Questions tagged [merfolk]

For questions about aquatic creatures traditionally resembling humans but with a fish tail instead of legs, or any sort of water-dwelling humanoid.

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62
votes
14answers
8k views

What would a medieval war against an aquatic race look like?

The setting; there’s a large population of merfolk living in the ocean, and a developing seafaring human nation on the neighbouring coastline. These merfolk are entirely aquatic. They have gills and ...
61
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14answers
12k views

How would merfolk society dispose of their dead? And would disposing of the bodies in the ocean have any negative effect on marine life?

I have a tribal merfolk society, living on and near a volcanic island, that is also inhabited by humans. The problem that I can't seem to figure out is: how would they dispose of their dead? Wouldn'...
55
votes
21answers
13k views

Why would merfolk have hair?

A classic image of mermaids are their long flowing hair that swishes in the water. But in the scientifically realistic sense this makes none. The hair would be nothing more than a nuisance to the ...
53
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17answers
9k views

What would an out-of-water submarine (for water-breathing mer-people) look like?

My mermen & women (fish from waist down and human from waist up, but breathe only in water) are at WWII era warfare and interested in their version of 'underwater,' meaning they want out-of-sea ...
51
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9answers
7k views

What would the fortifications of an underwater city look like?

Merpeople, along with other similar underwater humanoids, are often depicted as living in great cities beneath the waves. These cities have many positive things going for them: plenty of real-estate, ...
37
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10answers
8k views

Is it more likely that merfolk would evolve with horizontal or vertical tails?

Another mermaid questions I'm afraid! Fish have tail fins which are vertical, whales have fins which are horizontal. My race of merfolk are: Very active (more likely to be warm blooded) Have gills ...
34
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15answers
7k views

What could an aquatic civilization use to write on/with?

As the topic asks, what could an aquatic civilization use to write on/with? By aquatic, I mean they live in the oceans, breathe water, etc. -- like mermaids and such. And they are trying to create a ...
30
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16answers
5k views

Cooking underwater

How would an omnivorous civilization of merpeople prepare food? Their diet would be like humans', but naturally seafood-centered. They would have typical medieval technology. How would they "fry" or "...
30
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8answers
6k views

How to Breathe Both on Land and Under the SEA

The popular image of a mermaid is a half-fish, half-human creature breathing fine above and below the surface. The only real-life analogy to this are the amphibians - frogs, toads and salamanders. ...
27
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5answers
2k views

What adaptations would be made to a town to make it more merfolk friendly?

In my world I have a town seaside where merfolk and humans work side by side. I'm very keen to see actual interaction, not just humans on the land and fish in the sea. I want the merfolk to feel at ...
25
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16answers
7k views

Weapons for Mer-people

Thanks to this question on undersea fortifications, I have begun to wonder about the kinds of weapons mer-people would use when fighting one another. Normally, mermen are assumed to use tridents, but ...
23
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13answers
5k views

Fantasy Macro Economics: What would Merfolk trade for?

In the world I'm making, humans trade with a variety of species, one of which is a society of merpeople. Humans typically acquire goods and services in the form of fish, pearls, under sea flora for ...
21
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3answers
5k views

How do mermaids perform major surgical procedure underwater?

Suppose the mermaids share similar intelligent and technology with us, they also practise performing surgical operation like we do in hospital. Negate the issue of negligent during the operation the ...
19
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10answers
5k views

What kind of weapons would still be effective under water? [duplicate]

I have a mer civilization that does have magic, with a technological advancement to about flintlock musket level, so nothing overly complicated. I need the soldiers to have effective weaponry, ...
18
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6answers
6k views

Where Would a Mermaid's Blowhole Go?

Whenever people discuss mammalian-type merfolk, I usually see them be modeled after cetaceans like dolphins and whales. This is perfectly serviceable, but there is one piece of anatomy that I cannot ...
18
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4answers
2k views

Would merfolk's spaceship need artificial gravity?

