What Do I Know About Reviews? Hagmalgams (D&D 5e)
Hagmalgams is a unique Dungeon Master’s Guild product produced by James Introcaso, featuring the art of Kayla Cline. According to James, this product was born from the comments of D&D designer Jeremy Crawford making a comment about hags riding unicorns. Allowed to percolate in James’ brain, it turned into this product, a unique monster supplement.
The Book of Fluffy Inviting Shadows
Hagmalgams is a 13-page supplement, with individual illustrations of all the hag entries. The artwork wonderfully consistent, and the formatting follows a similar style to the officially produced Dungeons and Dragonsproducts.
The creatures detailed in this book are, for the most part, hags that have been fused with various celestials. Outside of the fevered mutation of an online comment, how would this have happened? We get a little bit of backstory on the death slaad Talamach the Wild, who initiated the experiment in hag/celestial fusions.
In general, the creatures created by Talamach have wild mood swings, as the hag and celestial portions of their personalities vie for control. Regional effects have odd combinations of beneficial and malevolent effects, and the amalgam creatures may switch from their good side to their evil side between encounters that player characters have with them.
And Now for Something Completely Different
Two of the hagmalgams rely on a little bit of a stretch to the formula of fusing hag with celestial. The Angelic Animal template is introduced, with stat blocks for the Angelic Octopus, and the Angelic Polar bear. Angelic animals become much more cognitively aware, gain some resistances, as well as some minor innate spellcasting.
Introducing the Hagmalgams
The meat of the product is the hagmalgams themselves, which include the following:
- Hagasus (Green Hag/Pegasus)
- Hag Bear (Bheur Hag/Angelic Polar Bear)
- Hagicorn (Night Hag/Unicorn)
- Hagtopus (Sea Hag/Octopus)
- Hag-Rin (Dusk Hag/Ki-Rin)
- Hagyphant (Annis Hag/Holyphant)
As mentioned above, each of these creatures has a lair actions and regional effects, which are a mix of the hag’s creepier theme, and the celestial’s protective or healing nature. For example, the regional effects of the Hagyphant make good-aligned creatures immune to fear, and give evil creatures advantage on strength checks, and their lair actions allow them to grant themselves spell immunity, crush opponents to the floor, or grant an ally advantage on attacks.
Before we go any further, I’m going to admit something. I 100% purchased this because I wanted stats for Ursula from The Little Mermaid. There, I said it.
You may be thinking that if you don’t want to introduce a relatively gonzo element like slaad created evil fey/celestial hybrids into a campaign, this product may not be for you. On the other hand, if you zoom out from the very specific campaign element of a mad scientist death slaad for a moment, hags that are alternatively helpful and dangerous, at random, feels very consistent with folklore about characters like Baba Yaga, who could be helpful or harmful depending on when she appears in a story.
Strange “tauric” hags isn’t actually that . . . well . . . strange. Hags are (mostly) associated with the fey, so having an animal lower torso helps to reinforce the weirdness of the deep woods creature that might offer advice or seek to pick up a humanoid snack. I’ll admit, the Hag Bear and Hagtopus would be more likely to see play in scenarios that weren’t relying on weird or comedic elements in my games, but I could totally see trotting out a Hagicorn or a Hag-Rin for some strange, otherworldly fun.
All of that said, I want more of Talamach’s opposite extreme fusions. I love the idea of a slaad trying to “sort of” prove a point by fusing two creatures with nothing in common. In fact, I would totally buy an adventure featuring Talamach in some capacity. That’s a great bit of world building reverse engineered from a weird concept.
A Good Day to Hagmalgam Hard
Who doesn’t want some fun, well executed, but really strange monsters? Okay, probably some people, but think about A HAG WITH A BEAR’S LOWER TORSO! A HAG WITH AN OCTOPUS BODY! What could go wrong?
Live Hag With a Vengeance
Okay, sure, if you are going to run a scenario that is going for dramatic tension or desperate heroics, a hag with the lower body of a flying elephant isn’t going to do much to maintain that tone. There is a sliding scale of how easily you can insert some of these creations into an ongoing scenario that isn’t tailored to weirdness and comedy.
Recommended–If the product fits in your broad area of gaming interests, you are likely to be happy with this purchase.
It’s a weird concept that isn’t always going to fit into what you are doing, but it’s a well-executed weird concept with great artwork. Even if the monsters may only be situationally useful, it’s a fun exercise, especially to get a look at how you can build singular powerful creatures that are unpredictable.
Plus, if you buy this, maybe we can get James to do more amalgamations and a full adventure for Talamach.