Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Part I - Concept
When designing the Mother of Monsters adventure, I knew that I needed some original iconic monsters that would make an appearance throughout the adventure, and since the Mother of Monsters is based on Echidna from Greek mythology, why not make monsters based on Echidna’s children, the Gorgons?
In 5e, Gorgons are a big metal bull with paralyzing breath. In Greek myth, they were three unique monsters each with a slightly different ability; for instance, Medusa’s sister Euryale was known for having a powerful scream. It’s also important to note that the name Gorgon meant “dreadful” to the Greeks, implying they were terrifying creatures to look upon.
So how do I make a monster that is representative of one of the Gorgons without actually being another replica of the iconic and done to death woman with snakes for hair? Well, the first thing I did was have a partial language created. I’ve always enjoyed campaign settings that provided scripts and languages for their realms—I believe a language provides a feeling of originality. Next, I used that language to give them a name that meant the same thing Gorgon did to the ancient Greeks: Laesuri, which means “feared ones.” It is derived from the fictional word laesura which means fear or terror. Add an i instead of an a at the end and you are referencing a female persona. I was going to call them the Laesurgalla, which meant “daughter of terror,” but I felt that was too long.
So now that I have a name that represents the three unique creatures that are the favorite daughters of the Mother of all Monstrosities, it's time to create a look. The Mother of Monsters is a creature that is the genetic source of all monstrosities, so it safe to assume that her daughters would be the progenitors of more specific monstrosities; for instance, for the first Laesuri, Talanara, I decided to make her the mother of all harpies. Harpies are an iconic Greek monster and they are a monstrosity.
Now, I can't just make her a big harpy. That’s not original. Also, something has to tie her to her mother. So why not a big harpy with four arms, like her mother, who has a devastating scream like the Gorgon Euryale? So now we have a unique monstrosity with a name representing a creature of terror, like the Gorgons, and four arms showing her lineage to the Mother of Monsters. Done! Time to build her.
Be sure to check back next week for Part II where I discuss the 5e stat block for Talanara