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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Lightbulb Coming up with motivation for my sea hag villain

    I took a break from the main campaign plot, and sent my party into the Feywild for a nice side adventure. Essentially, the party were thrown into a conflict between two factions: a young adult green dragon, who took control of a fey forest and is planning on conquering more forests and becoming an archfey; and a sea hag controlling a huge lake filled with all kinds of peaceful aquatic humanoids, with her lake sitting between the dragon's forest and the safe, easy route for the other forests in the area, serving as an obstacle for his conquest. Both want each other out of the picture because they pose a threat to each other, but with both creatures being innately controlling manipulative shmucks, instead of going to war, they try to solve their problems remotely and cleverly, without too much collateral damage. The party's motivation to take part in this is that both the hag and the dragon would offer them a way back to the material plane.

    Now, I'm cool with how I see the dragon, but I'm still not sure how to run the hag and the lake. Basically, I'm thinking of a gigantic (almost sea-sized) lake, filled with tribes and communities of peace-faring sea elves and merfolk (and maybe tritons and locathah), being bullied by the hag's sahuagin and merrow minions, and demanding each community to send a weekly human(oid) sacrifice each week (or maybe one living sacrifice from each community every day), which they have to comply with because reasons. I'm currently thinking of the reason being the lake's pleasent weather being preserved by the sacrifices (the lake's called "The Lake of Thunder", yet the storm is kept at bay for centuries by the hag's doing), but I don't see what the hag would gain from it. I've also thought of the hag serving an aboleth/morkoth/kraken, but I kinda like the asymmetry of hag/dragon as ooposed to a big monster, and it also kinda kills the Feywild vibe.

    I'm aiming for a situation where taking out any of the leaders would also have negative results (the dragon is a megalomanic killjoy dictator, but he's keeping the forest safe from the nearby destructive eldarin-fomorian war; the hag's keeping the lake habitable for it's dwellers), so the party would have to face an interesting choice. However, I'm feeling I'm kind of stuck in finding a proper motivation for my hag, and I'd be happy to have some suggestions for her, but also suggestions, ideas, thoughts and commentary about the general story-arc/gaiden/whatever I came up with. Thanks!
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    "If history is to change, let it change! If the world is to be destroyed, so be it! If my fate is to be destroyed... I must simply laugh!!"
    -Magus, Chrono Trigger

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Vacation in Nyalotha

    Default Re: Coming up with motivation for my sea hag villain

    My headspace probably isn’t aligned enough to answer properly as “dragon becoming fey” sounds like turning a book into a wheel.

    Are fey the otherworldly inhuman, prey-on-emotions creatures I’m envisioning?

    But on a more direct note... sea hag has a peaceful lake and now she’s demanding sacrifices for what? That doesn’t make anyone except her hungry hungry sahuagin happy. If she was fed by fear however, instilling that in the communities would provide a windfall of power she could wield against the dragon.
    By the metric of being wholly dependent on the GM for noncombat interaction Fighter is an NPC class.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Coming up with motivation for my sea hag villain

    Quote Originally Posted by Roi C. View Post

    Now, I'm cool with how I see the dragon, but I'm still not sure how to run the hag and the lake. Basically, I'm thinking of a gigantic (almost sea-sized) lake, filled with tribes and communities of peace-faring sea elves and merfolk (and maybe tritons and locathah), being bullied by the hag's sahuagin and merrow minions, and demanding each community to send a weekly human(oid) sacrifice each week (or maybe one living sacrifice from each community every day), which they have to comply with because reasons. I'm currently thinking of the reason being the lake's pleasent weather being preserved by the sacrifices (the lake's called "The Lake of Thunder", yet the storm is kept at bay for centuries by the hag's doing), but I don't see what the hag would gain from it. I've also thought of the hag serving an aboleth/morkoth/kraken, but I kinda like the asymmetry of hag/dragon as ooposed to a big monster, and it also kinda kills the Feywild vibe.


    Quote Reply
    Well it seems she's running a protection racket on the peaceful races but is actually providing some protection. So what she gets is ............whatever she wants that the peaceful races can provide. They not only have to provide a sacrifice but with every sacrifice is other demands from the Hag that are 'vital' to keep the weather fine (and to stop her minions trashing your home).
    Whatever she wants, she extorts from them. She's the farmer, protecting her livestock so they can keep providing for her.
    All Comicshorse's posts come with the advisor : This is just my opinion any difficulties arising from implementing my ideas are your own problem

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Coming up with motivation for my sea hag villain

    Quote Originally Posted by Roi C. View Post
    I'm currently thinking of the reason being the lake's pleasent weather being preserved by the sacrifices (the lake's called "The Lake of Thunder", yet the storm is kept at bay for centuries by the hag's doing), but I don't see what the hag would gain from it.
    Seems straightforward enough: make the sacrifices worth more than just holding back the storm. Perhaps she's using it as a way to elevate her status in a coven, where more souls/corpses harvested is a path to grandmotherhood or the best way to gain prestige over her long-estranged sisters. It could be that the sacrifices contribute to more than one ritual - the blood of sea elves is needed for a potion that empowers one's magic, or perhaps the lake water itself bestows a longer life to those who drink from it, but only when the lake is still. Perhaps the witch reneged on a deal with an Elder Tempest or some other living storm that occupies the lake, and if she can't keep that monster at bay with her sacrifice ritual, the elemental/storm will absolutely destroy her (and everything unrightfully occupying the lake, maybe also the party who stole the monster's rightful vengeance) once freed.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Coming up with motivation for my sea hag villain

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    My headspace probably isn’t aligned enough to answer properly as “dragon becoming fey” sounds like turning a book into a wheel.

