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Yuta and Mana (Mermaid Saga) color art

Yuta and Mana

(Mermaid Saga)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Mermaid Saga (人魚シリーズ) is an older manga  chronicle, published from 1984 to 1994. It was created by Rumiko Takahashi, a major mangaka perhaps best know for her Ranma ½ saga. Inevitably, there were animé  adaptations.

The story was much darker than Ms. Takahashi’s previous stories. The main theme was the consequences of the promise of immortality with eternal youth, through magical means.


Background – Yuta

  • Marital Status: Long widowed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 155lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black Age: 500 (In the mid-80’s).


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Background – Mana

  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’1” Weight: 105lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black Age: 15 (In the mid-80’s).


Powers and Abilities

Yuta is one of the few who have eaten the flesh of a mermaid and lived to tell the tale. As such, he has amazing regenerative powers. These enable him to heal wounds within seconds. He can even return from the dead after about two hours, provided his head is still attached, or that his body hasn’t been destroyed.

Post-mortem, however, his regenerative abilities are greatly reduced until he fully recovers.

Five hundred years of a very active life, including occasionally getting roped into participating in wars, have made him an very strong, athletic person, and an agile and skilled fighter.


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History

About 480 years ago, a fisherman at sea found a strange piece of flesh. He brought it back to share with his friends and fellow fishermen. Among those who ate the flesh out of curiosity was a young man named Yuta.

Instantly after eating the flesh, one man became a horrible beast and died. The next day a second spat up blood and died. One by one, those who ate the flesh died, save Yuta. After a brief period of fear, Yuta realized he wasn’t going to die as his friends had, and eventually took a wife and went on with life.

…but 20 years later Yuta’s wife confessed that she was afraid of him. She had aged, but he hadn’t changed a bit. Yuta realized that the mermaid’s flesh had had an effect after all, and he was terrified of himself. A wise old woman in his village told him that, if he found a mermaid, perhaps she could do something to help. And so Yuta began wandering.

Quest for a mermaid

Over the next 460 years, Yuta would have many adventures. He often encountered others whose lives had been or would be touched by the curse of the mermaids’ flesh, but never an actual mermaid. Until the day he stumbled onto a village in Cape Nosuri.

As it turned out, almost all the villagers were mermaids who had somehow obtained human form. However, to stay in that form and to stay young, required that they periodically eat a young girl who herself had eaten mermaid flesh and obtained perfect immortality. Their sacrifice-to-be was named Mana.

When Yuta was discovered in the woods near the village, he was killed by the villagers. They tossed his body into the same caves as the mermaid who had sacrificed her life to feed Mana.

When he revived and discovered the mermaid’s body, he realized that the people in the village must know something about it. He took it back there, interrupting the villagers as they were about to take the unwitting Mana outside and kill her. When Mana, angry at his insolence, threw a bowl at him, he dodged it and luckily dodged a spear as well.

Tapping the Mana card

Realizing the only way out of this village full of killers was to take a hostage, he grabbed Mana and made a run for it. As the villagers chased him, one of their thrown spears made a deep cut in Mana’s cheek, shocking her. Before this, they had called her their treasure, and said they’d protect her with their lives. Didn’t they care whether she lived or died ?

Yuta and Mana took refuge in the caves. Yuta freed Mana from the shackles she’d worn her whole life, and told her his life story. Their respite was cut short when they were attacked by a Lost Soul. Yuta fought bravely, but the meager weapons he had on hand were no match for the vicious creature.

However, a villager, who had been searching for Mana, attacked the Lost One, stabbing it with a spear tipped with mermaid poison, and drove it back into the caves.

Hungry for answers and wishing to save her life, Yuta took the gravely wounded villager back to her home. He hid Mana and told her stay behind. Telling the villagers that if they killed him, they’d never find Mana, he managed to secure an audience with the headwoman. She seemed quite knowledgable about his situation.

In the meantime, Mana impatiently decided to teach herself to walk, and did so for the first time in her life. Unfortunately, she wandered from her hiding place, and was captured by three villagers. As they took her back to the village, the old headwoman explained what Mana was to them.

