Ogre in the Playground
Join Date: Feb 2008
Re: Monster Compedium for the maligned, forgotten & misunderstood monsters
Hags! more than just a pretty face... (remake of Green, Sea, Annis, Night and Dusk hag)
This post comes not a long time (considering my usuall time scale) after the Aranea
one. this is mainly due to the ideas about hags been brewing in my mind for some time now. unfortunatly i haven't done any of the other ideas suggested by the members of the forum (i liked the ideas about Phasm, Slaadi and the Behir most). this is not due to not agreeing to do them, it's just that... well, i didn't know how to evolve them beyond a basic idea or two. i apologize for you all who wished their ideas to show up. maybe i'll get better ideas in the future.
As always, i hope you enjoy. this work is inspired by many ideas, mostly numerous tales and folklore in many cultures. I feel that it could be devloped much more, but i think this post sets a good basis for future developments.
It just occured to me (mainly due to the mention of "desert hag" by Bendraesar
in the post above this) that there might be other hags i didn't consider. i have referred to all the hags i know, and i'm sorry for any absentees. if you wish, write an addendum.
One last thing- the hags of Droaam (from Eberron) have inspired quite a bit of this, but i think the article can refer to many types and sorts of hags. Enjoy!
Green, Sea and Annis hags (MMI), Night hag (MMI) and Dusk hag (ECS)
And now, presenting to you the new and improved Hags:
Perception and Concept
Bad Street Rep: Hags have a great position as the main baddies in many tales, as ones using wily magic, ancient lore, decpetion, malice and more to gain their ends. In D&D however they are done poorly- a few simple unimpressive SL abilities, maybe a strange supernatural weakening power, and... that's it. where is the magical power? the ancient lore? if witches are supposed to be just a character class then why make a specific creature? a species?
the hags decpetion mostly relies on their disguise self ability, which frankly is fairly shabby, and easely resisted. most shapeshifters can do better. Hags function quite poorly in combat, but they were never meant to.
and we come to the matter of Coveys: these are truly very basic, again with an odd assortment of powers- are all coveys the same or do they differ?
then there is the mystery of the Night hag- why is it seperate? it is clearly more powerfull, but why does it has these special abilities (especially the dream haunting) what are it's goals? it clearly lives a different life than other hags- what made it different?
In short- the hags done by Wizards are a poorly done concept, one which most DMs find not up to the task, and therefore most times neglected.
i like it because C'mon- HAGS! obsolute icons of fairy tales and spooky tales and what-not tales! i am still chilled by the three hags at Macbeth, and some other stories, from children to very adult. Hags to me are close to the common races, yet still a bit different. and something in them, their way, their outlook, their presence mark them as roleplaying potential supreme. i think that done right they can be a great asset to any gaming table.
Place and Interactions
hags are no longer evil child eating disguised crones in the swamp (well, they can be, but they don't have to). Hags are now part of the fey (a mostly forgotten part), who were partly cursed after their leaders turned on they fey kingdom. however, they remain the repositories of great forgotten magical, crafting and ritualistic secrets gone for the ages. amongst all the creatures described in the compedium this far they have the most open ended goals, from simply surviving and getting by, to rulling the cosmos. as such they often serve the DM at one of these positions:
- a powerfull and extremley varied magical caster through out the levels
- a user/knower/holder of forgotten knowledge or tools. they could be neutral, allies to the players or rivals.
- a powefull aspect of female power- the hag can empower females to different degrees.
- a diplomatic encounter with a shrewd rival.
- the covey: added complication by adding up the powers of 3 hags to more than just their powers combined.
