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Shady Knight
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PostSubject: Corvid Harpies   Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:38 am

I mentioned in my revision of harpies the idea of harpies based on crows, so why not try and make them an official thing.  I think the idea has been pitched once or twice in the past, so third time's the charm, right?


A species of harpies whose avian traits resemble those of corvids, most notably crows and ravens.  They are easily identifiable by their jet black feathers and dark-colored hair, and sometimes pale complexion.  Their size very quite a bit, with larger breeds being referred to as ravens, and smaller ones as crows.  Compared to their more raptor-like cousins, corvids are neither very strong, nor outstanding in flight.  However, they are among the most clever and intelligent harpies.  Corvids possess an excellent memory and a sharp mind, able to learn and reason very quickly.  Their eloquent manner of speech can make almost anything they say sound convincing, and being highly perceptive, are not easily fooled themselves.  Many of them possess the ability to make and use very rudimentary tools, a rare trait among harpies.

Corvids are very arrogant among harpies, said to rival even the most smug of elves.  They believe their intelligence puts them above their cousins, seeing them as packs of dim-witted fools.  As such, corvids have a reputation of being manipulative and treacherous.  Indeed, corvids are very competent schemers and highly opportunistic.  They generally avoid getting directly involved in conflicts, preferring to sit in the sidelines and let both sides do all the work for them before reaping the rewards with little effort.  Many believe corvids are chronic liars and any deal with them will end in an inevitable betrayal once the opportunity presents itself, though this is largely unfounded.  Corvids generally scoff at conventions, and while their methods and actions might say otherwise, they can prove to be trustworthy, though you generally can't shake the feeling they are looking down on you with their boundless swagger.

Corvids are omnivores and don't care what they eat, be it fruit or a live human, so long it's edible and convenient to grab at the moment.  Contrary to popular belief, they do not eat carrion and find the idea of eating decaying carcasses disgusting, unless they are desperate and have no other choice.  Corvids like to hunt in groups, aptly called murders, and use their numbers to kill large preys, or sow confusion as they raid crops.  When confronted with especially large prey, they prefer to let something else kill or weaken it, and then salvage as much from whatever is left.  It is said that corvids speak a special language when they wish to address one another without anyone else to knowing what they're talking about.

Corvids have the compulsion to steal whatever unattended object they come across.  They are especially attracted to shiny things, which earned them the enmity of golden harpies.  Unlike golden harpies, corvids very rarely enjoy wearing accessories, seeing no use in making one's appearance opulent.  Rather, they prefer to hoard whatever valuable they find and use them to lure prey, often greedy humans, or to impress their sisters.

There are rumors that corvids are excellent magic users among harpies thanks to their great intelligence. However, such claims are unsubstantiated.



Thoughts?  There are some things I'm not too sure would work, like big and smaller varieties, but I guess that's where you come in.
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:08 am

I like the idea; it makes sense to have different varieties of harpy based on different bird types (perhaps some of the tiny harpies might be hummingbird harpies?). I think you hit on just about all the important corvid traits, though I have a few suggestions:
- Bump up both corvid and general harpy tool usage; even the dim-witted raptor harpies can speak and are sentient. While they don't have hands, it doesn't make sense that tool usage would be particularly rare among harpies. That said, it does make sense that corvid harpies would be significantly better at it than their raptor cousins; perhaps they make more complex tools, enough so that they often carry around and use the same tools for a long time instead of just making crude versions from what's handy.
- Is the corvid special language common to all corvids, or does each murder have their own dialect/language? For real corvids, the latter is generally true. EDIT: I just realized that this would run afoul of the Felarya-wide language comprehension enchantment. Would this/these corvid languages be among those few that are magically shielded from comprehension?
- I'd improve the "corvids are better magic users than normal harpies" up from "unsubstantiated" to "anecdotal." For several forms of magic, intelligence is definitely a factor, and even if they have the same level of raw magical ability, I could easily see corvid harpies being more skilled with what they have.

