War Priestesses of Stymphalia (D&D 5E Bonus Content for ‘In the Footsteps of Hercules’)

Michael O. Varhola

Following are D&D 5E stats for three somewhat creepy priestesses who live on a gloomy island on a reed-choked lake upon which there is a shrine devoted to a particuarly strange aspect of the war god Ares, a place described in Skirmisher Publishing’s “In the Footsteps of Hercules” universal sourcebook. These priestesses might be encountered by characters who visit this island or, under certain circumstances, if they just happen to be travelling through the area in which they live. These priestesses and the place they are all located with Skirmisher’s Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting but are suitable for any traditional RPG milieu. 


Harpy Acolyte
Three Harpy priestesses — Aellopa, Okypeta, and Podarga — serve as custodians for the Sanctuary of Ares Stymplhaos and greet visitors, accept any offerings they bring, and give them tours of the site. They will also conduct nighttime ceremonies for those who wish to have their weapons consecrated in the name of Ares Stymphalos.

In the presence of outsiders, the priestesses always dress in dark, bulky ceremonial robes and adopt a slow, march-like walk, measures intended to disguise the fact that they are not Human. All are skilled warriors trained in the use of many weapons but who especially favor longbows and shortswords, weapons that they openly carry on their persons (in addition to the light armor they wear beneath their robes).

These priestesses are sustained by sacrificial offerings brought to the shrine, which are frequently adequate, particularly during the late spring, summer, and early fall. When necessary, they supplement this with animals they hunt in the surrounding woodlands and even, being carrion eaters, fish that wash up on the shores of their island or people that drown in the lake if they can retrieve them without being seen. And, a few times a year — especially in the winter when visitors and game are scarce — they will surreptitiously attempt to use their supernatural singing to lure lone travelers or peasants to their deaths in the waters of the lake or pools of quicksand around it. 

Harpy Acolyte (Divine Domain: War)
Medium monstrosity (Harpy), lawful evil
Armor Class: 15 (studded leather armor)
Hit Points: 65 (10d8+20)
Speed: 20 ft., fly 40 ft.
STR             DEX             CON             INT               WIS              CHA
15 (+2)         16 (+3)         15 (+2)         7 (-2)           12 (+1)         10 (+0)
Saving Throws: Str +4, Con +4, Wis +3
Skills: Acrobatics +5, Insight +3, Intimidation +2, Perception +3, Religion +0
Senses: Passive Perception 13
Languages: Common (Greek)
Challenge: 4 (1,100 XP)
Multiattack. A Harpy Acolyte makes two attacks, using any combination of its claws and weapons that it deems appropriate.
Archer. A Harpy Acolyte gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls she makes with ranged weapons (reflected in the stat block below).
Second Wind (1/ short or long rest). A Harpy Acolyte has a limited well of stamina that she can draw on to protect herself from harm. On her turn, she can use a bonus action to regain 6 hit points (1d10+1).
War Priestess (1/long rest). Artemis and Ares deliver bolts of inspiration to the Harpy Acolyte while she is engaged in battle. When she uses the Attack action, she can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.
Channel Divinity (1/short or long rest; Guided Strike). A Harpy Acolyte can use her Channel Divinity to strike with supernatural accuracy. When she makes an attack roll, she can use her Channel Divinity to gain a +10 bonus to the roll. She makes this choice after she sees the roll, but before the storyteller says whether the attack hits or misses.
Spellcasting. A Harpy Acolyte is a 2nd-level divine spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11, +3 to hit with spell attacks). She has the following Cleric spells prepared:
          Cantrips (at will): Resistance, Thaumaturgy, True Strike
          1st-level spells (3 slots): Cure Wounds, Guiding Bolt, Sanctuary, Shield of Faith
Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) piercing damage.
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage.
Shortsword (offhand). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d6) piercing damage.