hag 5e guide

Hag 5e Guide

The FeyWylds has a reputation for majestic butterfly dragons, tiny fairy folk, and glitter. However, hags are a subspecies of Fey that consider that belief to be offense fact, and will take that as the excuse to torment you. 

THE excuse, not an excuse. As Hags live to create torment. They are every witch in a fairy tale and every lousy decision involving magic in a Disney film. So, as a self-proclaimed expert of the Fey and its peculiarity, I took it upon myself to dive deep into these uniquely ‘evil and proud’ Fey and see what made them tick. 

One type of Hag was so corrupt they got exiled from the Fey Wylds. They conceived pranks so over-the-line and disturbing that even the Fey had to draw a line. 

That should be every warning you need, as a player and a DM, to never take a Hag lightly.  

Welcome to a Hag 5e Guide.

Hag Summarized

Hags originated from the Fey Wylds, but their cut-throat cantankerous nature and 100% no-chill evil energy. A Hag simply wishes to ruin your dawhen Fey’s goals might otherwise run the moral gambit. Maybe it is because you’re beautiful, which is offensive to them.

Perhaps they have a hilarious new trick they want to try and work out how to make a human ask for it. Maybe they are just hungry and wish to devour that delicious child that keeps taking the forest route to grandma’s house. A Hag will always get what it wants.

  • Regardless of how good a deal might seem, it is always in the Hag’s favor.
  • A Hag Coven always has precisely three members. The members are not always made entirely of hags.
  • The DM should make every move with a hag with the idea, planned or not, that they have another grander scheme at play.
  • Hags are where some of the worst stories of the Fey come from.
  • A Hag leaves the party guessing; they will never be upfront about what they are truly after. Only what the party can give them.
  • A Hag considers the horrifying and ugly to be whimsical and beautiful, and vice versa.
  • The Seelie and Unseelie courts generally respect Hags but find them repulsive.
  • If a Hag learns you got the upper hand in a deal, you have made an immortal enemy.

Hag Types

While variants as said to lurk in different planes and environments, there are five common types of Hags. These Hags have a preferred territory where they settle themselves. Only the more powerful Grandmothers and aunties likely take up resilience in unfamiliar environments dd to the long-winded nature of their schemes.

Actually possible for a hag to transcend between types. This can happen through force of will but is made easier through a ritual. The reasons for doing so vary between Hags, from a ritualistic need to grow powerful as all types of a hag to the more silly ‘for the lulz’ reasons. 

Should a DM wish to homebrewer own Hag, there are only a of couple general flavor rules to follow. A hag has a favored territory, a type of torment they specialize in due to their craving for it, and innate spellcasting should they be powerful enough. 

A Hag uses Charisma for spell-casting unless in a Coven. When in a Coven, the Hag must use Intelligence for Shared Spellcasting.

Sea Hags

Hag 5e Guide
Image from Forgotten Realms Wiki

  • CR: 2
  • Coven CR: 4
  • Biome: Underwater, Shores
  • Torment: Defile Beauty

Innate Spellcasting

None

Sea Hags are the ugliest, most horrific looking of all the Hags. This is something they revel in, to the point of hating the standard representation of beauty that mortals carry. They are found in polluted waters.

While they lack the innate spellcasting of her sister Hags, she can incite fear purely through viewing her true form. Further, she is capable of the ‘death glare’ action, which will drop a creature straight to zero if they fail a DC 11 Wisdom save. 

A sea hag can use an illusory appearance, but she prefers to make herself appear uglier. 

While the weakest of the typical Hags, a Sea Hag can quickly ruin a party’s day thanks to its death glare being an action it can just do. If your party’s tank didn’t make a DC 11 save a certainty, whelp. Death by Ugly isn’t the WORST way to die. At least it is quick. 

Green Hags

Green Hags dnd
Image from Forgotten Realms Wiki

  • CR: 3
  • Coven CR: 5
  • Biome: Forests, Swamps, Moors
  • Torment: Despair and Tragedy

Innate Spellcasting

  • Spell Save DC: 12
  • At-Will: dancing lights, minor illusion, vicious mockery

Hags are, in particular, obsessed with tragedy and manipulation. They are usually found in swamps, forests, and caves making elaborate workshops from the surrounding materials.

A Green Hag will often disguise themselves as village members to lure adventurers and lost souls into their hut in order.

