30 Gifts of the Merpeople
It is rare that humans earn a gift from the Merpeople, as most of the time the two races tend to avoid each other, and with scarce resources the Merpeople tend not to give gifts very often, yet it does happen...
Gift Type One-Weapons
1-Sword of the Ocean
Whatever was done for the Merpeople, it must truely have been a great service for this magical sword to be given in exchange. In the sea, the Sword of the Ocean is truly a fearsome weapon, able to create powerful currents and huge waves, a maritime Excalibur. It's powers slowly decrease the further it is from water until in a desert it is just a very well made magical sword. In the sea however it is one of the most powerful weapons in the world.
Made of well shaped fire coral, carefuly carved by skilled craftsmen, this is a fearsome weapon that can rip it's way right through sharkhide, leaving jagged wounds that get infected with ease due to the tiny pieces of coral left behind in the wound. It has to be kept wet, however, as if allowed to dry out it rapidly gets brittle to the point where it will snap into small pieces when used. For the Peoples of the Sea, this is not a problem. Humans may find it harder to keep this weapon in good condition.
Taken from a sunken vessel that carried gladitorial equipment amongst it's cargo, this trident has only been underwater for about a week so has not yet started to rust. Since the Merpeople find it impossible or at most near-impossible to forge metal themselves, all their metal items are either traded for, stolen, or scavanged from shipwrecks. So a metal item to them is a lot more important then the same metal item would be to a human who is surrounded by them. They will be deeply offended if the gift is turned down.
Brought or stolen from fishermen or found on the sea bottom, and presented either with the trident or on it's own, Merpeople find this very useful indeed for catching fish for food. It's another gift which they cannot make themselves but have to get in some way from humankind. Perhaps one of the PCs used to be a gladiator in the arena and has the skills to use this very well as a weapon;if not, at least they can catch food with it or use it as a booby trap.
The Merpeople made this weapon themselves and are very proud of it and of it's blades of razor sharp coral that are as sharp as the finest of swords on land. The wounds it can inflict are nasty and as with the Spikespear it leaves coral dust behind that leads to infection if not rapidly cleaned out. It does have the disadvantage when using it against someone armed with a sword that it needs to be raised above the head, whilst the sword can be used to thrust-it also crumbles if it gets dry for too long.
Made of two heavy pieces of coral tied together by rope from a fishing net, it's main use is for Merpeople to hunt and catch flying fish when they *fly* out of the water, although it has been used against humans too when they either attacked a Merperson or tresspassed in the Merpeople's waters. On land it is far more useful as a weapon or capture device and the Merpeople know this which is why they have given it as a gift in the first place.
When they recently raided a wreck, they found a wand within the Captain's cabin. After a bit oof fiddling around with it, they worked out that it's magic was triggered by pressing a notch on it. Unfortunatly the one who used it managed to heat up the water around himself to the point where his hand scalded. Useless underwater as the water both puts the fireball out and scalds the owner's hand, on land it is a potent Wand of Fireballs. How many charges it has left in it is up to the GM.
Gift Type Two-Treasures
A while ago a treasure ship was sunk in a severe storm and the Merpeople found the gold. It is not much use to them;the gold discs are too small and too soft to use for any practical use. But they know how much humans value gold coins and so have chosen to give it as a gift. It is up to the GM how old the coins are and how many each PC is given. Very old coins would need to be sold to a coin collector or a pawnbroker to be cashed in, whilst modern ones are plain money. Of course if the PCs get very rich, then law enforcement, the taxman, shopkeepers and the criminal underworld will all take an interest in them.
This if rubbed will be found to have a Genie inside who may or may not respond well to being summoned by the PCs. The 30 Genies submission is good for ideas for a GM to use. Even after the Genie has been freed or vanquished, the lamp will still be worth a few coins at least. The Merpeople had no idea that the lamp had a Genie inside, as it could not or would not appear underwater.
10-Necklace of Black Pearls
Even one black pearl is worth a lot of money, and a whole necklace of them is worth a fortune. Depending on your GM's magic system, they may also be used to cast powerful magic. If they came from a recently drowned noble lady, there is a chance her family might find out and assume the PCs robbed and murdered her. They might set law enforcement after the PCs, or they might hire some gangsters or mercenaries and send them to take revenge. If the noble cared about those under her and was really popular, the PCs might even find a lynch mob is after them for something tnhat they didn't do.
11-Fresh Water Giving Pearl
Providing that the PCs have some liquid water of their own, this will come in handy if they are thirsty and are running out of fresh drinkable water. To the Merpeople, whose bodies can filter out the salt and other impurities from the sea water as well as stop them taking in too much water or losing water through osmosis, such pearls are nice but not of the highest value, as they are rarely or never thirsty.
If in the land of Acqua a large chunk of amythest is a potent magical item in it's own right, and worth a large amount of money. In another world it is still worth quite a bit if sold to a jeweler.
A jeweler will pay good money for a large chunk of rare coral, that can be carved into rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
14-A Water Breathing Charm
If this gift is given then the Merpeople really trust the PCs as it means that a PC can swim underwater into their habitat without needing to breath and protected from the cold and the salt just like them.
