This page serves as a hub to organize and advertise all the merfolk content that the community has created to solve this problem. It is an attempt to create rules and fluff for PC races of merfolk that can be used in any campaign. If you like merfolk or other underwater themes, feel free to create anything you want and make a link for it on this page.
- 1 Merfolk Races
- 2 Merfolk Locations, Kingdoms and Cities
- 3 Merfolk Culture & Technology
- 4 Merfolk Equipment
- 5 Merfolk Magic
- 6 Merfolk Artifacts
- 7 Merfolk Religion
- 8 Creatures
- 9 Merfolk Characters and NPCs
- 10 Merfok Gallery
The Merfolk are a mysterious and secretive people who have populated the world’s waters, and they are as widespread as humans are on land. Communities exist in mountain lakes, coastal reefs, kelp forests, rivers, and even inside polar ice shelves. Their race is as varied as the lands they come from, even things as bizarre as horrifying anglerfish subraces. The vast expanse and depth of the world's oceans and deep cave springs conspire to keep many of these races undiscovered.
Image Race Description Coastal Merfolk The Coastal Merfolk are an aquatic race that has populated many of the world’s oceans. Communities are most common along on the continental shelf of temperate regions. They are an ancient species and are therefore even more physically diverse than humans. They are a cosmopolitan and mercantile society and most Coastal Merfolk are competent tradesmen. Coral Merfolk Coral Merfolk are a tropical race of merfolk that are known for their dramatic and beautiful multicolored skin patterns. They usually have small to medium size communities around atolls, islands, and reefs. Coral Merfolk blood is naturally magical which allows many to become talented spontaneous spell casters. Abyssal Merfolk Abyssal Merfolk are an evil aquatic race that dwell in the dark depths of the oceans. They are known for their cruel militaristic society that frequently launches raids into the surface world to capture slaves and plunder. Arctic Merfolk The arctic merfolk are large and powerful aquatic race that live in the cold northern waters of the world. They are a proud and noble race who have a strong sense of right and wrong. Live under ice sheets and in glacial lakes and rivers. large size? dolphin/whale? Selkie half seal, halfing size +dex +con? Crustaceids Crab People +str +con?
Merfolk Locations, Kingdoms and Cities
Merfolk settlements are as as varied and widespread as the merfolk themselves.
- Ataropolis - An upstart mercantile city state that is undergoing rapid expansion and a cold war is brewing with a nearby kingdom of elves.
- Glacial Lake - arctic mer town
- Barony of Dagobus - religious abyssal mer empire. ocean canyon extends into continental crust, serves as raider outpost.
Merfolk Culture & Technology
The Merfolk's aquatic environment has resulted in unque solutions to technical problems and independent evolution of their societies.
Merfolk can easily attain neolithic technology with no special considerations. By learning metalurgy from land races, discovering it seperately on land, or by simply trading for alloys (like most human civilizations did), merfolk can acheive a fully realized bronze age civilization. Some other materials required for iron age technology are not practical for use in marine environments. Steel and iron rust within days, and for this reason merfolk have developed their own metallurgy tradition which has resulted in a distinct set of alloys and other materials.
- Bronze - Bronze is superior to iron and resists corrosion but is more expensive to produce.
- Stellite - Stellite is a silvery metal easily identifiable by its iridescent sheen which bends and splits light into different colors. It is as strong as steel, equally tough, highly heat resistant, and highly corrosion resistant. It was developed over several centuries, and is now is a staple metal for merfolk equipment. Stellite is an alloy of cobalt and chromium with higher quality varieties including small amounts of gold. The most exceptional and sought after type of Stellite uses a unique process to infuse magic into the metal. A merfolk sorcerer will perform a ritual to infuse a set of pearls with blue mana. The pearls are then dropped into the alloy while it is in a molten state. The pearls serve as a catalyst to allow mana to permeate the metal and improve its magic properties.
- Aurichalcum- Auricalcum, some times spelled "Orichalcum", is a rare and mysterious metal dug from out of Seamounts, undersea volcanos, and thermal vents. It has a golden or coppery color and it has similar mechanical properties to steel such as strength and toughness, but it is impervious to corrosion. This extremely valuable metal is highly desired for its mysteriously high magical conductivity. Armors made of Aurichalcum draw Magic into the metal and harmlessly away from the user. Armor crafted from Orichalcum costs +1000/+4000/+9000 gp more than normal for light/medium/heavy armor and is always considered to be of masterwork quality. Because of its magic resistant properties, the wearer of orichalcum armor gains a +1/+2/+3 bonus on saving throws made to resist spells, spell-like abilities and supernatural abilities. This bonus is further increased by half the armor's enhancement bonus (round down, min 0).
