Illustrations by Jared Blando and Ryan Portillo. Widescreen version here.


Anybody Have a Mirror Handy?

May 20, 2011

One of my favorite movies as a kid had an awesome medusa put on the silver screen by Ray Harryhausen, a true master of physical special effects magic. The medusa in this wallpaper, from Tomb of the Iron Medusa reminds me a lot of that iconic one and now I really want to make a fighter with a divine heritage to chop her head off, in order to win the hand of the princess.

What's your iconic medusa memory?

Hyrum.
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Liberty's Edge

Lost my first D&D character to the Medusa in the Caves of Chaos. The old system really taught you to stay on your toes. No rhyme or reason to what you might find. Good times.

The Exchange

Who among us who cut their teeth on the Red Box doesn't remember seeing the original "Clash of the Titans" as a kid? That and playing B2 Keep on the Borderlands and getting petrified by the the medusa in the upper caves. I can't even remember trying to close my eyes, let alone using a mirror to see my opponent.


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Doug Miles wrote:
Who among us who cut their teeth on the Red Box doesn't remember seeing the original "Clash of the Titans" as a kid? That and playing B2 Keep on the Borderlands and getting petrified by the the medusa in the upper caves. I can't even remember trying to close my eyes, let alone using a mirror to see my opponent.

Here! Here! Good times.

Liberty's Edge

Running Tomb of the Iron Medusa this Tuesday! My players are in for some surprises! Can you spell T-P-K? LOL

Liberty's Edge

Running Ravenloft and the look of absolute horror when the party realized that the veiled widow who was the patron of the party's sculptor was a medusa. =3


Is that Iron Medusa in a Laura Ashley?

Scarab Sages

Once, after defeating a dragon and beginning to loot his treasure horde, I was in a party that was ambushed by a medusa and her small army of trolls who had been waiting for somebody to kill the dragon so they could take his stuff.

My crossbow-specialist rogue proceeded to crit the medusa with his +3 icy burst crossbow, do almost max damage, and instantly kill her.

Good times!


The first time I ever saw a medusa was the old " clash of the titans " movie when I was a kid. The entire movie was very D&D esk. In all my years of playing I cant recall ever coming across one.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Okay. Setting the wayback time machine for this memory to 1976...

I recall a later episode of the campy Land of the Lost show where the protagonists met a lovely woman who befriended them named Meddie. Somehow, she was able to hide her true visage, however. She had a garden full of life-like statues and a talking mirror she consulted all the time. And, ultimately, it became clear she was a medusa intent on trapping the others in her garden. They managed to make her look into the mirror when she had her full-on Medusa face going and it turned her to stone, of course.

I'm not sure why that memory has stayed with me. Any and all critics of Land of the Lost often cite that episode as one of the all-time worst. But it's something I can vividly recall. This pre-dated my introduction to RPGs by about 5 years. I already knew the myth of Medusa, though. So it was kind of an intriguing show at the time.

My two cents,
--Neil


Hey she petrified a Triceratops! She showed us who was the greater monster in that scene.

But as to my first Medusa, it had to be the one in the 7 Faces of Dr Lao. Of course I latter learned "she" was Tony Randal in drag, which makes "her" even more disturbing.

Hmmm, maybe that's why we see any male Medusas?

Silver Crusade

One from way way way way back.

Party was on a passenger ship for the duration of a long voyage. Large cast of NPCs onboard for the party to get familiar with along the way, among them a veiled wizard that kept mostly to herself yet seemed to just hover at the edge of the crowd, like she wanted in but was afraid to go all the way. Naturally the bard decides to chat her up.

A murder mystery starts up, with the wizard and a couple of the party members as some of the prime suspects. And some of the bodies are petrified. After it's found out that the medusa is a wizard things get even more complicated. Heated arguments, one nearly avoided "lynching", and more bodies later, the real killer(s) are found: a thief and wizard with a small basilisk at their disposal. They severely damage the ship as they make off with half of what they came for, and we're all stuck on a slowly sinking boat miles from shore.

We're low level. We don't have the resources to get all the passengers safely to shore. We don't even have the resources to get the whole party to safety.

The bard has an idea, manages to talk the medusa into it, has a marginally harder time convincing us, and a much harder time convincting the captain.

All the passengers are gathered in the hold of the ship. Everyone is advised to brace themselves and not leave any limbs sticking out. Then the medusa suddenly exposes her face to them, petrifying them. Then we give her and the best "sailor" out of the party all the equipment we have that could possibly get them to shore, and she finishes petrifying the rest of us.

They make it to shore a couple of sharks later. They get help, and a few weeks later we're all salvaged out the sea and restored, with the medusa suffering blood loss for the sake of changing everyone back. At that point we had a new quest we were weeks behind(catching the thieves) but we had earned the trust and appreciation of an awesome NPC ally by placing trust in her.

She and the bard hooked up later. Bards man...

The cleric that delivered their baby had to be buffed because we had no clue exactly what was going to happen.


The first PC death I can remember came from the medusa in The Ghost Tower of Inverness.

What makes the death especially memorable was that, in my cheating, 10-year-old ways, I had secretly read the module ahead of time and knew what was coming. However, when we encountered a strange, robed figure hanging out in the garden, the rest of the players assumed it was the responsibility of the party monk to approach her and I couldn't think of a good reason not to without giving away that I'd read the mod.

It was like walking the green mile as I approached the hooded woman and tapped her on the shoulder.


Another gamer here who grew up on Harryhausen's Medusa, and had his PC petrified in the Caves of Chaos.

There was a cool Side Trek in an older issue of Dungeon that featured a medusa's lair. If I recall correctly, her statue gallery featured nails stuck into the back of each statue's head, so that returning them to flesh would mean instant death if the nail weren't removed first (and maybe a stone shape to close the whole?)


Medusae and cockatrices under a veil spell appearing as two farmwives feeding the chickens.


@ Mikaze Now that sounds like a great game! Wish my players were that imaginative.

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