Another in the humanoids are monsters series. Humanoids behave rationally, unlike other monsters, and so are more likely to negotiate and compromise. Their ability to have classes and powers like those of player characters also makes them powerful and varied foes.
Merfolk are the last of the animal-folk pack, along with Minotaurs, Centaurs, and Satyrs. They are more prone to wickedness and malice than the another animal people. They are also the most powerful casters of the animal people, better even than Gnomes and perhaps Goblins.
Merfolk are a beautiful race with very attractive faces and fit, sculpted upper bodies. Their scaly tails gleam colorfully. They are playful and seductive in their bearing, but are very proud and can be quick to take offense. They generally cluster into large groups, and build great underwater spires and palaces in which to live. These large groups will have powerful mages leading them and will often indulge in enchanting to meet their need for more power. Merfolk in smaller groups will sometimes live in underwater caves.
Merfolk can be extremely territorial and will often even demand that ships sail around their waters, or else attack them. However, when they are familiar with a neighboring nation, they are very willing to establish trade relations. They are ruthless traders and will break off all relations if they feel they are being cheated. Merfolk are rarely warred against, with no sentient races competing for their underwater territory, and they similarly find no need to threaten the territory of other land races.
Merfolk are very good swimmers, using the normal swim rules, but with Swim C (level 100 in swim), which gives the average merfolk a swim speed of nearly 16 (feet per second), over 2.5 times faster than the fastest real life humans. They are able to breath normally in both air and water. Their swift swim speed helps to compensate for their low land speed of merely 6. Merfolk are muscular and lean (+1 Strength and +1 Constitution). They are extremely clever (+4 Intelligence) and surprisingly prudent (+2 Wisdom). Their friendly manner and fair appearance make them well-liked by those they encounter, in general (+2 Charisma).
Merfolk delight in magic and any that are able will engage in magical training. They are very ambitious and competitive and many work hard to excel in the skills they are able to learn.
Brawler-Not all merfolk learn magic. Those that do not often find that if they can wrestle a foe long enough, they can easily drown them. These brawlers and aspiring brawlers will form the front line of merfolk armies, protecting casters by grappling approaching enemies. Often, these brawlers will discover their talent among the drunken scraps that occur when they have drunk too much of their seaweed grog.
Magic-user-Magic comes very naturally to merfolk, who practice it often for combat and utility. While magic-users among merfolk can generally find good employment, they are usually training for a more advanced skill set (see below).
Battle Mage-Warlike groups of merfolk, and especially those often threatened by sea creatures or land nations, will have a number of mages trained expressly for battle. These mages will be practically the only merfolk to bear weapons, preferring tridents, spears, harpoons, and other thrusting weapons.
Illusionist-Merfolk who have less need of battle usually prefer what they consider a finer form of magic: illusion. They will often employ themselves in active deception, for merfolk are always eager to protect their secrets. Illusionists might be hired to hide everything from whole cities to small alcoves. Many illusionists aspire to be enchanters.
Enchanter-Merfolk societies with any amount of stability will have enchanters. Safe and carefree as they often are, merfolk consider enchantment an art and take great joy in it. They will often sell their enchantments into land nations, though they are wroth to take commissions unless they are something truly challenging.
Merfolk live as long as very healthy humans, very well adapted to their diet of fish and sea plants. Their cultural memory is much longer as they keep very good records and repeat the most important stories often. They can hold grudges for dozens of generations. Most nations are careful to get along well local Merfolk, though their wanton malice often makes relations strained.
Merfolk are amazing in the water, swimming much faster than ships, though they tire. Strong Merfolk brawlers can reach swimming speeds exceeding the speed of most men on land and can even outswim dolphins. How much water would you have to expect to play one, though? Would they be too much trouble to have along in a land campaign? What if your party received word a colony of merfolk had begun attacking ships in a major trade route? How would you react as a player? How would you use them as a Master Weaver? Let us know in the comments below!