Friday, February 28, 2014

B/X Character Class: Harpies

Harpies by Donna Barr. Used with permission of the artist.
Flying PC's can be a real hassle, because they can circumvent challenges that were planned two-dimensionally. But I think these harpies keep things pretty balanced. Let me know if I'm wrong.

They are directly inspired by Paul Kidd's Lace & Steel, created in collaboration with Donna Barr. If you know Ms. Barr's work, there's no doubt the harpies were one of her contributions to the world of Middlemarch.

If you don't know Donna Barr's work, then here you go, your new favorite thing: The Midnight Library.

Anyway, harpies.


Harpies (Lesser Harpies, Stormcrows, the Kindly Ones)
Requirements: CON 9
Prime Requisite: CON
Hit Dice: 1d4
Max Level: 8

Harpies have the heads and torsos of humans and the wings and bodies of large, predatory birds. Their hands emerge from the prominent joint of their wings.

Although harsh and unforgiving in disposition, lesser harpies are distinguished as “the Kindly Ones” both because they can bring rain to farmlands and, unlike their wild kin, they do not eat human flesh.

Harpy females are larger and more domineering than the males. Any harpy character with a STR of 12 or over must be female.

May use any weapons, and wear leather armor.
Hit Progression and Save as Thief.
May not use wands or arcane/divine scrolls.

Flight: Flies at 180’ per round, unencumbered, ignoring terrain and obstacles. Can only fly when less than half-encumbered (leather armor and less than 400 coins weight). Cannot use hands while in flight, even to hold small objects, but can hold objects in talons.

When flying, harpies attack either by swooping in to attack with their talons (see below), by dropping heavy items on enemies (treat as ranged attack, 1d6 dmg.), or, if they have a STR of 12 or more, by picking up an enemy (requires successful melee attack with talons), flying upwards, and dropping them (1d6 dmg For every round spent flying upwards. The victim may attack the harpy with a -2 to hit during these rounds).

Talons: As they mature, harpies develop powerful clawed toes.

Control Weather: At seventh-level, a harpy can cast Control Weather twice a day.

Aerie: At eighth-level, a harpy can establish a mountaintop stronghold.

1          Fledgling          Flight                           1d4       0
2          Siren                 Talons d2                      2d4       1800
3          Snatcher           Talons d4                      3d4       3600
4          Harpy               Talons d6                      4d4       7200
5          Swiftwind                                               5d4       14500
6          Stormcrow                                              6d4       29000
7          Stormqueen    Control Weather           7d4       58000
8          Kindly One     Aerie                              8d4       100000