On a related note: given the general use of corvids as ill omens, going back all the way to Phobos and Deimos (who actively sowed fear/terror), would it make thematic sense to have wrath maidens be a particularly large subspecies of corvid harpy?
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:14 am

Thanks for the feedback.

The way I personally see harpies, they don't see much use in making tools, preferring to rely on their eyesight and strength when hunting. I personally don't know what kind of tools crows make or what use crow harpies would have for them in an environment practically untouched by human presence, but I included it since it's a prominent trait among corvids.

I think their language would be like a bunch of code words, like they say something that sounds completely random, but mean something else entirely to those who are in the know. The rule of thumb with language thing is that it translates literally. If someone says an idiom or a figure of speech, or someone recites a poem, you just hear it as is, it doesn't impart insight on the meaning behind the idiom or the symbolism in the poem. It's like learning a new language in real life, you don't automatically know what idiom means unless you research into it yourself.

Anecdotal and unsubstantiated are more or less the same thing in that context. They both mean that it's largely unproven, especially since word of mouth alone in general isn't very trustworthy.
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:15 am

Shady Knight wrote:
Thanks for the feedback.

The way I personally see harpies, they don't see much use in making tools, preferring to rely on their eyesight and strength when hunting.  I personally don't know what kind of tools crows make or what use crow harpies would have for them in an environment practically untouched by human presence, but I included it since it's a prominent trait among corvids.

I think their language would be like a bunch of code words, like they say something that sounds completely random, but mean something else entirely to those who are in the know.  The rule of thumb with language thing is that it translates literally.  If someone says an idiom or a figure of speech, or someone recites a poem, you just hear it as is, it doesn't impart insight on the meaning behind the idiom or the symbolism in the poem.  It's like learning a new language in real life, you don't automatically know what idiom means unless you research into it yourself.

Anecdotal and unsubstantiated are more or less the same thing in that context.  They both mean that it's largely unproven, especially since word of mouth alone in general isn't very trustworthy.
Surely they must have a way on how to greet prey...
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:08 am

No, they don't.
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:47 pm

Shady Knight wrote:
I mentioned in my revision of harpies the idea of harpies based on crows, so why not try and make them an official thing.  I think the idea has been pitched once or twice in the past, so third time's the charm, right?


A species of harpies whose avian traits resemble those of corvids, most notably crows and ravens.  They are easily identifiable by their jet black feathers and dark-colored hair, and sometimes pale complexion.  Their size very quite a bit, with larger breeds being referred to as ravens, and smaller ones as crows.  Compared to their more raptor-like cousins, corvids are neither very strong, nor outstanding in flight.  However, they are among the most clever and intelligent harpies.  Corvids possess an excellent memory and a sharp mind, able to learn and reason very quickly.  Their eloquent manner of speech can make almost anything they say sound convincing, and being highly perceptive, are not easily fooled themselves.  Many of them possess the ability to make and use very rudimentary tools, a rare trait among harpies.

Corvids are very arrogant among harpies, said to rival even the most smug of elves.  They believe their intelligence puts them above their cousins, seeing them as packs of dim-witted fools.  As such, corvids have a reputation of being manipulative and treacherous.  Indeed, corvids are very competent schemers and highly opportunistic.  They generally avoid getting directly involved in conflicts, preferring to sit in the sidelines and let both sides do all the work for them before reaping the rewards with little effort.  Many believe corvids are chronic liars and any deal with them will end in an inevitable betrayal once the opportunity presents itself, though this is largely unfounded.  Corvids generally scoff at conventions, and while their methods and actions might say otherwise, they can prove to be trustworthy, though you generally can't shake the feeling they are looking down on you with their boundless swagger.

Corvids are omnivores and don't care what they eat, be it fruit or a live human, so long it's edible and convenient to grab at the moment.  Contrary to popular belief, they do not eat carrion and find the idea of eating decaying carcasses disgusting, unless they are desperate and have no other choice.  Corvids like to hunt in groups, aptly called murders, and use their numbers to kill large preys, or sow confusion as they raid crops.  When confronted with especially large prey, they prefer to let something else kill or weaken it, and then salvage as much from whatever is left.  It is said that corvids speak a special language when they wish to address one another without anyone else to knowing what they're talking about.

