A water-dwelling humanoid appearing to be a mix of human and aquatic creature, bearing a humanoid top half and an aquatic bottom half. Their skin color, tail shape, and markings vary greatly and can be as natural or unnatural as can be found. There are known to be three variants of merfolk, not including their more varied subspecies: the moa'ana, or oceanic merfolk; the kapa'pu, or tropical merfolk; and the awal'ko, or river/lake merfolk.
Name:: Merfolk; merman and mermaid
Average Lifespan:: 200 years
Average Height:: N/A
Average Weight:: N/A
Location Found:: Large Bodies of water across multiple Realms.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Merfolk Names Over the ages, merfolk have been referred to by a number of names. Those used in recent years include merpeople and mermaids, though in merfolk society the latter refers only to females; males are know are mermen.
Nixies Merfolk reject nixies from their cities and consider them a blight on their society; it is seen as cannibalism, and any nixie found attempting to mingle with a mermaid or merman is either exiled and driven out, or killed without mercy.
Species info credited to Verridith and Daweia. Original concept by Kila.
Appearance All merfolk of each variant has two different forms: their water-shape, and land-shape. The water-shape is one that they will instinctively take whenever submerged in water, and has a humanoid upper half with the tail of an aquatic animal below. In their land-shape, their tails will transform into legs and their aquatic features and markings may dim or disappear (save for the kapa'pu). All merfolk will have subtle gills along their necks, though these may all but disappear when in land-shape.
Moa'ana: The most common form of merfolk; these creatures can range in body type from any type of sea creature, including (but not limited to) fish, sharks, sea serpents, whales, and octopi, in any natural or unnatural colors, with any markings possible. Their skin color can be of any shade, and can be completely different from their tail-color, or the same, varying by individual. Frills and spines are not uncommon, and can either match the merfolk's tail type, or be completely different - especially in the case of those with vastly different parents, or hybrids between the types.
Kapa'pu: As those that dwell in warmer waters, found commonly in shallower seas and oceans near a Realm's equator. They sport bright, extravagant colors and decorative fins, spines, and tails - common types include lionfish, angelfish, and clownfish, with an innumerable number of variations otherwise. Colors can vary far more than what their tail-type may show, and vibrant, glowing markings are fairly common. Kapa'pu merfolk like to dress in colors just as bright, and often create jewelry out of shells, beads, and bits of coral and bright stones to accent their looks. When changing into their land-shape, all of the markings and colors carry from their water-shape, remaining as bright as ever.
Awal'ko: Found inland very specifically, awal'ko merfolk are those that dwell in rivers, lakes, and ponds. Their colors are the dullest of the variants, and they tend to be small of stature. Their tail-types may reflect freshwater fish, such as eels, catfish, trout, and other such fish and aquatic animals. In their land-shapes, they can appear almost entirely human.
Culture A fairly peaceful species, merfolk reside almost exclusively in their underwater cities and dwellings, and are often ruled over by a royal family. Most are reluctant or even afraid to venture outside their aquatic homes and have subsequently become quite cut-off from the outside world. However, many still feel compelled to save any creature found drowning.
Moa'ana: The most open of the merfolk types, moa'ana merfolk are welcoming to outsiders and commonly visit other underwater settlements, as well as cities found along the shore. Many seem enamored of land-life, and enjoy trading for land-items they cannot otherwise obtain; often, moa'ana homes have odd trinkets and decorations in various places, though some of these items will be disposed of and returned to the land when the water begins to destroy them.
Kapa'pu: Many kapa'pu merfolk prefer the company of other sea-dwelling creatures to land-walkers that they consider somewhat boring; these merfolk love to play, and communities of them hold many festivals and forms of entertainment. Most welcome all manner of sea creature into their homes, and enjoy various creative pursuits - especially ones that involve making things from coral, shell, or anything bright or shiny at all.
Awal'ko: Much more reclusive and rare than other merfolk variants, those that dwell inland are mistrustful of strangers, and may flee when approached. Their cities are heavily guarded, and often hidden with illusion, while some lake merfolk will hide indefinitely in their land-shapes.
Abilities Each variant has different strengths and weaknesses; however, all merfolk can manipulate the element of water to a degree, and all are able to move between their land-shape and water-shape at will.
Moa'ana: Moa'anan abilities are greatly varied, and depend heavily upon the individual. Merfolk of this type can have any elemental affinity, and any non-elemental magic, though magical aptitude is known to skip generations of moa'ana merfolk, sometimes several before eventually reappearing. From a young age, both male and female moa'ana merfolk are trained in the use of spears and harpoons, and on how to make various items from fish bones, scales, shells, and stone.
Kapa'pu: The kapa'pu is the most likely to have unusual abilities, such as fire that burns underwater, or lightning that does not conduct. They are the most magically gifted of all merfolk, barring special circumstance, and many kapa'pu become mages rather than fight with traditional weapons.