Hags have first started as feys of knowledge and power, taking care of the land. through time they have seperated to different roles. but in all of these roles the search of knowlledge and power to preserve the land continued. the hags types are a matter of responsibility, not of racial seperation, and they define the Aspects
that the hags embodies, and which empower her.
hags devloped a Ancestral Memory
- each born hag draws on the lives and knowledge of her ancestors. this fuels her magical powers. hags are in a constant search to expand their rememberence of these memories, especially in order to learn Ancienct mysteries
are an integral part of the hag's role- they are spells the PCs don't usually have access to (but which they can after meeting the hag), strange forgotten knoweldge there is no other way to get, or items only Hag-craft can produce (examples are given below). i know some DMs don't like to put such limits on players in the game, but most of these resources can be tapped into, and are not overly powerfull. their main role is to give the hag an added flavour, and it is backed up by their history, memory, and role.
Lastly, the hag has a special role in empowering strong representatives of the female kind, especially monster species who are mostly female (Harpies for example). this is left to the DM if s/he wants to bring it into the game. i think it adds another dimension to the hags.
- Place in the world: the origin of the hags is a long, long, long time ago indeed. it is probably tied to the origins of the fey and the fey courts. though today all hags are ugly and misshapen, tales say that long ago these were creatures of beauty. perhaps not as breath taking as the nymph, but definetly something to behold. some say the hag's Shroud ability (their ability to take on more beautifull forms), comes to try and compensate for that lost splendour. however, different hags use it differently, and some don't use it at all. though some hags may desire the long lost beauty, some seem to have accepted the loss and moved on.
hag kind (no one knows the name they had before) took a different route than most other feys- they sought to study the land, the trees, the seas. they wished to learn nature's mysterious ways. but not just nature- the world, those who live in it, magic, the gods- everything interested the hags! yet they were mostly patient with their learning- a hag would take over an area as her safe keeping and learn. mostly through observation, but also experimentation.
maybe they were more kinds of hags, but two types were prominenet- the Sea hag, who chose watery environments as it's home, believing that water was the most importent and influential element and the Land hags. the sea hags usually grew as fierce as storms, as powerfull as waves, or as dead calm as ponds. they tended to be fickle, and grew more and more distant from the races, more drawn to the natural world.
the other type was the forest hag, or jungle hag or swamp hag. some call her the land hag. she grew more interested in what's alive, plants and animals and more. as time grew by these kinds grew more and more interested in intelligence, awareness and thought. they became more interested in the affair of other races, fascinated by what they found in these new enterprising spirits that were not bound by the ways of the fey courts.
some of them sought to know even more. they expanded their research, to include any form of awareness, and found their answer- in dreams. these hags, once powerfull enough, devloped the ability to skip into the ether, and look and touch dreams, maybe even toy with them. this became a fascination, an obsession to these hags. they learned more, never satisfied...
which led to the great discovery. again it is unknown how they did it, but the greatest of the hags in those days have transformed the awareness of the race, made it different- each had had the memories of it's predecessors! and each new born hag had it too!
not soon after though, the new races of the world came into conflict with the ancient Fey Courts. the struggle was long, and in it the hags were called from their seclusions to fight on behlaf of the fey princes and princesses. what follows is lost to the ages, but it seemed that the hags somehow either refused to follow orders or have griveously betrayed the fey court. the new races may have been saved thanks to that, but no one knows. the hags sure don't care. the fey courts were struck, but not entirely defeated, and some sort of an uneasy truce was made. some say one of the new races came to stand between the court, accepting it's terms and the other races. this race was the elves of old.
but the transgression was not to go unforgiven. the fey princes and princesses reached into the collective mind of the hags and tore it up badly. it was not entirely shredded, but from then on each new hag born only remembered bits and pieces of her former ancestors. their beauty was taken as well (modern day hags uses the Shroud ability to hide their ugliness) more over, the leaders of the hags, those who learned to meddle in dreams, (some say that they tried to meddle in the dreams of the fey court itself!) were more seriously punished- they were banished from the sunlight's embrace, burned by it's touch, and were forever more called Night hags. they left the caring of the world to the hands of their lesser sisters, and focused on the minds of intelligent races everywhere, even beyond the planes...
