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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
Wendigo is a mythical cannibalistic monster native to the northern forests between the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes region of North America. In post-apocalyptic West Virginia, the term is used to refer to a particularly terrifying humanoid monster lurking in the backwoods of the region. 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.
However, this monster is far from a myth. Wendigos are slender, tall creatures but they are usually slouching down or crouching. Their hands are exceptionally large, with long skinny fingers. They are among the most vicious mutants in Appalachia, capable of closing distance and tearing enemies apart with high speed. Despite alleged pre-War sightings, it appears the population of wendigos in the region is descended from a banished head of the Gourmands, a cannibalistic raider tribe, who took shelter in the wendigo cave where he was twisted by the radiation within into a mutant possessed by dark cravings.
Wendigos appear as gaunt, emaciated humanoids with ashy gray skin, long bony arms and a potbelly. Their skull-like face has short strands of long, stringy hair and a mouth filled with long, jagged teeth. On the tips of their fingers, they have large claws. They make a signature breathing sound when alerted and sound much like the rustling of dry foliage when moving.
They appear to have some relation to feral ghouls, the extent of which is unknown. They exhibit similar characteristics, such as radiation resistance, and the two species appear to be ambivalent towards each other. There even appears to be some symbiosis or cooperative hunting between the two, as feral ghouls are attracted to the wendigo's call. A wendigo seems to summon them to help flush prey out or fight foes too strong for it to defeat alone. Wendigos have an acidic bite, scrapping their teeth yields acid.
By 2103, certain wendigos had mutated into far more dangerous mutants. Gaining two extra heads, extremely long legs and increasingly dis-proportioned limbs, becoming known as the "wendigo colossus."
Wendigos are fast and can quickly deal a high amount of damage. They will try to get close as possible, making them 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 may attract a horde of feral ghouls to their location.
Though rare, one can occasionally witness wendigos perched atop tall and out-of-sight locations, which allows them to ambush prey. One such example can be seen with wendigos that perch on trees overlooking the central roads of the Mire.
At higher levels, wendigos will frequently appear as a boss-type enemy for groups of ghouls. They reliably drop up to eight loose screws, with a rare chance of dropping up to 11 screws.
One of the more commonly seen variants around the Mire, it bears a charred appearance and has a soft green glow. This variant also has a chance to spawn in a wendigo horde made up of two or three wendigos. Glowing wendigos named wendigo spawn appear in groups near the wendigo colossus.
A charred, fleshy wendigo with dark red eyes infected with the Scorched Plague. All regular wendigo variants have a corresponding Scorched variant with the same stats, abilities and items. They may become Scorched when attacked by scorchbeasts or the scorchbeast queen, becoming allies with other Scorched creatures.
A three-headed, extremely tall wendigo added in the Wastelandersupdate. It is only encountered in nuclear blast zones and is always accompanied by multiple wendigo spawn. The wendigo colossus' scream can send the player character running away without any control.
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.
Edie's note, found on a woman's corpse in the 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 hungrily. She is later found dead, and Morris can be found alive, having devolved into the "progenitor wendigo."
Regarding the design of the wendigo colossus, Nathan Purkeypile stated that "I wanted another huge creature and we had some old concepts of a bigger Wendigo when we were figuring out the initial Wendigo. So we iterated on that idea to make it even freakier and more unique."
The following is based on unverified behind the scenes information and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
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 is 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.
End of information based on unverified behind the scenes information.