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How does a night hag get to the other planes in order to trade their foul earned souls? They seem to have the ability to go to ethereal plane but is that enough?

I checked out generic hag coven description as well and they don't get any planar traveling magic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Although answers may still cover this, in Dungeons & Dragons lore a night hag traditionally rides a nightmare, and, although toned down from its 3.5 roots, the demon horse is still sufficient for planar travel. However, Pathfinder makes no mention of this in the nightmare's description, so now I'm interested, too, in the lore that explains how the Pathfinder night hag does her job. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2021 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ What setting are you using? Some settings have additional methods of planar travel built-in that might be relevant to this question. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Oct 3, 2021 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you only willing to accept answers from Pathfinder, or are you also interested in lore from D&D, which Pathfinder was derived from? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Oct 3, 2021 at 22:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe I was aiming for pathfinder specific answer, but if you insist, you can have a little historical footnote. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – PnP
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Historical note: Night Hags were originally introduced in the AD&D Monster Manual, which noted they "are able to astrally project their bodies, but in order to do so they must be in possession of a special periapt which each forges in Hades." Night hags weren't included in the 2e Monstrous Manual, but were re-introduced in the Planescape Monstrous Appendix without any astral projection ability - but, since the Planescape setting was rife with ways to travel between planes without any special magical ability, that setting's version of night hags could still easily access the Prime. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Oct 9, 2021 at 22:10

2 Answers 2

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They make a deal.

Night Hags are the merchants of souls, if they want something they deal for it... often in common currency of the lower planes... souls. There is nothing in the Night Hag description which would allow them to stalk prey in the Material plane on their own*, yet their Dream Haunting method of killing requires they use the Ethereal plane which is arguably a 'Material plane related activity' (see Transitive planes section below).

(* There is mention of the Nightmare in the Organization section where it lists one way to come across Night Hags as "mounted (1 and 1 nightmare)".)

Transitive Planes
The rules seem to imply that the Shadow and Ethereal planes both exist in a 1-to-1 relationship with a Material plane. Though it isn't stated explicitly they don't connect to the Outer planes, it is the Astral plane which is specifically flagged as the connector between Inner, Material, and Outer under Transitive Planes.

As dealmakers Night Hags have a number of outsiders they could deal with to gain access to Material planes, but two parts of their description give pointers to their association with Nightmares. They have the Feat Mounted Combat, and a Ride of +15. If they were riding a broom, that would be Fly skill not Ride... so they're riding something, and at +15 they're doing it damn (forgive the pun) well! Lower planar mounts are scarce from what I can see in the Bestiaries, so Nightmare seems a prime candidate. Nightmares are intelligent, so they can easily strike a deal with a Night Hag for their services.

Other options include making a deal with:

  • A Dimensional Shambler which can wrestle them across planes once per hour,
  • A Thanadaemon which can row them to a material river at will,
  • A Contract Devil (Phistophilus) who can be contracted for transport once a day,
  • A Bdellavritra (Belier) Devil once a day... though well above a Night Hag's pay grade, they may be able to strike a deal as Devils are lawful.

Then there are items such as:

  • Amulet of the Planes,
  • Staff of the Planes,
  • Forked Rod.
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In the description, there's this line:

Environment any evil-aligned plane

Presumably, they're already on those planes.

(Technically, "infernal" is a subset of "all evil aligned" planes. An alternate interpretation would be evil soul merchants buying from the hags and selling on said markets.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This doesn’t explain how they get to any evil aligned plane from the material plane where they collect souls. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2021 at 17:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov They're not found on the material plane as far as the description is concerned, neither does it even imply they travel to the material plane to do their harvesting. My answer explains why they don't need planar travel to do as specified. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Oct 3, 2021 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan yes. And they’re usually pretty vulnerable while they’re there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Oct 3, 2021 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gloweye They are described as using etherealness on their victims—that spell doesn’t function on any evil-aligned planes. They must leave those planes to be able to do what they are described as doing. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Oct 4, 2021 at 1:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, pathfinder doesn't state it like that, and neither does it point towards the D&D descriptions. While you're free to houserule it like that for your games (and to advise other GM's to), I simply can't find anything like that in the descriptions. It's very nice that 3.5e D&D worked it out more, but Pathfinder didn't. As far as I know and can find. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Oct 4, 2021 at 14:00

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