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 Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races

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Shady Knight
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Join date : 2008-01-20
Age : 28

PostSubject: Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races   Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:21 pm

Mermaids, also known as Merfolk, are half fish humanoids found in rivers, lakes and seas all across Felarya.  From the waist up, they possess the torsos of humans with fin-shaped ears and sometimes webbed hands, while their lower bodies consist of the fins and tail of a great fish.  Depending on the region, the scales and complexion of merfolk vary in hue, from pale green, to blue, to yellow mixed with stripes of crimson, to gleaming silver.  Their size vary a lot; the average merfolk typically measures between 6 and 8 feet in length, with females being slightly smaller than males, but gigantic specimens measuring over 200 feet in length are not at all uncommon, with the legendary Leviathan Mermaid surpassing them all..

Perhaps the most well-known of all aquatic races, the legend of the mermaid’s extraordinary beauty is a tale that has been told across multitudes of worlds and spanning countless generations.  They possess delicate features reminiscent of elves, with females having a graceful, slender physiques, and males, known as Mermen, often being chiseled and muscular.  In Felarya, however, their stories are one that inspire terror in the hearts of seafarers rather than thrill.  They possess a voracious appetite, with a single giant mermaid being capable of devouring an entire crew of sailors all by herself.  For any adventurer brave or foolhardy enough to sail the rivers and seas of Felarya, they represent one of the biggest dangers they must face on their journey.  When whispers of a lone mermaid reaches port, many savvy sailors know to give the waters a wide berth.


Biological Traits

In Felarya, mermaids can be generally classified into two broad categories based on whether they have adapted to life in fresh or salt water, with both species possessing a number of physiological traits that allows them to better survive in their respective environments.

River Mermaids are found in most bodies of freshwater, anywhere from frigid mountain streams, to jungle rivers, to vast open lakes.  Although typically smaller and lighter than their sea-dwelling cousins, they are remarkably fast and agile, able to swim against rapid currents and leap out of the water with the greatest of ease.  They are more graceful on dry land than sea mermaids, with some being even able to climb small trees to a limited degree, though they remain quite clumsy out of their element.  Inexperienced adventurers often underestimate how quickly a river mermaid can move on land, believing to be safe simply from being out of arm’s reach, only to be caught off guard when the mermaid suddenly leaps out of the water and gives chase.  Many river mermaids possess a long, adhesive tongue which they can shoot out and retract at great speed to catch prey like that of a frog.

Sea Mermaids make their home in the vast, deep oceans of Felarya.  On average, they are larger than river mermaids, and because their habitats are found at the bottom of the sea, they can withstand greater amounts of water pressure.  They are not as swift swimmers or as capable of the same feats of agility as their freshwater counterparts, but are significantly more robust and can swim much longer distances, owing it to the pressure of the undersea depths.  As the oceanic environment is far more varied than the streams and rivers of Felarya, sea mermaids come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes compared to freshwater mermaids, sporting a wild array of bright colors and exotic patterns on their tails.  Some sea mermaids have the ability to change the color of their scales to better blend in with their surroundings, though this ability is not as powerful as the color and texture-changing capabilities of chlaenas.

Both species of merfolk can survive in either fresh and salt water environments, but they rarely migrate to different waters.  River mermaids have a hard time adjusting to the undersea pressure, and find the wide open waters difficult and confusing to navigate.  Sea mermaids, on the other hand, are made uncomfortable by the comparatively shallow waters of lakes and rivers and the near-ubiquitous presence of banks, making the freshwater environment appear unnaturally cramped and claustrophobic.  It’s not impossible for either mermaids to acclimate to a new environment, but most prefer to spare themselves the trouble if they can avoid it.

Despite being classified as an aquatic race, merfolk are in fact amphibious, and although they can survive on land, they have a clear preference for life underwater, with their bodies being specifically adapted as such.  Like fish, they possess a swim-bladder, a gas-filled organ that allows the mermaid to control her buoyancy and help her swim.  The lens in their eyes changes shape when their head is either above or below water, allowing them to see with optimal vision in the element they are currently in.  Merfolk are able to breathe freely in and out of water, but how this is accomplished is a mystery that continues to puzzle humans to this day.  Some mermaids have gill slits along the sides of their neck or ribcage, but most possess no visible gills at all.  This has led some to theorize that mermaids have an organ that draws oxygen from the water they inhale.  Others speculate that this is the result of innate magic that allows them to breathe water as though it was air.  Obviously, merfolk are very clumsy on land, moving slowly and with none of their usual grace.  For any mermaid, the feeling of dry earth and sand beneath their tail is a strange and alien sensation, one they generally find unpleasant and can never seem to get used to.  A mermaid who spends a long time out of the water tends to become “landsick”, wherein she experiences dizziness and nausea not unlike motion sickness.  Obviously, river mermaids are less prone to land sickness than seaborn merfolk.

Because mermaids usually sport an unassuming appearance, it’s easy to assume that they are weak and frail, but this could not be further from the truth.  As much of their lives is spent swimming deep underwater, merfolk are as hale and hearty as they are graceful and beautiful.  The average mermaid is oftentimes stronger and can withstand greater exertion than a human of similar size and build, making them a surprisingly powerful and hardy race.