Their innate spells are focused on trickery and illusion, with the ability to mimic humanoid voices and animal sounds to further their elaborate schemes.

Night Hag

Night Hag dnd
Image from Forgotten Realms Wiki

  • CR: 5
  • Coven CR: 7
  • Biome: Lower Planes, Hades, Ethereal 
  • Torment: Corrupting the good to do evil.

Innate Spellcasting

  • Spell Save DC: 14; +6 to hit with spells.
  • At-Will: detect magic, magic missile
  • 2/day: plane shift (self an only), ray of enfeeblement, sleep 

Unlike other Hags, a Night Hag is a fiend. Long ago, the foul nature of this breed of Hag had them exiled to Hades, where the darkness of the Lower Planes has warped their body and soul.

Their desire to see torment and woe has descended into a mission to breed corruption. The darkest aspects of every emotion can be drawn out, and they are patient enough to make you draw it out yourself. 

Rather than use an illusory appearance, a Night Hag is capable of performing into a small or medium female humanoid. Her stats are shared across all forms.

A Night Hag straddles the line between the ethereal and material. Their main tactic is to sneak up on an adventurer or party and manipulate their dreams.

They aim to drag their soul and personality to the edge, using doubt and personal fears to push them towards acts that go against their character.

Should they succeed and their victim performs these evil deeds, the Night Hag will trap the soul of the corrupt in their soul bag. 

  • Heartstone: This black gem allows the Night Hag to become ethereal. The gem is capable of curing any disease on touch. It takes 30 days for the Hag to craft the gem.
  • Soul Bag: A relic crafted in seven days using a human sacrifice, this black bag is made of stitched flesh and is capable of holding one evil soul. A soul can only be caught if a Night Hag succeeds in influencing them herself into performing an evil deed.

Annis Hag

Image from Forgotten Realms Wiki

  • CR: 6
  • Coven CR: 8
  • Biome: Mountains or Hills
  • Torment: the Weak and Fearful

Innate Spellcasting

  • Spell Save: DC 13
  • 3/day: disguise self, fog cloud 

The Annis Hag is the most physically imposing of the Has, and it revels in it. They are generally eight feet tall and can tear a grown man apart. However, they have a fondness for consuming children.

The Annis Hag tends to craft trinkets and charms from the flesh and bone of children they have taken from a nearby community. The Annis Hag will decorate the end of a village’s territory with these totems and trinkets to upset the community.

When not eating children, they whisper in their ears in hopes of corrupting them. An Annis Hag finds great enjoyment disguising itself as a kindly granny of the forest. They offer gentle assurances that the dark thoughts the child is fretting over are natural, soon driving the children to corruption and merrily cackling as the child becomes exiled. 

An Annis Hag will often become the ‘tribe mother’ of adopted ogres, trolls, and similarly loutish minions. These minions are not treated well and tend to be kept in line through fear and abuse. The aforementioned exiled children often find this is the only place left for them. Should they not end up devoured.

See also: Comprehensive Troll 5e Guide.

Iron Token

An Annis Hag can create up to three ‘Iron Tokens’ at a time. These are made from the Hag’s iron teeth and nails. First, the Hag yanks them out of herself. Then shapes and polish them for 1 minute. This token will often take the form of a coin, piece of jewelry, or tiny mirror. 

Using an Iron Token, a Hag, and a Token’s holder can have a whispered conversation. The token will only send the Hag’s voice and vice versa. These tokens are often given to the children they wish to corrupt.

The sad youngling is given a trinket where ole Granny can talk to them. Usually, in the dead of night, whispering sweet corruption into their ear when their guardians are sleeping. 

Bheur Hag

Image from Forgotten Realms Wiki

  • CR: 7
  • Coven CR: 9
  • Biome: Wintery Lands
  • Torment: Cold & selfish actions, mortals freezing to death, slowly snuffing out villages with weather magic.

Innate Spellcasting

  • Spell Save DC: 14; +6 to hit with spells.
  • At-Will: hold pea rson*, ray of frost
  • 3/day: cone of cold*, ice storm*, wall of ice*
  • 1/day: control weather

* requires gray staff to cast

A Bheur Witch loves selfish actions brought on by the need to survive the deathly cold their storms bring. So they will seed distrust and greed into communities, pushing for mayors to cull the weak and merchants to horde supplies.

