Monster Analysis: Merrow Guards

Merrow.png
  • First Appearance: 2-21 Stalker in the Swamp
  • Armor Class 14
  • Speed 10 ft, 40 ft swimming
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive 12
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 45, 72
    • Merrow 1: 55 taken, 15 killing blow by Nott
    • Merrow 2: 52 taken, 11 killing blow by Yasha
    • Merrow 3: 53 taken, 10 killing blow by Beau
    • Merrow 4: 57 taken, 14 HDYWTDT by Fjord

The origins of the merrow dive into Wildemount’s history with demonic influences. While gnolls are descended from hyenas that partook in the carnage of the demon lord Yeenoghu, merrow were merfolk that were pulled into the Abyss by the Demogorgon and corrupted over generations to crave flesh and destruction of anything weaker than them. The merrow would go on to terrorize coastlines, inhabit underwater caverns filled with the spoils of raids, and mark their territory with the submerged corpses of their conquests ... or what would remain of what they ate.

The Mighty Nein were warned by The Gentleman that folks of Berleben were a superstitious lot, so they didn’t take Febron’s paranoia entirely seriously before setting off into the swamp. He told them of hearing a “low, echoing howl,” which they haven’t yet encountered on their trek. However, he also mentioned seeing the folks he had smuggled into the safe house strung up and dead; those individuals greeted the Nein with tell-tale ripped holes in their chests as the party arrived at the entryway to the safe house.

With their fish-like tails, merrow are extremely slow-moving on land. To make up for this, they wield hooked harpoons, which they use to snag distant prey before dragging it in for a bite. This also serves them especially well against squishier targets that attempt to cause problems from a range, such as a certain warlock who found himself pulled into the center of the fray. Unlike most terrestrial weapons and spells, these harpoons are equally effective underwater, granting the corrupted merfolk an additional edge should the battlefield shift to an aquatic arena.

Fjord led the fight off by casting his new 3rd-level spell, Hunger of Hadar, which functions as a weirder, more painful Darkness spell (even though it’s technically a void and not darkness). Creatures within the 20-foot radius are blinded and take damage at the start and end of their turn, and the area is difficult terrain. Also, it’s filled with tentacles and the sounds of whispers and slurping. Warlocks gonna warlock.

Although it was certainly effective, this spell drew all of the merrow’s ire, and all four attacked nobody but Fjord for the entire fight. Unfortunately for them, by the time they finally knocked him unconscious and burned through his Relentless Endurance, the rest of the Nein (also Nine) easily picked off the remaining merrow and healed Fjord, who Eldritch Blasted the final merrow.

Final only for the encounter, it would soon be discovered. After an exploratory dive through the underwater tunnels at the encouragement of his patron, Fjord found at least five or six more in a chamber with much fewer areas of dry land. This group of merrow had not only killed all The Gentleman’s smugglers, but taken all of their wares and amassed them in a hoard. The Nein (now Eight, after saying goodbye to Calianna) settled on a rest before diving into the next stage of their trial: securing the loot and ensuring that the merrow infestation is gone for good.