Few surface-dwellers refuse the demands of the meremenne empires, for they are well known as an unforgiving people, armed with devices of frightening potency.
These strange and warlike creatures extort tribute from passing vessels and limit the catches of local fisherfolk, often enforcing their demands with their legendary ability to call storms and lethal rogue waves. Although they are not hesitant to unleash these potent magical powers, the other bizarre weaponry of the sea folk is nearly as frightening as their magical abilities.
These devices, the weapons of the Merfolk’s elite warriors, resemble spears with a stout tube of bronze affixed along the length of the shaft. A pair of fan-like devices, crafted of brightly scaled skin, fold out from the sides of the tube. All the metal parts are plated with gold, then painted with an elaborate layer of detailed enamelwork. This coating the damage caused by oxidation in the warm salt waters of the Tarakhen.
In order to use one of their bizarre weapons, the wielder first inserts a small cylinder into the barrel, which is followed by the weapon’s projectile. An intricate striking mechanism pierces the cylinder with a sharp stylus, causing the material inside to violently react with the water. The resulting explosion drives the bolt out of the barrel with more force than a surface-dweller’s crossbow bolt.
These weapons are not braced against the shoulder, instead, the fan-like projections are spread out so that the water absorbs the thrower’s recoil.
The inserted cylinder is filled with filings of a metal that reacts violently with water; these cylinders are sealed with pitch. Merfolk have been known to use similar devices as torpedoes, striking boats with bolts tipped with the explosive cylinders.