Three old crones cackle over a bubbling cauldron on a secluded isle. Inside their pot are the bones of misbehaving children. These fey creatures are called hags.
Wicked Witches. Although hags appear humanoid, they are in fact fey creatures that prey upon humanoid and faerie folk alike. Hags pay fealty to the archfey Baba Yaga. To better emulate their terrifying mistress, hags often take the form of withered women with exaggerated features, such as extremely long noses, stringy gray hair, and loose skin draped over skeletal frames, although they sometimes appear as decrepit old men.
Boons and Bargains. Like all fey creatures, hags follow strict rules. They never prey on a victim without gaining some form of power over it first. Being impolite to a hag incurs a minor obligation, while stealing from a hag or trespassing in its home may put a mortal entirely at the hag’s mercy.
A hag’s favorite form of power, however, is the bargain. Hags have many gifts to offer—writs of safe passage, healing balms and love potions, or curses placed on one’s enemies—and desperate people sometimes pay terrible prices in exchange for such help. A hag always makes good on a bargain but often twists the petitioner’s true desires. A mortal may become rich at the expense of a loved one, marry their beloved only to find the union plagued with conflict, or give birth to a longed-for child that turns out to be a mischievous hedgehog. In any case, once a bargain is sealed, the bargainer is in the hag’s power.
Maternal Monsters. Many hags are driven by a perverse instinct to adopt mortal children. They develop over-protective, yet loving, relationships with their children, and sometimes even pass on their powers to their wards. As fey creatures, however, hags enforce rigid, arbitrary rules, and have been known to kill and eat poorly behaved children. For this reason, mortal mothers sometimes use the threat of a hag’s visit to frighten their children into obedience.
Cruel Covens. Hags that practice together are called covens, and usually consist of three hags that are closely related. Though hags in the same coven are fiercely loyal to each other, feuds between covens are common. Covens may compete over the number and cruelty of their bargains, the comfort of their lairs, or who makes the better human pancreas stew.
A hag in a coven is more powerful than one alone. It gains new abilities that persist even if the others in its coven are killed. Only banishment from a coven can rob a hag of its enhanced might.