Talking about Hags Tuesday night (Sept 21st, 2021) brought out a lot of fun ideas for characters and storylines. Next week (Sept 28th), we’re talking Werewolves, Werebears, Were-EVERYTHING! It’s going to be fun. And if you’re late to the party, we stream every Tuesday night around 8pm Central time on themagictavern on Twitch!
But Hags have been an interesting subject here in The Magic Tavern. I’ve done several articles and now it’s sparked my imagination again. What I love about streaming LORE & MORE is the interaction. I always say that ‘we do not brew in a vacuum’ and it’s true. You learn from us and we learn from you. And together, we create a better game. So some of the ideas here were sparked by that conversation. Some of them rose from thoughts later.
THE SHOPKEEPER PATRON
One of our friends in chat dropped an idea that just made so much sense and could work in about any campaign setting. It begins with this unassuming town and a certain general store that also sells some magic items and weapons. The owner is a kindly grandmotherly figure who is beloved by all of the town. She hears of your troubles dealing with the current campaign, challenging bad guy or monster. Maybe you need a certain object, spell or potion to finish it. This is when she interjects and offers to help them.
Now, since were talking about hags, it’s obvious to you and I that she is, in fact, a HAG. But your players may not be that intuitive. To them, she is just a shop owner that is offering aid. The payment for her to make their lives easier is to go after another object, spell, (insert Magoffin here) that she needs. It seems like a fair trade; or, at least it should. So make it worth their while.
The fact that she’s a HAG means that she’s fond of toying with mortals. And that’s what she’s doing here. Maybe there is something she really needs. But, probably, she’s sending them on a death march and doesn’t expect to ever see them…EVER! It is also possible that she has sent many an adventuring party to their doom. And you’re part will find the evidence along the way in the form of dead adventurers littering the path that she has sent them on.
The fun part is when your party shows up with the item/Magoffin. To her shock, she has to face the party (who may or may not have figured her out) successfully returning the object. From here, all according to whether they know she’s a HAG or not, it can either turn into another boss battle or she may realize that she has found the perfect adventurers to trust with important jobs. It would be interesting to see how long it takes for your players to figure her out.
Another idea came from the Hag’s misdirected and warped sense of a maternal instinct. They are known to steal children, eat them and reproduce the little terrors in their own image. Now, they’re always female since the grannies are always building their own covens and successors. If they do have male offspring, they either kill the tykes in fear they will grow to be a WITCH KING and slay all of them or enslave them.
This adventure hook has the party coming into a town mainly populated by children under the age of 18. They are over seen by the THREE: Sweet Grand mama, Beloved Mother and the Eldest Sister. It seems odd, but there is no real reason to be suspicious. The two older of these either have shape change ability or casts illusionary magic to mask their true form from outsiders.
Now this could go many different ways, obviously.
Maybe the Hags in charge saved the children from being killed and care for them like a group of mothers. It is possible that the only offspring of the Hag is Mother and Sister and all of the other children are just under their protection. It may be that the children are in no real danger. It may be a political move by a neighboring town to gain more control. It may have been this other town that hired you to check it out.
Of course, knowing the nature of Hags, these children could very well be in danger of being devoured. The first Hag, Grand Mama just needs two others to be a decent coven. Or maybe she is building several covens and spreading them into other towns. If this is true, the other town may have legitimate concerns. It’s possible that the Eldest Sister is about to be welcomed into the coven in a ceremony where she finally finds her true, final form. It would be at this gathering that the party would be in the most danger of being killed by the newly founded coven as an act of power.
Another add on to this concept, is the Hag’s affinity for other monstrous races. Her warped wish for family and her rabid need for protection for her into taking in a myriad of creatures both to mother and to gain security from. Ogres are a favorite, but any goblinoid race would do also. But be creative, DMs, Hags are. Her ‘home’ could include any dispossessed race that is hated by human society.
Knowing this, it is possible that, instead of a town, you find the children in a commune with the three women at the helm and surrounded by monstrous races that treat them as family. Once again, it’s your decision whether the children are in any danger or not. It’s just going to be so much fun watching the players struggle with what to do.
Possibly, the Ogres along with the Hag’s Hodge podge army make residence in a nearby wood. They may be no danger to the other towns, but, if someone spots this settlement, they will not stop to ask about the danger. They will either gather an army or pay the party to rid them of this threat. It would be delicious to watch them navigate this maze of lies, illusion and intrigue to find out what was truth and what was lie.
LIBRARIAN OF CHAOS
Now, Hags are known to gather all sorts of information and dark secrets. Some would say that they make it their lives work. Knowing what vices the nobles have. Having record of the bastard child of the king. Owning a map that leads to a doomsday artifact. It’s just a few of the things they traffic in. That’s what makes them great information merchants.
They will pay dearly for certain bits of juicy gossip. Hags also love all sorts of books and items lost to history. Their shelves are littered with the ghosts of the wars, adventures and ruin of many an adventurer or kingdom. So, the Hag would make a great source for some sort of powerful artifact, spell, creature that the party may not find otherwise.
You could always just have her hold up in some library buried deep within a sprawling city. Those in need know how to find her. But she stays hidden from those who would harm her. She’s a true neutral party and could care less if the kingdom falls to ruin or the party achieves that goal they so desperately want to. But just the pure exhilaration that you might fail may be enough to fuel the Hag’s involvement. She may want you to carry a ‘HAG’S EYE’ with you so she can watch.
She may not be too happy when your party succeeds, but thems the breaks! The Hag may well put a wager upon said success since they are always deep in a deal at all times. But don’t expect her to play fair. If she has something important riding on your failure, she may go to great lengths to put obstacles in your way. And that may be the rub. The rapture of obtaining your goal in the face of insurmountable odds. Winning in SPITE of the Hag’s involvement. And maybe having the pleasure of putting an end to her once the quest is completed.
As we discussed on stream, the Hag could SO be your next Big Bad! Go ahead. Taker her out for a spin. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Once again, I will repeat that we do not brew in a vacuum. Most of these ideas were pepper with encouragement from the comment section of twitch, Facebook and this blog. Let us know your best idea for using a Hag below. We look forward to seeing what you’ve done.