Behavior and Culture

If there is one word that can aptly sum up Felaryan mermaids, it would be extroverted.  They enjoy company of any kind and are friendly toward other races like chlaenas.  It is very rare to find a mermaid who is reserved and prefers to keep to herself.  Because they are such a gregarious species, merfolk tend to form schools of friends, with some numbering in the hundreds of individuals.  Although they enjoy their own privacy from time to time, mermaids typically dislike long bouts of solitude, and often get depressed if they see no interaction with another person for lengthy periods.

In a similar vein to fairies, they wear their emotions on both of their sleeves and rarely keep their feelings bottled up for long.  They believe that it is unhealthy to keep secrets, and that the key to living a happy, fulfilling life is to speak whatever is weighing on their chest.  Compassionate and empathetic by nature, they will often go out of their way to cheer a friend whenever it is sad or lend someone a helping hand.  Because they are so honest, many joke that merfolk are the last people you should ever confide in, as they will invariably blurt out whatever important or embarrassing secret they were supposed to keep under wraps.

For any non-marine creature, mermaid culture is incredibly esoteric.  Despite their outgoing and talkative nature, they speak surprisingly little of their lives underwater, and any attempt to get some sort of answer out the them is either deflected or met with silence.  The reason why they are so secretive about this subject remains a mystery.  What little is known, however, is that they have a few large underwater cities in the Topazial Sea.  The most well-known of these settlements is without a doubt Ryzelm’oire, a haven for all underwater creatures big or small.  They also appear to have an interest in jewelry, as many like to fashion accessories and some semblance of clothing using whatever they can find in the ocean, usually seashells.

Though they rarely speak of their aquatic lives, mermaids are deeply fascinated by life on land.  The world above the waves offers myriads of exotic sights and sounds that cannot be found anywhere under the sea, and they find the landscape remarkably beautiful.  When confronted by a mermaid — assuming she isn’t hungry, of course — it isn’t uncommon to be bombarded with dozens of questions about what life on the surface is like.

Mermaids are generally peaceful and prefer to avoid conflict and violence if at all possible.  When accosted by a predator, they usually try to flee than to engage in battle.  Should the need to fight arises, however, they primarily make use of their powerful tails to drive off their assailants.  Smaller mermaids predominantly wield spears and other long piercing polearms in battle, as slashing and blunt weapons are too cumbersome to use effectively underwater.


Language

Probably the most famous trait of merfolk is their alluring voices.  Whether it be in verse or in everyday conversation, hearing a mermaid’s voice never fails to leave an impression you will never forget.  What most people don’t know, however, is that singing is not merely an innate talent of merfolk, but a language unique to them.

While mermaids speak like any normal person above the water, underwater is a different story.  When underwater, mermaids "sing" their messages in a special language whose pitches and tones aren't distorted by water, allowing communication. It sounds a bit like whale song, but more modulated and of a higher pitch, although it also depends on the individual mermaid who sings it.  Those songs appear to be just as rich and complex as regular language, with differences in pitch, tone, tempo, and structure helping to convey different, intricate meanings. This also means that mermaids possess extremely precise hearing, and are very skilled at controlling the sounds they produce. It's likely the main reason why mermaids are so famous for their beautiful singing voices; it's simply one of their natural methods of communication.


Hunting Habits

When it comes to catching food, mermaids have a variety of tools at their disposal.  One of their favorite methods is to use their lovely voice to charm and attract prey.  Magically inclined mermaids like to make use of illusions to lure and distract them.  Others prefer to use good old-fashioned ambush tactics, hiding inside of reefs and algae and waiting for food to wander too close.  Obviously, the bulk of the merfolk’s diet is primarily comprised of fish and crustaceans, as they are by far the most plentifu food found in the ocean, though they routinely supplement their diet with edible seaweed and kelp.  Because elves and humans so rarely venture on the open seas, they are seen by sea mermaids as very rare and exotic treats, ones that appear only once in a blue moon, and will rarely miss an opportunity to catch one.

The diet of river mermaids is slightly more varied than their seabound cousins, including a variety of land-dwelling animals.  When they sense prey, they hide just beneath the surface and, once their target draws near to the water’s edge, they use their long sticky tongues to snag and reel in their catch.  They are particularly fond of fairies and won’t hesitate to try and eat any who hovers too close to the surface of the water, as their magical nature give them a zesty taste that they can’t get enough of.  Many river mermaids have a taste for fruits growing in the trees and shrubs lining nearby steam and riverbanks, with wafelberries being a favorite among them.

Merfolk are among the few giant sapient races to have no aversion toward eating their smaller kin.  For them, they are just another seafood, and when given the choice between eating a fish and a small mermaid, giant merfolk will almost always choose the small mermaid, as they generally have a richer, more pronounced flavor.  Besides giant mermaids, giant chlaenas and sea krait nagas pose an enormous danger for small and juvenile merfolk.  Harpies and river nagas are the top predators of freshwater mermaids, as both species adore fish for their taste, and their somewhat long bodies make them a prime choice for a filling and satisfying meal.