banished from the protection of the fey, the rest of the hags tried to find allies in the world. and they found them with the giant kin, who accepted their wisdom and magical power eagerly. this alliance lasted centuries, in which some of the land hags decided to try and merge their essence with those of giants. and so the Annis hags were born- fiercer and more powerfull physically then the rest, but less powerfull magically. these hags also took upon the aspect of the earth, and so the land hags turned more and more to the living world, mainly plants. and they turned into Green hags.
a strange phenomenon started happening in the last millenia- when a hag is born to a night hag (more on that later) she is sometimes born to be a dusk hag. these beings can withstand the light, and posses powerfull prophetic powers. they are often bound by their perception of "fate", and do what they can to fullfill it. that is their responsebility, and their aspect. (this part is exactly like the Eberron lore)
Eberron note: in the Eberron history the hags allied with the Xenedric giants before their cataclysm. the Annis was made then. it might be that the (not yet called) night hags have touched and somehow lured the Dal Quor to Xenderic, and for that they were punished by the powerfull magics of the giants themselves, not the fey court.
it might also be that the elves learned some of their magics from the hags themselves, manipulating as they were. who knows their goals?
Hags today: all that was said is ancient history, but that is a great part of what hags deal with. Sea hags and Green hags still mostly take care of a designated territory, but since the lost days of the fey there is no such real obligation. it is mostly a habit. some prefer to roam the world. Annis hags are usually quite predatory, though still highlly intelligent, and often seek the company of giant kin.
a hag is always born as an ugly, hideous, old looking baby, which is taken from the mother (more on that later) and given to the hag-mother, who takes her with her, to take care for and tutor. as mentioned before, hags have an Ancestral memory- bits and pieces of here forebearers hags. as she grows, this knowledge enables her to tap into greater power, but first she must learn and deal with her aspect.
the aspect is a manifestation of power closely linked to the type of hag she is (Green tends to have plant powers, Sea hags have water powers and so on). the aspect partially affect her personality, though strong willed hags usually affect this aspect in their surroundings as well (a sea hag's shore will reflect her own character). the aspect grows in power as the hag does.
tapping into her Ancestral Memory lets a hag grow in power in 3 main ways: first she learns obscure knowledge faster than common people do. secondly she may tap into various Ancient mysteries, and lastly, perhaps most importently- the Hag's magical abilities increase. nearly all hags in the past have learned some sort of magical tradition or another, arcane or divine, wizard or cleric, and more... each hag can tap and learn spells from various disciplines, storing them in her memory. the more she grows in power, the more spells she learns.
but once the hag's education is done, she is basically on her own. due to the various restored memories, each hag has a jigsaw of information to draw upon. hags are long living, into the centuries. what they do with that knowledge is their own choice. some
some hags have a particualr field of interest which they seek to explore, some have a goal like creating an alliance, gain power, rule someplace, avenge a misdeed (that could have taken place thousands of years ago), affect a prophecy, take care of a region/ race/ group, and more. still, some might just want to cause havoc, or instill fear, or whatever else drives the common person.
almost all hags however are infinitely patient, and will take measures to assure their success the best they can. long plans stretching over decades and more are common amongst hags. hags often (not always) have allies, and gain specific target- appropriate resources. many times they create Hag-Craft items to aid them
and then there are causes that interest, or demand more than one hag. these ominous times call for a trio of hags, for the power of three, for a hag covey. these coveys are usually without friction, as the hags have their own rituals to make sure they work together, although that is not a must- friction have occured before, but it is rare. the coveys usually work well! a covey usually relies on the sum of the hags knowledge, and increases it, with one member of the trio as the leader. all aspects of the three hags become stronger- more spells from the Ancestral memory, the aspects become stronger, and more access to Ancient Mysteries.