- Byssus/Sea Silk-strong fibers from mullosks that are immune to water degradation and can be woven into fabrics to make clothing, rope, nets, and other tools.
- Sharkskin - Leather made from the skin of sharks. it is very tough.
Buildings And Cities
Merfolk cities are often very densely constructed compared to land based races for a number of reasons. Roads can be very narrow by terrestrial standards because merfolk are able to use three dimensions for their streets. Sometimes the upper floors of buildings are conjoined across the streets which turns the streets into tunnels. Some cities have been built up over time so that tunnels have completely replaced streets in many areas.
Merfolk are able to contruct buildings much more efficiently than land races. They attach inflatable gas bags to a large building materials and lift them by filling the bag with air. Only a few workers are needed to position the piece. For this reason, gigantic buildings and monuments are common in merfolk cities.
Merfolk structures often incorporate unique materials and features which results in distinct a architectural style. Wooden buildings are uncommon due to the effect of woodworms. Instead, Merfolk make use of a variety of durable marine building materials:
- Kelp - Many merfolk buildings are made by weaving living kelp into a hollow ball that floats in the water while anchored to ocean floor. There can be several rooms arrayed in a daisy chain, one above the other, all constructed from only a few plants.
- sea grass - Sea grass is used as a filler material in thatching and living sea grass is planted on the roofs of buildings as an anchor or decoration.
- Coral - Coral is tough easily workable, and abundant in tropical climates. It is used all over the aquatic world.
- Stone - Used in alone or in combination with hydraulic cement, stone is one of the best materials for durablity.
- hydraulic cement - hydraulic cement is a building material in use since ancient times and is known for its ability to harden underwater. hydralic cement is combined with sand or other materials to create concrete structures, or is used in mortar to create masonry buildings
- Giant bones - The bones of giant sea creatures such as whales and sea serpents are and strong and durable enough to be excellent building materials
- giant shells - Some sea shell are large enough to be used by themselves as rooms in buildings. smaller ones are used in "shell masonry"
- wood - freshwater merfolk often use wood to build their structures, because woodworms do not live in freshwater.
The rich waters of most merfolk settlements allow for very productive fields of aquatic crops such as kelp, rice, water lilies, watercress, taro, lotus, waterspinach, wasabi, waterchestnuts, fish, and shellfish. Large enclosures serve as pastures for fish hatcheries. A typical farm consists of an oyster bed on the bottom of the sea floor, a canopy of kelp at the surface with columns reaching down to attach to the floor, and fish swimming in the water in the middle.
Land races have developed many methods for storing information, and many of them function perfectly underwater.
- wax pencil
Many weapons suffer reduced effectiveness under water due to hydrodynamic drag. Merfolk therefore use weapons that are specially designed to eliminate drag and increase ergonomics for submerged use. Some weapons are unchanged but the techniques for their use underwater is radically different.
Name Damage Crit Threat Crit Damage Size Damage Type Skill Type Special Partisan 2D6 19-20 X2 twohanded slashing/piercing Martial Great Trident 1D12 20 X3 twohanded Piercing Martial Mersarissa 1D12 20 X3 twohanded Piercing Exotic Reach Chain Net 1D4 20 X2 onehanded slashing exotic see text Katar 1d6 20 X2 onehanded slashing simple Cestus 1d6 20 X2 one handed crushing Simple
- Partisan - A partisan is a pole-arm similar to a spear but it has a much larger spear point and prongs on either side of the blade. it could accurately be described as a sword on a pole.
- Great trident - This trident has 3 large bladed points and is capable of delivering grievous wounds.
- Mersarissa - A very long spear for use in underwater army formations. it has a large blade and reach.
- Chain Net - A net made of fine chain links or cable instead of rope. it follows the same rules for a normal net but has a stronger break DC of 35, escape artist check of 25, DR 5, and 20 hit points. It has small barbs that cut a trapped creature as it struggles.
