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5E Gorgon Petrification Breath


First Post
I was flipping through the Monster Manual and thinking about petrification. I like to incorporate nitty gritty realism with magic and add as much complexity as possible without bogging down the game with additional systems. So the Gorgon's petrification breath is different from the petrification of the basilisk or the medusa, in that it is comes in aerosol form. SO does petrification occur at point of contact, can it be inhaled? These are things I have been thinking about. If inhaled, then I would assume that a players lungs would be petrified. Now If i had a player who was super into poison or alchemical stuff, the idea of an inhalable petrified gas could make them squee with joy. The reason I am making this post is for suggestions on how I could implement such a thing. I haven't thought about the consequences too far. Kinda just feeling out the idea.

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Trying to collect the samples of breath to use for experiments and tests ought to be a lot of fun.

Have it work in the blood, not in the lungs. You don't want suffocation from the inside, as it were. The red blood cells that normally pick up oxygen pick up this (molecule?) and transport it throughout the body. In the absence of oxygen - that is, while travelling in the blood or after being dropped off in other body cells - something triggers the 'turn organic surroundings to stone' function to begin.
Somehow it rearranges nearby biologic atoms and molecules to create limestone (or whatever) compounds, and this reaction propagates outwards.

This is the pseudoscience explanation BBEG monologues to the PCs before he grabs a bottle labelled as Chanel #5 (or Axe deodorant), hooks it up to a small fan, and squirts them with it.

As for mechanics, I like the two-turn mechanism provided somewhere for a Petrification sequence. If you want to add things to help with the CON Save (like quaffing a potion of Antidote), that would be a positive: there should be ways to avoid / mitigate nasty effects. I have never liked the "one roll: Save or Die!" concept.

P.S. Floor your players: after the fight is over and 24 hours in-game have passed and a future session is closing down, tell that character's player "-Character's name- wakes up, in a dark and silent room, surrounded by pebbles and stone shards, with the detritus of a fight all around." And pack up for the night.

Well, I would say a few things about it:

1. It doesn't say creatures who can't breathe are unaffected.
2. It doesn't say creatures resistant or immune to poison or disease gain any benefits.

So, that would tell me that it's not a toxin or a poison of any kind. It's not a biological feature, either. A Gorgon could petrify a Skeleton or a Black Pudding. Most constructs are immune to petrification of any kind, but not all of them so it's not even restricted to biological creatures. That means it's closer to a metallic dragon's debuff breath (e.g., a gold dragon's weakening breath). It is a gas which magically transmutes any affected creature it touches into stone. However, most elementals are also immune to petrification, suggesting that petrification is always some sort of elemental transmutation at the base magical level.

Aside: I refuse to refer to atomic elements in a D&D game. In the D&D cosmology, there are 4 elements, and it's their mixture which creates different substances. Hydrogen and oxygen both exist, but one is clearly a mixture of air and water while the other is a mixture of fire and water. Hence, you can release the fire and water contained within by exposure to an imbalance of elemental fire. That's not an artistic description; that's literally what happens in the D&D universe. Gods exist, magic is real, and there are only 4 elements.

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