Species: Gnit

Name: gnit [nitt]

Homeworld: Thurmenyan

Height/Length/Weight: Gnits are among the smallest sentients in existence, with the males of the species being a bit smaller than the females. They're approximately a foot tall when standing on all fours, 18" when sitting up. They weigh 10-15 pounds and are approximately a foot long, plus an extra 2-2.5' of tail.

Physical Description: Gnits are small, strange-looking quadrupeds; they have no fur, but rather, a smooth and textured hide that resembles snakeskin. This skin, along with their huge ears, aid in keeping them cool, since they run very hot; they have an extremely fast metabolism and their body temperature is unnaturally high. They have rather strange little heads - big, dark, perfectly round eyes (like an aye aye), huge, thin, triangular ears (think coyote), tusk-like lower incisors, and an elephant-like trunk (about a foot long). This trunk is strong and deft, able to support the gnit's body weight (but not quite strong enough to swing with it). Their bodies are thick and compact, surprisingly strong for their size. Their forelimbs are strong and quite flexible, almost brachiating; they have handlike forepaws (four fingers + thumb), and tiny, dull, unretractable claws tipping each finger. These fingers also have a sticky pad on the tip, so that they can cling lizard-like to surfaces, even smooth vertical ones. Their hind limbs are much more muscular, with similarly handlike hindpaws with very sharp, curving, somewhat retractable claws; the pads on these toes are less adhesive than the ones on the fingers. Their tail is their primary method of locomotion - two or more times as long as their torso, it's thick, powerful, and prehensile. They move via swinging through the trees (swing, pawcatchland, swing), while they move by hopping, bounding, or trotting/walking on all fours on the ground; they can also stand on their hind legs, though they don't walk like that.

Senses/Capabilities: Gnits have a superb sense of hearing and fantastic night vision, but their daytime vision is mediocre and their sense of smell is fairly poor. They do have a very fine, discriminating sense of touch - mostly through use of the pads on their fingertips. Gnits are extremely flexible and agile little creatures, able to leap surprisingly far and to swing-jump through the trees at a considerable speed. (A gnit in the trees can often keep up with a human running on the ground, albeit for a short time.) They are not very enduring, as they have an extremely fast metabolism and tire easily, but they're capable of short bursts of speed and energy.

Coloration/Clothing: The only evidence of gnittish sexual dimorphism, other than their slight difference in size, is in their coloration. (The pattern of speckles/mottles/dapples has no gender influence.) Male gnits tend to be varying shades of green, from dark-rich-green to bright-emerald-green; female gnits are varying shades of medium-to-light brown, occasionally tinged with reddish, yellow, or grey. Male trunks are bright red, while female trunks are pale-to-bright yellow. However, gnits change color somewhat as their emotions change - the pattern doesn't change, but the light/dark and hue does. (Female gnits get flushed dark brown-red when in heat.) Gnit eyes are black, with no distinction between iris and pupil. Gnits don't wear clothing, even in very cold weather; they'll overheat in a pile of fabric or fur.

Races/Breeds: Gnits have no ethnicities, though some may be developing in the more static gnit populations on other worlds. However, most gnits travel from world to world so often that the gene pool doesn't have time to stagnate and mutate into something distinctly different.

Language: Gnit speak gnittish, a chattering and bugling/trumpeting language that is very difficult for most other species to learn. It's quite noisy and flamboyant - gnits use body language heavily to convey precise meaning and inflection of words and phrases, so a conversation between two gnits is a very physical and active affair. Gnits themselves are highly intelligent and capable of picking up other languages rather quickly; they often collect languages and serve as messengers or spies.

Technology: Gnits have no technology of their own, but they're quick to learn how to use other people's machines and inventions.

Magic: Very few gnits ever express an interest in and/or a proficiency for magic; those that do are often aggressive mages of some sort, having learned magic to give themselves an edge over physically superior people.

Values: Gnits value quick wit, physical swiftness and agility, and the ability to gain the upper hand in a situation despite their small size. They especially admire those who can remain in total, effortless control of a situation or a group of people, especially if the people do not realize they are being skillfully manipulated. Conversely, they resent those non-gnits who manage to possess that same people-management skill, and avoid them; in other people, they prefer honesty and transparency, and ambition.

Social Groups/Society: Gnits are traditionally only 'close' with a small number of individuals, and very loosely social with their own people as a whole. They form very strong bonds with friends, as well as siblings and mates on occasion. (Gnits do not mate for life, though some pairs reoccur several times in a row.) Other than those few, gnits are amiable and social for as long as peace remains, but unless they have allied themselves with that particular group, they'll flee for shelter at the first sign of trouble, rather than sticking together.

Habitat/Settlements: Gnits were originally inhabitants of thick, seasonal forests or the cooler regions of the jungle; since, they have spread to several different worlds and haunt the trashiest parts of cities. They do poorly in any kind of flatland, or even sprawling towns, farms, or sparse forests - they tend to stay in crowded areas, dense cities, or thick forests. They're quite adept in mountains or hills, but they prefer trees to rocks.

Religion/Beliefs: Gnits have no particular religion, deity/ies, or regard for spirits/ancestors/elements, but they do have a very firm belief in karma - what goes around, comes around. Their own bad luck is attributed to mistakes or misdeeds earlier in their lives, and although this does not stop them from being morally ambiguous or helping less than kind people, they accept the karmic consequences of their own actions. They also get annoyed when other people blame gods/fate/bad luck/other people for what happens to them, and they see no difference in killing an innocent person and killing an 'evil' person - it's still killing, and wrong. (Doesn't mean they won't help someone do it, though. They're intelligent, but not necessarily 'good'.)

Interaction w/ Other Species: Gnits often have love/hate relationships with bigger sentients. Some adapt very well to being the smallest, physically weakest creatures around; others resent it and seek ways to improve their status and edge. Gnits tend to ally themselves with a faction or a cause, rather than a particular species, and can get quite fierce in their dedication and loyalty. Some also form attachments to particular individuals.

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