Biology · Races

Munchkin

Overview

Munchkins are a subspecies of diminutive humans from the planet Kaf. Their physiology is adapted to high altitudes like mountains with permanent settlements at heights above 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) to 6,500 meters (21,300 ft). They also take pride in their handiwork, with some of the world most advanced and cutting edge technology being developed in their urban centers.

Biology

Quick Species Profile

(Homo sapiens mannikin) “little figure”

Life Expectancy

Typical: 75 years

Oldest: 176 years old

Average Height: 3’7″ – 4’5″ (109 to 135 cm)

Average Weight: 40 – 66 lbs (18 – 30 kg)

Creature Type: Natural Humanoid

Appearance

Hair: Black, Brown, Blond, Red, Orange, Green, Blue, Violet, Pink
Eyes: Brown, Hazel, Amber, Green, Blue, Gray
Skin: Beige, Ocher, Olive, Sienna, Brown

Of the “human” races of Kaf, Munchkins look the most those of Earth. There are two key differences, first is they are smaller, typically a foot or more shorter in height but the same proportions. The other key difference is that they are very frequently seen with a wide range of hair and eye colors which are naturally impossible in real humans, including purple, blue, green, and countless other colors.

One area in which Munchkins do not diverge significantly from real life humans is skin color, as few to none have skin colors which do not match a real skin color, ranging from pale to dark brown.

Physiological Traits

Thin body hair: Although technically covered in hair from head to toe except their palms and soles, it’s so thin and fine they look hairless. Their thinner body hair and more productive sweat glands help them avoid heat exhaustion while running or climbing for long distances.
Low Oxygen Resistance: Munchkin have the ability to maintain relatively low levels of hemoglobin, which is the chemical complex for transporting oxygen in the blood. Instead, they inhale more air with each breath and breathe more rapidly than sea-level populations throughout their lifetime which enables them to inhale larger amounts of air per unit of time to compensate for low oxygen levels. They also show a sustained increase in cerebral blood flow and less susceptibility to chronic mountain sickness than regular humans. They have ten times more nitric oxide and double the forearm blood flow of low-altitude dwellers. Nitric oxide causes dilation of blood vessels allowing blood to flow more freely to the extremities and aids the release of oxygen to tissues.
Heavy Birthweight: Munchkin women are known to give birth to heavier-weight infants with higher blood oxygen levels than women of lowland human races.
Large Lung Capacity: Munchkin have larger lung volumes proportional to other humanoids throughout life, and a high capacity for physical exercise.
Cold Resistance: Munchkins hands and feet are have more small arteries and veins supplying blood than similar sized humanoids. This makes their extremities much less likely to freeze and suffer from frostbite species adapted to sea level temperatures.

Colorful Hair & Eyes: Munchkins have a wide range of hair and eye colors which are naturally impossible in real humans, including purple, blue, green, and countless other colors. Most of these colors aren’t caused by pigments, but by the way light waves are scattered by the kertain proteins in their hair. Because of the layered structure of the hair, light waves entering it bounce back at different times and thus collide, or “interfere” with each other and certain wavelengths get cancelled out while others become reinforced, resulting in structural colors.
 

Sorcery

Manaplasm Conjuration: Being natural humanoids, when munchkins channel mana from the environment into magic, the energy generates a substance known as manaplasm. Their magic involves manipulation of manaplasm to do various things such as act as a projectile, barrier, mimic other substances, or alter preexisting magical effects.

General Diet

Munchkins are opportunistic omnivores, capable of consuming a wide variety of plant and animal material. They are partial to food that contains a high sugar, fat, or salt content.
The healthiest diet for a munchkin is very balanced and varied, ranging from plant matter like grains, fruits, and vegetables, to animal meat and their products.
Munchkins are one of the few races of Kaf that are able to consume dairy products into adulthood due to their history of raising animals for milk.