Reproduction

When it is time to mate, sea mermaids often return to the underwater city where they were born in, while river mermaids typically head upstream in search of a partner.  Courtship usually involves mermen singing a ballad to their prospective bachelorette to try and win her heart.  If he is successful, she will reciprocate with a song of her own.  The two then engage in a romantic underwater dance as the couple sings a mesmerizing duet.  If he does not manage to impress her, she will coldly turn around and swim away, leaving the would-be solicitor embarrassed and possibly heartbroken.

After a few months of pregnancy, the mermaid will lay a clutch of eggs.  In underwater cities, the eggs are safeguarded inside of large clam shells where they stand little chance of predation.  River mermaids, on the other hand, have to be more creative.  Typically, they build a nest among plants at the bottom of a river or lake and hide their eggs inside.  Though they do not actively guard their eggs, they rarely stray far from their nests and regularly check up on them.  As with nagas, giant mermaids typically lay only a few eggs, while smaller mermaids can lay as many as a half-dozen.

Newborn merfolk are known as fry, and although they do not carry a yolk-sac like newly-hatched fish, they are too weak to feed themselves, lacking scales and working fins to properly swim, and depend on their mother’s milk for nourishment.  Once they have developed their scales and fins, the transition from a baby to a child is now complete, and are now called merlings.  At this stage, it is up to the parents to teach the child how to hunt and survive in the waters.  And of course, how to sing.




Doing something a little different this time, I'm gonna go ahead and explain all the changes I made so it's easier to understand where I was coming from for each of them.

Starting with the biggest one, separating mermaids into two major categories depending on whether they live in freshwater and saltwater.  Dridders have been given such a distinction a while back, where they were divided into two broad categories, Weavers and Wanderers in their case, so why not make that same distinction for mermaids?  It seems only logical, and I like my fantasy operating on some logic.

UPDATE: I have removed the mention of being uncomfortable in water with different salinity for the time being until Karbo can give his feedback on it, whenever that happens.

When it came to coming with differences between river and sea mermaids, that's when problems started to arise.  Obviously, sea mermaids were going to be more colorful like tropical fish, but there needed to be more substantial differences than that.  There was the fact that river mermaids were described as being more agile in their current entry, and that sea mermaids obviously would be able to withstand more water pressure, which admittedly I only realized when Prinny suggested that very trait, but I felt there could be a little more to them than that.  I looked online for physiological differences between real fresh and salt water fish, and the most I got is how much they pee.  I'm not making this up; apparently freshwater fish pee a lot more than saltwater because of how much more water they take in.  I'm sure there's one or two guys in our community on dA who would love to learn this information, but they're not the kind of degenerates we cater to specifically.  I ultimately settled on giving the frog tongue to river mermaids for a specific reason, and that's because they could make more use of it.  River mermaids obviously live closer to land, so having a long tongue with which to snare prey without having to leave the water would be a super handy thing for them to have.  For sea mermaids, however, this would be an incredibly situational tool, far too situational for them to logically evolve since humans would rarely ever venture on the open seas.  As for the ability to change color, I looked only for reasons why tropical fish were so colorful, and that was where I learned that there are a few species of fish that can change color like a chameleon.  Since the gist of sea mermaids is that they're so colorful, it seemed like a no-brainer to give some of them that kind of ability.

Moving on to other biological traits, the anatomy is pretty self-explanatory.  Bony fish have a swim-bladder that let them control their buoyancy.  Only makes sense for mermaids to have one as well.  The eye I had to do a little digging for.  I found out that the shape of a fish's eye - more specifically, the lens - is different from a human's, and that one would make it possible for a mermaid to see underwater, but not above water and vice versa.  At first, I thought of giving mermaids a near-transparent membrane like a bird's that cover their eye when above the surface, acting like reverse swim-goggles.  However, I didn't really like the idea in the long run, so I thought that have their lens change shape based on their environment would be a simpler explanation.  Mermaids getting "landsick" is something I pretty much took wholesale from Prinny, since it kind of makes sense and is pretty funny from the perspective of us earthbound humans.  Fun fact: originally, I mentioned that mermaids "drink" by absorbing water through their skin, since that's how freshwater fish do, and that was part of the reason why staying on land for too long is dangerous for them, but then I realized that this meant that mermaids weren't really amphibious, so the idea was scrapped.  When it comes to breathing underwater, this largely stems from Karbo not drawing gills on mermaids.  So I had to leave it vague if maybe mermaids had a unique organ that allowed them to do so, or if it was because of magic.

Lastly, making mermaids tougher than the average human largely stems from Pathfinder, where playable merfolk characters have a bonus to constitution.  I thought this made sense, since they swim everywhere they go, and in the case of sea mermaids, they do so under heavy water pressure, meaning that they're basically working out every day.

