Elite Opponents03/16/2007


Variant Gorgons
Creature Incarnations



The gorgon appears in both the new Unhallowed miniatures set and as a templated example in Dungeonscape. So, this month we are going to give it some more love. Strange love to be sure, but still love. There are many ways to make a magical beast with templates, and surely you've done your share. Creature Incarnations doesn't present what might be considered usual templates for creatures, and this month is no exception. From a chimeric gorgon to a construct one, this column is filled with unusual creatures for your campaign. Each has two templates as well, just to give them a little more in the surprise area.

Next month, the return of Creatures That Cannot Be.

Three-Headed Guardian Gorgon

One of these days we'll need to run a Design & Development article on D&D nomenclature. For example, real-world phylacteries are small leather boxes holding prayers in the Jewish religion, while in D&D they've become receptacles for a lich's life force. Lich itself has an Old English definition of body or corpse, but its animated version is D&D-specific. This leads up to the gorgon, a monster whose name has obvious roots in Greek mythology's Medusa. Yet while Medusa carried into the game as a snake-haired monster with a petrifying gaze, "gorgon" became what we see here today: a bull-like monster with a petrifying breath. Why the change? To quote a wise commercial, the world may never know...

Dungeonscape has a guardian gorgon example, a creature with eyes that project light set to guard a dungeon. In thinking about what would make such a creature even more effective, aside from a set of eyes of the eagle over the flashlight eyes, I thought "more heads." More heads nearly always makes a creature better, in fact. The multiheaded template from Savage Species is one of the very few ways to add Hit Dice to a creature when applying the template. The guardian template comes from Dungeonscape.

This creature looks like a gorgon with three heads. Its eyes project beams of light. It fights like a gorgon, and it is pretty good at spotting intruders.

Three-Headed Guardian Gorgon CR 12
N Large magical beast
Init +4; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision, scent; Listen +23, Spot +22
Languages --

AC 22, touch 9, flat-footed 22
(-1 size, +13 natural)
hp 162 (12 HD)
Immune sleep
Fort +16, Ref +8, Will +9; +2 against mind-affecting

Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee 3 gores +16 (2d6+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +12; Grp +21
Atk Options breath weapon, trample 1d8+7

Abilities Str 21, Dex 10, Con 26, Int 2, Wis 16, Cha 7
SQ illuminated eyes
Feats Ability Focus (breath weapon), Alertness, Blind-Fight[B], Combat Reflexes[B], Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (gore), Iron Will
Skills Hide -4, Listen +23, Search +0, Spot +22

Breath Weapon (Su) 60-foot cone, once every 1d4 rounds (but no more than 5/day), turn to stone permanently, Fort DC 24 negates. All three heads breathe at the same time and can overlap or spread out the breath weapon's effect.
Trample (Ex) 1d8+7 points of damage,Reflex DC 19 half.
Illuminated Eyes (Ex) A guardian monster's eyes glow strongly. While open, they illuminate a 60-foot-radius area around the monster.

Chimeric Gorgon of Legend

The application of the chimeric template (as with the tauric template in an earlier article) is premised on the example creature provided with the template. The template says it applies to beasts, but beasts went away in 3.5. However, the example creature is now a magical beast, and thus even though the template doesn't say it should apply to magical beasts, it must because of the example. The chimeric and monster of legend template both come from Monster Manual II.

Fans of the 1st edition adventure Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth may remember a similar creature: the gorgimera, a chimeric creature with lion, dragon and gorgon heads, lurking outside the dreaded mountain. Look for a revision to this classic module coming to the website in the days ahead, along with a revision of this creature!

This creature has the forequarters of a gorgon (shiny metallic), the hindquarters of a black goat, and the wings of a black dragon. It has a goat head (right), gorgon head (center), and black dragon head (left). It is somehow more enhanced than a standard chimeric gorgon would look like; its horns are longer, its scales glisten more, and so on. It definitely has an otherworldly feel to it. One wonders what god chose this creature to be its agent.

Chimeric Gorgon of Legend CR 11
CE Large outsider (native)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Listen +12, Spot +12
Languages --

AC 35, touch 12, flat-footed 32
(-1 size, +3 Dex, +22 natural)
hp 157 (9 HD)
Fort +21, Ref +13, Will +10

Speed 60 ft. (12 squares), fly 80 ft. (poor)
Melee 2 bites +21 (3d6+12) and
gore +19 (1d8+6) and
head butt +19 (1d8+6)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +9; Grp +25
Atk Options 3breath weapons, trample 1d8+7

Abilities Str 35, Dex 17, Con 35, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 13
SQ enhanced attributes, haste
Feats Alertness, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Iron Will, Multiattack [B]
Skills Hide -1, Jump +24, Listen +12, Spot +12

Gorgon Head Breath Weapon (Su) 60-foot cone, once every 1d4 rounds (but no more than 5/day), turn to stone permanently, Fort DC 30 negates.
Dragon Head Breath Weapon (Su) 40-foot line, once every 1d4 rounds, 3d8 acid damage, Reflex DC 30 half.
Breath Weapon of Legend (Su) 15-foot cone, once every 1d4 rounds, 3d6 fire damage, Reflex DC 30 half. Any head can use this breath weapon.
Trample (Ex) 1d8+7 points of damage,Reflex DC 30 half.
Enhanced Attributes (Ex) The save DC for each of the monster of legend's special attacks, spells, and spell-like abilities increases by +4 (included above).
Haste (Ex) The creature is supernaturally quick. It acts as if always under the effects of a haste spell (included above).

Corrupted Elder Eidolon Gorgon

The elder eidolon template from Lords of Madness is a way to make a construct of many different creatures without having to resort to the weaker (physically, and in this author's opinion, thematically) effigy template (from Complete Arcane). Elder eidolons are creatures of igneous rock, usually giving them a black or purple-black look. They look like the creature on which the template is applied, except that they are purplish-black or black rock versions. Ancient runes cover their surfaces. The techniques for making elder eidolons have long been lost, so any that you meet are very old indeed. This one was set to guard an evil artifact, and eventually was corrupted. The corrupted template from Book of Vile Darkness is thus an acquired template for this creature.

Being as it's not really a gorgon, but just looks a little like one, it does not fight like a gorgon. It does not have a breath weapon, so it just charges and gores and tramples everything. Its extra vile damage is particularly nasty, and its trample is very effective since the DC is high to avoid all the damage.

Corrupted Elder Eidolon Gorgon CR 14
NE Large construct
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen -1, Spot -1
Aura insanity
Languages --

AC 33, touch 14, flat-footed 32
(-1 size, +1 Dex, +19 natural, +4 deflection)
hp 74 (8 HD); fast heal 5; DR 5/adamantine and magic
Immune acid, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromancy effects, mind-affecting spells and abilities, critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, energy drain, anything requiring a Fort save unless it works on objects or is harmless, any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +1

Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee gore +16 (2d6+16 plus 4 vile)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +6; Grp +21
Atk Options trample 1d8+16
Special Actions disruptive attack, insanity aura

Abilities Str 33, Dex 12, Con --, Int --, Wis 9, Cha 1

Insanity Aura (Ex) The elemental forces that power an elder eidolon warp time and space and cause horrible hallucinations in those nearby. Any living creature within 10 feet of an eidolon must make a successful Will saving throw (DC 13) each round or become confused for 1 round.
Trample (Ex) 1d8+7 points of damage,Reflex DC 30 half.
Disruptive Attack (Ex) The corrupt elder eidolon gorgon deals an additional 4 points of vile damage when it touches uncorrupted, living, corporeal nonoutsiders.
Immunity to Magic (Ex) An eidolon is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature. Etherealness immediately repairs damage to an eidolon equal to the spell's caster level. Dimensional anchor causes an eidolon to cease functioning for 1 round (treat as if dazed). Dimensional lock does not interfere with an eidolon's operation, but an eidolon that enters the area of a dimensional lock spell or similar effect loses the benefits of its otherworldly geometry and its insanity aura. A transmute rock to mud spell slows an eidolon (as the slow spell) for 2d6 rounds, with no saving throw, while transmute mud to rock heals all of its lost hit points. A stone to flesh spell does not actually change an eidolon's structure, but negates its damage reduction and immunity to magic for 1 round.

About the Author

Robert Wiese has been playing D&D since 1978 after he watched a game played in the car on the way home from a Boy Scouts meeting. He was fascinated, and delved into this strange world of dragons and magic and sourcebooks. Years later, he was hired to edit tournaments for the RPGA Network, and from there progressed to running the network after his boss was assassinated in the great Christmas purge of 1996. Times were tough, but he persevered and brought the RPGA into a shining new era. Eventually he met a girl who liked to play D&D too, and he left Renton for the warmth and casinos of Reno, Nevada. Now, he works in the Pharmacology department of UNR studying mouse foot muscles and the effects of RF emissions on same. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Rhonda and year-old son Owen.

Over the course of his career, he wrote over sixty tournament adventures for the RPGA, and he continues to inflict his creativity on you through this website. He hopes that you find his little creations useful, or at least amusing.

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