Mysteries and the Unknown
-Mysteries and the Unknown: several mysteries shroud the hags. most notably are the hags final goals. it seems that the hags are working towards some end, some common goal that they percieve. it explains why there are so little frictions between them, and why they work so well together. night hags seemed somewhat detached from the overall scheme, but dusk hags seem to have come back to the fold, and may herald to be the navigators through destiny... what is the long term plan?
other mysteries revolve around the history and the nature of the hags. the hags are a fey like no other- what exactly caused the schism, what have the hags done? this may explain why the fey no longer has such a hold on our world like in ancient times.
as to the hags themselves- the mystery of their ancestral memory is something that several other races have tried to copy and failed. it could be a boon, or a hindrance to whomever finds it next. what is hidden in the vast landscape of hags memory? what secrets are there to behole?
if there is anoyone to find them, it's the hags, which explore ever deeper, uncovering one more piece of information, one more secret morsel. if our sages wish to uncover their secrets in time, they had better hurry! the competition is allready well underway!
Playing at a D&D table near YOU!
- forewarned is forearmed: before getting to more interesting ideas lets start with the classical "going to kill the witch" scenerio, where the party is on a dungeon crawl going to kill a hag. a hag mostly functions in combat as as "many spells/ low level" caster. thus it needs allies to buff, and control spells to use. her Aspect spells help her a bit as well, but they are mostly for flavour. what a hag really must do to protect herself could be summarised in 4 things:
- get information- this is what the hag is all about. know your enemy. the hag will use scouts, rumors, spells, test ambushes (sending minions for 2-3 rounds to see party's tactics and retreat) and more to find out about her enemies.
- use the setting to her advantage- though not statted out, it is assumed the nature around the hag's place (in case of annis, green and sea) is influenced by the hag's nature itself. make perilious territory, collapsible passages and more.
- ancient mysteries: use hag eyes, shadow webs, strange spells and more to give the hag an advantage "how did she do that?" is what you're aiming your players to say.
- allies- a hag knows she's weak in combat (annis and night excpetions) so she'll make sure she got good allies to rely on.
if it's a night hag, then she'll also make a misery of the party's main caster's nights. while she is fully rested.
lastly, like most good villains, she needs a plan of escape. hags make good recuring villains, scaling well with levels.
- a guide to secrets: a hag can work well as the PCs patron or guide to ruins or ancient cities and mysteris and so on. she can work under the effect of a Shroud or reveal herself as she is. the thing is to have the party guess at her intentions. she may be helpfull, but she definetly have her own goals.
- a price for knowledge:while the party might seek some information about an ancient mystery, they might find the answer with a hag (maybe under guise). but in return they have to perform a service. will they pay the price?
- Beauty and the Beast: a stange duo terrorizes a nearby community- a shapeshifting reaping creature (annis hag) and a nymph. you could play on this game of looksand choices of women between the males in your party. this encounter/ adventure should emphasize the relation of hags to the fey world, and perhaps raise eyebrows amongst them. maybe they'll get to explore more.
- chess game: continuing on "a price for knowledge", the party might be played by 2 (or more?) different hags or creatures, trying to affect some outcome (perhaps like the draconic prophecy in Eberron?). the party is being played, but by how many hands? who are they? and what are their goals? the hags here should each feel different, with her own pesronality (perhaps different types?) the hags themselves should most likely be elusive, or they can reveal their hands one play at a time.
- a birthing favor: a hag wants a baby to be born. she contacts either a PC or an NPC that the party care for. from here there are many possibilites- the woman backs out on the deal (perhaps due to pressure from family), or the baby is prophecised to be a powerfull night hag, and more. the hag may desire she deserves the baby, maybe even take the mother with her. (or maybe the mother comes willingly? running away from her family). now into the mess, come the PC (and have them witness the birth...)
- planar manipulations: night hags, with their insight to the minds of sentient creatures, make excellent manipulators and negotiators. they are also masters of interpllanar travel, and other ancient secrets... what if a night hag, or a covey of night hags decide to unleash the force of some plane on the world, mainly on the fey? can the PCs stop her/ their scheme? how do you found these elusive beings?
- Girl power! Go!: a hag could lend assitence to some females, giving them more power temporarily. (an egg laying dragon mother?) should be interesting if the party allready encountered these beings before. i suggest a prepared invisibility spell for the hag though.
- a hand in many pots: to best portray the hag, have her inveted in many types of endeavours. make the party guess as to what she's at. at first they shouldn't recognize her, but her behaviour (more than her appearance) should tip them off.
- 1.. 2.. 3! now take all the above suggestions and do it with a covey. however, a covey is best portrayed when the PCs have allready met at least 2 of it's members before. then the power increase is significantly felt! best of all is if the party met the different members at different occasions and didn't realise the connection. now that they are together, everything clicks...
Bonus section! Reactions with the other monsters in the compedium!
- Strige: no real reaction. Green and Annis hags sometime train and raise them as guards/ nusiance/ pets. but most times they prefer to get rid of them.
- Stone Giants: as mentioned earlier, the giants and the hags had a long standing relationship. especially with annis hags, who are half giant in a way! some theorise that the Central Geode and Held Storm are ancient secrets that the hags (most likely annis and sea) passed on to the giants.
annis hags are welcomed by stone giants everywhere. they usually have rough competitions but not more. Annis many times take either refuge, or lend magical support to these communities.
ThunderClaps often work deals with sea hags, share their knowledge and trade. when a sea hag travels inland she is often accompanied by a few such giants as an honor guard.
- Barghest: Barghest are definetly a thing against the natural world, and so the hags feel quite repulsed by them. however, there have been tenueos collaborations in the past. some think that night hags might have created the first Debt Stones, in order to be able to make a real deal with the creature, but the truth is unknown.
- Yeth Hounds: Dusk hags have a fondness for these creatures, and sometime lair near them. night hags have found uses for them as well the yeth hounds make strange deal wit hthe hags though.
- Gargoyles: hags often seek gargoyles, in order to read the gargoyle script and ask questions that may or may not be answered. hags often lair in ruins infested by gargoyles, enjoying the information and protection.
annis hags have a special affinity for gargoyles, they being made of stone and have devloped a sort of game of altering the stones to different shapes to communicate. gargoyles seem to enjoy that.
- Wights: most hags dislike the undead greatly, especially the proliferating wights. on a few cases they try to parley, but most times the hags retreat, and either circumvent the abomination, or find allies who'll help destroy it.
- troglodytes: um... i have no idea for their relations.
- hydras: the hags, especially green hags, try to befriend hydras, mostly so they could coexist. if succesfull, the hydra can make a powerfully summoned creature (through staff of summoning). hydras consider hags as tutors and mentors, if they are not just food. it is not entirely uncommon to see a hydra ridden by a green hag.
legendery hydras are sometimes sought after by hags, especially night and dusk hag, for their information and vision.
- Araneas: as with the barghest, there exist a very tenuos situation. araneas like to Immerse themselves in hags, due to the power gained, and the floods of memory and information! that is a rush of an experience for the aranea, and they will go for many lengths for it. sometimes the hag knowing this, will willingly submit for the immersion for a short while in return for a "service" from the araneas... mainly gaining information from someone inaccesible, or use of the Weave Magic.
some think that the Weave magic was secret knowledge stolen from a hag's memory, but more likely it is a true legacy of the aranea species.
in conclusion: boy am i tired! as i said in the beginning- the ideas here are but seeds to other ideas. hag development can continue in many ways, but still i hope this was a good start. i hope you enjoy it, and as always- give me your feed back. i promise to try and do someone's else idea next time!