A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    Meet the harpies, a winged race without a flying speed who nonetheless have a few birdlike qualities which make them unique and (hopefully) interesting adventurers. The inspiration here is pretty straightforward, though I sort of tried to imagine them living and integrating in a wider fantasy setting rather than folding in too much of the lore from the original Greek legends. There are three subraces: Larksouls, which I think of as kind of happy-go-lucky gypsy folk who love being aeronauts, the geier, who are more carrion scavengers and recall the original harpy legends (and maybe some legends of the 'choosers of the slain') a bit more closely, and the tengu, whose Japanese influence is obvious as well as birthing the rare albino member of the race who at some points in history have probably been mistaken for angels.

    I tried to balance these guys against the elves as well as, for the geier who have a natural weapon, against the lizardfolk from Volo's. They have a lot of small flavorful abilities with various levels of use in exploration or interaction, but each subrace also gets one big trait that really forms the center of why each would probably be attractive from a build standpoint. As always, I welcome any and all thoughts and criticism.

    I've spent a long time staring at these guys and rejiggering things here and there, so I'm not at all confident that the balance is right, but I am confident that it's time to get some other opinions. Thanks for reading!

    Harpies



    Artist Credit: Du Hugh. Y

    ”I’ve got you now,” hissed the yuan ti spy as he edged out onto the narrow girder high above the city streets. “You’ll never ssssurvive to tell the king’s guard what I really am."

    The young harpy backed fearfully away, holding his little dagger in front of him with one hand and holding onto the rope which supported their precarious perch with the other. His wings shifted back and forth to help him balance, and he swallowed. “Maybe I’ll just fly away and warn them before your assassins can reach the ambassador.”

    The yuan ti smiled a too-wide smile as its lower body transformed into a snake’s long tail. It slithered out further onto the girder, tail wrapped around the steel beam, and menaced the young man with its falchion. “Spare me your bluffsss. I know harpiesss can’t fly.”

    “Maybe not,” the young man admitted. When the snakeman was all the way out on the unsteady girder, the harpy smiled and winked, then lifted his knife arm up to sever the rope which was supporting them both. “But we’re pretty good at falling.”

    The girder plunged along with the screaming spy to the street below and landed in a deafening crash. A few seconds later the harpy landed as well, wings outstretched. He hit the ground pretty hard a dozen feet away but turned the impact an awkward roll. When he rose he had a limp and was breathing hard, but he hurried off towards the castle and the diplomatic conference.

    He had to warn them in time!



    Spoiler: Fluff
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    Harpies are winged humanoids who have assimilated far and wide into the cultures of the realms, while also maintaining strong traditions and heritage of their own. Though not capable of full flight, their wings are helpful in dealing with heights, and harpies of all sorts make excellent skyway workers and aeronauts. They are one of the most populous peoples of the realms, and happily playing harpy kids alongside cheerfully prosperous winged shop owners are common sights in every town and city across the continent.

    Harpies and the Salad Bowl of Civilization

    Harpies are in some ways the exemplars of integration and tolerance in the realms. Despite coming from distinct cultures with ancient traditions, harpies today are common in all walks of life and at all levels of society. They don’t have especially strong rivalries with other peoples and their curious, easygoing natures make them good neighbors in almost any community they are part of.

    At the same time, harpies do tend to flock together wherever they go, congregating in neighborhoods and patronizing each other’s businesses and temples without ever consciously enforcing or even planning such things. They also retain strong elements of their traditional culture even in the modern age when most races have melded their societies together into a sort of realmswide monoculture.

    Some harpies of course have left their traditions behind almost entirely and fully assimilate into the cultures around them, while some towns and fiefs remain which are expressly designed to perpetuate traditional ways of life (especially common among the tengu). But by and large harpies unique in the realms, integrated enough to be a common sight but holding themselves apart enough to maintain a separate and often poorly understood identity of their own.