Moving on to behavior and culture, most of it was adding flavor text and trimming some of the chaffe from the old entry.  I wanted to include the brief mention that they are playful and carefree, but the more I thought about it, the more the words "playful" and "carefree" felt like they were describing fairies instead of mermaids, which seems to be the default mood for Karbo's critters.  So I decided instead to focus on them being typically extroverted.  They like being around people and they hate being alone.  Making them open about their feelings just seemed like a natural trait for a highly sociable race to have, hence why I gave them that trait.  The joke about them being terrible at keeping secrets was entirely my own making.  Like I said, I'm terrible at being funny.  I mentioned Ryzelm'oire as one of the cities where mermaids live because, looking at Karbo's drawing, it's really no longer just a chlaena settlement, but more like the undersea counterpart to Negav and Kortiki, where it's a metropolis for all aquatic races.  The bit about mermaids liking jewelry mostly stems from that same drawing, where you can spot mermaids wearing necklaces and seashell bras.

Making mermaids fascinated by life above water may seem derivative of The Little Mermaid, but when you think about it, it makes sense.  We're often wowed by what underwater life looks like, so it seems logical that the same would work in reverse.  As for making mermaids peaceful and averse to combat, that's mostly how I perceive them.  They seem pretty pacifistic to me compared to other species and would only fight when they have no choice.  Giving spears to small mermaids sounds a little stereotypical, I know, but there's a reason why it's a stereotype in the first place, and that's because piercing weapons really are the best kind of weapons for underwater combat.  Water creates a lot of drag when you're trying to do a slashing motion with a weapon, while a stabbing motion faces far less resistance.  It's why harpoons, tridents and spear are such effective fishing tools.

Moving on to the language, all I did was add flavor text.  It was a very good and well thought out idea to begin with, so no point for me to change anything.

Moving on to hunting habits, the most significant change I made is that mermaid songs can attract non-intelligent prey, since in my mind, humans would rarely take to the sea unless they had to, and so this hunting method would be incredibly specific otherwise.  Besides, there's the stereotype of the Disney princess being so angelic that woodland creatures all naturally flock to her, so why not have a fishy and slightly twisted version of the trope for fun?  Making fairies a favorite prey of river mermaids was my own decision, partly because it made sense given their frog-like tongue and hunting method, and partly because it would be interesting to have a species prey on fairies that isn't built specifically for the sole purpose of eating fairies.  Looking at you, Squamataur and Faebanes.  Lastly, I gave them a bunch of predators and the mention that mermaids have no problem eating their own kind since fish eat other fish all the time.

Moving at last to reproduction.  This was almost entirely made from the ground up.  The way they court is made up from scratch, and since singing is such serious business for mermaids, it only made sense that it would be involved in mating.  The rest is more or less how fish reproduce being adapted to a semi-humanoid species.  I decided not to give newborn mermaids a yolk-sac, partly because I want to distinguish them from actual fish, but mostly because I thought it would look weird and creepy.  So instead, I decided that they would depend on their mother's milk like a mammalian baby.



So, not content with just updating the garden-variety mermaids, I decided to update Leviathans and Selachis as well.  But... then I looked at their entries and found that the changes I wanted to make only amounted to minor edits, sooo... yeah.  Not gonna take long at all.


Leviathan Mermaid

The legendary leviathan mermaid is very rarely seen, and some say there are no more than a dozen of them in all the seas of Felarya.  They possess the lower body of a whale, and as their name implies, they are absolutely gigantic!


Selachi

Selachis are half human, half shark merfolk roaming the wide seas and oceans of Felarya. They are deadly beings, voracious, and relentless. They usually posses very little magic to speak of, unlike other merfolk, but their excellent physical disposition largely makes up for it. Selachis are strong, silent and fast.  Unlike mermaids, they do not have a swim-bladder and must continually swim to keep themselves afloat in the water.  [...]  Their most remarkable trait however, is the two or more rows of dangerous, sharp serrated teeth in their mouth, that allow them to take large bites out of things.



I brought it up in the now defunct thread about what changes to give the setting as a whole, and I said that I would make Leviathan Mermaids essentially Whale Mermaids because whales are the largest marine animal and largest animal on earth period.  That's it.

When it comes to Selachi, I merely mentioned that they, unlike mermaids, have no swim-bladder because, guess what, sharks don't have swim-bladders in real life.  They literally have to keep swimming, or else they start to sink.  This would go to explain why Selachis are so much stronger and tougher than your garden variety mermaid.  The other minor edit I made is that I don't think that describing their teeth as merely sharp and pointy is enough, since quite a few shark teeth are known for being serrated, which in my opinion, would be more intimidating.

There is one last thing concerning Selachis that came to mind as I was writing this update, and it's "how do they communicate underwater?"  For the life of me, I just can't imagine them singing like other mermaids, especially with all those teeth.



And now, for the new types of mermaids I cooked up, none of which are remotely original, but I think are important nonetheless.


