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Merfolk
Merpeople
Marissa and Ridley escape human notice...
Information
Alternate Names/Spellings
Origins
Alignment Chaotic Neutral, Neutral Good, Neutral Evil
Element Water
Species Chimera
Appearance Fish-tailed Humanoid


Also Called

  • (f) Ben-Varrey
  • (m) Dinney Mara/Dooinney Marrey/Dunya Mara
  • (f) Maighdean Mara
  • (m) Merboy/Merman/(pl) Mermen
  • (f) Mergirl/Mermaid
  • (pl) Merpeople/Merperson
  • (f) Morrough/Moruadh/Murduch'a
  • (f) Sea-Maiden

Origins

Merfolk are a race of creatures with origins in mythology, legend and folklore from around the world.

Merman by GEEZ

It is known that all Merfolk are either created by, or descended from ancient and powerful sea gods, such as the Babylonian deities Oannes and Atargatis (Derceto/Derketo); the Philistine deity Dagon; the Greek deities Nereus, Poseidon & various river deities.

In Greek mythology, a fisherman named Glaucus was changed into a blue-skinned Merman (and a sea god) by eating a certain magical herb that grew nearby his home.

In Irish mythology, a woman named Lí Ban was changed into a half-salmon Mermaid, after locking herself away in an underwater chamber under a nearby lake for a year, while a spring burst under her house and flooded the surrounding town to form Lough Neagh.

Appearance

Among the most well-known easily recognizable of the mythical races, Merfolk are human from the waist up, and from the waist down, there extends a fish tail in the place of human legs.

D&D-Merfolk-1-

A mermaid saves a weary sailor from a watery grave...

Aside from this, Merfolk may have any skin color that is common among mundane humans, from the lightest shade to the darkest hue. Their hair and eye color may be any color that occurs within fish species; that is, hair and eye color run the entire visible color spectrum. Their ears may or may not point.

Some Merfolk possess more ichthyic (fish-like) characteristics than others. They may have webbed fingers, scaly patches on their skin (for example, in place of nipples on a mermaid's breasts); in cases, they may have fins and/or gills. Though, the 'human half' of a Mermaid or Merman's body is most often indistinguishable from a true human.

In fact, it is common for sailors, pirates and other passersby on the waters to mistake a Mermaid or Merman half-risen from the waters for a human swimmer or someone drowning.

Though, it should be said, by certain magic, Merfolk have been known to change their appearance.

Atlantica- The Little Mermaid

Behavior

Though occasionally found to swim through rivers to dwell in freshwater lakes, Merfolk most commonly reside in the depths of the seas and oceans, having homes made of coral, pearl or the like. The economic system of most Merfolk communities tends to be one of bartering, though some forego the use of currency exchange at all.

And when it comes to interactions with surface-dwelling species, Merfolk can vary in their general disposition and their specific moods, depending on the deity from which they descend.

Sometimes, Merfolk look on surface-dwellers with delight and almost child-like curiosity. These may play with human(oid)s as they swim, and perhaps use magic they know to benefit those they encounter. Some may grant natural or supernatural knowledge to humans, as to techniques for curing illnesses or the location of wealth-building natural resources, while rare cases have even seen Merfolk outright use magic to grant wishes.

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Attraction between human(oid)s and Merfolk also happens commonly enough. Younger unwary Merfolk have been known to pull a friend or potential lover into the waters and accidentally drown them, unaware of the fact that most surface-dwellers cannot breathe underwater. And older Merfolk have been known to use their magic to appear on land, with hair, skin and facial features nearly or entirely indistinguishable from mundane humans. These Merfolk often do so specifically in pursuit of a human(oid) mate.

Sons of sirenum by stevie rae drawn daq8ay8-fullview

Conversely, there are plentiful accounts in which Merfolk hold malice toward surface dwellers. These Merfolk may use primal magic to torment sailors or citizens of a nearby surface establishment with rain, storms and/or floods. Fishermen and sailors notoriously fear the wrath of riled up Merfolk, as their retaliation may range from sabotaging their fishing equipment and stealing their fish, to wrecking their ships, drowning any survivors, and stealing any property being hauled on board.

If they desire to dissuade unwanted pursuers, Merfolk have been known to magically appear with with ugly traits such as red eyes, green teeth and a pig-like nose. Other times, Merfolk may use magic to intimidate by assuming the more vicious traits of fish (ie barracuda, angler fish, sharks).

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Abilities

  • Aquatic Adaptation- the ability to access physical and mental features suited for underwater survival.
  • Magic- the ability to channel supernatural energy to induce and manipulate events and phenomena.
    • Aquatic Communication- the ability to psychically perceive, communicate with and/or command aquatic species.
    • Hypnotic Song- the ability to channel hypnotic power through aesthetically appealing song.
    • Precognition- the ability to psychically perceive visions of future events.
    • Shapeshifting- the ability to alter physical appearance to assume a new form.
    • Storm Inducing- the ability to cause the formation of a storm system.
  • Soullessness- the ability to psychically function in the absence of a soul.

Weaknesses

  • Playing Keep-Away- Some Merfolk possess magical items, such as a cap or a cloak, which allows them to shapeshift between a land-dwelling and sea-dwelling form; by taking their cap or cloak while they are in a land-dwelling form, one can keep them from returning to a form that can survive underwater, thus keeping them from returning to their home in the sea.
  • Stay Hydrated- As aquatic creatures, Merfolk risk harm to their health if their scaly tails go without moisture for too long; even if Magic is used to assume a land-dwelling form, Merfolk often long for the ocean/sea, if kept away from it for too long.

Gallery

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