The Merfolk and Merrow

The Merfolk and Merrow


In the many worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, the depths of the ocean world are traversed by many creatures, but two of the most common oddities of the deep are the Merfolk and the Merrow. 

First, I will be going over the merfolk. The kingdoms and tribes of the merfolk span across the many worlds of D&D, but their people have an expansive variety in color, culture, and outlook just like the human races of the surface. Land folk and merfolk rarely meet, only in very rare cases. Although, mariners will tell tales of romance with these creatures of faraway islands. 

Merfolk are quite a simple people; they lack the sophistication and materials to forge weapons, to write books and keep lore, or to make civilizations of stone-walled castles. The result has been for them to live in small hunter-gatherer tribes, each with its own unique values and creeds. 

Only occasionally do they have one leader that they unite under. They only do so when they have to face a common threat or have a similar goal. The beginning of these can lead to undersea kingdoms with dynasties that can last hundreds of years.

Because they lack sophistication, merfolk usually build their settlements in huge undersea caverns, mazes of coral or kelp, or ruins of sunken cities like the mythical Atlantis. However, they do live just shallow enough so that the passing of the days can be marked by the gleam and fade of the sunlight through water. 

The shepherds of merfolk tend to schools of fish just as the shepherds of the land folk tend to flocks of sheep. Only rarely do the merfolk delve deeper into the seas of what they call home, and for good reason.

The Merrow were once a very ancient tribe of merfolk that found an idol of the Demogorgon at the bottom of the sea. Not knowing what it was, they brought it to their king, who decreed that a sacrificial ritual be performed to open a gateway to the Abyss. The ocean was stained red with the blood of merfolk, and a gate was torn open, connecting the Material Plane and the Demogorgon’s layer of the Abyss. 

The merfolk remained there for generations, fighting for their lives as the Abyss warped them completely, transforming them into hulking, evil monstrosities. Whenever it sees fit, the Prince of Demons sends merrow back to the Material Plane to strike fear into the denizens of the seas. The merrow are heartless bullies that attack creatures smaller and weaker than themselves. They tie up the corpses of their victims along strands of kelp to mark the borders of their territory.