Dungeons & Dragons Online

In Defense of a Hag Patron

Content of the article: "In Defense of a Hag Patron"

This post is being made in response to a post made by /u/saiboule about their desire for a hag warlock patron that was met with much criticism. As another player who believes their is room for a hag themed subclass in 5e I would like to make a post that explores the idea of what this subclass could look like and why it is sufficiently different from a general fey patron.

First I would like to engage one of the main criticisms faced in the original post, that hags are completely covered by the archfey patron. I completely understand that the warlock has many things that can be hag themed, and that the archfey have a spell list that could be applied to a hag coven, but I also believe there is room for variation on a similar theme. The recent UA for an undead patron while we already have undying shows me that WotC believes variation on a theme can be useful, and I would also argue that Lurker in the Deep could have been covered by a Cthulhu-esque being from the great old one patron. Although I admit those two have been made sufficiently different. To show that hags would be able to provide things a typical fey cannot I will explore a bit of their lore from Volo's Guide to Monsters.

  • Hags live on the outskirts of fey culture and have since migrated to prime material plane
  • Hags are loners by nature but connect with and have knowledge of all other hags, meaning they have a subculture completely unrelated to the faerie courts.
  • Hags tend to build custom magic items and spells
  • Hags often have animated vehicles, which is rather unique to them
  • Hags have covens that will focus on different things, allowing variation within the patron itself
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Secondly, I would like to explore a bit of the niche that makes hags unique, and the main way I will do this is through the Witch class from Pathfinder 2e. Witches from pathfinder and warlocks from 5e have a number of things in common, but there are many key thematic differences that make you feel like you are really playing a witch.

  • Pathfinder witches have access to a cauldron which they use to craft potions
  • They can use their hair and nails as weapons, and impart hexes with their nails
  • They can cackle to extended the duration of their hexes, and do things like hex two targets with a single spell
  • They have an understanding of how spells work and can counter a spell by using the same spell if they have it prepared

There are other thematic differences as well, but given what I've already posted about Volo's lore I think the image of a hag or witch is starting to come together.

Finally, I will post a very rough idea of what a hag patron could look like and how that is different from a typical fey. Please keep in mind this is not intended to be a fully fleshed out or balanced subclass, it is simply an exercise in the themes or ideas that could be incorporated to show the merits of the idea for such a subclass. For the expanded spells I will be posting more than two options just to show what could be included and will only post spells that are not part of any patron, but there are some that could overlap from other patrons.

Hag Patron

Expanded Spells:

1st Level: Inflict Wounds, Detect Magic, Silent Image, Identify, Absorb Elements

2nd Level: See Invisibility, Augury, Locate Object (on basic coven list)

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3rd Level: Bestow Curse (on basic coven list), Tiny Hut, Life Transference

4th Level: Arcane Eye, Faithful Hound, Polymorph (on basic coven list)

5th Level: Geas, Mislead, Animate Objects

Hag's Claws: At 1st level your fingernails lengthen into claws and becoming enchanted with dark magic. You may use these to claws to make a melee spell attack that deals 1d4 of damage. When you successfully hit with this claw attack you may impart a hex spell (or possibly debuff) with no additional rolls by expending a spell slot. The damage of these claws grows to 1d6 and then 1d8 at certain levels.

Coven's Cauldron: At 6th level your patron bestows you with a flying cauldron that comes when you call and you gain proficiency in alchemist's supplies. Once per a long rest you may spend a bonus action to call upon the cauldron to aid you for up to one minute. The cauldron has its own stat block and shares your initiative count in battle. You may also ride the cauldron as a mount.

Hag's Cackle: At 10th level you take learn to fully take pleasure in the misery of others. When you are forced to make a Constitution saving throw to maintain a hex spell (or possibly debuff) you can spend your reaction to cackle and gain advantage on that save.

A Coven of your Own: At 14th level you gain the ability to create a temporary coven of your own. You may expend an action to create two illusory duplicates of yourself up to 60ft in line of sight. You can cast spells and make claw attacks through these duplicates. The duplicates have your statistics and seem real in every way, but disappear if they take any damage.

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In summation, I believe that a hag or witch based subclass is not something that is fully explored in 5e and that there is room for it to exist. I hope that I showed why it would be significantly different from an archfey patron and why this particular niche has both enough depth to separate it, and is not significantly covered within the realm of the archfey.

Source: reddit.com

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