Thursday, December 20, 2018

Medusa or Medusae or Medusii

How is it that no one bats an eye at turning Medusa, accursed greek woman, into a species name, but if you go around calling vampires Draculas it's pure comedy? Is it just a matter of pop culture relevance? Simply that there's another word that got used for Draculas but there's no equivalent for greek monsters? Honestly, greek myth having so many monster species is really weird, because in greek myth they were practically all one-off unique individuals created by curses and bestiality, so making there be whole species of these things is sorta missing the point
Much like starting out with that paragraph was entirely unrelated to the point of this post


Medusa are bloodlines of priestesses sacred to Yg, Mother of Serpents, entrusted with knowledge and the power to archive living beings via petrification, and also defend said knowledge via that power. They tend to be fond of art and wit as distractions from the weight of knowledge they bear, and make their livings on the edges of human or serpent-folk society in religious or academic roles, and generally end up in some forsaken wilderness after one too many petrification faux pas. They come in various forms, but hair replaced by serpents and a method of petrification is what differentiates a medusa from a lamia or a naga or a snakeman or whatever.
oh sure now I see all the anatomy and perspective fuckups
oh sure now I see all the anatomy and perspective fuckups
Anyway the players have only seen statues of these three in the current campaign but that didn't sound as fun to doodle
Medusae are more intelligent than humans, capable of following multiple simultaneous trains of thought thanks to their extra snake-brains. They are immortal, shedding their skin and a few years of age every decade or so and impossible to kill for good. Though it takes a long time to start looking old, their age is like that of a crocodile, not a human- they just get tougher and meaner with time. (I don't actually know if that's how crocodile age works btw) The blood of Yg does not thin easily, and medusae give birth to more medusae invariably in the rare instances of them finding a mate who can withstand their gaze. Dead medusa do not rot, but instead calcify into statues, that then crack open to reveal the medusa reborn. If the body is completely destroyed, a petrified victim will serve instead, or a painting, or a reflection, or a memory, or a dream...Severed heads maintain their petrifying abilities, and the ability to talk, eat mice, and generally carry on without a body without great trouble. In this event, a huge snake will be tasked by Yg to rescue the head, swallow it whole, and lay an egg from which the medusa will hatch out of with a new body to support their old head. Medusa only truly shuffle off the mortal coil if their knowledge becomes so commonplace that it fails to petrify anyone, at which point their duty is ended and they go to the great snake farm in the sky or whatever afterlife Yg supports for her snakey faithful. Since, in a way, the knowledge a medusa contains IS the medusa, all memory of the medusa would have to be purged from existence for a medusa to fail to return.

Petrification occurs when a being becomes privy to one of the medusa's woke secrets of the universe. Due to the infinite wisdom of Yg, these secrets are encoded in the visual data of the writhing visage of a medusa...or more rarely, via their venom or voice. A blindfold, veil, indirect viewing via a low-quality mirror- these all prevent the message from being conveyed directly to the brain of the viewer and so prevent petrification. Medusa are not hoarders of their knowledge, however, and just like crazy uncle mike at thanksgiving dinner, they are compelled to share their knowledge with other people. Their story will not be suppressed! Normally, making your save means you avoid learning the secret by avoiding full exposure, but in the event that you couldn't close your eyes in time and you 100% were exposed to the TRUTH and no one can come with any way to have possibly avoided it, and you made your save anyway, you become immune to that particular medusa's gaze forever, understand their secret, and will gain considerable esteem in their eyes.