    The Flock’s Hospitality

    While harpy culture among the larksouls in the cities is subtly different from that among the lake flocks of the eastern heartlands, the geier folk from the arid savannah, or the isolationist tengu, one thing that unites all of them is the central importance of hospitality in the fabric of their societies.

    A guest in a harpy flock can expect to be treated with great cheer and respect, and will be offered food, drink, and the best seat in the house by whatever family or even community he has been lucky enough to be invited to. Different flocks have variations on this tradition, for instance the geier harpies are slow to extend their hospitality but will raise a feast and full scale party in honor of any guest they do have, while the hospitality of the tengu is more staid and ceremonial, with the guest expected to show good manners by entertaining his hosts with a display of storytelling, musical ability, riddles, or other such demonstration.

    Harpies have longstanding good relations with both gnomes and halflings, and though harpies usually find the underground homes of these folk claustrophobic, the wildest parties in the realms happen when all three races decide to get together and make up some reason to celebrate. Like these races, harpies are also natural pranksters. A particular trick they love to pull on others is spiking food with very spicy ingredients and laughing at how other races react; harpies cannot taste spice, so this poses no threat to their own kin while provoking the most hilarious (from their perspective anyway) reactions from others.


    The Harpy’s Song

    When harpies are guests in each other’s flocks, or even when two meet each other out in the world, a common reaction for them is to sing favorite parts of their flock songs to each other in order to see if they share some relation. Flock songs are lengthy, multifaceted epics which are handed down along family lines orally. Although it sounds to outsiders like unusually catchy bar tunes telling funny, exciting, bawdy, and sometimes tragic stories about the nearlly mythical exploits of past harpy generations (and indeed they sometimes do become drinking songs wherever harpies get together to have fun), each is also a (colorful) history of a particular family line.

    When harpies marry and start families of their own, they mix their two flock songs into a new version combining the best of their previous songs, and harpies who achieve great deeds can look forward to their kin back home setting their adventures to the old familiar tune and adding new verses to the ancient ditty. Sometimes a particularly good verse might even migrate from one flock to another, with each group claiming to their deathbeds that theirs was the family who originated it. Long family rivalries can begin from such seemingly ridiculous beginnings, but to the harpies involved such things are no laughing matter (unless it’s two other families who have the rivalry, then harpies laugh about it more than anyone else).

    The general forms and conventions of harpy flock songs are so catchy and fun that the genre has spread throughout the realms as one of the most popular forms of popular music. Travelling troupes of both harpies and other races entirely specialize in singing ditties based on traditional flock songs, and some of the biggest stars in the most glamorous cities mine harpy traditions for inspiration.


    The Ups and Downs of Harpy Living

    Though their wings don’t let them truly fly, harpies are far more comfortable with heights than other races, and their buildings tend to reflect that. Harpies build vertically as much as they do horizontally, taking advantage of cliffsides or sturdy trees to build around where possible, and building up multiple stories with plentiful patios and rooftop access (and the occasional second or third story window which opens like a door to empty space) where they must. Larksoul harpies in particular are known for racing along and between rooftops in crowded towns and cities, whether as shortcuts, just for fun, or for more nefarious purposes.

    This predilection also makes them ideal aeronauts. Harpies can’t fly on their own power but they are natural sky sailors, whether it’s climbing out on the ropes to adjust the sails, fighting desperate boarding actions in the high skies, or applying their natural energy and bright minds in the engine room to eke every thaum of power from the ship’s boiler.

    Harpies love adventure and excitement more than most races, and many take to a life of adventuring as a result. They can also be strongly motivated by wealth and material possessions, and achieving a good marriage in harpy society is much easier for a young man or woman who has achieved some independent wealth, prosperity, or great skill on their own. Wherever a harpy goes, though, she can be sure that there will be others of her kind living and singing, waiting to welcome her with open wings and a bit of a party should she need a reminder of the home flock.


