I've been spending a lot of time lately on Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical, and one of the things I've come to appreciate most about it is the breadth of choice that the game gives me to pass judgment on my fellow Idols, even though I'm supposed to be the one on trial. It's actually a pretty basic formula, with most choices broken down to green, blue, or red, corresponding to empathy, logic, or aggression, respectively. And while you're not tied down to just one of the three, I find myself going green way more often than not.

The Idols, Greek gods and monsters fallen from grace (no pun intended) and living among us in modern society, are such a broad cast of characters, each with their own motivations and hang-ups, but they're all broken, which I guess is something that's inevitable after living for thousands of years. I was enthralled by Persephone's drive to reclaim the throne in the land of the dead, even though it's little more than an empty wasteland now, just to have a little moral triumph over her dead husband and kidnapper; by Aphrodite's battle against her own demons, and by Pan's flippant, self-serving attitude masking his true desire for justice.

But there are two Idols who, on the surface, have nothing in common, yet when shown compassion and understanding, make for the most uplifting stories in the new pantheon. Those two are the majestic Apollo and the monstrous Medusa.

Stray Gods Sad Apollo in his apartment

Apollo is easy to love, at least for me. By the second song in the musical, you're sentenced to immediate death by The Chorus, the ruling governmental body of the Idols, until the sad surfer boy pipes up with a forceful "I disagree." Welp, guess that guy's gonna be my best friend! Still, from browsing Reddit and other message boards, it seems like ol 'Paul' isn't the most popular romantic option, and when given the choice of an advisor and ally, it seems like a lot of people prefer to have the in-your-face, pallette-swapped Rhea Ripley that is Persephone in their corner rather than having to constantly poke and prod mister morose to get out of his trashy apartment and do something to help. Don't get me wrong, I definitely see Persephone's appeal, and her musical battle with Orpheus makes for one of the best songs in the game, but I prefer a gentler hand.

READ MORE: After A Big Life Event, I Finally 'Get' Final Fantasy 10’s Jecht

Apollo's constant sorrow is a real Bruno Madrigal affair. He's the God of Prophecy, but using his power doesn't mean he or anyone else can actually change the future he's seen, so if he gives a prophecy that shows someone he loves getting hurt, all he can do is hide it, since you're apparently only locked into your fate if you know about it. Likewise, if he refuses to see the future, it's like he didn't even try to protect his loved ones. Phantom Pains may not be catchiest tune in the game, but the melancholy repetition of "What did I do? What didn't I do?" cements that his power is more curse than gift, and the fact that he's willing to help at all, even though he thinks he'll just screw it up like always, really drives home the point that this is a tender soul who's willing to fight a losing battle for an innocent stranger, and he's undeniably deserving of compassion.

Medusa eats people.

Stray Gods Medusa hypnotizes Grace

Well, she turns some of them to stone, but either way, she's a killer. The first time we see her, she's just about to turn some poor schlub into a "sacred bite" until Grace's presence throws her off. Walking into Medusa's domain was probably the most stressful moment of Stray Gods. Sure, Pan had dropped his devil-may-care mask to tell me that she's a true monster and that I'd better make my song with her "a real knockout," but almost instantly, she hit me with the swirly eyes and paralyzed me, then proceeded to taunt me about how delicious a meal I was going to be. Most visual novels don't really come with a game over screen halfway through, but on my first playthrough, I was legitimately concerned that I was going to be reloading a save from who knows how far back.

This is not the kind of person we can have just roaming the world, decreasing the population whenever she gets the munchies. And yet, she's just as cursed as Apollo. A former incarnation of Athena turned her into this bloodthirsty creature as a punishment, and picking the green options during her creeptacular song, Look Into Me, quickly flips the tables on her, resulting in her pleading for you to turn your gaze away from her hideousness. In the end, the musical battle ends via interference—either through Pan's magical snake-charming flute or Freddie's makeshift flamethrower—and she begs your mercy in keeping her actions a secret from Athena, whom she believes will put her head on a pike for her disobedience.

READ MORE: In Final Fantasy 16, Even The Heroes Need To Catch A Break Sometimes

Bit of an endgame spoiler this part, but in the climactic trial, once your execution comes due, the other Idols are afforded the choice to stand with you and face oblivion too. Your actions will determine who stands by your side in the end, but you'll get to hear solos from your romantic interest (if you have one) and two others of your choosing who you've helped along the way. If you can get her on your side (I still haven't figured out how to do this, but it's on the Blue version of the soundtrack), it's here that Medusa absolutely melts my heart, and not just because I got careless and accidentally had her killed offscreen my first time through. Choosing to face death with you, she lets out the same shrill soprano as when she was trying to devour you. But again, that's just what's on the surface, and her words are what really get my waterworks flowing: "I wasn't a monster to you, and now, I'm not a monster to me." More compassion than she deserved? Maybe. But I'm a softie for a good redemption story.

Stray Gods Medusa laments her curse

As for Apollo, his exclusive romantic song came for me just after the current Aphrodite had made the decision to pass on. The mood couldn't be more somber, as his own depression and despair is obvious, and I was easily able to forget my (read: Graces's) very pressing problems and do what I could to keep him from going down the same dark path. If that means dancing a sappy waltz, so be it, because seeing him find his conviction and embracing my message—"The courage we need to be joyful is something we'll build over time"—in his reprise finale was the best payoff I could have asked for, as was his promise that "I will be here for the ride."

Stray Gods Apollo and Grace sing Here For The Ride

Their personalities couldn't be more different, but both Medusa and Apollo remind me that we're all just human, even if we're clearly not behaving like it. We all make mistakes, and our actions or inaction can hurt other people. But just knowing that someone out there is trying to understand us is what can drive us to be better and do better.

Kind of a weird pairing, considering that Pan practically got Medusa to admit that she ate Apollo's sister, but I stand by it.

NEXT: What's With The Lack Of Love For Lae'zel In Baldur's Gate 3?