Awal'ko: The least likely to access traditional magic, most awal'ko merfolk must use focusing tools such as staffs and wands in order to utilize their abilities. Most do not even have the talent for this, so those born with magic, especially the few whose are able to use it unaided, are often held in high esteem. Others fight with typical weapons like spears, harpoons, lances and occasionally even swords, though skill with the latter is rare due to their unwieldy nature underwater.
There are very few places on Noctis where people who can’t survive beneath the waves can live by the sea, but in the early days of Noctis, a small clan of humans managed it, living on a small atoll, and surviving off the bounty of the sea. Seiten watched them from afar, impressed with their ingenuity, though she was saddened that they couldn’t enjoy the sea in its entirety, despite their love of the ocean.
One day, as she watched them, Sago paid a visit to Noctis, and discovered the tribe himself, taking the form of a dolphin and joining them for a time. After a while, he noticed Seiten watching, and spoke at length with the goddess. Together, the two deities decided to bless the tribe with new bodies so that they could truly enjoy the wonder of the oceans.
They noticed one of them swimming, and enticed her to dive as deep as she could after a sparkling stone that bespelled her. Once she was deep enough for their liking, she found herself encased within a large bubble, where the two gods revealed themselves to her, and the plans they had for her. Her legs fused into the tail of a fish, and glistened with bright blue-green scales, with bright yellow fins. Gills appeared along her neck, just below her jawline, and her eyes gained a subtle extra lid so she could see clearly beneath the water’s surface.
She marveled at her new appearance as the bubble filled with water, and she shot back to the surface to show the rest of her people what she had become. For a brief moment, she was saddened, thinking she could no longer join them on land. However, Seiten spoke words of comfort, and she found that, when she left the sea, her body returned to that of a seemingly normal human.
Sago beckoned the rest of the tribe into the waters, and they obeyed, in turn finding themselves becoming merfolk. In the days that followed, the merfolk multiplied in number, and spread out across Noctis, becoming a mighty civilization. From there, many of them migrated to other Realms, free to come and go as they pleased beneath the waves.
This Ancient First was a mermaid that looked like a beautiful woman with the tail of a sleek blue fish, hair midnight blue, and eyes of startling orange. She was a strong and capable leader, and had the ability to shape the waters as she willed.
Classification: subterranean-water dwelling merfolk. Location: Bodies of water deep beneath the earth, and occasionally seen in the deepest oceans.
Adaro dwell in deep, subterranean lakes and seas far out of reach of surface dwellers. Dark-skinned and large-eyed, they are covered bio-luminescent markings, and have long, feeler-like fins to help them navigate tight spaces in their dark domain. They are able to darken their luminescent markings so they can more effectively ambush prey, or enemies.
Adapted as they are to life in the deep, adaro are unable to breathe air, and will only seldom venture into water shallow enough for sunlight to reach. These facts, together with the adaro tendency to face their often harsh, demanding lives with cold stoicism and fierce territorialism, have left them with a reputation for being wicked creatures.
Classification: demonic merfolk. Location: Kurai.
Kuraian merfolk, or demonmer, are large and dangerous variants of merfolk that dwell in the bloodseas of Kurai. Often blind, or possessed of limited eyesight, kuraian merfolk have a unique ability to see and sense heat, swimming in near silence to ambush unsuspecting prey. While not magically adept, Kuraian merfolk have incredible strength and often sport claws, fangs and spines, and often craft rudimentary spears and harpoons to kill prey at a distance.
Demonmer in different Kingdoms may have their appearances influenced by those Kingdoms - War merfolk will have blue eyes and horns, Death merfolk may have bony plates and long straight horns, Pestilence merfolk may have venomous claws and teeth, and Famine merfolk may have extravagant frills and long, snakelike tails. Kuraian merfolk cannot take land-shapes, and dwell specifically in the bloodseas alone.
Classification: adaptive merfolk. Location: large bodies of water.
Nixies are a branch of merfolk that have evolved into specialized predators that hunt and eat hapless humanoids and animals they catch at the water's edge with trickery and illusion. In their water-shape, they look very similar to a normal mermaid or merman - however, their mouths are wider and filled with sharp teeth, and their eyes are smaller and usually bright in color. They have no hair, but may have long frills or tentacles in place of it, sometimes trailing tendrils that are similar to an adaro without the glow. They do not have skin, but are covered in fine scales or slippery hide, and can be found in a multitude of colors.
They can shift into a land-shape, but retain their colors and scales, as well as webbed fingers and feet, and any frills they possess in their water-shape. However, nixies can craft illusions around them to make it appear as though they are beautiful men or women, and often lure single humanoids to the water's edge, where they drown and eat them. Most nixies are solitary creatures, and only come together to reproduce, though there have been reports of nixies traveling together in small pods for protection. They may have any ability, though water and darkness are most commonly found.
Classification: swamp-abiding merfolk. Location: swamps, bogs and marshes.
Swamp merfolk are creatures that reside in places other merfolk will not abide; as such, they are generally looked upon with disdain, and shut out of general society if they happen to leave their murky homes. Most swamp merfolk are dully colored, and can be considered ugly, with odd mutations and homely appearances. They are highly isolated and will often attack intruders to their bogs, and cannot take a land-form as normal merfolk may.