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Designed by: Tim Bannock, with Matt Butler, JVC Parry, Janek Sielicki
Hags are a classic foe in literature and increasingly in the horror genre in the form of witches. They’re no strangers to the world of Dungeons & Dragons, receiving three types in the Monster Manual (Green, Night, Sea) as well as a detailed section and another two hag variants (Annis, Bheur) in Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
In case you need even more hag-related content, there’s “The Hag’s Hexes.” It’s a 60-page supplement with a very obvious theme, featuring new statblocks for hags and hag-related allies, as well as magic items, curses and bargains, mini one-shot adventures, and tips on role-playing.
“The Hag’s Hexes” is organized into five chapters, with the first chapter, the bestiary, taking up the majority of the content with 16 new creatures. Only six of them are new hag types, with the others making up their minions or hag-adjacent creatures like changelings and haglings.
Some of the hags, like the ice hag, noon hag, and shaitan, are simply hags who are tied to certain elements or regions, like the sea hag. Useful, but mostly just rethemed sea hags.
My favorite is the candy hag. It’s the classic monster child-luring monster from Hansel and Gretel, and she’s given a fun host of servants including the rock candy Crul and the Gumdrop Ooze. It’s a great way to turn a somewhat goofy fairy tale villain into an equally goofy, but still enjoyable D&D romp.
Chapter 2 covers bargains and curses, the primary way in which hags tend to show up and drive any story. It makes them both interesting and difficult to use compared to other monsters. Their strength isn’t tied to their statblock but more in how they’re used in the story, and how they prey on the weak and take advantage of mind games and human nature. It’s a difficult thing to pull off against hardened PCs.
The next chapter covers magic items that may be found or sold by hags. Many duplicate the abilities or spells often associated with hags, but have nasty nasty curses as a side effect. I loved that most feature little backstories and tales that flesh out the lore of each item.
Chapter four is a somewhat awkward guide to role-playing hags, including tips on using voices, phrases, and even your physical posture. I say awkward because there are many different DM styles and not everyone is a theater major. Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to acting and role-playing. A hag could make for a delightful social encounter if played right, however, and chances are if you’re using a hag in your campaign, you relish the chance for a deliciously tense role-playing sequence.
The other notes on this section read too much like the Hag section of Volo’s, such as listing the creature types each hag would use and some alternate spell selections. If you don’t have Volo’s and really want to dig into hags you could find this useful but I didn’t find any of it terribly interesting.
The final chapter is also the best – the adventures! Several single paragraph encounters are listed as easy drop-in events, and are mostly forgettable. But the three longer adventures, An Affection for Confection, Menace of the Feathered Hag, and Wyrmlingnapped all do a solid job highlighting the new enemies, items, and curses featured in the supplement. They’re all single dungeon or area one-shots that are easy to run, though ultimately very linear and simple.
For most DMs who want more hag information and lore, Volo’s Guide to Monsters and the Monster Manual should provide more than enough content. If you lack either of those resources, or are curious about even more exotic and rare hag types then “The Hag’s Hexes” could be a suitable addition to your library.
- Over a dozen new monsters, two dozen new magic items, and several encounters and adventures.
- An entire chapter devoted to the bargains and curses that hags employ.
- The three one-shot adventures effectively showcase many of the new monsters and concepts featured in the supplement.
- Candy Hag!
- Between the information already presented in both the official Monster Manual and Volo’s Guide to Monsters, we already had a lot of lore and information on hags.
- None of the one-off encounter drops are particularly compelling.
The Verdict: In case Volo’s Guide to Monsters wasn’t enough, “The Hag’s Hexes” offers even more hag variants and lore, as well as cursed items, insidious bargains, and dark adventures.
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