Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Werk: Hagtessa

"When we was young, we saw a maulkin lady what had a malmsey nose down by the refuse dumps.  Thought she was a beggar.


"Like I said, we was young.  Weren't on our guard in the city.  Thought it were 'safe.'  Whatever that means.


"She was on us in an instant.  Geezer Geoff raised his staff, but she put some sort o' hex on 'im, 'fore he could even cast a magic missile.  Whilst he was staggering, insensate, she pounced on Shae.  Was only Brother Melech what kept 'er at bay, and even at that, it was tenuous.


"We did the smart thing.  We ran, 'alf draggin' Shae and Geoff with us.  Took several days of the Brother's tender mercies to get Shae back on 'er feet.  We didn't go down to the refuse piles for quite a time after that.  Just weren't worth it." — Ogden "The Glaive" Thursson

In this week's Wednesday Werk, we'll look at the Hagtessa.

Combining some of the worst traits of ghouls, hags, and magi, the Hagtessa are wizened, mad old women thought to emerge from beyond the sane planes known to mortals.  It is likely that they were once mortal women, but have been transformed by some black curse; indeed, some scholars claim they are enslaved by mad, eldritch things beyond mortal comprehension.

Whatever their origins, they are now decrepit, old, undead hags with immense magical powers and terrifying strength.  While the creatures are capable of devastating attacks, vile sorcery, and innate magical abilities, they are also known for their abilities to enact magical rituals with nonstandard components.  Most notably, they engage in planar travel using humanoid sacrifice as a ritual focus, and they have also been known to travel on the same plane through lesser versions of the same.

Basically, they're bad news, and their hatred of free-living things prompts them to hatch insidious plots and enact grotesque tortures.  Petitioners can learn rituals or gain their aid, but it will almost require a reprehensible task on the part of the petitioner.

The Hagtessa Blood-Witch is a terrifying combatant.  It will try to lure its opponents into range of its Terror Aura and use Maddening Revelations.  It will then spend an Action Point to drop Shroud, negating any attacks that require line of sight and granting concealment to the Hagtessa.  It then uses Ensorcelling Glance to force a character against its allies, and will use it whenever available; when it is bloodied, it will only use it if doing so does not provoke opportunity attacks.  It will proceed to use Fleshrot when it is available and Rip and Tear when it is not.  As it attacks, it uses Torturous Teleport to refocus and flee large groups of enemies.

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