From PathfinderWiki
Philannia, a medusa.

Medusas, or medusae, resemble humans with living serpents for hair. They have the ability to turn mortals to stone with their petrifying gaze.12


Medusas live across many regions and can resemble humans of any ethnicity12 or gender.34 In the Inner Sea region, they can resemble any major human ethnicity common in Avistan and Garund.12

Habitat and society

Medusas often travel widely in pursuit of powerful forms of magic or secret knowledge, but due to their manipulative natures also live in cities where they assist—or lead—thieves' guilds or other criminal enterprises. Their lairs are sometimes decorated with the petrified remains of their victims, even though this tends to warn others of their presence.12

Medusas often keep amphisbaenas as pets due to the snakes' immunity to petrification, a trait that lends to stories that suggest amphisbaenas were originally created from a decapitated medusa's head. Medusas who keep amphisbaenas often treat them like treasured companions or surrogate children.5


All medusas possess a powerful petrifying gaze that works only at close range. Their serpentine hair gives them all-around vision, making it difficult to sneak up on them. The bite of their serpent-hair delivers a powerful venom that, while not fatal, is quite debilitating and leaves its victim vulnerable to a medusa's other attacks.12


Medusas are crafty, nimble, and hardy foes who readily engage in conflict even when the odds are against them. Many are skilled archers who can coat their arrows with serpent venom, and even the most prepared amongst their foes have fallen to either a medusa's gaze or bow. When facing defeat, medusas prefer to avoid fighting to the death in favor of bartering their secrets.12

On Golarion

Medusas live in the remote Qadiran reaches of the Meraz Desert, on the border of the continent of Casmaron.6 They also thrive in major cities such as Absalom and Katapesh. Rumors also suggest medusas in disguise have infiltrated the Sczarni of Riddleport and Aspis Consortium in Port Peril.12

Notable medusas

See also: Category:Medusa/Inhabitants


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 234. Paizo Inc., 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Logan Bonner, et al. Medusa” in Monster Core, 230. Paizo Inc., 2024
  3. James Jacobs. (August 15, 2018). Comment on >>Ask *James Jacobs* ALL your Questions Here!<<, Paizo messageboards.
  4. James Jacobs. (April 3, 2020). Comment on >>Ask *James Jacobs* ALL your Questions Here!<<, Paizo messageboards.
  5. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 3, 15. Paizo Inc., 2021
  6. Jessica Price. “Adventuring in Qadira” in Qadira, Jewel of the East, 38. Paizo Inc., 2017
  7. Jason Nelson. Medusa” in Mythical Monsters Revisited, 44–45. Paizo Inc., 2012

External links

  • Medusa (real-world myth) on Wikipedia