I believe there’s something I owe you guys. A promise from a recent article about the concept of a medusa in starfinder and the cultural implications that follow. Locks and chains are all good and fun, but I made a promise and I’d best keep to it.
Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog that sucks the venom of flavor right out of the fresh wound made by the sharpened fangs of mechanics. A mechanical snake, if you will. It’s like a regular snake, but it’s a robot, and it’s venom is delicious. If all this seems confusing, then you don’t get how flavor and mechanics go together so well, but I’ll be happy to explain it. Also, I just saved you from a painful and delicious death from a lethal dose flavor venom. You’re welcome.
The legacy of the medusae is one of tragedy and subterfuge. Each member of their feminine, serpent-haired species bears a terrible curse: their gaze petrifies any creature that looks upon them. With a stare that could turn a person to stone, each medusa had to struggle with a society that they were ultimately incompatible with. Of course, they were not entirely innocent, often leveraging their abilities to steal and kill as they pleased. This led to a species who’s presence was like a blight to the inhabitants of any city or territory they stalked.
Despite these difficulties, a growing minority of their kind have adapted with the help of modern technology. Using crafting techniques developed during or before the Gap, they managed to rid themselves of this lethal curse. With a combination of chemical infusions and ocular surgery, these medusae replace their eyes and are no longer in danger of turning other people to stone. The method of treatment is specific to medusa anatomy and very well practiced. It is so well practiced that even an untrained member of their species can perform the proper maintenance and replacement for their common ocular augmentations.
The members of the species that still bear the curse and consider themselves ‘true’ medusae do not look kindly upon their more socially acceptable kin. The reasons vary, ranging from jealousy to seeing them as a ‘neutered’ subspecies, but most are tied to speculation that these modifications were not made by any medusa scientists. The theory is that the modifications are the result of an affliction, such as a plague or genetic disorder, or artificial tampering from some other race that attempted to indoctrinate the medusa race into servitude. The indoctrination theory stands above the others thanks to the fact that the decursing process also removes a medusa’s ability to produce venom, which would benefit a hypothetical master far more than the recipient.
The modified medusae care much less about these theories, instead focusing on immersing themselves in the cultures of galactic society as much as possible. They have inherited an interest in online culture thanks to the practices of their curse-bearing foremothers, but hold few reservations about personal contact. The primary exception is showing their eyes. Partially due to the importance of eye-to-eye contact, and partially out of solidarity with their unmodified kin, these medusae have a stigma against showing their eyes to anyone but their closest friends, family, or lovers. Medusa fashion centers around headgear as a result of this, with sunglasses, veils, masks, and even screens with modified projections serving as expressive facial coverings.
Ability Modifiers: Cha +2, Dex +2, Str -2
Size and Type: Medusae are Medium monstrous humanoids with the medusa subtype.
Modular Eyes: Medusae begin play with a custom augmentation that grants them low-light vision. This augmentation may count as biotech, cybernetics, magitech, or a necrograft, and the medusa may change its type each time they rebuild it. At 5th level, this augmentation grants darkvision. If this augmentation is lost or destroyed, the medusa can rebuild and install it with one day’s worth of work.
Striking Presence: Medusae gain a +2 Racial bonus to Intimidate and Culture checks.
Natural Weapons: Medusae can attack with a special unarmed strike that deals lethal damage, doesn’t count as archaic, and threatens squares. Medusae gain a special version of the Weapon Specialization feat with this unarmed strike at 3rd level, allowing them to add 1–1/2 × their character level to their damage rolls for this unarmed strike (instead of just adding their character level, as usual).
Medusa Player Characters
Medusae that decide to explore the galaxy can come from a vast number of themes. With their strong presence and hunger for social activity, icon and sensate are perfect fits for a medusa of the new generation. One that seeks to work with their cursed kin may go with bounty hunter or outlaw. Of course, their emphasis on the rote memorization of crafting augmentations makes biotechnician and cyberborn very desirable. A medusae may take any class for their own personal reasons, but envoy, operative, and biohacker make fine exemplars of the three respective paths.
And there we have it, all the stats you need to make your own safe-for-the-table medusa and enough lore for GMs to justify not handing out an instant-kill gaze attack to a first level PC. Hopefully everyone can be happy with that. Come back next time and I’ll explain why ‘working part time’ on a starship means spending time as one of its parts.