    Harpy Names


    Male Names:
    Female Names:
    Family Names:

    Spoiler: Harpy Traits
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    Harpy Traits


    Harpies’ natural coordination, light bodies, and curious minds make for an energetic people always in motion.

    Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
    Age. Harpies are born from eggs and reach adulthood by 16, though their slight frames mean that they always appear young to human eyes. They do not suffer as much as other races from the rigors of old age and remain relatively vital until they expire around the age of 80.
    Alignment. Harpies tend to be chaotic or neutral rather than lawful (with some notable exceptions). They also tend to be either good or evil, but seldom neutral.
    Size. Harpies range from 5 to 5 and a half feet tall, and are light. Your size is Medium. (Larksoul harpies are an exception and are Small, see below).
    Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
    Natural Performer. You have proficiency with the Instrument (Voice).
    Winged Grace. You have advantage on all Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks to keep your balance and on Strength (Athletics) checks to jump.
    Glide. As long as you are not wearing heavy armor or carrying a heavy load, you take only 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 20 feet you fall, to a maximum of 10d6. You may also move 5 feet of lateral distance for every 10 feet you fall.
    Opposable Claws. Harpies have dextrous birdlike feet tipped in claws. You can use them to manipulate objects and perform skill checks with no penalty. Attacking with a weapon held in your foot suffers from disadvantage, though using your claws as a natural weapon follows the normal rules for an unarmed strike (but dealing slashing instead of bludgeoning damage) and does not suffer disadvantage.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common.
    Subrace. Larksoul harpies hail from verdant forested valleys and cliffs, geier harpies from desolate deserts and savannahs. Tengu are a more distantly related subrace that nonetheless shares an ancient ancestor with the rest of the harpies. Choose one of these subraces.

    Spoiler: Subraces
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    Larksoul Harpy

    Artist Credit: Lagunis on deviantart http://lagunis.deviantart.com/art/Ha...ator-632019294

    Of all the harpies, the larksouls are the most laid back representatives of the race, and also the most numerous. Their agreeable natures have led to them integrating widely into communities throughout the kingdoms. They excel at careers which challenge their curiosity and sense of adventure, and have found great success as messengers, aeronauts, performers, and thieves.

    Size. Larksoul harpies average about 3 feet tall, and weigh about 30 pounds. Your size is Small.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2.
    Knack. You have proficiency with three different tools of your choice.
    Keen Eye. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks made to find hidden switches, secret doors, and concealed items.
    Bird Hop. As a bonus action, you may fly 10 feet in any direction (5 feet if you are wearing heavy armor or carrying a heavy load). This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks. Your wings are unable to support you for prolonged periods, and if you do not end this movement on a surface capable of supporting you, you immediately begin to fall.


    Geier Harpy

    Artist Credit: hagyr on deviantart http://hagyr.deviantart.com/art/Harpy-408468431

    Geier harpies hail from arid wastelands where sustenance is scarce and competition is fierce. They are gaunt, with worryingly sharp teeth and more prominent talons than are found on other harpies, and their fingers are tipped in sharp claws as well. Their plumage is duller than other harpies’, tending towards greys, browns, and dirty white.

    Ability Score Increase. Your Strength or Constitution score increases by 2 .
    Scavenger’s Immune System. You have advantage on all Constitution saves made against diseases.
    Rending Talons. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes, which deal 1d6 + your Strength modifier slashing damage.
    Relentless Opportunist. When you make a melee attack against an adjacent target with advantage, and both dice roll high enough to hit its AC, you may use your bonus action to immediately deal 1d6 + your Strength modifier slashing damage to the same target.


    Tengu

    Artist Credit: FireEagleSpirit on deviantart http://fireeaglespirit.deviantart.co...engu-550243427

    The tengu are a subrace of harpy with entirely black plumage (very rarely one will be born with albino white plumage instead) and dark hair. They tend to be very proud and proper, sometimes to the point of aloofness. They have a reputation for peerless swordsmanship, keen minds, and an unyielding sense of honor.

