Diabolical and insidious, hags are horrible monsters that prey upon and destroy lesser beings in many ways. However, many of them grow tired of living solitary, predatory lives and find themselves preferring a controlling role in an orc tribe. This is different among the witch broods: some use their strength and great defenses to crush any who oppose them, taking the leftovers of the tribe as slaves and servants while others seduce the tribe into being her willing tribe mates.
Regardless of the method, the end remains the same. A tribe serving a hag enjoys benefits in her power, better raids with her assistance, more intelligent training which in turn makes them stronger, and greater magic aid to turn the tide of combat even more.
Eventually, the hag wants more than just servants or lessers. After a time has passed with the tribe she begins to take mates and from these mates the hexbreathers are born. These intelligent and strong creatures are nurtured by the hag into dutiful sons and daughters who serve as champions and adjudicators of the hag.
Gaunt to an alarming degree, hexbreathers’ powerful physique isn’t obvious on casual observation. With a lack of hair and a skeletal face they can sometimes be mistaken for undead and they know this, hoping to gain some vital moments in combat as a foe either scrambles for superstitious charms or expends healing in an effort to harm them.
Hexbreathers use any edge they can get, favoring intimidation or underestimation as their most potent weapons. Their skin is green and mottled with sickly yellow patches making them appear weak and frail; they sometimes use this to seem like an easier target before they pounce and overpower their surprised victim.
Devoted to their mother, most hexbreathers work to further her goals to the exclusion of all others —they aim to please her as any doting child would. Most act like orcs but with a higher understanding to their actions, while the rare few act with a noted independence streak.
These few are just as likely to attempt to overthrow their mothers as they are to simply leave. The result of either attempt is usually not in their favor —a hag will casually kill any children that oppose them in any serious way. The rare few that succeed in either endeavor have to finish off the rest of the family. Most hexbreathers are vicious to any creatures that aren’t part of the family or tribe with the rare few sneaking away at a very young age (if they survive their siblings); from then on it’s a difficult life as a hexbreather must fight against the natural world with nothing but claws and their ability to curse an enemy. This makes all hexbreathers cynical at best and rarely respectful of authority as well as having a good disposition.
Hexbreathers are born under the strict rule of their mother. Hags expect their children to adhere to all their expectations but typically raise them as nurturing loving mothers, engineering love and devotion. In truth hags never care about their children but know that such familial devotion is invaluable for their machinations. The rare few that witness a hag mother kill their sibling tends to shatter their reality. Hexbreathers start serving their mother at an early age, picking through the forest and swamp for herbs or spying on activity in the surrounding area, usually in groups of 2 or 3 as hags typically have twins or triplets. As they age they turn towards more directly serving their mother as champions and agents, spying on nearby settlements and caravans that run through the area or leading raids in their mother’s stead. Hexbreathers serving as soldiers and champions never leave the tribe in a general sense, having complete loyalty and trust in their mothers. Rarely, one of these champions have their faith shaken in some way and find an out in a failed raid, simply not returning and taking to adventuring instead. These few are a wild card, having to question their entire existence and worldview, making any disposition possible.
Ultimately, hexbreathers nearly always find themselves wanting for the attention of a parental figure. Needing nurturing either due to the lack of such from their own childhood or because they’d grown accustomed to it, and thus feel its lack. Hexbreathers find themselves eager to please older humanoids, especially those that they are attached to in any way.
Hexbreathers that take to a life of wandering are almost entirely of the minority. Hexbreathers don’t really adventure so much as they wander. Their upbringing (or lack thereof) makes them opposed to authority, revelling in freedom. Thus they are often easily moved to assisting in liberation of oppressed groups or individuals. Alternatively, they could seek wrongdoings akin to their own mother, in hopes of keeping others from facing the oppression that they themselves had to face in their childhoods. Just as many are selfish creatures, seeking to enjoy their lives that they feel they’d earned. These hexbreathers use their skills for personal gain but aren’t necessarily any more malicious than any other race.
The capabilities of the hexbreathers are directly related to whether they were an adult member of the tribe or not. Typically those that grew into adulthood before becoming wanderers are more likely to be antipaladin, fighters, magus, barbarians, or any other frontline combatants but there have also been a number of them that took on the robes of a spellcaster, favoring witch or cleric and emphasising their worship on whatever their mother taught them to. Hexbreathers that grew up in the wild are likely to be more self -sufficient, typically as rangers or rogues, though it isn’t unheard of for a kindly old hermit or sage to take the eccentric creatures in, teaching them their ways. This results in a number of clerics, druids, witches, and wizards that then wander the world, seeking to use the lessons of the surrogate parent for that same parent’s goals and ideals.
Hexbreather Racial Traits
Ability Score Adjustments
Medium: Hexbreathers are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size
Other Racial Traits
Speed: Hexbreathers have a base speed of 30 feet.
Hag Flesh (Ex) A hexbreather’s sallow flesh increases its natural armor bonus by +1
Hex (Su): The hexbreather has a natural affinity for the twisted magic of its mother’s line; the hexbreather chooses a hex from the following list: evil eye, misfortune, or tongues. The hexbreather may use this hex once per day per character level, as a witch of their character level
Claws: Hexbreathers have 2 claws that deal 1d4 damage each
Persecution (ex): Hexbreathers gain a +1 racial bonus to attack and damage rolls against cursed creatures, as well as creatures suffering the effects of a hex. This bonus increases by +1 for every 4 character levels
Darkvision (Ex) Hexbreathers can see in the dark out to 60 feet.
Languages: Hexbreathers begin play speaking Common and Orc. Hexbreathers with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Elven, Dwarven, Giant, or Necril
Alternate Racial Traits
Ferocity (Ex) Some hexbreathers retain their orc parent’s fercofity for violence, possessing the ferocity ability that allows them to remain conscious and continue fighting even if their hit point totals fall below 0. Hexbreathers are still staggered at 0 hit points or lower and lose 1 hit point each round as normal. This replaces persecution.
Greenbraether (su): A hexbreather that is the child of a green hag gains a measure of their strength-sapping claws. Any enemy they strike with their claws must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the hexbreather’s character level + hexbreather’s Charisma modifier) or take 1 point of Strength damage. This can be used once per character level. This replaces persecution
Hatebreather (Su): A hexbreather that is the child of a sea hag gains a baleful glare that they may use as a standard action once per day per character level. The hexbreather targets a creature they can see within 60 ft.; the victim must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the hexbreather’s character level + intelligence modifier) or gain the cursed condition, as well as suffer a -2 penalty on AC and Reflex saves for 1 hour. This is a curse effect and replaces the hex racial trait.
Pitchbreather (Ex) A hexbreather that is the child of an annis hag can sometimes gain damage reduction 2/bludgeoning. This DR/bludgeoning increases by 1 per 3 character levels the hexbreather possesses. This racial trait replaces claws.
Favored Class Options
Aegis: Add +1/4 to the aegis’ customization points.
Dread: Add +1/2 to Devastating Touch damage.
Harbinger: Add +1/4 maneuvers known from the Cursed Razor or Veiled Moon disciplines. These maneuvers must be at least one level lower than the highest -level maneuvers the harbinger can learn.
Magus: Cursed creatures, as well as creatures under the effects of a hex, suffer a –1/4 penalty to saving throws against your spells.
Wizard: Add +1/2 to the number of uses per day of arcane school powers. This increase only applies to arcane school powers available at 1st level and normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the wizard’s Intelligence modifier.
Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens