In 778 YK a force of medusas emerged from Khyber and seized the abandoned goblin metropolis Cazhaak Draal for themselves. Over two hundred years the medusas have taken the ruins and its dangerous inhabitants and used them to build their own isolated kingdom.
For the most part the medusas were content in their tiny kingdom: Cazhaak Draal was far larger than their numbers required, and many treasures and wonders existed in the ancient city. Explorers who ventured into the Stonelands rarely returned, but the medusas had little interest in the outside world.
This changed in 985 YK, when a mysterious visitor came to speak to the Queen of Stone: a gray-robed hag, who met the medusa's gaze without fear. Sora Teraza spoke with Queen Sheshka from sunrise to sunset, and after the hag departed, Sheshka spent the evening in silent contemplation. The next day she told her people to prepare for great change. Over the course of the next year she brought together a corps of medusas, preparing them for service in foreign lands. When the Daughters of Sora Kell assumed power in 986 YK, representatives of Cazhaak Draal were quickly dispatched to the Great Crag. Today medusa architects direct the ongoing construction of Droaam's capital. Medusas hold many positions of power, both in Droaam and in the monstrous communities that have since spread across Khorvaire; in Sharn, the medusa Kasslak maintains order in the dangerous district of Malleon's Gate, while a medusa named Harash is the second-in-command of Sharn's Daask cell. The deadly power of a medusa commands respect, but in a nation of ogres, minotaurs, and harpies, the keen intellect of the medusa is often more useful than its petrifying gaze.
The people of Cazhaak Draal have prospered since the rise of the hags, and for the moment, the Queen of Stone is content to serve. The Daughters of Sora Kell are formidable enemies, and Sheshka does not have the power to challenge them. But the medusa queen is ambitious and cunning, and she is always searching for ways to increase her influence.
Appearance & PersonalityEdit
The Gatekeepers claim that medusas were created by the daelkyr Orlassk, but the medusa priests of Cazhaak Draal offer their devotions to The Shadow. They claim that The Shadow shaped many of the creatures humans see as monsters, giving the harpy her deadly voice, hiding the displacer beast from its foes, and healing the wounds of the troll. These priests view the deities of the Sovereign Host as the true evil, comparing the exile of The Shadow to the fear with which many humans respond to medusas and other monsters.
Of course, some medusas do earn their evil reputation. Several revel in their powers and petrify lesser creatures for sport. But a medusa who calls this sort of attention to herself won't last long in one of the great cities of Khorvaire. Those medusas chosen to represent Droaam in the wider world are carefully vetted by Sheshka and officials of House Tharashk.
The average medusa is more intelligent and cunning than the average human, and she understands the need to control her behavior among the soft people of Khorvaire. In Sharn, a medusa may move unfettered in the lawless districts, but if she enters a respectable neighborhood, she must wear eyeblinders, a metal visor secured with straps around forehead and chin; otherwise she may be attacked by the Blackened Book, Redcloak Battalion, or other agents of the law. Eyeblinders require a full minute to don or remove; in some cities, a medusa must have the blinders secured with a lock for the duration of her stay.
Despite their worship of the Shadow, medusas are no more inherently evil than humans or elves. Some are arrogant and proud, believing that their deadly gaze places them above mundane creatures. Others respond to the fear they encounter every day by despising those who fear them, a path that often leads to evil alignments. But many enjoy the same pleasures that humans do, and seek out song, good company, and the satisfaction of hard work. The medusas of Cazhaak Draal have a strong tradition of stonework, both architecture and purely aesthetic sculpture. In recent years, Councilor Kilk of Sharn has sought permission to bring in medusa architects and masons to perform work in Northedge, although to date the other councilors have refused to use city funds to pay for the services of monsters.
The gaze of a medusa can petrify even an ally, and as a result, a medusa does not meet the gaze of a person with whom it is conversing. Where she directs her eyes indicates her esteem for the person. She drops her eyes toward the ground to show respect, or looks up and over the person if she wishes to indicate disdain; when speaking to an equal, she glances to the left or right. If she wishes to show trust, she directs her gaze to the person, but closes her eyes.