Reproduction

Munchkin females are fertile year round, and in which no special signals of fertility are produced by the body. Opposed to many animals, female munchkins have a menstrual cycle roughly every month. Their women will also go through menopause, typically after 50 years of age, in which they will no longer bare children. Munchkin males remain fertile much longer, many well into their 70’s.
As with other mammals, munchkin reproduction takes place as internal fertilization by sexual intercourse between an opposite sex couple to produce offspring. While developing in their mother’s womb, the child gives her a distinctive “baby bump” accompanied by a significant weight gain. Being mammals, the females give birth to live young, either one or several at a time. Two children born at the same birth are referred to as twins, and three as triplets. The delivery itself normally takes place after nine months of pregnancy. It is a painful process that can take as much as ten hours. In some circumstances, women could die during childbirth, although it became less common in places with access to top-notch medical technologies. During their first months of existence, munchkin babies are usually fed with milk from their mother’s breasts.

Lifespan and Growth

Munchkin infants tend to have higher birth weight and higher blood oxygen levels than most humanoid races. The munchkins also follow the typical stages of the human life span like infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood and old age. The main difference from earth humans being the lack of a growth spurt during puberty.
Munchkins hit their peak of physical and mental capacity from the years of 25 to 35, after a decade or so from their bodies may deteriorate in quality without specific diet or exercises. A munchkin without advanced medical treatments can likely live roughly half a century, recent advances able to extend this to possibly a century and a half.
Regardless of physiological and psychological changes, the legal transition from childhood to adulthood depends on culture. While some societies treated their members as adults as early as the age of 13, others considered that full adulthood was only attained at 21.

Habitat

Mountains, High Plateaus, Hills, High altitude Cities

History

Munchkins first appear on the history records of Kaf some millennia after the Ghulat Wars. Their ancestors are expected to be natural humanoid species,  either Dwarves, Pygmies, or possibly humans that escaped the forced migration to Qarin that were forced to move to various mountain ranges around the world due to natural disasters.

All Munchkins originally subsisted on small scale pastoralism or on small farms among the mountain ranges.  For centuries, they were known as a scattered race of hidden villages, clans, and holds, rarely caught up in grand events. Due to scarcity of farm-able lands in the mountains, it became common practice for brothers of a family to marry the same woman to allow the family land to remain intact and undivided. Women would also take multiple husbands because they are strong and able to help tend their land.

The munchkin communities that lived in the mountain range of the future nation of Tawansuyu, grew relatively large due to their isolation from most predators or warfare and formed a small city-state known as the Quipu. Rather than military conquest, they believed in diplomatic acquisition, and they brought many munchkin tribes of the Guiana Region under their rule to became the first large munchkin civilization.

Entrance to the nobility was based on merit as determined by Quipu trials and tests. They were very bureaucracy- and business-oriented, as they pretty much had to be to rule an empire that large. Even their marriages were strictly a business deal. The Quipu believed in equality, that all men must work in order to live, and every citizen — even nobility — paid tribute in the form of some manual labor as a public service. They built a highway system and remarkably stable stone structures, given the unstable geology of the region — possibly due to their propensity to build things out of ginormous stone blocks carved to exacting specifications. Much of the imperial capital of Kunti is still standing and in use today, along with thousands of terraces and granaries. They used these to take advantage of the mountains unique climate that allowed them to grow different crops at different elevations throughout the Plata, and export them only a short distance to market, so that Imperial runners could bring fresh fish to Kunti every day, along with mail, despite the lack of a wheel or written language.

Most of the Munchkin people at the time were peasants, most of who owned nothing and were pledged to their local lord. Some peasants were considered free and could own their own businesses like carpenters, bakers, and blacksmiths. Eventually these developed into guilds that provided a way for trade skills to be learned and passed down from generation to generation. Members of a guild had the opportunity to rise in society through hard work.

Merchant guilds controlled the way trade was handled in the towns. They could become very powerful and controlled much of the local economy, leading to the gradual spread of munchkin towns and small cities into other settlements. People at their homes and guilds could make what they needed by hand tools or through simple machines.

In order to compete with similar guilds made by other races, the Instrus munchkins were the first to ally with the Anthroids to shift to powered, special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production and usurping the Quipu, as the most advanced munchkin civilization. The iron and textile industries, along with the development of the steam engine, played central roles in the creation of companies and corporations that also saw improved systems of transportation, communication, and banking. Munchkins who settled in the lowlands found some of their offspring had decreased fitness, compared to the tribes who still lived in the highlands. As a result, they constructed high rise buildings in residential areas to similar elevations to maintain their races adaptations.

