This is a follow-up to Nymphs and Humans: Preventing Anarchy and concerns one of the most dangerous species in the realm of fantasy: mermaids.

While surfing WB.SE I found this question and realized a war against merfolk would be very costly for medieval kingdoms in general. There aren't any real good options, any sane kingdom would want to avoid war with them. And thus lies my problem.

You see, the same magic bleeding into this world to create Nymphs has brought mermaids into the seas, which is a bit problematic; Nymphs can breathe water, are resistant enough to water pressure to walk around on the seafloor (but not in trenches, mind you, especially not the Mariana trench), are immune to hot and cold (they can swim through Arctic seas and hydrothermal vents without too much trouble, though the latter requires them to hold their breath 'cause its essentially underwater smoke and smoke kills people)....

Oh, and if the hungry mermaids decide the naive, peaceful Nymphs look delicious, they'll be enhanced by eating them. This is bad, really bad, because an enhanced mermaid is like the mermaids in H20: Just Add Water: unnaturally fast, capable of controlling, heating, and freezing water, and did I mention how dangerous the mermaids are naturally?

Regular mermaids are strong, strong enough to easily overpower a human being (so enhanced=gorilla-like strength) and have tough skin and scales, so they can punch and whack sharks without ripping their skin to shreds, not to mentions adaptations for diving deep underwater where the sperm whales go and the giant squid live (enhanced=immune to conventional medieval weaponry: arrows, swords, war hammers).

There are 30 million of these mermaids, they believe that they are superior to (and meant to rule) the sexist medieval kingdoms, they have access to more Nymphs than the humans do (because the sea contains more life, it also contains more residual life force, up to 50-80%, and the proportion of sea Nymphs to land Nymphs reflects that) and they can turn into beautiful women when they want to go on land.

My question is: How Can An Early Medieval Society Defend Themselves Against Nymph-Infused Merpeople? Underlying Question: Have I made it impossible? Do the mermaids need to be nerfed? Or can the humans somehow beat the odds?

Additional Information:

  1. Mermaid Motivation: The mermaids have seen the plight of medieval women and see medieval men as a threat to their freedom (potential subjugators) and inferior beings (since they A) can't see that women are equal to them and B) aren't that good at decision-making). They want the same things as women in general: regular sweets (trust me, I have sisters), jewelry, pretty things (especially clothing), and so on. They are peaceful, and also sensitive and reasonable to an extent: while women can be understanding, there are certain cases where that just isn't true, and mermaids are no exception. This means if the kings somehow manage good diplomacy, they might just get out of this.
  2. Educating the Nymphs is a good idea for my previous questions, not so much for this one. You see, Nymphs are spawned naturally anywhere with large amounts of built-up life force, so there's going to be lots of Nymphs born in the sea, out of the human's reach.

As always, I appreciate your input and feedback. If you choose to VTC or close-vote, please give me an explanation so I can improve this question and hopefully post better ones in the future. Thank you for your time.

  • $\begingroup$ What about mermen? Do they exist? $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MontyWild, valid question! I might add them, but for now, in this world, no. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 2:34

3 Answers 3


Ok have some options but None of them are particularly good you have kind of within yourself into a bind.

  1. Kill all the nymphs. Often the best way to kill a predator is to get rid of their primary food source. This is much more effective than trying to hunt predators on there own.

  2. Kill all the mermaids. Create specialized force of Nymph inhanced humans and kill any mermaid you find.

  3. Don't build your Kingdom anywhere near sea.

  4. Capture and or educate all the nymphs. It's their naivete and ignorance that is causing this problem so simply imprison for thier own good them or educate them so that they know not to go anywhere near the sea.

  5. Come to an agreement with the mermaids. Perhaps something along the lines of Will provide you with all the nymphs you can In exchange you leave us alone or better yet attack our enemies. It's hard to come up with Details because we don't know enough about the mermaids and what they want. What as long as it's possible for humans to supply what they want then it's possible that some sort of deal can be made.

  6. Surrender to our new fishy overlords.

  • $\begingroup$ Very useful answer, thank you! I like how you put down every possible option, while DWKraus gave me ideas for keeping the mermaids in check. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 3:01

Frame Shift. Mermaids are already magic:

  • Okay, so Mermaids are born of the same magic as nymphs. Therefore, they don't get amplified by the addition of magic, because they already ARE magic.
  • Mermaids are borne of water, while nymphs are borne of nature. While there may be nature in the sea, it's like an elemental incompatibility. Only natural beings can be enhanced by a nature enhancer. It's more likely your mermaids would be transformed into nymphs by consuming nymphs.
  • The two organisms don't share a common environment. Unless your nymphs are borne of whale falls, the death of things in the ocean don't lend themselves to the concentrations of death needed to support nymphs. The essence diffuses evenly and distributes across and throughout the ocean, whereas on land it is concentrated in areas with concentrated death. Mermaids COULD be born of this essence, but then again, it makes the mermaids magical. Further, mermaids likely don't like to go places nymphs are.
  • Because of the unnatural nature of mermaids, nymphs aren't returned to nature by being consumed by them. Nymphs will fight to the death, or even allow themselves to be consumed by sharks/squid/whales that kill mermaids before allowing mermaids to consume them.
  • If magical beings can consume other magical beings and become more magical, then those eating magical beings should similarly benefit from killing and eating mermaids. They should logically be able to eat each other to become stronger as well. Then you're left with a sort of Highlander "There can be only one" scenario where the power gets steadily concentrated by murderous god-like beings who dwell around battlefields and graveyards, awaiting the birth of new nymphs. Others would be Poseidon-like mermaids killing all rivals to rule the seas.
  • $\begingroup$ What great ideas for balancing the Nymph-mermaid interactions! Thank you, I do appreciate this. Some of these (1 and 3) don't work with my world rules, but they still gave me some food for thought. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 2:33

Do it like the Earthlings. Early medieval technology = coal not used up yet. I'm supposing you have magic, you have fireballs, you have powerful methods to scry for seams of bituminous coal. Set it all on fire. Start a new Centralia with every recitation of the magic words. Poison the ocean with sulfur and carbon dioxide, until it is too acidic for the delicate breathing membranes of unwanted creatures. (I assume the mermaids can't come on land permanently or else why haven't they taken it over yet?) It's a pity you don't have the manpower to harpoon all the whales and catch all the fish and cut the fins off all the sharks ... maybe you can magick up something contagious? Maybe some particularly brilliant alchemist could invent something called plastic to decorate the ocean with. In no time you could have the mermaids lamenting how the whole ocean is turning into "dead zones" ... and it won't be claiming any large percentage of the Nymphs any more either.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How would a medieval society even think of this? Sorry, but this just isn't what I'm looking for-I'd have my characters "Surrender to our new fishy overlords" before I had them ruin the oceans and therefore their future livelihood. You hurt nature, it kind of hurts you, and remember, Nymphs are nature..... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 2:40
  • $\begingroup$ You've answered your own question. Nymphs are nature, so whenever one of them says "No, whatever you do, don't do that", you are on your way to the 21st Century. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ Weirdly enough, that actually makes me proud of myself. It's pretty difficult to make medieval fantasy like the 21st century, at least in any plausible way! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 16:30

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