Hag (Dungeons & Dragons)


Infobox D&D creature
alignment=chaotic evil
type=Monstrous humanoid
mythical= Hag, Black Annis

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, hags are witchlike beings that spread havoc and destruction, working their magics, and slaying all whom they encounter.

Publication history

The hag was one of the earliest creatures introduced in the D&D game.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)

The sea hag first appeared in the "Dungeons & Dragons" supplement, "Blackmoor" by Dave Arneson (1975). [Arneson, Dave. "Blackmoor" (TSR, 1975)]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)

The sea hag appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), [Gygax, Gary. "Monster Manual" (TSR, 1977)] where it is described as inhabiting thickly vegetated shallows, and hates beauty and is so ghastly in appearance that it makes other creatures weak with fright.

The annis, a type of hag, first appeared in the module "Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" (1982). The annis appeared in the "Monster Manual II" (1983) along with the greenhag. [Gygax, Gary. "Monster Manual II" (TSR, 1983)]

The fresh water sea hag appears in "Dragon" #68 (December 1982).

The greenhag is further detailed in "Dragon" #125 (September 1987), in "The Ecology of the Greenhag." [Findley, Nigel D. "Ecology of the Greenhag, The" Dragon #125 (TSR, 1987)]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the hag. The sea hag and the black hag appeared in the "Dungeons & Dragons Master Rules" (1985), [Gygax, Gary, Frank Mentzer. "Dungeons & Dragons" Set 4: Master Rules" (TSR, 1985)] and the "Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia" (1991). [Schend, Steven E., Jon Pickens, and Dori Warty (Editors). "Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia" (TSR, 1991)]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)

The annis hag, the green hag, and the sea hag appear first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989), [Cook, David, et al. "Monstrous Compendium Volume Two" (TSR, 1989)] and are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993), [Stewart, Doug, ed. "Monstrous Manual" (TSR, 1993)] .

The spectral annis, the spectral green hag, and the spectral sea hag appeared in "Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness" (1994).

The bheur hag for the Forgotten Realms setting first appears in "Spellbound" (1995), and then in "Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three" (1996).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)

The annis, the green hag, and the sea hag appear in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000). [Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. "Monster Manual" (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)]

The bog hag appears in "Oriental Adventures" (2001).

"Savage Species" (2003) presented the annis hag, the green hag, and the sea hag as both races and playable classes. [Eckelberry, David, Rich Redman, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes. "Savage Species" (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)]

The bheur hag , the shrieking hag, and the hagspawn for the Forgotten Realms appear in "Unapproachable East" (2003). [Baker, Richard, Matt Forbeck, and Sean K Reynolds. "Unapproachable East" (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)

The annis, the green hag, and the sea hag appear in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

The dusk hag for the Eberron campaign setting appears in the "Eberron Campaign Setting" book (2004).

The dune hag appears in "Sandstorm: Mastering the Perils of Fire and Sand" (2005).

The green hag is further detailed in "Dragon" #331 (May 2005), in "The Ecology of the Green Hag," [Schneider, F. Wesley. "The Ecology of the Green Hag." "Dragon" #331 (Paizo Publishing, 2005)] , and the annis hag is further detailed in "Dragon" #345 (July 2006), in "The Ecology of the Annis." [Schneider, F. Wesley. "The Ecology of the Annis." "Dragon" #345 (Paizo Publishing, 2006)]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)

The hag appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), including the howling hag, the bog hag, and the death hag. The night hag also appears under the hag entry in this edition's Monster Manual. [Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. "Monster Manual" (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)]

Physical Appearance

Hags appear as wretched old women, with long, frayed hair and withered faces. Horrid moles and warts dot their blotchy skin, their mouths are filled with blackened teeth, and their breath is most foul. Though wrinkled and skinny, hags possess supernatural strength and can easily crush smaller creatures, such as goblins, with one hand. Similarly, though hags look decrepit, they run swiftly, easily bounding over rocks or logs in their path. From the long, skinny fingers of hags grow iron-like claws. Hags use these claws (and their supernatural strength) to rend and tear at opponents in combat. Their garb is similar to that of peasant women, but usually much more tattered and filthy.


Hags live alone or in coveys of three. They always choose desolate, out-of-the-way places in which to dwell. They sometimes coexist with ogres or evil giants. The former act as servants or guards for hags, but giants are treated with respect (for obvious reasons) and often cooperate with hags to accomplish acts of great evil against the outside world.

While individually powerful, hags are much more dangerous when formed into a covey. A covey is composed of three hags of any combination. Coveys have special powers that individual hags don't possess. To cast one of these spells, the members of the covey must all be within ten feet of each other and the spell being cast must be in lieu of all other attacks.