Abyssal Mermaid

In the deepest, most isolated regions of the seas and oceans of Felarya roam the abyssal mermaid, also known as Deep Merfolk.  Unlike their vibrant, colorful cousin, these gaunt merfolk sport a dark and dreary complexion, and boast semitransparent fins to help them blend in the sunless depths.  Bioluminescent spots mottle the skin along their upper bodies and long tail, and their eyes are extremely sensitive to light.  Even the tiniest glimmer is enough to allow them to see with near-perfect visibility in the darkness of the deep sea.  Their fingers end in hooked talons and their mouths are full of long, fang-like teeth angled inward.  Though they may appear weak of body, they are fully adapted for survival in the crushing pressure of the deepest sea trenches, and possess far more strength and endurance than what their feeble appearance would otherwise suggest.

Very little is known about abyssal mermaids, as no living creature from the surface has ever come close to reaching their dwelling in the lowest depths of Felaryan ocean.  The few brave souls to return alive from exploring the trenches speak of degenerate and mutated merfolk stalking the pitch-black waters, savage and hideous to behold.  Although their unsettling appearance has led to being whispered as sinister monsters of the deep among sea-dwellers, abyssal mermaids are in fact simple folk with little interest with life outside of the trenches, much less the world above the waves.  Less sociable than their cousins, they enjoy a largely solitary existence, with tribes rarely numbering over a dozen individuals.  Interestingly, they are one of very few species of mermaids who do not sing.  Instead, they communicate via the glowing spots on their bodies, flashing sequences of short and long flashes akin to Morse code.

Abyssal mermaids are ambush predators — they hide within the deep crevices and cold sand of the ocean floor, and lure food with their bioluminescence.  They are highly opportunistic, as the very food-limited environment of the deep sea means they must eat anything they can get their hands on to survive.  In particular, if they do not get enough food, they will even start preying on each other.  Since their bones are thin and flexible, abyssal mermaids can open up their mouths several times their normal resting size, allowing them to swallow prey almost as big as the mermaid herself.  When hunting large creatures, their sharp claws ensures they can maintain secure and steady grip on their catch, and their inwardly inclined teeth, which can be depressed to facilitate the swallowing of massive prey, makes escaping from their mouths all but impossible.  Not only can their stomachs distend to enormous size, it is also incredibly strong and resistant to damage.  Once prey has found its way inside, there is only one thing that can happen.  Abyssal mermaids are relentless hunters; should a prey manage to avoid the initial ambush, they will give chase without a second thought and will not stop pursuing their quarry until it is in their belly.  The only times they will give up a chase is if they happen to come across a more filling meal or their prey manages to escape to the light-filled waters above.

Rumor: It is said that on particular moonless nights, when the sky is bereft of stars and the entire sea cast in shadows, abyssal mermaids rise from their den on the ocean floor to the surface.  Fueled by a supernatural and irresistible hunger, they prowl the pitch-black waters in search for food, feasting on anything and everything they can get their wicked claws upon.  By daybreak, they retreat back to their sunless realm in the trenches, their stomachs full and close to bursting, whereupon the unfortunate souls who were unable escape their clutches are slowly digested over the course of several days.


Ice Mermaids

Ice Mermaids, as the name would imply, are a species merfolk hailing from the frozen waters of the Shimmering Sea and Imoreith Tundra.  Their scales tend to lean toward colder colors and are not as vibrant as those of tropical merfolk.  To survive in the frigid climate, ice mermaids have a thick layer of fat beneath their skin to insulate them from the cold, giving them a noticeably chubby appearance compared to their cousins.  There are a number of speculations regarding how ice mermaids are able to keep their own body fluid from freezing in the subzero water.  Some believe it is the work of antifreeze that bind to small ice crystals to inhibit the growth of ice within their bodies.  Other theorize that it is the result of innate magical powers shielding them from the effects of extreme cold.  Whatever the reason, this makes ice mermaids extremely resilient to low temperatures.

How ice mermaids relate to their cousins is largely unknown, as the species is extremely uncomfortable in warm water of any kind.  They embody much of the traits of typical merfolk: enthusiastic, talkative, assertive and gregarious.  Compared to other merfolk, ice mermaids tend to be more mellow and don’t get lonely quite as easily.  Patience is a virtue they value and they prefer not to rush anything, though they can be a little slow-going at times.  That isn’t to say they are lazy, and when something captures their interest or needs to be done, they can be every bit as energetic as their tropical counterparts.  Their communities largely consist of small villages rather than massive underwater cities, and everyone get to know each other relatively quickly.  In a stark contrast to their easy-going nature, the song of ice mermaids tends to be very bouncy and jovial.

It comes as no surprise that magically gifted ice mermaids are quite proficient in ice magic.  One of their favorite hunting tactics is to flash-freeze the water around their prey, trapping them in a block of ice.  Once frozen, it’s only a matter of picking their catch and enjoy their flavor spreading across the ice.  They are somewhat more mobile on land than their warm water counterparts, though still quite ungraceful.  They are not picky with their food and will not hesitate to chase prey out of water if at all possible.  A preferred method of chasing food on land is to slide on their bellies across ice sheets and catch prey in their mouths.  Because humans are such an incredibly rare sight in the frigid waters, ice mermaids rarely ever prey on them, as they would much rather hear stories of mythical lands where the scenery is dominated by green instead of white.  Of course, if they happen to be hungry, there is only one place for the humans to go.




