Today is the last day of Spring Week, and our spring monster is, somewhat surprisingly, a hag. While most (okay, virtually all) hags are evil creatures, they’re still almost indelibly linked with swamps, mires, bogs, and forests—exactly the kinds of places that I think of when I think of the quintessence of spring. Further, since spring is all about growth and renewal, it seemed like an interesting opportunity to take a look at a slightly less evil kind of hag. Enjoy.
The woman before you has skin that resembles a frog’s, and hair that looks like nothing so much as draped moss. She squints at you suspiciously before licking her lips and calling out to you.
HAG, SPRING CR 4
CN Medium monstrous humanoid
Init +1; Senses darkvision 90 ft.; Perception +12
AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +7 natural)
hp 39 (6d10+6)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +6
DR 5/slashing; SR 15
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +10 (1d4+4 plus sprouting seed)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th)
Constant—pass without trace
At will—animal growth, beast shape II, plant growth, tree shape, whispering wind
3/day—charm animal, bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, cat’s grace, control plants
1/day—summon nature’s ally IV
Str 19, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 14
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 21
Feats Brew Potion, Combat Casting, Great Fortitude
Skills Bluff +8, Disguise +8, Knowledge (nature) +8, Perception +10, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +10
Languages Aklo, Common, Giant
SQ hedge potions
Environment temperate and warm forests and marshes
Organization solitary or coven (3 hags of any kind)
Hedge Potions (Su): A spring hag does not need to prepare or expend a spell in order to brew a potion of that spell, and as such can brew potions of spells from any spell list. She cannot brew potions of spells whose spell level is higher than 2nd level, however.
Sprouting Seed (Su): Whenever a spring hag successfully hits a creature with one of her claw attacks, she can choose to embed a seed from under one of her fingernails in the wound. If she does, then from the seed powerful vines begin to sprout, which quickly sap the victim’s health and bind him in place. The creature can make a Fortitude save (DC 14) when the seed is first implanted in order to negate this effect. Otherwise, on the target’s first turn after being damaged, visible vines begin to extend from the wound, and he suffers 1d4 points of damage. At this stage, the vines themselves have no effect, but on the target’s next turn, the vines begin to wrap around his body, restricting his movements, and imposing a -2 penalty to attack rolls and AC, and he again suffers 1d4 points of damage. On the target’s third turn after the seed is implanted, he suffers another 1d4 points of damage and is treated as being entangled, in addition to the previous effect. On the target’s fourth turn after the seed is implanted, and each round thereafter, he suffers another 1d4 points of damage, and the vines attempt to grapple him, in addition to the previous effects. The vines have a CMB of +8 for this purpose, and do not damage the target on a successful grapple attempt, but instead attempt to pin him and keep him pinned.
The seed can be removed from the victim with a successful Heal check (DC 18) or by cutting it out, a full-round action that inflicts 2d8 points of slashing damage to the victim. Each round after the first that the vines are allowed to grow, the DC of the Heal check increases by +1 (to a maximum DC of 25), and the amount of slashing damage that is inflicted if it is cut out increases by +2 (to a maximum of 2d8+10). The spring hag can remove the seed at any time by speaking a single word, and doing so does not harm the victim.
One of the friendliest types of hags, spring hags are still far from trustworthy, and their mercurial tendencies and almost feral lifestyle means that even though they are not evil, it is still best to avoid them whenever possible, as very few have any qualms about devouring humans, and though they may genuinely be glad to talk to you and not even intend to do you ill at first, it takes only one wrong word, or even just a passing bout of hunger, for the hag to change her mind. Spring hags are wild creatures that are in some way infused with the powers of spring, life, and growth, and they are perhaps the most primal and uncorrupted type of hag. They are well known for the terrifying seeds which they keep hidden beneath their long, sharp fingernails, and some scholars believe that these hags may in fact be part plant themselves, and that the seeds are actually a part of the hag.
Spring hags are incredibly fond of chickens and roosters, and often keep large groups of these birds with them at their homes. In fact, the coops in which they keep these fowl are often nicer than the hags’ own homes, which tend to be little more than caves or mud hovels.