From CrawlWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

This page is about the player species. For the monster, see Merfolk (monster). For a list of all merfolk monsters, see List of merfolk.

The Merfolk are a hybrid species of half-human, half-fish that typically live in the oceans and rivers, seldom venturing toward land. However, Merfolk aren't as limited on land as some myths suggest; their tails will quickly reform into legs once they leave the water (and, likewise, their legs will quickly reform into a tail should they ever enter water). They tend to be surprisingly nimble on land as well as in the water. Experts at swimming, they need not fear drowning and move very quickly through water.

The Merfolk have developed their martial arts strongly on thrusting and grappling, since those are the most efficient ways to fight underwater. They therefore prefer polearms and short swords above all other weapons, though they can also use longer swords quite well.

As spellcasters, they tend to be quite good in specific areas. Their mystical relationship with water makes it easier for them to use poison and ice magic, which use water occasionally as a material component. The legendary water magic of the Merfolk was lost in ancient times, but some of that affinity still remains. The instability of their own morphogenic matrix has made them very accomplished transmuters, but most other magic seems foreign to them.

Innate Abilities

Merfolk have a base Strength of 8, Intelligence of 7 and Dexterity of 9 (before Background modifiers).

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Difficulty of Play


Merfolk are a fairly straightforward species due to their well-defined strengths. Their movement speed and EV bonus in water can also come in handy, particularly in water-themed vaults, the Shoals, the Swamp, and parts of the Abyss.

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting 1 Armour -3 Spellcasting -1
Dodging 3
Maces & Flails -2 Shields 0 Conjurations -2
Axes -2 Stealth 2 Hexes 0
Polearms 3 Summonings 0
Staves -2 Invocations 1 Necromancy -2
Unarmed Combat 1 Evocations 0 Translocations -2
Throwing 0 Shapeshifting 2 Alchemy 3
Fire Magic -3
Short Blades 2 Ice Magic 1
Long Blades 2 Air Magic -2
Ranged Weapons -2 Experience 0 Earth Magic -2


  • Prior to 0.29, merfolk had aptitudes of +4 Polearms and +1 Long Blades.
  • Prior to 0.17, the evasion bonus for swimming merfolk was capped at +9 EV.
  • Prior to 0.14, merfolk were immune to the mesmerisation attempts of mermaids and sirens.
  • Merfolk's unstable nature persists not only across space, but apparently across time as well. In very old versions of the game, cursed boots would prevent them from swimming, as would wearing heavier armour. On the flip side, they used to have above-average HP, and spears would be replaced by tridents in their starting inventory, generally making their game even easier.
Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianTrollDeep ElfArmataurGnoll
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnDjinniSprigganGhoulTenguOniBarachi
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidMummy