"The Merfolk's Three Wisdoms:
For centuries tales of fish women and men have abounded in various parts of the world, and most of them have been explained off by the lusty minds of lonely sailors or similar things. I am here to tell you not that those stories are all true, oh no. However, there are a number of legends that abound from more ... reliable sources and some of those sailors were lucky enough not to have imagined their chance encounter.
We are as alive as you are, and probably having more fun doing it too. Our courts are as effective, probably more so than you landwalkers, and far less bothersome and complicated.
Mer have a unique connection to the Dreaming due to the fact that they have had less exposure to Banality and their Grottos are better protected (harder to get to). Mer reincarnate much like most changelings except that their faerie soul travels from Earth to Arcadia and back in between. This results in every other incarnation being born on Earth and the remaining in Arcadia.
When Mers are in their "mermaid" form, their mortal seeming is that of a large fish or aquatic vertebrate. The type and size of animal will vary, but it must be native to the area, and the player and storyteller must agree on it.
Notes on Playing Merfolk:
Mer characters can choose to pick Any of the backgrounds a European changeling can normally, however Title will not apply to the land-bound Sidhe Courts, but rather the Mer-Courts of the Undersea.
Mer characters may not purchase dots in the abilities Computer, Drive, Firearms, Security, or Streetwise at character creation. These abilities can only be purchased with experience points at the storyteller's approval. In general House Melusine will not have a problem due to their "land-lubber" ways.
Mers may choose any of the Arts in the Changeling: The Dreaming and the Changeling: Players Guide except Pyretics. However, they most often pick Chicanery, Dreamcraft, Legerdemain, and Wayfare. In addition to these, they have their own art: Binding.
Mermaid milk allows the drinker the ability to breath underwater for a day per cup. This is most commonly used to allow baby Mer to breathe underwater until they have bonded with an animal.
Following are the most common general terms in use among Merfolk, as they differ from changeling society as a whole.
- Atlantis: the center of Mer society and fame. Within it's walls are the source of the Glowstones, used to stabilize new Grottos and help maintain their strength. (equivalent to Tara-Nar)
- Commoner: any Mer without a title, or another changeling. Most Mer don't acknowledge European Royalty except when travelling through their territory and sometimes not even then...
- Fishie: a nickname for wilder Mers.
- Glowstones: the source of a Grotto's Glamour. (Balefire)
- Grotto: a place that is infused with Glamour. (Freehold)
- Hatchling: a newly born Mer that was the product of two Mer or a Mer and a Rokea
- Honker: a derogatory term for Selkies.
- Landwalkers: all changelings not commonly found in the water (exceptions are Selkies, Kokua, Yunwi Amai'yine'hi [Water People], and Water Babies)
- Sea Hag: a nickname for a grump Mer.
- School: a family or group of friends that are mostly commoners. (Motley)
- Tadpole: a nickname used for childlings. Most childlings like it less than a child likes to be called a "kid".
All Mers have blue eyes of varying shades. In their fae seeming Mers have swirling, large blue eyes that flow and ebb just like the water they originate from. Their ears are wide, pointed and webbed, just like their fingers and toes. They have gill slits along the jawbone and down the sides of the neck perceptible only when used. Their hair is wet until the day they die or until they are Undone.
Hatchling: these mer are born into an undersea world and have mer parents (or the occasional Rokea parent). They have fish-like black eyes. The lower part of their body resembles that of a short eel. They remain this way until they bond with their chosen animal. They do not have gills, but receive air and nutrients by periodic breast-feeding.
Childling: mers are playful and shy, yet curious. They tend to play their games from behind the scenes, giggling wildly at the fools on stage.
Wilder: "fishies" are just that, wild. They are more obvious in play, but are more cautious in all other matters except love.
Grump: mers are the most likely to spend their last days hiding out in deep ocean realms they fashion themselves to hide from Banality and wait out Winter. It is known that a few of these poor souls have dissappeared, leaving nothing behind, not even their "Grottos". It is said some blame the Hidden Ones, but that is just a rumor ... isn't it?!
Mer are quite possibly the most spread out kith. They live in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Carribean Sea, and various large rivers in North and Central America. A few have been known to frequent the Amazon. Most tadpoles and grumps stay in one place for long periods of time, while the fishies tend to "migrate". They can be found as lifeguards, scuba divers, oceanographers, river quality inspectors, artists, etc.
Silver's Gate -- The Mer were the last to leave Earth for Arcadia and they have a greater connection to both than most of the other fae. They start off with one dot each in Remembrance, Gremayre, and Lore.
