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Are Harpies Beast People ?


Agentorange

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In the bestiary they are listed under creatures of chaos, yet there doesn't seem tobe anything particularly chaotic about them, they certainly don't seem to have any strange chaotic abilities ( unless you count the poo.....) and they don't get a chaotic feature , highly unusual in that part of the bestiary.

the gloranthan sourcebook mentions " bird women " as one of the beast people types.

So are harpies beast people who have been tainted by chaos or chose to follow it. Or are they something completely different  that just happen to have a superficial resemblence to Beast Folk ?

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On 12/22/2022 at 5:19 PM, Agentorange said:

In the bestiary they are listed under creatures of chaos, yet there doesn't seem tobe anything particularly chaotic about them, they certainly don't seem to have any strange chaotic abilities ( unless you count the poo.....) and they don't get a chaotic feature , highly unusual in that part of the bestiary.

the gloranthan sourcebook mentions " bird women " as one of the beast people types.

So are harpies beast people who have been tainted by chaos or chose to follow it. Or are they something completely different  that just happen to have a superficial resemblence to Beast Folk ?

Seems to me the Beast Folk run to species modified to a human  posture and intelligence.  But the harpies, at least the Greek harpies, had other features too.

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
My phone's spelling scrambler.
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2 hours ago, Agentorange said:

In the bestiary they are listed under creatures of chaos, yet there doesn't seem tobe anything particularly chaotic about them, they certainly don't seem to have any strange chaotic abilities ( unless you count the poo.....) and they don't get a chaotic feature , highly unusual in that part of the bestiary.

the gloranthan sourcebook mentions " bird women " as one of the beast people types.

So are harpies beast people who have been tainted by chaos or chose to follow it. Or are they something completely different  that just happen to have a superficial resemblence to Beast Folk ?

Let me tell you about harpies.

So in the days of yore, there was a personification of storm winds and their destructiveness called "the swift robbers" or "the snatchers". They would steal food from your hand, like a gust of wind might. They would steal people and carry them to the Erinyes for judgement, or to Tartarus for torture. They were Zeus's creatures. They were the harpies, and in the Homeric period, they were young women with wings and perfect hair. They were cruel, of course, for they were associated with the Erinyes and with mighty Zeus.

But by the days of Aeschylus, they had become wingless, constantly weeping, poor dressers, and compulsive snorers. Virgil may have added the part about them shitting all over things, or them being vulture hybrids, with skinny faces and hungry eyes. Or it may have been in some other author. But in artwork, they remained winged women, the epithet of the fair-haired stayed down to the end of the Classical era.

So there are clearly at least two types of harpies, one that's ugly and disgusting and doesn't brush their teeth, and one that's beautiful and swifter than anything, with gorgeous hair. There might be a third type that's openly sexual and fetishistic. Anyways, flip a coin for which one is Chaotic.

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

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5 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Seems to me the Beadt Folk run to species modified to a human  posture and intelligence.  But the harpies, at least the Greek harpies, had other features too.

True, but these are Gloranthan harpies - whilst Glorantha obviously has some real world influences eg Centaurs, Minotaurs etc it does very much go off and do it's own thing in terms of it mythology, creation stories  and so on.
 

So...from a Gloranthan perspective what do we think ?

Edited by Agentorange
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4 hours ago, Eff said:

Let me tell you about harpies.

So in the days of yore, there was a personification of storm winds and their destructiveness called "the swift robbers" or "the snatchers". They would steal food from your hand, like a gust of wind might. They would steal people and carry them to the Erinyes for judgement, or to Tartarus for torture. They were Zeus's creatures. They were the harpies, and in the Homeric period, they were young women with wings and perfect hair. They were cruel, of course, for they were associated with the Erinyes and with mighty Zeus.

But by the days of Aeschylus, they had become wingless, constantly weeping, poor dressers, and compulsive snorers. Virgil may have added the part about them shitting all over things, or them being vulture hybrids, with skinny faces and hungry eyes. Or it may have been in some other author. But in artwork, they remained winged women, the epithet of the fair-haired stayed down to the end of the Classical era.