- Katar - A short sword that attaches to the forearm instead of being held by the handle
- scyllarus -a large handheld copy of the club mechanism found in mantis shrimp. Merfolk aren't advanced, however they are not stupid and long ago noted the caviatation effect mantis shrimp produece.
- Range weapon: most range weapons have a range of 3d6 feet rather then there stated range and for every six feet there projectile travels they lose D4 damage. if the damage they inflict turns to 0, then the arrow arcs mid flight and points harmlessly to the ocean floor.
Armor and Shields
There are several considerations to make when using armor underwater, drag and buoyancy. Merfolk armors are usually form fitting and flexible. Medium and heavy armors usually use some form of buoyant material for padding such as kelp pods or cork. Shields are designed to have as little drag as possible when moving them laterally and also have small buoys distributed to the inner surface. Tower sields are extremelly rare in the underwater world because they are simply too unwieldy and the reduced danger from ranged weapons. They have been reduced to specialty applications.
- sharkskin leather armor - Basic leather armor has the same properties as land based leather armor.
- Padded - This padded armor uses aquatic fibers to give its wearer some protection.
- chain shirt - Chain shirts built by merfolk smiths tend to be tighter fitting than those on land to reduce drag.
- Scale mail - Scale mail is more popular with merfolk than chain because it has less drag.
- breastplate - Breast plates are very popular in in the underwater world for their ease of manufacture, good protection, and freedom of movement
- chain halberk
- Lorica Plumata - This armor is a combination of chainmail and scalemail. It consists of metal scales that are attached to a backing of tight fitting chainmail. It is expensive but gives excellent freedom of movement, low drag, and good protection.
The Merfolk have a divergent tradition in the magical arts. Some marine spells accomplish the same objectives as their land counterparts, but in a different way.
- Merfolk Blood - Some types of Merfolk have blood that has vague magical properties. Evil races often wish to kill merfolk to harvest it. Merfolk blood has a number of uses depending on the source species.
- Spell Shell - Many merfolk wizards choose not use spellbooks. Instead they use magical sea shells that store spells in sound form rather than in writing. To memorize a spell for the day, a wizard listens to the song inside the spell shell. To add a spell to the shell, the wizard etches magical runes and symbols into a precious stone which is then placed into the shell. These stones are analogous to the more traditional paper that other races use to store their spells.
- Crush - creates magical water pressure in an area that crushes creatures in its area effect.
- Shape Metal - shapes metal
- decompress - Decompresses the area around the target causing wracking pains in his joints and body
- Resonance - creates very intense sounds that resonate in the water, does.... something
- Freeze - Freeze the water around the target which traps them in a solid block of ice
- Salmons lessons- Fourth level druid spell, component vocal, focus, target-one creature, saving throw Will-Spell Resistance-No: effect: target creature can now Enter (and breath if it has gills) either salt or fresh water depending on which version of the spell was cast. This spell affects all animals that live in water since with out the proper adaptations a animal will suffer damage for being in the wrong environment. Arcance Focus: A vial of fresh or salt water depending on which version of the spell is being cast.
- octopus +2 stealth
- flying fish +3 fly
- crab +2 fortitude saves
- lobster +1 natural armor
- salmon +3 swim
- sea anemone +3 Hp
- Tiny shark +3 perception in light
- Lanternfish+2 Perception in dark
- jelly fish +2 will
- mantis shrimp +2 Spot
- Carp (fresh water only)+2 jump
- temperate fish +2 acrobatics
- Tropical fish +2 initiative
- Sea Star +2 survival
- squid +2 sleight of hand
- Nautilus +2 diplomacy
Ancient and legendary items in the underwater world.
- Pearl Trident
- Bubble Band - This magical headband creates a bubble of breathable air around the head of the user. Merfolk use these bands to allow non water breathing individuals to freely travel underwater. The magic used to create these bands is a closely guarded secret.
- Slithice's Net - This flawless orichalcum chain net glows with a blue light that radiates from the metal in long floating strands. it was given to an ancient hero of legend from the trove of ocean gods, and was intended for use against leviathans that were threatening their patron cities. When thrown, it magically expands to trap any target that is small size or larger. It is able to be thrown through water as if it had the same resistance as air. any creature trapped inside the net is effected by an anti magic field, prevented from teleporting, and is fixed to any adjacent surface. It has a +5 enchantment.
The merfolk worship some of the same gods as other races, but they also have their own unique racial pantheon.