While this may seem inconvenient to a human, it has little impact on a medusa. If a medusa concentrates, she can receive limited visual impressions from the serpents that make up her hair; as a result, though she seems to look elsewhere, she's actually looking through the eyes of her serpents. She can even use her serpents to see when she is blindfolded or has her eyes closed. However, she can still "see" in only one direction in this way; her serpents may look all around her, but she can't process the information from all of them at once. If a medusa is relying solely on the visual input from her serpents, she suffers a -2 penalty on Spot and Search checks.
A medusa uses its living mane for many purposes. In addition to serving as weapons and a supplemental form of eyesight, a medusa's serpents also help her communicate. The motions of the serpents often reflect a medusa's mood. The medusas of Cazhaak Draal have developed a simple language called Serpentine, which is based on the motions and hissing of their snakes. Serpentine has no written aspect and can be spoken only by a medusa, but any creature can use Speak Language to learn to understand it. A medusa must learn Serpentine normally, but it is available to her as a bonus language.
The gaze of a medusa is a powerful weapon, but most medusas don't think of it as deadly. A petrified victim can be restored to life, after all; within their own society, medusas often use petrification as a way to preserve mortally wounded kin, so they can be restored at a later time when healing magic is available. Likewise, medusas dying of old age often choose to be petrified before they fully pass on; Cazhaak Draal contains a great catacomb filled with the stone remnants of respected medusa elders. This ties to the love of stonework common in the culture; when a medusa looks at a statue, she sees the life it represents.
While some medusas take an interest in archery, in general the medusas of Cazhaak Draal have little interest in physical combat; they prefer to win their battles with magic or cunning. Sorcerers, rogues, and experts are all common among the citizens of Cazhaak Draal; the city of stone is also home to smaller numbers of clerics, adepts, rangers, and fighters, with the latter specializing in ranged combat.
Medusa are known to reside in many cities in Eberron. At least three medusa reside in Zarash'ak in the Shadow Marches, and this trio serves as personal bodyguards of each of the Triumvir of House Tharashk.
Notable Personalities Edit
- Sheshka, the Queen of Stone: Sheshka is a Warlord of Droaam and one of the most famous medusas in Khorvaire. She is the ruler of the medusas of Cazhaak Draal and a major power in Droaam. She has basilisks and cockatrices at her side ready to defend her along with her own medusa honor guard. She is a major character in the novel The Queen of Stone by Keith Baker.
- Zerasha: Zerasha is a black-scaled priestess of the Shadow who resides in the temple known as the Eye of the Shadow in the Street of Shadows in Graywall. She is loyal to the Daughters of Sora Kell and is almost as influential as Xor'chylic in the city, but she foremost serves her queen Sheshka.
- Gasslak: Gasslak is a member of the Daask cell in Sharn and the de-facto authority figure in the Lower Dura district of Malleon's Gate. He prefers to use his power sparingly within the majority goblinoid district, but some statues on the streets are a public display of his power.
- Harash: Harash is the second-in-command to Cavallah of the Daask cell in Sharn. He acts as the diplomat of the organization, and maintains morale when he can.
- Karyale: Karyale is a member of the Daask cell in Sharn.
- Ashkora: Ashkora is the leader of the Daask cell in Wroat.
- ↑ Monster Manual. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook (July 2003). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Keith Baker (09/05/2006). The Medusas of Droaam. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 10/28/2017. Retrieved on 02/18/2019.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Dragonshards: Masters of Magic. Keith Baker (July 25th, 2005). Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Eberron Campaign Guide. James Wyatt and Keith Baker (2009). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-5099-4.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Eberron Campaign Setting. Keith Baker, Bill Slavicsek, and James Wyatt (2004). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3274-0.
- ↑ Dragonmarked. Keith Baker, Ari Marmell, Michelle Lyons and C.A. Suleiman (2006). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3933-8.
- ↑ "Backdrop Graywall" (October 2008) by Keith Baker. Dragon Magazine issue 368.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Sharn: City of Towers. Keith Baker and James Wyatt (2004). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3434-4.
- ↑ "Eye on Eberron: Daask" (September 2011) by Keith Baker. Dungeon Magazine issue 194.
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