While corporations brought about an increased volume and variety of manufactured goods and an improved standard of living for some, it also resulted in often grim employment and living conditions for the poor and working classes. The munchkin tribes often retain their traditional way of life but were under increasing pressure to do so. As minorities, they tend to be less well off than the majority of munchkin clans people in the countries where they live. The ethical issues of large corporations lead to the creation of the United Sapient Species, a multi-national and multi-racial organization designed to promote international co-operation which many munchkins are a part of. A recent initiative was to provide support for munchkin tribes that preserve the entire race’s ancestral practices and cultures.

Culture

Ethnotypes:

  • Sumeru
  • Dashan
  • Quipu
  • Instrus

Architecture

Traditional Quipu munchkin houses are usually constructed using air-dried clay bricks or branches and clay mortar (“wattle and daub”), with the roofs being covered with straw, reeds, or puna grass.

In general, Dashan homes and buildings such are constructed atop podia built of loose stones held together with mud-mortar, with carefully cut granite corner blocks which rebate back a few centimeters at regular intervals as the wall got higher, so the walls narrow as they rose higher.
Sumeru house style depends on the lay of the land: old river terraces, former lake beds or mountain slopes. There are stone single story, one and a half story (on a slope), and the two story houses, with ample room for animals. Many well-to-do families will have an annex shrine room for sacred statues, scriptures and ritual objects. The roof is sloping and is made from local natural materials, or imported metal. There’s space in the roof to allow for fire smoke to escape. There may be an internal or external outhouse for making compost.
Instrus munchkins have always settled in towns and cities based on a grid design originally built through wood framing, quarried stone or brick and mortar walls. Later as larger cities were being built, new designs were made in conjunction with Anthroid planning with steel framing and insulating concrete composing most buildings and homes. As munchkins prefer to reside in high altitudes, these cities are built in layers, each with streets and buildings built on top of each other and streets between them. Munchkins live at the highest layers in skyscraper sized residence while a variety of other races live like Anthroids.

Spirituality

Classical Munchkins started off with naturism, especially with the veneration of elementals who propagated the abundance of necessary raw materials.
Once they came into contact with other races, munchkins were exposed to a variety of belief systems like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, etc. During the ideological movement toward the scientific method, the munchkins developed a belief system called Deism where the values of the sapient beings take charge as the gods no longer rule over nature.

Gender/Family

Munchkin society tends to lend patriarchal, as males are the ones who traditionally owned property and fathers make decisions for marriage. In the higher reaches of the Himalayas, society is quite liberal while in the lower ranges, it is more conservative. The mountain women folk are responsible for all the sedimentary activities like gathering fodder, fuelwood, farming and cooking while the men are responsible for trade activities or managing the animal herds. Extended families consisting of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and first cousins seem common in rural settlements.

Polyandry is practiced by various tribal munchkins, the arrangement where a woman may marry her husband and his male siblings. This is usually done to avoid division of property and provide financial security. However, monogamy is more common, especially for munchkin clans. Marriages are sometimes arranged by the parents, if the son or daughter has not picked their own partner by a certain age.
In larger cities, things are more egalitarian since both sexes are expected to provide for families. There are more opportunities for formal education and access to new technologies for males and females. Families in the cities tend to be smaller nuclear ones as the cost of living is higher and space is limited due to high populations.

Dress/Modesty

Sumeru men wear long-sleeved robes which fall to slightly below the knee and tied at the waist with a cloth sash, creating a pouch-like space which can be used for storing and carrying small items. Traditionally, they were made from thick home-spun wool, or made from sheepskin. Robes are worn over a white raw silk blouse, trousers, and an outer jacket. Sumeru women traditionally wear long-sleeved floor-length dresses of thick wool or a sleeveless variation worn over a blouse in warmer weather. These are worn with colourful striped aprons; in front.and back, held together by an embossed silver buckle.

