Hannya (pronounced: /hɑːnjɑː/ hah-nya) were oriental cousins to ordinary hags, native to Kara-Tur. Like the sinister serpentines known as the yuan-ti, they were former humans that made a pact with dark forces to permanently alter themselves.
Hannyas were 7 ft (2.1 m) long overall, but their upper and lower halves were obviously distinct. Their upper halves resembled skinny, decrepit crones with sickly green skin cloaked in black or grey peasant clothing that was often torn and filthy. Their lower halves meanwhile were those of thick, limber snakes with cold, thin scales of green or black complexion.
Black beady eyes covered in a white film sat above their long, hooked noses and behind their yellow fangs laid a serpentine tongue. When stirred, either from excitement or annoyance, they spoke in a series of stuttering sibilance, sprinkled with long, shrill cackling. Sharp claws tipped their long, bony fingers and their hunched shoulders were covered by greasy, curly, dark hair.
Already bitter and malicious before their transformation, hannya were no less wicked afterwards. They were devious and vicious with a predatory mindset, relishing the pain of others with sadistic delight but only preying on those incapable of defending themselves.
The muscled, lower half of a hannya could constrict their foes like a giant boa, her grip increasingly tightening around her victim even without her teeth and claws sinking in. They could also polymorph themselves, detect thoughts, and implant suggestions in minds up to 100 ft (30 m) away, although not to those that knew of their true nature or who otherwise viewed them as a threat.
The other weakness of the hannya was their utter aversion to violets. Those holding bouquets of violets were immune to their spells and they refused to touch anyone holding them nor enter buildings surrounded by them.
Hannya were pitiless fighters but only attacked those weaker than themselves. Against stronger opponents or those of equal ability, they took any and all opportunities to escape. Upon finding a proper target, like a lost child or journeying priest, they would polymorph into a kindly-looking, elderly woman and behave pleasantly towards them.
They would then seed a suggestion compelling the soon-to-be victim to trust them or at the very least lower their guard, such as that a lonely crone would desire company or might need help. At other times, they appealed to more pragmatic thinking and suggested that they could offer food and shelter or would use some form of treasure as bait and suggest its presence to nearby wanderers. If the target was holding violets, she would non-magically request that they put the flowers down for some reason, such as saying she was allergic or that she wanted to admire them from a vase. After the victim was appropriately vulnerable they would waste no time before savaging them.
Hannyas laired in ruins and other abandoned areas on the border of human settlements, often alone but sometimes in a coven with others of their kind. They rarely allied with other monsters but if they needed to attack humans in large numbers rather than picking off stragglers they would cooperate with yuan-ti.
Hannyas were the distant relatives of ordinary hags, but unlike them, achieved their forms willingly through a dark ritual. Once evil human women, the outcast souls that would become hannyas were exiled from their homes for their vile deeds and overcome with a thirst for revenge. By striking an unholy pact with an evil spirit or spirits, the former human's fealty and worship granted her a permanent transformation into a hannya. They were known to be wu jen, shugenjas, shamans or sorcerers before their transformation but favored the first.
Hannya would consume any kind of meat, but preferred the flesh of humanoids and had an insatiable taste for that of humans.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 166–167. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Rick Swan (July 1990). Monstrous Compendium Kara-Tur Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), p. 25. ISBN 0-88038-851-X.
- ↑ James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 250. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.