Mega Outsider (Earth, Elemental, Evil, Extraplanar, Undead)
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Dagobus or Father Earth is the Merfolk god of the earth. Hydrothermal vents in the earth's crust are sacred to Dagobus. Father Earth does not solely draw upon the power of believers but has his own independent power granted by both Malron and Nox.
Neutral Aspects': Earth, Iron, Fire, Power
Positive Aspects: Law, Passion, Art
Negative Aspects: Anger, Violence, Poison, Darkness, Death
Around the sun dances a massive head of molten iron in a furious orbit. This iron head constantly belches toxic gas and poison and screamed obscenities and curses. A long wild mane of hair composed of fire and magma whip back and forth across the great iron head and a giant multitude of arms composed of earth and clay beat on upon themselves and the head with furious activity.
Before the Sea Mother's great treachery Father Earth once charged relentlessly into battle with the firey rage of burning rock and titanic earthquakes.
Dagobus's natural weapons as well as any weapons he wields are treated as lawful-aligned, epic and evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Avatar of Dagobus
A great big iron head with many arms that spits fire and poison gas.
Just an iron golem forged into a funny shape by worshippers of Dagobus.
Mega-Fine Outsider (Water, Elemental, Good, Extraplanar)
The Sea Mother is the Merfolk god of water and the sea. The sea and all its bounties are sacred to the Sea Mother.
Neutral Aspects: Oceans, Water
Positive Aspects: Solace, Healing, Fertility, Bountiful food
Negative Aspects: Seduction, Betrayal
The Sea Mother prefers not to engage in battle directly and instead uses trickery and deceit to advance her goals.
Mega-Tiny Outsider (Good, Extraplanar, Undead)
The moon or Daughter Luna is the Merfolk god of the moon. Full moons and solar eclipses are sacred to her.
Luna is well liked (or at least not hated) by all merfolk cultures. However there do exist persistent dark rumours which won't go away that Luna is really of two aspects: one a benign spirit of healing and good will that travels on the moon light and the other a horrid monstrous Atropal corpse god that feasts on the sacrifices of dark cults which rip children from their mother's wombs. These rumours state that the corpse moon is barely under the benign Lunar aspect's control and that when the corpse moon gains enough power it will break free and go on a rampage that will annihilate the earth. These rumours are hotly denied by priestesses of Luna and dismissed as simply manufactured Abyssal Mer propaganda.
Positive Aspects: Light, Prophecy, Death, Healing
Daughter Luna prefers not to engage in combat and always tries to reach a compromise instead. However, if pressed into combat she will cast spells from a distance.
Nox is the Merfolk god of absence and the interstellar void. Nox is genderless but if Nox had a gender Nox would be female. The abyssal zones and other empty places are sacred to Nox. Most Merfolk do not worship Nox and are opposed to her. Nox does not solely draw upon the power of her few believers or the terror she inspires in others but has her own independent power as an embodiment of reality itself.
Neutral Aspects: Absence, Space, Emptiness, Dreams
Positive Aspects: Imagination, Creativity, Hope
Negative Aspects: Desolation, Lies, Trickery
Mega Outsider (Chaotic, Evil, Extraplanar, Undead)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
This creature resembles an ever shifting mass of darkness and despair and its very nature seems to tear at the fabric of reality around it itself.
Nox Spawns are intrusions into reality from the Plane of Absence itself. Unreal, formless things that cannot exist and yet do, they can be beings of both unearthly beauty and unearthly terror.
Most often, Nox Spawn are brought into this reality by the summoning of evil Nox cultists. The rituals required to summon the Nox Spawn usually depend upon inspiring a specific fear and form of nightmare in a victim and then using dark magic to sacrifice the victim and summon the horrible nightmare into reality.
Nox Spawn can take any form of nightmare embedded in the head of the victim to be sacrificed but some common shapes and fears that Nox cults are especially good at provoking in sacrificial victims are:
It moved in a strange and uncausal manner. One moment is was drifting towards me, the next it was swimming away and yet, impossibly it was getting closer.
This Nox Spawn looks like many severed heads crudely stapled and attached to one another that have giant bloated tentacle like tongues. It may use these tentacle tongues to swim.
No Speed: This creature cannot be escaped from by moving away from it in a non-magical manner. This ability does not prevent the creature by being unable to pursue by being trapped, obstructed or confused.