    Alignment. Unlike most harpies, tengu prize stability and tradition. They are usually lawful, and the rare chaotic individual often finds life in their communities oppressive. Tengu share the harpy proclivity for being good or evil above being neutral.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2.
    Way of the Tengu. You have proficiency with the scimitar*, longsword, smith’s tools, and shogi (a traditional tengu strategy game).
    One Move Ahead. Add your Intelligence modifier to your Dexterity check when rolling initiative.
    Intellectual Perfectionist. After you roll an Intelligence check but before you learn the result, you may reroll the die with advantage and must use the new roll. You can’t use this feature again until you finish a short or long rest.

    *In my games this is actually a katana proficiency, which is a martial weapon which does 1d6 damage with the finesse and versatile (1d8) properties.
    Last edited by Steel Mirror; 2017-01-05 at 04:09 PM.
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    nice work mate and i dig the pictures for harpies except tengu harpy for me it feels like tengu is completely different race then harpy
    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Shadow View Post
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    Tengu make extraordinarily good Wizards. Is this intentional? They get Intelligence and Dexterity, they add their Intelligence modifier to Initiative rolls, and once per short rest they can Counterspell at advantage (since for Wizards Counterspelling involves an untyped Intelligence check). It's probably not really all that broken but the fluff doesn't seem to fit "race of ludicrous abjurers."
    My homebrew: A list of 5e homebrew magitech augments found here, a homebrew race of devil-toads here, and the Professional, an all mundane support class. Criticism is much appreciated!

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashy View Post
    Tengu make extraordinarily good Wizards. Is this intentional? They get Intelligence and Dexterity, they add their Intelligence modifier to Initiative rolls, and once per short rest they can Counterspell at advantage (since for Wizards Counterspelling involves an untyped Intelligence check). It's probably not really all that broken but the fluff doesn't seem to fit "race of ludicrous abjurers."
    They are definitely supposed to be good wizards, though I was trying to get it so that their racial abilities also make them good at being other races despite that Int boost (they make particularly good assassins too, which is cool because tengu ninjas). The race does indeed have some of the realm's most powerful wizards in the fluff, and is ruled by wizards to boot (though they have some vague East Asian flavor, of course, cuz I'm a weab ).

    On the other hand, the interaction between Int checks and counterspelling completely went over my head when I was designing the race. I'll have to look over the rules carefully and see how I feel about that. Intellectual Perfectionist was intended to be used more for knowledge checks and Investigation rolls, turning tengu into walking pedantic libraries or some kind of Sherlock-scanning geniuses, not to have a powerful combat effect. Good catch, thanks for reading, and I'll get back to you about whether I'll adjust that ability!

    Quote Originally Posted by khadgar567 View Post
    nice work mate and i dig the pictures for harpies except tengu harpy for me it feels like tengu is completely different race then harpy
    Pictures, as usual, are all the wonderful results of other talented people and have nothing to do with me (not one of my skills, unfortunately). Artist credits are below the pictures if you want to see more cool stuff! The tengu is wearing a mask; is that what catches you off? All harpies have basically human bodies, just with wings added and claws instead of feet, and the tengu are the same in that regard. They just have lots of black feathers.

    Thanks for commenting!
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    snip
    not the tengus mechanics but the name it self its kinda reminds me whole other race then harpy who needs its own sub races instead of being part of Greek monster race.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by khadgar567 View Post
    not the tengus mechanics but the name it self its kinda reminds me whole other race then harpy who needs its own sub races instead of being part of Greek monster race.
    Oh gottcha! I certainly understand that, I can see why other people would want to do so in their own games. For me, the two myths were so superficially similar that I thought it was kind of cool to introduce them as estranged branches of the same family tree. Going from fluff, I wanted to show that the harpies have been such a successful race (evolutionarily speaking) that they've diversified into distinct categories with very different niches and histories, and each reflecting some different inspirations when it comes to 'winged humanoids' from mythology and fantasy literature.
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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    I think you should make the Glide 10 feet out for 5 feet down instead of 5 feet out for 10 feet down.

