Monster Analysis: Merrow (Tide's Breadth Wreckage)

Thanks to @gears2gnomes for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 2-22 Lost Treasures

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-44 The Diver’s Grave

  • Armor Class 15

  • Speed 10 ft, Swimming 40 ft

  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive 12

    • Merrow 1: 61 damage taken, 10 killing blow by Yasha

    • Merrow 2: 56 damage taken, 14 killing blow by Yasha

    • Shallow Priest: 62 damage taken, 19 HDYWTDT by Caleb

Merrow, as we’ve previously covered, are the large, evil version of merfolk. They have frilled heads, long fish-like lower torsos, painful teeth, and wield nasty harpoons that can yank pierced enemies toward them. Matt described the ocean-based merrow as having longer, more sallow features than their swamp kin that better suited their environment, though mechanically they were practically identical.

Unlike the previous encounter, this battle took place completely underwater, playing on a field entirely in the merrow’s favor. While the Nein did not have to worry about drowning, they found both their movement and attacks restricted by the environment, a factor that did not affect their opponents. The Lucidian merrow also took the party by surprise, while the Nein got the jump on the Ounterloch merrow. The element of surprise wasn’t as helpful as it could have been for the merrow, however, as the quickly found themselves outnumbered.

The Mighty Nein have gained two levels since last battling merrow, and they put their experience to work. Beau and Yasha got in the faces of the merrow while Jester slung Guiding Bolts to offset their disadvantage on melee attacks. Nott’s short-lived Tasha’s Hideous Laughter temporarily stunned one while she blasted the others with her crossbow, one of the only ranged weapons that can attack without automatically missing underwater. Fjord initially stayed at range, but moved into melee for the second round, giving the merrow another target to focus on that wasn’t Caleb, who had already taken damage and was pulled from the safety of the ship.

Caduceus and Caleb used their casting to support the group. Caduceus cast Bane, which caused one merrow attack to miss, and used Sentinel at Death’s Door to keep Fjord from taking critical damage from a harpoon. Caleb used Slow to severely minimize what the Shallow Priest could do, potentially preventing a massive amount of incoming spell damage that we saw capable from the swamp priest. While the ocean priest attempted to flee from the otherwise slow land creatures, this was not enough to get him out of range of death from Caleb’s 3rd level Magic Missile.