Having written said critter off as not part of my target audience, I still sometimes remember philosophically while considering my world-building. Like a setting that has not only manticores and basilisks, but dragons, and gryphons, and more such. It does not, however, have any wizards, except charlatans and some ambiguous folks, mostly in history if not legend.
I was wrestling with the notion of nek, a kind of water spirit, since a nek would be human in shape and not beasts however legendary, when I remembered I had put in mermaids. So, yes, indeed, there are humiform legendary creatures in this world.
Though I'm still wrestling with shape-shifting. Leaning toward it even though it means definite magic in the hands of at least semi-human beings. Dragons don't require functional magic in the same way; even mermaids and gryphons don't.
Though it's not the only trade-offs. Electric lights were used even in the Victorian era. A futuristic steampunk setting could even have more of them. But "gaslight" is one of the standing tropes of the steampunk genre. Hmm....