Bower Bog Harpies Ethnicity in Jewels of Lockhinge | World Anvil

Bower Bog Harpies

    There are many flocks of harpy residing in Greymantle Marsh that have made formidible names for themselves, but those roosting in Bower Bog easily hold the title for being the most well-known. Aside from appearing in scattered travel journals and bestiaries, most harpy clans are only known to locals, and only in the form of warnings. However, the Bower Bog harpies' claim to fame, is that they are the only documented clan of harpies to encourage contact with outsiders, and as such, this word has traveled far.


Major language groups and dialects

Unlike most harpy clans, most members are capable of at least basic speech in more than one language, instead of only one or two mambers possessing that sort of knowledge. Because of their desire to always have the upper hand in negotiations and avoid being tricked by outsider, they make an effort to understand the grammer of these languages, which are wildly different from how the harpies' own language functions. They also have the unusual habit of making sure that their young males are well-educated in these languages as well.   Nearly all Bower Bog harpies are able to carry on limited conversations in Common, with a few near fluent in the language, as well as members knowing varying amounts of Goblin, Draconic, and Orcish.

Shared customary codes and values

As in all harpy clans, the word of the matriarch (whether this be an individual or set of sisters,) is law, and the overall design of the clan must follow her whims. However, there is a shared value of innovation and personal expression within the clan, and flockmembers who are able to come up with new ideas that fit within this design are looked upon highly. The Bower Bog harpies value and reward cleverness, creativity, proactive attitudes, and clan loyalty.   Like other harpies, they strive for their clan to dominate over their competitors, but because of the enduring success they have enjoyed over generations, they now look down on clans (and visiting outsiders) who only use brute force to get what they want. In their clan, shrewd negotiators, skilled horticulturists and artists, and those proficient in the art of extortion are viewed more highly than simpler hunters and warriors.   These values extend to artwork and aesthetics that hold no other practical use--though individuals are still obligated to contribute to the flock outside of artistic pursuits as well. In the Bower Bog, one is expected to contribute both pragmatism and beauty, and those who are lacking either one or the other are both severely looked down upon.

Common Etiquette rules

Outside of their clan's generally unique system of values, they function much like any other harpy clan. Disputes between flockmembers tend to be infrequent and shortlived, not amounting to much more than petty bickering. With the emphasis on aesthetics, innovation, and personal expression, it might be assumed that the flock would be rife with competition and jealousy, but they are instead rather encouraging toward each other's efforts.   One of the things that helps keep the peace is their habit of giving small gifts (or offerings favors if they have nothing to give) when requesting something of another member, even if that request is only to discuss a possible agreement, instead of waiting for some reimbursment or thanks afterward. This expectation is extended to outsiders who wish to trade or ask something of the clan. If a visitor does not offer some sort of gift or token before even proposing the idea of an agreement, they are immediately seen as selfish and untrustworthy, or are insinuating that having a conversation with a harpy is worth nothing to them. So, when going to make contact with the Bower Bog clan, visitors are warned to expect to spend more on the exchange than the harpies do, and to suffer this sacrifice with a smile.

Common Dress code

Being naked of decoration is considered hugely embarassing in Bower Bog society, and those who don't make a clear effort to care for their appearance in some way are greatly looked down upon. To avoid offending your neighbor, flockmembers are expected to keep their feathers clean and preened, and to wear some amount of jewelry and paint or powder on the skin, even when working. Otherwise, it is seen as an insult toward those who you are interacting with and demanding time of.   Outsiders are judged similarly, with those who seem to give no thought toward their appearance as being brutish and stupid.

Art & Architecture

The entirety of Bower Bog has been altered by the creative whims of the harpies, with the lagoon island that serves as their main roost literally singing with their artistic efforts. The arbors woven throughout the island are covered with colorful decoration and musical chimes that rattle and peal in the wind.   The clan is profienct in both creating small trinkets and pieces of jewelry to adorn themselves and their surroundings with, and turning their surroundings into works of art in themselves. All throughout the territory, small decorations can be found hanging and nestled in random places, as well as constructions of stones and braided, living plantlife that may remain in place for years.


Beauty Ideals

As evidenced in the naming of their home territory, there are two driving values behind the Bower Bog harpies' particular brand of society: exercising their rights as masters of their land, and beauty. When time and effort isn't being spent on one, it is being spent on the other, which makes for a very decorated and art-focused clan.   Physical traits only contribute a little bit toward what a Bower Bog harpy finds beautiful in itself and others. Much more emphasis is placed on individual expression and demonstrations of wealth through decoration. A harpy makes statements about both themself and their personal means through the ways they decorate their body. These harpies get creative, using paints, powders, jewelry, and elements of their environment to accessorize. Typically, harpies avoid decoration that may impede movement or stealth in hunting, but as only a percentage of the Bower Bog harpies' diet is acquired through hunting, and there are some individuals who entirely focus on tasks unrelated to hunting, it is more common to see "clothed" harpies in this clan.   What each harpy finds beautiful in another is very much individual, though those who seek to put effort into their appearance are generally viewed more highly than those who don't.

Gender Ideals

As in other clans, the Bower Bog harpies encourage those precious few individuals who are born able to sire future generations to leave the flock when they reach adulthood, but the Bower Bog harpies differ in that there is some pressure for these dispersal males to retain some of the identity imparted by their birthflock.   These roaming "Moonwake" male harpies are generally considered clanless once they leave home, so that they are all viewed equally when visiting other clans during their travels. With how brutally territorial harpy culture tends to be, it would be of great detriment to the survival of the species if males were discriminated against based on their birthflock. In fact, one of the few faux pas in harpy society would be to ask a Moonwake harpy what his birthclan had been. Moonwake harpies are generally expected to shed their loyalties and cultural habits, outside of perhaps speaking privately with their peers.   This is where the Bower Bog harpies differ. They are very aware of how Moonwake harpies are expected to be, and yet they still subtly encourage the young males of their clan to always hold onto the values and tendencies imparted by their clan, even if it may be something of a danger to express around others. So, though they still must adhere to dominant harpy culture enough to avoid being shunned or culled by the clans they visit, Bower Bog males tend to be a little more outwardly prideful, forward-thinking, and concerned with physical aesthetics than their peers.
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