Eastern Gothic – Creatures of Slavic Folklore (Part 1)

Image result for baba yaga's dancing hut

Looks friendly enough.

 

Behold, the mother of hags! And with her, a cadre of mythical companions and foes.  As the autumn months roll on and witches gather, the foul mother of them all beckons you to her door.  Seek out the dancing hut and experience the horror of Baba Yaga!  And joining her, a cadre of creatures both benign and truly vicious!  And there are more where that came from, as always.

Author’s Note: Here is something long overdue! The folklore of Eastern Europe and beyond hasn’t been represented in media too much. So, let’s fix that. Speaking of fixing, here’s my new take on Baba Yaga and her magical dancing hut!  More creatures based on Slavic folklore will soon follow.  Also, both the Dancing Hut and Baba Yaga are extremely strong creatures!  As a rule of thumb though, don’t mess with Baba Yaga!

 

Baba Yaga

The infamous mother of witches, the queen of all hags, the grandmother who waits in the void.  For all the stories told about her, the truth is often much more complicated.  While she is a kidnapper, a destroyer of worlds, a corrupter of many and a fell witch; she can double as a protector, ally and an adoptive grandmotherly figure of sorts.  When not sifting the skies with mortar and pestle, it’s common to find her somewhere within her expansive dancing hut.

Medium humanoid, neutral evil

Armor Class 19 (natural armor)

HP 540 (46d8 + 322)

Speed 30 ft.

STR 22 (+6) DEX 18 (+4) CON 24 (+7) INT 23 (+6) WIS 21 (+5) CHA 19 (+4)

Saving Throws Dex +10 Con +13) Int +12

Skills Arcana +12, Deception +10, Insight +11, Intimidation +10, Perception +11

Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed

Damage Immunities psychic; bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical/non-cold iron weapons*
(Treat Cold Iron similar to Silvered Weapons)

Damage Resistances cold, necrotic, poison

Senses Darkvision 120 ft. (see below), passive Perception 21

Languages Common, Elven, Sylvan, Tongues (see below)

Challenge 26 (90,000 XP)

Discorporation.  Upon being dropped to 0 Hit Points, Baba Yaga’s physical form fades.  Her essence is immediately dragged into her Dancing Hut, which activates independently.  After 1d10 days, Baba Yaga returns to full hit points as her physical form fully heals.  If the Hut is destroyed, banished to another plane or rendered inert for more than 1 day, Baba Yaga will die instead.

Legendary Resistance (3/day).  When Baba Yaga fails a saving throw, she can choose to make it a success.  After all three uses are expended, Baba Yaga must complete a long rest to recover them.

Innate Spellcasting.  Baba Yaga has some innate magical ability, using Intelligence (DC 20, +12 to hit) as her casting stat.  She may use the following, without Material components:

  • At-will. augury, detect magic, hex, misty step, speak with dead, tongues
  • 3/day. conjure fey, divination, plane shift, shadow of moil
  • 1/day. dominate monster, feeblemind

Magic Resistance. Baba Yaga has advantage on saving throws against magical effects and spells.

Magic Weapons. Baba Yaga’s attacks count as magical in nature.

Spellcasting.  Baba Yaga casts spells like a 20th level spellcaster, with a customized spell list.  She uses Intelligence (DC 20, +12 to hit) as her casting stat:

  • Cantrip. prestidigitation, ray of frost, spare the dying, toll the dead, vicious mockery
  • 1st level (4 slots). armor of agathys, cure wounds, detect evil and good, faerie fire, false life, identify, ray of sickness, sleep
  • 2nd level (3 slots). alter self, beast sense, crown of madness, enthrall, gust of wind, hold person, invisibility
  • 3rd level (3 slots). animate dead, call lightning, counterspell, dispel magic, fear, fireball
  • 4th level (3 slots). compulsion, confusion, divination, dominate beast, greater invisibility, polymorph
  • 5th level (3 Slots). animate objects, contact other plane, dream, geas, legend lore, mass cure wounds, passwall, planar binding
  • 6th level (2 Slots). blade barrier, chain lightning, create undead, heal, eyebite
  • 7th level (2 Slots). finger of death, mind blank, simulacrum, teleport, whirlwind
  • 8th level (1 Slot). antimagic field, dominate monster, maze, telepathy
  • 9th level (1 Slot). foresight, gate, imprisonment, power word kill, prismatic wall, true polymorph, time stop

CAMPAIGN OPTION: A PLANAR GRIMOIRE.

