This gaunt mermaid has a long, semitransparent tail with a vivid red crest and caudal fin.
Deep Merfolk CR 3
N Medium humanoid (aquatic)
Init +9; Senses blindsense 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2
AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 12 (+5 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +4
Defensive Abilities deep dweller, semitransparent; Resist cold 5
Weaknesses light sensitivity
Speed 10 ft., swim 40 ft.
Melee spear +6 (1d8+4/×3)
Special Attacks sneak attack +2d6, sprint
Str 17, Dex 20, Con 16, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 11
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 21
Skills Perception +2, Stealth +9 (+17 underwater), Swim +16; Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth (while underwater)
Environment any oceans (trenches)
Organization solitary, family (2-4), or tribe (10-15)
Treasure standard (spear, other treasure)
Deep Dweller (Ex) Deep merfolk are immune to damage from water pressure; their bodies adjust instantly to different depths.
Semitransparent (Ex) Deep merfolk are very difficult to spot while they are underwater. So long as they are at least 10 feet underwater, deep merfolk gain concealment and can use the Stealth skill while moving at their normal speed without penalty. In the ocean depths (about 3,000 feet deep or more), this benefit improves to total concealment.
Sprint (Ex) A deep merfolk can charge or withdraw at up to 3 times its swim speed.
Much like common merfolk, deep merfolk have humanoid upper bodies and fish-like tails, but they are adapted for survival within the depths of the ocean. Their skin is both dark and transparent to help them blend with the sunless ocean depths. They sometimes adorn themselves with bioluminescent dye to create glowing spots on the skin along their tails, which they use both as a form of silent communication and to lure in prey when they hunt.
Deep merfolk build villages along the sides of the deepest ocean trenches, where they hunt sea creatures and gather crustaceans from the ocean floor. They are capable hunters, and small hunting groups of deep merfolk have been known to take down sharks or other large creatures stalking the depths. When hunting, deep merfolk prefer to ambush their prey, often luring targets in with bioluminescence. They rely on their camouflage to hide within the crevices and cold sand until their traps can be sprung.
Like their cousins, deep merfolk are highly protective of their tribes and homes and go to great lengths to keep strangers away. Spellcasters among their tribes often use illusions to hide deep merfolk dwellings, while rangers and hunters set up traps, ambushes, and false trails that lead interlopers into distant and dangerous areas of the deep ocean. If such misdirection and illusion fail, deep merfolk don't hesitate to launch proactive attacks against intruders—at a fair distance away from their homes if possible.
While their appearance has led to legends of ties to dark powers and sinister agendas, most deep merfolk are simple folk with little interest in the world above the waves. A few secretive tribes worship the demon lord Dagon, but they view him as a dark protector they must appease, not a deity to emulate or for whom they feel any affection.