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Papa's got a brand-new hag
Hags are terrifying and malicious creatures known for their grotesque appearance, powerful magic, and insatiable hunger for souls. They are supernatural beings that have existed in folklore for centuries, typically depicted as old and ugly women who use their magic to curse and harm others. Though not too dissimilar, in Dungeons & Dragons, hags are evil fey creatures born of nature's corruption. They often live in swamps, forests, and other areas with strong connections to nature.
The most commonly encountered hags are green, sea, and night hags. Green hags are typically found in forests and are known for their shape-shifting abilities. Sea hags are aquatic creatures that lure sailors into their lairs with their siren songs. Night hags are the most powerful of the three and are known for their ability to enter the dreams of mortals. However, despite conventional wisdom, there are several more subspecies beyond these three.
Many consider annis hags to be the most physically powerful of their kin, with nails and teeth like iron and a ferocious demeanor. Bheur hags are cold-hearted, blue-skinned masters of wintery witchcraft. Bog hags are body-snatching skinwalkers that dwell in the swamps. The serpentine hannya hags are physically similar to the yuan-ti and possess telepathic powers. Shrieking hags roam the wastelands and burst into maddening wails when challenged. Silat hags fancy chaos over pure wickedness, though a few have expressed unpredictable benevolence toward those they deem worthy.
Hag of tricks
Hags are terrifyingly strong creatures with a wide range of abilities. They are master manipulators known for their capacity to deceive and trick their enemies. Many can change their appearance to look like anyone they choose, often using this power to infiltrate groups and sow discord.
Hags are also powerful spellcasters who use their magic to curse and harm their enemies. They can create illusions, cast spells that cause fear or confusion, and even summon other monsters to do their bidding. In addition to their magical abilities, hags have powerful claws and teeth that they use to rend and tear their enemies apart.
One of the hag's most terrifying abilities is their power to steal souls. Night hags are synonymous with this power, entering the dreams of mortals to gain access to their life essence. A curse is first placed on their victim, causing horrifying nightmares. When they finally succumb to their torment, the night hag appears and drags their soul to the plane of Hades, where it becomes trapped forever.
Incorporating hags into your D&D campaigns
Hags can be a great addition to any Dungeons & Dragons game. Perhaps most obviously, they make for fantastic villains. Whether the mastermind behind a group of bandits or the leader of a coven of witches, their cunning and manipulative nature make them excellent big bads. Even their simple ability to curse enemies can also create intriguing plot points. A hag may curse a town, causing crops to fail or people to become sick, requiring the players to find and defeat her to remove the curse.
Although, not all hags are required to be overtly evil obstacles. Occasionally, players may discover a common enemy, or the hag may request additional help to take down a notably powerful foe. Hags can also become particularly curious quest-givers. They may offer guidance as a reward for a difficult task or remove a curse in exchange for an undetermined favor. Though they are not to be trusted, and players should be wary of any deal that sounds too good to be true, such interaction can be role-playing gold.