Like I said, neither are anything that hasn't been suggested before, but I think they are necessary additions to the roster of mermaid races.  One thing I disagree with the way sub-races are handled is that they are devoid of meaningful substance.  Most of the time, they simply have some ability tacked on to them that makes little difference.  Harpies are the worst about it by far.  Rock harpies, now that their ability to vacuum prey is no longer unique to them, are now indistinguishable from vanilla harpies, and their laughably anemic entry, literally only three lines long, proves it.  Golden harpies like shiny things and are pompous assholes, and demon harpies are just red and have pathetically ill-defined magic.  They're half-baked - no, less than half-assed - with no thought put behind their creation whatsoever.

The way a sub-race should work, in my opinion, is that they are the result of how the environment affected them, and how they evolved differently from their cousins to survive in such places.  Dryads are great at it.  We have Shadow Dryads, who adapted to live in dark environments; Mycodryads, who are from places infested with mushrooms; and Snow Dryads, who have adapted to cold environments and are based on coniferous trees.  Their abilities may not always make sense, true, but the important thing is that there was a clear reasoning behind why they would be different from their peers.

This is what I had in mind with the Abyssal and Ice Mermaids.  It makes sense that there would be mermaids living in the deep sea, as there are fish living there in real life, and it makes sense that mermaids who live in icy water would be different from mermaids who live in tropical water.

In regards to the abyssal mermaid, I made them a mishmash of basically the angler fish and the gulper eel, and the focus was to make them as unsettling as possible, but without making them outright evil.  It only makes sense to me that merfolk would be terrified of them, since the abyss is so dark and, as we know, life down there is weird and ugly.  Not to mention, the pressure at those depths would be so great, I doubt even the hardiest of merfolk could withstand it.  Making them gaunt is mostly a result of the deep sea being very scarce in food, plus it adds to the creepy factor, so it's a win-win.  The trait of the gulper eel, being able to swallow something as big as them, is mostly to satisfy an urge for same-size vore that is rarely touched in Felarya, but also partly to give the species a tangible reason why other merfolk, and by extension, chlaena would be afraid of them.  I may have overdone it with the rumor of abyssal mermaids going on a feeding frenzy during moonless night, but it's the kind of horror element that I like.  Lastly, the reason why I gave them this particular method of communication is one, because I thought it would suit them, and two, because I really can't imagine them singing.

For ice mermaids, it wasn't as easy to come up with unique behavior for them.  So I decided to go for the lowest common denominator and make them chill.  At first, I planned on giving them only antifreeze, but I thought an extra element of fantasy was needed, so like with how they breathe underwater without gills, I left it vague whether it's the work of antifreeze protein or magic.  Them sliding on ice on their bellies like penguins with their mouths open is something I came up with on the spot, because I thought it was a cute and funny thing for them to do.


And that's basically it.  Lastly, I want to formally request the removal of the Meiramines from the wiki.  Truth to be told, I am no longer satisfied with this sub-race.  All they are, at the end of the day, is mermaids who can spit water in people's face.  They're no longer up to my standards.


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PostSubject: Re: Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races   Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:48 pm

Shady Knight wrote:
Mermaids [...] In Felarya, however, their stories are one that inspire terror in the hearts of seafarers rather than thrill.  They possess a voracious appetite, with a single giant mermaid being capable of devouring an entire crew of sailors by herself.  For any adventurer brave or foolhardy enough to sail the rivers and seas of Felarya...
Well, that was a mouthful. There's a couple things that I'd like to point out, though.
In real life, rivers and seas are rarely big enough to house something of that size comfortably. You might want to point out that giant mermaids are restricted to large water courses, and they generally can't fit in manmade channels (because no one would be dumb enough to build one big enough for a mermaid to move comfortably through).
Also in Felarya, we have to assume ships can be pretty big, and quite armed, even with relatively low tech. Any course big enough to house a mermaid should also be big enough for a well-armed ship to move comfortably in; you might want to address that, too. Mermaids should face heavy arms more often than any other kind of pred.


Shady Knight wrote:
Biological Traits [...] In Felarya, mermaids can be classified into two broad categories based on whether they have adapted to life in fresh or salt water, and possess a number of physiological traits that allows them to better survive in their respective environments. River Mermaids are found in most bodies of freshwater, anywhere from frigid mountain streams, to [...] estuaries.
Estuaries are not freshwater.

Shady Knight wrote:
Although smaller and lighter than their sea-dwelling cousins, they are remarkably fast and agile, able to swim against rapid currents and leap out of the water with the greatest of ease.  They are more graceful on dry land than sea mermaids, with some being even able to climb small trees to a limited degree, though they remain quite clumsy out of their element.  Inexperienced adventurers often underestimate how quickly a river mermaid can move on land, believing to be safe simply from being out of arm’s reach, only to be caught off guard when the mermaid suddenly leaps out of the water and gives chase.  Many river mermaids possess a long, adhesive tongue which they can shoot out and retract at great speed to catch prey like that of a frog.


