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Hags are usually malevolent witches presenting as old women with exaggerated features. Most are fey, though the night hags are fiends. They are known for making deals with desperate people, toying with their fates and feeding on their misery.

Types of hag[]

Isharnai resembles an annis hag in several ways but is never identified as such.

Description[]

Appearance[]

In their true forms, hags all appear like old crones, but the ways in which their features are exaggerated can vary dramatically based on the type of hag. More than one hag has been described as appearing like a large, hunched, gnarled humanoid with a crooked nose, pointed chin, and long, twisted fingers.[8][9]

Dashilla by Stephen Oakley

Fan art of Dashilla the sea fury, by Stephen Oakley.[art 2]

One sea fury has aqua green skin and a bulbous, unnaturally proportioned form with long vicious claws. Her long dark hair often falls across much of her face, which has no nose and a mouth full of protruding angler fish-like teeth.[10] Glaring from behind her hair are two yellow eyes, one half-closed and one wide open. [11]

Hags sometimes disguise themselves with illusions to appear like beautiful women, like a water nymph[12] or an elf.[13] The Hag Mother can appear like any female humanoid, and she often travels in such a disguise.[14]

Abilities[]

The magic of different kinds of hags tends to share themes: it is based on bargains, curses, sacrifice, and rituals involving grotesque material components.

Isharnai - Galactic Jonah

Fan art of Isharnai, by GalacticJonah.[art 3]

Despite appearing in some ways like decrepit women, hags sometimes demonstrate incredible physical strength and unnerving speed.[15][16]

Society[]

Hags often live near the edges of society, so that people may come to them (with some effort) to bargain for knowledge and magical intervention. For these hags, the willingness of the bargainer is key.[17] Others travel from place to place and make such bargains along the way.[18][14]

Because they often deal in such bargains, hags are specifically noted for traveling to the City of Dis in the Nine Hells to do business.[19]

Hags sometimes form covens to channel their combined power against powerful threats, but when the danger has passed, they tend to turn on each other, stealing each other's magical power when they kill each other. In the case of sea hags, this can result in a powerful but desperately lonely hag called a sea fury.[7] One threatening coven in a dark part of the Lotusden Greenwood is led by a powerful night hag.[20]

History[]

Age of Arcanum[]

The Hag Mother arrived in Exandria just after the Founding. Her original coven exiled her and bound her to Exandria with a curse because of her weakness for humanoids in jeopardy. She has wandered the world ever since.[14]

Post-Divergence[]

Trysta and her sister Forscythia are "hag-like entities"; they were once elven scholars who long ago stumbled upon the Ruins of Salar within the Crystalfen Caverns. The magic within the ruins twisted their minds and bodies and extended their lives. They have since become obsessed with the Ruins. Trysta remains below in the caverns to study, while Forscythia travels back and forth from Emon, trading her fortunetelling skills for goods and gold.[18]

Campaign One: Vox Machina[]

Trysta-from-The-Story-of-Vox-Machina-by-Wendy-Sullivan-Green

Official art of Trysta, by Wendy Sullivan Green.[art 4]

On their first visit to Emon, several members of Vox Machina fell into a trap that swept them into the Crystalfen Caverns. Grog, Tiberius, Vex, Percy, and Keyleth slipped into a subterranean river system that dumped them onto an island in the middle of Crystalfen Lake. They discovered the hag Trysta living in a hut among the remnants of an ancient town. Tiberius noticed that she had one of the artifacts he was searching for: the Mending Wheel. He traded her a portion of his luck in exchange for the item. The party asked Trysta how to get back to the surface, and she promised to tell them if they got rid of an umber hulk that had recently moved into the area. They agreed, and climbed to the top of the cavern to slay the creature, although Grog nearly died in the process. After they returned to Trysta, she showed them a hidden staircase that led up into the Graveyard District of Emon.[21]