All the while making sure the storms around them worsen, primarily as they will target villages easily disconnected from society through a simple avalanche. 

A Bheur Hag‘s fascination is a slow death. They want to see the slow suffering of starvation and chill. They will loosen the thatching of rooftops in the village so that the fight against the cold is slow. They do not want you to merely freeze to death.

The Hag wants you to starve and wither and let your corpse be the latest totem of suffering, as your family will have become too weak to pull you out of the corner that had had a small hole carved in for the winter to take you in the night.

Maddening Feast

When the Bheur is in combat and kills a foe, they will often forgo the battle to begin feasting on the corpse. Any who witnesses this will have to roll a dc15 Wisdom save or be left frightened for 1 minute/10 rounds. 

The frightened modifier leaves the creature incapacitated while moving erratically. While in this state, the player’s movements are under the DM’s control.

If successful in the save, the creature will become immune to their Maddening Feast for the next 24 hours.

Gray Staff: A Bheur Hag is the only creature capable of using the Gray Staff. A Graystaff is made from a gray piece of wood through which the Hag focuses her power. Using this, she can use it as aforroom for flying or augment her magic, allowing for the use of more powerful spells. 

Weird Magic

magic hand dnd

There is a trick to capturing the attention of a Hag in a trade. They collect peculiar recipes, heinous rituals, and abnormal items throughout their eternal lives. A Hag is rarely subtly in macabre aesthetic. 

Single-Use Charms and Trinkets for a Hag can be made by a DM by using spells and monster effects used by creatures that are weaker or equal to their CR rating. 

For example, Cloud of Daggers is a 2nd level spell that fills a five-foot area with daggers that do 4d4 damage to a creature. This can be simulated by a Green Hag (CR 3) by using a magic mirror that, upon being broken, releases a variant that uses shards of glass.

Most if not all of these items in the collection are not made by the Hag herself. They instead were collected from adventurers and powerful beings who have successfully bartered their way out of her manipulations. 

As such, no Hag should be treated with certainty. They are Fey in spirit and soul, aisFey are never sure about anything, minus if they are having a grand ole time or not. Sadly, Hags take pleasure from seeking torment… and weirdly powerful magic’ shinies’!

More powerful Hags, such as Grandmothers, can recreate these items through powerful rituals and the help of two other hags.

Mounts & Transport

This collection of odd relics will inevitably bleed into the Hag’s vehicle collection. Stories about speak of Hags lighting up the town in a flashy house with bird legs, flying mortar & pestles, the traditional broom, dragon skulls, and even bird nests. 

These vehicles are often only capable of being used by the Hags. Sometimes, the vehicle is too afraid to cross the Hag to even let an Archfey use it. 

Bargains

Bargains dnd
Image from critical role fandom

Throughout their lives, a Hag will come across a large inventory of horrific rituals, forbidden knowledge, and local lore. An adventurer or party that finds themself in a bind could easily find themselves the answer or solution through a Hag’s twisted ways. 

The issue is that Hags are still Fey and believe themselves to be better than anyone else, including other Hags. As such, they practically live to make a twisted bargain that swings in favor of the Hag. Double points to the Hag’s delight if they make it a sore spot the party will seeth over into future campaigns. 

Often, the only ‘moral’ at the root of a Hag’s schemes tends to be the fall a mortal can bring upon themselves. Double-speak that relies on the mortal’s pride or faults in their character is one of their favorite tactics. However, an old favorite is the classic weight of something dear versus something desired.

Hag Society

While Hags are notoriously cranky and prefer their own company, they maintain contact with each other and share knowledge. 

Still being of the Fey, or at least originating from the Wylds for Night Hags, they still follow a matter of formality. Sadly for mortals, this usually is just for Hag and, sometimes, other Fey. A hag will announce her presence upon entering another Hag’s territory. They will offer gifts to a hag host they are visiting, and most surprising, they will never break a promise or oath given to another Hag.

It is widely believed that a Hag knows or is only a couple degrees of separation from any other Hag in existence through their network of contacts. 

Hags might be paranoid and high-tier members of the high-functioning antisocial club. However, they still carry an inner need for kinship. When a Hag is born or killed, the rest know about it unless you cover every track. If you cross a hag, they will know about it.

