Euryale, the Mother of Gorgons
I created a character I really liked for my Dungeons & Dragons campaign I ran a while back – Euryale, the Mother of Gorgons. During the events of this campaign, the dragon god of justice & order, Bahamut, was slain by his rival Tiamat and the party set out on a quest to resurrect the good dragon lord. A tome found in an elven library theorized that a dead god could be brought to life by gathering the Divine Essence of a creature that has been gifted immortality from the Gods – and the closest and best known creature to have been granted this boon was Euryale.
Here was her tale:
“In the days of the cooling new world, as the Gods first explored their domains and became familiar with their creations, the god Moradin was passing from mountain to mountain, inspecting each to learn its strengths and weaknesses. He came upon a creature that was new to him, which happened often in those days, a woman with a snake’s tail and serpents for hair. She was Euryale.
Euryale had the gift to turn objects to stone, stone which Moradin treasured greatly. He had her turn greater and greater objects into stone, delighting in the way each object achieved perfection frozen in stone. She created statues from creatures and pillars from trees for Moradin. Eventually she grew weary of this task, for Moradin only took mirth in her talent and not in her. At a grove of eternal oak trees, Euryale plead with Moradin to show her others of his kind, other gods and in turn she would give him the eternal oaks turned into stone masterpieces. Moradin accepted.
Moradin took Euryale to Arvandor and there she met Corellon, master of the arcane, master of the wilderness. Corellon was enamored with Euryale’s dark beauty. He shared with her his new-found secrets and lore. He showed her magic and nature, he showed her how to hunt. She gave to him 2 twin children, Lilith and Sammael. And for a time, Corellon and Euryale were content.
There came a time when the Primordials rose against the Gods and a great war scoured the land. Corellon left Arvandor to join the other gods in battle, but in his absence Euryale’s children grew restless and curious. They explored the other realms of the gods and came to one of Moradin’s great halls. Within this hall, Moradin had set every tree from the grove of the eternal oaks and it was a glorious achievement of structure. Lilith and Sammael, being part god and part medusa, held power over the trees and set them free of their stone bonds.
Soon after, the gods descended on Moradin’s hall to rest from battle. There they marveled over the beauty of the halls, but Moradin was angered by the actions of Corellon’s children and sought out Euryale, thinking she had broken their pact. In Arvandor, declared her to be monstrous and a breaker of vows. Lilith and Sammael, hearing this, came forth and claimed the deed was their doing, not their mother’s.
Their father, Corellon, was taken aback by these events. Bewildered so by the actions of his children and the knowledge that his companion Euryale had been the instrument of the tree’s imprisonment, Corellon became distraught. He commanded Moradin to leave his realm, but the dwarven god was proud and stubborn and demanded repayment for the treachery. Corellon rebuked him and cast him out of Arvandor without recompense. And never more did Moradin enter the elven god’s realm.
Feeling guilt from their actions, the twins Lilith and Sammael went to Moradin to repay him for the trees. On their way, the children were ambushed by servants of the primordials. Lilith arrived at Moradin’s halls and described the attack, but swiftly succumbed to her injuries. The gods hunted down the murderers of Corellon’s children, but Euryale became sick by the turn of events. She cursed the gods and left their realms.
Euryale went to the wilderness and spent time amongst the primordials and their disciples, who accepted her because of her appearance. She carved out a realm of her own, far away from the conflicting forces. She spawned many offspring in the wilds, wretched creatures with hateful hearts and the gift to turn the living into stone. Only a very few shared her beauty and less still her talent to command anything into stone.
One night, during a great storm of thunder and light, Corellon came to Euryale’s lair. He had been hunting one of the primordials and found her while seeking shelter from the fell being. He begged her to come back to him, to join his side with the gods and fight against evil. It was then the primordial known as Krakos, a vicious monster that commanded wind and sea, arrived suddenly. It summoned a great gale that lashed at Corellon, ripping into the gods’ flesh. Euryale strode before the behemoth and petrified it with her gaze, saving Corellon’s life.
Euryale refused Corellon’s offer and went further into the wilderness. Her deed was never forgotten by the god of the magical arts and skill. Her curse upon the gods was never forgotten either.”
Euryale was a powerful and mercurial being to the players. They eventually found her captured by a necromancer and once freed, she offered a truce – she knew of a better way to return Bahamut from the dead (one that didn’t involve killing her to gain her spirit) and took them to the city of Hestavar where they had another pretty great few sessions of intrigue and adventure.
Exploring the Epic tier of play in the Fourth Edition created a lot of challenges. I tried to make the story more epic – life and death of the Gods sort of thing – but in terms of mechanically making combat a challenge I had a few issues (my playgroup knows these challenges – damn people were harder to kill than cockroaches). had they gone up against Euryale when they first met her, she might have proven a challenge. Here’s the version they might have faced – created on the older version of the Wizards of the Coast Monster Builder:
Thanks for reading!