GORGONS

I’ve never been overly-fond of the Gorgon/Medusa situation from D&D. Its not that I think the Gorgon is a bad monster, its that the term “medusa” should apply to the specific individual from mythology and gorgon should describe a race of horrible women with serpents for hair, and terrible claws, who’s image is so horrific as the petrify the viewer!

Swords and Wizardry Complete has the following to say about the Gorgon:

Gorgons are bull-like creatures with scales like dragons. Their breath turns creatures to stone (60-foot range, saving throw applies).

And the following to say about the Medusa:

The terrifying medusa has a female face but hair of writhing snakes; it has no legs, but the body of a serpent. The gaze of a medusa turns anyone looking upon it into stone. In addition to the medusa’s relatively weak melee-weapon attack, the snake-hair makes one attack per round, causing no damage but inflicting a lethal poison with a successful hit (saving throw applies).

This is nowhere near as exciting as the real trio of Gorgons, or their youngest (and mortal) sister Medusa, as per wikipedia:

In Greek mythology, a Gorgon (plural: Gorgons) (ancient Greek: Γοργών or Γοργώ Gorgon/Gorgo) is a female creature. The name derives from the ancient Greek word gorgós, which means “dreadful.” While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature and occur in the earliest examples of Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld her to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and she was slain by the mythical demigod and hero Perseus.

I’d like to bring the gorgon of S&W more in line with the gorgons of old. i’m thinking that a gorgon is more like an ogre with an improved snake-hair attack and an improved attack from their claws. Depending on wether your gorgons are the original trio of sisters, the sisters after the death of their mortal sister Medusa, or the descendants of Medusa and her blind human lovers, you may want to handle them a bit differently, to wit I’m providing three different Gorgon Write ups. If you are using these versions of the Gorgon I’d suggest renaming the bovine version of the Gorgon to Gorgon-Cow, or Dragon-Cow, or something.

Gorgons

When man was young, and the gods capricious, three noblewomen (or demi-goddesses depending on which version of the myth you prefer) enjoyed lives of lesure at their parents expense. These three sisters were loyal to one another above their loyalty to the gods. One sister, Medusa, was fairer than all the ladies of their land, and her vanity knew no modesty. The time eventually came when Medusas boasts grew too large for her own good, and the goddess of beauty came to demand she take back her words, specifically that she was more beautiful than even the gods. Medusa refused and was cursed, and because her sisters stood by her, and showed no supplication before the goddess, they two were cursed. Medusa was cursed to remain beautiful until her life was taken, but to be changed so that no man may enjoy her beauty and live, her sisters were cursed to live forever with their pain, and grow hideous.

Gorgon, Immortal (Stheno and Euryale)

Hit Dice: 19
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Attacks: claws (1d6)
Saving Throw: 11
Special: Observers turned to stone
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 10/1000

Medusas two sisters are larger, older, and immortal. Reducing either of the immortal gorgon sisters to 0hp simply banishes them to their lair for 1d6 weeks and renders them incapable of any action for that time. Both of the immortal gorgon sisters are hideous ogresses, with snakes for hair, metallic talons on their feet and hands, and a grotesque hide dappled with strange colors mortal men were not meant to see. Looking upon a gorgon will petrify the unfortunate beholder if they fail a save vs. paralyzation. Along with their sister, Medusa, Stheno and Euryale guard the gateways to the underworld (or your favorite megadungeon) and lament their fate. The two immortal Gorgons secretly loath their mortal sister who caused their curse.

Gorgon, Mortal (Medusa)

Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: claws (1d4)
Saving Throw: 11
Special: Observers turned to stone
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 8/800

The youngest of the Gorgon sisters, Medusa is much larger than a human, but not nearly so hideous as her sisters. Medusa still has the body and face of a young and pretty woman, but has the gorgon traits of sharp bronze-like talons, and a nest of snakes in place of her hair. Medusa is a vicious man-eater just as her sisters are, but still longs to end her curse and be a woman once more. Though incapable of being seen by men she does occasionally take a blind human lover for a time, but these are usually found and killed by her sisters, or killed by medusa herself when man flesh isn’t otherwise available.

In game terms Medusa is a large ogre-type creature which cannot be seen by any mortal being. If a PC happens to set their eyes on Medusa they get a single save, else they are immediately petrified and left a stone statue. If Medusa is able to come in close to an opponent she can attempt to make an attack with the venomous snakes atop her head, and on a successful attack the opponent is not harmed, but poisoned. The Poison of a Gorgon requires a save each round or the victim will receive 1d6 hp of damage.

Gorgon, Male

Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: claws (1d4)
Saving Throw: 11
Special: Stone to Flesh at will
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 8/800

Those men who trace their descent from Medusa share her curse, just as her daughters do. While the women who trace their descent from Medusa share her exact curse, the menfolk of her bloodline are very different. Male gorgons are just as large as the other gorgons, but are beautiful where the women are hideous  and have a thin long beard of a few well mannered serpents. The visage of the male Gorgon is enough to gradually turn the stones of their lair to a sort of undulating flesh, but it takes a focused effort by a male gorgon to reanimate someone turned to stone by a female gorgon. Male gorgons are immune to the powers of their sisters as they are blind (with the exception of their serpents who function as crude eyes). Male gorgons rarely live with their own kind, often living in seclusion and bartering their services wherever there be monsters who have the power to turn flesh to stone.

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Author: Capheind

Gamer, Gardener, Train nut, and Boozer of little renown.

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