Dungeons & Delvers: Gorgons (#inktober)

From an early age I was really into in Greek mythology. I think I would have been interested in most any mythology (as I have been for a long time), but from what I recall Greek stuff was the most commonly if not only available material where I grew up.

It's because of that that as a child I was really confused when I came across the medusa entry while poring through the (2nd Edition) Monster Manual. Partially because by that point I'd already seen the gorgon and didn't know why the fuck it was a metal bull that breathed petrifying gas, and partially because Medusa was the name of a specific gorgon.

I have no idea why Gary went this route, and haven't been able to dig up a reliable answer, but name aside D&D's take on the gorgon isn't that far off: in most cases you just need to add brass claws (or claws in general). You can also add fangs or tusks (bite attack), wings (fly Speed), and/or a snake-butt (maybe with some kind of constrict ability).

Here's the gorgon stats I included in the (updated) fourth issue of Appendix D:

Level 6 Medium Monstrosity
XP 168
Speed 30 feet

Ability Scores
STR +0 DEX +2 WIS +1
CON +1 INT +1 CHA +2

Intimidate +5, Perception +4, Stealth +4

Armor Class 13 DR 1 (scaly skin)
Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +3
WP 24 VP 12 Total 36

Multiattack: The gorgon makes a brass claws and serpent hair attack.

Brass Claws +4 to hit; 2d4+4 slashing damage (armor piercing 1)

Serpent Hair +4 to hit; 1d4+4 piercing damage. If the target suffers WP damage, they take an additional 1d8 poison damage and are Poisoned (-1) for 1d4 hours (DC 13 Fortitude save for half poison damage and no Poisoned condition).

Petrifying Gaze Creatures within 30 feet of a gorgon that can see its eyes suffer 5d8+4 damage (ignores armor) and have their Dexterity reduced by 1 (a successful DC 14 Fortitude save halves this damage, and the target’s Dexterity is not reduced).
Damage taken from the gorgon’s gaze reduces the creature’s maximum VP and WP. If a creature’s WP is reduced to 0 or less, or its Dexterity is reduced to -5 or less it is immediately petrified. If the gorgon is subjected to her own gaze (such as by a reflective surface), she suffers the same effects.
Creatures can avert their gaze: the gorgon is considered invisible until the start of the creature’s next turn, but they do not suffer any damage at all.
After each long rest, the creature’s Dexterity is regains 1 point, and it’s maximum WP and VP are increased by 1d8 (up to their maximum).

2d4+2 gorgon claws (1d4 x 10 sp each), 1d2 gorgon eyes (1d6 x 100 sp), 1d4+2 pieces of jewelry worth 1d6 x 100 sp each

Alternate ideas for the gaze (which are also in Appendix D) are going completely old-school, giving characters a single Fortitude save or have them immediately turn to stone, or doing a kind of three-step effect: if you fail the Fortitude save you're slowed for 2d6 rounds, if you fail another Fortitude save while slowed you're instead restrained (for an additional 1d6 rounds), and if you fail a third save while restrained you're petrified (GM could roll so that players aren't exactly sure how long they have until the effect wears off).

Now I'm not a fan of effects completely ignoring your hit points (or WP and VP in the case of Dungeons & Delvers), which is why I had the gaze both deal damage and reduce your cap, reflecting that you're turning to stone and can't just drink potions to fix that. I like it because it makes even a single glance at the gorgon a problem (can take a day or more to completely recover from it), but it might be too complicated for some, and because of that like someone else mentioned on G+ I kinda prefer the three-step version.

So, barring a compelling reason not too, I'm probably going to change it to that one and sidebar the WP/VP damage-and-reduction (and sometimes Dexterity) version.


DriveThruRPG is doing their Halloween sale thing, so you can snag some of our (already pretty cheap) stuff at a 31% discount.

It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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