    It would feel more gliding and less like controlled plummeting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Not everyone has the resources or the ability to become a wizard or a sorcerer, after all. Warlocking just requires a pact, very democratic, really. Doesn't require wealth or a magical lineage, just a promise, and all of your problems will go away.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunkette View Post
    I think you should make the Glide 10 feet out for 5 feet down instead of 5 feet out for 10 feet down.

    It would feel more gliding and less like controlled plummeting.
    Maybe I should rename the ability or something; it is meant to be basically controlled plummeting. XD

    If I were to change it to 10 feet out per 5 down, I worry that might be a bit too powerful. As it is, glide is more meant to be a nice perk that turns a horrible fall into something manageable but still not desirable, or the occasional use in exploration that still comes with a bit of a cost. Changing it so strongly seems like it makes it into much more of a generally useful and powerful ability, possibly usable even in combat and very useful for crossing pits and chasms and the like. Or do you think I'm overestimating the power of the glide ability?
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    I think you're overestimating it a bit.

    I think people overestimate the power of flight in general, within the confines of the game.

    Even the 3.5e Raptoran race went 20ft for each 5ft they dropped and only took 1d6 damage from any fall, then later got flight at 40ft/round.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Not everyone has the resources or the ability to become a wizard or a sorcerer, after all. Warlocking just requires a pact, very democratic, really. Doesn't require wealth or a magical lineage, just a promise, and all of your problems will go away.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunkette View Post
    I think you're overestimating it a bit.

    I think people overestimate the power of flight in general, within the confines of the game.

    Even the 3.5e Raptoran race went 20ft for each 5ft they dropped and only took 1d6 damage from any fall, then later got flight at 40ft/round.
    To clarify, I didn't necessarily mean to good to have at all, but more too good given how many racial features the harpies already have. If I do give them a better glide of that nature, I might think of dropping a racial trait from each subrace or something to compensate.

    As for 3.x stuff, I love that edition, but it has very different balance compared to 5E races. :D Aarakocra have flight in 5E, for instance, and that's basically it. I don't know if that's balanced or not (probably is, over all?) but it feels a little boring to me, hence this attempt to give a race wings but still let it have all sorts of interesting stuff by not giving it actual flying, or even anything that close.

    I might make a racial feat for them that updates their glide, though. If I get around to that, I'll post that idea here and see if it helps your perception of them.
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    I really like the race, but I worry about having a racial feature that boosts initiative, as I don't think any other race does this, besides variant human if you grab alert, and any class that gives a bonus to initiative usually does so at around 6th or 7th level, excluding swashbuckler rogue at third

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    Default Re: New Race: Harpies (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama513 View Post
    I really like the race, but I worry about having a racial feature that boosts initiative, as I don't think any other race does this, besides variant human if you grab alert, and any class that gives a bonus to initiative usually does so at around 6th or 7th level, excluding swashbuckler rogue at third
    Hmm, I'll consider that. My general feeling is that, while initiative is good, it's generally not game-breakingly good to win initiative because the advantage of winning is more or less gone after the first round. And even a high Int mod at low levels, +3, is only the difference between winning and falling behind in initiative a small percentage of the time. But I'll take a look again at the other abilities which improve initiative and see how they stack up.

    As long as the other abilities stack nicely with the tengu's bonus, I think it works out okay. It is that subrace's headline ability, so to speak, and the ability to fly for short distances without provoking OAs at will (larksoul) or to stack extra damage on an attack when you already are attacking with advantage (geier) seem to be pretty powerful in their own right.

    Thanks for pointing out the other comparable class abilities though, I will compare and contrast them and get back to you.
    Last edited by Steel Mirror; 2017-01-08 at 12:20 AM.
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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