Trysta's sister, Forscythia, also offered some assistance to Tiberius in his quest for magical artifacts. At some point she had told him the location of the Boros Ring, but she refused to give him further help until he had found that item.[22] In "Trial of the Take: Part 3" (1x20) she sold two greater healing potions and a potion of caustic liquid to Tiberius. When Vax'ildan asked to trade for a vial of potent poison, she did not ask for monetary payment, but rather an unspecified favor, to be claimed "down the road".[23] When Vax'ildan's soul later was offered to the Raven Queen, the goddess of fate, Forscythia wrote off the idea of calling in that favor.[24]

During Vox Machina's time in the Feywild, they avoided the hut of Wodenna, falsely believing her to be a hag.[25]

The Nine Eyes of Lucien[]

In one of their missions in 831 PD the Tombtakers explored Molaesmyr and fought hags in Caes Mosor.[26]

As of 835 PD at least one coven of three green hags remained in the ruins of the elven city, sending their minions to kidnap children from Shadycreek Run for their dark rituals.[27]

Campaign Two: The Mighty Nein[]

Hags played key roles in the origin stories of at least two members of the Mighty Nein. Isharnai, the Prism Sage, struck the bargain with Thoreau Lionett that made him financially successful and yet miserable, foretelling his relationship with his daughter (and causing him to name her Beau). Later, Isharnai was responsible for Veth Brenatto becoming a goblin, leading to her adventuring life as a rogue.

In their earliest adventures together, the Mighty Nein chased a monster to Crooked Stone, an island in the Ustaloch, but the boatman warned them that no one ever goes there because of the witch who lived there a century earlier[28] and who is rumored to occasionally return to a hovel on the island; she is actually a night hag.[29]

In "The Diver's Grave" (2x44), the Nein, in search of the Cloven Crystal that had been aboard the Tide's Breath when it sank, investigated a sea fury's lair. This sea fury, Dashilla, was responsible for some powerful storms in the area, causing enough shipwrecks that the area is known as the Diver's Grave; indeed, there had been a storm raging when the Tide's Breath was sabatoged, which led to Fjord making a pact with Uk'otoa. The Nein had heard of this infamous "Dashilla the Dreadful" in a sea shanty. They did find and take the Crystal, but had to fight with Dashilla, who fled when things looked grim for her.

Isharnai and Jester - Hierothraxs

Fan art of Isharnai accepting a disarmingly delicious cupcake from Jester, by @hierothraxs.[art 5]

In Arc 5: Family Ties, the Nein discovered that Isharnai still had a curse preventing Nott from transforming back into a halfling. They confirmed that the same hag had made the bargain with Beauregard's father. They scried on the hag, then trekked to her hut at the base of Mount Mentiri in the Cyrios Mountains. After several members of the party explored the possibility of dark deals with her (or veered close to starting combat), Jester Lavorre magically influenced Isharnai to break the curse without a deal or showdown, and the party fled before Isharnai could figure out what was awry. Later, Jester sent cupcakes to Isharnai and remotely asked Isharnai if she enjoyed them, to which Isharnai responded in such a way as to indicate she had figured out what happened.

Matthew Mercer imagines Isharnai and Jester will cross paths again.[30]

Campaign Three: Bells Hells[]

Morrigan, a powerful covenless hag from Ligament Manor, sent her foster granddaughter, Fearne Calloway, to the Material Plane to deliver the Weave Lens to her parents, who had been traveling through Exandria to "save the world". The faun, after several adventures, reunited with Ollie and Birdie Calloway, discovering that the Weave Lens and Fearne herself were part of a deal involving Morri, Ira Wendagoth, and the Calloways, as part of their mission, and that the hag had manipulated time to stay with her protegee for more than a century, instead of the few years her parents thought they had been away.

