Merfolk Erectus (5e Race)

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Merfolk Erectus[edit]

Three standing erectus.
(Guardians by Igor Kieryluk at deviantArt)

"The land will no longer be our border, it will be our frontier." -Jhiri of the Blue Gills Tribe

Physical Description[edit]

Also known as “standing merfolk” or “shallows merfolk,” this is a species of merfolk that have developed the legs and bone structure that allows them to walk on the land as well as swim through the water. These merfolk tend to be slender with long legs. They have wide mouths, large eyes, and webs of skin between their fingers and toes.

Their skin comes in many different colors, but are usually mottled shades of blue, green, or brown. The shallows merfolk have a broad lightly colored patch of skin along their bellies and faces, and a darker patch up their backs and along the back of their heads. Along with these broad patterns, merfolk usually have natural designs in their skin, swirls and spots of color along their bodies. Merfolk skin occasionally has some vestigial scales, but mostly feels similar to the skin of humans. There is a slight layer of oil on their skins that helps keep them moist out of the water and to move quickly in the water.

Like most merfolk, the legged merfolk have large fins that run down their lower arms and legs and up their back, necks, and heads that can be flexed and extended at will. The fins on their heads look superficially similar to hair when flaccid.

Merfolk erectus have a greater need for water than other races when they are away from the coasts they often drink more than others or take long baths, many simply stand outside in the rain. This connection with the water also makes them uniquely sensitive to extremes in temperature.


The progenitors of this strain of merfolk were advanced biomancers. They applied their magic to their fellow clansmen in order to alter the thick tails of their people into pairs of legs. This adaptation allowed them to expand their travel into new, dryer, territories. They spread across the sand and soil that once marked their borders, exploring their unique connection to the dry land and the deep seas.

Seals are popular pets among the shallows merfolk, their ability to live both on land and sea is appealing to them and they are often raised similarly to dogs.

Eventually, a unique culture arose among the merfolk that centered around the shores and the shallows. The standing merfolk built semi-permanent villages and settlements around the shores and in the water, usually around reefs. These settlements are designed not to weather storms and tides, but to be easily moved and rebuilt. Often other races have a difficult time dealing with the merfolk erectus simply out of difficulty finding where they’ve moved.

The merfolk erectus retain many of the personality traits of their sea-bound cousins, they are a curious and mischievous people, and frequently make surface dwellers the butts of their jokes or investigations. Some less savory merfolk take advantage of their knowledge of the waters to lay ambushes for sailors or run them aground on reefs.


The curious and thoughtful merfolk are natural explorers, and their ability to stand on the soil have let them wanderers across nearly the entire world, unbound of firm ties to either the land or sea. The merfolk erectus have many settlements along the shores and shallow waters, but few that remain in a permanent location.

Most merfolk craft is made out of materials scavenged from the seas or shores, or traded for from land-dwelling communities. Much of their art, and tools incorporate a hodgepodge of materials and wooden parts are usually exchanged for shell, coral, or stone.

Standing merfolk wear little clothing while underwater, and usually wear loose robes while on land. What armor they wear is designed to be streamlined as well as tough, or to blend with the ocean floor.

Merfolk erectus are expected to be as capable on both the land and the sea, their children are raised underwater and then taught to walk at a young age.

The merfolk have difficulty with the heats for forging metals, as such, they trade for most of their metal goods. Any wood they collect is carefully treated and waterproofed before it is used by the merfolk.

Organized merfolk societies tend to be small clans made up of a few families living together in small villages underwater near the shores or in deep lakes, with a few larger buildings nearby on the land. They develop their underwater settlements in shallow water, preferring coral reefs or natural underwater cave systems. Anything built above the water is usually built on stilts or designed to be disassembled and rebuilt quickly.

Merfolk Erectus Names[edit]

Male: Agrata, Aquis, Avris, Bornet, Ceimu, Drake, Korma, Latus, Leomaris, Midus, Morgan, Namor, Nido, Orman, Pvorsa, Salas, Sedor, Talrand, Typhon, Wiggus.

Female: Anosa, Ariel, Atlise, Cordula, Corselle, Halimeda, Iren, Katara, Kella, Kilmie, Korra, Marilla, Morea, Nosae, Portia, Soreen, Tassab, Ulanda, Vesta, Yisea, Zegana, Undyne.

Merfolk Erectus Racial Traits[edit]

A merfolk practicing hydromancy (Source: Magic the Gathering)

Amphibious coastal merfolk of the shallows and the shores.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. Merfolk Erectus reach maturity at 40 and live for almost a thousand years.
Alignment. Like most merfolk, merfolk erectus tend to be neutral.
Size. Merfolk Erectus stand anywhere between 5 and 7 feet tall and tend to have slender, flexible builds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet, Your base swimming speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Amphibious. You can breathe both air and water.
Mask of the Seas. While in or near the water you can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, mud clouds, stone or other natural objects and phenomena.
Merfolk Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the net, spear, and trident.
Underwater Capability. Underwater combat does not impose any penalties or disadvantages on movement or weapon attacks. While underwater you have darkvision, you can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Slippery. You have advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks against being grappled and saving throws to avoid being restrained.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Aquan.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

Table: Merfolk Erectus Random Height and Weight
Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
5′ 0″ +2d12 in. 75 lb. × (1d4) lb.

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