Yuta was horrified to learn that Mana had been raised in order to be slaughtered and eaten, and refused to allow them to have her.

Escape

Right about then, he heard a scream from outside, and rushed to the door to discover Mana bound and held by villagers. While he was distracted, a villager stabbed him from behind with a spear tipped with mermaid poison. Summoning all his strength, Yuta managed to save Mana and escape the village.

The headwoman told the other villagers to follow Yuta’s blood trail, as he couldn’t survive for long.

The twosome found a cave to hide in, and Yuta pulled out the spear, telling Mana to suck the poison out. As Yuta recovered from the lingering effects of the poison, the villagers decided to flood the caves in order to wash Yuta and Mana out toward the caves’ outlet in the sea.

Mana was singlehandedly fighting a Lost Soul to protect Yuta, when she, Yuta and the Lost Soul were caught in the enormous wave of water.

Falling to the curse

Yuta managed to fully awaken in time to fight off the mermaids and escape with Mana to dry land. As he was occupied fighting off leaping mermaids, the old headwoman slowly snuck up on Mana with a spear in hand, intending to kill her. But Mana fought her off, refusing to allow herself to be eaten.

However, it was already too late for the villagers, who had reverted permanently back to mermaid form and animal mentality. Eating Mana would do them no good.

As it turned out, the headwoman was like them, an immortal, who had chosen to live in the only place a sad wretch like her could live, among the mermaids.

Yuta and Mana left her in the sea cave, and began their life of wandering and adventure.


Description

Yuta is a Japanese man who looks about 20 or so.

He usually wears simple, sturdy clothes appropriate to the era. His constant wandering means that his clothes can get pretty filthy until he can find somewhere to wash them.

His face at rest usually carries a weary expression, even when smiling.


Personality

Yuta

Yuta is a very nice, kind-hearted guy, who’s rather tired of his long life.

He’s matter-of-fact, even somewhat wry, about his abilities. One can imagine that the wonder of immortality wore off years ago. As tired as he is of life, however, he has no desire to be killed, instead wishing to cure his immortality and live as a normal man.

Yuta’s bond to Mana isn’t romantic or brotherly, but in fact goes far deeper than that. In 500 years of searching, she is the only one he’s found who’s just like him. Understandably, he is extremely protective of her.

Yuta seems to feel an obligation to end the lives of immortals who are dangerous (such as the aforementioned serial killer), or who are suffering because of their immortality (such as the serial killer’s sister).

He also does whatever he can to keep others from eating mermaid’s flesh.

Mana

Mana has led a sheltered life, raised by a village of mermaids as a sacrifice. Yet she is a strong-willed, fiercely brave, intelligent girl who learns very quickly. For example, prior to meeting Yuta her legs had been bound for 15 years. Once Yuta freed her, she forced herself to learn to walk in a matter of minutes.

She is extremely devoted to Yuta, as shown by the quotes.


Quotes

Yuta

Yuta: “Not that it’s anything to brag about…but this is the fifth time I’ve come back to life.”
Rin: “…It sure sounds like something to brag about to me. Does that mean you…?”
Yuta: “That’s right, I ate the flesh of a mermaid. A long long time ago.”
Rin (Stares at him, amazed.): “…Well, then, you don’t have to look for a mermaid, do you ?”
Yuta: “I want to become an ordinary man again. Being killed in war…drowning in the sea…I go through all that pain…and just when I think it’s over…I come back to life again.”
Rin: “Hmmm…”
Yuta: “It’s not very pleasant, you know.”

Pirate: “I-I thought this bugger was dead !”
Yuta (Smirking): “I have too much unfinished business in this world. I came back to life before I knew it.”

“I can’t live anywhere…all I can do is just live.”

Rin: “Yuta…live long…”
Yuta: “Dummy, that’s the last thing I want to hear.”

(After coming back to life from being speared to death)
Yuta: “Damn those old hags, they ruined my only shirt with holes.”

Old Woman: “Is eternal youth and longevity really so awful ? If it’s death you want, you can simply knock your head off. There’s no need to find a mermaid.”
Yuta: “Are you crazy ? I want to grow old and die like anybody else.”