It was grotesquely huge, so large its lower lips scraped against the bottom of ocean trenches and its upper lips scraped against the sky, and yet it had crazily, impossibly, compressed and squeezed itself into the cave we were standing in. I screamed and swam but its hand, larger than the cave we were standing in, blocked the cave exit.
This Nox Spawn looks like a normal creature but impossibly large and massive.
No Size: This creature keeps its size class for the purposes of damage calculation but can fit into spaces as if it had a size of only Fine.
Malron is the Merfolk god of presence and the stars. Malron is genderless but if Malron had a gender Malron would be male. Most Merfolk do not worship Malron specially but also are not opposed to him or his worshippers. Malron does not solely draw upon the power of his believers but has his own independent power as an embodiment of reality itself.
Neutral Aspects: Presence, The Sun, Stars, Time, Action
Positive Aspects: Law, The animating forces of casualty and reality
Negative Aspects: Despair, Eternity, Determinism
Star of Malron
Giga Outsider (Extraplanar, Lawful)
Alignment: Always Lawful Neutral
A star of Malron is simply a normal star that is being temporally animated by part of Malron's vast distributed consciousness.
Many gods in the merfolk pantheon physically exist or have avatars which wander the unfathomable depths.
- Nesoi - Primordial Demigods of islands. each island is said to have its own personification.
Long ago, there was only absence (known to Merfolk as Nox) and presence (known to Merfolk as Malron). Malron embodied the stars and Nox embodied the empty space between them. Malron consisting only of presence and not absence was a purely logically being and could not conceive of the other. As such, it was natural that Malron should only seek introspection and self-knowledge. Eventually, after many epochs of pure thought, Malron's knowledge of himself surpassed his own ability to reason about unaided. So, Malron shook off pieces of himself and flung them out into space separate and apart from the stars. These lumps of molten star stuff eventually coalesced and formed themselves into the clockwork machinery of the planets, a grand machine designed to help Malron better understand himself. But Nox was full of mischief and was eager to upset Malron's great machinery. Nox broke pieces of herself off too and also put them into the planets. As Malron, has no imagination, no conception of absent things and the other Malron was blind to Nox's mischief and could not sense it. As such, Malron is ever searching and tinkering with the planets to fix his great calculations but cannot conceive or understand the real problems that interfere with his machinery. It is rumored if Malron ever fixes the machinery of the spheres he will finish his great calculation and return the universe to as it was before the planets.
A great many, many years passed and Nox's mischief began to bear fruit in one small solar system. Nox inspired lust, desire and passion in Dagobus or Father Earth and he began to rage, boil with lust and anger, and shake with great tremors and madness. Just as his passion was so great and furious he was about to rip himself apart he conceived of solace or the Sea Mother and birthed her into reality. A great rain fell upon the world and cooled it and formed all the lakes and oceans upon Father Earth. The Sea Mother coupled with Dagobus and slaked his passion and in time bore children. But Dagobus was too violent, too passionate and his great tremors, fire and poison from the depths hurt and killed the Sea Mother's children. So, the Sea Mother made love to Dagobus once more and then strangled him to death.
In an instant, the Sea Mother birthed a great white egg, Daughter Luna or the moon. In retaliation, Dagobus shook one last time and threw Luna into space and killed her. A great many years past as the Sea Mother mourned the death of Father Earth her only lover and Daughter Luna.
The Sea Mother still longs for her lost daughter and sometimes the Sea Mother reaches up to Luna in a passionate rage. But each time the Sea Mother tries to reach out to her long lost dead daughter she always ends up falling back down hopelessly to the dead corpse of Dagobus that is still holding her down tightly in a twisted lover's embrace. And so the tides of the ocean are formed.
- Carcharodon - 4 legged beast with huge shark head running around eating people
- Placoderms - fish with naturally evolved bony armor around there heads and backs.
- Kaiju - A merfolk name for Deamons and other Chaotic evil creatures from other planes.
- Wereshark -
- Diving bell Driders- You thought you could avoid spiders underwater? Think again. Diving bell driders are servants of evil god Lolth and spread her influence under the sea. Story speak of entire underwater drow city's composed of spider silk spun by the Diveingbell Driders which trap and hold air like a, well diving bell, so as to allow the dark elves proper air to breath.
Merfolk Characters and NPCs
- Aramis Corselle & Ishka Amosa