I am building fluff for merfolk races in a campaign im doing and i am wondering what you guys think. Currently i have merfolk fluffed out in my world to be a mix of a cosmopolitan, merchantile race and a secretive isolationist one. They have sections of their cities that are above surface where they openly mix and trade with other races, but the underwater portions are protected and secretive. It is intended to be a race that can be played in any campaign so they are able to walk on land by slithering like a naga/yuanti, but im considering converting them to legged merfolk like in MTG. They are modelled after the half elfs and are intended to replace them as the diplomacy race in my world. Heres what i have written so far and i was looking for your guy's opinion on it. Questions, additions and criticisms are welcome!
Tailed Male Merfolk Picture
Tailed Female Merfolk Picture
Legged Merfolk male
Legged Merfolk female
"Coastal Merfolk" Fluff
The Coastal Merfolk are an aquatic race that has populated many of the world’s oceans. Communities are most common along on the continental shelf of temperate regions but they can exist in almost any other body of water. They are an ancient species and are therefore just as physically diverse as humans. They have a cosmopolitan and mercantile society and most Coastal Merfolk are competent tradesmen and explorers.
Physical Description: All Coastal Merfolk have the upper bodies of slender, tall and shapely humans and the lower bodies of powerful scaled fish that are at least twice as long as human legs. Their skin can be almost any color, but dark greens, silvers, blues, and browns are common. Many Merfolk also have dramatic and brightly colored stripes, rings, spots or other patterns similar to those found in sea creatures all over the world. Instead of hair, merfolk have long feathery fins or crests on their head. Merfolk have specially adapted gills instead of lungs that can breathe both water and air. They breath in through their mouth or nose and out through gill slits on the side on their chest. Their tails allow powerful swimming, but are also long and flexible enough to support the rest of the body upright on land as they slither along. Merfolk blood has vague magical properties which interacts strangely with magic.
Society: The Merfolk are an optimistic people, who approach life with vigorous gusto. The natural bounty of the sea allows Merfolk to lead relatively labor free lives with plenty of free time for a passionate love of arts, athletics, magic, business, and leisure. Many devote their extra hours to all manner of professions simply for the enjoyment of them or to compete for prestige. Merfolk culture has a heavy emphasis on commerce, and all merfolk develop an affinity for negotiation. Rather than give live birth, Merfolk lay large soft eggs that must be kept in well oxygenated water at all times. For this reason, and the discomfort of being outside water for long, Merfolk communities are never seen far from water.
Relations: Coastal Merfolk are the gatekeepers to the waterways, and this gives them a position at the center of commerce. They have contact with all manner of races who wish to use rivers, lakes, and oceans for trade or transport. However, despite how engaged and personable Merfolk appear to be while on the surface interacting with other races, they are extremely protective and secretive of their lives and communities under the water surface. A Merfolk will gregariously discuss all manner of happenings above the waves, but will turn stoic and silent if the conversation turns to internal Merfolk affairs. Merfolk generally regard themselves as distinct and apart from the other common races due to their unique bodies, but their agreeable enthusiastic attitude usually makes relations easy. Merfolk get along best with humans because they most often create waterside communities. Merfolk find little in common with the grim and stoic dwarves and their mountain citadels are even more difficult to reach for aquatic peoples. Their magic blood has inticed some groups and individuals to predate on merfolk communities to collect it. Any groups that do so are viewed with fear and hatred and the risk of predation is part of the reason for their secrecy.
Alignment and Religion: The exuberant personality of many Merfolk allows any combination of alignments. Individuals generally worship a wide pantheon rather than a single deity. City temples are usually very large combined buildings for all the gods. Each deity has a section within the great temple devoted to its particular tenets. Merfolk worshippers may offer prayers and sacraments to which ever god has purview over their current situation.
Adventurers: A Merfolk's reasons for becoming an adventurer are as diverse as the merfolk themselves. Their Some want to experience the world, to test themselves, to bring home vast treasures, to discover ancient secrets, to earn prestige, or to achieve a specific goal. Merfolk Society has a higher than average number of explorers, and a common motivation for adventuring is a restless desire to experience the world. Coastal Merfolk’s wide variety in characteristics and interests allows them to be gifted in any adventuring class but many are sorcerers, warlocks, bards, and paladins.
D&D 5E Racial Traits
Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma increases by 2 and two other ability scores of your choice increase by 1
Size: Your size is medium.
Speed: Your base speed is 25 feet.
Aquatic: You gain a swim speed of 30 feet, and can breathe both water and air.
Waterway Traders: You have proficiency with persuasion.
Merfolk Blood: When you roll a 1 on a saving throw to resist magical effects, you can reroll the die and must accept the new roll.
Skill Versatility: You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
Languages: You can read, speak, and write common, aquan, and one other language of your choice
is the fluff good?
is it balanced?
How long should merfolk live and how does it affect their society?
"Coastal Merfolk" is the working titIe. want a better/alternate name for them.: Nommo? Merrow? Triton? Something made up? anyone have recommendations for this?
Mabye they should be converted into an aquatic legged version of merfolk like what MTG did with their merfolk? would that preserve their uniqueness while not making them too alien?
Thanks for Reading!