some hags though prefer to not seek grandiose life, and spend decades in the same area. these usually create good relationships with the neighbours, or at least peacefull ones. a hag like this is most likely to call in for a birthing favor- when a hag seeks a child she must seek a worthy mother. hags are incapable of carrying babies- they are strangely barren (some say due to the fey court curse). after finding a potential mother, the hag usually parlies with her. at extreme cases the mother is kidnapped, and taken into the hag's domain, but most times hags much prefer to avoid such crass methods. a large payment or favor is often granted on the mother to be. no one exactly knows why the hag chooses whom she chooses, but maybe it has an effect on the type of hag the baby will become.
the mother is then impregnated by normal means, and after which the hag perform a special ritual (part of the ancestral memory), which transforms the child within into a hag to be. the hag usually takes a place by the mother to be using her Shroud power, or sets a time and meeting for the child to be born.
hag birth are usually very hard, but made much easier if the hag is allowed to help. (all hags are somewhat of a maiden) a hag born is not necesserily the same type as the "mothering" hag! the only rules is that Dusk hags can only be born to Night hags, and that Night hags births are especially rare.
sometimes a hag can lend her power to a females of either groups or singles. the hag weakens herself in order to empower those creatures. a hag in this capacity does so either in exchange of something from the group, or because she believes in it's cause. hags perfrom in their most feminine aspect in this role, and take on a more fitting form doing so (using her shroud to wrap a more fitting image around her). some creatures benefit even more from this exchange, creatures who's the female aspect is strong with them.
it's importent to note that the hags, more than any other creature in the compedium have the greatest range of roles and possibilites in any campaign world, though they tend to be unique, influential, and memorable. it's the DM's job to do so.
Sea hag: her Aspect make her very attuned to nature, though the sea hag is more attuned to the raw power of water, tends to change moods rapidly, but has even greater patience than most hags do. the hags tend to either deal with creatures of the depths, of shore creatures.
Green Hag: is usually nurturing of her surrounding, caring for plant and animal, but also for more intelligent beings. the hag still posses some of the dedication and clever though of the Night hags. she is the most "common" hag, most likely to deal with other sentient beings. most further references are as of to her.
Annis hags: the most physically powerfull, but less magically inclined. tends to roam less civilized areas. has the power of earth with her, and so tends to feel ok everywhere. the most secretive and contemplating of the bunch.
Night Hags: clearly the most powerfull, but also the most detached. they have no natural world aspect to bind them. they are usually travelers, moving from place to place, often between planes as well. their goals and motives are truly an enigma.
Dusk hag: more cursed than blessed, they are an off shoot of the night hags. bound to prophetic visions (DM fiat) they are mostly to be used as a prophecy tool in campaigns
- Interactions: on a regular basis, hags mostly prefer to deal little with the world. when they do they most times prefer to be practical (though Dusk hags can be cryptical in their dealings), but again, all venues and forms of communications are open. hags are usually good negotiatiors, and not easely fooled. hags relations depends on their goals and knowledge of the other person. they seek the leverage of information, and feel ill at ease when the other knows more than they do.
even so, there are several special cases:
- young hag: hags are usually very motherly at young hags (who can take up to 30 years to mature), but they are also very instructive and strict, and very proud of their secrets and knowledge.
- mature hags: hags try to be very informed about their peers, in any way possible. most times the two will try and exchange information, as a commodity. things change though if they wish to start a covey. then usually all cards are laid on the table (to gain the other hag's trust). competing hags almost never try to get to overt hostilities, rather they'll try to beat each other in an infomrtional chess game (of which the players can be the pieces)
- fey: most hags are long past the break up from the court, and might join forces if needed. however, most fey (barring female only fey), have a disdain from interacting with a hag, and might even try and get rid of one if she's traveling in their midst. Night hags are a different thing alltogether- they hate the fey and their court deeply, and have at a few times before tried to harm them.
- Dryads, Nymphs, and other female only fey: as these can be empowered by the hags powers, they greatly appreciate them, and often take good measures to achieve their good will and cooperation
- Elves: some say the hags taught them their first spells, some think it's rubbish. hags have a strange distaste of the elves though, for no real appearent reason. it's not that they are overtly hostile to them, they are just less likely to help them. some theorise that the elves have devloped the ability not to sleep especially in order to avoid the nightly attacks of night hags.