Coveys never cast these spells in combat, instead these spells are used to help weave wicked plots against neighboring human or demihuman settlements. A common ploy by coveys is to force or trick a victim into performing some heinous deed. This deed usually involves bringing back more victims, some of whom are devoured by the hags; the rest are used on further evil assignments. Any creature fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to resist a covey is immediately devoured.

Coveys often use one or two of their ogres as spies, sending them into the world beyond after polymorphing them into less threatening creatures.

These minions frequently wear a special magical gem called a hag eye. A hag eye is made from the real eye of a covey's previous victim. It appears to the casual observer to be no more than a low-value gem, but if viewed through a gem of true seeing, a disembodied eye can be seen trapped in the hag eye's interior. This hidden eye is magically connected to the covey that created the hag eye. All three members of the covey can see whatever the hag eye is pointed at. Hag eyes are usually placed on a medallion or brooch worn by one of the hag's polymorphed servants. Occasionally hag eyes are given as gifts to unsuspecting victims whom the hags want to monitor.

Hags commonly inhabit bone-strewn glens deep within forests. There is an large chance that hags are keeping one or two captives in a nearby earthen pit or forcecage. These prisoners are held for a purpose known only to the hags themselves, though it will certainly involve spreading chaos into the outside world. Prisoners kept in a pit are guarded by an evil giant or one to two ogres; those in a forcecage are left alone.

Most hags worship the dark goddess Cegilune.


Hags have a ravenous appetite and are able to quickly devour man-sized creatures. They prefer human flesh, but settle for orc or demihuman when necessary. This wanton destruction has earned hags some powerful enemies. Besides humanity in general, both good giants and good dragons hunt hags, slaying them whenever possible. Still, hags multiply rapidly by using their magic to appear as beautiful maidens to men they encounter alone. Hag offspring are always female. Legends say that hags can change their unborn child for that of a human female while she sleeps. They further state that any mother who brings such a child to term is then slain by the hag-child she carries. Fortunately, such ghastly tales have never been proven.

Hags hoard fine treasure, using the jewelry and coins to decorate the bones of their more powerful victims, and the finer gems to manufacture magical hag eyes.

Types of Hags

The following are different varieties of Hags in the D&D game:

*Annis - The dreaded annis commonly uses magic to disguise itself as an exceptionally tall human, a fair giant, or an ogre.
*Bheur - A bheur hag is capable of bringing winter's chill to any place in the land.
*Dune Hag - Wasteland cousins of the annis, dune hags use their disguise self and enthrall abilities to lure victims to their deaths.
*Dusk Hag - Accursed offspring of night hags, can see visions of the future in her dreams and can influence the dreams of others.
*Green Hag - Green hags are found in desolate swamps and dark forests and are able to weaken foes simply by touch.
*Marzanna - This winter hag is the personification of death and winter.
*Sea Hag - Sea hags are fully aquatic, with an appearance so horrific that it saps the strength out of living creatures. The sea hag is also able to use her "evil eye" to kill or daze victims.
*Shrieking Hag - Shrieking hags are horrible, spiteful monsters who haunt desolate wastelands and barren plains.
*Xtabay - A foul hag from Mayan legend.Fact|date=June 2008

Related Creatures

*Hagspawn - The male children of hags, brutish and ill-tempered creatures.

*Night Hag - These are actually fiends, and are outsiders which are native to the Lower Planes, like Devils and Demons, rather than monstrous humanoids, like centaurs and medusae.

*Brujah - First introduced in the Ravenloft campaign setting, these are Hags that have undergone a startling spiritual metamorphosis, becoming creatures of Good rather than Evil.

In Games

A Night Hag named Ravel Puzzlewell plays a major role in the PC game Planescape Torment - she is responsible for the immortality of the protagonist: The Nameless One. A large section of the quest involves searching for her, she is eventually found to be imprisoned by the Lady of Pain.

Hags also feature prominently in . Various Hagspawn are encountered throughout the game, most notably 'Gannayev' a Spirit Shaman who can join your party. Later in the game the player visits a Hag City as part of your quest and eventually encounter Gannayev's Hag mother.


Additional reading

*Alvarez, J.C. "Beasts of the Sun: Central American Monsters." "Dragon" #317 (Paizo Publishing, 2004).

*Baur, Wolfgang, James Jacobs, and George Strayton. "Frostburn" (Wizards of the Coast, 2004).

*Schneider, Wesley. "By the Hands of Hags" Dragon #300 (Paizo, 2002).

*Ward, Kyla. "The Petit Tarrasque and Other Monsters." "Dragon" #329 (Paizo Publishing, 2005).

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