I started a new campaign Monday night.

I started a new campaign Monday night.

I started a new campaign Monday night.  I went in with the idea of a harpy attack on a PC family dinner which included all the PCs.   I chose this due to a cool harpy image I saw, and feeling that endangering someone’s family would be a cool start.  We ended the session mid fight, since it was late.

My dilemma is… I don’t know the harpies’ motivation yet, and they have felt too passive so far, partially because a PC rolled a 3 when discerning reality and the unwelcome truth was seeing  eight more harpies lurking in the trees watching.


The character chosen for this family meal is Sauran.  Or one of the lizardfolk.  He has 18-20 family members present, 11 of them kids, only 3 are “combat ready”  The dinner is taking place at the families heritage tree, which is where the family lays it’s eggs. (makes lizardfolk babies)

One of these family members is hated by the druid for summoning up a pack of unnatural demons to devour a competitor earlier that day.  The druid is looking for a way to kill that family member, without alienating the family.

The attack started at the other side of this huge tree, 2 harpies made an unnatural noise that felt like lave inside your brain, and then attacked two “helpless” aunts that were up in the tree,  preparing “ritual dishes and deserts” while everyone else was seated to eat at long tables on the ground. 

The action broke up into two sides very quickly.

on the table side of the tree.

The druid took an owl shape and is investigating the harpes above the family.   most of them are ignoring him as an animal, although the druid just attacked a harpy… so this could change. 

The thief is hiding under a  table by a child(that is still trying to eat dinner).  The thief is ready to pounce on any harpy that attacks the child.

Most of the family is running around confused.  two of them got out some javelins, but don’t seem to know what to do with them.

The harpies so far have been patiently watching.  (why?)

on the far side of the tree:

 both aunts ripped to pieces while still up in the tree.

The gladiator (the lizardfolk player)  the cleric and one brother have killed one of the harpies, and are in battle with the second one.


So why did the harpies want the sauren aunts to bleed on the heritage tree?

Why are most of the harpies just watching?  How do I teach the druid that an barn owl is no match for a pack of harpies, and do that lesson in a fun way that allows me to be a fan of the druid?

Should I just ask the players to answer these questions to start out?  or do any of you have cool ideas?   


5 thoughts on “I started a new campaign Monday night.”

  1. A barn owl isnt a match for a pack of Harpies…

    But a druid might be.

    My advice is to not decide that X cant do Y, but to show some of the inherent flaws in his choice of an owl without penalising him for doing so.

    “Your wingspan isn’t nearly as big as the Harpy and while the one behind you is keeping pace, two more are flanking you at a speed you could never hope to acheive. What are you going to do?”

    Would be a nice one, I think. It Highlights a Flaw ™ but doesnt instantly penalise a character by dint of his choices unless he makes a move and buggers it up.

  2. You should absolutely all your players. Change your questions though. Instead of why do the harpies want to blood on the tree, ask why don’t the PCs want it on the tree. Will it raise a demon, make the tree no longer suitable for a nest? Etc. You can always make the players decide. All you need to know is what the harpies want: to spill blood on the tree.

    It shouldn’t really be an issue unless the harpies are successful in their attempt to spill the blood.

    The other harpies are waiting for the blood to be spoiled, due to whatever effect the blood will have on the tree.

    You could always have the owl get chased away by the harpies or trapped by them in a tree, giving the druid a chance to save the owl but making it clear how in danger the owl is without outright attacking it.

    Just some ideas to kick around.

  3. For the druid: if he takes a solid hit cut to a flashback of him learning to transform and his master laying out the strengths of different forms and perhaps lecturing him on his habit of always going to the barn owl.

    The harpies who are watching are old matrons who are watching a coming of age ceremony for the younger harpies. One of the young harpies is the daughter of the flocks queen. If she is defeated but survives she will hold a grudge against the party and if she does not survive her mom will be out for revenge. Blooding the tree is just the harpies first task. They need to bring back dinner for the flock.

  4. Rebel Wulf  this is the first shape this player has ever taken.  I know a druid is a match for these things, but I have to teach the player that.  I want to make if fun, rewarding, and dangerous.   Your advise sparked this:


    Druid.   You dive bombed one of the eight harpies silent and deadly… or at least deadly to a fox or coyote.   You strike the human sized harpy with your razor sharp claws and scratch bloody groves into her wings.  A moment later, she leaps off the tree branch to plummet after you.  She is larger, just as fast, and has much bigger talons then you do.   What do you do before she catches up with you?

    Andy Buell I love the idea of turning the question around.  asking what do you fear they are doing, instead of what are they doing is a great change for me.

    Quinn Conklin   I have never done a flashback in an RPG before.  How intriguing.    It’s actually on my list of “things to ask in a dull moment” how the druid became a druid, if it was trained into him, or simply a part of his nature.

  5. The local predators have been convinced that the Sauran family are invincible.  Their blood, if it makes it to the ground, will mean eternal struggle against them.  The harpies share prey with them, and are causing trouble to expand their hunting grounds.

    The Harpies want it (blood) because it has an inherent value, significantly extending the shelf life of magical and alchemical potions if mixed properly.  The older foes, busy cooking, are easier targets to harvest from.  The alchemically inclined harpies are waiting for the warrior-types to finish so that they can get to work.

    In Harpy culture if you haven’t fought, defeated, and slain an intelligent foe by your tenth year the pack descends on you and rips you to shreds.  This is a joint trial of adulthood for a few of the creatures.

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