Nereid

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Nereids are one of the many branches of the Nymph family tree from Greco-Roman mythology. Specifically, they are nymphs of the sea, said to be daughters of the sea god and responsible for helping him look after the various aspects of the sea.

On /tg/, Nereids are most associated with Dungeons & Dragons, having debuted in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition adventure Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan; from here, they made it into the Monster Manual II, with updates for 2e as the "Elemental - Water Kin" in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two and the Monstrous Manual. They made it into Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition via Stormwrack and into Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition via the updated Hidden Shrine in Tales from the Yawning Portal.

Pathfinder got in on it and added them in the Bestiary 2.

In AD&D and Pathfinder, Nereids are portrayed as a whimsical and dangerous species of elemental fey native to the Plane of Water. They care about little other than playing or protecting the purity of the waters in which they dwell, and thusly can be quite dangerous to mortals. Their soul is bound up in a magical shawl, and destroying this will kill the nereid instantly; as a result, powerful mages or pirate lords often attempt to steal these shawls and force nereids into servitude. When in the water, they become virtually translucent, but upon exposure to air, they take on their true form of a beautiful elf-like maid. Nereids have the power to drown mortals with a touch.

The 3e version maintains the shawl weakness, but is presented as a more benevolent and inoffensive creature.

Variants of the nereid mythos have given rise to other, long-forgotten watery fey maidens of D&D, including nixies, asrai and sirines.

AD&D LoreEdit

Elemental Water Kin.gif

Many a male has thrown his life away for the fleeting embrace of the “honeyed ones”, the beautiful nereids from the elemental plane of Water. Playful and flighty, and as unpredictable as their watery homes, the nereids tempt and trick sailors to their dooms.

In the water nereids are transparent, 95% undetectable except as golden angel seaweed, but these creatures assume human form on contact with air. Gorgeous and voluptuous, these forms are almost always females, young and slim with long, golden hair, pearly white skin. and sparkling green eyes. Their voices are heavenly and their songs are engaging to humans and demihumans. While they always carry a white shawl, either in their hands or draped over their head and shoulders, they are otherwise lightly clad in white and gold.

If confronted by only female humans or elves, the nereid appears in a male guise, but its powers are not as effective on women and there is a 65% chance that the women distrust the beguiling nereid. All males that look at a nereid find themselves incapable of harming the creature (no saving throw), and it seems to be a shy and flirtatious girl playing by the shore.

Nereid are capricious, but whether they are good, neutral, or evil depends on the individual, with the majority (50%) being chaotic neutral in their actions.

Combat: As creatures of the element water, nereids have few physical attacks should their roles as sirens fall. Nereids can spit a venom up to 20 feet that blinds a target for 2d6 rounds if it hits, and it can be washed away with water. A blinded victim suffer a -4 penalty to his attack roll, and both saving throws and Armor Class are worsened by 4 until the effects wear off.

Nereids can control the watery of their lair out to a distance of 30 feet, and they often do this to form pleasant watery shapes to amuse and entertain themselves. This power can also be used to defend against invaders by causing the waters to heave in great waves that slow movement to ¼ normal or by making the water boil and froth, increasing the chance of drowning by 10%. Nereids can cause the waves to crash with a enormous roar so great that characters within 60 feet may be deafened for 3d4 rounds if precautions are not taken. They can also form the water into the shape of a serpent or fist, and cause it to strike as a 4-Hit Die monster and inflict 1d4 points of damage. Only one of these attacks may be done per round.

Nereids are 85% likely to have a pet that tries to protect its master. To find out the type of pet, roll 1d8 and consult the following table:

D8 Roll: Pet

1: Giant eel
2: Giant otter
3: Giant snake (poisonous)
4: Giant octopus
5: Giant squid
6: Dolphin
7: Giant leech
8: Sting ray

If a nereid is caught by an amorous man, it rolls a saving throw vs. poison, and if successful, it flows away like water. The nereid also gets a saving throw vs. poison to avoid damage from a weapon. Most men or demihumans try to catch a nereid to gain a kiss. While it is loath to give these, in its kisses lie its final defense — once their lips touch, the character must roll a successful saving throw vs. breath weapon, with a -2 penalty, or drown instantly. If he doesn’t drown, he finds total ecstasy.

The nereid protects its shawl at all costs, since it contains the nereid’s essence and if it is destroyed the nereid will dissolve into formless water. Possession of a nereid’s shawl gives a character control over the fearful creature, and it can be commanded to do one’s bidding. A nereid will lie and attempt anything short of hostile actions to regain its soul-shawl.

Habitat/Society: Nereids can be found in the sea, rivers, wells, mountain and cavern springs, and on the elemental plane of Water. If they are on the Prime Material plane, then they have discovered a means to escape from their plane of existence, or have been deposited in this world as punishment. Usually one nereid is located in a certain body of water, but sometimes a group of 1d4 creatures lives in an area, especially along an ocean front or in shoals around a rocky and deserted island. A group of nereid join together because of like alignment, and control of the group is always held by the eldest.

Fresh, clean waters sustain them, while polluted waters drain their vigor and often cause them to move to a new place. Even good nereids have been known to attack those who wantonly pollute their lairs. While they don’t need food, they hunt or fish for their pets, and evil nereids lure men and demihumans close so that their pets may feed. They don’t value metals and discard gold and silver, but any magical treasure they gain from a fallen sailor or amorous fool is saved in their watery lair. True to its nature, the nereid has no goals or ambitions, choosing instead to splash and cavort in the waters, to the delight of males everywhere.

Ecology: These creatures take little from the environment and give little in return. Powerful sea captains might wear nereid shawls as scarves, to show their command over the creatures of the sea; the forlorn nereids can be glimpsed following in the wake of their ships, sobbing and begging for the return of their essences. These shawls command handsome sums from those who need the services of a water creature, but they are seldom sold and are very scarce. It is rumored that wizards who hold a shawl use their enslaved nereid as a guide on journeys to the elemental plane of Water.

3e LoreEdit

3e Nereid.jpg

A graceful, nymphlike being rises from the water, draped in a flowing white shawl reminiscent of a cresting wave.

Nereids are retiring fey native to the Elemental Plane of Water. They resemble tritons and share a common ancestry, but unlike their cousins they have never moved permanently to the Material Plane. Nereids occasionally leave their home plane to explore Material Plane seas.

Tales speak of nereids as beautiful women who drown men with a kiss, but in fact they are extremely shy. A nereid is nearly impossible to detect in its element, with a shimmering body that is almost transparent. On the rare occasions that a nereid leaves the water, it takes on a more solid-looking appearance, resembling a pale elf wearing a distinctive shawl.

Nereids are often found in the company of sea creatures and water elementals. They speak Aquan with voices that sound like the soft hiss of surf.

A nereid relies on concealment and camouflage to avoid danger, and it does not attack unless in the most desperate circumstances (such as retrieving a stolen shawl). Nereids use their water magic to hold back attackers and summon elemental allies to assist them in combat.

Pathfinder LoreEdit

Nereids are capricious and often dangerous aquatic fey that appear as strikingly beautiful women, often seen bathing unclothed in the water. Many sailors have met their doom following a nereid, for though a nereid’s beauty is otherworldly, her watery kiss is death (unless you can breath water). Others seek out nereids, for if one can secure control over thecreature’s shawl, the cloth can be used to force the nereid’s compliance. A nereid forced to obey in this manner immediately attempts to slay her master as soon as she can secure her shawl’s safety.