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Yet another Greco-Roman mythological monster that has deeply embedded itself into /tg/ culture, the harpy is the name for a race of avian women who made their debut in the story of Jason and the Argonauts, where they tormented a blind blasphemer of a king whom Jason had to rescue in order to find the Golden Fleece.
Harpies are best known for being "half woman and half bird", but since the myths are kind of unclear about how that works, there's quite a diverse array of possible interpretations that have popped up:
- - A giant bird with a human woman's head, and sometimes boobs, sort of like the traditional depiction of the sphinx.
- - A human woman with bird-like wings and the legs & tail of a giant bird.
- - A human woman with bird-like legs and wings instead of arms.
- - A centaur-like creature, in which the upper torso of a human woman replaces the head of a giant bird.
The second and third form choices are the most common nowadays, but traditionally the first was the most common depiction in Greek myths.
There's also the argument about whether or not harpies should be hideously ugly (or at least old crones), or beautiful. Naturally, most people prefer that they be beautiful.
Because the Greco-Roman myth of the Odyssey also features bird-women with hypnotic voices, the Sirens, it's common for harpies to be portrayed as having hypnotic voices or just being good singers, despite the fact that "sirens" are often mistakenly lumped in with merfolk these days.
Dungeons & Dragons
A classic monster in Dungeons and Dragons, the Harpy is at once a perfect horror; beautiful and horrible all at once. Known for their ability to sing and draw prey, inexorably, towards them, they are notoriously sadistic and have a well-deserved reputation for playing with their prey in an excessively cruel way, only killing it when they've gotten their rocks off by subjecting their "plaything" to unspeakable torments.
Avian Dark Eldar for the win, really. They can pose a serious threat to low-level adventuring parties, thanks to the abundance of Charm Person type effects they can throw around, which is where races with high saves vs. Charm or charm resistance, like elves, come in handy.
Traditionally, D&D harpies are fucking ugly, with the AD&D version being a cranky, weathered old hag and the 3.5 version being a withered crone-bat. 4th edition made them more attractive, essentially winged elves with clawed hands & feet, but the 5th edition artwork basically slid back towards the "ugly" side of things.
Harpies debuted in the very first ever D&D supplement; 1975's Greyhawk. They went on to appear in the Monster Manual for every single edition, as well as BECMI's Basic Set. Harpies received two-part Ecology article "Ecology of the Harpy: Songs of Beauty/Songs of Death" in Dragon Magazine #115. They received a PC writeup for BECMI in the splatbook Top Ballista and another PC writeup for 3e in Savage Species.
BECMI PC Stats
Harpy PCs in BECMI have the following traits:
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 3/18, Dexterity 3/18, Constitution 3/18, Intelligence 3/16, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/18
- Prime Requisite: Strength
- Base Armor Class: AC 7
- Harpies can only fly for a number of hours per day equal to 1/3rd their Constitution score at 1 HD, 1/2 their Constitution score at 2 HD, and their Constitution score (maximum 14 hours) at 3 HD.
- Harpies with Wisdom 15+ can become Shamans of up to 6th level.
- Harpies with Intelligence 15+ can become Wokani of up to 4th level.
- Harpies do not use armor.
- Harpies cannot use missile weapons.
- Harpies can make 2 claw attacks damage per round; these claw attacks do 1d2 damage for 1HD harpies; 1d3 damage for 2HD harpies; and finally 1d4 damage for mature harpies (3HD and above).
- Harpies can also bite for 1d6 damage.
- Harpies save as Fighters.
|Harpy Level||Experience Points||Hit Dice||Special Abilities|
|9th||1,260,00||+2 hit points||-|
|Subsequent||300,000||+2 hit points||-|
Harpy Special Abilities:
- I: A harpy can Charm Person at will via her song, but targets receive a +2 saving throw bonus.
- II: Targets of a harpy's charming song now receive only a +1 saving throw bonus.
- III: Targets of a harpy's charming song no longer receive a saving throw bonus.
- IV: Once per day, a harpy may attempt to Charm Person with a touch attack, inflicting a -2 penalty on the saving throw.
- V: The harpy can use their Charm Person Touch Attack 3/day.
- VI: The harpy can make a Charm Monster Touch Attack 1/day, with the same -2 saving throw penalty.
