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What happens when a medusa and a beholder look at each other? Will the beholder petrify, or will the medusa lose her power?

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That depends on whether you consider the Medusa's petrification gaze attack magical or a natural ability masquerading as a magical ability. – Kevin Jan 29 '11 at 16:00
They fall in love probably – Drunken_Guy Jan 15 at 8:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 27 down vote accepted

This is actually a really interesting inconsistency.

According to

Each character within range of a gaze attack must attempt a saving throw (which can be a Fortitude or Will save) each round at the beginning of his turn.

You could interpret this to mean that the monster with the higher initiative actually has the disadvantage! Since they rolled a higher initiative, they have to roll or divert their eyes first, which implies they may either die or be not-looking come their enemy's turn, which would affect their gaze attack.

Under these circumstances, I think one has to remember that different turns during the same round are supposed to happen concurrently-ish. I think the emphasis isn't on "at the beginning of his turn" as much as it is on "each round". Making the roll "at the beginning of his turn" seems more like an organizational issue - everyone rolling at the start of the round or on the gazer's turn would slow the game down.

As such, even if the first monster dies or turns to stone or diverts their eyes, the other monster should still have to - at the beginning of the round - roll in some way to 'resist' the other's gaze attack.


A beholder and a medusa walk into a bar and roll initiative. The medusa rolls higher and goes first; at the start of its turn it rolls against the beholder's gaze attack, fails and horrifically turns into skittles.

The beholder still has to roll against the medusa's gaze attack; rolls, fails and turns into funk. Combat is over.

The bartender says something witty about the medusa being ugly and beauty being in the eyes of the beholder. WOKA WOKA WOKA!

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Depends on who gets initiative!

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I am not sure. The beholder antimagic eye is always on, as well as the medusa petrification gaze. You don't need initiative to use these abilities. – Stefano Borini Aug 20 '10 at 14:48
A) the anti-magic eye isn't always on. It says right in the description that the beholder chooses whether it's on or not by opening/shutting its eye. B) Petrifying Gaze is a supernatural attack. It has a Fort DC 15 to negate, so it really is an attack. So initiative does matter. – Agent_9191 Aug 20 '10 at 15:01
@Agent_9191 if the eye is shut, the beholder cannot see the medusa, hence the petrifying gaze has no effect. if the eye is open, the antimagic field disables the supernatural gaze, hence it has no effect. – Stefano Borini Aug 20 '10 at 15:02
Technically nowhere in the rules does the petrifying gaze state that eye contact has to be made. It simply states it has a 30-foot range. We only assume eye contact has to be made based on classic Greek stories. So it is possible to interpret it that as long as the Medusa is within 30 feet of the beholder she can make the attack. – Agent_9191 Aug 20 '10 at 15:13
Don't forget: the beholder has multiple eyes; if the AM eye is closed, it still might see her... – aramis May 8 '11 at 18:49

Since the Beholder has a chance to avert his eyes, he has a 50% chance of the medusa not effecting him. Since looking at a medusa's feet will still place here with the beholders antimagic field (AM fields shut off (su) powers) I'd say odds were favoring the beholder on this one.

If we want to go into silly psudo science, I suppose in order for the reflected light image of the medusa to reach the optical nerves of the beholder it would have to first pass through its antimagic field which would remove all the magic from the photons. Assuming of course that all the beholders other eyes are averted.

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