Call of Poseidon -- Because of the deep connection with the ocean and, it is told, Poseidon himself, Merfolk have gifts granted them by the sea. All Mers can breathe under water and shift their legs into a fish tail while totally wet (e.g., in the shower/bath, in a river, in a water fight, etc.) by rolling their Glamour (difficulty 6) with only one success needed, successes determine how fast. In their "mermaid" form, their mortal seeming is that of a fish (appropriate to the tail colorations). In this form, not only can they breathe under water (they can breathe underwater in either form) but they can also share this ability with others by spending a temporary point of Glamour for each person being affected and keeping physical contact with them for the duration. If their guest isn't enchanted they will need to enchant them (spending additional points of Glamour). This Birthright is in effect in both the changelings fae mein and mortal seeming.
Glamour of the Sea -- Mer can harvest Glamour from their surroundings in the same manner as Nunnehi and Menehune (see Changeling Player's Guide, pg. 146), thus gaining the ability for Harvesting, Raiding, and Blessing.
Mystery of the Sea -- Mer eyes are deep with the lore and mystery of the sea (and their connection to the Dreaming). To other changelings and enchanted mortals, this is a wonderous and beautiful sight. Looking into a Mer's eyes is a feeling of wonder, awe and peace. To resist being mesmerized, any other changeling or enchanted mortal must roll Wits + Alertness (difficulty of the Mer's Glamour +4, maximum of 10). This difficulty decreases by 1 for each successive look. Any Mer may choose to dampen this effect by rolling their Willpower (difficulty of their own Glamour) to lower the difficulty of the resist roll. Mesmerized people can be released by breaking eye contact. For the Mer to do this themself, they have to make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) and spend a temporary point of Willpower to break the contact. To them, this connection allows them to be a momentary bridge between the mystery of the sea and the spark it brings to another's imagination, giving them the same feeling as the mortal to a lesser extent, making it very hard to break.
No action may be taken while eye contact is made.
It is entirely possible for others to make this eye contact willingly and on purpose. When this is done the mer may break off at any time and the other person may do the same with a Willpower roll (difficulty 5 + their Empathy). This can become addictive to enchanted mortals, lovers, and grump changelings (because of the closeness it gives them to Glamour).
Banality's Curse -- Same as the sidhe frailty of the same name (see Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition pg. 101), but only applies while on land.
Note: If using the rules for Mer houses from Blood-Dimmed Tides then House Melusine ignores the Banality's Curse instead of their listed Boon. Any Mer can pick up the "forbidden skills" after character creation.
If using Murdhuacha from Blood-Dimmed Tides replace their frailty "The Coldness" with the following:
Creature from the Deep -- Under water this functions as per the sidhe frailty "Banality's Curse" (see Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition pg. 101). Above water it is double the Banality instead of +1.
"We wander the depths with the confidance that we will find something new and wondrous to see on our journey. You wander your land wishing there was somewhere else to go. Whatever you do, don't look down here for solutions, look to those precious stars of yours."
- Boggans: Some of the best craftspeople you'll ever find, but one warning: If you want it to look interesting, you'd best do it yourself.
- Clurichaun: Drunkard idiots. They visit only when they fall in the water in a drunken stupor. However, if one sings or plays close enough to the shore, most of them are amazing musicians.
- Dragonkin: Noble and beautiful creatures, they guard our grottos with genuine intent and care.
- Eshu: These guys are great! Do you have any idea what they are willing to give up to here stories from another world ... ours?
- Ghille Dhu: The distance from water that I would need to go to see one is not worth the curiosity that inspire's it.
- Nockers: They make great scuba gear and boats ... too bad we don't need any. However, most of their contraptions do look nice sitting in the corner as sculptures. They are artists, not mechanics.
- Pooka: Their heart is in the right place and they mean well, but their pranks are annoying at best. They are also the worst ... or best liars you'll ever meet.
- Redcaps: Something tells me they don't take their tunafish out of a can. Disgusting monsters.
- Satyrs: Lusty lot they are! The easiest to summon, and some of the most fun. But, sample only, do not cater to addiction.
- Selkies: Our not so distant cousins, the Selkies embrace not only the ocean, but the land as well. Theirs is a dangerous pastime and noble cause so help them when it is needed, otherwise stand clear least they drag you down with them.
- Sidhe: The Mer-Courts of Undersea would laugh if they saw these mockery of nobility. Disregard their commands and instead teach them their lessons in humility.
- Sluagh: Ick! Perhaps it would be best if they climbed back into their holes and hibernated until Winter.
- Trolls: Awesome warriors! Even the worst are honorable. Little detail though ... I've never met one that didn't sink to the bottom rather than take his armor off.