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Merfolk

Merfolk have the upper torsos of well-built and attractive humans and lower halves consisting of the tail and fins of a great fish. Their hair and scales span a wide range of hues, with merfolk in a given region closely resembling each other. Merfolk can breathe air freely but move on dry land only with difficulty, and rarely spend long periods out of water. As a race, merfolk are insular and distrustful of strangers, but individuals, especially adventuring merfolk, break the mold and can be quite garrulous. Merfolk concern themselves more with nature and the arts than with morality and ethical debates, and have a strong inclination toward neutral alignments.

Merfolk Racial Traits

+2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma: Merfolk are graceful, hale, and beautiful.

Medium: Merfolk are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Slow Speed: Merfolk have a base speed of 5 feet. They have a swim speed of 50 feet.

Aquatic: Merfolk are humanoids with the aquatic subtype.

Amphibious: Merfolk are amphibious, but prefer not to spend long periods out of the water.

Low-Light Vision: Merfolk have low-light vision.

Armor: Merfolk have a +2 natural armor bonus.

Legless: Merfolk have no legs, and cannot be tripped.

Languages: Merfolk begin play speaking Common and Aquan. Merfolk with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aboleth, Aklo, Draconic, Elven, and Sylvan.

Alternate Racial Traits

The following racial traits may be selected instead of existing merfolk racial traits. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

Darkvision: Some merfolk favor the lightless depths over shallower waters. Merfolk with this racial trait gain darkvision with a range of 60 feet and light sensitivity. This racial trait replaces low-light vision.

Seasinger: The beautiful voices of the merfolk are legendary. A seasinger gains a +2 racial bonus on Perform (sing) checks and a +1 racial bonus to the save DC of language-dependent spells. This racial trait replaces low-light vision.

Strongtail: A few merfolk have broad, strong tails that are more suited for land travel than the typical merfolk tail. Merfolk with this racial trait have a land speed of 15 feet and a swim speed of 30 feet.

Favored Class Options

The following options are available to all merfolk who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.

Druid: Add +1 hit point to the druid's animal companion. If the merfolk ever replaces her animal companion, the new animal companion gains these bonus hit points.

Ranger: Add +1 hit point to the ranger's animal companion. If the ranger ever replaces his animal companion, the new animal companion gains these bonus hit points.

Sorcerer: Add +1/2 to the sorcerer's caster level when determining the range of any spells with the water descriptor.

Racial Archetypes

The following racial archetype is available to merfolk.

Wave Warden (Ranger)

The wave warden patrols beneath the sea, preserving the safety and secrets of merfolk communities. Though he fares best beneath the water, dry land is no haven to his quarry.

Deep Sentinel (Ex): A wave warden adds half his level (minimum +1) on Perception checks made to notice creatures underwater. This ability replaces track.

Aquatic Prowess Feat (Ex): At 2nd level and every four levels thereafter, a wave warden selects a bonus feat that improves his prowess in aquatic environments. He can choose these feats even if he does not meet the prerequisites. Initially, he may choose from the following feats: Dodge, Mobility, Net Adept, Net and Trident, Net Maneuvering, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload, Sea Hunter, and Two-Weapon Fighting. At 6th level, he adds Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Net Trickery, and Spring Attack to the list. At 10th level, he adds Greater Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Precise Shot to the list. This ability otherwise functions like and replaces the standard ranger's combat style bonus feats, including the limitations on armor worn.

Favored Terrain (Ex): At 3rd level, a wave warden gains water as a favored terrain. At 8th level and every five levels thereafter, his bonus in aquatic terrain increases by +2. He does not gain additional favored terrains. This otherwise functions like the standard ranger's favored terrain ability and replaces that ability.

Seaborn (Ex): At 7th level, a wave warden may move through any sort of aquatic growth (such as coral or seaweed) or across a wet surface at his normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. Obstacles that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion still affect him. This ability replaces woodland stride.

Watery Summons (Sp): At 8th level, a wave warden can summon allies once per day as a full-round action. This functions as summon nature's ally III, except it can only be used to summon creatures with the aquatic or water subtypes. At 11th level, this ability improves to summon nature's ally IV, with this progression continuing every three levels thereafter. The warden's caster level is equal to his ranger level. This ability replaces swift tracker.

New Racial Rules

The following options are available to merfolk. At the GM's discretion, other appropriate races may also make use of some of these.

Merfolk Equipment

Merfolk have access to the following equipment.

Underwater Crossbow: An underwater crossbow functions like its normal counterpart above water, and can be used underwater. When fired underwater, the crossbow has a range increment of 20 feet. Anyone proficient with a normal crossbow can use an underwater crossbow.

Merfolk Equipment
Ranged WeaponsCostWeight
Underwater crossbow, heavy100 gp8 lbs.
Underwater crossbow, light70 gp4 lbs.

Merfolk Feats

Merfolk have access to the following feat.

Sea Hunter (Combat)

Your blows knock swimming opponents off balance.

Prerequisites: Combat Expertise, merfolk.

Benefit: When you make a successful melee attack against a swimming target, as a free action you can attempt to knock the target off balance. Treat this as a trip combat maneuver. If you succeed, the target is considered off balance until it recovers its balance, usually by making a Swim check on its turn. This feat has no effect on creatures with a swim speed, those using magic such as freedom of movement, and creatures that can't be tripped.

Merfolk Magic Items

Merfolk have access to the following magic item.

Seafoam Shawl

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th

Slot shoulders; Price 6,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description

This shawl of delicate lace grants the benefits of the fins to feet spell (see below) once per day.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, fins to feet; Cost 3,000 gp

Merfolk Spells

Merfolk have access to the following spell.

Fins to Feet

School transmutation (polymorph); Level druid 3, sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range touch

Target willing creature touched

Duration 1 hour/level (D)

Save none; Spell Resistance yes

You transform the target's fins, flippers, or tail into legs and feet, allowing it to walk on land. The target loses its swim speed but gains a base speed appropriate for a humanoid of its size (speed 30 if a Medium or larger creature, speed 20 if Small). If the creature is immersed in water for 1 round, the transformation reverts, allowing it to swim normally. One round after leaving the water, the transformation occurs again, allowing it to walk.

This spell only works on merfolk, tritons, seals, fish, and other creatures whose bodies or limbs are used mainly for swimming and are not suitable for walking. It does not give the target the ability to breathe air.