Reproduction

There is a terrifying reason that Hags are associated with lost children, and a large part of that is how a Hag reproduces. A Hag first snatches and devours a human infant. Then, a week later, the Hag will give birth to a daughter, the spitting image of the one consumed. Finally, upon the child’s thirteenth birthday, the child will grow into the spitting image of her hag mother. 

A Hag might elect to raise the Hag themselves. However, thanks to the paranoid and reclusive nature of a Hag, they are more likely to watch from the shadows. So, first, delight as the human family raises the Hag. Then, revel in the trauma the child’s thirteenth birthday will bring. 

Hag Covens

Image from Forgotten realms fandom

The magic that the Hags use is riddled with superstitious rituals. Many of which are based around a rule of three. They say those who have seen the fabric of reality noticed even the planes themselves favor groups of three.

A Hag understands that magic cast will rebound upon its source three-fold, though as users of Wyld magic, this could be a large part of the problem. In essence, this means to cast more powerful spells without destruction of the body, the spell’s rebound effects need to be spread across three sources.

This is the logic Hags follow, at least, to find that perfect blend of disliking large crowds but highly favoring large pools of mana. A Coven will only have three members and will always initially be comprised of three other hags, often of differing types.

Thanks to the taste of power they have gained, the loss of their third member will often lead to desperation, where high-level magic users will sometimes be subbed in. 

Hag Eye

Image from Forgotten Realms Wiki

 

A Hag Eye is made by a coven using a natural eye coated in varnish. It isn’t necessary, but it is often attached to a pendant. A coven can only have a single Hag eye at a time. The ritual requires all three Hags, who mustn’t be blind, and it takes one hour of focusing only on the Hag Eye ritual. Any actions performed by the three hags during its creation other than the ritual will require it to be restarted.

Some crazed covens have removed an eye or themed the third socket to share the eye between them. Usually, as opposed to unsanitary eye-sharing, a trusted minion is tasked with safekeeping and transporting the hag eye. 

As long as it is in the same plane of existence, a hag of the coven can take an action to see through the Hag Eye.

Shared Spellcasting

So long as all three members of the hag coven are within 30 feet of each other, they can each cast from the following spell list. While they can cast individually, they must share the spell slots between them.

For casting purposes, each Hag is treated as a 12th-level spellcaster using intelligence as her spell casting ability. 

  • Spell Save: DC 12+ Hags Int Mod
  • Spell Attack Bonus: 4+ Hag’s Int Mod

Lvl Slots Spells
1 4 Idea ntify, a ray of sickness
2 3 Hold person, locate object
3 3 Bestow curse, counterspell, lightning bolt,
4 3 Phantasmal killer, polymorph
5 2 Canother planer plane, scrying
6 1 Eyebite

 Hag Lair

 Hag Lair dnd
Image from Forgotten Realms Wiki

The magical force inherent to the Fey means that anywhere a Ha deems their home will slowly begin to twist to their whims. For example, Annis Hags and Green Hags will make a forest begin to weave the trees and make monsters of the plant life. While a Sea Hag will create rogue waves, cross seas, and endless storms on the coasts they inhabit. 

Often, the critical factor is that the place they settle also can function as a Fey Crossing. These are where the borders to the Wylds and Material are thin, allowing the Hag to escape or use the peculiarities of such a spacially fuzzy location. 

If the Hag is a grandmother, she will gain a set of lair actions appropriate to her character. A DM can use their nature, knowledge, and history to influence their actions. Lair Actions can be activated by the Grandmother Hag at initiative count 20. They can not use the same action twice in a row. 

These actions may include creating a massive blizzard of a Bheur Hag or banishing a player to a prison dimension in the case of a Night Hag.

How To Fight Hags

Any time a Hag has agreed to do something, be wary. If she agrees quickly, be suspicious as to what the catch is. If she takes a good while toponder and weigh the decision, be wary that she is either trying to draw you in or deepen the pit on your side of the bargain.

Unusual trinkets, spells, and items will fascinate a Hag, and they will not be subtle about it. As such, a Hag can usually be swayed using the ge-old fey tactic of presenting a sparkly enough shiny.

A Hag cares little about beauty and splendor. So a party will have to think along the lines of a Hag’s macabre tastes. A more straightforward tactic is merely finding a uniquely strange spell or ritual recipe to trade to them. 

