Harpy (Dungeons & Dragons)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki
First appearanceGreyhawk (1975)
Based onHarpy
TypeMonstrous humanoid

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the harpy is a monstrous humanoid creature with the lower body, legs, and wings of a bird. It is based upon the harpy of Greek myth.[1][2]

Publication history[edit]

The harpy was one of the earliest creatures introduced in the D&D game.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)[edit]

The harpy was introduced to the game in its first supplement, Greyhawk (1975).[3] It is described as having the lower body of an eagle and the upper body of a human female.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)[edit]

The harpy appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977),[4] where it is described as having the body of a vulture but the upper torso and head of woman. Their sweet-sounding calls were said to cause creatures to approach the harpy, who then tortures and devours them.

The harpy was detailed in a pair of articles in Dragon #115 (November 1986), in "The Ecology of the Harpy: Songs of Beauty" and "The Ecology of the Harpy: Songs of Death."[5][6]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the harpy, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977, 1981, 1983).[7][8][9] The harpy appears as a player character class in Top Ballista in the "DM's booklet" (1989).[10] The harpy was also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[11] and the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

The harpy appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989),[12] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[13]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)[edit]

The harpy appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[14]

Savage Species (2003) presented the harpy as both a race and a playable class.[15]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)[edit]

The harpy appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003), along with the harpy archer.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2014)[edit]

The harpy appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008). They are depicted with avian features instead of reptilian.[16]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014)[edit]

The harpy appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2014). In this edition, their mythology is mixed with their traditional folklore along with the characteristics of the Sirens, another group of bird-like humanoids from Greek Mythology, in that they also have seductive singing voices along with being vicious.


A harpy is usually chaotic evil and usually solitary, though will sometimes take flight in small groups. A harpy's song captivates nearby creatures, causing them to walk directly into the harpy's clutches.

Other publishers[edit]

The harpy appeared in Paizo Publishing's book Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (2009), on page 172.[17] The harpy is fully detailed in Paizo Publishing's book Mythical Monsters Revisited (2012), on pages 22–27.[18]


Mythological creatures like the harpy were considered among the "standard repertoire of "Monsters"" of the game by Fabian Perlini-Pfister.[2]


  1. DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bornet, Philippe (2011). Religions in play: games, rituals, and virtual worlds. Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich. p. 282. ISBN 978-3-290-22010-5. Retrieved 5 December 2019. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. Gygax, Gary and Robert Kuntz. Supplement I: Greyhawk (TSR, 1975)
  4. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  5. Curtis, Barbara E. "The Ecology of the Harpy: Songs of Beauty." Dragon #115 (TSR, 1986)
  6. Greenwood, Ed. "The Ecology of the Harpy: Songs of Death." Dragon #115 (TSR, 1986)
  7. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  8. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Tom Moldvay. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1981)
  9. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules (TSR, 1983)
  10. Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 146. ISBN 0-87975-653-5. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  11. Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  12. Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  13. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  14. Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  15. Eckelberry, David, Rich Redman, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes. Savage Species (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
  16. Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  17. Bulmahn, Jason (lead designer). Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (Paizo Publishing, 2009)
  18. Benner, Jesse, Jonathan H. Keith, Michael Kenway, Jason Nelson, Anthony Pryor, and Greg A. Vaughan. Mythical Monsters Revisited (Paizo, 2012)

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