Dramatis Personæ

Brother Mendel (Herodian)
Dane Sardock (Winston)
Gabriel Auditore (Rigil Kent)
Gestlin the Unpredictable (CommJunkee)
Magnifico the Clown (Feste)
Merasiël Alethmist (Melissa)
Rainald North-Hammer (Gigermann)


Of Beauty and Beasts

13 May 2014

The Heroes surveyed this new cavernous chamber as they could through the thick fog within; they could see only a few paces away, and naught but shadows beyond. Beholding the many “finely-carved” statues of warriors scattered about the chamber, Gestlin and Brother Mendel agreed that this must be the lair of a creature from Earth mythology known as the “gorgon,” called Medusa, cursed by the gods such that anyone who beheld her formerly-beauteous face would be instantly turned into stone—the two disagreed whether or not she would have the lower-body of a large serpent, but they agreed that she would have hair made up of vipers. Gestlin and Brother Mendel were nearly exhausted of their magical energies, and would rest, but they knew they must hurry through lest they all be caught by some foes between this place and the undead-marsh they had just retreated from. They knew they would have to be as cautious as ever if they were to locate the exit without joining the statues here, so they proceeded inside, with trepidation, following the chamber wall, trying not to look directly upon what shadows might lie beyond.

A sound was heard before them in the mist, that of the flapping of wings. The sound preceded the horrifying sight of winged, severed heads, with vipers as hair, flitting about above the Heroes like some evil birds, attacking them; the Heroes fought back while averting their gaze, lest they succumb to their curse. Brother Mendel conjured an Illusion of a mirror and placed it upon Rainald’s shield, hoping to force the creatures to gaze upon their own reflections, though it had no discernible effect upon them. Magnifico, viciously taunted the creatures, such that they paused in momentary puzzlement, allowing the others to catch up to them; he had momentarily observed the creatures directly, but felt no effect, and said so. The first fell to Dane’s bow, pinned to the chamber wall. The second fell to Gabriel’s family blade; he flicked the impaled head from off his sword. The third eventually fell to Rainald’s hammer, smashed into the ground; after Magnifico’s announcement, Rainald chanced to look at his target, and also was not turned to stone. Meanwhile, Merasiël had drawn forth her captured magical bow, and was nocking an arrow when she caught sight of three more creatures creeping up behind the group; these appeared as horrible women with hair of vipers and the lower-body of serpents, armed with bow and arrow; the Heroes heard the sound of laughter from deep within the mist. The Heroes turned to face this new threat and closed to engage them in combat, but their enemy was joined by another; this one had not the serpent’s body, and was arrayed in a strange red gown, like that of the goddess they had previously encountered—they supposed this to be the one called Medusa—who called out to the Heroes to gaze upon her beauty. After loosing an arrow that struck one of their new foes, Merasiël failed to avert her gaze and was turned instantly to a perfect statue of stone like all the others about the chamber. Magnifico again turned his caustic wit upon the newcomers, though they were merely angered of him as a result, and loosed arrows at him; alas, but Magnifico also failed to avert his gaze, and was turned to stone. Gabriel slipped quickly into the mist to creep ’round behind the enemy, but as he spied the red-clad Medusa, even from behind, he was also turned to stone, though too far into the mist such that the others could not see it was so. Dane, after having slain one of the serpent-bodied women, also succumbed to the creatures’ cursed visage and was magically petrified where he stood. Meanwhile, after having smashed the flying head before, Rainald had been advancing step-by-step in the direction of the sounds of battle, holding his shield up before his face such that he could not see but the ground before him, searching perhaps for his enemy’s legs. Brother Mendel tried to heal those turned to stone, but it had no perceivable affect, and so instead lent his magical energy to the exhausted Gestlin, who turned to Smil-Blam and commanded Merasiël to become once again flesh, and it was so. Rainald found Medusa before him and, still covering his face, swung Gramjarn at her legs, but she dodged away and begged him to look upon her, struggling with his shield to lower it; then Rainald was struck in the side of his face by an arrow loosed by one of the other serpent-women. As Gestlin used what energy he had left to again command Smil-Blam, and return Dane to flesh, Merasiël fell upon the two remaining serpent-women with her blades, and slew them both, still averting her gaze. Rainald, through his wounds, struggled with Medusa as she tried to slip between his self and his shield, and he smashed her knee with his hammer. Dane, now flesh again, was able to loose an arrow into the creature’s side as she collapsed to the ground. Rainald then stepped aside and brought Gramjarn’s pick down upon the creature’s breast in a single mighty blow that slew her outright, though in that instant his shield failed to conceal her face from him, and he was turned to stone, his hammer frozen in place pinning her now-lifeless body to the ground.

