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A Night Hag is listed as CR 9. That seems to indicate that sending one against a party of level-10 PCs should be a safe bet on the party defeating the Night Hag.

Assuming that the Night Hag's chosen tactic is to haunt one of the PC's dreams, is it reasonable to assume that a party of level-10 PCs can stop the haunting? Looking over my game's melee-heavy party, I doubt they can defeat it, since they have no obvious way of becoming ethereal.

What am I missing? What might a consulted sage recommend to the PCs? It seems that the best spells to deal with this are beyond their level.

(I'm posting what I've got so far. Feel free to copy-and-paste into your answer so we can have one complete answer.)

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Yea, the CR for Night Hag is kinda off when used this way. In this case, it seems to be a fairly simple matter of the person setting the CR having assumed a straight-forward attack by the Hag on the PCs or by the PCs on the Hag. This is a pretty standard assumption in the CR system, but is clearly an inappropriate one for a creature like the Night Hag with a clearly defined paradigm that such frontal attacks aren't a big part of. More generally, the CR system is riddled throughout with many scores much more poorly set than this one. It should never be used blindly, but only as a starting point –  Matthew Najmon Jun 30 '13 at 1:06

3 Answers 3

Well, 3.5 has 'they can visit the dreams of chaotic or evil individuals' [only] - it sounds silly, but have you tried hiding the target in some manner? I'm not sure how Night Hags find their victims (maybe some trickery or even the cleric spell Undetectable Alignment could help here)

CR of Night Hag is 9, so your party might be in the level 7-9 range with 4th level spells? Lesser Planar Ally might also be an option to help defend the target. If you have a cleric that can cast Dispel Evil or you can get a scroll, I'd probably give that a whirl - it counters the arcane spell Nightmare.

Take a look at the spell Magic Circle against Evil - I was going to recommend it as a last ditch protection for the target since it blocks things like possession attempts, but it also has a 'this spell can be focused inward instead of outward'. You might be able to 'set a trap' around the target in this manner depending on how the DM rules it.

Good luck!

(Lesser Planar Ally recommendation - a Janni would be very useful as it is an Outsider with 6 HD. 'Physically strong and courageous' - their spell like abilities include Ethereal Jaunt (caster level 12) once per day for 1 hour, so it can actually engage the Hag. Other abilities include invisiblity (self) and enlarge/reduce person. If equipped with some magic weapons by the PCs, particularly ranged ones like magical arrow as part of its payment or a cold iron melee weapon, it could definitely bloody and possibly drive off the Hag which is probably not used to getting suddenly ambushed at range when going after helpless prey. You might need to 'buff' the Janni somehow, especially vs the Hag's at-will magic missles, i.e. brooch of shielding or similar if you can get one )

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The night hag doesn't use the Nightmare spell, but rather a unique supernatural ability. Also, can you think of any outsiders available to Lesser Planar Ally (6 or less HD) that can do anything useful vs. the night hag? –  Dane Jun 28 '13 at 14:12
    
Sorry for the very late response, but I added the Janni as a recommendation –  TysoThePirate Aug 24 '13 at 0:57
    
Excellent find! I hadn't seen that. The players ended up using a scroll of "See Invisibility" and then pestered the Night Hag with Magic Missiles until it became material in order to fight back. That, of course, was a fatal mistake. –  Dane Aug 24 '13 at 14:47

The ones I'm coming up with so far:

  1. See Invisibility plus Magic Missile.
  2. Blink to go ethereal and attack while ethereal.
  3. Spiritual Weapon (presumably with a 50% miss chance given the correct square).
  4. Dismissal (but have to chance the SR on a high-level spell).
  5. Plane Shift to the Ethereal (which requires getting a tuning fork, etc.).
  6. Find some sort of portal to the Ethereal.
  7. Dispel Magic repeatedly (low chance of success against DC 27), followed by effective prepared actions to prevent the Night Hag from using Etherealness again.
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You can add Dispel magic to the list (target and suppress the heartstone or dispel Etherealness on the hag), as well as any other appropriate Abjuration spell. After dispelling the effect, you are free to Dimensional Lock/Anchor, Magic Circle Against Evil, or just beat the stuffing out of the hag. –  Melon Jun 22 '13 at 16:11
    
