Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Merrow Man - An HMS Apollyon Humanoid


No Enc. 2-12 (22 - 220)
Movement: (40')/40' Swim
Armorclass: 5
Hit Dice: 1+1 HD
Damage: 1D6 + Special
Save: F1
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: IV/XXI
XP: 21
Merrow Men are small, generally about 4.5' tall, humanoids, appearing much like eels with arms, legs and vaguely human features.  They are amphibious and while Merrow Men primarily live on land they must immerse themselves in water for a few hours a day to avoid drying out.  Merrow Men are fairly intelligent, but most only speak their own language as they tend to be private and clannish.  Their encounters with humans invariably turn to conflict as Merrow Men have volatile tempers.  

Their tribes can number from a couple dozen to several hundred, clustered in huts, rubble clogged gangways or building within the vaults fortified for use, but always around a source of water as they require a great deal of it for themselves and their flesh-crafting industry.  Perhaps because they establish fixed abodes, Merrow Man tribes are security conscious and will use concealed entrances, traps, alarms and hidden guard-posts/ambushes to their full advantage. Within the center of their lair Merrow Men will often grown mushrooms or edible aquatic plants, but what distinguishes a Merrow Man lair is a separate chamber where the creatures grow and manufacture objects from living flesh and bone through the use of strange life magic. Female Merrow Men tend this living slurry and do much of the crafting, and so this pit will always be the most fiercely defended area in a Merrow Man lair.

The majority of Merrow Man equipment is molded from magically shaped living tissue.  Armor made of muscle sheathed bone and weapons like jawbones with living teeth that will grow back if broken.  This strange equipment is formed with another of the Merrow Men's peculiar weapons, a greenish mutagenic slime that causes injury and random flesh growth when it strikes most living things.  Merrow Men will fling flasks of the slime at intruders and it causes 1D6 points of damage on a successful strike, eating skin like acid,  but if a save vs. poison is not made it will also cause a random mutation of some kind.  Most of these mutations are harmful and permanent, but relatively minor, however; if enough slime is applied to a living creature it will eventually become a pile of amorphous flesh random bones and organs, perfect for the Merrow Men's living slurry and ready to be molded into living equipment.

Merrow Men equipment, despite its magical nature, is rarely better than that made from more normal manufacturing processes.  Occasionally the Merrow Men will make items of considerable power, though these will always be held by their leaders. There is a great deal of variation among Merrow Men, with specimens that are cable of shamanistic and life magic use, and other warrior Merrow Men that grow up to 8' tall with up to 6HD.  There is almost always a warrior sub-caste in a Merrowman lair, individuals of normal human size, wearing thicker and better flesh armor and with 2 or more HD each.

Merrow Men are not native to the Apollyon, or at least not a product of it, but are instead the offspring (at least originally) of humans and Merrows, large mermaid liek creatures of great magical power and evil intent.  Some Merrow Man tribes will be in the active service of a Merrow matriarch who they will regard as a deity.  Since Merrow Men breed true this is only rarely the case however.

Below is the table for effects caused by Merrow Man flesh shaping goo.

Roll 1d20 for some Body Horror.
Face melts into putty like mass and then solidifies. CHR minus 10, causes blindness.
Blisters form on torso and back, except they're eyes. Cannot wear tight clothing or armor on torso without great discomfort and injury. CHR reduced by 1D6 when not wearing robes. 80% at least one of the eyes sees the Ethereal/Invisible.
Flesh sloughs off into animate puddle. Lose 1D10 points of CON and ½ HPs. Have creepy blob of flesh that burbles and follows victim, trying to snuggle close.
Teeth erupt all over face and body. Immediately take ½ HPs in damage and Lose 1D6 CHR. Natural AC 8.
Body infested with worms made of own substance. Worms can be felt and seen wriggling beneath skin. In 1D4 Sessions they will gnaw their way free of the victim, killing him or her in the process.
Body secretes highly flammable oils. Victim will burst into flame taking 1D8 points of damage for 1D4 rounds if touched with open flame. Also Smells awful
Tongue grows massive, lolling and bloated. May no longer speak comprehensibly or cast spells.
Heart and lungs shrink and push to outside of chest. Minus 1D4 CON and 1D4 STR. Save vs. Death (or die) every time victim is struck by critical hit.
Feet shrink to tiny hoof like appendages. Balance is badly effected, lose 1D4 DEX.
Feeding tentacles or mandibles grow around mouth. CHR minus 1D6.
Small 'baby' arm grows out of some part of the body as a painful boil. Will reduce Charisma by 1D4, and constantly paw at owner, making sleep difficult and reducing CON by 1D4.
Scabs and scarring dramatically increased and accelerated. Victim now regenerates 1 HP per Turn, but loses 1 DEX point for every wound sustained.
Develops gills – may breath underwater, but must immerse self in fresh water every four hours or lose 1D2 HP per hour afterward.
Nasty rat like tail (or tails) grow from back. 10% prehensile (though weak).
Hand melts into boney club like mass, may be used as a weapon doing 1D6 points of damage.
Ability to spit corrosive digestive juices in melee once per session. Automatically hits for 1D6 points of damage, does 1D4 points of damage to spitter. May now
Second set of small legs grow from belly. Utterly useless, will need specially made armor.
Boney or hair like horns on face and head.
Thick calloused layers of flesh form painfully all over the body. Charisma reduced by 1D6, Movement by 10'. Natural AC 7.
Third Eye somewhere on face (the middle of the forehead if lucky). Reduces Charisma by 1D4-1 (depending on location). 10% it sees the Ethereal/Invisible.


  1. Interesting write-up and cool illustration!

  2. Merrowmen remind me of these guys:

  3. I like the illustration and feel of the table, there is nothing terribly whacky in it as it makes unlucky victims of mutagenic slime look like grown-up versions of those specimens in jars you can see displayed on museums of natural history.

  4. @Trey - Thanks!
    @Eric - Yes that's not a bad comparison, though I was previously unaware of it. Thanks!
    @Jonas - Yeah, not that wacky, the HMS Apollyon stuff is going for a more horror, new Weird feel and less a gonzo 70's sci-fi feel than ASE.