I think their predominant colour was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked … They were the blasphemous fish-frogs of the nameless design – living and horrible.
– “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, H.P. Lovecraft
The Deep One described here in this detailed Character Guide is a typical male designed as a Magic Human using the rules from Realms of Power: Magic. This individual might well be encountered alone wandering the coastlines, a protective relative of a hybrid family, or form part of a larger hunting party.
Up to three Minor Qualities (or one Major Quality) and two further Minor Virtues (balanced by Minor Flaws) can be added to customise the creature. These statistics can be readily used as a basis for more powerful or older creatures readily.
To allow further customization 45XP has been left unassigned, allowing purchase of one of the 3-year Training Packages detailed in Grogs, pages 67-73 to define the individual further. The options of Brawler, Fisherman, Leader, Scout, and Soldier are the most common. Alternatively, the 45 XP and either the 5 XP in Leadership or Hunt can be sacrificed by taking the Reduced Abilities Minor Inferiority and trading for another Minor Quality.
Deep One (‘Amiq)
Magic Might: 10 (Aquam)
Characteristics: Int 0, Per -1, Pre +1, Com -1, Str +2, Sta +2, Dex +2, Qik -1
Confidence: 1 (3)
Virtues and Flaws: Magic Human; Ferocity (blooded); 1 Minor Personality Flaw.
Magical Qualities and Inferiorities: Major Virtue (Ways of the Sea); choice of 1 Major Quality or 3 Minor Qualities, Improved Attack, Improved Damage x2, Improved Powers, Improved Soak, Minor Virtue: Puissant Swim, Minor Virtue (Tough: fish scales), Personal Power: Kiss of the Mermaid, Personal Power: Supernatural Swimming, Personal Power: The Blessing of Dagon; Monstrous Appearance; Major Flaw: Magical Monster; Minor Flaw (Environmental Sensitivity: dryness), Minor Flaw (Traditional Ward*: Elder Sign), Minor Flaw (Warped Senses: Sensitive Sight).
* per the Minor Flaw of the same name, see Realms of Power: Faerie, page 52.
Personality Traits: Deep One +3, Cruel +2
Brawl (claws): Init: -1, Attack +8, Defense +5, Damage +8
Wound Penalties: –1 (1-5), –3 (6-10), –5 (11-15), Incapacitated (16–20), Dead (21+)
Abilities: Athletics 3 (swimming), Area Lore: Local Coast 2 (Deep One settlements), Awareness 2 (underwater), Brawl 3 (underwater), Hunt 1 (fishing), Leadership 1 (in combat), Living Language 3 (dialect), Ry’leh Speech 5 (hunting), Single Weapon 1 (spear), Stealth 2 (ambush), Swim 3 (endurance), Survival 2 (oceans).
More magically adept or elder Deep Ones may have additional powers as noted below.
Kiss of the Mermaid (3 points, Init -3), as the Faerie power of the same name.
Supernatural Swimming (0 points, constant), this power allows the Deep One to perform minor supernatural feats when using its Swimming Ability. These might include rapid about turns, leaping from the water onto a jetty, and diving from high cliffs into the sea far below without harm. (25 spell levels, Base 10, +2 Sun, +1 constant, -3 Might cost)
The Blessing of Dagon (0 points, constant, Corpus), allows Might recovery underwater as per the Blessing of Domnu power detailed in The Contested Isle page 119.
Equipment: bag over shoulder, necklace of teeth and other personal trinkets
Vis: 2 pawns, pointed shark-like teeth
Appearance: at once both frog-like and fish-like, a slimy anthropoid creature with a spiny ridge down its back, greyish green skin with a white belly and bulging lidless eyes.
Deep One Variants
As a degenerate race prone to mutation and madness, there are many potential variations of Deep Ones that can be encountered in a Saga, some of which are suggested below. Further statistics for individual Deep One characters are collated here.
Clergy of Father Dagon, Mother Hydra and Great Cthulu: senior religious potentates amongst the Deep Ones may possess additional powers. Many possess bizarre enchanted alien jewellery made of submarine wrought gold alloys and studded with alien gemstones. Place of Power (below the low-tide mark) and Restricted Might (when not standing in seawater) are common.
Fomorach: the original aboriginal people of Ireland may or may not be a giant blooded offshoot of the Deep Ones, depending on your Saga. Their exact origins may be left for your Troupe to determine but all possess the following additional Qualities and Inferiorities: Major Virtue (Giant Blood) and the Minor Flaw (Baneful Circumstances: set foot upon Irish soil). Many are even larger than normal (reflected by multiple selections of the Gigantic Quality) and their gross deformities often result in impairments (reflected by the Limited Gestures and Limited Movement Inferiorities). Details of the Fomorach are given in The Contested Isle, page 119 and their islands to the north of Ireland are described on pages 98-99.
Giant Deep One: larger, typically older versions of these monsters exist, serving as guards for their underwater cities, shrines or regio network entrances. Like human giants, these enormous Deep Ones have increased Might (typically 21-30), are the size of a killer whale (Size +5, Gigantic Major Quality x4). They may also have additional Supernatural Virtues such as Focus Power: Crafter of Aquam, Master of Aquam Creatures and/or Voice of the Sea that help them in carrying out their guardian duties.
Hybrids: product of miscegnation between humans and Deep Ones, these Magic-kin lack Magic Might and suffer a unique form of Warping that ultimately results in their transformation into a true Deep One. Many hybrids possess magical abilities and a minority may become Gifted hedge wizards. See the separate article for further details.
Infiltrator: rare pure blooded Deep Ones appear virtually human in appearance possessing the Human Appearance Major Quality that offsets the usual Monstrous Appearance of Magic Humans. Such individuals still carry minor deformities, reflected by the Disfigured, Feral Scent or Social Handicap Minor Flaws and many possess the Unaffected by the Gift Minor Virtue, making them excellent liaisons with magi and other Gifted individuals.
Insane Deep One: those individuals that may have spent their lives as human hybrids originally may adapt poorly to their ultimate transformation and retain significant mental illness. These mad fish-frogs usually suffer from the Fury (being hurt) Major Story Flaw and/or the Reclusive Minor Personality Flaw. Many possess the Berserk Minor Virtue or can undergo a Battle Transformation similar to the Riastradh of the ancient Irish heroes (see The Contested Isle, pages 120-121 for details).
Two-headed Deep One (Apkallu): in ancient times some of the brood of Dagon, remembered as the seven apkallu (Akkadian: “sages”) took the form of two-headed humanoids, teaching the Sumerian elders the secrets of magic and civilization. Since then, rare mutant individuals are encountered, sometimes possessing great wisdom or magic centred on their second head. Their exact relationship to the Abgal mermen mentioned in Realms of Power: Faerie is unclear; the abgal may just be the ancient Sumerian name for the Deep Ones and the apkallu their hereditary priest caste.
ArM5 Design Resources
- Atlanteans in Chapter 6: Magic Humans, Realms of Power Magic, page 90.
- Journeying Underwater section and “Being a Fish”, Legends of Hermes, page 104-106.
- “Voices in the Ocean” insert, Magi of Hermes, page 77.
- The Fomorach and “Fomoir Blood”, in The Contested Isle, page 119.
- Tritons, in Chapter 4: Faerie Bestiary, Realms of Power: Faerie, page 90-91.