Corvids have the compulsion to steal whatever unattended object they come across.  They are especially attracted to shiny things, which earned them the enmity of golden harpies.  Unlike golden harpies, corvids very rarely enjoy wearing accessories, seeing no use in making one's appearance opulent.  Rather, they prefer to hoard whatever valuable they find and use them to lure prey, often greedy humans, or to impress their sisters.

There are rumors that corvids are excellent magic users among harpies thanks to their great intelligence.  However, such claims are unsubstantiated.



Thoughts?  There are some things I'm not too sure would work, like big and smaller varieties, but I guess that's where you come in.

As a former talker to crows and all time lover of them I have I LOOOOVE this idea!! I have to say though I was skeptical this article could really add to the over-full category of harpies but I was wrong! They are diverse, unique and interesting. I love the arrogance factor and the magpie-madness of shiny theft, especially how it angers golden harpies and lures humans to their doom. Laughing Very witty that! As much as they are inteteresting in giant form I'd like to make a human sized one. Maybe one with a thing for fedoras and a sort of ganster look who works for the Cremona Maze? XD I could see a whole gang of them as either a gag or serious threat in Negav. After all what's a better get away plan than aerial vacation? Lmao I'm tempted to try my hand at drawing it sometime. Rather good race idea, Shady!
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:40 pm

Thanks, glad you liked them. Their size is where I'm the most torn and it's part of the reason why I'm using the broad word of corvid for now. On the one hand, I agree that making them small makes a lot of sense. Being smaller give more credence to them being weaker than most harpy species and tricking the giant ones into doing all the muscle work for them, and a relationship with humans, if you can even call it that given the crows' attitude, would be interesting. But on the other hand, aside from using shiny things to lure prey, making them giant also allows them to talk to standard giant harpies face to face, and it could have its own funny dynamic where the standard harpies really want to kick them in the face because they are smug pricks, but can't because there's a good reason why they're so smug. So for the time being, I allude to the possibility of both sizes existing and sticking to corvid instead of raven, just in case both sizes manage to be accepted.
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:30 pm

Given that we've already got harpies ranging in size from hummingbird to close to fifty meters tall, I think that just about any size of corvid harpy can be found.

It looks like my other suggestion got lost in the text; what do people think about wrath maidens being corvid harpies? Like I said, I think it makes thematic sense, and the noted tendency of wrath maidens to like causing chaos seems to fit in with the generally smug and manipulative personalities of most corvid harpies.
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:42 pm

I did not have any input in the creation of Wrath Maidens, so I can't really make them a species of corvids on a whim.  Besides that, it's pretty obvious that all the chaos and discord wrath maidens create is supernatural in nature, like they are projecting an aura of wrath and chaos, which is not an ability I would like corvids to have.


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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:11 pm

Shady Knight wrote:
I did not have any input in the creation of Wrath Maidens, so I can't really make them a species of corvids on a whim.  Besides that, it's pretty obvious that all the chaos and discord wrath maidens create is supernatural in nature, like they are projecting an aura of wrath and chaos, which is not something an ability I would like corvids to have.

Plus we can have two species with simular abilities. Look at Volcanic Nagas and Fire Nagas. They are very closely related but still seperate. Also Wrath Maidens have a feature no crow has: red streaks in the wings....at least they did when last I looked.
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PostSubject: Re: Corvid Harpies   Fri Aug 28, 2015 4:17 pm

Shady Knight wrote:
Besides that, it's pretty obvious that all the chaos and discord wrath maidens create is supernatural in nature, like they are projecting an aura of wrath and chaos, which is not an ability I would like corvids to have.

I wasn't suggesting that all corvids would have that ability, only wrath maidens as a subset of corvids. I just think it would make more sense for wrath maidens to be corvid harpies than, say, raptor harpies; raptor harpies generally strike me as more direct than corvid harpies or wrath maidens are.
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