These piscene humanoids, residents of the deep, inspire terror with their alien appearance and psyche. The cold gaze of their bioluminescent eyes can be felt from afar, and the scent of the deep sea that clings to these creatures brings a chill to the spine of even the bravest.
If there is any humanoid species that more reliably inspires terror than the Deep Ones, it is only the equally-alien Mindflayers. The Deep Ones are an ancient race - they claim they pre-date the rise of the surface races, and even the Grey Elves. They are known for their formidable psionic powers and exceptional intelligence.
What goes on in the minds of these creatures defies contemplation, and what ancient horrors they consort with in the lightless depths are better left unknown. Mostly out of desperation, several members of this race have worked for Destiny's Call.
Deep Ones typically resemble nothing so much as humanoid creatures that possess numerous traits of both amphibians and fish, possessing damp, membranous skin, scales, and fish-like tails. They have pallid, bioluminescent eyes, one of which is situated directly in their foreheads. A deep one naturally generates a mucous slime that keeps them moist; this mucous has often been described as having a coppery smell.
Genetic mutability amongst the race means there is little similarity between two given Deep Ones - some have tails resembling a fish or eel instead of legs, others possess both legs and a tail, and such mutations are extremely common - though several of a given family lineage often share similar traits. Whilst many have elegant and beautiful facial structures (by human standards), Deep Ones of both genders often have far more monstrous visages, some resembling a great predatory fish. Instead of hair, most of them thick manes of tendrils, fins, and cartilidge; such tendrils are conduits for psionic potential. More powerful Deep Ones will have particularly large or thick head-tendrils, indicating stronger psionic potential.
A Deep one's flesh is often a pale blue or green, and its scales, if it has any, are likewise a silvery green. Deep ones do have the ability to change color; in many instances, their bodies flush a deep red tint when angered or a pale white when frightened.
Deep Ones do not die of old age, and they continue to grow as they age. Phenomenally old-specimens, rarely-encountered, have been known to be 15 or more feet in height, though the most common specimens have been seen standing about 7 feet tall. Rather than hair, they possess feathery, flowing crests of cartilage and fins, often which are kept quite long. Their bodies vary in color, with blue and pale green being the most common, whilst other specimens showing up as whitish or even a soft orange. Due to natural mucus production, a Deep One's body is perpetually moist, even when out of water, though if they stay out of water too long, they eventually fall into a torpor.
Deep Ones often are not only physically powerful, but usually are natural psions and many have innate magical abilties as well, making them powerful foes. They have formidable natural weapons as well, in the form of razor-sharp claws. Natural mutability in their forms means that several Deep Ones possess thicker scales covering their bodies, fish-like heads with sharpened teeth, or venemous barbs. They are feared for their ability to rob their foes of their consciousness, dominating a captive and enslaving them mentally - one of many reasons their race has been hunted to near-extinction in several regions. Deep Ones are completely amphibious, capable of breathing both water and air. The slimy nature of their skin means that they are often quite slippery, and difficult to maintain a hold on.
An unusual and distinctive trait of the Deep Ones is their racial memory - a Deep One child is born with shadowy memories of its ancestors' actions and thoughts, meaning that each one hatches aware and sentient, capable of moving and acting on its own accord. young Deep Ones are capable of walking, speaking, and more within literally hours of hatching. The younger ones enjoy spending time lost in particularly noteworthy memories of their ancestors if they've nothing better to do, trying to recall particularly distinct portions of their forebears lives.
According to the little information available, Deep Ones reproduce sexually and lay their eggs in communal pools, typically every 5 to 6 years, though more fecund Deep Ones are rumored to have achieved an egging cycle of every 3 years or even annually. Each egg gestates for roughly five years before hatching into a deep one child. Although these young are, for all intents and purposes, adults as far as intelligence and abilities go, their bodies are not fully developed and they typically remain with one of their parents for about a decade, obeying their parent without question until they are finally old enough to set out on their own. Evidence suggests that Deep Ones have another means they reproduce - through using surface races as a medium - but how they achieve this is not entirely clear. There have been periodic, if outlandish rumors of Deep Ones interbreeding with other species to create cross-breeds, but thus far no such claims have been substantiated.
Though they can breathe water and air equally well, Deep Ones vastly prefer aquatic environments. They despise bright light - both because of their natural sensitivity towards it and due to the fact that sunlight tends to make their mucous degrade quickly, making them reek of rotting fish, so they prefer the darkness. Deep Ones are ectothermic (cold-blooded), and thusly prefer temperate climates.
Once a powerful race in the time before the coming of the warm-blooded surfacers, the Deep Ones have been in a millenia-long decline. As their numbers dwindle, they have retreated further and further away from the surface; there they gather in hidden spaces, far from hiding eyes, praying for a glorious return to power.
Behind the glowing eyes of a Deep One lies an ice-cold fury. According to the few non-hostile Deep Ones that have been encountered, even the most ambivalent of Deep Ones dreams of revenge against the surfacers, and a chord of insanity runs through the race as a whole. Its source has been debated, but is equally likely to be either due to the race's long history and decline, and a line to darker times when the Deep Ones trafficked with things best left unknown, or simply a recessive trait that simply occasionally surfaces. What is known is that when it does manifest, Deep Ones become homicidal, and often are permanently dealt with by their fellows as a result.
Analysis has shown that, much as the Deep Ones themselves claim, they appear to be far older and more genetically-primitive than the others, strongly suggesting that Merfolk and the like may have descended from Deep Ones. They are amongst the oldest species in the world, seemingly pre-dating both the Grey Elves and Nu Mou according to Sigilian researchers.
Deep Ones are both extremely cruel and highly intelligent, though their numbers are quite few - with only a few thousand left in the world, deep in waterways and ruins underwater, far from civilization. Holders of many terrible secrets due to their innate abilities, lifespans, and instinctive memory, they are considered extremely dangerous. They are well aware of their weaknesses, however, and will not attack land-bound foes if they consider it to their disadvantage. Dedicated Deep One cities are extremely rarely-seen, but are typically vast affairs of bizarre and unearthly architecture, located deep underwater (and usually, underground as well). In more modern times, most Deep Ones have contented themselves to remain distant from the world writ large, but as is the case for all things, this belief is far from universally-accepted.
Deep Ones in general are utterly self-centered as a race; they consider themselves among the oldest races in existence, and have a particular dislike for land-dwelling creatures, believing wholeheartedly that the "upstart" races have stolen what is rightfully theirs. Fortunately, the fact that they have difficulty on the surface world and the fact that each has such a high opinion of itself has done a lot to ensure that they have not "wasted time" by trying to subdue the so-called pitiful surface races. Less spoken of is the fact that several Deep One territories have been wholesale exterminated by the surface-dwelling races of the world. There are a surprising number of them working for Destiny's Call as a result, as Tal was well-aware of how easy it would be to appeal to them with the promises of retribution against the surface-dwelling races.