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Pterodactyl harpies and mythology

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Do we have some myths about the harpies? Why a body of a vultur? Why do they worship Malia?

I'd like to have some pterodactyls harpies in Pamaltela and to have some myths about them (similar to the myth of Harpies in the Northern Part)

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5 hours ago, Manu said:

Do we have some myths about the harpies? Why a body of a vultur? Why do they worship Malia?

I'd like to have some pterodactyls harpies in Pamaltela and to have some myths about them (similar to the myth of Harpies in the Northern Part)

I think Harpies are WInd Children or Swam Maidens gone bad rather than a seperate species..

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6 hours ago, metcalph said:

I think Harpies are Wind Children or Swam Maidens gone bad rather than a seperate species..

Any myth somewhere? Why? Could it happened with other flying beast men (women)?

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2 minutes ago, Manu said:

Any myth somewhere? Why? Could it happened with other flying beast men (women)?

There may be one in Anaxial's Roster or Lords of Terror but we are really getting to the territory of plonking down a strange name and hope somebody else makes something big with it some time in the future.

 

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17 minutes ago, metcalph said:

There may be one in Anaxial's Roster

"Oria made the first harpies to punish men who killed their mothers."
—Anaxial's Roster

Perhaps too much of a Greek myth carbon-copy for my tastes. Although the idea that Oria still commands the original, non-chaotic harpies as agents of reprisal (as suggested in AR) is kinda neat.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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3 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Perhaps too much of a Greek myth carbon-copy for my tastes. Although the idea that Oria still commands the original, non-chaotic harpies as agents of reprisal is kinda neat.

Saying there are non-chaotic harpies is just wasting words that should have been explaining the origin of the actual harpies.  The Lords of Terror description of Magra is just as bad as it wastes four paragaphs to tell us in effect not much is known. 

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12 hours ago, Manu said:

Do we have some myths about the harpies? Why a body of a vultur? Why do they worship Malia?

Vultures are notorious for their gruesome eating habits and their ability to stomach things that make other predators sick.

Worship of Malia comes natural to a species that infects other species' food with their faeces.

 

The bird part of the harpies points to a sky or storm origin or at least association of the ancestral harpies. They may be some ancient beastfolk or otherwise divine entities that were lured in by Malia and became corrupted in the course of the Unholy Trio's birthing of Wakboth.

 

There might be a link to Verapur, the City of Raptors, and in the path of Wakboth's Chaos Horde as it entered Genertela from the north, before Borklak's Victory. That city had become a victim to Valind's Glacier earlier on, though. It is possible that the horde re-awakened some raptor entity and forced it into their service.

 

As a rule, I find deities and beastfolk (chaotic or not) possessing animal bodies but human heads yet no hands to be pitiful. The human head is possibly the least useful natural weapon except in a brawl between humans. Its only advantage is articulation of speech, aiding in a number of magical powers, but their offensive value delivering a bite requires a strongly distorted face like a Manticores. A lammasu (like the Storm Brothers in the Gods War boardgame) and similar angelic guardian creatures from greater Mesopotamia don't usually have much of a bite attack.

 

Harpies don't have any redeeming qualities. If they procreate parthenogenically, that would be preferable to stealing male victims' fertility, but to overcome their repulsive appearance, behavior and most of all stench would require extremely powerful control magic or spirit possession. They might be able to impregnate themselves with other sapient species via ingestion of special parts.

Sirens (not sure whether such hybrid entities exist in Glorantha) are their closest anatomical equivalent, and while they are equally terrible at close encounter, at least they honey-trap their victims with beauty.

 

12 hours ago, Manu said:

I'd like to have some pterodactyls harpies in Pamaltela and to have some myths about them (similar to the myth of Harpies in the Northern Part)

That would be a quite different species, IMO. The Linnaeus "Gynaves vexans" translates as "irritating woman-bird".

Evil pterodactyls already exist as an off-shoot of the keets, the sorn (disregarding the genealogical difference between pterodactyls and feathered saurians, which is only slightly smaller than that of crocodilians). Though native to the East Isles, eastern and coastal Pamaltela might have them, as it has an antigod history. Sorn aren't a female-only species, though, and not especially fecal either.

