The Medusa Queen | New Challenge for Fifth Edition

Once worshipped by the ancient people who lived and toiled in Dragard Mine, the Medusa Queen was a dangerous foe and curse on the land. Fortunately, the ancient people were able to lock her away in the temple they’d built for her. Since then, she has laid dormant for hundreds of years. Should she rise again, undoubtedly an unshakeable shadow would fall across the land.

The Medusa Queen’s Lair

The Medusa Queen’s lair is the prison that now holds her. Despite being trapped there and lying dormant within for hundreds of years, she still holds power over the location.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the Medusa Queen takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; she can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:

  • The medusa casts the confusion spell on every creature of her choice within 60 feet of her. She must be able to see the creatures. Casting the spell using this ability does not cost her a spell slot, nor does it require components.
  • The medusa animates a stone statue that she can see within 120 feet of her. As a bonus action on each of her turns, she can mentally command the animated statue she made with this lair action if the statue is within 500 feet of her. If she controls multiple statues, she can command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same command to each one. She decides what action the statue will take and where it will move during its next turn, or she can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If she issues no commands, the statue only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the stone statue continues to follow it until its task is complete. The statue has the same statistics as animated armor. The medusa can have up to three statues created by this ability at a time.
  • The medusa targets one creature she can see within 60 feet of her. Until the start of that creature’s next turn, it has disadvantage on Constitution saving throws.

Regional Effects

The region containing the Medusa Queen’s lair is warped by her magic, creating one or more of the following effects:

  • If a humanoid spends at least 1 hour within 1 mile of the lair, that creature must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or go mad. It gains a character flaw which lasts until cured: “I will do anything I can to get my hands on more wealth and power.”
  • Stone statues, reliefs, and other works of art with 1 mile of the lair bleed from their eyes during the light of a full moon.
  • Snakes within 6 miles of the lair become unusually savage, killing far more than what they need for food, traveling in huge swarms.

Medusa Queen

Medium monstrosity, lawful evil


Armor Class 17 (natural armor)

Hit Points 252 (24d8 + 144)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 13 (+1), Dex 18 (+4), Con 22 (+6), Int 18 (+4), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 18 (+4)


Saving Throws Dex +10, Con +12, Int +10, Wis +9

Skills Arcana +10, Deception +10, Insight +9, Perception +9, Stealth +9

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Condition Immunities charmed, frightened

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 19

Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Infernal

Challenge 20


Special Equipment. Medusa’s Melody (see description below)

Petrifying Gaze. When a creature that can see the medusa’s eyes starts its turn within 30 feet of the medusa, the medusa can force it to make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw, if the medusa isn’t incapacitated and can see the creature. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the creature is instantly petrified. Otherwise, a creature that fails the save begins to turn to stone and is restrained. The restrained creature must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn, becoming petrified on a failure or ending the effect on a success. The petrification lasts until the creature is freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic.

Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can’t see the medusa until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the medusa in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

If the medusa sees itself reflected on a polished surface within 30 feet of it and in an area of bright light, the medusa is, due to its curse, affected by its own gaze.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). When the medusa fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Resistance. The medusa has advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.

Spellcasting. The medusa is an 11th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 18, +10 to hit with spell attacks). The medusa has the following bard spells prepared:

  • Cantrips (at will): mage hand, minor illusion, prestidigitation, vicious mockery
  • 1st level (4 slots): charm person, disguise self, Tasha’s hideous laughter
  • 2nd level (3 slots): detect thoughts, enthrall, invisibility, shatter
  • 3rd level (3 slots): bestow curse, dispel magic, nondetection
  • 4th level (3 slots): compulsion, confusion
  • 5th level (2 slots): dominate person, hold monster
  • 6th level (1 slot): mass suggestion

Actions

Multiattack. The medusa uses her Frightful Presence. She then makes either three melee attacks–one with her snake hair and two with her shortsword–or two ranged attacks with her longbow.

Snake Hair. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) piercing damage plus 21 (6d6) poison damage.

Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage plus 14 (4d6) poison damage.

Frightful Presence. Each creature of the medusa’s choice that is within 90 feet of her and aware of her must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the medusa’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.


Legendary Actions

The medusa can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The medusa regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.

Attack. The medusa makes an attack with her shortsword or her longbow.

Teleport. The medusa magically teleports, along with any equipment she is wearing or carrying, up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space she can see.

Focused Gaze (Costs 2 Actions). The medusa targets one creature she can see within 30 feet of her with her petrifying gaze. The creature must make a DC 20 Constitution saving. If it fails its saving throw, it is instantly petrified. If it succeeds on its saving throw, it begins to turn to stone and is restrained. The restrained creature must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn, becoming petrified on a failure or ending the effect on a success. The petrification lasts until the creature is freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic. A creature can use its reaction to avert its eyes and avoid the saving throw. If the creature does so, it can’t see the medusa until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the medusa in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

Medusa’s Melody

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

This harp is simple in its design, with no decorations to speak of. However, its strings have a curious silver sheen to them. A creature that attempts to play the instrument without being attuned to it must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or take 2d4 psychic damage.

You can use an action to play the instrument. While playing the instrument, all creatures within 30 feet of you that can hear the instrument must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed saving throw, the creature has disadvantage on its saving throws and attack rolls until the end of your next turn.

On subsequent turns, you can use your action to maintain this effect, extending its duration until the end of your next turn. However, the effect ends if you move more than 60 feet away from a creature, if the creature can’t hear you, or if the creature takes damage.

On its turn, an affected creature can use its action to make another Wisdom saving throw, ending the effect on itself with a success.

Once the effect ends for it, or if the creature succeeds on its initial saving throw against this effect, the creature is immune to this effect for 24 hours.

Thumbnail art by Wizards of the Coast.

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