Harpy (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Type Monstrous humanoid
Image Wizards.com image
Stats Open Game License stats
Publication history
Mythological origins Harpy

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.

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).[1] 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),[2] 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 "The Ecology of the Harpy: Songs of Beauty" and "The Ecology of the Harpy: Songs of Death."[3][4]

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).[5][6][7] The harpy appears as a player character class in Top Ballista in the "DM's booklet" (1989).[8] The harpy was also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[9] 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),[10] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[11]

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

The harpy appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[12]

Savage Species (2003) presented the harpy as both a race and a playable class.[13]

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.[14]


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.[15] The harpy is fully detailed in Paizo Publishing's book Mythical Monsters Revisited (2012), on pages 22–27.[16]


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