Despite the revelations involving the Fatestitcher, Fearne still saw her as the most important figure in her family, so when she and her adventuring party had to travel to the Fey Realm on a mission, they asked Morri for help. She was delighted helping her granddaughter, and while the adventurers were trying to leave the plane, the hag herself helped them by fighting Sorrowlord Zathuda of the Unseelie Court, being wounded by his mount before returning to her domain. Weeks later, Bells Hells returned to Ligament Manor to rest without losing too much time in the Material Plane, and once more, the Fatestitcher was happy to have them with her.

Notable hags[]

Nana Morri by seasalt fam

Fan art of Morrigan the Fatestitcher, by seasalt_fam.[art 6]

  • The Hag Mother, an ancient lesser idol. She is rumored to be the progenitor of all other hags in Exandria
  • Morrigan, the Fatestitcher, Fearne's foster grandmother, able to influence fate to a certain extent
  • Trysta, long investigating the Ruins of Salar, traded the Wheel of Mending to Tiberius for a piece of his luck
  • Forscythia, sister of Trysta, made deals with Tiberius and Vax'ildan that didn't pan out
  • Isharnai, the Prism Sage, living at the base of Mount Mentiri, played key roles in the origin stories of Beauregard Lionett and Nott
  • Dashilla the Dreadful, an infamous sea fury who makes blood sacrifices to sink ships to her lair in the Lucidian Ocean
  • The Moon Mistress, a disguised night hag living on the twin islands of Mooren Lake
  • The witch of Crookedstone Island in the Ustaloch
  • Auntie Rottongue, Nanny Filthtouch, and Granny Pustreat, a coven of green hags in the ruins of Molaesmyr [27]
  • Coven of hags in the Lotusden Greenwood, led by a powerful night hag
  • Mauvlettir, a sea hag living in the Engine Core of the drowned ruins of Wittebak
  • Peggy Silva, a sea hag living in a cave near Olc Skerry, with only the company of the kuo-toa whip Plookoolp[31]

Trivia[]

  • Due to the similarities between some of the features of Keona the Keen and Isharnai,[32][33] it has been theorized that the former might have hag blood.[citation needed]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., pp. 177–179.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 See D&D: Volo's Guide to Monsters, 5th ed., p. 159.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 299.
  4. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 145.
  5. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 92. See also p. 140
  6. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 70.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 298.
  8. See "Trial of the Take: Part 3" (1x20) from 0:17:48 through 0:18:13.
  9. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 2:53:40.  Also see 3:52:17.
  10. See "The Diver's Grave" (2x44) at 2:45:08.
  11. See "The Diver's Grave" (2x44) at 2:35:44.
  12. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, pp. 42–43.
  13. See "Trial of the Take: Part 3" (1x20) at 16:28.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 32.
  15. See "The Diver's Grave" (2x44) at 2:57:10.
  16. See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 1:12:35.  See also "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 2:56:35.
  17. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:16:08.
  18. 18.0 18.1 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 86.
  19. See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 2:05:56.
  20. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 140.
  21. See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) from 8:00 through 9:15.
  22. See "Trial of the Take: Part 3" (1x20) from 18:38 through 19:36.
  23. See "Trial of the Take: Part 3" (1x20) from 24:25 through 25:15.
  24. See "Talks Machina: Campaign Wrap-up" (Sx31) at 3:07:44.
  25. See "The Echo Tree" (1x63) at 3:56:00.
  26. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 103.
  27. 27.0 27.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 115.
  28. See "The Midnight Chase" (2x03) at 2:10:20.
  29. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 92.
  30. See "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up" (Sx56) at 2:50:17.
  31. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 156.
  32. See "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 3:39:00.
  33. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 3:52:17.

Art:

  1. Fan art of the hag Isharnai greeting Fjord, by OrcBarbies (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Dashilla the sea fury, by Stephen Oakley (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Isharnai, by GalacticJonah (source). Used with permission.
  4. Official art of Trysta, by Wendy Sullivan Green (source). Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Isharnai accepting a disarmingly delicious cupcake from Jester, by @hierothraxs (source). Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of Morrigan the Fatestitcher, by seasalt_fam (source). Used with permission.
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