I wonder how you would combine a woman's head and chest with a pterodactyl body. The super-elongated beak and head spur don't go well with a human head, and even limp crones' mammalia look quite out of place on a saurian body. Leaving only the lower jaw humanoid makes them even more disfunctional than having a humanoid face, although a pterodactyl-derived flyer may retain more manual dexterity than a vulture-winged harpy as the thumb remains outside of the flight apparatus.

 

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Bat wings work nicely, but unfortunately pterosaur wings are somewhat different, as they didn't have the extra digits between the index and arm. Basically, pterosaur wings hand only one bone going out (the rest being above the wing-membrane placing) if you will - making them look quite different from, and possible more awkward with a human head, than something bat-derived.

The most aesthetically compatible look would probably be to look up some of the smaller pterosuaur species with chunker, less pointy heads and shorter necks.

I'll add that it's possible that these "pteroharpies" aren't really harpies at all, but some kind of devolved dragon derivate, much like a lot of dinosaur and other reptilian species. And Pamaltela is lousy with those.

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35 minutes ago, seneschal said:

Something like this?  Definitely not the traditional Greek model.

Are those meant to be harpies, or are they rather bat-winged erinyes?

(I know what the video title says, and how Hollywood likes to do things completely wrong.)

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43 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Are those meant to be harpies, or are they rather bat-winged erinyes?

(I know what the video title says, and how Hollywood likes to do things completely wrong.)

Interestingly Yelm (at least in the cult compendium) is served by various furies, with at least one type being winged.

It's possible Magra herself was one of these furies who was corrupted by Chaos, birthing the mortal race of harpies in her image to terrorise humanity. Their love of shiny objects being a reminder of the imperial splendour their mother once enjoyed.

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49 minutes ago, Tindalos said:

It's possible Magra herself was one of these furies who was corrupted by Chaos, birthing the mortal race of harpies in her image to terrorise humanity. Their love of shiny objects being a reminder of the imperial splendour their mother once enjoyed.

I like this take.

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

I find deities and beastfolk (chaotic or not) possessing animal bodies but human heads yet no hands to be pitiful.

Counterpoint: they possess divine wisdom and intelligence signified by their human heads. Wisdom corrupted makes them poisonous, both pitiful and like the original wormtongues. The divine don't eat food the same way mortals do.

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6 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Counterpoint: they possess divine wisdom and intelligence signified by their human heads. Wisdom corrupted makes them poisonous, both pitiful and like the original wormtongues. The divine don't eat food the same way mortals do.

If these creatures have a voice magic (Bene Gesserith style, or manifest mantra, or such), ok.

It is not about eating, but it is about natural weapons in a physical fight. The bite attack of the Manticore? Good thing it has paws and a stinger.

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46 minutes ago, Joerg said:

If these creatures have a voice magic (Bene Gesserith style, or manifest mantra, or such), ok.

It is not about eating, but it is about natural weapons in a physical fight. The bite attack of the Manticore? Good thing it has paws and a stinger.

I mean, nobody worries about how a sphinx or lamassu/the buraq fights. they're godlings or spirits or whatever.

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Aura of mass extinction and breath of world dissolution activated...

An entity with abilities like that and a physical presence is either narratively pointless (the antithesis of Chekhov's Gun), or there is a feasible way to engage it in physical combat, in which case the entity is just going to look extremely silly, making the encounter worse than a group of self-respecting barbarians losing against a one-legged duck bandit with four crossbows.

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Eh, just make the thing smaller, and make the eye beams/breath weapon something can could feasibly be blocked with a good shield. Still deadly, but manageable.

I mean, that's what I'm imagining. The above monster is basically a demigod in the context of the comic.

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On 11/7/2019 at 8:20 AM, Akhôrahil said:

It's like the owlbear - take an existing animal, and make it less dangerous.

Less dangerous than an owl? Wow, must only be able to catch teeny weeny mice and voles.

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