Shady Knight wrote:
Sea Mermaids make their home in the vast, deep oceans of Felarya.  They are larger than river mermaids, and because their habitats are found at the bottom of the sea, they can withstand greater amounts of water pressure.  They are not as swift swimmers or as capable of the same feats of agility as their freshwater counterparts, but are significantly more robust and can swim much longer distances without fear of exhaustion, owing it to the constant pressure of the sea floor.  As the oceanic environment is far more varied than the streams and rivers of Felarya, sea mermaids come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes compared to freshwater mermaids, sporting a wild array of bright colors and exotic patterns as well.  Some sea mermaids have the ability to change colors to help with camouflage.

Shady Knight wrote:
Either species of merfolk can survive [...] less than a day.
That's a long-ass-winded way of saying nothing. They live in freshwater until they don't, then they live in saltwater, until they don't, which can take days or weeks, or sometimes less than a day, but not all. If you can't kill this, I'd advise to reduce it to fewer sentences.

Shady Knight wrote:
Being an aquatic race, the mermaid’s anatomy is [...] a strange and alien sensation [...] not unlike motion sickness.
Now I get that we have different priorities, and that you like biology, but I'd trim the swim bladder and the lens, or at least reduce them somewhat. We all know fish swim, the process is rarely relevant, and animal buffs can look up swim bladders and fish lens elsewhere. Your article is already long as it is.

Shady Knight wrote:
Like any amphibious species, merfolk can breathe freely in and out of water, but how [...] magic.
You might be able to benefit from grouping together their land adaptations in one paragraph. Also, are you sure you wanna go mystery when it comes to how they breathe? This isn't IRL, there can't be a shortage of people willing to rip a merman's insides out and see what he ate. This goes doubly for MAGIC.
If you want it to be a joke, you gotta be briefer and wittier. I dunno, make your punchline about noses.

Shady Knight wrote:
Behavior and Culture
it gud

Shady Knight wrote:
Language [...] mermaids speak like any normal person
You're laying it on too thick here, and skipping a few obvious questions- such as why it doesn't translate.

Shady Knight wrote:
Hunting Habits Obviously, merfolk primarily eat [...] only once in a blue moon
I like the third paragraph. But again, you're going overboard.

Shady Knight wrote:
Reproduction
Alright, this one works for me, but I'm sure everyone expected otherwise. Fish are infamous for being delicious while tadpoles, and for, with rare exceptions such as clownfish, not having discernible family structures.

Shady Knight wrote:
Leviathan Mermaid
Which whale? Is it an orca, a porpoise, an austral, a baleen, sperm, a blue rorqual? Some extinct cetacean perhaps? You might want to add in "the barnacle-ridden, glossy gray hide of a XXX whale" or something here. Does it sing? If so, do the other whales have anything to say about her?
Also, this is fantasy. You're allowed to pull from the mythical Leviathan, the fish in whose nostril lay the heavens and the earth.

Shady Knight wrote:
Selachi
OK, Selachi are ok.

Shady Knight wrote:
Abyssal Mermaid
Anglerfish are great guys. Again, though, you're laying it on too thick here. I get they are teh sinisterrrr.

Shady Knight wrote:
Dr. Freeze Mermaid
Not bad, not bad at all.

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PostSubject: Re: Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races   Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:30 am

It's funny you didn't seem to have those complaints when my previous updates, Stabs, when they were every bit as long-winded as this one.  Anyway, while I appreciate your feedback and I agree that I laid it on thick, I have to disagree with some of the points you made.

First, I think it goes without saying that everything in Felarya is far larger than it is in real life.  That goes for streams and rivers as well.  I could have made mention of humans making massive warships, true, but I prefer that the article stays focused on the mermaids themselves.  Plus, it would have given people the idea that humans and giant monsters are essentially at war, when that's not the case.

Concerning estuaries, the line is taken almost verbatim from the old River Mermaid entry.

Maybe I should simply mention that the difference in salinity simply causes discomfort, nausea at worst, and that it's other factors, like water pressure and proximity to land that discourages mermaids from either habitat from migrating much.

The biology, maybe I shouldn't have gone into much details describing how the swim-bladder and what shape the lens take on.

As for how mermaids breathe underwater, blame Karbo on this one.  Were it entirely up to me, I'd just give mermaids gills, but since Felaryan mermaids apparently don't have gills, I have to improvise on this one.  I'll leave it to Karbo to decide which one it is.

Language.  Again, taken more or less verbatim from the current article. Maybe I could have shortened it a little to not include the part about plays and such.

I don't see how I'm going overboard when listing the mermaids' predators.

I probably should have mentioned that newborn mermaids are very vulnerable, you're right about that one.

For Leviathan Mermaids, just whales in general.  Mermaids in general are based on nondescript fish for the most part already, so why can't the same be done with whales?  And yes, they sing.  Unless it's mentioned, assume that they share the same traits as their garden variety counterparts.  That's how I usually go with sub-races.

