Witherlings were the undead creations of gnolls, created to serve in their warbands. They were created using abyssal energy in dark rituals invoking the power of Yeenoghu.[1]


Witherlings were shriveled and emaciated undead with hyena-like heads. Claws like sharpened horns gripped simple weapons, and whatever teeth the animated corpse had left were tough enough to pierce flesh. What was left of their bodies was primarily bone, and other inedible pieces as the rest of the flesh had typically been devoured.[1] Witherling death shriekers were larger, while the rabble were smaller. Horned terrors more closely resembled their former minotaur forms with a mighty set of horns, but keeping the witherlings' talons.[2]


Gnoll witherlings were lacking in intelligence and tactical ability, incapable of wielding anything more complicated than a club. They stalked the land with their gnoll comrades killing anything they found along the way. Contrary to the expectation from an undead creation of an ever-hungry race, witherlings were not driven by the unnatural need to consume.[1]


Witherlings were simplistic brutes in combat, mindlessly if relentlessly smashing their opponents. Their instinctual desire for brutal destruction persisted through the transformation as they violently slaughtered all in their path. Even without clubs, most witherlings were capable of violently biting their enemies in an attempt to rend their flesh. Their tribal loyalty was deep, lashing out when nearby gnolls were incapacitated.[1] Witherling death shriekers had powerful voices capable of sending foes flying back and inflicting pain with their wicked howls. Nearby undead, meanwhile, found themselves empowered by the shrieker's shouting. Witherling rabble were far harder to hit than normal witherlings, nimbly dodging enemy strikes, but were capable of being destroyed with a single blow. Horned terrors ran down foes with devastating charges, ramming down as many foes as possible.[2]


The first witherlings were created as a weapon by Yeenoghu to be used against Orcus, as undead soldiers by his gnoll creations. By infusing demonic essences into the corpses of the recently deceased, Yeenoghu's priests could create the witherlings in horrendous rituals.[2] However, gnolls were just as likely to create witherlings from their own kind after extended periods of shortage of meat, or when leadership disputes broke out.[1] Since their creation, necromancers of various other races have obtained the secrets to their creation.[2] Attempting to steal a witherling from a slaughtered tribe was likely to incur the wrath of Yeenoghu, prompting him to send several war bands to destroy the thief.[1]

Witherlings were used as the vanguard for most gnoll war bands, attacking first to slow or harass prey before the core forces overran the area. More powerful were the witherling death shriekers: bigger, stronger, and fiercer versions with devastatingly loud screams. On the other hand were the products of a failed ritual either by a necromancer or cultist, resulting in the frail but agile witherling rabble, which were largely inferior versions. The most powerful of witherlings, however, were the horned terrors, witherlings created from the specially preserved bodies of minotaurs. These undead owed their creation to Yeenoghu's long-standing hatred of Baphomet, and were viewed as blasphemous monstrosities by all minotaurs.[2] As they did not require food or rest, the witherlings left more for the living of the war band to devour for their dark god.[1]


Further ReadingEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 19, 2009). Monster Manual 2 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 212–213. ISBN 0786995101.
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named MM5e-p155
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named MM5e-155
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