Epic Monsters: Storm Hag (5E)

Epic Monsters is getting a little obscure today with a legend from the Great Lakes in the United States, specifically Lake Erie: the Storm Hag!



I’m a little embarrassed to admit this is pretty much in my backyard and I’d never heard of the tale before, although to be straight here that’s not why I picked her—I was just surprised there’s no Storm Hag for D&D 5E and thought that was a wrong that needed righting! Unfortunately there’s not much information about whence she came or how, only that she endlessly swims across the lakebed waiting to wrap up unwary sailors, forcing them into a drowning sleep. She summons storms and attacks in the calm after the weather passes, bursting out of the water with lightning spitting out of her mouth and powerful winds at her call. We do have a fun song she sings as her tempests begin, “Come into the water, love; Dance beneath the waves; Where dwell the bones of sailor-lads; Inside my saffron cave."

Design Notes: I started off with a Sea Hag and hit it with abilities reflecting the myth. She can wreck ships which to me says at least second tier baddy (CR 5-8), but there’s none of the duplicity inherent to the usual hag encounter. Kick off the fight with a whirlpool to keep the party busy then pop her out of the water with an Elemental Whirlwind, wading into melee with claw attacks to put troublesome foes to sleep and incite panic as the area attack recharges. Fair warning: the TPKs I have had at my tables *always* happen on the water and with the splash she makes—along with the shipwrecking bit—that’s a real possibility to keep in mind.



Storm Hag
Medium fey, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 90 (12d8+36)
Speed 30 ft., swim 40 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
18 (+4)15 (+2)17 (+3)12 (+1)15 (+2)16 (+3)

Condition Immunities exhaustion
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Aquan, Common
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Amphibious. The hag can breathe air and water.


ACTIONS

Multiattack. The hag attacks twice with its claws.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6+4) slashing damage. Instead of dealing damage, the hag can grapple the target (escape DC 15). Alternatively, instead of dealing damage the creature makes a DC 15 Strength saving throw or falls unconscious for 5 minutes. This effect ends for a creature if the creature takes damage or someone uses an action to wake it.

Elemental Whirlwind (Recharge 5-6). The hag uses an action to erupt with lightning and wind, dealing 28 (8d6) lightning damage and 14 (4d6) slashing damage to all creatures and objects within 30 feet. A successful DC 15 Dexterity saving throw reduces this damage by half.

Whirlpool (1/Short Rest). The hag whips up a powerful vortex that drags at all creatures and objects within 120 feet and in the water. The whirlpool lasts for 1 minute.
Staying on board a vessel in the whirlpool requires a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check at the start of a creature’s turn. Every round a creature or vehicle is in the whirlpool, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (vehicle [water]) check. On a failure, a creature or vehicle is dragged 5 x 1d4 feet down into the water and 10 x 1d4 feet towards the center of the whirlpool. On a success, a creature or vehicle can move half its speed out of the area.
 
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Mike Myler

Comments

Very nice. Now, it seems to me that hags are best used as masterminds using lesser creatures as minions to do their bidding. In this case, I wonder if adding Sahuagin as a language might imply a connection that could lead to some interesting adventure possibilities.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
I like the idea of a storm hag and I think the implementation is good. I have to go back to an issue I have had before with this series:

(Start Rant) I can see no measure by which this Storm Hag qualifies as an "epic" monster. I know you've explained it to me before, but this seems much more like a "legendary" or "mythic" monster and not an "epic" one. The term epic has a fairly consistent understanding in D&D and this, to me, doesn't qualify. (End Rant)

Also, one suggestion: for Whirlpool I think it might scarier if the saving throw succeeds the creature/ship doesn't move at all, but if it succeeds by 5 or more the creature/ship can move 1/2 it speed. Makes it a little more challenging.
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Hags are frequently in covens and occasionally have lair actions. Any thoughts to that?
Hrmmm...none of the OGL hags have these things I think but I'd fall back on a monster from out of Mists of Akuma for greater weather effects.

By undertaking an hour long ritual (requiring blood sacrifices in specific patterns around their target, usually a week long process), a greater onryō can unleash the effects of one of the following spells on one location it can see as it conducts the ritual: control weather, earthquake, meteor swarm, storm of vengeance. The duration of these spells does not change.
In addition, the greater onryō’s AC increases by 1, it has twice as many hit points, and it gains a +1 magical bonus to attack and damage with its quasi-ethereal touch.
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Hag covens and lair actions are Volo's things. I didn't realize this was limited to OGL.
It's not (indeed Mythological Figures uses OGL-ified versions of archetypes that are not OGL) but I'm about breaking that stuff out into the open, not to exonerate it by emulating it. If it's not setting something free then aye I keep it as OGL as possible!
 

dave2008

Adventurer
It's not (indeed Mythological Figures uses OGL-ified versions of archetypes that are not OGL) but I'm about breaking that stuff out into the open, not to exonerate it by emulating it. If it's not setting something free then aye I keep it as OGL as possible!
Hag covens are also in the MM. A hag gets extra spells by being in a coven per the MM.
 

Quartz

Explorer
Every round a creature or vehicle is in the whirlpool, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (vehicle [water]) check. On a failure, a creature or vehicle is dragged 5 x 1d4 feet down into the water and 10 x 1d4 feet towards the center of the whirlpool. On a success, a creature or vehicle can move half its speed out of the area.
I'd allow Strength to be used for the Water Vehicle check - think of the sailor straining against the tiller or rudder. Or even the oarsmen in a galley.
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Hag covens are also in the MM. A hag gets extra spells by being in a coven per the MM.
That they are but the MM is not the OGL--only bits and pieces (death by a thousand cuts and all that). I stand by the catastrophic powers of the greater onryo as a solid coven mechanic though.


I'd allow Strength to be used for the Water Vehicle check - think of the sailor straining against the tiller or rudder. Or even the oarsmen in a galley.
Sounds reasonable!
 

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