How often, and when, do you have to save vs petrifying gaze while fighting a basilisk?
As far as I can tell, the relevant section is:
“Petrifying Gaze: A victim that meets a monster’s petrifying gaze
is required to make a saving throw versus Petrification or turn
to stone. Any opponents surprised by the monster will meet
its gaze, as will those attacking it without averting their eyes or
using a mirror.”
So far so good: save if surprised or attacking. But then the basilisk entry has:
“Attacks: 2 (bite, gaze)
which says that the gaze is an attack it can make once per round.
How does this work?
(And as a side, if you are not surprised and not attacking, can you look at the basilisk as much as you like without effect?)
“attacking it without averting their eyes or using a mirror.”
To me this says that if you attempt to blind fight you won’t be subject to the gaze, which I believe carries a -4 penalty. Not sure what a mirror would entail, perhaps only -1 or -2?
As for 1d10/petrify, if you read the basilisk entry you’ll see that their bite ALSO petrifies, so that person looking away and swinging wildly with their sword is not that far away from getting petrified anyway. I’m not an autarch but my interpretation is that every time YOU attack, if you’re not taking some sort of penalty for averting your eyes, you are subject to a saving throw. At all other times, i would assume you are averting your eyes except for right at the beginning of the fight if you are surprised.
During interaction, I handle it the same way jedavis does. This makes for delightful role-play.
During combat, a saving throw versus Petrification is required:
- When surprised by the creature
- When attacking the creature without averting your eyes or using a mirror
I suggest then that the basilisk entry be clarified. To be similar to the medusa it should say something like
“Attacks: 1 (bite or special)
And a question from my players: How do you know to avert your eyes the first time you meet a basilisk? Especially if you are not a long-time gamer and have no idea what this monster is? (“It looks at you - save vs petrification!” is apparently not clear enough.)
“And a question from my players: How do you know to avert your eyes the first time you meet a basilisk? Especially if you are not a long-time gamer and have no idea what this monster is? (“It looks at you - save vs petrification!” is apparently not clear enough.)”
You don’t. When a new monster with petrification is encountered, it’s not uncommon for several party members or henchmen to be petrified.
If that’s harsh for you:
- You can rule that Adventuring proficiency covers this knowledege
- You can allow a Loremastery or Knowledge proficiency throw
- You can plant lots of “statues” around the encounter to give a hint
I like to use the statue method for hinting. It’s a good way of building suspense too in places where there might not even be a basilisk.