Monday, January 3, 2011

General Rules: Monsters - Gorgon, High

Gorgon, High (adapted from the Creature Collection)
Medium Monstrous Humanoid

Hit Dice: 9d8+27 (67 hit points)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 feet, swim 30 feet
Armor Class: 19 (+2 Dexterity, +7 natural); touch 12, flat-footed 17
BAB/Grapple: +9/+12
Attack: Trident +13 melee (1d8+3, piercing and slashing, 20 x2, 10 feet x5) or bite +12 melee (1d4+2 plus poison, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing, 20 x2)
Full Attack: Trident +13 melee (1d8+3, piercing and slashing, 20 x2, 10 feet x5) or 8 bites +12 melee (1d4+2 plus poison, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing, 20 x2)
Space/Reach: 5 feet by 5 feet/5 feet (snakes 20 feet)
Special Attacks: Poison, spells
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 feet, DR 10/+1, immunities, spell resistance 15
Saves: Fortitude +9, Reflex +5, Will +8
Abilities: Str 17, Int 15, Wis 15, Dex 15, Con 17, Cha 11
Skills: Bluff +3, Concentration +8, Craft: Alchemy +6, Decipher Script +4, Disguise +6, Hide +3, Intimidate +7, Knowledge: Arcana +6, Listen +3, Search +7, Spellcraft +3, Spot +5
Feats: Extend Spell, Quicken Spell, Skill Augmentation (Listen and Spot), Weapon Focus (Trident)
Environment: Any land or underground
Organization: Solitary or cabal (2 - 5)
Challenge Rating: 9
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually lawful evil
Advancement: 8 - 12 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: -

The high gorgons are among Belial's most faithful creations, and now that he has been imprisoned in a freezing wasteland, the gorgons work secretly to restore him.

There are two varieties of gorgon - the bestial low gorgon and the humanoid high gorgon. Although nearly as different as humans and lions, both varieties of gorgon are repulsively interfertile, and the females of both species can be fertilized by males of either kind. They lay clutches of 1d6 eggs, one in five of which typically hatches into a high gorgon - the rest become low gorgons.

A high gorgon resembles a solidly built human with slightly grayish, almost glistening skin. They have no body hair whatsoever - a fact that they often conceal with cosmetics, hoods, or wigs. A small seam runs from the bottom of the breastbone to just above the genitals. When the high gorgon wishes to reveal its true nature, the seam splits wide open, revealing a mass of intertwines serpents that strike out at the gorgon's enemies. High gorgons usually have yellow, amber, or brown eyes, and their teeth are unusually perfect.

High gorgons don;t have a culture of their own; they imitate human society as best they can, all the better to fit in. They gather in small cabals to exchange information and magic, and they particularly prize any rumors that might lead to another piece of the puzzle to unlocking Belial's icy prison.

High gorgons usually try to conceal their true nature if at all possible. They typically fight with weapons and spells as if they were human, even to the point of adopting popular skirmish tactics. If there is no way to prevent their nature from being revealed, they pull their bellies open to bite at opponents with their serpentine heads. Their lairs are often defended with traps, magical and otherwise, as well as a kennel of low gorgons.

Immunities (Ex): High gorgons are immune to all poisons and sleep, and they have Acid Resistance 10.

Poison Blade (Ex): High gorgons are in the habit of anointing their weapons with an acidic poison partially derived from their own. Anyone wounded by a high gorgon's weapon must make a successful DC 18 Fortitude save or suffer 1d4+3 additional points of damage.

Poison (Ex): The snakes growing from a high gorgon's belly are venomous. Bite; injury, Fortitude negates DC 19; initial and secondary damage 1d8 temporary Constitution damage. The save DC is Constitution-based. If a victim is bitten by multiple snakes during a gorgon's attack, the DC for the saving throw is raised by 1 for each bite after the first. A victim may only suffer from one dose of venom at a time, ignoring subsequent bites until the initial venom has had its full effect. Once the minute has elapsed and the venom has had its full secondary effect, the character can be poisoned again.

Snakes (Ex): A high gorgon can strike with up to eight snakes at once; these serpents can be severed if specifically targeted with an edged weapon. An individual snake is Armor Class 20 and requires 15 hit points of damage to sever. An average high gorgon has 15 to 20 snakes attached to its spine inside its abdomen.

Spells: Each high gorgon can still draw on a portion of Belial's power, granting the ability to cast spells as a favored soul of a level equal to the creature's Hit Dice (usually 9th-level). They favor spells that diminish or warp their opponents, such as necromantic or transmutation spells.

Notes: I made slight modifications to the high gorgon's poison ability to bring it in line with the format used for poisons in 3.5 edition Dungeons & Dragons. I also changed the high gorgon's spellcasting ability from sorcerer to favored soul, on the grounds that a high gorgon as written does not have sufficiently high Charisma to cast sorcerer spells effectively, but has a high enough Wisdom to cast favored souls spells reasonably well. I changed their cold resistance to acid resistance, because ti fits the creature better thematically. Finally, I changed the default weapon from a scimitar to a trident to better reflect their position as Belial's creations in the Three Worlds.

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