October 20th: Medusa

medusasculpture

Next one of the many princes asked why Medusa, alone among her sisters, had snakes twining in her hair. The guest replied ‘Since what you ask is worth the telling, hear the answer to your question. She was once most beautiful, and the jealous aspiration of many suitors. Of all her beauties none was more admired than her hair: I came across a man who recalled having seen her. They say that Neptune, lord of the seas, violated her in the temple of Minerva. Jupiter’s daughter turned away, and hid her chaste eyes behind her aegis. So that it might not go unpunished, she changed the Gorgon’s hair to foul snakes.

-Ovid, The Metamorphoses – Book IV

Once upon a time, there were three sisters. These sisters were very special, a bit more than human. Their parents were minor deities:  Phorcys, the god of hidden dangers of the deep, and his sister Ceto, a primordial sea goddess.  This sort of thing happened it the Bible, too; it was all good back then.  They were also known as chthonic monsters, as in deities relating to the earth.

The older two sisters, Stheno and Euyale, inherited their parents’ immortality. The youngest, Medusa (meaning guardian or protector), was mortal. She was, however, blessed with being a maiden of great beauty. Because of her irresistible feminine characteristics, the sea god Poseidon, brother of Zeus, was forced was to violate her, an event which unfortunately took place in a temple of Athena.

Aghast such a travesty would happen in her temple, the goddess Athena’s punishment was swift and unforgiving—she cursed Medusa. The young girl’s face and entire body turned hideous, ending with a serpentine tail. Her once-gorgeous locks of hair became a writhing mass of thirsty snakes. The gaze of Medusa proved so hideous, it now turned mortals to solid stone.

Because Medusa’s sisters dared to stand by her after the rape, they were also punished by being turned into grotesque monsters. Stheno gained long fangs, dripping with red poison, and her hands turned into brass claws. Euryale’s hands also became malformed brass and her voice a shrieking song that could drive mortals insane.

The punishment of the women was just, according to Perseus, the hero who later slayed Medusa. He needed her severed head to save the princess Andromeda from being sacrificed. Her mother had claimed her daughter was more beautiful than sea nymphs—a great affront.  It also earned him her hand in marriage and rulership over the people.

Oh, those crazy ancient Greeks. Nothing like that would ever happen today. A missing part of the story deserves mention, though.  During the time between the cursing and slaying, the Gorgon sisters encountered a great many soldiers and would-be heroes. After turning the failures to stone, the sisters would snap off the penis and scrotum and turn them to flesh, using them to impregnate Medusa for decades. And thus her descendants live on.

Male descendants of Medusa appear normal throughout their whole lives while carrying on her genes to be passed. A high percentage of female daughters find their hair turning into snakes and gain the petrifying ability with the onset of puberty. If a lady who is already a Medusa is in the household and the male is unaccepting of the condition, he is dealt with appropriately. In the case that both parents are unaware, and one of the Medusa lineage is borne, the immortal Stheno and Euryale are there, always watchful over their beloved sister’s offspring.  Loving aunts, they dispose of the child’s (or children’s) parents and teach their special nieces the spells they will need to know to disguise themselves in this day and age.  They also teach them to never forgive.

 

Medusa [Descendent]

STR 3d6
CON 4d6
SIZ 3d6
INT 3d6
POW 6d6
DEX 4d6
APP 4d6 pre-puberty, Disguise after
Mov 10
HP 14

Damage Bonus: +1d6
Weapons: Punch 50%, Claw 60%, Tail Slap 40%, Projectile (Thrown, Archery, Gun) 80%
Armor: 1 scaly skin
Spells: Petrifying Gaze (unlimited), Disguise Self, Illusion, Charm mortal, Dark Mist, Cloud Mind

Skills: Conceal 80%, Disguise 90%, Fast Talk 80%, Hide 65%, Sneak 75% *

*Additional normal human skills, randomized

Sanity lost: 1/1d6

Stheno, Eldest Gorgon Sister

STR 28
CON 22
SIZ 14
INT 14
POW 44
DEX 16
APP 6
Mov 10
HP 16

Damage Bonus: +2d6
Weapons: Punch 80%, Claw 80%, Bite (poison) 70%
Armor: 1 scaly skin
Regeneration 5, even after ‘killed’

Spells: Illusion, Charm mortal, Fog, Create Mist, Cloud Memory

Skills: Conceal 60%, Credit Rating 80%, Disguise 85%, Fast Talk 70%, Grapple 75%, Occult 60%, Other Languages (various) 70%, Sneak 60%, Track 60%

Sanity lost: 1/1d6

Eurydale, Second-Oldest Gorgon Sister

STR 20
CON 18
SIZ 12
INT 18
POW 65
DEX 22
APP 7
Mov 10
HP 12
Damage Bonus: +1d6
Weapons: Punch 70%, Claw 60%, Tail Slap 40%, Projectile (Thrown, Archery, Gun) 80%
Armor: 1 scaly skin
Regeneration 5, even after ‘killed’

Spells: Illusion, Charm mortal, Fog, Darkness, Create Mist, Cloud Memory, Song of Mourning

Skills:  Conceal 70%, Credit Rating 80% Disguise 90%,  Listen 50%, Occult 80% Other Languages (various) 80%,  Sneak 75%

Sanity lost: 1/1d6

Song of Mourning 1/1d6 per minute. 10% chance of suicide, re-roll every minute.

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