Admittedly, yes, I did go a little too far with the Abyssal Mermaid.  The big rumor about abyssal folks going on a feeding frenzy would be better in the rumor section.  But until they are finally part of the wiki, that will stay where it is.
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PostSubject: Re: Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races   Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:00 pm

Shady Knight wrote:
First, I think it goes without saying that everything in Felarya is far larger than it is in real life.  That goes for streams and rivers as well.  I could have made mention of humans making massive warships, true, but I prefer that the article stays focused on the mermaids themselves.  Plus, it would have given people the idea that humans and giant monsters are essentially at war, when that's not the case.
That streams and rivers are bigger doesn't rule out that there may be smaller ones- but I agree regarding the part about warshipping.

Shady Knight wrote:
Concerning estuaries, the line is taken almost verbatim from the old River Mermaid entry.
Uh, right. Sorry.

Shady Knight wrote:
Maybe I should simply mention that the difference in salinity simply causes discomfort, nausea at worst, and that it's other factors, like water pressure and proximity to land that discourages mermaids from either habitat from migrating much.
Shady Knight wrote:
The biology, maybe I shouldn't have gone into much details describing how the swim-bladder and what shape the lens take on.
That might work better, otherwise, you're asking the reader to pay too much attention to a thing that by your own admission doesn't actually have to do anything.

Shady Knight wrote:
As for how mermaids breathe underwater, blame Karbo on this one.  Were it entirely up to me, I'd just give mermaids gills, but since Felaryan mermaids apparently don't have gills, I have to improvise on this one.  I'll leave it to Karbo to decide which one it is.
Alright, I'll stay off on this one.

Shady Knight wrote:
Language.  Again, taken more or less verbatim from the current article.  Maybe I could have shortened it a little to not include the part about plays and such.
And as I told you, it raises more questions than it answers when you spell it out. You say it's a language, but you don't explain why it's not translated and just sounds pretty.

Shady Knight wrote:
I don't see how I'm going overboard when listing the mermaids' predators.
You listed pretty much everything they can, even circumstantially, get their hands on.

Shady Knight wrote:
I probably should have mentioned that newborn mermaids are very vulnerable, you're right about that one.
That's not my point. You do list it, but then you add that they are protected by their parents- and I don't know if that works for everyone. I at least personally expected mermaids to be more than a little loose with their social groups, and did not expect mermaids to, as a rule, be protected by family. That's why it doesn't convince me so much.

Shady Knight wrote:
For Leviathan Mermaids, just whales in general.  Mermaids in general are based on nondescript fish for the most part already, so why can't the same be done with whales?  And yes, they sing.  Unless it's mentioned, assume that they share the same traits as their garden variety counterparts.  That's how I usually go with sub-races.
Generic fish are one thing, Shady, but the larger an animal, the less of them that fit in the same planet. In the case of leviathan mermaids, we have to expect that there's really, really few of them, and that means there can't be infinity subspecies- or that there shouldn't be. Not if the leviathans are really rare.
As for the singing, I'm not asking if they sing. I'm saying that if they communicate in the sea, it doesn't make much sense that they are so mysterious to other mermaids. Can't the others hear them, are they not translated?

Shady Knight wrote:
Admittedly, yes, I did go a little too far with the Abyssal Mermaid.  The big rumor about abyssal folks going on a feeding frenzy would be better in the rumor section.  But until they are finally part of the wiki, that will stay where it is.
Fine by me.

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PostSubject: Re: Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races   Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:55 am

Updated the revised article based on criticism.


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PostSubject: Re: Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races   Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:47 pm

You could try not to open with criticism of the, admittedly,  less sophisticated wiki article. But oddly this time around a that is the only criticism I will give this article. Not a bad re-write. It's like you took the old stub and added new info but didn't throw the old out just sort of expounded on it and re-aligned it to present more professional. ^_^ Good job, Shady.

I disagree on the Whale only for Leviathans though. Too limiting and excludes characters made before this that others designed. I mean it makes sense as a generalization but maybe say there have been other variations. After all the largest marine creature ever was the Megalodon a shark so big it could eat whales with ease.

Abyssal sound sensational to me. The rumor attached is Nightmare Fuel Magnifique and I can see many a sailor going pale every time the moon is crossed by a cloud and they think some half glimpsed shadow is moving andcstsrting to glow. x3 Got a mind to write that one.

Ice Mermaids sound like a fine bunch and very different from their eastern most cousins. I like the bit about being more interested in Human Tales than in making lunch of ya. Also the idea of smaller cities and villages.
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PostSubject: Re: Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races   Tue May 01, 2018 9:13 am

I decided to add a little more polish to the general article, and also took the liberty to rewrite the abyssal mermaid entry more or less from the ground up, since I thought it would flow a little better that way.
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PostSubject: Re: Mermaid Update + New Mermaid Sub-Races   Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:18 am

That's a really solid entry here, you go in much more details than the existing one. The division between freshwater and saltwater category make perfect sense as well. my main remark is on the social behavior that is perhaps a bit too specific and general? I see what you had in mind here and I find it appropriate for mermaids in regard to how fishes behave but I would tone it down slightly.

Great job as well on the two species. Indeed they are lacking in the mermaid sub species. The Abyssal mermaid sound suitably creepy and it make sense there would be legend around them ^^

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