@Melon The CL of the effect is 16, which would be pretty hard for a CR appropriate party to dispel. (DC 26, and you're probably rolling about 1d20+7.) The hag could also resume it the very next round, and has a really high SR against dimensional anchor etc. –  starwed Jun 22 '13 at 19:10
    
@starwed Ahh, I'd forgotten that you have to fight the CL of the effect and not the caster to suppress an item! Scratch that, then! –  Melon Jun 22 '13 at 21:30
    
Dispel Magic repeatedly plus a bunch of prepared actions might work. If you can do 17+ damage in response to the Night Hag attempting to go ethereal again, you can stop her from doing it. –  Dane Jun 28 '13 at 14:01

You probably need to first see, and then harm, the night hag. Sadly, plane shift will not work very well -- you'd shift several miles when you crossed over. So whether you can just directly adventure on the ethereal plane is kinda up to your DM.

Sight

Detect invisibility will certainly allow you to spot the hag, but it has a range of personal and is not a divine spell.

True Seeing is available to clerics, but is obviously higher level and more expensive.

Invisibility Purge would probably work? Unlike the other two, it doesn't specifically say it reveals ethereal creatures, but it does clearly say "Anything invisible becomes visible while in the area." So double check with your DM on that one.

The general strategy would then be to have your wizard keeping watch with detect invisibility, since it has a longer duration. A cleric could then cast purge once the hag has been spotted.

Harm

The high SR and hard to dispel etherealness might make this pretty hard to pull off using only the core rules.

  • Blink is the best (only?) cheap option for fighters and rogues. You have a miss chance, but that's much better than having no chance of hitting. (Ghost touch doesn't work against fully ethereal creatures, only incorporeal creatures on our plane.)

  • Magic missile and spiritual weapon are two CR appropriate force effects in the core rules. Unfortunately, both allow SR. Fortunately, you could prepare an awful lot of them.

  • Sepia snake sigil is a force effect that doesn't allow SR, and would immobilize the hag if it she failed her reflex save. (Hags have a +9 Ref save.) You'd have to somehow trick the hag into reading something, though!

  • Outside of core, Force Orb is a no-brainer. It's a 4th level [Force] effect that ignores spell resistance.

  • There's also a metamagic feat, Transdimensional Spell, that would let you affect the hag with any spell. Getting scrolls with transdimensional versions of no-SR spells would be another tactic.

  • Some magic items would let you become ethereal, but that's a pricey option:

    • Scrolls of ethereal jaunt and etherealness cost 2275 and 3825 gp.
    • An obsidian steed costs 28500 but is reusable once per week.
    • A cloak of etherealness costs 55000gp.

Everyone into the Hut!

Leomunds Tiny Hut is ambiguous on whether it keeps creatures out. If so, it's ideal for sleeping in, safe from the night hag's dream attack. (She'd need line of sight.) She could still attack you normally, but that would require becoming corporeal. And since she couldn't see you, she would be at a huge disadvantage.

But, if it does keep creatures out, it's a pretty powerful spell. So I might not allow it as a DM.

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Rope Trick would be a better choice, IMO. It prevents spell effects from hitting anything within (including AOE spells), so i'd assume it would prevent the dream haunting. It's a level 2 sorc/wiz spell. –  acolyte Jun 25 '13 at 18:27
    
The imprecise targeting of plane shift isn't that big of an issue. Just do your shifting right after the hag's target/bait wakes up in the morning, and you've got until bedtime that night for everyone but the bait (who stayed behind to know where to find the hag) to travel back through the ethereal plane to the spot corresponding with where the bait stayed behind (somewhere fairly safe so she doesn't just kill him while the party's gone). Then set up an ambush on the ethereal. –  Matthew Najmon Jun 30 '13 at 1:35

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