Name: Harpy
Category: Monsters
Type: Flightless avians
Size: Medium to large
Region: Danae's Temple
Rarity: Common
Lifespan 50-60 years

Acanthan legend has it that the first harpy was a woman Danae? greatly admired. When he caught her with another man, he punished her by making her so ugly that no one else would want her, and she and her descendents would be cursed to serve him alone.

Whether or not the legend is true, harpies have a ferocious beauty about them made all the more terrifying by the fact they are not quite human. With great feathered wings equipped with two semi-opposable "thumb" feathers on the outer edges, and giant talons in the place of feet, they stalk Danae's palace as his guardians and servants.

Harpies are trained soldiers well-equipped with bronze armour, leather clothing and wicked spears. They range between 5-6 feet tall and have a certain roundness that makes them look like the birds from whom they got their wings. Their beady black eyes, much like those of an eagle but without even a hint of an iris, couples with a hawk-like beak to make them seem ferocious and intimidating.

Behaviour

Though harpies are mostly humanoid, they are a repressed race trained from birth to do only Danae's bidding. Like any well-trained guard dog, their main concern is the safety of their god and his possessions, so they view absolutely everyone as a potential threat.

They will not attack, however, unless those "potential" threats become definite ones.

The harpy language is a simple, bastardized version of Tanakheimein spoken with a lot of guttural growls and horrendous shrieks mixed in. They generally refuse to learn any other language, so they can be difficult to understand and are notoriously unfriendly.

Diet: Unknown.

Habitat: The entire harpy population resides in close proximity to the temple where they serve Danae. They bunk in barracks carved from the rock to look like eyries or nests, but are flightless so must make use of the precarious, spiralling stairways to get about.

Breeding: Unknown.

Special Information

Strengths/Abilities:

  • Harpies are stubborn creatures with a one track mind. Once given a task by Danae, they will either succeed or die in the trying. This makes them excellent guards and slaves, though Danae often finds them annoying when their insistence gets in the way of whatever else he wishes to do.
  • They can look intimidating, and amplify the effect of their looks by shrieking or gesticulating wildly with their spears. This is not so much a strength of their species as a behavioural pattern that just happens to serve them well against would-be invaders and trespassers. It is most effective against worshippers who have outstayed their welcome.

Weaknesses:

  • Harpies are bred to serve Danae in whatever capacity he chooses and are incapable of thinking for themselves. If their plans go awry or they are unable to complete a task, for whatever reason, they tend to mentally implode and obsess over their failure. Very few of them are capable of adapting or adjusting their plans to suit the situation.

Uses:

  • Danae uses them as guards to keep insistent worshippers away until he deigns to grant them an audience. He could easily defend himself, his temple, and his world, but chooses to task others with the job instead.
  • Squads of harpies are sent to villages and settlements across Acantha to collect offerings, especially from those unable to make the journey themselves. This way, no one is allowed to forget about Danae's existence, but the harpies are generally disliked because of it.
Harpies rarely visit the Badlands because they are not capable of defeating Malaki without heavy losses, so the tribes have become exempt from these tithes. They also find Chinyelu? too hot, but Mystriders are fairly religious about making the pilgrimage to the temple so harpies don’t usually bother them anyway.

Origin: The harpies really were created by Danae, though exactly why is unclear.

Other Info:

Creator: Des? with additions from Emma?