I've read the Monster Manual entry for Merrow but I'm trying to get a better sense of them as a species. The book says

Long ago, a tribe of merfolk found an idol of Demogorgon [...] Everyone who touched the idol became afflicted with madness.

[...] the king led the survivors through the underwater gate to Demogorgon's layer of the Abyss. The merfolk remained there for generations [...] transforming them into hulking, evil monstrosities. Thus, the first merrow were born.

So we know how they started as a species. My question is, is there any indication how future merrow are made? Do they just keep pouring out of the Abyss as needed, and/or can current merfolk be somehow turned or corrupted into new merrow?

I could obviously homebrew this to my heart's content but I'm first interested in whether there's supplemental material that expands on merrow.


I think your answer is actually within the text you've provided. The Merfolk remained there for generations, transforming them into hulking evil monstrosities (that is to say mutating them). This means that for generations, the Abyss exposed merfolk were changed--and each generation changed a bit more. This strongly implies that there's a breeding population with these characteristics.

When they came out of the abyss into the world, they still had these characteristics.

I have not seen any supplemental info on it.

Now if you want a bit of historical background--as to what they were in other editions, they were considered aquatic ogres, and were under the ogre subtype, and they are very different from 5e. This new Merrow is, at the very least, implied to have been mutated by abyss, which I would say means that they are now born in the usual way merfolk are born. They don't still need access to the abyss in order to continue. This article on merfolk certainly interprets it this way.

As to whether this could happen to ordinary Merfolk, it seems like it took a lot of time, over generations to do, so while it might happen again in this way, that's not likely how they reproduce, unless you would like them to purposefully find a community to corrupt/kidnap ordinary merfolk to refresh their breeding population--if they even can breed with merfolk (which they might be able to--you'll have to extrapolate that as the DM because the info is scarce).


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