Species: Buthine

Name: buthine(s) [BOO-theen(z)]

Homeworld: Nuzea

Height/Length/Weight: Buthines stand about 3.5-4.5' high, with a length of 9-12 feet when stretched out from face to tailtip. They weigh between 200-275 lbs.

Physical Description: Buthines are parthenogenic, hairlessly exoskeletal, biramous (split-legged) bipedal scorpids. (Click here for a very quick doodle.) They hold their torsos (consisting of their head and two large segments) and tails (consisting of six segments, the first of which blends in with the belly) upright so that their bodies form a U-shape, with their abdomen forming the base of the U; they can easily stretch out and move very low to the ground and/or through very tight spaces. Their faces are scorpion-like; they actually have chelicerae, rather than mandibles, but for ease of comprehension, the term 'mandibles' will be used. (Chelicerae are fang-bearing appendages with a single joint for grasping; mandibles are for chewing.) Buthines have a main pair of eyes set towards the middle of their wide, flat faces, and two smaller pairs of eyes set along the sides of their faces; they have nostril-slits, no tongues, and internal ears. They don't really have necks; their heads are joined to the upper torso segment with no more flexibility than their bodies and tails have at the joint. To see behind them, they twist their entire torso to angle their side-set eyes to the rear. Their arms (pedipalps, technically) are connected to their upper torso segment, have an extra joint between elbow and shoulder that juts forward, and bear long, slender, sharp, serrated pincers. They have two legs that split at the hip-joint, appearing to be four legs but still sharing that base joint. Their legs are strong but still slender, ending in dual-clawed feet (tarsii, technically - they resemble this); one half of the conjoined legs is angled towards the front, while the other half is angled towards the back. Buthine tails are very thick, powerful appendages that are quite flexible and swift; the sixth/last segment contains the stinger, as well as the venom glands and anus. They have no sexual organs, as they are parthenogenic (see Reproduction/Aging below).

Senses/Capabilities: Buthines are primarily sight-based creatures, relying on their main pair of eyes for depth perception, static detail, color vision, and long-range vision, while their side-set pairs of eyes are motion-based, less color-oriented, and shorter in range. They have a credible sense of smell, somewhat better than humans do, and a good sense of hearing, about on par with human ears. They're sensitive to vibration and can pick up movement (via the ground trembling) and low-pitched noises very well. Having an exoskeleton, their sense of touch is extremely low and vague, extending mostly to impacts or contact with strongly textured materials; despite this, they are usually very deft and precise with physical contact, especially when non-exoskeletal creatures are involved. They lack a sense of taste entirely. Buthines are not terribly fast runners, barely able to keep up with an average human in a sprint and lacking long-distance endurance. However, their physical precision, accuracy, speed, and strength are remarkable, harking back to their earlier days when they were striking hunters. Most buthines are quite flexible and agile, if not necessarily extremely nimble, and their bodies and tails are powerful, though their individual limbs lack brute strength. Buthines are very mobile and are quite adept at scaling rock faces, sufficiently-large trees, machines, and buildings; they're also efficient at moving through confined spaces, since they can stretch out and crawl through a tunnel or tube very easily.

Coloration/Clothing: Buthines are not a very colorful species; most of them are black, dark grey, or dark brown. Some are a shade of medium brown, and some fewer are a pale, almost fleshy shade of light yellow-brown. A few small population pools tend towards a swampy grey-green coloration, and some others have a blue tinge to their steel-grey hue. Buthines have no natural markings, except for an occasional mottling (especially seen in the grey-green folks), and their eyes are entirely black. Many buthines enjoy painting their bodies; these shell-paints can be any color, any size, any level of detail, completely abstract or illustrative, and temporary or permanent. Buthines don't wear clothing; they find fabric to be easily stretched, ripped, and stained. They do not venture into climates so cold as to demand extra insulation, and even the more physically active buthines usually don't wear any form of protective gear or armor. Straps and belts for carrying packs and bags are common, however, and are often seen in the form of harnesses with saddlebags. (Humans call them scorpisacks, especially when they're used to carry buthine young. Buthines take offense to this.)

Races/Breeds: Buthines have several nominal ethnicities, mostly due to particular size/build and coloration. They make no distinction between ethnic groups, despite the occasionally vast cultural differences, and do not name or label them other than to note the homeworld of the individual in question as a way of identifying its origins.

Language: Buthines speak buthan, a language largely comprised of hisses, clicks, snaps, creaks, and groaning or moaning sounds. It is possible for most races to learn to approximate buthan, but few make the attempt. Buthan is a highly complicated language in structure and syntax, but its root vocabulary is surprisingly minimalistic. Body language cues (position and height of tail, especially) are usually important in conveying the emotional intent and importance of the message. Most buthines also speak vocan and halasshian; their voices are strange and some have described them as almost mechanical, when attempting to speak a full-voiced language, but they are still intelligible. Despite the differences in speech organs, buthines have a knack for languages and usually know a handful fluently.