Tips for DMing Hags

Image from Delicious in Dungeon Wiki

Hags do not care what anyone thinks about them, as they already know they are the scene-stealer of the scene. 

A Hag might form a ‘Bond.’ These are not good things. One bond involved stealing a child from every generation of a particular lineage because their ancestor kicked her door too hard. They can be more lighthearted, however, as she may be on the hunt for her daughter to find and train her. Also, don’t feel bad for her; remember, she had to eat a child to make a child. 

Hags enjoy meddling with the lives of mortals. They will progress to entire societies or kingdoms as they grow older or stronger. 

The only time a party will generally be able to trick a Hag without consequence is by exchanging a strange, unique, or overall hideous item. Being Fey, a Hag is terrible at hiding when they deeply desire something. 

Above all else, the Hag has a hidden agenda. So even if you don’t immediately have a plan as a DM, you should also keep the Hag’s deal in mind for when an opening presents itself. The Hag may be watching under the guise of various unassuming NPCs. They might even have secretly guided the way before you knew it. 

Hag FAQ

Question: Is Baba Yaga considered a Hag?

Answer: I felt a need to answer this. A lot of the Hags’ schtick is Babs Yaga leaning. Baba Yaga is noted as being an Archfey. Further, she is said to be worshipped by many Hags. Particularly Annis, Green, and Night Hags. Finding a cohesive source on the matter of the type of Fey she was is suspect. To this point, the Baba Yaga of legend in DnD started as a sorceress known for plane shifting. She could have conceivable hung out in the Wylds and rolled with the effects. 

It is known that Baba Yaga is powerful, with bargains known to be the most tricky and layered in all of the Fey Wylds. So, if you are looking for an Archfey of the Hags. Baba Yaga isn’t a bad choice, but it is hard to say if it is true. She prefers it that way.

Question: As a Player, how can I use a Hag to frustrate my DM?

Answer: Druids (7th LVL) and Rangers (13th LVL) gain access to the ‘Conjure Woodland Beings’ spell. These spells allow you to summon one to eight fey creatures based on the CR of the Fey. More Fey of that CR rating can be used by casting this spell at a higher spell slot.

Theoretically, this means a powerful enough Druid will be capable of summoning three Hags, giving them access to a coven of magic. Again, DM’s discretion, but at the level, the player would have to be to pull this off, this might be a needed lifeline. 

In this sense, a Sea Hag being a CR 2 fey creature, can be summoned. This will allow you access to their lore, their methods, and most distressingly DM-wise, their Death Glare ability. As the creature is forced to follow your commands, it can be used however the players see fit. 

Nothing says they have to be happy about it upon being returned home. 

Question: What is your brass-tacks explanation of hags?

Answer: The Hags are all loosely based on varying mythological beasts. These beasts have gone on to inspire several pop culture characters, so I apologize if these are not down to their mythological equivalent. 

• A Sea Hag is Ursula but ugly. How Aphrodite is with everything prettier than her, but everything is actually more stunning than her by nature. 
• A Green Hag is your fantasy ‘witch in a hut that makes the devil worry over a contract’. The witch in Hansel and Gretel.
• A Night Hag is if a nightmare(the demon) were a witch. They’re so bad the FEY kicked them out. 
• An Annis Hag is based on the Black Annis of English Folklore. She also can be the Hansel and Gretel Witch. Blair Witch’s witch might be an Annis Hag.
• A Bheur Hag is if Elsa never let it go and just leaned in on that Endless Winter phase. 
• While a Hag Coven is that ‘Sisters Three’ trope in mythology.
• Baba Yaga is what happens if you let a Hag reach ArchFey status.

Conclusion

Obtaining this information was such a tiresome task, dearie. I feel these ancient, ragged bones creaking and my meandering mind mulling. Quite the study it was, yes. Quite the tiresome task. One which, by reaching the end of this guide, means there is debt to be paid. 

Now now. Don’t fuss and fret, as that is merely what you get seeking knowledge here in this swamp! Coin? I have no use for common metal or-

Midas Gold, you say… Now that you mention it, it does bend the air around it like maddening vines, as only the curse of the god of wine could achieve. I suppose we can consider this debt paid should you part with that. 

Don’t galavant off grinning about this. Us Hags know all! Hags know all, is what I meant, and they will catch wind of your unique collection sooner or later. 

Until then, have a marvelous one.

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