Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd EditionCampaign Setting Logo

Climate/Terrain:Temperate, tropical land or coast
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Low (5-7)
Treasure:R (C)
Alignment:Chaotic evil
No. Appearing:2-12 (2d6)
Armor Class:7
Movement:6, Fl 15 (C)
Hit Dice:7
No. of Attacks:3
Damage/Attack:1-3/1-3/1-6 or 1-3/1-3/weapon
Special Attacks:Singing and charm
Special Defenses:Nil
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (6')
Morale:Elite (13-14)
XP Value:975

Harpies are wicked avian beasts that prey upon nearly all creatures but prefer the flesh of humans and demihumans.

Harpies have the bodies of vultures but the upper torsos and heads of women. Their human features are youthful, but hideous, with frayed unkempt hair and decaying teeth. A foul odor surrounds all harpies and that which they touch. Harpies never bathe nor clean themselves in any way. Their dress, if anything, is limited to tattered rags and shiny trinkets taken from previous victims.

The language of harpies, in contrast to their enticing song, is a horrible collection of cackles and shrieks. Although there are instances of harpies which could speak the languages of other creatures, these are few and far between.

Combat: The song of the harpies has the ability to charm all humans and demihumans who hear it (elves are resistant to the charm). Those who fail their saving throw versus spell will proceed towards the harpy with all possible speed, only to stand entranced while the harpy slays them at its leisure. This charm will last as long as the harpy continues to sing. Harpies can sing even while engaged in melee.

It is impossible to fend off a harpy song simply by clasping hands over ears because the charm takes effect the moment the first note is heard. Characters making prior preparations to block out the sound, (wax in ears, etc.), are immune to the effects of the song. In addition, characters who make their saving throw are thereafter immune to its effect, until such time as they encounter a different group of harpies.

If forced to fight, harpies can do so quite effectively by delivering a vicious bite and raking simultaneously with their talons. About 50% of all harpies encountered will use weapons, usually a bone club (damage 1-8) which they wield surprisingly well.

The touch of a harpy upon a charmed individual has a similar, though somewhat less potent, effect. Those who are touched and miss their saving throw versus spell will stand mesmerized for 20+1d10 hours.

The effect of either charm is broken if the harpy is slain.

Habitat/Society: Harpies make their home upon coastlines in regions near shipping lanes and by well-traveled paths. There they use their song to lure travelers to their doom.

Their lair is usually a shallow cave, which they defile until no animal dare approach it. Here they remain unless hunting. Harpies often carry victims back to their lair to devour them in more familiar surroundings.

Harpies have little use for treasure, other than the shiny baubles which they often attach to their clothes. Other items, such as gold and weapons, are frequently interspersed amongst the filth and bones that litter the cave. This refuse can reach a depth of several feet in the oldest of harpy lairs.

A typical harpy lair houses about a half-dozen of these wretched creatures. No male harpies have ever been seen and it seems that harpies can reproduce at will by laying a single egg every other year. Harpies take no care of their young, which live off carcasses and cave vermin until they themselves are old enough to sing and hunt.

Harpies have no social structure, frequently quarreling over who gets what part of a victim and when to stop the torturing and start the feasting. Occasionally these quarrels will turn violent, so that more than one harpy feast has begun with the last minute addition of the losing harpy to the menu.

Harpies will occassionally agree to cooperate in evil acts with other humanoids.

Ecology: Harpies hunt all manner of beasts, remaining in an area for as long as the food supply lasts. They are despised and greatly feared by all creatures weaker than themselves.

Harpies have a voracious appetite, devouring all manner of man and beast. They take great delight in torture, and frequently kill for pleasure. Slain victims which harpies do not eat are simply left to rot. Their life span is unknown but seems to be about 50 years.