Early descriptions of morkoths were vague and suggested they were humanoid, but as these mysterious creatures got involved in the affairs of other races, a more accurate picture emerged. Most morkoths had a wide mouth with many sharp teeth visible even when the mouth was closed. A few had beaks like a squid, which was one reason why some descriptions were inconsistent. Adding to the confusion, they had legs like a lobster protruding from their midsection and eight octopus-like tentacles making up the lower half of their body. Down the center of their back was a dorsal fin and they had large, bulging eyes.
Morkoths were generally solitary and viewed most other races with disdain, suspicion, or complete indifference. They valued almost nothing except food. Treasure and magic items held no fascination for the morkoth, they were only useful as bait for luring in their next meal or as bargaining chips. They were known to strike deals with other evil races, helping a cause in exchange for a slave or two, which, because of the morkoth's ravenous appetite, were likely consumed in a short time. Morkoths reveled in subterfuge and were likely to betray lesser allies the moment it was greatly advantageous for them to do so. Kraken were an exception: morkoths would offer to assist them in exchange for a food-slave now and then.
Morkoth's only offensive weapon was their bite, either with a mouth full of sharp teeth or a wicked beak. They relied heavily on their ability to hypnotize their prey into entering their lair where they could be killed without much fuss and eaten. The lair played an important role in the morkoth's tactics. It was a central chamber with six tunnels spiraling generally outward, intersecting in seemingly random ways, forming a labyrinth of confusing passages. This maze acted like a hypnotic pattern, and allowed the morkoth to greatly extend the range of its hypnotic power. Any creature that passed within 20 ft (6.1 m) of a tunnel opening was subject to an assault on their willpower. If they failed to resist, the victim swam through the labyrinth directly to the central chamber, where they were likely to be eaten alive. Some reports indicated that once the victim was in the maze the morkoth tried to charm them into submission before the effects of the hypnotic labyrinth wore off.
There was no limit on how many creatures a morkoth could hypnotize, but being clever and cautious, a morkoth would usually only attempt to lure in one creature at a time. In particular, if a school of possible prey passed by, a morkoth would choose the one bringing up the rear in the hopes of luring it away without any of its companions being alerted.
Outside of its lair, the range of a morkoth's hypnosis was 20 ft (6.1 m).
In addition, morkoths had an innate magic repellant that had a good chance of reflecting any spell, spell-like ability, or magic item effect back upon its caster. This ability could be temporarily suppressed by a successful dispel magic cast upon the morkoth.
Morkoths were reclusive and did not often congregate. They were not known to worship any gods. They would occasionally serve kraken for rewards of food and only take sides in a conflict if they were being directly affected by the fighting. Some magic-using morkoths formed an isolationist group known as the Four Arcana of Humbar but were drawn into the Fifth Serôs War when kraken allies of Vaequiis the Dark attacked and they suffered heavy losses in −780 DR.
Morkoths were carnivorous and would eat most anything that swam by. Their primary diet consisted of kuo-toans, octopi, sahuagin, and sharks. Every ten years male morkoths would leave their lair to search for a mate, wandering about the sea leaving a pheromone trail. After mating, the male would return to his lair and the female would lay a clutch of approximately twenty five eggs on the sea floor, bury them, and die shortly thereafter. Thus the life expectancy of female morkoths was ten or perhaps twenty years, but the males lived to be eighty to one hundred years old. After hatching, the young morkoths immediately set out searching for tunnels to occupy. Most hatchlings did not make it, but those that did grew into adults with exceptional intelligence in five years.
Generally classified as an aberration, the origin of the morkoth was uncertain. Sages speculated it was primarily a fish with a dash of human and squid mixed in. Their anti-social and isolationist tendencies contributed to their mystique.
The Four Arcana of Humbar, a group of spellcasting morkoth, got involved in the Third Serôs War when they came under repeated attack by the merfolk forces of Coronal Essyl. The reluctant morkoths allied themselves with the rebel Republic of Tivaan in −1522 DR.
Hundreds of years later, during the Sixth Serôs War, morkoths joined in taking revenge on the sea elves after the fall of the Aryselmalyr Empire in the Year of Furious Waves, −255 DR. By the end of the war, in the Year of the Oracle, −215 DR, the morkoth had formed the Theocracy of the Deep Ones (apparently acknowledging the existence of at least one god) and became a power in the undersea region.
The Seventh Serôs War began when the Theocracy of the Deep Ones attacked its neighbors, Es'rath and Hmurrath in the Year of Wands, −108 DR. The war ended abruptly in the Year of the Valorous Kobold, −106 DR, when an attack from unknown triton forces hit the morkoths on an unexpected front and routed them. But in one of the last battles of the war, an elite force of morkoth warriors defeated the storm giant Lorthar of the Waves wielding Kayas the Krakenscourge. This famed double-ended sword was briefly held by the morkoths but the tritons reclaimed it in their stunning victory.
A thousand years later (in the Year of Ruins Reborn, 911 DR) another group known as the Morkoth Arcanum of Olleth, under the leadership of First Arcane Xynakt, began a reign of tyranny over their subjects and undertook construction of the Nine Towers of Serôs.
The Great Arcane Aodk of the Morkoth Arcanum ordered the kidnapping of merfolk Queen Wylla and two of her daughters in the Year of the Lost Helm, 1329 DR. They were maliciously transformed into mindless beasts and sent to attack their home city of Voalidru. Later that year, merfolk stormed Olleth and killed Aodk and his cabal.
At the end of the Twelfth Serôs War in the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR, some morkoths allied with the Dukar Orders and various sea elves, shalarin, and even some newcomer air-breathers, to keep the peace around Myth Nantar and the Nantarn Alliance.
- ↑ The Monster Manual 1st edition gives "morlock" as an alternative name for this creature, but that name, perhaps a nod to H. G. Wells's The Time Machine, does not appear to be related to this creature in any other D&D publication I can find.
- Dungeon magazine 70, "The Maze of the Morkoth". An adventure for undersea heroes level 4–6, by James Wyatt.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 177–178. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (September 2002). Monster Manual II 3rd edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 152. ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 258. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 71. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
- ↑ Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 28.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (September 2002). Monster Manual II 3rd edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 153. ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
- ↑ Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 86. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 134. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 57. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 137. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 150. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader (July 2004). Serpent Kingdoms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 102. ISBN 0-7869-3277-5.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.