The battle over, those that were able rested; Brother Mendel, with a little study, invented a weave that would return those turned to stone back to flesh, and so all were restored, and he healed those that had been wounded. Merasiël made certain all the creatures were dead; it was discovered by chance that those who had been turned to stone before were no longer affected by the creature’s curse. At Gestlin and Brother Mendel’s recollection of the mythology, they decided to cut off Medusa’s head and keep it as a weapon; Merasiël wrapped the severed head in her Wazifi gown and gave it to Rainald to carry. Gestlin cast about for any weapons and such amongst the statues that might have magical properties, and found a few—Rainald was glad to find him a good spear. They would not tarry for long lest they be caught unawares, but as soon as all were recovered enough and ready, they found their way through the mist to the exit.


The archway gave way to a long cavernous tunnel as had the others before it, and the Heroes followed it to an underground stream, that they dared not drink from. The stream led them to a new cavern, very large, covered in trees and grass, and flowers, and all manner of beautiful green things. They found themselves atop a ledge at a waterfall that emptied into a pool so deep they could not see its end, and they spotted a village of some sort in the distance beyond, through the trees; Dane’s sight enhanced by his captured magical ring allowed him to see farther, like a hawk, and he told the others of the defenses of the village, guarded by armed men in towers. They determined that they should go to this village to see if their quarry, the goddess Persephone, might be there, and so climbed down the slippery face of the cliff as best they could; Some of them fell into the pool, but swam out without incident, though they felt the presence of something lurking within, and so did not tarry. Brother Mendel weaved for himself a portal to take him to the floor below, but as he emerged, he was sickened as before, but could continue with some difficulty.

As they followed what passed for a trail toward the village, they encountered a large tree that bore the face of a man. Gestlin spoke to the tree, and inquired after Persephone; the tree told him that she would indeed be found in the village, in the garden. Gestin thanked the tree, and the Heroes continued on their way. As they walked, a creature like a large black cat was spotted stalking them; Brother Mendel called out and pointed to the creature, and it recoiled and fled back into the trees; none felt the need to attack it, and so let it go its way. As they pressed onward, they saw that the cat-creature again stalked them, and saw it climb into a tree as if curious to observe their progress. Just then, the ground about the Heroes was suddenly disturbed, revealing a giant serpent, long as a great ship, its coils constricting to seize them. Those that had seen it reacted to move the others free of its coils; Merasiël tackled Magnifico, Gabriel shoved Brother Mendel, and Dane dragged Gestlin away, but Rainald was left within as the serpent’s coils tightened. To be continued…


  • It was difficult to separate player knowledge from the characters in this case; it was fortunate then that Gestlin and Mendel are from Earth (or similar), and were familiar with some Greek mythology, otherwise the group would have blundered right through into a TPK
  • The creatures encountered in Medusa’s lair were not as martially capable as the PCs, and would have been fairly easily dispatched if not for the flesh-to-stone problem, which alone very nearly resulted in a TPK in spite of the characters’ foreknowledge of it
  • Gestlin had to spend both available uses of Smil-Blam during the fight; it was fortunate that Mendel’s RPM could bring the others back, or the party would be a bit short on available manpower. As it was, according to the GM, even those trapped in stone were subject to the Will-sapping properties of this realm, therefore those statues that were already here (for however many centuries) would be completely lost to it even if they had been restored as well
  • The GM declared that Merasiël was frozen in an “awesome Action™ pose,” having been petrified in the act of shooting, but Rainald’s pose at the end easily outmatched hers, being at the business-end of a massive hammer swing