Who are the Harpers?


credit: Dungeons and Dragons

With Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves on its way to theaters in 2023, there are a lot of aspects of the movie that people might want to know more about to avoid mass confusion when trying to follow the story. It’s fair to think that the movie might add enough contemporary elements to make this interesting, but there are elements of the game that already appear to be present in the movie that a lot of people might not fully understand. From the monsters to the magic to the different beings that exist in the Forgotten Realms stories, the Harpers are one faction among many that are kind of troublesome but are meant to be the good guys, no matter that they have kind of a spotty history. The reason for their existence, however, was to keep the many lands of Faerun as free as possible and to help people wherever they could while doing their own thing now and then. The Harpers are, more or less, a semi-private group of adventurers in the D&D world that don’t often go bragging about who they are but are capable of acting as spies, informants, and, when necessary, warriors. 

credit: Dungeons and Dragons

The desire to do good is one of the most telling qualities of a Harper. 

There are a lot of different alignments in Dungeons and Dragons, and a lot of players would attest to the fact that one can shift from one to the other depending on their given mood. But the Harpers tend to be individuals that are out to do the most good possible, for the surrounding lands and the people or for whoever they feel the need to help. Their activities have often brought them into conflict with local governments and, of course, many evil-aligned characters, but their default mode is to do the maximum amount of good in the quest to protect people’s freedoms and make certain that the people are allowed to live as they wish. This might make them sound like idealists, but the truth is that they don’t generally act unless governments appear to be out of whack in one way or another. They’re not crusaders. In fact, they’re more like a ragtag Mission: Impossible crew set in medieval times. 

There aren’t many limitations on what race a Harper can be. 

The Harpers consist primarily of those who are of human and elvish blood, including half-elves, but there are other races that have joined the ranks, such as dwarves and other creatures who are sentient and want to share their values. Demons and their like aren’t bound to join the ranks for obvious reasons as they’re not exactly into doing good deeds, though it’s not beyond a tiefling, an individual that shares devilish ancestry, to take up with the Harpers, since such beings are known to serve good causes from time to time. Pretty much any race could join the Harpers so long as they’re willing to follow their guidelines and help others when they’re in need. 

credit: Dungeons and Dragons

Every Harper can be identified by the pin they wear somewhere on their body. 

The silver harp surrounded by the crescent moon has been the symbol of the Harpers for a long time now in the books, and from various images, it does appear that they’ll be making an appearance in the upcoming movie, which is interesting to see. However, they don’t tend to wear these identifying pins where people can see them plainly, since being a clandestine group, they need to keep their full identities as hidden as possible at times. Groups such as the Cult of the Dragon, the Zhentarim, and many others that don’t tend to like the Harpers and what they stand for have been responsible for many Harper deaths in the past. Being able to operate anonymously is an important part of being a Harper since, in order to do good, they work in the shadows and sometimes in plain sight depending upon the mission at hand. Usually, a pin will be worn on an inner garment. Somewhere it can be easily revealed if the need arises. 

It’s not a perfect organization since they have been infiltrated and even sent into hiding before. 

There have been double agents within the Harper organization, and there have been ideological differences within the group from time to time. Considering this group has employed everyone from bards to wizards, it’s not hard to determine that ego can be an issue from time to time. But there’s also the fact that they’ve been nearly gutted in the past by traitors in their midst, as the spy game is one that can be turned back on just about anyone if a person knows how. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Harpers are utilized in the movie. 

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