So there are clearly at least two types of harpies, one that's ugly and disgusting and doesn't brush their teeth, and one that's beautiful and swifter than anything, with gorgeous hair. There might be a third type that's openly sexual and fetishistic. Anyways, flip a coin for which one is Chaotic.

True, but these are Gloranthan harpies - whilst Glorantha obviously has some real world influences eg Centaurs, Minotaurs etc it does very much go off and do it's own thing in terms of it mythology, creation stories  and so on.
 

So...from a Gloranthan perspective what do we think ?

Edited by Agentorange
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1 hour ago, svensson said:

Harpies, being creatures of Chaos, are no more 'Beast People' than Broo are, whereas Minotaurs, Manticores, and others are.

Sorry, thats me not being overly clear in what I wanted to say. The bestiary tells us that Broos were once just another race related to the beast people. so I wondered if harpies in terms of their origin were once Beast People ( given the whole " bird women" reference ) or whether they had another origin, perhaps Metcalphs suggestion further up the thread.

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11 hours ago, Agentorange said:

So are harpies beast people who have been tainted by chaos or chose to follow it. Or are they something completely different  that just happen to have a superficial resemblence to Beast Folk ?

Quote

Magra is the ancestress of the harpies. Little is known of them or their mythology, but she is thought to have originated among the Beast Peoples. She followed evil deities, and was killed by some right-thinking hero before the Dawn. Harpies are rare, surviving in places such as mountains and the Wastes, but Dorastor has been a haven for them since its reawakening in the Second Age.

Lords of Terror (1994)

 

Edited by David Scott
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6 hours ago, Agentorange said:

True, but these are Gloranthan harpies - whilst Glorantha obviously has some real world influences eg Centaurs, Minotaurs etc it does very much go off and do it's own thing in terms of it mythology, creation stories  and so on.
 

So...from a Gloranthan perspective what do we think ?

This is a meaningless question. Glorantha is an invention, and the act of interpreting Glorantha is the act of changing and creating Glorantha. So there is no "Gloranthan perspective" which we can ferret out to discern the truth about harpies. 

And the fact that they are called harpies, rather than an invented name like grotaron or wind child or jack-o-bear or walktapus, tells us that they are in continuity with the entity from our orthocosmic world. It is part of the basic process of understanding Glorantha to read "harpy" and think "harpy". So we can take what we know about harpies and apply it to Gloranthan ones and see if there's anything which shakes loose creatively from doing so. 

And if we want to say that these harpies are devoid of connections to the real-world ones, well, that's silly. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

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8 hours ago, metcalph said:

I think Harpies are no more Beast People than Wind Children are.  IMO Harpies are Wind Children thta have become corrupted by Chaos.

The Greek understand of them was that they personified the storm winds, so I think we're on track here. There were beautiful harpies in early texts but later they uniformly became understood to be ugly later, which also tracks.

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4 hours ago, Eff said:

... 

And if we want to say that these harpies are devoid of connections to the real-world ones, well, that's silly. 

There is a reasonably-broad gulf between "devoid of connections to..." and "entirely-and-only based upon..." the real-world namesakes.
That I recall off the top of my head:

  • Gloranthan High Llama, Bison, & Baboon are based roughly upon creatures from the fossil record, not upon extant species.  They also, IIRC, have some "only in Glorantha" elements to them.
  • Sable antelope are IIRC a larger species than exists, nor are they attested in the fossil record.
  • "Uz" are essentially unique to Glorantha, and although folkloric "trolls" are often large & strong (and usually dangerous to humans) that isn't always the case.
  • Ducks are a single species which seems to encompass all species of real-world ducks (plus a bit of anthropomorphizing, of course)
  • Humans themselves comprise a huge variety, including ethnicities outside the human norm & various wholly-separate origins.

I think it's  entirely  reasonable to ask about a specifically-Gloranthan version of a Harpy.

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On 12/22/2022 at 11:19 PM, Agentorange said:

So are harpies beast people who have been tainted by chaos or chose to follow it. Or are they something completely different  that just happen to have a superficial resemblence to Beast Folk ?

They are Chaotic Beast Folk, in a similar way to Broo.

 

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On 12/23/2022 at 12:48 PM, Eff said:

This is a meaningless question. Glorantha is an invention, and the act of interpreting Glorantha is the act of changing and creating Glorantha. So there is no "Gloranthan perspective" which we can ferret out to discern the truth about harpies. 

