Unlike other merfolk worlds, the merfolk of this reality have a nearly tauric body plan, with the pectoral fins of the fish or marine mammal they have attributes of protruding from the pelvic region. These extra fins aid with stability. Additionally they often grow their hair long, and sometimes have fin-like protrusions on the upper humanoid half of their bodies. They can breathe water or air, though they prefer water.
As the merfolk hunt in the open ocean that is the world, the most valuable food resource are the schools of nomadic fish that cruise the seas. The swarms are massive, enough to feed the modest communities of merfolk almost indefinitely, and take on the distinctive bait-ball defensive shape when it comes time to be harvested as food. Merfolk eat these fish raw and immediately upon catching them.
The open oceans are home to other strange creatures, many of which are sea monsters of incredible size. Many of these combine the features of multiple aquatic animals, just as merfolk combine a humanoid with a marine mammal or fish. Often they have tentacles, flippers, hook-like teeth, or fins, but rarely do they look natural. Merfolk avoid such creatures, considering them dangerous.
Although the merfolk live simple lives and have limited material culture, they make weapons and tools from some of the wildlife (including monsters) they either kill or find dead and scavenge from. Spears from the tusks or bills of aquatic predators are particularly prized, as otherwise tools are hard to find in the open ocean.
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