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Short question: What happens if you view a Medusa while perceiving through another creature's senses, such as by Warlock's Voice of the Chain Master or Gaze of Two Minds eldritch invocations?

I'm asking specifically about Medusae, but this may or may not apply to other on-sight effects. The Medusa stat block states:

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 14 Constitution saving throw if the medusa isn't incapacitated and can see the creature.

So, it seems there are a number of criteria that need to be met. Firstly, one must be within 30 ft. of the medusa. So if you are outside that range it's safe to say you won't need to make any sort of saves (your familiar is likely to be in a spot of trouble though). Alternatively, what if you are within 30 ft. while perceiving through you familiar? (Why you would be doing this is not important.) Does seeing through another creature's eyes count as 'seeing the medusa's eyes' as per the requirements? Would both you and your familiar need to make saving throws and potentially be petrified then?

Another potential scenario is this: What if you were completely controlling another creature such that they were completely unaware (i.e. not perceiving anything)? Would only you need to make a saving throw and have your own body be petrified while the one you were controlling remains unaffected? Or would the 'sight' of the medusa be transferred to the body that viewed it, rather than the mind?

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If we're going with a strict reading, then if you're seeing the medusa's eyes from beyond its range, then you -- the remote viewer -- do not need to make a saving throw.

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 14 Constitution saving throw if the medusa isn't incapacitated and can see the creature.

Your familiar will need to make a save, of course, if they are within 30ft of the medusa.

If you are within 30ft of the medusa and use your familiar to see, and you see the medusa's eyes, then it depends on the final clause of that rule: if the medusa isn't incapacitated and can see the creature.

Let's imagine you are a resource-depleted familiar-owner hiding from the medusa in an abandoned building. She is only 25ft away from you, but is unaware of your location and cannot see you due to being in total cover from a stack of crates. Then, you look through your familiar's eyes (a spider) to scout the area, but end up looking straight into her eyes.

In the above scenario, you do not make the saving throw, but your familiar does. It would potentially be a traumatizing event though, being in the mind of a creature as it is being petrified.

Otherwise, if you had failed your Stealth check and the medusa actually can see you, and then you scout via your familiar and end up looking into her eyes through the familiar, then yes you will need to make a saving throw.

Strictly speaking, as long as the four conditions are met, you have to make a saving throw.

  1. can see the medusa's eyes
  2. starts its turn within 30 feet of the medusa
  3. the medusa isn't incapacitated
  4. the medusa [...] can see the creature

It doesn't matter where your sight comes from as the first condition is not "that can see the medusa's eyes through its own eyes".

I'm reminded of spells such as Misty Step, which allow you to teleport to any unoccupied space you can see within 30ft of you (even if you're seeing through the eyes of your familiar).

As for the case of controlling another creature, that depends on how you are "controlling" them. If it is through Dominate Monster, for example, then only the creature you have controlled makes the save.

But more likely, you're asking about Magic Jar. If you are possessing the body of another creature in this way (your soul leaves your body and steals the body of another living creature), then from the wording of this particular spell, your soul and the possessed creature's body are considered as one creature. You -- the possessor -- must make the saving throw using the stats of the possessed body. If you fail the save, the body you are possessing becomes petrified. If that body also dies, your soul may leave that dead body and go elsewhere.

As for should your original body be petrified along with the possessed body, that depends on if your true body is within 30ft of the medusa. If it is, then you must also make a saving throw with your actual stats.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A petrified creature isn't dead... \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jan 31 '17 at 5:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ "It would potentially be a traumatizing event though, being in the mind of a creature as it is being petrified." The rules do not specify that being petrified is traumatic in the 1st person... not sure why it would become so in via familiar or similar. \$\endgroup\$ – Lexible Jan 31 '17 at 6:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Lexible I know, you can consider that part of my answer as fluff :) \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jan 31 '17 at 7:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Right, that's why I said "if you fail and the creature dies"; but whether a petrified creature is dead or not doesn't address the question, which is, does your original body also get petrified? \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jan 31 '17 at 7:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Doval Interestingly, with the RAW, your familiar doesn't even need to be within 30ft. so long as you are. If they see the medusa's eyes from further than 30ft. away and you're within 30ft. and the medusa sees you, you could be petrified while your familiar is fine. \$\endgroup\$ – Thordlar The Mystic Jan 31 '17 at 22:39
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This just takes a little thought and planning.

First let's look at the part of the Find Familiar spell that applies here:

While your familiar is within 100 feet of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. Additionally, as an action, you can see through your familiar's eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any Special senses that the familiar has. During this time, you are deaf and blind with regard to your own senses.

Since you are deaf and blind, you will not be seeing her eyes, but your familiar is still at risk. If you are using a familiar with Blindsight (bat), neither of you are at risk.

Remember though, using your familiar this way takes an action, so, as a caster, you would only be able to cast a spell with a casting time of Bonus Action. This only lasts until the beginning of your next turn so you would have to use another action to repeat with same limitations.

Haste will only work with this if your DM views using your familiar as Use an Object. Fairly useless as a combat tactic unless you're an Arcane trickster rogue that can take advantage of the action limitations of Haste.

This can be useful in other ways though. Say for instance your party walks into an area with several life like stone statues. If you believe they are victims of a Medusa or basilisk, then it's time to break out the bat and do some scouting.

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