Thursday, August 8, 2019


Basilisks  have a few interesting things in AD&D beyond the obvious.
First off, while the gaze attack of a medusa explicitly allows a saving throw vs petrification, the basilisk has no mention of any saving throw given. However, according to the blog B/X Blackrazor there is a mention of magic users and super-heroes being given chances to save against basilisks so I assume a saving throw representing averting one's gaze is probably meant to happen.

Another interesting thing about the gaze attack is that it extends into the ethereal and astral planes, turning ethereal victims to ethereal stone, and turning astral victims into corpses. Useful guardians against overconfident wizards and certain undead and monsters who seek access to an area via extradimensional means.

They can be petrified with their own gaze reflected back at them, though this requires good lighting, carefully aligned mirrors, and a quality mirror, which makes them something of a puzzle encounter if approached in that way. They come in numbers of 1d4, and given that they can petrify themselves and each other, they are probably very careful to never face each other, meaning a basilisk lair will have the litholizards spread out, watching different exits, and lurking on the other side of statues and so on, which can create great complications if the players thought there was only one.

Their eyes glow, meaning that they do not loom suddenly from the darkness- you can see their green glowing eyes from afar (though extended contemplation or missile weapon aiming at those eyes is a serious risk- no range limit is given.)

Finally, each one is a slow, dangerous sack of HP that, once you figure in penalties for fighting blind, mean that it's far better to run than try fighting one or more, lest you end up being simply chomped to death.

All in all, they sound like excellent guard beasts for the paranoid and megalomaniacal (ie, most dungeon builders)- incredibly dangerous to the unwary, but not at all unmanageable for the prepared.

Sunset Realm Basilisk
 Basilisks, as opposed to Medusae, do not petrify via a visage that transmits divine  knowledge of Yg so forbidden that mortal forms cannot withstand it. Rather, they petrify via the transmission of pure infohazard, memetic weaponry, junk data that forces the brain to attempt to comprehend and be caught in a liminal state, petrifying the body and expelling the soul. They are not sacred to Yg, being bioengineered by the Serpent Empire back in the age of the 2nd sun.They were war-beasts, and guardians of secret vaults, and the pets and bodyguards of VIPs, kept invisible in the latter case until they were unleashed. Poorer VIPers of the Serpent Empire would generally just turn regular sacred snakes invisible and then strongly imply that it was a basilisk, and so feet were added to the previously serpentine basilisks so that the distinctive footfalls of a basilisk could separate the real basilisk holders from the posers, and then extra legs were added so that less-rich VIPs could pretend to have multiple basilisks for the price of one, and then thankfully the empire collapsed before things could get even sillier. Most basilisks have 6 legs, but any number (even zero) is possible.

Basilisks eat petrified victims, but not natural stone, and their powerful grinding jaws frequently shed teeth as they wear out. The items a victim wears are not petrified, and are frequently ruined by gnawing basilisks, but enough usually remain to make established basilisk lairs worth looting. Most basilisks subside on a steady diet of petrified night insects drawn to their glowing eye-lights and unwary wildlife, and while territorial and aggressive, they are more akin to scavengers who accidentally hunt via petrification. Basilisk saliva undoes petrification, allowing them to hoard food, but an entire days worth of drool is required to unpetrify a complete human.

Their dread gaze extends into the Mirror Realm, the infohazards of their glowing eyes carefully crafted to function both forwards and reversed. Mirror-Reversal of the gaze prevents medusa gazes from petrifying, but basilisks can inadvertently petrify themselves and their mirror-selves if confronted with clear images of the eye, and so are picky drinkers, only drinking from water that runs and splashes and holds no reflection or licking dew from cave moss and similar. Some basilisks were even placed within the mirror realm itself, where they have prospered well enough in that dark realm, their eyes acting much like the lures of abyssal angler fish to the light-starved mirror-monsters, and it is said that those who blaspheme against Lumar may find an abyssal-born basilisk gazing back at them through a mirror, sooner or later.

Their gaze is the light of their engineered souls and therefore also extends to the Dream Realm, another coterminous but unbound plane of existence composed of the light of all souls, where the majority of spirits reside (Also known as the spirit realm). Though what is dead will not die, basilisks trap those who meet their gaze in the dream realm in abstract nightmare realms based on logic-loops rather than personal trauma, apparently turning them to stone in the dream until such point as they are rescued or find their own escape. This can spell death for those who are simply dreaming as the spirit cannot return to the body in time, but for the dreaming dead, the experience is more akin to forcible deportation to a (albeit shallow) depth of nightmare. In any case, basilisks are effective against undead (though not skull-moon undead, as Moons are far too alien for anything psychological to work on them) of both corporeal and incorporeal nature, and so the practice of warding tombs with basilisks to keep the living out and the dead in is a venerable practice in all lands the Serpents once ruled... though perhaps the overuse of this practice in ages past by the caliphs of old could explain Saresare's vulnerability to nightmare realm breaches, if the fabric of the dream is strained by basilisk-trapped souls.

I think I'm in the minority in having petrification only affect flesh and not equipment

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