Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dreamthief Hag

To me, night hags are sort of the be-all and end-all of hags.  I mean, these are creatures of the planes, monstrous women who regularly haggle with much more powerful outsiders over the going rate on souls.  These are not creatures to be taken lightly.

So I was amazed to find that dreamthief hags are even more monstrous than night hags—CR 11 and packing a host of psychic abilities.  Dreamthief hags don’t waste time in ethereal form hovering over creatures waiting for them to fall asleep.  Instead they can literally drag a creature into a dreamscape just by touching(!) it, after which they can force the creature’s mind into their dreamstone to be used as a psychic battery.  (PS: Don’t let one bite you either, if you’re a spellcaster.)

So what are dreamthief hags?  Are they their own unique species?  Night hags who have achieved some fell apotheosis?  Or who long ago gave up on the endless pursuit of souls in favor of the more esoteric mysteries of the mind?  Whatever their origin, they have the potential to be major adversaries if your PCs get too casual about strolling through the Ethereal Plane or the Dimension of Dreams.  Ordinary hags may be all about snatching up children and lost travelers; dreamthief hags are after much bigger game…

A dreamthief hag steals an adventurers’ mind, rendering her comatose.  Fortunately, she returns it in a day, (mostly) unharmed—and with the memory of an offer tucked away inside.  The dreamthief hag has a demon problem (a painajai demon, to be precise), and she promises quite a boon should the adventurers deal with the interloper.

In a gothic, fog-shrouded land where the local lord is as likely to be a vampire or weretiger as he is a mortal, the Carstonheld family stands apart as being utterly, almost defiantly human and noble-hearted.  So sad, then, that no Carstonheld has ever reached 50 without falling comatose, and some are ensnared by the disease as young as 16.  Many Carstonheld scions never wake up; the others wake irrevocably changed into nervous, fidgety wrecks.  What no one in the great family knows is that the entire family line is haunted by a dreamthief hag who once happened to be a Carstonheld herself.  Her palace in the Dimension of Dreams is lined with the bottled minds of her clan—indeed, some of the vintages date back centuries.  Meanwhile, despite their curse the Carstonhelds are nonetheless an influential family.  What might they accomplish if the dreamthief hag threat was discovered and dealt with?

A king empties his treasury trying to find a cure for his son, a promising lad who has fallen mysteriously comatose.  Finally, some adventurers find him an almost-expended ring of three wishes.  When the king wishes for the cure, he is whisked away to the lair of the coma’s real culprit, a dreamthief hag who dwells on the shore of the Land of Dreams where it meets the gorynych-haunted Gray Misery.  Now the adventurers have a quandary: do they rush off to rescue the king?  Defend his empty throne from usurpers?  Or claim the high seat for themselves?

Occult Bestiary 22

Even when I try to get posts out in a timely manner I am foiled!  (My ISP crapped out earlier this week.)  Also, no radio show this week—I had to help with a hospital discharge at the very last minute.  But I’m excited about the playlist I had ready so I’ll be sure to save it for next Tuesday.  (Also, apologies to any Blogger readers who didn’t get the link for last week’s radio show.  That’s also my bad.)

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