Shrieking hags, or howling hags, wandered the wastes of Rashemen like squalls, tricky as the wind and as devastating as a storm. When angered, such hags were like uncontrollable tempests, destroying the area around them with violent gales and wailing winds.
Shrieking hags resembled tall women that seemed as regal as they did physically ravaged by time. Their yellow-brown skin was tough and leathery, their hands twisted into talons as hard as iron, and their long, white hair often blew in an ever-present, bitterly cold wind. Typically they wore thin, ragged robes, and sometimes leant on an old, crooked staff that they didn't actually need.
Howling hags were potentially the worst of their kind, which given the general behavior of the race was especially condemning. They took great glee in tricking the powerful and virtuous, preying upon unwary travelers, and otherwise spreading chaos, despair, and mischief. They were also spiteful creatures, likely to fly into murderous fury if their deceptions were resisted.
Like other hags, shrieking hags could polymorph into the form of an elderly woman of a humanoid race of comparable size. Their unique power befit their namesake— powerful, magical howls and shrieks that blasted back their foes with thunderous force and drove their victims mad. They were resistant to sonic blasts, and completely immune to the cold. An aura of menacing whispers surrounded them that could psychically hurt others, and they were also capable of great flight speeds and short-range teleportation.
They were innately capable of casting the spells change self, dancing lights, ghost sound, gust of wind, shocking grasp, wind wall. Three times per day they could cast the spells charm person, control winds, improved invisibility, lightning bolt, see invisibility, and suggestion. Once per day they could cast charm monster, great shout, polymorph self, and whirlwind. Finally, once per tenday they could cast the spell control weather.
The primary means with which howling hags fought were their screams; they stayed at range unleashing the most powerful shouts they could muster. An angered shrieking hag could destroy an entire village in minutes in a furious assault, using their various powers to best, devastating effect.
Preferably however, a shrieking hag would use their powers to split up groups and draw out a single chosen victim before deceiving, tempting, or charming them into their lairs. They typically fought physically with quarterstaves or their flesh-rending claws, which were particularly dangerous if they latched onto their victims, but reserved melee combat for solitary opponents they had lured into their clutches. If cornered, they teleported away.
Shrieking hags haunted barren wastelands, desolate steppes, and empty plains, though they were found on the frontiers of civilization or in settled areas rather than in completely abandoned areas. The Endless Wastes of Rashemen was the home of many howling hags, as was the area near Citadel Umbra on the island of Gwynneth around 1479 DR.[note 1]
In 1479 DR, some howling hags were allied with the Cult of Voldini. When members of that cult stole a translated copy of the legendary Tome of Twilight Boughs from the estate of the wizard Aldaron, a howling hag was among the fey allies they summoned to cover up any loose ends as they made their escape.
Notable Shrieking Hags
- Stavrala Nazaerlyth
- The date for all Year 1 RPGA sanctioned adventures is considered to be 1479 DR for the purposes of this wiki.
- Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 150. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
- Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 64–65. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
- Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 89–90, 92, 147. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
- Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 142. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- Bill W. Baldwin (July 2009). Through Twilight Boughs (AGLA1-4) (ZIP/PDF). Living Forgotten Realms. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 6–7. Retrieved on 2021-4-8.