Monster Analysis: Harpies (Lucidian Ocean)

Thanks to @ZomgDae for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 1-27 The Path to Whitestone

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-36

  • Armor Class 11

  • Speed 20 ft, 40 ft flying

  • Passive perception 10

  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 38, 63

    • Harpy 1: 39 damage taken, 8 killing blow by Nott

    • Harpy 2: 39 damage taken, 10 killing blow by Beau

    • Harpy 3: 41 damage taken, 7 killing blow by Jester

    • Harpy 4: 39 damage taken, 8 killing blow by Nott

    • Harpy 5: 18 damage taken, escaped

    • Harpy 6: Escaped undamaged

Harpies are cruel, cowardly creatures who always seek the path of least resistance. They'll target prey that is limited in mobility and do not have much of a chance of fighting back. If the odds turns away from their favor, harpies have no problem retreating; they are happy to dish out damage, but they can't take it.

A harpy's luring song stands in stark contrast to their otherwise cursed appearance. This beautiful melody compels those who are unable to shrug off its enchanting effect to approach the source. Harpies will often use this to lure prey into positions they can’t defend themselves, such as off a cliff, into an open ocean, or simply into their waiting talons.

While the harpies of the Lucidian did not have the benefit of cliffs to harass their targets off of, they still had a hunting strategy involving stranding their prey in the middle of the ocean. Their initial round of physical attacks weren’t at The Mighty Nein, but at their sails and the fleeing, notably less-powerful deckhands. The harpies put off dealing with the Nein until after one of them attempted to charm the crew with their Luring Song. Unfortunately for the harpies, their song only worked on Nott and a single deckhand, rendering the rest of the Nein immune to any potential uses of the charm from that specific harpy (though the others were too occupied with their attack to attempt charms of their own).

Coupled with Caduceus’ quick casting of Calm Emotions to negate the song’s effect entirely, the harpies quickly found themselves in over their heads. The Nein went to town attacking, and Caleb attempted to instill Fear in them, which added fuel to their survival instinct. By the start of the second round, the harpies starting flying away. The Nein managed to pick off four of the harpies before the surviving two could complete their escape.

The party acted quickly enough against the harpies attacking the sails to allow the Mistake to sail onward after the encounter ended. Beau’s quick thinking to furl the sails prevented additional incurred damage, as well as redirected that harpies’ attacks to her (which proved immensely beneficial, as the harpies couldn’t hit her even when she wasn’t dodging). The damage was small enough that Jester was able to repair it with several applications of Mending.

Additionally, the Nein ensured that every member of their crew survived the encounter (much to the amazement of the members who were accidentally a part of the mounted defense). The Nein had already marveled at the skill of accomplished sailors at work. With a fully-patched sail and a fully-manned crew, the journey of the Mistake to the Swavain Islands could continue.