- VII: The harpy can now use their Charm Monster Touch Attack 3/day.
|Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Races|
|Basic Set:||Dwarf - Elf - Hobbit - Human|
|Creature Catalog 1:||Brownie - Centaur - Dryad - Faun - Hsiao |
Leprechaun - Pixie - Pooka - Redcap - Sidhe
Sprite - Treant - Wood Imp - Wooddrake
|Creature Catalog 2:||Faenare - Gnome - Gremlin - Harpy |
Nagpa - Pegataur - Sphinx - Tabi
|Creature Catalog 3:||Kna - Kopru - Merrow - Nixie - Triton|
|Dragon Magazine:||Cayma - Gatorman - Lupin - N'djatwa |
Phanaton - Rakasta - Shazak - Wallara
|Hollow World:||Beastman - Brute-Man - Hutaakan |
Krugel Orc - Kubbit - Malpheggi Lizard Man
|Known World:||Bugbear - Goblin - Gnoll |
Hobgoblin - Kobold - Ogre - Troll
- They have absolutely no sense of hygiene, meaning they never wash or clean themselves. As a result, they stink to high heaven of blood, shit, rotten meat and worse. Fortunately, they can be taught to bathe themselves, and it's mentioned some harpies make dangerous urban predators simply by learning to get rid of their distinctive odor.
- Being Chaotic Evil means they are very rough lovers, often outright sadistic; sex with a harpy is often a very painful, humiliating experience. Still not bad enough? There's trait number 3...
- Sexual cannibalism. In Golarion, harpies eat their partners after they're done screwing them. This is usually done for shits 'n' giggles after just casual nookie, meaning you might survive a casual fling with one, but their messed up culture declares that any harpy who does not eat the father of their child is a weak slut. Which means that if the harpy wants a baby, the daddy is going to be a post-coital snack once she's knocked up.
All the same, they're still sapient creatures, and one adventure tree explicitly allows the PCs to take one on as a sidekick and help her get over her "bad habits."
Pathfinder also has the Siren species; these are a Chaotic Neutral race who appear as giant eagles/hawks/owls with the faces of beautiful women. Being all-female like their "cousins", they need to grab human men to procreate; unlike their harpy kindred, sirens are actually a very devoted and loving race. Yes, they will kidnap potential husbands in addition to just trying to seduce or rescue-romance them - they're Chaotic Neutral, after all - but they treat them well and fall very deeply in love. So much so that they've been known to commit suicide, or outright die of heartbreak, if the man they have their eyes on is stolen away or resists their charms. They have a very powerful magical song that can be used to captivate, fascinate, charm or put to sleep those who hear them, can use the Bardic Performance ability of a 4th-level Bard, and can cast Cause Fear, Charm Person, Deep Slumber and Shout as spell-like abilities, each one being usable thrice per day.
In Warcraft, Harpies are creatures native to Kalimdor and look like a combination between a Night Elf and a bird, and they appear to be exclusively female. They're typically trash mobs that serve as a threat and kill quest targets for leveling players; thus individual tribes serve either as a nuisance or a localized threat to the Alliance or Horde, but have not had a major role in the grand scheme of things.
They're a lot like Pathfinder harpies above. Just read that entry, and you'll have a good idea of what these harpies are about, just more PG. Most references of how they reproduce has been removed, but old Tabletop RPG noted a number of rumors. They would resort to abducting males of other species to mate with until they served as food, and also providing information that harpies may reproduce parthenogenetically when times were tough. There's also a certain emphasis on their being highly unsanitary, noted for their stench, throwing fecal bombs, and strong immunity to diseases that they were carriers of, up to trying to seduce members of other species into kissing them as a means of spreading disease. Also of note was that they preferred to use nature magic, though they would use it to largely to exterminate the wildlife of where they would set up their nests, and their only ally was the Kobolds, another minor species.
They were descended from the Wild God named Aviana, who was much more benevolent than her kids would turn out to be. Aviana died fighting the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients, but would be resurrected during the Cataclysm to protect the world again, and survived long enough to fight off the Burning Legion again during the Third Invasion just years later.
Harpies exist in the world of Warhammer Fantasy. They are associated with both the Beastmen and the Druuci armies. They're not particularly alluring or intelligent compared to other harpy incantations. They are little more than frothing, rabid monsters that desire only to devour flesh and are herded into battle like wild beasts. It is hinted that they may have some relation to Khaine, as the dark elves believe that they are either the souls of slain witch elves or a manifestation of Khaine's wrath. But they're a species with a lot of ambiguity.
"Harpie" (ハーピィ) was one of the first deck archetypes in Yu-Gi-Oh, and the first to have actual archetype support instead of being a bunch of themed cards. It was prominently used by one of the most prominent secondary characters in the anime, ensuring it indefinite support. Harpies swarm and gain power from swarming, but are weak on their own.
