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Okay, so in this world we have adventurers, the kind found in DnD and various other RPG and/or fantasy worlds. In this one, adventurers take mermaids along with them on their journies for multiple reasons:

  1. Transportation-Mermaids can be ridden, allowing one to avoid relying on ferries. Yes, one could take a boat, but a mermaid can move on land (albeit slowly), defend herself, and better yet...

  2. Company-Adventuring is dangerous and gets kind of lonely at times, and a mermaid can be good company. You can talk to a boat, but it's just not the same. Plus, as already pointed out, the said company can fight with you.

  3. Diplomacy-If you encounter mermaids on your travels and you have a mermaid to represent (and vouch for) you, things tend to go a lot better.

  4. Magic-While all adventurers have Classes, which are by nature an enchantment that magically enhances you, that doesn't mean all adventurers are Mages. In order to use magic, one must have a connection, and for many adventurers, that means having access to a source of magic. Mermaids not only can provide magic for you (specifically water magic, maybe even air, fire or ice magic if you're lucky) but they naturally produce magic pearls as well (you can look at this for more on that).

  5. Coolness-Nothing says cool quite like taking a mermaid along with you on your journey. You can't get more exotic or eyecatching than that, right?

However, now that this has become a fad, a dilemma has popped up: How does one transport a mermaid?

Sure, you can just carry one across your shoulder, but that's awkward (it upsets your balance slightly), and the mermaids don't really like that (it's just not comfortable). Additionally, these mermaids are not larger than humans, magic is what allows them to bear a rider, not physics. Other considered but flawed ideas are:

  1. holding a mermaid in an apron/pouch contraption (sort of like a kangaroo),
  2. strapping a mermaid to one's back like one would a sword,
  3. carrying the mermaid in a wheelbarrow or mini-wagon (adventurers deal with rough terrain and small spaces a lot, and wheelbarrow don't work for that),
  4. Having the mermaid carry herself (mermaids are slow on land, and they don't do well on rough terrain, so this is not a good idea)
  5. Paying someone else to do it-The person might drop the mermaid, intentionally or not, and will likely have a hard time defending themselves when their arms are occupied (AKA get eaten by monster with the mermaid). Plus, generally one does not trust someone else with one's mermaid...they might run off with them, steal their magic, sell them, and so forth.
  6. Letting the horse do it-mermaids have scales, scales are slippery. It can work, but there'd need to be some changes (probably to the saddle) so it could work. To me, it looks like the most feasible way to do this.
  7. Having the Mermaid Get Legs and then #4-This is surprisingly difficult to do since it A) requires one to deal with a sea witch or a kooky mage and B) usually have some undesirable side effects, like a mermaid feeling red-hot knives stabbing her feet and/or legs with each step.
  8. Other magical solutions-Generally not feasible for the same reasons as #7.

So, my question is, What Is The Best Way For An Adventurer To Transport Their Mermaid (or Mermaids, as the case may be) Safely and Comfortably?

The tech level is Renaissance and below, so anything of that nature should work.

The Best Answer Will:

  1. Consider the options (including ones I may not have included) and explain which ones would work, ending with which one would work best
  2. Include the most efficient, safe, and comfortable method of mermaid transportation
  3. Be feasible for even starting or low-level adventurers

As always, I truly do appreciate your input and feedback, thank you for your contribution! Please explain if you VTC or close-vote so I can improve the question and post better ones in the future.

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  • $\begingroup$ How big are they? If you can ride them, that suggests to me that they must be at least a bit larger than humans, making carrying one on one's back unwieldy if not impossible. $\endgroup$ – KeizerHarm Feb 25 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ Just added to the OP: "Additionally, these mermaids are not larger than humans, magic is what allows them to bear a rider, not physics." Does that help? $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 25 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, thank you. My llama answer wouldn't have worked if they were much larger than people. $\endgroup$ – KeizerHarm Feb 25 at 3:53
  • $\begingroup$ Couldn't you combine #6 and #7? "Legs to ride horse; riding horse so not taking steps and therefore not feeling knife-stabby-ness with each step." $\endgroup$ – Jedediah Feb 25 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Jedediah: that could work, yes. In fact, it'd work pretty well, because if worse came to worse the mermaid could run from danger. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 26 at 5:12
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Shoes

Strange as it is, most humans are very slow at moving across most surfaces:

  • Its too hot
  • Its too cold
  • Its too sharp
  • Its too sinky (snow, bogs)
  • Its too hard
  • Its too Soft
  • Its too vertical
  • Its too formal

So most humans equip shoes (boots, snow shoes, flippers, mountain boots, flip flops, high heels) based on the terrain they are trying to cross. Not only does this enhance their speed over these terrains, but it also provides other buffs such as style, armour, and even damage when kicking.

