My theme this year will be The Grey Isles, a gothic horror book that I’m writing for a role playing game (for Dungeons and Dragons and Dungeon World, but for many others too). Each day, I’ll be posting a feature, person, place, monster or object related to this eerie setting.
There will be a write-up, a few sample items in a list or table and some artwork by me!
Here is my original blog post one the subject to give you all a preview. In short, it’s heavily inspired by a music album by the band Candlemass (called King of the Grey Islands).
Once again, I was uninspired by the entries under “N” within the Monster Manual. However, “Night Hag” is listed under “Hag” so I went with that because scary old ladies are awesome.
Nyx is a figure from myth made real by some dark force. At night she enters the rooms of misbehaving children, sits on their bed and drinks their souls through their breath. Then she departs as silently as a shadow, leaving the child’s still-living shell behind for their parents to discover the next morning.
The child’s soul is brought to a frightening cottage deep in the woods where it wanders an endless maze of rooms filled with their worst fears.
Nyx was once a fairy tale used by parents to frighten misbehaving children. “Be good or else Nyx the bog-witch will catch you while you sleep” was a popular warning.
However, due to some unknown force full of dark magic, the nightmare of Nyx has become real. When a parent uses the once benign warning, Nyx is really summoned that same night. The next morning, parents desperately search for their missing children, but to no avail.
Using this NPC in your campaign
Nyx the Night Hag could in actuality be many different things and her reasons for taking away the children might not always be malevolent. This could be played up at face value: the party might be hired to find the missing children and defeat an evil creature OR as they investigate they discover an ugly truth; that the true evil was not where they expected it to be:
An actual Night Hag taking advantage of local superstitions to feed her evil appetite for souls.
A demon summoned into the world by an insanely grieving parent intent on stealing other people’s children.
A ghost trying to save children from an approaching plague.
A Druid seeking vengeance against the village; she does not in fact harm the kidnapped children, but teaches them the Old Ways to spite the new faith.
A Fey coming to take back her people’s children; the village had been once cursed with barrenness and the mayor made an unwise pact with the Unseelie Court.
A kindly witch trying to save the children from villagers planning on conducting a mass sacrificial ritual to appease an evil god.