Imagine a spaceship constructed for merfolk and it is completely filled with oxygenated water instead of air. Since they can swim around effortlessly in the water, do they even need artificial ...
17
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9answers
3k views

A drinks party underwater?

Landia, a land based civilisation, has recently established diplomatic relations with Aquatica, a civilisation of fish people. The two peoples exchange gifts to each other - including from Landia, a ...
17
votes
19answers
3k views

Why might it be desirable to engineer aquatic humans?

Consider a space opera sort of universe in which there exist communities of water-dwelling humanoids. These ocean people are derived from rootstock humans, descendants of genetically engineered human-...
17
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7answers
28k views

Do mermaids lay eggs underwater or give birth to live young?

Let's pretend these magnificent and beautiful creatures are able to reproduce asexually so we can forget about their mating habits or their partners. I have yet to witness any hard shell eggs laid ...
16
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5answers
2k views

Merfolk sword. Would it work?

One of the biggest problems about writing merfolk warfare is related to weapons. You can not slash underwater without expending a lot of energy, stabbing is much easier. Water has more drag than air ...
15
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8answers
3k views

Would anti-personnel mines be useful in mermaid warfare?

In real life, mines (at their most basic, small containers filled with explosive, fitted with some sort of triggering mechanism, and left to blow up the unwary) are a mainstay of warfare both on land ...
14
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9answers
5k views

Would evolution select for mermaids without breasts?

So ignoring all the other hydrodynamic inefficiencies associated with sticking a human torso on a fish body, let's just worry about those most distinct of human female features, breasts. The problem ...
14
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8answers
3k views

Anatomically reasonable respiratory system for human-derived merfolk

This question considers the respiratory apparatus of an aquatic (or amphibious) species descended from engineered humans. The history of the species provides a relevant constraint. While the science ...
14
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4answers
2k views

Towers in the ocean; How deep can they be built?

Many questions on this site mention how difficult it is for merfolk to develop technologically, as there's almost nothing but rocks and kelp to work with. My solution to this is that they use these ...
14
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6answers
3k views

Mermaid architecture

In most representations of mermaid cities, they either live in implausible magical palaces, or in some more or less elaborate cave systems. Assuming the only difference with our world is the presence ...
14
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6answers
2k views

What are some major architectural designs in spaceships for aquatic beings

Like this question I'm wondering about design considerations for an intelligent aquatic species that wants to travel into space. Would they have to try and create special body suits to keep moisture ...
14
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2answers
796 views

What would out-of-water warfare look like for underwater people?

In my short story, there are underwater people who are now up to WWII technology-ish (major differences, but that level and population of society). These mermen can hold their breath for as long as ...
13
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4answers
2k views

How do merfolk develop agriculture

Let's say that a race of aquatic merfolk have managed to achieve sapience, they are basic hunter gatherers, living in relatively shallow waters of up to 100 meters deep. As I have begun designing ...
13
votes
4answers
741 views

Trade between humans and underwater fish people [closed]

In my high fantasy medieval world, the ocean is populated by underwater fish people and land dominated by your good old human. Different type of fish people (shark, whale, turtle, shellfish, etc.) ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Mermaid Buoyancy: Oily Livers, Swim Bladders and Lungs

There was a good question and answer here: Does mermaid evolution come with buoyancy control? But I would like to expand the question. I got off talking with a friend, it got me thinking about ...
12
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4answers
789 views

How would merfolk store and preserve their food?

I've been reading this question about agriculture for merfolk and more specifically the accepted answer. They mention the problem of food preservation only minutely. Now I'd like to pour that thought ...
12
votes
11answers
729 views

How might a highly intelligent aquatic species (mermaids) communicate underwater?

I'm trying to create basically realistic mermaids, and working on developing body language and vocalizations. I have most of the vocalizations I can think of (suggestions are still appreciated), but ...
12
votes
4answers
496 views

How might my sea dwelling civilization defend against land-dwellers?

I've searched through a lot of merpeople related questions on this site and didn't see anything that related particularly to me as most questions have to do with underwater combat or dwellings on the ...
12
votes
4answers
594 views

Would an average seawater mermaid be any larger than its freshwater counterparts?