Gift Type Three-Other Things
Recently a lifeboat overturned in a storm and sank with oars included before the waves could smash it onto rocks and break it into pieces. The Merpeople found it before the seawater could ruin the wood, refloated it, and are happy to give it as a gift to the humans. The PCs can use this to cross rivers and if they take care and the weather is not too stormy, the sea, as it is big enough to fit all of them and their supplies too.
This massive copper diver's helmet can be used to protect the entire head and is proof against swords, axes, knives, maces, and even arrows. It does however only have a small porthole to look out of, is heavy to wear for long periods and will certainly cause people on dry land to stare at the wearer. Not the best helmet to commit a crime with whilst wearing.
17-Sabotaging somebody's yacht
Do the PCs have a wealthy foe who owns his own yacht? Well, if they point it out then the Merpeople can go over and cut the anchor rope, remove the rudder, bore a hole in the hull or otherwise damage or even destroy it, whilsty the PCs spend time in a tavern to give themselves a clear alibi.
If the PCs need to cross a bay or a river esturary really quickly and don't mind getting wet in the process, then the Merpeople can let them borrow their friendly dolphim mounts. The dolphins are not owned as such, but they happily co-operate with the Merpeople in exchange for food and places to flee to for protection if a group of sharks or a pod of killer whales come after them.
19-Concert in your Honour
Mermaid singers have very sweet voices and they want to give the PCs the honour of a concert that evening. If LARPING one suggestion is to use one of Enya's songs for the music of the concert, such as "Sail Away."
Not every gift has to be a solid item. Do the PCs need to know where one of their foes sailed off to? The Merpeople can tell them. Do they need to know how to avoid storms, whirlpools and other such nautical nasties? The Merpeople can tell them where these are. Do they have out of date charts and need to get to a certain island? The Merpeople can point the way. They know a lot about what goes on up on the surface of the sea.
The Merpeople can give the PCs some of the finest caviar, so expensive in the markets that only nobles can buy it, but perfectly free. Very tasty.
The Merpeople give the PCs a freshly tridented marlin, which took them a while to hunt down. Not having the same resitance to most marine parasites, the PCs would be advised to cook it first. But on land rather then in a kayak, as you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
Since fire does not exist underwater, the Merpeople who swim at night or deep down need other sources of light, and they use rock with a glowing algae on it that emits a bright blue light that shines very well. They give the PCs one or more of these
The PCs are offered nookie with some pretty mermaids. This is not prostitution, but a genuine gift. Since the mermaids are of a different spieces , there is no chance of either making them pregnant or of catching crabs. (ok, that was a really bad joke, I admit.) The mermaids will be angered if they are turned down.
25-Anti fungal potion
Since the Merpeople live underwater a lot, fungal infection is a hazard and this will clear even the worst case up with ease.
Again, the humans must really have gained the trust of the Merpeople for this. When drunk, the potion will turn the PCs into Merpeople for X number of hours. No need to spend most of one's gold on a sea crossing when one can just swim there. Of course, the ocean has it's own share of foes, such as sharks. toothed whales and Cecaelia, and one must not be caught deep underwater when potion runs out or drowning will result. Also, perhaps the Merpeople need new members of the tribe and lied to the PCs and the potion will not wear off. Then the PCs must go on a side quest to find a way to get their legs back again.
The normal cold of the sea, even in winter, is no problem for the Merpeople, but perhaps they need to travel deep down to the near freezing depths or venture into the polar regions for some reason. With this potion, the coldest unfrozen water will do them no harm. If the GM is feeling very unkind, perhaps the potion only works as it is meant to when immersed in cold water and causes serious, perhaps fatal, overheating if drunk on land.
If the PCs are traveling in a small boat, an escort of Merpeople will keep the beasts of the sea, the Cecaelia, other Merpeople and most pirates away from them, and save them from drowning if their boat should sink or be flipped over by the waves.
This has a covering of tough sharkskin, the pages are made of whale balleen, and the symbols are carved into it with a waterproof ink. In it is almost every spell that the Merpeople have access to. As you can imagine it takes a lot of time and trouble to create one of these books so it will not be given as a gift lightly.
Even if either the Merpeople that the PCs meet are very mean, or relations between humans and merpeople are going through a very bad patch, at the very least the Merpeople will offer safe passage and talk with other mer-tribes to try and arrange safe passage as well, so that the PCs can pass through their waters without fearing being attacked by them.
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? Responses (4)
Aother good 30 from you Cheka.
keep em coming!
Forgot to vote.
To be honest, you lost me at "Mermaid Nookie". Some of these items are quite creative, especially in the weapons section, but most are pretty average. The gifts of "gold coins" or "caviar", for example, would probably already be on most GMs' minds, and so they add little to this sub. Try to focus on creating more unique gifts -- like the fresh water pearl or the dolphin mounts. Things that other people wouldn't immediately think of.
P.S. Suggesting Enya's music for the mermaid concert was a great call.
Enya *was* a damn good call!