Yuta: “Life can be fun sometimes, too. Of course, a life -this- long isn’t exactly what you’d call a ’life‘.”
Mana: “Is it hard, too ?”
Yuta: “Sometimes…”
Yuta: “But you know…seeing how long you can live before you get completely sick of it isn’t such a bad thing.”

Mana

Mana: “Where are we going to go now ?”
Yuta: “We’re not going anywhere. After all, I’ve finally found a mermaid.”
Mana: “A mermaid ?”
Yuta: “Of course it was dead, but…”
Mana: “Oh, you mean that thing without a head ?”
Yuta (A bit freaked out): “…this girl’s scary.”

Mana (Holding up a kitten): “Yuta, what’s this ?”
Yuta: “It’s called a ’cat‘ “.
Mana: “ ’Cat‘ “…
Yuta: “Let it go.”
Mana: “I want to bring it along.”
Yuta: “It’s not worth it. It’ll be dead before you know it.”
Mana: “Dead for good ?”
Yuta: “Dead for good.”
Mana: “Hmm…poor cat…”

(After Towa has forced a badly-wounded Yuta to fight a Lost Soul in order to gain access to a mermaid)
Towa (Throws an axe down): “Hurry up and cut me a piece of flesh ! Or else you’ll -never- get out of there !”
Mana: “The first thing I’ll do when I get out…IS CHOP OFF YOUR HEAD !!”

Mana: “Yuta ? It is so painful…to live all alone ?”
Yuta: “Well…what would you do if I disappeared ?”
Mana: “I’d look for you.”
Yuta (Thinking): “Hmph, she could at least say she’s miss me or she’d be sad or something…”
Mana: “I’d keep looking and looking. I’d just keep looking and looking and looking. I’d look forever.”
Yuta: “All right, all right… Thanks.”


DC Universe History

“Mermaids” are actually fish that were exposed to, and altered by, the same meteor as Vandal Savage and the Immortal Man.

Although still very rare, their number has increased considerably in spite of occasionally being hunted for their meat. Japan seems almost entirely isolated in the DCU, so all the Mermaid Saga stories could fit into continuity.

Perhaps a pack of “perfect” immortal criminals could be a thorn in a hero team’s side. Given their rarity, some of them could have been around for thousands of years, making them extremely experienced.

Another story hook could involve an NPC important to a character accidentally ingesting mermaid’s flesh, or being poisoned by an enemy. Instead of dying or transforming however, there might be some other horrible effect, necessitating a desperate search for a cure. In the DCU, such a thing might be possible.

Yuta would be happy to give whatever help he could in either situation.


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Yuta

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Wanderer, many others over the years
Inf: 04 Aur: 06 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 017 HP: 045

Powers:
Invulnerability: 15, Regeneration: 15

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Regeneration only affects BOD.
  • Invulnerability and Regeneration are Elementally Linked.
  • Invulnerability may only restore BOD to -1 APs.
  • After Invulnerability is used, Regeneration is only 04 until BOD is fully restored, even after consciousness is regained.
  • Invulnerability is ineffective against decapitation, or anything which would destroy Yuta’s body or brain, such as immolation, or against poisons that use mermaid’s blood.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics, Climbing, Dodging): 06, Detective (Clue Analysis): 05, Martial Artist: 06, Medicine (First Aid): 04, Vehicles (Sea): 05, Weaponry: 07

Advantages:
Expertise (Fishing), Immortal, Luck, Sharp Eye, Sidekick (Mana), possibly Languages.

Connections:
Mana (High).

Drawbacks:
CIA (Ensuring Mana’s Safety), SIA (Finding a “cure” for his immortality).


Mana

Dex: 04 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Wanderer
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 013 HP: 025

Powers:
Invulnerability: 15, Regeneration: 15

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Regeneration only affects BOD.
  • Invulnerability and Regeneration are Elementally Linked.
  • Invulnerability may only restore BOD to -1 APs.
  • After Invulnerability is used, Regeneration is only 04 until BOD is fully restored, even after consciousness is regained.
  • Invulnerability is ineffective against decapitation, or anything which would destroy Mana’s body or brain, such as immolation, or against poisons that use mermaid’s blood.

