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5e Race: Harpies

My affection for harpies as a playable race comes directly from Donna Barr's art from the old Lace & Steel rpg. Lots of folks consider flying PCs to be a problem, especially at low levels. I think this is obviated if, as I am planning, the flyers are one of your core races. If you have flying PCs in mind, then you build challenges with flight in mind.

Donna Barr

Harpies have the heads and torsos of humans and the wings, talons, and bodies of large, predatory birds. Their hands emerge from the prominent joint of their wings. Their plumage ranges from brown to slate to black, often with lighter markings. They are a distinct species from the monster of the same name.

Female harpies are larger and stronger the males, and dominate harpy society. It is common for young females to seek their fortune outside the aerie.

Harpy society is hierarchal and legalistic. They are generally considered to have invented law and civil organization, and brought these concepts to the other races.

Harpies appreciate precision in thought, word, and deed. This has led other races to characterize them as harsh and unforgiving. However, they are also considered to be good luck, especially by farmers, due to the common superstition that harpies bring rain.

Individual harpies may live among other races, but harpy communities are always established as remote mountaintop aeries.

Harpy Names
Harpies have a given name, a family name, and, often, a diminutive name used by immediate family.

Harpy Names (female): Agnete, Alke, Beatke, Czylle, Ermegart, Fronika, Gersucha, Heske, Herlinde, Ilg, Irmel, Neleke, Nethe, Osterhildis, Otilge, Ysentrud

Harpy Names (male): Anselm, Benusch, Dietl, Ditmar, Elger, Enderl, Firdl, Griml, Hensl, Jander, Jurge, Kite, Mikl, Noldl, Olbrecht, Otte, Pessl, Sifrid, Wigl

Harpy Family Names: Aldershof, Bergfalk, Durchdenwald, Eirkuchen, Eilkenboom, Förstner, Geiszler, Holzknecht, Leichenburg, Nachtnebel, Radmacher, Raskopf, Schuchardt, Steinauer, Toepfer, Vormelker, Walahran, Zouvall

Harpy Traits
Ability Score Increase
DEX +2

Harpies reach maturity at age 24 and can live to 120.

Harpies are typically Lawful Neutral. Individuals may be Lawful Good or Lawful Evil. Non-lawful harpies are typically outcasts.

Female harpies are often 4’ tall, 5 or 6’ long, with a 12-15’ wingspan.
Male harpies are 3’ tall, 4’ long, with a 10’ wingspan.
They are medium creatures.

Base walking speed: 25’.
Flying speed: 40’

You cannot fly while wearing medium or heavy armor. You cannot hold objects in your hands or preform the somatic component of spells while flying. You can hold objects in your talons, but cannot manipulate them.

1d4+STR+Profieciency slashing dmg

Hybrid Nature. You have two creature types: humanoid and beast. You can be affected by a game effect if it works on either of your creature types.

There are two strains of harpy that tend to be represented in every aerie, the Snatchers and the Sirens.


Harpy Snatcher
Snatchers often serve as guards, scouts, hunters, and soldiers for the aerie.
Ability Score Increase
STR +1

1d6+STR+Profieciency slashing dmg

Flying Speed: 60’


Harpy Siren
Sirens are favored for leadership positions within the aerie.
Ability Score Increase
CHA +1

Vicious Mockery Cantrip. Charisma is the spell-casting ability for this cantrip.

Oliver Herford


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