Sunday, May 2, 2021

OSR: Annis Hag

 

by MunsonX

 "You may be destined for bigger things, but you're still an atrocious, stupid child.
And you may have won the "game" with your sister, but that doesn't mean it was the best thing for your development as a person.
You had her dream self killed, which is not an opportunity your species typically gets. So she died prematurely, instead of allowing the conflict within you to settle itself naturally.
In short, you forced your predomination to happen a little too early, and now you're stuck.
STUCK?  Yes. Your personality is stuck in some sort of cantankerous prepubescent limbo. You are going to be a stunted, miserable tool forever."

"Has it occurred to you that your quest in its limitless tedium and thankless busywork was designed to facilitate your personal growth?
To prepare you for your ultimate destiny beyond this game?
NO.
ANYWAY DIDN'T YOU SAY ONE TIME. I WAS INCAPABLE OF GROWING???
Oh right.
Well, has it occurred to you that it might have been designed to fuck with your head and serve as a punishment for being such a horrible little shit?
YES!!!
YES.
THAT OCCURS TO ME. EVERY SECOND I THINK ABOUT IT."

- Andrew Hussie and Caliborn , from here and here respectively

Hags are female spellcasters who through a lifetime of dabbling with dark forces have been corrupted and transformed into grotesque parodies of their former selves.  Though they resemble old women, they have been molded into something inhuman.  Their skin is tough as old leather and their fingernails are long and cruel, sharp enough to open a man's belly like he was a fish pulled from a stream.  Their original magical talents have largely withered, but they still possess some of their original skills.

Hags tend towards the macabre.  They hate things that remind them of what they once were, young, beautiful, virtuous or talented.  As such, they destroy the proud, valiant and whole, seeking to make everything as corrupt as they are.  For this reason they scar the faces of beautiful women and torment children, in the hopes of stealing their innocence and robbing their victims of their purity. 

And one of the Hag's favorite ways to do this is through the Ogre.  Ogres are children ritually abused and magically experimented on until they transform into monstrous creatures, the demons of a hurt child's psyche extracted and sculpted in meat and bone.  Ogres live in fear of Hags, but also cling to them, for though they may despise the Hag, the Hag is often the closest thing the Ogre has to a parent.

And Hags love to care for their children, Ogre or otherwise.  Ogres are their favorite, short-tempered, violent, impulsive and easily controlled.  Hags infantilize these Ogres, providing for them and teaching them to rely on their "mother" for everything.  As such, most Ogres never outgrow their violent, child-like nature.  They remain as they are, trapped in a permanent adolescence.

"Most":

But Ogres, like children, are often much more clever than adults give them credit for.  And even someone twisted into an unnatural, nonconstructive shape can still develop.  It's just that, if you start with an uneven foundation, the house built atop it will be skewed and crooked as well. 

An Annis Hag is that crooked house.  If an Ogress matures enough to understand certain things, as her mind struggles toward some caricature of maturity, her body will begin to change as well.  She will come to resemble her mother, but viewed through a warped lens.  Her bones will be too sharp, her muscles twisted and coiled so they bulge in areas, while other parts of her body are skeletal and thin.  Her hands will be just a bit too large, her hands long and tipped with razors of gleaming bone.  Her teeth will spill out over her too-fat or too thin lips and generally, she will resemble an unnatural horror that is trying to look like a normal woman, but has only see clumsy pictures about them or heard stories from drunken travelers.

artist unknown

Annis Hag
HD 5
Ar varies- see below
Atk Claws (1d8/1d8)
Mor (9+X, where X is the number of size categories she is larger than you)
Saves 12 or less

Illusory Appearance: As an action, an Annis Hag may create an illusion over herself to alter her appearance.  The illusory disguise can alter the Hag's shape, making her appear to be a medium creature of whatever appearance the Annis Hag can imagine or remember.  However, these illusions will always be a bit off, with a subtle detail out of place.  Perhaps the woman she has disguised herself as has six fingers on one hand, or one of her eyes is larger than the others, or something else that could be overlooked and gives the illusion an uncanny appearance.
Additionally, the illusion fails to stand up to physical inspection- if the Hag is disguised as a maiden and you touch her hand, you will not feel the soft skin of a young woman, but the rawhide flesh and sharp claws of a Hag.  The Annis Hag may dispel this illusion as a free action.

Growing Pains: Annis Hags can alter their size as an action, but this consumes one of their attacks.  Their base form is Medium creature, but they can grow larger or smaller as an action.  As they get larger, they get +1 AR per size categories between the Annis Hag and her attacker.  For example, if she is Large and is attacked by a Medium creature, she gets +1 AR.  However, the larger she is, the easier her attacks are to dodge, with each size category she is larger giving her -1 to hit (max -4).  However, she also does +Xd4 damage on hit if she is larger than a creature, where X is the difference in size categories between them, but this damage is only added after a hit is confirmed.  For example, if she is Large and she attacks a Medium creature, she makes that attack roll with a -1 penalty but does +1d4 damage on a hit.

