Another entry in my rescued bits and pieces of aquatic monsters for Cinematic Unisystem presented with only minor editing and without conversion to Savage Worlds. I’ve used this as the basis for mermaids in several campaigns now, but I’ve never yet actually had PCs who wanted to seek out the dread goddess. Atargatis is based on a real-world deity but I’ve slightly altered her back-story.
Queen of the Mermaids
Atar was once a young priestess who loved a simple shepherd, but that was 3,000 years ago. Abandoned by the youth when she became pregnant, the defrocked priestess attempted to drown herself and her newborn babe. The child was borne along the current by her wicker basket and became the Assyrian queen Semiramis; the mother was dragged down into [the] deeps.
Something came to her there. For the purposes of the individual Series this patron could be Cthulhu or some other aquatic Lovecraftian thing, Dagon (the ancient Middle Eastern fish-god, not the Lovecraft critter), or D’Hoffryn (my game is set in the Pirates of the Caribbean-verse, not the Buffyverse, and I don’t see the two as compatible). The effect is the same in the end: the priestess Atar became the fish-goddess Atargatis, patroness of those who drowned themselves for love.
For centuries the threat of her vengeance made her worshipped throughout Syria, Palestine, and Greece, but new religions rose even as her thoughts turned ever more to the sea. She left behind her centers of sacrifice and wandered the seas, bringing ocean-cold comfort to women (and some few men) the world over. Eventually, she constructed a coral palace in the crystal-blue waters in whatever sea best suits the Series. There she resides when she is not answering the call of despair.
Atargatis lives surrounded by mermaid handmaidens and the waterlogged zombies of sailors her servants have drowned. Sharks and scavengers cluster around her reefs and snatch meals from her shambling playthings, but the mermaid queen and her retinue are feared and avoided by the fish. Cast Members who wish to visit or do battle with Atargatis in her lair will have to be able to avoid the sharks and breathe water, but the lair is not so deep as to cause problems with water pressure.
The mermaid queen is unusual (but not unique) among her kind for not having the tail of a fish; instead she is a cilophyte (half-cephalopod) and has four squid-like tentacles pendant from where her legs should be. She was also a witch of sorts before her transformation, and retains a knowledge of Sorcery.
Atargatis is ancient and fickle and insane
Name: Atargatis AKA Amphitrite, Ataratha, Dea Syria, Derketo, and other names across the globe.
Motivation: While away eternity playing terrifying games.
Creature Type: Transformed Human [Vengeance Demon]/Big Bad
Attributes: Strength 8, Dexterity 8, Constitution 7, Intelligence 3, Perception 3, Willpower 5.
Life Points: 115
Drama Points: 7
Special Abilities: Additional Limbs 2, Ambidextrous 6, Attractiveness +2 [face it, those tentacles are freaky!], Enchanter/Superscientist 5, Hard to Kill +10 (3 from Vengeance Demon Quality), Mermaid (Hypnosis/Gaze Into My Eyes when singing, Immortal, Natural Armor 3), Sorcery 5 [a bit better than Dracula, but not great], Vengeance Demon (Regenerate 7 LP per Turn when immersed in water, Teleport, The Wish).
Skills (per Slayers of the Caribbean)
Getting Medieval: 6
Bite: +15, base dmg 16, Slash/stab, must Grapple first.
Ceremonial Dagger (Big Knife): +14, base dmg 24, Slash/stab
Claw: +15, base dmg 24, Slash/stab.
Dodge: +15, Defense action.
Grapple: +17, Note: Atargatis can bring two of her tentacles into play to Grapple characters; if she wraps her arms and tentacles around a character it is as if that character was grappled by two opponents (-4 to most rolls and cannot Dodge).
Hypnosis/Gaze Into My Eyes: +12, unless the victim beats Atargatis at a Willpower (doubled) roll, he is entranced for a Turn and can take no action. [Since she can only use it while singing, the fiendish Director may allow a bonus based on Success Levels for her Willpower + Art roll.]
Magic: 20, by spell (Unfortunately, if you make her very angry shell use Storm-Brewing).
Additional Limbs [from Powerverse: The Super Hero Netbook]
A character with this Quality has one additional limb per level. It is a fully functional limb or appendage which is not possessed by a normal human (such as prehensile tail, extra arms, etc.). Additional Limbs do not allow the character to take multiple actions.
Ambidextrous [from various sources]
A character with this quality can take an additional action (Attack or Defense) with her off-hand (or alternate limb) in a Turn at no penalty.
Source: Dark Ages Mage Grimoire
Quick Cast: No.
Power Level: 6
Requirements: A cauldron or pot filled with water and brought to a slow bubble as the witch stirs the water and casts in rare herbs. If the fire beneath the pot is allowed to go out or the cauldron is spilled, the spell ends immediately.
A mermaid can cast the spell by using an underwater volcanic vent instead. Since these wont go out, the material ingredients needed instead are gems (not as easy to find in the ocean as herbs are on land) and the mermaid must sing a hymn to the gods of the sea affected (Calypso for the Caribbean, the Dragon-King for the Sea of Japan, etc.). This can attract attention in the dark depths of the sea floor.
Effect: A storm rises up to batter an area of the land or sea determined by the caster. The storm has 1 level of strength for every Success Level achieved (see Slayers of the Caribbean) and continues one hour for every Success Level; it affects 5 square mile of water per Success Level. Sailors who stay out in the storm to man the sails (as opposed to battening hatches and staying inside) suffer 3 x the casters Willpower bashing damage from wind and hail every hour for every level of strength the storm has above 2 (i.e. damage begins occurring at strength 3).
The witch has complete control over the scope of the storm. If shes feeling benevolent, it can be used to summon a light summer shower. If not, its hurricane time.
Aspect Analysis: Casting time/lengthy ritual (-1), scope/awesome (+6), duration/long but damage is slow (-1), duration/spell requirements/unusual ingredients or difficult use (-1), harm/major (+3).