And the fact that they are called harpies, rather than an invented name like grotaron or wind child or jack-o-bear or walktapus, tells us that they are in continuity with the entity from our orthocosmic world. It is part of the basic process of understanding Glorantha to read "harpy" and think "harpy". So we can take what we know about harpies and apply it to Gloranthan ones and see if there's anything which shakes loose creatively from doing so. 

And if we want to say that these harpies are devoid of connections to the real-world ones, well, that's silly. 

I'm going to disagree with you a bit there. although Glorantha does undoubtedly nick stuff from real world mythology: Harpies, Manticores, Minotaurs and so on. it does very much then go off in a completey different direction in how it handles them. for example in our world the Minotaur was a the offspring of Pasiphae ( cursed by Poseidon ) and a divine bull. In Glorantha they have several possible origins - one of which  is experimentation by the EWF. But since there is no Poseidon or Pasiphae in Glorantha then that option isn't there.

I'd argue that there most certainly is a Gloranthan perspective. As you say Glorantha is an invention. Greg Stafford started inventing it and others followed. But across the years  there has been enough material published or produced some of it the 'official' or 'semi official' versions of Glorantha that it's grown it's own body of myths, legends , stories and so on. certainly if you want to write supplements for Glorantha you have to take some of it as 'fact'

Which leads me neatly back to Harpies. What I wanted to know was there an official of semi official explanation for harpies in Glorantha ?

And the answer was: Yes ( as pointed out by David Scott )

"Magra is the ancestress of the harpies. Little is known of them or their mythology, but she is thought to have originated among the Beast Peoples. She followed evil deities, and was killed by some right-thinking hero before the Dawn. Harpies are rare, surviving in places such as mountains and the Wastes, but Dorastor has been a haven for them since its reawakening in the Second Age."

Which came from an official publication, and which I as I've stated I should have remembered as I own said supplement. So I think there most certainly is a Gloranthan perspective or explanation.

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4 minutes ago, Agentorange said:

"Magra is the ancestress of the harpies. Little is known of them or their mythology, but she is thought to have originated among the Beast Peoples. She followed evil deities, and was killed by some right-thinking hero before the Dawn. Harpies are rare, surviving in places such as mountains and the Wastes, but Dorastor has been a haven for them since its reawakening in the Second Age."

Which came from an official publication, and which I as I've stated I should have remembered as I own said supplement. 

The trouble with the "official publication" line is that it's Lords of Terror and like Sidana and others therein, the mythlet isn't really all that compelling - it's just a name with vague waffle attached.  "Little is known", "thought to have originated", "some right-thinking hero".

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53 minutes ago, metcalph said:

The trouble with the "official publication" line is that it's Lords of Terror and like Sidana and others therein, the mythlet isn't really all that compelling - it's just a name with vague waffle attached.  "Little is known", "thought to have originated", "some right-thinking hero".

True enough, plenty of room for expansion and invention. I was simply pointing out that there is ( imo ) a Gloranthan perspective - albeit a rather short and not particularly informative one 😄

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On 12/22/2022 at 4:19 PM, Agentorange said:

In the bestiary they are listed under creatures of chaos, yet there doesn't seem tobe anything particularly chaotic about them, they certainly don't seem to have any strange chaotic abilities ( unless you count the poo.....) and they don't get a chaotic feature , highly unusual in that part of the bestiary.

the gloranthan sourcebook mentions " bird women " as one of the beast people types.

So are harpies beast people who have been tainted by chaos or chose to follow it. Or are they something completely different  that just happen to have a superficial resemblence to Beast Folk ?

Good question. The harpies spread disease, are consistently lumped with the creatures of Chaos, and certainly associate with Chaos in Dorastor. But they do not have Chaos features.

So what is their origin? The answer is that Gloranthan scholars don't know. The Wind Children resolutely reject the idea that they are kin. Harpies are recorded in Second Age and earlier documents, which means they don't have a connection with the Beast Folk of Dragon Pass. One scholar suggested that they a Beast Folk ancestress and even hypothesised an ancestral goddess (Magra) but this was a scholarly artifice. 

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