Alternatively, you may decide that some of the spells from my DM’s Guild contribution, A Planar Grimoire, might better fit the mystery and wonder of the Baba Yaga!  You may find it HERE.  The following are good substitutes:

  • 1st level. Avoid Planar Effects, Shadow King’s Drain
  • 2nd level. Black Barbed Curse, Hexer’s Orb, Rolling Skulls
  • 3rd level. Black Barbed Shield
  • 4th level. Blacksphere, Chaos Blast
  • 5th level. Black Barbed Dread Form
  • 6th level. Howl of Pandemonium
  • 7th level. Stygian Ice Storm

ACTIONS.

Multiattack.  Baba Yaga makes four weapon attacks per round.

Hag’s Claws.  Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 11 (2d4 + 6) slashing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage.

Pestle Bash.  Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.  Hit: 15 (2d8 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

Witch Blast.  Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, range 60 ft./240 ft., one target.  Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) force damage.

Ray of Frost.  Ranged Spell Attack: +12 to hit, range 60 ft., one target.  Hit: 18 (4d8) cold damage.  The target’s speed is reduced by 10 ft. until the start of your next turn.

Conjure Mortar and Pestle. Baba Yaga can use her magical power as an action to summon her flying mortar and oar-like pestle to her side. While she is bonded to these summoned items, she gains a flight speed of 40 feet. Also, she can use her Pestle Bash. She can recall these items back to dimensional space as a bonus action.

Hide in Earth (Recharge 5 or 6). As an action, Baba Yaga can meld into the very Earth itself, similar to the Meld into Stone spell. While in this state, she is immune to all damage and effects, but her only course of action is ending the effect and move at normal speed (30 ft.) within the Earth.

LEGENDARY ACTIONS.

Baba Yaga can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below.  Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn.  Baba Yaga regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.

  • Extra Attack. Baba Yaga makes a single attack.
  • Awaken the Dancing Hut. If the Dancing Hut is within a distant area or another plane entirely, Baba Yaga can use a legendary action to summon it to a nearby space.
  • Cantrip (2 Legendary Actions). Baba Yaga can cast a cantrip spell.
  • Cruel Hex (3 Legendary Actions). Choose a target within 60 ft. of Baba Yaga’s vision. The target must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or face one of the following:
    • Polymorph: The victim is polymorphed, as per the spell
    • Madness: The victim faces an effect of madness. The level of madness depends on whether or not the victim has already experienced a prior level. Effects are detailed in Chapter 8 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
    • Dark Double: The victim faces a doppelganger that mirrors their exact stats, save for halved hit points and none of their magical items. Only the victim can fight their double. Anyone who joins in must face their own double. The double fights to the death.
    • Ugliness: The victim faces disadvantage on Charisma checks. Furthermore, onlookers must make DC 20 Charisma saving throws or become revolted or overwhelmed with fear.
    • Dreary Dreams: While taking a long rest, the target may either attempt to sleep and face damaging dreams or go without sleep entirely. The former option results in taking 6d6 psychic damage after completing the rest + 1d6 for every night of bad dreams following the last one. The latter results in taking a level of exhaustion at the end of the long rest.
    • Casting Remove Curse and Dispel Magic within 1 minute of each other will get rid of the chosen hex.
  • Terror of the Fair Folk. (Recharge 6) (3 Legendary Actions). Baba Yaga can infect a victim’s mind with the most heinous and depraved imagery the fae have to offer. The target must make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw. Failure results in taking 10d10 Psychic damage. Success results in taking half damage. Creatures immune to charm effects are not affected by this ability.