    Are fey the otherworldly inhuman, prey-on-emotions creatures I’m envisioning?

    But on a more direct note... sea hag has a peaceful lake and now she’s demanding sacrifices for what? That doesn’t make anyone except her hungry hungry sahuagin happy. If she was fed by fear however, instilling that in the communities would provide a windfall of power she could wield against the dragon.
    Technically yes, but the Feywild is a weird place, and things are more prone to change and malleble in there, especially when subjected to the emotions and beliefs of many (at least the way I see it).

    As for the the hag, being fed by fear and despair might be a good direction. Thanks!


    Being fed by fear and despair might be a good direction. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    Well it seems she's running a protection racket on the peaceful races but is actually providing some protection. So what she gets is ............whatever she wants that the peaceful races can provide. They not only have to provide a sacrifice but with every sacrifice is other demands from the Hag that are 'vital' to keep the weather fine (and to stop her minions trashing your home).
    Whatever she wants, she extorts from them. She's the farmer, protecting her livestock so they can keep providing for her.
    That's a very cynical and cruel point of view... Which really helps me slide into the hag's shoes. Thank you!


    Quote Originally Posted by StoneSeraph View Post
    Seems straightforward enough: make the sacrifices worth more than just holding back the storm. Perhaps she's using it as a way to elevate her status in a coven, where more souls/corpses harvested is a path to grandmotherhood or the best way to gain prestige over her long-estranged sisters. It could be that the sacrifices contribute to more than one ritual - the blood of sea elves is needed for a potion that empowers one's magic, or perhaps the lake water itself bestows a longer life to those who drink from it, but only when the lake is still. Perhaps the witch reneged on a deal with an Elder Tempest or some other living storm that occupies the lake, and if she can't keep that monster at bay with her sacrifice ritual, the elemental/storm will absolutely destroy her (and everything unrightfully occupying the lake, maybe also the party who stole the monster's rightful vengeance) once freed.
    I'm actually considering using Matt Mercer's Sea Fury variant (a considerably stronger hag that ate the other members of her coven), but using the inhabitants as spell components sounds really good.
    Last edited by Roi C.; 2021-01-20 at 10:20 AM.
    "If history is to change, let it change! If the world is to be destroyed, so be it! If my fate is to be destroyed... I must simply laugh!!"
    -Magus, Chrono Trigger

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Coming up with motivation for my sea hag villain

    The easy explanation, to me, is to go with the notion that the sacrifices become slaves, experimental subjects, raw materials, and food for her and her minions. These empower her in various ways, which then enables her to maintain her control over the storm (amongst other things). Yes, if she dwindles in power by not having the resources the slaves and sacrifices provide, she genuinely could lose control over the storm and thus it would ravage the entire region. But she's getting more than just "hold it back" power out of this: she's actively in control over it. So part of the protection racket is that any who defy her are visited by the storm, as well as her other minions.

    Hags are known for having weird magical items and weird powers and rules; she should have a lot of eyes, bones, and other wards and tools that are empowered by her magic but made from parts of her victims. Some of whom may yet live, eyeless or with missing limbs, and be forced to work for her or her minions as menials.

    Wards protecting her areas - or even watching and spying in the peaceful victim towns - made from eyes of those she's harvested, for example, could be a hallmark of her reign.


    One thing to be a bit cautious with is just how many sacrifices she demands. How big are these tribes/towns/cities? How many are there? How fast is she slaughtering the tributes? One person per day is 365 people a year. Trivial to a modern city, perhaps, but a medieval village might be losing so much population per year that they're actively dying out. And remember that that's only one cause of attrition; they'd still have the normal ones that cause accidental and old age deaths.

    Not going to run numbers here so much as caution you to make sure you have sufficiently large groups she's pulling from, or that you moderate her numbers-demands.

    The other side of this is: how many groups is she demanding from, and what is she doing with the tributed prisoners? 365 more people per year is a reasonably high growth rate for a plantation; if she's keeping slaves at all, is she killing as many people per day as she's bringing in? Or is she growing her slave and prisoner populations, and how fast?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Coming up with motivation for my sea hag villain

    Hags canonically love causing suffering and unhappiness, especially to good-aligned folk. They might even feed on it. They also like corrupting goodness, kind of like devils. So I'd say the sea hag's motivation is purely causing misery to the sea elves/merfolk/whatever else lives there. She doesn't really need sacrifices, but she loves what it does to them to have to pick a sacrifice or suffer her wrath. Plus, she's forcing good-aligned people to choose to help her harm someone, fitting the corruption angle. Especially nice if she insists her sacrifices fit a profile unlikely to be a heroic voluntary sacrifice and likely to be very missed, such as only accepting small children as sacrifices ("roasting children? call it a weakness").

    Also, maybe the dragon could use the unhappiness the hag is causing to gain more minions? Sounds like these people might jump at the chance to serve a dragon instead of a hag, since chromatic dragons are more just selfish and vain predators rather than actively seeking the misery of all around them.
    Last edited by Ettina; 2021-01-27 at 08:38 AM.

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