Huge predatory birds with the faces of women and the talons of eagles, used by the gods to punish or torment humans. Their name derives from the Greek harpyiai, meaning 'snatchers', which indicates their practise of swooping upon a victim and snatching him or her away. In one such exploit they snatched the daughters of Pandareus, who had stolen a golden dog from Olympus, and carried them off to be servants in hell.
Apparently there are two types of harpy. One consists of wind spirits, with such names as Swiftfoot, Stormwind and Swiftwing. They are ruthless personifications of the wind, but not nearly as unpleasant as the other type. These, with such names as Dar, are violently antagonistic to humans.
The harsch semi-human screams of a harpy as it swoops upon its prey, the thunder of its wings and the foul stench of its unpreened feathers, are signals that it is executing a sentence of the gods from which there are no escape.