Mermaids are not weak. Their tails (and flukes) propel themselves through water at speed. So like humans, Mermaids put on shoes to cover different terrains... Perhaps:

  • a sleeve of soft leather when crossing sand on a beach, or desert.
  • three or four skates spaced down their tail for travelling around town or the more sturdier roads. I imagine your adventurer might need to think about how they will keep up!
  • studded iron bands layered to provide grooves when traveling over rough terrain. Think like how snakes have ridges on their underbelly for movement.

As a side benefit, the shoe may contain an amount of water to ensure proper hydration and skin care for the mermaid out of water.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, I didn't consider mermaid tailwear as an option! I will have to consider this new perspective, thank you! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 25 at 3:14
  • $\begingroup$ Have you seen any video of seals and their relatives moving around on land? $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Feb 25 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime Yes, I do love natural history. But now we get into the nitty gritty of what a mermaid is. Is it a walrus with hands, or is it an eel with hands. Both are adapted for swimming but i can guarantee that eels are fast enough on land. If you prefer walrus then let my answer throw itself overboard :) . $\endgroup$ – Kain0_0 Feb 25 at 11:58
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Carried by one or two llamas

Better than horses, llamas are your ideal beasts of burden for rough terrain.

pack llamas

For centuries, these animals have carried loads over winding Andean paths and over staircases across the Inca road network. They are more mobile than horses. As for a saddle, I don't think you need too exotic techniques: mermaids can ride them sidesaddle:

sidesaddle

Now, llamas can carry weights of 40-80 kg depending on the size of the llama, so it depends on the size of the mermaid, but one could always breed them larger; or have two llamas with a hammock between them.

two llamas

(inept artist's conception)

That comes with a mobility cost, but the hammock could be folded and the mermaid riding a single beast in the tighter corners.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just out of curiosity, why are llamas ideal for rough terrain, as well as carrying mermaids? $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 25 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias Sorry, typing from mobile and I posted it before I wanted it. $\endgroup$ – KeizerHarm Feb 25 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ it's fine, I figured you had a better answer in store. Otherwise I wouldn't have given you that suggestion! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 25 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias Certainly. Added some more to it now I have a proper keyboard at my disposal. $\endgroup$ – KeizerHarm Feb 25 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ I saw that, thank you! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 25 at 14:13
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ref from DnD: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Create%20or%20Destroy%20Water#content & https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Spells:Control%20Water#content

prepare before traveling, spam create water(or using nearby water source) channeling control water (say give it leeway that it could last up to 1-2 hrs before having to find/ or create resting point like nearby lake, pond etc) yes, adventurers accompanied by mermaid is a thing but you shouldn't take it for grant. It required proper skill to do so, or maybe some high level mage casting those spell into scroll and sell it for others to transporting mermaid.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good answer, it took magic (and the OP's specifications on magic) into account. My only problem is that this would likely seem unbelievable and contrived, and adventurers carrying mermaids around is already pushing it. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 25 at 3:48
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Carts and carriages drawn by horses and oxen have been used to transport goods and people for Millennia why should this not be any different.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, because rough terrain, dungeons, and caves (and other typical adventurer fare) makes them less than ideal. Granted, where they work they work, and they're a great option. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 26 at 5:07
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If you can have fewer mermaids than adventurers, how about stretchers?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm.....for a lone adventurer, I'd say the stretcher would need wheels or else it'll be awkward and unwieldy. This might fall under #5, with litter-bearing servants bearing a stretcher with a lounging mermaid or two over large distances and quite possibly dangerous terrain. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 26 at 5:09
  • $\begingroup$ If you were to elaborate on how the stretchers would be used and how they'd be ideal for this, I'd be happy to upvote; I feel like this is the start of a great answer! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 26 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias Note that I said fewer mermaids than adventurers--a lone adventurer is one, less than that is zero. I'm picturing a stretcher like you often see in war movies--two poles, something between them, one person in front carries one end of the poles, a person in back carries the other end. For distance carry I would connect the poles to a harness rather than hold them. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Feb 27 at 5:44
  • $\begingroup$ Great, thanks for clarifying? How would the poles connect to the harness though? I'm having a hard time picturing that, and I can't exactly describe what I can't visualize. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 27 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias I would put two more poles so you have a box. Run a rope from one corner, through the top your pack and down to the other corner. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Feb 28 at 0:23

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