Merfolk

These aquatic humanoids native to the mystical waters of Submiere have often been the subject of debate in Fortuna. Many claim that they are beastfolk, fish transformed by magical water. Others claim they are perversions of tide elves - once again mutated by Sumish waters. The one thing that is certain is the racism they face for their presumed origins.

Merfolk tribes and kingdoms now span the seas of the world, and their people are as varied as those on land. Outside of Submiere however, they rarely breach the surface, and even more rarely speak with land-walkers, leaving their tales to be told of by starry-eyed mariners and dagger fisted poachers.

Unlike the classic vision of mermaids told of in fairy tales, merfolk do not lack legs like a fish. Instead, their arms and legs legs are coated in a webbing that expands in water, allowing them to swim swiftly, but still walk on land coherently.

While the most famous settlement of the merfolk is in Submiere, there are far more that span the reaches of the oceans. In vast undersea caverns, mazes of coral, ruins of sunken cities, or structures hand-carved into the rocky sea-bed, merfolk can be found everywhere. They tend to live in shallow enough waters than sunlight can mark time and reach their upper reaches, and harvest biolumiescent flora and fauna for the deeper.

Merfolk defend their communities typically with spears, but also with any items they are able to salvage from shipwrecks.

There is a magic gifted by Moann herself to Submiere, something that makes the water habitable to humanoid races - breathable. It is this magic that many believe created the merfolk. Due to this, Sumish law designates merfolk to have a right-of-birth to land in Submiere, and a right to the crown of the Sultan - something that many land-dwellers disagree with, causing laws to have been put in place that require certain concessions to be made by the merfolk, including banning the worship of certain merfolk deities in recognized Sumish cities, and forcing the donning of a magical bracelet called the Landwalker's Gift. Wearing the bracelet causes the webbing on the merfolk's arms and legs to become invisible, making them look more like strangely patterned elves and taking away the defining characteristics of their race.

Merfolk don't have names in the way landwalkers do. Instead, they are notated by certain sounds or physical dressings that denote family or station. When on land however, merfolk will select names for themselves, or identify themselves based on tribal or kingdom names. In the Sumish census, many merfolk are forcibly identified.

There are three subraces of merfolk: Salt Water, Fresh Water, and Deep Ocean.

Salt Water

Said to be the original merfolk, salt water are the most diverse of any merfolk subrace. These merfolk are well adapted to the open expanses of the ocean, and this has given them the adaptation to swim much faster than their cousins.

These merfolk have some of the most interesting colouring - especially those living in the warmer climates off the shores of Submiere, Fiamont, and Liesdro.

Fresh Water

Living in small clans in lakes or swamps, these merfolk tend to spend as much time on land as they do in the water, making them a bit faster on the ground than their more oceanic cousins. These merfolk are also quite a bit skinnier and smaller, and with more brown and green skin tones to allow them to hide easily in their more human-inhabited lands.

Deep Ocean

These merfolk are the most mysterious and otherwordly of their race. They come in many shapes and sizes - and many would be deemed unpleasing to the eye. These merfolk are either pale - almost an albino coloration - to extremely dark. However, they have some bioluminescent patches, and occasionally hair or eyes, which they take deep pride in and are an important part of their mating rituals.

Common Traits

The following traits can be found in several merfolk , though each merfolk is unique, and may have any assortment of these traits.

Amphibious. Merfolk are capable of breathing in water and on land - though they certainly fare better in the water.

Dim Sight. Being so accustomed to the darkness underwater, merfolk have developed impressive dimsight. Deep ocean merfolk tend to have developed darksight, or even blindsight because of the darkness of the depths.

Natural Abjurers. Being borne of magical waters, merfolk have an inherent ability for abjuration school magic - though not all merfolk have this gift. Some merfolk are even gifted in a different school of magic instead, though abjuration is most common.