Tartarus: Wrath of the Titans
Darius stepped away from the statue and headed into the ruined temple to look for someone to aid him on his journey home. He looked around in the dark chambers, but found only more marble statues, some short and squat figures, others tall and fair, others caught in the act of running. The expressions on the statues were invariably gruesome. Then, all at once, Darius spied a mural painted on a wall up ahead, illuminated by a shaft of sunlight that had penetrated the gloomy chamber through a crack in the ceiling above. Darius approached the painting, picking his way through several statues lying down just before it.
The painting showed a young Greek woman in white linen. Darius stopped to stare at her, for she was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. Her hair was a glossy back, her arms white and graceful like a swan’s. But her full ruby-red lips did not smile.
All at once there was a terrible hissing sound in the chamber, and Darius spun around to his right. There, standing not three paces from him, was the most hideous monster Darius had ever seen. He did not see her for long, as in that moment his body stiffened and became stone. His gaze of shock and horror froze for all time. Before he could defend himself, Darius became yet another statue in the Lair of the Gorgon. — Agaios of Thasos, Chronicler
Legend tells of three women with bodies and hair like snakes, cursed by Athena for infidelities they did not commit. Medusa, chief among them, went into seclusion and preyed on the men who entered her lair. What few know is Medusa sought out women to spread her curse upon. Through pain and anger she spawned an entire generation of monsters, known collectively as the Gorgons.
EYES OF THE SERPENT
Gorgons were created out of misplaced vengeance, and they perpetuate in much the same way. By spreading their curse they hope to dull their own pain, though this is rarely true. Though most Gorgons were once humans, they inevitably end up looking rather similar. Instead of legs they have a thick, serpentine body. What was once hair has become a writhing mass of snakes, each seemingly independent but mindless extensions of their master. The female Curse generally keep their human torsos, arms and faces. Those spawned by their unnatural unions with men can be male or female. These Spawned often have green or scaly flesh as well, making them appear even more monstrous than their matriarchs.
KIND WORDS, EMPTY HEARTS
Whether Cursed or Spawned, most Gorgons prefer to remain alone. They feel any interaction with others will inevitably end in heartache, and so seek to build their own lairs in seclusion. These lairs are often ancient ruins, large caves or underground chambers where they feel they will not be disturbed. Should they be, however, their wrath can be terrible. Their domain is their sanctuary, and most do not bother to question the intent of intruders.
Despite popular belief to the contrary, Gorgons are not evil by nature. They are cursed with seemingly permanent sadness and anger, and seek only to alleviate their pain. Many have enough humanity left within them that they do not lash out against the innocent. Rather, they seek out evil and oppressive foes on which to exact their rage. Gorgons, then, have become unlikely heroes. They can be warriors, mages or even assassins, all in an effort to spread pain on those whey believe deserve to suffer.
Because Gorgons were once human, born into or at least acquainted with human society, they have the same naming conventions as Humans.
The serpent venom in your blood grants you traits in common among all your kind.
Ability Score Increase. One ability score of your choice increased by 2.
Age. Gorgons mature at the same rate as humans, but tend to live a little longer – averaging 120-150 years.
Alignment. Gorgons are inherently Chaotic, as the laws of men mean nothing to them. However, few are Evil and fewer still can be considered Good.
Size. Gorgons, when upright, stand between 6 to 7 feet tall and weigh anywhere from 200 to 400 pounds. Their bodies are up to twenty feet long when fully extended, but due to a lack of mobility they tend to remain coiled in combat or social situations. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Serpentine Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.
Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of our attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
Superior Darkvision. Having grown accustomed to living in underground lairs and caverns, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of as if it was bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Stability. You have advantage on any checks to avoid being tripped or otherwise knocked prone. You also do not lose any speed for standing up from a prone position.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Hellenic and Serpentis – though the latter has no written form. Serpentis is a harsh hissing, quite often uttered from Gorgon hair as opposed to the Gorgons themselves. Gorgons who speak other languages often keep the hissing consonants of Serpentis as they talk.
Subrace. Gorgons are distinguished between those who are Cursed and those who are Spawned. Choose one of these subraces.
As a Cursed, you are a woman who was once human. You received the curse of the Gorgon, both able and compelled to pass it along to others. Your greatest endeavor in life is likely to ease your own pain by granting it to others.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
Corrupting Stare. You can use your action to target an enemy with 60 feet that can see your eyes directly. The target must make a Dexterity save equal to your Charisma score. If they fail, they suffer 1d6 points of Dexterity damage, and you gain the same amount in Hit Points. If you reduce your target to 0 Dexterity in this manner, they turn to stone. This ability only affects male targets.
Corrupting Whisper. You can use your action to target an enemy with 60 feet that can hear you. The enemy must make a Wisdom save equal to your Charisma score. If they fail, they suffer 1d6 points of Wisdom damage, and you gain the same amount in Hit Points. If you reduce your target to 0 Wisdom in this manner, they become a Cursed Gorgon upon regaining consciousness. This ability only affects female targets.
As a Spawned, you were born of another Gorgon and inherited their curse. You have been ostracized by society, and either vow to do the same or prove just how monstrous you can be.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
Speedy. You have advantage on Dexterity checks for Initiative.
Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increased by 1 every time you gain a level.