D&D 5E in Ancient Greece: Euryale & Sthenno (Gorgons aka Medusas)

It would be ridiculous to try and out-do what Sean K. Reynolds has already brilliantly done for D&D 3.5 in The New Argonauts so at the start of every one of these posts I’m going to 1) thank him for making that supplement (thank you Sean!) and 2) tell you to go download it (it’s free–give it 5 stars because damn). This blog series is not intended to be a reproduction of that product, only a conversion update. Go get it.

Post 1: What You Need To Play

Master Page for D&D 5E Ancient Greece/Monster List

Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Head_of_Medusa_(Brno) SHRUNK.jpg

Euryale & Sthenno (Gorgons aka Medusas)

Medium monstrosity, neutral
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 79 (10d8+34)
Speed 30 ft.

10 (+0) 15 (+2) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 15 (+2)

Skills Deception +4, Insight +3, Perception +3, Stealth +4
Senses darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 13
Languages Common
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Petrifying Gaze. When a creature that can see the gorgon’s eyes starts its turn within 30 feet of the gorgon, the gorgon can force it to make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw if the gorgon isn’t incapacitated and can see the creature. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the creature is instantly petrified. Otherwise, a creature that fails the save begins to slowly turn to stone. While turning to stone, the creature reduces its AC by 2 and has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks. The creature must repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns for the next minute. On a second failed save, the creature becomes restrained. On a third failed save, a creature becomes petrified. The effect ends when the creature has made 3 saving throws to resist it. A creature that resists the gorgon’s Petrifying Gaze is immune to it for 1 minute. A creature petrified by this feature remains petrified until is freed by the lesser restoration spell or other magic.
Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can’t see the gorgon until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the gorgon in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.
If the gorgon sees itself reflected on a polished surface within 30 feet of it and in an area of bright light, the gorgon is, due to its curse, affected by its own gaze.

Multiattack. The gorgon attacks twice–one with its snake hair and one with its shortsword, or twice with its longbow.
Snake Hair. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 2 (1d4) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) poison damage.
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d6) piercing damage.
Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) poison damage.

Euryale and Sthenno were the two immortal gorgons (using the original meaning of the word, not the armored smoke-breathing bull in the core rules), born of the obscure sea-god Phorcus and his monstrous sister Ceto. Hideous and evil, these two monsters took in the similar-looking transformed mortal Medusa, who was later killed by Perseus. In many tales the gorgons had wings; for winged gorgons, give them a fly speed 40 feet. In the Greek myths, Pegasus sprang from Medusa’s decapitated neck, and was an immortal winged horse (Zeus used Pegasus to carry his thunderbolts into battle). In the Argonauts playtest campaign, Sthenno was even more monstrous than her sister, with the torso of a beautiful woman and the lower body of a giant snake (Reaper Miniatures makes a miniature of this type of gorgon), but there is no reason why she can’t look like her sister. Sthenno likes to remain hidden while Euryale talks to potential foes, as her snaky body quickly informs any visiting heroes that something strange is afoot.

An Intelligence (History) check reveals the following information: 10—The three gorgons are hideous monster women whose faces are so ugly they turn any who look at them to stone. 15—Two of the gorgons are immortal; one was mortal, and slain by the hero Perseus.

The gorgon presented above is a weakened form of the normal creature, possibly as a result in the overall decline of mythic creatures in the world as civilization advanced (or as Euryale put it in the Argonauts playtest campaign, “We are not as immortal as we used to be”).

In an Argonauts campaign where the world’s magic is still strong and the vitality of myth in full force, use the core rules statistics for a medusa instead of the weaker version presented here, and consider adding resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage or Regeneration 5 to represent their full immortality.

False Oracle Guards. Use the core rules statistics for guard NPCs with AC increased by 1. These six men are lackluster soldiers who fell in with the old gorgons (Euryale and Sthenno) who promised them gold in exchange for swearing on the Styx that they would serve the monsters loyally. Their arms (longsword, shortspear, and 2 javelins) and armor (breastplate and large steel shield) are ill-kept and dirty, and they are from many city-states, having put aside their differences in the name of greed. These men play a part in the sample Argonauts campaign presented in Chapter 7: Running the Game of The New Argonauts. They use simple military tactics, trying to flank opponents without getting too far from the entrance to the Oracle’s cave.

An Intelligence (History) check reveals the following information: 8—The Oracle is said to have loyal men as guards as well as a great snake that protects her.

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