos resemble gaunt, emaciated humanoids with ashy gray skin, long bony arms, a pot belly, a skull-like face topped with scant strands of long, stringy hair and mouths filled with long, jagged teeth. They have large claws on the tips of each finger, while glowing variants look charred and glow green. They make a signature breathing sound when alerted, and sound much like the rustling of dry foliage when moving.
They appear to have some sort of relation to feral ghouls, but the extent of such is unknown. They exhibit similar characteristics, such as radiation resistance, and appear to be neutral towards each other.
Wendigos are fast and can deal a large amount of damage in a very short amount of time. They get close and can be hard to hit without V.A.T.S. if using a firearm. Wendigos will not run away if the player character climbs onto objects or furniture, but will continue to screech. During combat, wendigos may let loose a piercing shriek that doesn't damage the player character but will possibly attract a horde of feral ghouls to their location.
At higher levels, wendigos will frequently appear as a boss-type enemy for groups of ghouls. They reliably drop 5 to 7 loose screws.
There is a possibility for a wendigo to spawn at Hawke's Refuge. It is one of three creatures that can spawn in a small cavern off of the main cave. The other creatures that may be found there are a withered feral ghoul or a putrid glowing one. It will always be one of these three.
Wendigos have an acidic bite. When the player character scraps a wendigo's teeth, they gain acid from them.
Edie's note, found on a woman's corpse on Wendigo Cave, tells of her and her partner, Morris Stevens, committing cannibalism. After being exiled from the Gourmands for eating fellow gang members, a short amount of time later he became greedy (in folklore, a sign of becoming a wendigo), and began to watch her. She is discovered dead and Morris is not found; only his holotape, Morris's end.
In Algonquin folklore, a wendigo is a malevolent spirit that is frequently associated with winter, coldness, famine and starvation. It possesses and transforms human beings who have committed sins such as selfishness, greed, gluttony, murder and especially cannibalism. The spirit then forces them to consume human flesh, turning them into a monster with an insatiable hunger for it. The wendigo are also part of the traditional belief system of many Algonquin-speaking cultures, such as the Ojibwe, Eastern Cree, Saulteaux, Westmain Swampy Cree, Naskapi and Innu peoples. Though the folklore among cultures varies somewhat, the wendigo is commonly seen as an evil, cannibalistic, supernatural entity.