Friday, September 4, 2009

Baba Yaga’s Hut found!

After my last post, I was a little chagrined when I suddenly remembered that Baba Yaga does exist in Dungeons & Dragons 4e.  Specifically, she is mentioned as one of the Archfey in the Manual of the Planes.

Now this picture is from Dragon Magazine 83 Baba Yaga lives in the heart of Murkendraw, a swamp as large as a sea.   Evil cultist, warped creatures, and all manner of horrible twisted life exist in this realm.

Baba Yaga’s appearance, attitude, and hut are not very different from how they were described back in Dragon Magazine #83 (or as they are described in Slavic mythology).

I still think my last post was valid, and that their has been a definite move away from traditional mythology towards a D&D specific mythology.  I am glad to see that Baba Yaga managed to buck this trend.

Perhaps I shoudn’t be too surprised to see her in the Feywild, as I have often thought that it was one of the best additions to Dungeons & Dragons 4e.

The fey were never handled well in previous editions of the game.  They were presented as mostly friendly creatures who at worst were harmless tricksters.  They seemed informed by the (sadly) modern view of faeries as half-naked tiny women flitting around on butterfly wings.

This always bugged me because the fey in mythology were always regarded as dangerous.  They were called “The Fair Folk” not because of their beauty, but because you did not wish to incur their wrath.  The slightest could result in you being horribly cursed or worse taken under the hill never to be seen again.

I am glad that this is the type of fey we find in Dungeons & Dragons 4e.  The section on the Feywild in the Manual of the Planes reinforces this by presenting a us with a dark mirror of the natural world.  It is a realm of both terrible beauty and abject horror.  More importantly, it is a dangerous place for mortals to roam as even the slightest mistake can bring down the wrath of its capricious inhabitants.

In fact, if I have a complaint about the Feywild in D&D, it is that I want to see more of it!  I would love to see a book similar to the Draconomicon or Open Grave which detailed the Archfey.  Of course, the realist in me realizes it probably wouldn’t sell well enough to justify the cost of producing it. 

Oh well, I suppose that is what Dragon and Dungeon are for.


Anonymous said...

I've always been a HUGE fan of Baba Yaga. Actually, she has been my favourite female D & D npc since the early eighties, and that's why she's the mother of my character in my campaign :)

All take heed, as her powers rival the pantheon in the pen and paper world! Those who don't fear her are utterly foolish!

Below is some D & D stats...

From the Dragon mag, her race is undetermined. Here are her base stats from AD&D 1st edition
MOVE: 6”
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 3-8/3-8/5-20
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Assassination; crushing; horror; magic spells
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Fire, magic, and poison resistance; illusion, psionic, and limited spell immunity; special detection powers; regeneration; magic item and spell-produced defenses; acute senses and godlike intelligence and wisdom
SIZE: M (5’ tall)
ALIGNMENT: Neutral evil
CLERIC/DRUID: 14th level druid
FIGHTER: 16+ HD monster
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 25th level magic-user / 15th level illusionist
SAVING THROWS: 3 in all categories (cannot be reduced further)
S: 20 (+3/+8) I: 25 W: 23 D: 18 C: 21 CH: -1

continuing (though I am going to be brief)

Horror power - creatures <=1HD never attack, obey all commands
Permanent mind bar of 20th level mastery making her immune to psionic attacks
fire resistence similar to ring of fire resistance
poisons that would kill only do 3d4 HP of damage if she fails a save
fast heal 3/r
If limb or even head is severed, she can continue fighting and put the limbs back on afterwards
+1 or better magic weapons to hit
immune to cause wounds, harm, destruction, slay living, and similiar or related spells
can not be summoned, dispel evil doesn't work, protection from evil won't prevent her from attacking
at will 1/r comprehend languages, detect magic, fear (as wand), read magic, tongues
infra/ultravision to 120'
Her druid powers are not coming from divine but from studying as a magic-user (archivist?)
80% chance of knowing nationality from smell
can not be surprised, knows just by looking class, race, and approximate level
detects lies and distortions of truth
usually uses geas to get payment
if she catches with both claws and teeth, she has a chance to kill as a 9th level assassin. Inanimate objects must save vs crushing blow. claws & teeth can destroy wood up to 1" thick.


Here are the differences from 1st ed Roger Moore's Dragon Magazine #83 article and 2nd ed Lisa Smedman's The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga.

move 12"
Hit point 150
damage 4d4+9 (claw)/4d4+9(claw)/2d10+9 (bite)
SA: Fear Aura; poison;aging;spells
SD: +1; non-metal weapon to hit when inside hut; regen; immune to poison, fire, and cold;spells
Str 21, CON 22, CHA 5

questions answered by Baba Yaga age questioner 1d10 years which are transfered to Baba Yaga.

30' fear aura save vs spells -3 same as fear spell except subjects do not flee.

80% chance of smelling alignment, 90% placing home world and 75% smelling invisible or hidden creatures....up to 30 yards.

complete control of day and night on worlds she visits at will.
Can eat the spirits of those that die near her, souls eaten restore her to full HP and the victim can not be raised.

resists cold as protection from cold scroll except for herself only.

In addition to being a 25th level wizard, she is a 12th level priest worshipping the gods of magic. Rebukes undead. Shapechange as druid of 7th level or 3 times per day and is a 10th level thief.

William C. Pfaff said...

Fourth edition stats for Baba Yaga? Your wish is my command (for just 99 cents!). Check out Baba Yaga: Queen of the Wicked Fens at


Lemme know what you think!