Sea Week continues here on The Daily Bestiary! Somehow, I’d gotten it into my head that sea hags were the heavies of the terrestrial hag family, but I was dead wrong on that—at CR 4, they’re actually quite weak. Even the brutish annis hag has more spell-like abilities. Aside from their evil eye abaility, sea hags are mostly just ugly. Really, really ugly.
Still, Grendel’s mother didn’t have spell-like abilities, and she took out a decent number of Danes, so there’s no reason your sea hags can’t scare the bejeezus out of a low-level party. And if you want your very own Ursula (yes, I went there), levels in any of the spellcasting classes will certainly do the trick to boost your hag’s encounter level.
That evil eye attack can be a doozy though. The hag only gets it three times per day and it takes a series of failed saves to make it stick…but still: direct gaze + possible death = bad news for characters with low Will and Fortitude saves. I can imagine a sea hag husbanding her gaze attacks very carefully, carefully plotting to catch her prey alone and by surprise, leaving comatose, dying victims in her wake. She’s probably not going to waste it on the average fisherman who crosses her path—she has claw attacks for that—but if she has a vendetta against a particular family or wants to torment a beautiful woman by killing all the men who find her attractive, the evil eye is definitely the way to go.
Plus, even players who feel confident in their characters’ chances against a single sea hag should still beware them in groups of three. A coven of three sea hags is just as powerful as any other coven, and the ability to cast baleful polymorph, bestow curse, or forcecage should terrify most 4th-level PCs. When you’re in a water-based adventure without access to water breathing, one well-placed forcecage or a few rounds spent polymorphed into a mouse will have you rolling up a new character pronto.
Kaitie O’Tyr is a foundling who grew into a great beauty. Actually a sea hag’s changeling, she has so far resisted the strange voice she has heard calling her to the sea. In response, her sea hag mother has upped her efforts, vowing to slay all the young men in Kaitie’s isolated parish. She hopes to drive the despairing girl to embrace the sea and her destiny as a hag…or drive her mad trying.
The sea hag Rozmerta is enamored by jellyfishes—she marvels that something so beautiful can be such a casual killing machine. She cultivates jellyfish swarms near her grotto (use the Young creature template) and has begun the study of mundane and magical venoms and poisons. She wants to eventually become as beautiful and deadly as a jellyfish herself…though in all likelihood her crude research is far more likely to turn her into an ooze or gibbering mouther.
The Sisters of Emerald Night are a sea hag coven nestled in the stews of the canal city of Martine. Agunda and Permella are haruspices and seers, selling their services to the desperate in exchange for wealth and servitude. They use the many spell powers of their coven to uncover answers when their usual divinations fall flat. But Gillyblood, their youngest sister, has little interest such fortune telling. Recently she has been skipping her sisters’ rites in order to murder lone gondoliers and trysting couples in the night, devouring them with shark-like hunger.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 243
Also, this takes us back a ways, but I once again want to give props to Rob McCreary’s take on hags in Classic Horrors Revisited—really good stuff.
I’m sure there have been awesome hag encounters in the current Reign of Winter Adventure Path, too, buuuuuuuuuuutttt…YES I’M STILL BEHIND. I JUST GOT AN EMAIL THAT ISSUE #72 IS BEING MAILED TO ME AND I’M STILL ON #68. I AM DROWNING IN PATHFINDER BOOKS AND I GOT ZERO PAGES READ DURING MY VACATION BECAUSE STUFF AND PEOPLE AND THINGS. AUGHHHH.
Man, I need a sick day. Someone with the summer flu please cough on me so I can stay home and read.