Baba Yaga's Hut

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Greyhawk magic item
Baba Yaga's Hut
Type Artifact
Price n/a
Body slot n/a
Caster level Wizard 25
Weight Unknown
First appearance Eldritch Wizardry (1976)


Baba Yaga's Hut, also called the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga, is a powerful artifact and the home of the infamous witch Baba Yaga.

Description

The Hut of Baba Yaga appears from the outside to be a small hovel about 10-15 feet in diameter, standing on two strange stilts. The interior of the hut, which resembles a small palace, is ten times the outer diameter and filled with rich furnishings, magic fountains of water and wine, and other magic items; its walls are the equivalent of 5-foot thick stone. The stilts it stands upon are actually gigantic bird-like legs which can carry the hut over any terrain. They are able to deliver mighty blows to any uninvited intruder.

The Hut's interior is dimensionally folded, making mapping difficult. Higher levels of the Hut occupy the same dimensional space as lower levels. The Hut can "steal" many spells that attempt to modify its environment, ignoring them, memorizing them, and then using them against their original casters at will. If subjected to spells like identify or stone tell, it will lie to the casters, admitting only one truth: its name, the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga. It is entirely immune to other spells; the only effects that can conceivably harm it are an orb of annihilation, dimensional mine, or disintegration chamber large enough to contain it. The Hut will "dance" (planeshift) away from these items as fast as it can.

The hut dances between planes of existence. On each world it visits, its exact appearance changes. Sometimes it is circular, sometimes hexagonal. Its interior layout also changes each time, basing itself on a different geometric shape. Objects may disappear or reappear, and those who have taken up permanent residence within the Hut may change as well (including Baba Yaga herself, though temporary visitors remain the same). Baba Yaga herself always knows the layout of her home, regardless of the shape it takes.

The appearance of Baba Yaga's Hut is momentous. Baba Yaga typically sets her artifact down in a woodland clearing, surrounding it with a fence made of magically animated bones and skulls. All animals within a five-mile radius flee from it immediately, as if a forest fire were behind them. From a great distance away, observers hear the crashing of thunder and great trees as storms brew around the witch's flying cauldron and trees uproot and reroot themselves to make way for her passage and then hide her path. Because Baba Yaga has enslaved the forces of Light, Darkness, and Twilight, time itself seems unnaturally distorted on worlds where Baba Yaga is visiting; the night may last 36 hours, or 24 hours may go by without the sun setting.

History

Baba Yaga, "the most powerful female mage ever known," created her Hut ages ago, spending much of her power in its creation and then vanishing to another world. Rumors say that it has been seen only once or twice since then by the people of Oerth.

Elena the Fair, an adopted daughter of Baba Yaga, lived with her in the Hut during the same period her adopted sister Natasha the Dark did.

At the time the adventure The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga takes place, two different girls live with the witch instead: a peasant girl called Vasilissa and another girl called Ilya, who has currently been transformed into a hedgehog as punishment for disobedience. Many other servants, guests, prisoners, and slaves inhabit the Hut as well.

Apocrypha

In the parody module Castle Greyhawk the halfling Professor Why claims to have stolen the technique of making his time machine bigger on the inside than the outside from Baba Yaga. She is pursuing him in her hut, which "clucks ominously" as it fades into the netherworlds, hot on his trail.

Publishing history

In Eldritch Wizardry (1976), the Hut is said to be 10-15 feet in diameter, with an interior ten times that size. It was its magic that made Baba Yaga impervious to metal, which would pass through her harmlessly.

In the Dungeon Master's Guide (1979), the Hut is said to be just 10 feet high on the outside, but with 30 rooms inside, arranged on three stories.

In Dragon #83, the interior of the Hut has dozens of rooms, arranged into 48 areas the shape of a tesseract, a four-dimensional cube.

Book of Artifacts (1993) referred to the hut as "quasi-alive," saying it could see and hear and share its observations with its mistress.

The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga (1995) explained that Baba Yaga's Hut changed its appearance and abilities every time it entered a different world. In that book, the Hut is described as 15-feet wide and 15-feet tall, made of logs and shaped like a hexagon, with a thatched roof. The fence surrounding it is made of 64 necrophidius golems.

Bibliography

  • Cook, David. Book of Artifacts. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1993.
  • Gygax, Gary. Dungeon Master's Guide. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1979.