- unintelligent undead, construct, oozes: as creatures outisde their aspect, who also do not dream, most hags dislike them. however, some hags especially specialize in animating dead, or creating golems, so nothing is certain.
- giants: all hags get along quite good, especially the Annis hag who is truly welcomed. this goes also to ogres, trolls, ettins and others of giant kin. see also special note about stone giants in the last section.
- dream creatures (such as quori): night hags treat these sometime as prey, sometimes as neutral parties to deal with, rarely as allies
- dopplegangers and changlings: knowing their value, hags usually go to great lengths to try and befriedn these creatures, offering magical assistance and more.
- outsiders: mostly deal with night hags. no special relation, the nighthag deals equally with all.
- creatures of an aspect: this only refers to the sea, green and annis hags. with creatures of their aspects the hag tries to be more protective, but isn't afraid to use them for her own means,.
- Harpies:hapries usually gain the empowerment of Green hags or Annis hags. most hags find them crude, and are weary of their song, but find them especially effective as brute force. hags tend to either lead them or "advise" them
- medusas: again greatly empowered by the hag. the cunning and intelligence of the medusas usually makes them equell partners with their dealings with the hags. the hags are ever weary though of a stony gaze.
- succubus/ erinyes: usually only the night hag deals with them. treachery many times follows, especially with the succubus.
- gynosphinx:a hag usually welcomes dealing with her, and vice versa, though mostly for knowledge. sometime a hag helps a gynosphinx find a right mate
- Game mechanics:
as with my other entries, the following is mostly suggestions, and a blue print. i didn't get to the actual numbers. however, i do believe this could be done easely with this guidelines, by someone more inclined to it.
1) general info:
: this replaces the MM info.
2) Ancestral Memory:
- all hags are fey, except for the night hag which is a native outsider. Annis get HD and BAB as a giant.
- sea hags have the water subtype, annis hags the earth subtype.
- most hags are neutral, but they could be of any alignement.
- all hags begin with 8 HD
- all hags have DR/ cold iron and SR
- Shroud: the hag uses illusions (equel of major arcana for effects similar of diguise self) to look like a humanoid, giant, monsterous humanoid or fey of medium or large size. 3/ day, lasts 1H/CL (half HD) DC to disbelieve: 13+ int mod
- horrific appearance: all enemies that sea the hag as she is, must save will or be frightened for 1 min/ HD.
- touch of the aspect: a hag makes a touch attack against an opponent, and 2d4 damages an ability score, unless the target makes a fort save (against the physical attributes) or a will save (against the mental ones). a sea hag affects Con (the subject drowns in water. this is the only ability that can kill a subject instead of just incpacitating him). green hags affect dex (the subject grows more... barky and start rooting) annis hags affect strength (the subject feels a great weight of earth upon him, till he collapses). Night hags affect intelligence (they make the subject thoughts unsensical, irrational, disturbing the process of his/ her mind). and dusk hags affect wisdom (showing the subjects the frightening glimpses of all encompasing fate, driving him/ her towards madness).
- annis combat abilities: as in the MM
- night hag:spell like abilities, immunities like in the manual. as to Dream Haunting- the night hag get one spell of the haunted person (if he was a spell caster), and is considered as fully rested after a haunting)
- night hag is harmed by sunlight- 1d4 damage per round (sunlight themed spells are considered empowered in terms of damage to her)
- Dusk Hag: as in the MM, except as noted above and below.
- skills and saves: +4 for sense motive, +4 against illusions and mind affecting
the hag recieves the following benefits depending on HD. if she recieves any more HD due to templates, classes or more she advances in all of these as well:
- +6 to 2 knowledge skills. every HD the hag recives 2 skill points to assign freely to knowledge skill.
