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The Art of Being a Monster: Harpy

After discussing the format with a few other people, I am going to slim down the monster posts to fit more in line with my original inspiration of the ‘Intelligent Overlord’ list. Instead of doing 20 paragraph sized entries, I’ll do 20 bite sized sentences. This will force me to condense my thoughts down into concise points and make the writing easier.

This section will go out to all those creatures, the clever and wise, who set their magical abilities and fierce-some physiques to ambushing humans. Whether it is for power, lust, gold, or flesh, the monsters guided herein will find their strategies bolstered: harpies, lamias, hags, sirens, medusa, and others.
When it comes to your greatest foes, adventurers, it is imperative that you prepare well for combat. Keep the terrain in mind where possible, preferring environs that offer good mobility and concealment, and disengaging when it is disadvantageous. Lock down any threats while staying concealed, moving, and covered. Utilize enchanted enemies as cover and protection, always assuming they could break free at the worst moment. Engage enemy flanks directly and dispose of them quickly with magic, fang, or claw. Hunt down any remaining enemies from strategic ambushes. Always keep terrain in your favor and retreat under a barrage of covering fire of enchantments and ranged weapons.
F: Against well armed melee combatants, stay out of reach. Keep hidden and protected while slinging mind controlling enchantments or other debilitating magics their way. Use those spells to disable them or turn them on your enemies. If those things fail and you have no backup traps or minions, retreat.
T: Skulking thieves will be a good match for the mobility and stealth tactics you will attempt. These enemies will be the first to spot you. Keep an eye on the thief, but save your magic and traps until having dealt with the fighter. If they become troublesome or the other threats are pacified, take out the thief directly.
R: Under the direct fire of a ranged enemy, your tactics can easily be spoiled. Keep moving and put cover between you and this enemy. Particularly clever or powerful rangers may warrant some return fire of your magic or tricks. Using minions, enchanted foes, and cover you should be able to diffuse the ranger’s combat prowess.
W: As an agile, magic-resistant creature, a wizard’s spells will be hard pressed to win them any advantage against you. However, they may be able to free others from your spells and will resist your own magic more effectively. Maneuver around the wizard’s allies to engage them directly if they show signs of being a nuisance. If they are too well defended to engage, force them to waste spells and resources fighting you by staying behind cover and repeatedly slinging weak enchantments at their allies. Wizards make a fine target for your minions or enchanted adventurers.
Avoiding One’s Own Siren Song
With the goal to live long, eat delicious flesh, and savor in the suffering and dominance of humans, only a fool would ignore the advice recorded below. Easy victories and pride have led to the most brutal deaths of your kind. This is twice the insult to your dominance as these demises are so easily averted.
  • I will not keep live captives for any longer than absolutely necessary.
  • I will not linger in my hunting patterns or get too comfortable and predictable in my style.
  • Wherever I take up residence, I will note other monsters and possible monsters that live or could live nearby. Where possible, I will ally or maintain neutrality with those creatures. Those that will not ally will be destroyed. If I cannot destroy them, I will move.
  • My prey’s relatives can hold grudges. I will not taunt family members or give them reason to mount a rescue.
  • Any creatures I ally with or keep as pets will never be put in a position to usurp my power nor trusted to keep my plans secret.
  • If something precious to me is taken, never will I rush to regain it. Calm, level-headed thinking is necessary to retrieve what I want without risking ambush or losing what I seek.
  • I will make sure to discover other creatures and human hunters of similar dispositions as me to build a network of defensive alliances.

  • Mirrors and reflections have turned many a spell on their owner. I will take great care with where I target my magic, and I will make sure to have a way to save myself from its effects.
  • Curses and magical compulsion can be useful in getting what I want but I will not use them as my standard way of interacting with others. I will make clear my goals and reasons for any curse I use.
  • Any prophecy I hear will be granted no greater weight than the careful predictions I make of my enemies and environment based of observation.

  • I will disguise many of my victims as having died of natural causes to dissuade monster hunters and adventurers seeking me out.
  • If I must take up residence in ancient or historical ruins, I will absolutely research their histories and keep aware of those who may want to explore the ruins.
  • No matter the temptation, if I want to torture humans or watch them frantically try to escape I will instead capture lesser animals. Lesser animals cannot escape and return with vengeance.
  • When larger and more powerful creatures begin claim my territory or move in, I will not get territorial. I will take the opportunity to gather my things and move to less dangerous territory: whether from the monster or the increased attention they will bring.
  • If I manage to convince, enchant, or compel a stronger creature to fight for me, I will make every effort to make the results beneficial to the both of us. An angry bodyguard may turn on me after devouring my weaker enemies.

  • Magic is mysterious. I will assume that any enchanted or controlled creature could break free of my spell at the worst possible moment. I will have backup plans.
  • I will cultivate tales of my vanity, allowing my enemies the false confidence of appealing to or insulting a false image of my vain behavior. This also serves as a tragic backstory in order to be spared if worst comes to worst.

  • While delicious, I will never harm nor hurt children. Humans take particular affront when harm comes to children, but most couldn’t care less if I tortured an entire regiment of soldiers or the poor.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, I will not trick, goad, or insult my enemies, especially adventurers. Those haughty adventurers like nothing less than being misled and lied to.
  • I will never get arrogant about my accomplishments or if I will succeed. If I am that certain of my plans and abilities, I will take a step back to reanalyze what I think I know.

By modifying your hunting patterns, you will become a legendary predator. Few will know your name and even fewer will know what you can do. May your prey be delicious and may you never end up as a pelt on someone’s wall.

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