- "The only thing worse than having a hag in your stanitsa is not having a hag in your stanitsa."
- —Chag lyn, Ungol Ataman.
Their powers are said to be a blessing and a curse, for although the hags can undoubtedly aid their local communities, the spirits demand a high price for their compliance: premature aging. Because of this consequence, most wise women dread the possibility of the spirits answering their call. As well as the wise women, those who suffer a great loss—such as the death of a husband or child - may also be chosen by the Ancient Widow and gain an intimate understanding of Kislev’s tormented spirits. Hag witches who come to power in this way often live alone, grieving for their lost loved ones and fading youth.[1a]
The legendary Hag Mothers are very powerful Hag Witches, known for their powers of divination, healing, and their influence over the Ancient Widow’s spirits. Most eke out simple lives in rustic huts far from the communities they watch over. These Hag Mothers rarely leave their haunted homes, forcing those seeking their aid to undertake arduous journeys to reach them. However, a few Hag Mothers do wander Kislev, following wherever the spirits lead them and sharing their knowledge. Although most appear impossibly old and bent—their twisted spines creaking alarmingly at the smallest movement—many retain their youthful vigour and can be unexpectedly spry.
The Lore of the Hags
The Ungol Hag Witches have dealt with Kislev's spirits for countless generations. In that time, several distinct traditions have formed. The Koldunja, or Spirit Witches, are hags who tend the spirits of the land and are called upon when the spirits need placating, banishing, or summoning. The Vorozheja, or Fate Witches, specialise in communicating with spirits of fortune and are consulted by those wishing to know the future. The Znarkharja, or Folk Witches, ward against the influence of Chaos and tend to all manner of ailments plaguing communities. But no matter what ancient traditions a Hag Witch practices, all are known for one power above all others: their ability to Curse their enemies... [1b]
Petty Spells (Hag)
- Charmed: For the cost of a drop of your blood, you attract tiny spirits of good fortune to your smeared blood.
- Curse: For the cost of a fingernail from the victim, you speak terrible words, invoking the spirits to curse a single target within range.
- Resist Corruption: For the cost of spittle, you utter an invocation to the spirits to gain their protection from the Ruinous Powers.
Lore of the Hags
- Banish Spirit: For the cost of two of an elk's inner organs, you banish an ethereal creature into the Aethyr or from wherever it came.
- Cleanse Body: Your target eats two fistfuls of fish guts as you cackle your spell. The guts attract healing spirits to help drive out bad spirits of disease and hurt.
- Cleanse Soul: The target drinks three cups of bear’s urine, allowing you to attack any spirits of the Dark Gods inhabiting him.
- Command Spirit: For the cost of two fox's brains, you bend a spirit to your will.
- Cursed Pledge: For the cost of two items personal to the target, you demand the target enact a deed or suffer your wrath.
- Deny Spirit: For the cost of two newt spines, you place can banish a spirit to anywhere beyond the spell's affected area and to remain outside of said area.
- Form of the Ancient Widow: For the cost of six fistfuls of Kislevite earth soaked in your fresh blood, you invite the Ancient Widow’s most powerful spirits within you. You transform, along with your trappings, into a grey-haired monstrosity over eight feet in height, with glowing eyes, rusted metal teeth, and long, iron talons.
- Fortune Told: For the cost of two items directly applicable to the question asked, your eyes turn blue as you enter a trance (rendering you helpless) and commune with the spirits. Any single person may ask a single question about some future happening. The spirits convey the answer in a cryptic phrase.
- Greater Curse: For the cost of two items personal to the target, you call the spirits to curse someone.
- Hag's Curse: For the cost of one lock of the victim's hair, te spirits grant you insight into the target’s fate.
- Haunting: For the cost of two fist-sized items from the target location, you curse a specified building (or section of it, for large buildings) or small geographical feature (such as a hill or copse) to attract malevolent spirits.
- Lucky Claw: For the cost of two claws of a three-legged dog, you attract a luck spirit to the ingredient and bind it there.
- Past Revealed: For the cost of two items directly applicable to the question asked, your eyes turn red as you enter a trance and see the past through a crimson haze. Whilst in the trance, you are helpless. To receive a vision, you must first ask a question of the spirits (e.g. What happened here three years ago? or How did this man die?). However, as the vision comes from the point of view of local spirits (which may include the dead, nature spirits, malignant spites, or similar), the results are often confusing and unsure.
- Resist Chaos: For the cost of two snowy owl’s gizzards, your incantation summons spirits that hate the Dark Gods of the north.
- Summon Spirit: For the cost of an ingredient dependent upon the type of spirit, you summon a spirit to an unoccupied spot within the spell’s range.
- Whispers of Taint: For the cost of two hands of a worshipper of the Dark Gods, the spirits whisper dire warnings whenever servants of the Dark Gods or things tainted by their evil draw near.
From minor nuisances such as boils or flatulence, to greater blights such as disease or premature old age, the range of curses employed by the Hag Witches is almost endless.
- Hag's Curse: You are cursed to age at an incredible rate as the Ancient Widow’s spirits leech your youth. Your hair greys and lengthens, your nails yellow and extend, your muscles atrophy, and your eyes and mind weaken.
- Misfortune Curse: Malign spirits dog your every step, tripping you at important moments, poking your eyes when you need to see, and forcing you to bark obscenities when you try to be charming.
- Madness Curse: Tiny, malicious spirits settle in your mind. Once you become insane, the spirits cease their torment.
- Sickness Curse: This curse attracts disease spirits. This curse only imposes one disease at a time.
- Witch's Curse: Spirits swirl around you, wearing away at the barrier between the material realm and the Aethyr.
Kislev has always been a haunted land. All manner of spirits gather in its dark forests, open oblast, and high mountains. The hags have long treated with these entities and have learned ways to attract and influence them, allowing them to curse an area with bad luck, nightmares, or worse. Most hag mothers attract spirits to haunt the territory about their homes. However, they are careful to ensure there is a safe path through, for they are not immune to the effects of haunting.
- Cursed: Simple—but malicious—spirits haunt the area and punish any that draw close.
- Distracting Curse: Minor spirits flit through the area, tugging at extremities.
- Mishap Curse: Childish spirits giggle through the place, unhitching buckles, loosing belts, pulling down pants, lifting skirts, and pinching bottoms.
- Nightmare Curse: After five minutes sleeping in the cursed area, you suffer from terrible nightmares as spirits rip through your mind.
- Rotting Curse: Spirits of decay are drawn to the cursed locale. Any perishables rot quickly. Fresh food moulders in minutes, preserves may last as long as an hour, and other materials rust, decompose, or corrode in little more than a day.
Famous Hag Witches
- Baba Khubleya - a prodigal child Hag with powers of divination.
- Baba Osuleg - mutated hag witch of Troll Country.
- The Sea Hag - fabled Hag said to torment descendants of the Gospodars.