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The Sea Hag's Horrific Appearance feature lets creature avert their eyes to avoid its effects:

Horrific Appearance. Unless the target is surprised or the revelation of the hag'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.

The Sea Hag also has a special action called Death Glare:

Death Glare. The hag targets one frightened creature she can see within 30 ft. of her. If the target can see the hag, it must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or drop to 0 hit points.

It's unclear to me whether averting your eyes from the Sea Hag causes you to not see the creature - there is no mention of that in the Sea Hag's stat block, just a disadvantage on attack rolls against the hag.

This contrasts with other creatures from which you can avert your gaze, such as the Medusa, which explicitly say you don't see the creature while averting your eyes from it:

Petrifying Gaze. Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can't see the medusa until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again.

Does averting your eyes away from the Sea Hag causes you to not see it, thus avoiding the effect of its Death Glare?

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Averting your eyes means you cannot see the sea hag.

Unfortunately, it is not spelled out explicitly on the sea hag’s statblock. Fortunately, there are other monsters with similar abilities that do spell this out for us. For example, in the description of the Medusa’s ability Petrifying Gaze, we see (pun intended):

Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can't see the medusa until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the medusa in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

This DnDBeyond search reveals quite the handful of monsters that reflect this understanding of averting your eyes.

Further, this more detailed description of averting one’s eyes is a completely natural understanding of the English language - averting your eyes by definition means you cannot see whatever you are averting your eyes from. So in some sense, it is spelled out explicitly in the sea hag’s statblock; averting your eyes means exactly that you can’t see the sea hag.

Given the plethora of other creature abilities that explicitly state that averting your eyes means you cannot see the creature, it seems quite clear that this is also the case for the sea hag.

This ruling seems consistent with the personal opinion (not official ruling) of rules designer Jeremy Crawford in this tweet about averting your eyes from a basilisk.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's even simpler than that! The ability requires the creature to see the hag. If they're not looking, they're not seeing! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Aug 9, 2020 at 13:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Yeah, that’s what I was getting at with the second part. But I wanted to also shore it up with some citations. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2020 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Medusa and Basilisk don't seem directly applicable to the case of the Sea Hag. Both the Medusa and Basilisk abilities say that " If the creature [avert its eye], it can't see the medusa/basilisk until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again". Averting your eyes from the Sea Hag doesn't say it causes you to not see the Sea Hag, just that it causes a disadvantage to attack rolls. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 18, 2022 at 4:41
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Although Tweets are hardly Rules as Written. They do offer insight into the developers intentions about scenarios. Jeremy Crawford has answered twice about "averting your eyes"

Regarding Basilisks and Regarding Medusa

Both times he insinuated that averting your eyes prevents you from seeing the target, thereby preventing you from using spells which require sight. So in this case it should protect you from its Death Glare as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just want to note that Crawford's tweets are not official. And while they do provide some insight into intention, that insight is to their intention at the time of tweeting and nothing really more. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Aug 9, 2020 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer could be improved by citing actual rules. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2020 at 12:06
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You still see the hag while averting your eyes...

The effect of averting your eyes from the Sea Hag are explicitly stated:

Unless the target is surprised or the revelation of the hag'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.

Averting your eyes away from the Sea Hag has only two effects mentioned explicitly:

  • You avoid the Sea Hag's Horrific Appearance initial saving throw
  • You have disadvantage on attacks rolls against the Sea Hag.

There is no mention here of being unable to see the hag. In fact, it only says that you have disadvantage on attack rolls against the Sea Hag; nowhere does it say that the Sea Hag has advantage on attack rolls against you, which would be the case if the Sea Hag was unseen to you.

Averting your eyes away from the Sea Hag in this way is different from averting your eyes away from a creature such as the Medusa. Against the Medusa, averting your eyes requires you to no longer see the creature at all:

Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can't see the medusa until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the medusa in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

A likely explanation is that the Medusa's Petrifying Gaze is more potent, and avoiding the gaze is only possible by fully looking away from the Medusa. The Sea Hag's Horrific Appearance is easier to avoid, and partially averting your eyes is enough to avoid its effect.

A similar ability to Horrific Appearance is the Bodak's Death Gaze, from which you can avert your eyes without fully losing sight of the bodak:

Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it has disadvantage on attack rolls against the bodak until the start of its next turn.

... however, a DM might let you fully look away from the Sea Hag.

It would make sense for the DM to allow you to fully avert your eyes from the Sea Hag, as you would for a Medusa, a Basilisk, or other creature with a similar power.

In this case, you gain immunity from the Death Glare, but also suffer from the additional drawbacks of not seeing the Sea Hag:

  • The Sea Hag has advantage on attack rolls against you
  • The Sea Hag cannot be targeted by your spells and features requiring you to see the target
  • The Sea Hag can move away from you without provoking an opportunity attack
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    \$\begingroup\$ "There is no mention here of being unable to see the hag." Apart from the bit where it says you avert your eyes, which by standard English clearly means that you are deliberately not looking at the hag (and thus can't see it). This answer smacks of "gotcha!" rules-lawyering. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19, 2022 at 15:54

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