Small of Soul: Annis Hags can also shrink, making themselves smaller.  When an Annis Hag is smaller than a creature, she gets a +1 bonus to hide from that creature per difference in size category.  When an Annis Hag is smaller, she also gets a penalty to her morale checks based on the number of size categories her opponents are bigger than her.

Tactics:
- Try to be friendly and lull them into a false sense of security
- If they find out, grow bigger than them and try to kill them
- If you get hurt or scared, run away and hide, shrinking as you do

<sidebar>

Size Categories for reference:

Minuscule- Anywhere from six to three inches tall, weight is around the same, anything that could take a bath in a teacup
Tiny- Anything the same size as or smaller than a small dog- such as a Shi Tzu or Chihuahua, weight range is around the same
Small- Anything from two to four feet tall, weighs about as much as a large child or a person with dwarfism
Medium- Anything from 5 to 7 feet tall, weighs about as much as an non-overweight human
Large- Anything from 10 to 15 feet tall, weighs anything from a large pig to a steer
Huge- Anything over twenty to thirty feet tall, weighs anything from a mid-sized SUV to a tractor trailer
Colossal- Anything from forty to eighty feet tall, weighs anywhere from a main battle tank to a respectably sized house
Gargantuan- A walking mountain, weighs dozens if not hundreds of tons

</end sidebar>

Annis Hags alternate between cruel sadism and childlike vulnerability.  They often have difficulty controlling their emotions, bursting into tears when hurt and flying into petulant rages when angered.  They often try to ape other types of Hags and engage in manipulation and the weaving of clever schemes, but they are usually unsuccessful at this.  They can be quite childlike and often lack the necessary knowledge of sophistication to successfully trick creatures.  Pointing this out is a good way to drive an Annis Hag to tears, or to make her angry, after which she might attempt to rip your arms off.

As such, Annis Hags often rely on simple ruses or blunt approaches, and when discovered, resort to extreme violence. 

Other Hags tend not to consider Annis Hags are true Hags, but as overgrown children play-acting as adults.  For while they are capable of being clever, their usual method of operation involves painting the walls red with blood.  Like the Ogres that they once were, they prefer simple solutions.  An Annis Hag may come up with an elaborate scheme, but if it doesn't work, she'll resort to breaking things until she can think of a new plan and that might not be until she has painted the walls with your blood. 

Annis Hag Plot Hooks:

1d4

1- An Annis Hag is in love with a boy in town, one who would have been her age when she was initially became an Ogre (10-14).  She shrinks down to a her child-sized form, disguises herself as a normal girl and starts playing with him in the forest.  But she starts to resent his parents for separating the two of them.  So she kidnaps the boy, perhaps by force but also possibly by guile, luring him out into the woods and leaving him there.  Her plan is to convince the boy to run away with her.  If she fails, she will return to the town, sneak in and kill the boy's parents.  You are unaware of this, however, and are hired by the boy's parents to find out what, if anything, he is talking to in the woods.
2- The party hears about a man who lives on the outskirts of a town/village and has allegedly become violent and irritable lately.  His wife is hiding her face now and his daughters haven't been seen playing with the other children as they usually do.  If you investigate, you will find one of the man's daughters dead and buried behind the chicken coop.  The man will insist he's guilty, even though he doesn't seem capable of such a thing.  If you are ever alone, he will ask you to save his other daughters, but if with people from town, he will take all the blame on himself.  Secretly, his wife is dead and has been replaced by an Annis Hag, who is slowly but surely killing the man's daughters, as she resents them for the childhood they have that she never got.
3- The party is hired to investigate a series of murders, the mutilated bodies having been found in the woods.  The bodies turn out to belong to members of an infamous bandit gang.  If you find the bandits, you will find that the bandit leader has a strange child, a girl who terrifies the other members of the band but he adores.  He claims not to be responsible for the murders, and thinks it is the work of an evil spirit or some other monster.  He is right.  Secretly, the bandit leader's "Daughter" is an Annis Hag who is pretending to be a child.  Because he has been neglecting her, she has been picking off members of the bandit group and taking out her frustrations on them.
4- A child recently went missing and it has parents in the area worried.  The mayor has hired you to try and find him.  The children of the village have been largely unhelpful, telling wild tales of the "Giant Woman" who comes to play with them and gives them piggy-back rides.  They say she can make herself as tall as the sky or short as a cat, and that her skin is really hard but she's actually nice and that she promised that if they wanted to, she would take them across the river (which is all but impassible in the minds of these children) to the magical forest beyond (where they are forbidden to go).  The "Giant Woman" is an Annis Hag and she is hiding in the monster-infested forest beyond the river, a place haunted by wild beasts and the ghosts of murdered children.  You can try to find her the old fashioned way, or if you somehow disguised yourself as children, you might be able to get her to take you right to her hidden lair.  But whatever you do, you should hurry.  The child she took doesn't have forever... 

by Daniel Jiménez Villalba

No comments:

Post a Comment