The gorgon race is what is left of a once majestic human kingdom. Legend has it that they angered a deity who cursed the entire kingdom with a stygma that was designed to destroy them forever. This divine curse has persisted through the generations and no cure has ever been found. What has resulted is an entirely new species who lives apart from other races.
The curse takes two forms, each expression of the curse is tied to the sex of the gorgon. The curse affects those of the race at puberty and manifests for the rest of their life. Before puberty, they can pass as a human of any culture.
Male gorgon's curse manifests at first as a simple hairlessness. At puberty they lose all of their hair anywhere on their entire body. As they mature, their skin grows hard and takes on a light gray tinge similar to stone. Male gorgons about the age of 17 begin to develop a naturally tough hide that gives them a +1 Natural Armor bonus. This bonus increases over the next three years to +4 at around age 20. At or around age 24, the gorgon's skin begins to dry out and crack, leaving the gorgon in intense pain and vulnerable unless they submerge themselves in water at least once a day. For each day a male gorgon is out of water, his natural armor bonus decreases by 1. A male gorgon's Constitution also decreases by 1 point each day he goes without immersion in water.
Unlucky male gorgon's who are unable to find enough water to keep themselves moist to the point their Constitution reaches 0 die and crumble as if made of powdered stone. After this death, they can not be raised from the dead except by a true resurrection or wish spell. A male gorgon can use a minimum of 2 gallons of water a day to bath his body, stopping any armor or constitution loss from continuing but not allowing armor or constitution to be regained. Male gorgon's must immerse themselves in water up to 10 minutes per day for each point of constitution they have lost due to dehydration. For this reason, gorgons seldom live far from rivers or lakes.
Female gorgons are always beautiful young women by the time they hit puberty. Once puberty begins, their hair begins to thicken and snakes begin to replace their hair. These serpents are about 12 inches long and vary between 1/2 and 1/4 inch in diameter. Her hair slowly falls out over the course of about 5 years to be replaced completely by serpents. The serpents appear independent and sentient but are instead responsive to the unconscious will of the gorgon.
Upon reaching the age of 16 or 17, a female gorgon is wracked with nightmares that haunt her dreams. These nightmares are of hellish scenes where she slaughters her own family in an abyssal landscape and is hunted by everything living. These nightmares prevent the female gorgon from resting and they are constantly fatigued. After 1d4+3 days of these nightmares, a female gorgon will fall into a deep slumber from which she cannot be awoken. After a full day of sleep, she will wake with the ability to Petrify people as a gaze attack.
At first, the gaze attack requires a force of will and concentration. Gorgon females have to put an effort into petrifying their opponents and their opponents must be within 10 feet. As they age, the ability becomes stronger gaining 5 feet per year in range to a maximum rage of 30 feet. At about the age of 24, a female gorgon undergoes another period of nightmares, this time lasting 1d8+5 days. At the end of this second nightmare period, the female gorgon falls into a deep slumber for another full day. During that time, her serpents are active and will bite anyone who approaches too closely. The serpents will become venomous at this time developing their poisonous bite.
After a female gorgon awakens from her 2nd nightmare slumber, she will be unable to control her Petrifying Gaze. Any creature who gazes upon her, even those she does not wish to harm are subjected to the petrify attack. Her serpent hair will also occasionally strike out at those who come too close (1 in 10 chance of random attack) and deliver their poison bite. From this point forward in her life, a female gorgon will normally go veiled or hide herself away to keep from accidentally petrifying someone.
Gorgons are doubly cursed in that although they look like and reach maturity like humans, they have an unnaturally long lifespan. Gorgons can live to be in excess of 200 years old. Typically, gorgons show little signs of aging after they reach full maturity and the curse takes full effect until they are at least 150 years old. At that time, their bodies rapidly seem to age and appear to age at a normal human rate.
Gorgons have found some respite in creating their own refuge on a large island isolated in the Lake Tieneri. There, they live by fishing the huge lake and trading with the few intrepid individuals who will sail out to their island to trade. Few sane individuals would try to attack the island but the shores of the island are dotted with the remains of creatures and beings who have tried to invade before. Those who explore the waters just off the coast of the island will find thousands of broken statues pushed into the lake by the gorgons so they may go about their life.
Most gorgons mate young, marrying in their teens to early twenties. Females will try to have their babies before the final aspect of the curse takes effect so as to protect the child from their gaze. Few female gorgons have more than two babies during this time. Gorgon females who give birth or have young children after the final change will often give the child up to younger families to raise in relative safety. Both male and female gorgons occasionally leave the island in the early years of the curse to find a human mate. This is done to protect the bloodline and prevent inbreeding. All children born of these liaisons are always gorgons. The families will go to great lengths to bring these children out to the island for protection and an life of understanding and support. Occasionally the humans who mate with gorgons will retire to the island as well but that seldom ends well due to their shorter lifespans.
Gorgons who are past the age of 50 often become bitter about their cursed life. Women will often find themselves depressed and unable to cope with their situation. Men become restless and angry at the fate of their race. These gorgons will often leave the island and travel, trying to either find meaning or oblivion. Some few gorgons have established lives outside of the island society. Most however run afoul of other races and are hunted down and slain. There are some few areas though where gorgons are welcome and their human appearance coupled with their calm demeanor make them excellent diplomats.
Male Racial Points 12/Female Racial Points 18
- Ability Score Modifiers: Flexible (+2 Dex, +2 Char) (2 RP)
- Type: Monstrous Humanoid (reptile) (3 RP)
- Size: Medium (0 RP)
- Base Speed: Normal (0 RP) Gorgons base land speed is 30 feet.
- Languages: Linguist (1 RP) Gorgons start with Common. Furthermore, members of this race with high Intelligence scores can learn any languages they want (except Druidic and other secret languages).
- Improved Natural Armor (Male Only): (6 RP) Gorgon hides are remarkably tough, granting them a +4 natural armor bonus.
- Darkvision: Gorgon have darkvision and so can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet. (2 RP)
- Heat Sense (Ex): Spell-Like Ability (2 RP) Gorgons can sense all living, warm-blooded creatures within 30 ft.
- Petrify(Sp) (Female Only): Spell-Like Ability (12 RP) If they choose a Gorgons can turn an enemy to stone. The enemy must be living, have working eyes/vision, facing them, and be within 30 feet. This counts as a standard action, and can be avoided with a Dex saving throw. The female gorgon's range and control of the ability depends upon her age and the progression of her racial curse.
- Poison (Ex) (Female Only) Toxic (1 RP): The serpents who make up a female gorgon's hair have a venomous bite. A number of times per day equal to their Constitution modifier +3 (minimum 4/day), female gorgons can envenom a weapon that it wields with its saliva. Applying venom in this way is a swift action. The serpents can also bite an opponent with the same frequency to deliver the poison directly with a +2 save DC. Poison: Injury, Fortitude DC 14, initial damage 1d6 Str, secondary damage 2d6 Str. The save DC is Constitution-based.
- Poison Immunity (Ex): (1 RP) As venomous creatures, Gorgons have naturally strong immune systems and are immune to all poisons.