Skills:
Weaponry (Melee): 02

Advantages:
Attractive, Immortal, Iron Nerves.

Connections:
Yuta (High).

Drawbacks:
Innocent, SIH (People who harm Yuta), Socially Inept.


Mermaid’s Flesh

Pirate (Clutching his throat): “I thought this was supposed to be the elixir of life !!”
Isago: “A medicine that’s too powerful can be a poison, too. Only those with a great deal of luck can become immortal. The rest either die or become monsters.”

Yuta: “It took me 500 years to find another like me. Until then, I was all alone. The flesh of a mermaid changes your body’s composition. Only one person in decades, in centuries, can withstand the violent changes.”

Anyone who partakes of the flesh of a mermaid must roll SPI/SPI as AV/EV against OV/RV of 15/15.

  • Those who get no RAPs die within a day (sometimes instantly).
  • Those who get RAPs but less than half of RV become Lost Souls and die.
  • Those who get half RV but less than full RV become Lost Souls (after APs of time equal to their BOD) and live.
  • Those lucky enough to get RAPs equal to full RV gain Invulnerability and Regeneration with the same Limitations as above, and the Immortal Advantage.

There have been attempts to create medicine out of mermaid’s flesh, blood, bones, ashes, organs, etc.. These have almost invariably failed, due to the unpredictable nature of the reactions.

A few examples of such from the books:

  • A sick girl who drank mermaid’s blood went through terrible agony, one of her arms transformed into a Lost One’s arm (causing chronic pain), and her hair turned white overnight. She stopped aging outwardly, although her organs aged normally, hence she became an elderly woman who looked like a teenage girl.
    She also discovered that by chopping off her twisted arm, she could replace it with the arm of a fresh young female corpse, although the arm would eventually revert back to its normal twisted shape.
  • A monk used a mermaid’s liver to restore a dead child to life (all that had been left were her bones). He thus created an immortal little girl with a taste for fresh-killed livers.
  • A man who ate mermaid’s flesh was transformed into a Lost One, but retained his human intelligence. However, he was prone to feral rages.
  • A woman slipped her brother, a serial killer, mermaid’s flesh and ate some herself out of shame for his actions. She went into a coma so deep that decades later people thought she was a doll. Her brother, on the other hand became a “perfect” immortal.
    He also tore out her eye and put it in his socket when he lost his own, and afterward, the only thing he could see in that eye was the last image she saw with it (him ripping it out).

Hence, anyone who eats part of a mermaid may end up suffering from all kinds of ill-effects, at the GM’s discretion.


Lost Ones

These aquatic monsters are, as mentioned in the quote above, what happens when someone eats a mermaid’s flesh and fails to die or become immortal.

Dex: 05 Str: 07 Bod: 07 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 01 Wil: 01 Min: 01 Occupation: Monster
Inf: 01 Aur: 01 Spi: 01 Resources {or Wealth}: N/A
Init: 007 HP: 010

Powers:
Claws: 04, Invulnerability: 15, Regeneration: 15, Water Freedom: 07

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Regeneration only affects BOD.
  • Invulnerability and Regeneration are Elementally Linked.
  • Invulnerability may only restore BOD to -1 APs.
  • After Invulnerability is used, Regeneration is only 04 until BOD is fully restored, even after consciousness is regained.
  • Invulnerability is ineffective against decapitation, or anything which would destroy the Lost One’s body or brain, such as immolation, or against poisons that use mermaid’s blood.

Skills:
None demonstrated.

Advantages:
None demonstrated.

Connections:
None demonstrated.

Drawbacks:
Catastrophic Rage, Strange Appearance.


Design Notes

Yuta may possess more or higher Skills than this, due to his long life, but this seemed a fair approximation.

After community discussion, the roll for surviving the ingestion of mermaid’s flesh has been changed from BOD to SPI. The transformation appears to be more mystically based than physically based, and those very few “perfect” immortals shown haven’t been physically impressive so much as extremely strong-willed. Yuta and Mana’s SPI have been raised appropriately.


By Civanfan.

Helper(s): William Chamberlin.

Source of Character: Rumiko Takahashi’s Mermaid Saga manga.

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