Let's use the sea turtle and the terrapin as an example, need I say more? I used terrapin because like the mermaid which is half fish and half girl so a terrapin would serve as an excellent example. ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Underwater Sneak Attack

I have a society of merpeople that have developed sonar in order to hunt, gather resources, and in some instances communicate. They use organically created weaponry (sharpened coral, animal incisor ...
12
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4answers
1k views

Mermaid Land (and Sea?) Combat

I might have a bit too much saltwater in my brain. I'd like to discuss (can you do that in this format?) the ideas of combative mermaids on land. If you saw my other questions, you saw me bring up ...
11
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4answers
927 views

What would a vegetarian mermaid eat?

For some reason, my mermaids have gone vegetarian - ethics, the decline in fish species, or they’re just no longer in the mood for meat. The main issue: will they survive? They live in coastal ...
11
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7answers
3k views

Mermaids on Land?

One of the inspirations for this was Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis, where I liked their depiction of slithering, combat-worthy mermaids. I've been trying to develop mermaids who make pilgrimages to ...
11
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4answers
5k views

How could mermaids talk with gills?

Recently I was pondering mermaids and was wondering how their respiratory systems work. Most importantly, how could their vocal chords continue to function? Secondly, how would they draw the water ...
10
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6answers
2k views

How would a merfolks spaceship take off?

If on a water covered planet, an aquatic species such as the merfolk evolved sapience and now wishes to go into space, how would their spaceship take into account the lack of land? How would a space ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

What would merfolk economies look like?

This is a world with underwater merfolks and other humanoids. They have opposable thumbs, so they can use tools humans can use. Lets assume there's different subspecies and races of these merfolks, so ...
10
votes
4answers
340 views

Membrane impermeable to $N_2$ but permeable to $CO_2$ and $O_2$?

I'm looking for a way to bypass the bidirectional diffusive gas exchange that happens in human alveoli, to allow aquanauts to breathe a standard Nitrogen-Oxygen air mix at very high pressures (up to ...
10
votes
6answers
458 views

How can merfolks stream video in a way much similar to our WiFi but underwater?

Right now merfolks are totally envious of us watching a live stream video of cat(fight) via WiFi or satellite internet, ok ok I get it's not the speed but its latency... Urrrr. Nevermind that I ...
10
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2answers
1k views

The Mer--Let's Get Real, Shall We?

The traditional description of the mermaid is half-girl and half-fish. That, both biologically and dramatically, is just ridiculous. If the mermaid were half-fish, then why does she move her tail up ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Floor Material: What would mer-society like to use for comfortable floors?

The mer-folk are typical top-half human, bottom-half fish. They can breath with either lungs or gills. Their homes are mostly below water, but some do also extend above. This allows them to do ...
9
votes
4answers
5k views

How to explain a mermaid's tail morphing into legs and vice versa?

I know a tadpole can do this transformation, given enough time, so what about mermaids?
9
votes
4answers
413 views

Urban Aquatic Sanitation

In a fantasy world (a D&D setting, basically), how would an open underwater town populated by an assortment of mer-people deal with waste disposal? A few details: the town in question is a part of ...
9
votes
3answers
779 views

How should I create my Merfolks to make them landbased?

I want a mermaid protagonist. If I am to make this story realistic, how should the Merfolk's body structures be made to make them adaptable for both water (swimming) and land (walking, running)? Is ...
9
votes
3answers
756 views

Could mermaids feasibly make clothing out of natural rubber?

In a world I'm currently developing, I'm working on a merpeople equivalent (more or less physically identical to your bogstandard mermaids, for the purposes of this question), and I want them to wear ...
8
votes
4answers
855 views

How to set phaser to kill the mermaids?

Suppose that humans blame the occurrence of mega-tsunamis and flash floods that taking nearly a million lives annually on the terrifying mermaids living in the Mariana Trench. The Secretary-General of ...