Hag Countess


Hag Countess
Hag Countess
Game background
Title(s) Former Lord of the Sixth
Home plane Nine Hells
Power level Archdevil
Alignment Lawful Evil
Superior Asmodeus
Design details

In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, the Hag Countess, also known as Malagard, is the former ruler of Malbolge, the Sixth Layer of the Nine Hells of Baator. Her name is spelled Malagarde in Fiendish Codex II[1] and Lamagard in Defenders of the Faith.[2]

Contents

Publication history

The Hag Countess was first identified as the ruler of Malbolge in Dragon #223 (November 1995).[3] Her history as part of the Reckoning of Hell was detailed in Guide to Hell (1999).[4]

In third edition, The Hag Countess appeared along with the other lords of the Nine Hells in the Book of Vile Darkness (2002).[5] The death of the Hag Countess was revealed in the Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (2006).[1]

Description

The Hag Countess was a gruesome night hag. Her bruise-coloured skin, covered in pimples and varicose veins, constantly seeped with foul blood. Her horrid, gaunt face sported a nearly toothless mouth that smelled of carrion. She also has two large black feathery wings. Despite her decrepit form, the Hag Countess was actually very powerful.[5]

History in the Dungeons & Dragons game

Ascent in Hell

The Hag Countess was an exception among the Dukes of Hell. She was no devil but an unusually powerful night hag from Hades, the neutral evil plane of the Dungeons & Dragons cosmogony. Thus, her original alignment was also different from any other devil residing in Hell.[5]

Later, Malagard became the leman of Moloch, Baalzebul's former viceroy who ruled Malbolge at that time. She wasn't his actual consort (Lilith bore that title)[1]:65 but she was highly regarded as his personal adviser and lover.[5]

The Reckoning

The Reckoning of Hell occurred thousands of years ago.[3]:14 This was a rebellion against Asmodeus by the other Lords of the Nine Hells. The Hag Countess encouraged her lover Moloch to join Baalzebul's alliance, telling him he could become the new King of Hell. Unbenownst to him, Malagard was secretly in communication with Geryon, and she arranged for Moloch's armies to betray him at the war's climax. Malagard betrayed Moloch again at the war's communication by advising Moloch to remain defiant in the face of utter defeat; for this, Moloch was punished with exile, and Malagard was given his throne.[4]:43 Once in charge, the Hag let in annises, night hags, green hags, and other neutral evil creatures into the Nine Hells, much to the other arch-lords' annoyance.[5]

After thousands of years of rule, the Hag Countess was deposed by Glasya, Asmodeus's daughter. As of Fiendish Codex II, in a process whose exact genesis is unclear (but seems to have been empowered by the slain essence of Geryon) the Hag Countess's body swelled enormously and split open to radically change the nature of the entire layer of Malbolge. Thus, the sixth plane of Baator is in fact nothing else than the Hag Countess's innards and bones. The Countess is technically dead, though her life essence still remains on Malbolge, and night hags, paeliryon devils, kalabon devils, and hell lice continually spawn from the enormous tumors in her changed flesh.[1]:60

The reason why Asmodeus placed her in control of Malbolge is said to be because he wanted to stop bickering with his daughter and finally grant her the place she deserved: being an arch-Duchess. However, in order to do so, they had to come to an understanding. The Hag Countess was the perfect decoy, as the other arch-lords focused on her and her dubious ascension while Asmodeus and Glasya were able to parley in peace. Once both had a deal, Malagard was no use to them anymore and they quickly disposed of her.[1]:55

Vassals

Before being deposed, the following beings served the Hag Countess, some of them being former servants to Moloch:

  • Axacrusis, a paeliryon devil, her chancellor. For angrily questioning Glasya's claim to Malbolge, Glaysa punished him by commanding it to disembowel itself, then tortured it by commanding her retinue of imps to eternally feast on its entrails.[1]:61
  • Beleth, Prince of Imps.[6]
  • Bloodcurdle - A powerful cauchemar nightmare who serves as his mistress' steed and personal confidante. Is also being tortured at Glaysa's command for having thrown her into a lake of acid.
  • Coven of night hags of maximum power.[5]

Apocrypha

According to 3rd party material produced by Green Ronin, the Hag Countess and Lilith are one and the same, a unique being who has changed her name through the ages.

In The Unholy Warrior's Handbook by Robert J. Schwalb, "Lilith" is also known as the Hag. Her servants are listed as Lel, Marquise of the Night, a tribune, and a few generals. [7]

The Book of the Righteous by Aaron Loeb provides a creation myth for this version of the Hag. In this version, she was created from one of the div, beings born of fire at the beginning of time. The text calls her "mother of beasts" and states that countless monstrous races, including giants, trolls, and goblins, sprang from her womb.[8]

Critical reception

"Wyrdmaster," in a review for the Book of Vile Darkness[9], criticized the inclusion of game statistics for characters of the Hag Countess's power level. "Madpoet," at 3rdedition.org, said that chapter was "the most useless section." [10] Ricardo Lopez, Creator of the Empyrean d20 setting stated, "The Hag Countess was one of my favorite Arch-Lords, but unfortunately, the power design of her character was inaccurate to the character bio and background of such an esteemed NPC."

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Laws, Robin D., and Robert J. Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
  2. ^ "Redman, Rich and James Wyatt. Defenders of the Faith. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000. Page 97.
  3. ^ a b McComb, Colin. "The Lords of the Nine." Dragon #223. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR 1995
  4. ^ a b Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999)
  5. ^ a b c d e f Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  6. ^ Marmell, Ari. "Codex of Betrayal: Beleth, the Witch's Viscount." Dragon #365. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008. Available online: [1]
  7. ^ Schwalb, Robert J. The Unholy Warrior's Handbook. Renton, WA: Green Ronin, 2003. Page 56.
  8. ^ Loeb, Aaron. The Book of the Righteous. Renton, WA: Green Ronin, 2002. Page 287.
  9. ^ "Book of Vile Darkness". Gamewyrd.com. http://www.gamewyrd.com/review/165. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  10. ^ "Book of Vile Darkness Review". 3rdedition.org. http://www.3rdedition.org/reviews/viewer.asp?id=50. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 

Further reading

  • Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part II." Dragon #76. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
  • McComb, Colin. Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1997.
  • Pramas, Chris. Legions of Hell: Book of Fiends, Volume One. Renton, WA: Green Ronin Publishing, 2001.
  • Schwalb, Robert J. "Infernal Aristocracy: Dukes of Hell." Dragon #360. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2007. Available online:[2]

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