- access to Ancient Mysteries- I can't define these exactly, but they should be mechanical aspects that the players can't normally use. such as new spells, or Hag-Craft items lore. i suggest the hag has access to 1 anciet mystery for every 4 HD she has.
- spell casting: a hag gains spells (2/ level) and can memorise spells as a wizard of half her HD (annis as third her level). however, the spells she can gain are from any class whatsoever, including those from Ancient mysteris. her caster level also equels half her HD. (Annis as third)
the hag has access to two domains related to her aspect. she does not cast one more spell per day, but can sponteneously cast any spell on the aspect lists instead of spells she memorized under her Ancestral memory. (of the same level) the hag begins with one "must" domain, one other selected domain, and another one every 4 HD above 8. for all hags a possible domain for selections is knowledge. the hag of course gains the domain power.
- green hag: plant is a must, others are animal, pestilence and mind.
- sea hag: water is must, others are air and weather.
- annis hag: earth is must, others are strength and travel.
- night hag: dream is must, others are magic and mind
- dusk hag: Oracle is must, others are mind and dream
the covey bestows several powers:
5) ancient mysteries and Hag craft items:
- spell casting of the leader: the leader is considered to have extra HD (half the sum of the two other hags), for the purpose of spell casting from Ancestral memory. if for example there is a 12 HD, 10 HD and 8 HD hags, than the 12 hag casts as a 10 level wizard (of various schools) instead of 6th for ancestral memory
- the other two hags are considered to have 1 more ancient memory casting level.
- the powers of Hag Craft items is greater. this will be detailed in their section.
- each hag can cast spontanesouly from the aspects of the other hags while together.
amongst other things, you can have the hag know how to make one or more Hag Craft items. these are basically sorts of weakened minor artifacts that can only be made by hags, as they invest some of their essence in them. these tools are powered by the hags, but can be used by others. each tool has 10 charges (or some other appropriate number) before turning to dust if not powered by the hag. there are many tools, as many as you'd imagine, here are some examples:
6) Empowering females:
- Night stone: as detailed in the MM, but can also plane shift 3/ day. the stone cannot be powered by a covey, unless there are at least 2 stones in it, in which case they can also use Gate 1/ week.
- hag eye: as in the MM. can be created by a single hag as well. a covey can create as cast illusions and mind affecting spells through it on a target. a target that saves can't be the target of a spell cast through an eye for 24 hours.
- staff/ bowl/ horn/ tool of summoning: the hag summons a creature (or creatures) whom she befriended up to her HD of up to 6 intelligence which is up to a mile away, and she can tell him to perform a task for her, as if under lesser geas. a covey can summon a creature from up to 100 mile, up to the HD of the entire covey, as if under geas. each use can be done once a month.
- Shadow web: a hag can create a suit of passages in the shadow plane up to a mile, which can be accesed by a special token. she can have half her HD exit points. a covey can have the passages up to 100 miles, and as many exit points as half the covey total HD. note: this "item" is quite hard to make and represents an extensive investment on the hag's part.
- Orb of storms: 1/day can change the weather by one degree, once per week by three degrees. all in the range of 10 miles. a covey extends up to 100 miles, and can change the weather by 3 degrees 2/ week
- Cauldron of power: (eye of the newt!) the hag can charge the fluid inside with a spell. whomever drinks his portion (enough for 8 medium or small creatures) is affected by the spell for hag's HD hours. a covey can affect 3 spells simultaneously and it lasts for a day. the cauldron can be used twice a week.
the hag can give up power (temporarily lose HD to give "extra HD" (including BAB, saves and so on) to females around. the exchange is 3HD hag for 2HD for a single female or 1HD to a group of up to twice the hag's original HD. if the creature is one from the "mostly female" races mentioned than the positive effect is doubled. the range is 30 ft/ original hag HD.
a covey has 10 times the range, can divide the HD loss, and adds 2 HD to a single creature or 1 HD to several creatures without cost. (these are doubled as well if befitting)
Last edited by Kol Korran : 02-09-2010 at 01:50 PM.