Living With Monstergirls
While monstergirl harpies tend to be kinder and much more gentle than the classical sort, Harpies have a much deeper and more sinister reason for luring individuals off - they need males (preferably humans) to breed during the mating season. Though they will let a mate go once their mating season is over unless it's a black harpy. Competition between Harpies for mates is fierce, and a Harpy will go to extravagant lengths in order to impress a mate and win them away from a rival. In the Living With Monstergirls series, a Harpy's lover takes her out to the fields to exercise her wings every now and then, an activity which usually gets her amorous enough to enjoy "quality time" with her betrothed.
The Monster Girl Encyclopedia is full of different types of harpy. Aside from the common Harpy, a cheerful and friendly flyer, and her vastly more aggressive and intelligent "Black Harpy" sister, harpy variants include:
- Cockatrice: A flightless harpy/lizardfolk crossbreed with a timid disposition.
- Crow Tengu: A Zipangu variant of the Black Harpy, which is more scholarly and intellectual - and less belligerent.
- Gandharva: A dusky-skinned and unusually voluptuous harpy that serves as a musical cleric to the goddess of love, taking its name from Hindu nature spirits who served as musicians to the gods.
- Jubjub: A busty, fluffy and hyper-horny harpy native to the Wonderland region. Infamous for the fact its so horny its unhatched eggs sometimes explode if men get too close, as the fetal chick inside is warped by her lust into a slime-girl called a Humpty Egg.
- Siren: A harpy variant with a natural knack for singing and the ability to enthrall others with its voice.
- Thunderbird: A fierce and aggressively lusty harpy variant with powerful electrical abilities.
- Owl Mage: A wise owl like Harpy. She can cast a spell on people that clouds their minds by locking eyes with them.
Harpies in Terraria
|This is a /v/ related article, which we tolerate because it's relevant and/or popular on /tg/... or we just can't be bothered to delete it.|
Harpies are one of the more dangerous enemies in Terraria, though not one of the more powerful. Encountered at high altitudes far from the initial spawn, these free-flying fiends are largely considered Terraria's equivalent of Dwarf Fortress's infamous Carp in that they exist to ruin your shit.
With 100HP, they're one of the most durable normal enemies, and they tend to appear in large groups (often 5 or more; god help you if a Blood Moon's going on when you're in their territory). They do a huge amount of damage (nearly as much as Terraria's feared Demons), fly very quickly (making them rather hard to hit without long-range weapons), and fire volleys of feathers off in strafing runs as they zip around the area. They only appear high in the air (and even then, far from the starting spawnpoint), but they can turn any attempt to build at high altitudes into a frustrating and frequently-fatal endeavor.
Trying to build a curtain wall at the edge of an island whilst under siege from 4-5 of these fiends will result in an immediate need to roll for Anal Circumference. Whilst most well-known for their ability to knock you off ledges and bridges and sending you hurtling to a horribly mangled death on the ground far below from fall damage, they are far more dangerous if, god help you, one manages to get inside your base, where they can set about crashing into you, killing important NPC Shopkeepers, and in most ways doing a bang-up impression of a Dwarf Fortress Carp. That flies. And shoots.
It's not all bad news, though - Players who build their homes high in the sky will frequently come to enjoy the safety and security that comes from having flocks of the goddamned things swarming around their base at all times, providing a constant diversion and harassment against any foe bold and foolish enough to approach in PVP maps. Harpies can't burrow or teleport (like a lot of monsters that otherwise occupy dangerous terrain in Terraria), so a walled-in area with reinforced walls will generally keep the fucking things out of your home, and provide you with useful guardians all in one stroke. Sadly, this means you need to actually build a base in Harpy territory, which is easier said than done. Harpies also have a rare chance of dropping a Large feather which can be used to make Harpy Wings in Hard mode which surpass the Angel and Demon Wings in terms of flight range. The Normal Feathers can be used to create Featherfall and Gravitation Potions, which when before you can get the Lucky Horseshoe, makes it much easier to navigate the skies to find more islands.
Note, however, that once you reach Hard mode, the Harpy is no longer the premier threat of the game, especially if you build bases in the air. The Wraith is a far more ubiquitous and annoying threat, freely moving through walls, dealing ten fucktons of damage with each hit and easily obliterating your NPCs. Evil Clowns answer the age-old question of what could happen if there was a monster equivalent of a TNT-spamming jackass on your server, throwing bombs and destroying structures. But by far the worst of a very bad lot on Hard mode is the Wyvern. With over 4000 HP, the ability to go through walls, and one of the highest damage values in the game, Wyverns are the Carp of Terraria's Hard mode - such is their power, in fact, that they cause the Harpies to say "fuck this" and start flocking at lower altitudes; you'll start seeing them the second you crest a low hill.