Technology: Buthines are a highly technological race, easily one of the top five species in the universe when it comes to advanced machinery and tools. Unlike most of the other high-tech societies, they use no magic to power or supplement their technology, making it both more resource-intensive and far more viable for use on low-magic worlds. While they have not developed some of the more data-driven technology that the rarra have - like animetal sensory interfaces - buthinian technology tends to be more functional and practical in nature, like vehicles for transportation and tools for terraforming and construction. Buthines have only a niche market for technological weapons; they tend to take k'anta concepts and designs, then modify them for their own use, much like they take some rarra machines and adapt them. Buthines do not see concepts as proprietary and will find inspiration from various other race's own technology; they easily learn other styles of technology and will work with other machines and tools without a second thought.

Magic: Buthines do not use magic. They express no interest in or like for it, and many seem to strongly distrust its safety and/or effectiveness. There are very, very few exceptions to this rule.

Values: Buthines are a widespread race with a considerable range of cultural influences; it's very difficult to generalize their values as a species. Buthines tend to value ingenuity and cleverness, independence and self-sufficiency, originality and individuality. While many of their populations tout social tendencies and cooperation as highly important, just as many others value the opposite. Altogether, buthines respect a keen wit, a strong will, and a quick eye.

Social Groups/Society: Buthines are not intrinsically social creatures, but they're also not strongly solitary people. They are perfectly willing to devote their time to aiding other people, most notably raising their own offspring, and to cooperating in order to advance their community or society, but they often do so in mostly solitary ways. Most buthines balance their time between being around other people and being alone, finding a comfort at having the right portions of each. (Some buthines prefer more solitude than others; some prefer more social time than others. The exact balance is unique to the individual.) Buthines have no inherent hierarchy or dominant-submissive social interactions; they are individuals and act as such, treating all others as equals with free will and their own agendas. Attempts by other species to engage them in hierarchal behavior or structures are met with indifference and independence, or occasionally indignance and offense. Buthines cooperate with each other for mutual benefit, not out of any instinctual needs or any kind of fear; attempts to play upon presumed needs or fear/intimidation usually fail miserably.

Reproduction/Aging: Buthines are parthenogenic; they have one gender and give birth to live young asexually. Buthine young are considered wholly dependent on their parent until they're a year old; they enter a form of adolescence at two years and are acclaimed as physically mature adults at three years. Buthlings shed their exoskeletons as they grow, much like snakes shed skins, and moulted buthskins are usually eaten by the family as a celebration of maturation. Most buthines do not begin their reproductive cycle until they're five years old; they will become pregnant and carry for about five months before giving birth to one to eight buthlings - younger and older buthines have smaller litters, while buthines in their prime have larger litters. Litter size is also heavily influenced by the buthine's health; being underfed, being injured or sick, or otherwise being in poor health will often completely preclude any babies or ensure that only one or two are born. Healthy, strong buthines will normally have one litter every four or five years, but herbal and magical contraceptives do exist if a buthine doesn't wish to reproduce (which is often the case when the individual is in a precarious situation or lacks a suitable home). Buthines are usually done reproducing by the age of fifty, and most of them will live into their seventies, if they're in good health and fitness. Buthlings are often raised by their parent exclusively, but the majority of litters are communally raised, tended, and educated; they do not have a powerful familial bond like many other races and often part ways entirely upon adulthood/independence.

Habitat/Settlements: Buthines are quite adaptable and live in nearly any terrain; they can manage all but cold climates, as well, both wet and dry. Buthine settlements tend to be in the forms of small, densely-packed towns; industrial sections are entirely separate and considered 'cities' by most, despite the fact that almost no one lives there. Buthinian architecture is small, dense, compact, and efficient; most other races find it immensely claustrophobic and closed-in. Buthines usually build with metal, though wood and stone have a place, and many structures are partially underground; some towns are largely beneath the surface, using tunnels in lieu of above-ground streets. Some buthine populations have also made use of particularly large and dense copses of trees to build tree-towns; others have settled in the sides of heavily-pocked cliffs and other rock formations. Buthine settlements are usually not multi-species, simply because few other species can comfortably live in their towns; those who can are welcome to do so, however.

Religion/Beliefs: Buthines are extremely logical, rational people; very few subscribe to any religions or belief systems. They view the worlds and the people in them with a scientist's eye, though they'll not deny the existence of magic, spirits, or some local gods if shown proof/evidence. They care little for the afterlife and the longevity/immortality of the soul, though they generally respect living creatures and go out of their way to ensure they do little harm.

Interaction w/ Other Species: Buthines are notoriously easy-going around other species. Despite the frequent attitude of competition from humans, they treat individuals of other races exactly as they treat other buthines - as equals with free will and their own agendas. Buthines with any racial bias would require an overload of evidence to support their prejudice, and most of them lack that on a species basis (though many find plenty to dislike in magic-workers).

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