 

 

Baba Yaga’s Dancing Hut

The Dancing Hut is one of the most mythical constructs known to the reality of the multiverse. To the curious onlooker, it’s a humble looking hut with a pair of massive chicken-like legs attached to the bottom of it. A fence decorated with skulls seems to follow it around as well.  The Hut itself counts as a semi-sentient construct. If the hut rejects an intruder, the hut may send its current user into an entirely wrong location with the intent of removing it. In more aggressive situations, it may directly attempt to attack the intruders from within.

Gargantuan construct, unaligned

Armor Class 22 (natural armor)

HP 330 (20d20+120)

Speed 80 ft.

STR 27 (+8) DEX 21 (+5) CON 22 (+6) INT 12 (+1) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 11 (+0)

Damage Resistance cold, lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical weapons

Damage Immunities poison, psychic

Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, petrified, poisoned

Senses Blindsight 120 ft., passive Perception 13

Language –

Challenge 25 (75,000 XP)

Immortal Artifact. Upon dropping to 0 HP, the hut will fall over without looking too bad for wear. The hut does not die, but stabilizes in an inert state. After 24 hours, the hut will return to 1/2 of its maximum hit points. Also, it will regain regeneration of HP.

Innate Spells. The Hut can use some magical abilities innately, using Wisdom (DC 17, +9 to hit) as its casting stat.  The Hut can use the following, without material components:

  • At-will. dimension door, feather fall, invisibility (self only)
  • 3/day. plane shift, teleport

Magic Resistance. The Hut has advantage on saving throws against magical effects and spells.

Magic Weapons. The Hut’s attacks count as magical in nature.

Non-Violent. The Hut will not attacked unless Baba Yaga or the Hut itself are provoked. This could range from outward violence to unintentional antagonism (such as trespassing.) The Hut will not go out of its way to attack if its targets stop their current actions and flee.

Regeneration. The Hut regains 20 hit points per round.

Rebuke Outsider. The Hut may use its magical abilities to eject intruders from its interior at the end of its turn. If the Hut is hostile towards a creature, it may force the target to make a DC 22 Strength saving throw once per round, at the start of that creature’s turn. If the target fails, it is violently flung out of the hut’s main door towards the outside ground below.

ACTIONS.

Multiattack. The Hut attacks three times per round.

Ram (Recharge 6). Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., targets within reach of 30 ft. line. Hit: 25 (3d12+6) bludgeoning damage. Creatures hit by this attack must make a dexterity saving throw (DC 22) or be knocked prone and become stunned for 1 round.

Stomp. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 5 ft., one prone target. Hit: 22 (3d10+6) bludgeoning damage plus 17 (3d10) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack. +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 30 (4d8+6) slashing damage. The Hut can forgo damage and instead pin the target to the ground. While pinned, the target is restrained and must take an escape action to break free.

Horrid Death Screech (Once per day). Ranged Spell Attack. DC 20 Constitution Saving Throw, up to 60 ft. from the Hut, all targets within range. On a success, the target takes 16 (3d10) psychic damage and (3d10) necrotic damage. On a failure, the target drops to 0 hit points. Baba Yaga and her allies are immune to this effect.

 

Exploring the Dancing Hut

Several variations of the classic “dungeon” have been made throughout D&D history, including through Paizo’s Pathfinder.  The Dancing Hut is a strange and extraplanar space, where all means of rooms and locales have a habit of shifting within a seemingly limitless mobile demiplane.  Often, rooms will be tied to whatever Prime world or Plane that the hut is currently on.  Sometimes, it simply fits a nearby land in general.  Other times, rooms fit various motifs relevant to Baba Yaga at the time.  These other rooms range from cozy spaces for relaxation, to places of dark myth and wicked faerie tale.  The latter could include kennels and cages for some of the most wicked beasts and monstrosities to cross the planes, laboratories and dungeons where the unthinkable happen to her foes, cruel cooking chambers to grind the bones and feast the flesh of her victims and many other atrocious places.

For more ideas, please consult the Reign of Winter adventure path, Dragon Magazine #83, The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga module and Dungeon #196.

 

*** Again, alternative spells can be found in “A Planar Grimoire”.

Image Credit: Baba Yaga’s Dancing Hut – Noah Bradley (for Dragon Magazine, by Wizards of the Coast)

Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.  All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s