  1. "Gold" is not real gold, the gold-standard economy is a worthless fiat currency designed to keep the kings on top and the adventurers barely able to feed themselves even after pawning a solid gold looted demonic idol. Having unveiled the economic truth, you can spend copper as silver and silver as gold, but must never deal with any moneychangers or banks lest you be found out and hunted down by accountants.
  2. There are only <# of players> souls in existence. Everyone else is a hollow sock-puppet of some cosmic demiurge whose name is <Anagram of GM's name>. You may cede control of your character to another player whenever, though your character won't notice any difference.
  3. Sex, genitals, species- all irrelevant for reproduction. Compatibility is a matter of soul miscibility. You may have a meaningful relationship and cute children with literally anything. Your next character (provided sufficient time has passed) can be half-anything.
  4. The Ancient Precursor Empire responsible for all those ruins and inscrutable magic items never actually fell. All the kingdoms of the world are controlled opposition run by a world-spanning shadow government that no one can oppose because no one knows it still exists! You now work for the illuminati, whether you like it or not, your every action part of their inescapable master plan. Fortunately, so will the occasional random encounter and/or settlement leader(1/20 chance), who will surreptitiously aid you.
  5. The gods are not gods, but priests, and they harvest mortal souls to sacrifice to the true gods-beyond-the-gods. You may now worship a god-beyond-gods- your class abilities are pretty much just the equivalent of any other cleric, but you are immune to the feeble workings of the false gods, with whom you feel you stand on equal ground now.
  6. XP is a tangible substance that can be extracted, transplanted, and crystallized. Whenever you gain XP, you may instead store it in a power crystal that others can absorb. You could potentially extract it from others too, but you'll need to devise an infernal device of sorcery and alchemy...
  7. Classes are actually subspecies of humans, and can instantly be told apart via skeletal structure if you know what to look for. You can always tell what class people are.
  8. Reality, when unobserved, does not exist, and evidence to the contrary is simply evidence of the massive coverup used to obfuscate this. Your backpack contains nothing until you open it, at which point you have 10 seconds to retroactively shop for everything you totally bought and brought along.
  9. Chaos is limited by specific ranges of results, and you can spoof reality by creating false-chaos-logic-loops. Whenever you roll a 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 20, you can have your next die roll be on a die with that many sides instead of what it would normally be.
  10. Metagame stuff is terrible self-indulgent wankery and you should roll on this rad table instead
Medusa generally have their guests wear blindfolds. Medusa who wear blindfolds themselves are either incredibly considerate and compassionate, or incredibly stuck up and picky about who they petrify. Unlike basilisks, medusa cannot petrify themselves or each other, and in fact, self-contemplation in a mirror allows extra in-depth review of their forbidden knowledge. It is common to mistake a mirror and self-portrait packed medusa lair to be the domicile of a creature incredibly vain, but the fact of the matter is that, for the divinely inspired data hoard that is the multi-brain of a medusa, introspection is research.

Though Medusa can depetrify their archived victims, they have little reason to. Though not necessarily particularly socially adept, they can read a statue like a book, determining even thoughts and memories from microscopic details. But should they need flesh rather than helpful stone- stone nails driven into the skull to make the petrified person forget the knowledge that turned them to stone in the first place, hypnotic whispers delivered into a statues ear to make them confused about the knowledge- anything to undo the unbearable knowledge and regain the status quo of flesh. People returned to flesh via some sorcerous transmutation are at risk of re-petrifying the moment they mull over the forbidden knowledge that rocked them into a grey area between living and dead. As medusa grow more ancient and knowledgeable, they also learn how to edit their archives, though this is rather blasphemous and a misuse of their Yg-granted power to preserve knowledge. But petrified enemies can be altered into loyal slaves, or even carved into a different creature entirely (this latter reshaping being much easier to enact on morbidly obese people and cattle). It is a difficult thing to convince a medusa to give up an archived/petrified being- like convincing a wizard to give up his spellbook.

 4:50 am baybee


  1. Nice to know I'm not the only one bothered by the Medusa as species thing.

    I love the "XP is a tangible substance" secret because it does interesting things with the notion that NPC's are lesser than PCs which will react one of two ways. Either they will be offended by the Deadpool like villain and fight him, or embrace the notion that living things are just exp to be gained. It just seems more honest to act on 'forbidden (meta game)knowledge' rather than just trying to dress it up as eating souls or whatever.

    1. Comics and cartoons and videogames and so on get to play with meta stuff, after all. I think there's untapped potential for meta shenanigans in RPGs as well! The only question is how it can be done well, considering the uniqueness of every gaming group...

    2. I'd say that due to there already *being* a large amount of meta-shenanigans going on, pointing it out in-game might have some unintended consequences. If your table is already very in-character, bringing in meta stuff might spoil the mood. OR it could have some absolutely fabulous antics resulting, if they play it straight!

  2. Medusa was a gorgon and she had at least two other sister gorgons, somehow Gary missed that.

    1. The 'somehow' might be the fault of a book called "The history of four-footed beasts and serpents." and/or the various origins of that text. We'll probs never know what specific kooky sources he was drawing from, though.

    2. Yes, and the gorgon is a blue-black metallic bull. I have no idea where that came from either.