The villain behind my Fey’s Bargain adventure series is the Dread Polly Mudmouth, an ancient green hag who has plagued the countryside for years untold. She set up the events behind both F1 – A Fey’s Anger and F2 – A Fey’s Evil, but she doesn’t actually make an appearance until the next side-trek, F3 – A Fey’s Lair due for publication on the DM’s Guild later this month. I’ve included a current draft of my villain below.
By wonderful happenstance, Sly Flourish (Mike Shea) recent posted a great article Running Hags on his website. I heartily encourage you to take a read through as it provides some great ideas for running hags, which can come in handy when trying to run Dread Polly Mudmouth in my coming adventure.
Dread Polly Mudmouth
Dread Polly Mudmouth is an ancient and powerful fey creature who has tormented mortals by granting them twisted bargains that ultimately lead to sorrow and regret. The mummified head of a sea hag who was caught within one of Dread Polly’s schemes hangs about the old hag’s neck augmenting the evil fey’s power.
Medium fey, neutral evil
Armor Class 17 (natural)
Hit Points 90 (12d8 + 36)
Speed 30 ft
Skills Arcana +4, Deception +5, Perception +4, Stealth +3
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Elvish, Draconic, Sylvan
Challenge Rating 4 (1100 XP)
Amphibious. Dread Polly Mudmouth can breathe air and water.
Innate Spellcasting. The Dread Polly Mudmouth’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13). She can innately cast the following spell, requiring no material components:
At will: dancing lights, minor illusion, vicious mockery.
1/day each: ray of enfeeblement, charm person
Mimicry. Dread Polly Mudmouth can mimic animal sounds and humanoid voices. A creature that hears the sounds can tell they are imitations with a successful DC 14 Wisdom (Insight) check.
Horrific Necklace. Dread Polly Mudmouth wears the shrunken mummified head of a sea hag as a necklace hung from her neck. Normally Dread Polly Mudmouth uses her Illusory Appearance ability to hide its appearance.
However, if any humanoid that starts its turn within 30 feet Dread Polly Mudmouth while she wears the necklace and it is visible in its true form, that humanoid must make a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if the necklace is within line of sight, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the Horrific Necklace for the next 24 hours.
Unless the target is surprised or the revelation of the necklace’s true form is sudden, the target can avert its eyes and avoid making the initial saving throw. Until the start of its next turn, a creature that averts its eyes has disadvantage on attack rolls against the hag.
Removing the necklace from Dread Polly is a traumatic event for the hag. If this occurs without her consent, she must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be Stunned for 1 round.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d8+3) slashing damage.
Death Glare. While wearing her Horrific Necklace, Dread Poly Mudmouth may target one frightened creature she can see within 30 feet of her. If the target can see the hag and her Horrific Necklace, the target must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or drop to 0 hit points.
Illusory Appearance. Dread Polly covers herself and anything she is wearing or carrying with a magical illusion that makes her look like another creature of her general size and humanoid shape. The illusion ends if the hag takes a bonus action to end it or if she dies.
The changes wrought by this effect fail to hold up to physical inspection. For example, the hag could appear to have smooth skin, but someone touching her would feel her rough flesh. Otherwise, a creature must take an action to visually inspect the illusion and succeed on a DC 20 intelligence (Investigation) check to discern that the hag is disguised.
Invisible Passage. Dread Polly magically turns invisible until she attacks or casts a spell, or until her concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell. While invisible, she leaves no physical evidence of her passage, so she can be tracked only by magic. Any equipment she wears or carries is invisible with her.
Playing Dread Polly Mudmouth
Dread Polly Mudmouth is an evil hag who setup the events at the center of the the Fey’s Bargain Adventure.
She is utterly evil and loves nothing more than to weave a web of lies to entrap the unwary in a bad bargain. She revels in breaking the spirits of once happy souls and corrupting righteous ones to the ways of evil. These are the only things that bring joy to her endlessly tedious existence.
The Dread Polly rarely appears in her normal form, using her Illusory Appearance ability to appear less threatening. Recently she has adopted the guise of Lidea, a once noble woman who became one of the hag’s victims. In this form, Dread Polly appears as a disheveled human woman of indiscriminate age, clothed in a ragged dress that once was of the finest quality. She walks with a stoop and wears a large pendant made of small woven branches hung from a hempen rope about her neck.
If forced to protect herself, Dread Polly will drop her magical disguise and appear in her frightening hag form. Hung from the hag’s neck is a gruesome pendant consisting of a shrunken, mummified sea hag’s head whose sickly white eyes still seem to twitch and look about.
- Borrrrrrring. I’m sooooo disappointed. It looks like I’ll eat you after all.
- You’ve got to do something nice sometimes otherwise these pitiful mortals will stop coming and then where would I get my entertainment?
- Cruelty. Nothing is sweeter than watching a holier-than-thou mortal beg for mercy.
- Nothing is more important than myself. I will do whatever necessary to wring some enjoyment out of this tedious existence.
- Eternity can get pretty boring. I can be distracted by something unique or interesting.
Dread Polly is not stupid. She has survived as long as she has because she is smart enough recognize dangerous foes and avoid undue risk.
If threatened she will rely upon her minions to protect her. She frequently uses Vicious Mockery from a safe distance and will cast Ray of Enfeeblement on powerful opponents. If given the opportunity, she will make use of her horrific necklace’s Death Glare ability.
When she truly feels endangered by powerful opponents, she will readily use her Invisible Passage ability to flee to preserve her life. She is happy to bide her time and plan her vengeance, even if it takes years to do so.
The great image in this post is cropped from “A Visit to the Witch” from 1882 by Edward Fredrick Brewtnall.