The most distinctive part of Quipu munchkin clothing is the handwoven poncho. Nearly every Quipu has a poncho, generally red in color decorated with intricate designs and each district has a distinctive pattern. Tribal Quipu women wear a colorful traditional dress, complete with a bowler style hat. Older men still wear dark wool knee-length handwoven pants with a woven belt that provides protection to the lower back when working in the fields. Men’s fine dress includes a woolen waistcoat, similar to a sleeveless version as worn by the women. As with the women, sandals made from recycled treys, are the standard footwear as they are cheap and durable.
Dasha munchkin homes are commonly made of a mixture of rocks, wood, cement and earth. Little fuel is available for heating or lighting, so flat roofs are built to conserve heat, and multiple windows are constructed to let in sunlight. Walls are usually sloped inwards at 10 degrees as a precaution against frequent earthquakes in the mountainous area. Dasha homes and buildings are white-washed on the outside, and beautifully decorated inside.
Instrus munchkins have three major types of dress codes: casual, formal, and activewear. Casual is the most common and varied type, though materials range from  denim, cotton, jersey, polyester, flannel, fleece and a t-shirt and denim jeans are the most common type. Business clothes tend to be a dark colored suits with trousers or long skirts. Activewear is clothing meant to be worn for shorts or physical exercise like shorts, tracksuits, and sleeveless shirts.

Socialization

Munchkins are an intelligent and innately curious race with a strong affinity for crafting things with their hands, whether it be art or technology. Nearly all munchkins are expected to take up some form of art, whether music, painting, cooking, building, or any other form considered creative by the time they came of age.

Munchkins believe that pushing a child into a particular interest or vocation may be damaging to the child’s nature causing unhappy or socially distant children. As children, munchkins are encouraged to explore all of their interests as they come as they are blessed with ever expanding imaginations. They seek to improve their world without bringing it harm through the use of mechanical inventions and magitechnology. Munchkin homes and villages are often littered with peculiar new creations and unfinished projects.
Rural munchkins settlements have children who take to a certain skill, or field of knowledge continue to learn by a professional in their community, typically known as an master craftsman. They then spend their adolescence and young adulthood learning skills, values and norms from both their family and the craftsman.
For the major munchkin cities, compulsory standardized education is set up to not only met the growing population but also to decide what is taught and how it is taught. Those who internalize the norms of society are less likely to break the law or to want radical social changes.  Their formal education usually is structured, controlled, and directed primarily by adult teachers who are professional “knowers.”  

Magic Use

Munchkins like other natural humanoids can directly manipulate the mana within themselves and conjure it as constructs. Most of its use in daily life is for assistance with tasks and housework such as a tether for large heavy objects or to hold extra objects. While not as combat focused, munchkins can also concentrate their manaplasm into destructive blasts if need be. A lot of their conjuring goes into their crafts, typically using their manaplasm to manipulate or power a device.

Science and Technology

Transportation

Munchkins originally used drought animals to ride on or pull carts and . After finding remnants of devices from before the Ghulat Wars, munchkins were able to replicate personal powered land vehicles of old. The more popular of these are bicycles, tricycles and quadracycles. With the introduction of the combustion engine by Anthroids, the designs for 4 wheeled automobiles became mass produced in munchkin cities. As for traditional mountainous settlements, versions of city transportation are being made by custom orders like mountain bikes or off-road vehicles.

Weaponry

Tribal ethnic groups primarily wield short blades like knives or swords or thick work hammers for melee range protection of themselves or their livestock from predators or raiders. Ranged weaponry included slingshots, pointed javelins, or the bow and arrow for damage or bolas that wrapped around for capture.
Industrial munchkins moved away from tribal weapons with the beginning of the crossbow. This began a trend where they began to improve on previous weapon designs to require less training and more ease of use. The biggest revolution was the turning hand cannons into firearms of various designs. Now handheld firearms are the most commonly used by industrialized munchkin due to their access and high kill rate on most corporeal species.

Medical Treatment

Sowarigpa is a centuries-old traditional medical system that employs a complex approach to diagnosis, incorporating techniques such as pulse analysis and urinalysis, and utilizes behavior and dietary modification, medicines composed of natural materials like herbs and minerals and physical therapies like  acupuncture and moxabustion to treat illness.
Industrialized areas use evidence-based biomedicine to cure diseases. In modern clinical practice, the doctor-patient relationship typically begins an interaction with an examination of the patient’s medical history and medical record, followed by a medical interview and a physical examination using basic diagnostic medical devices. After examination for signs and interviewing for symptoms, the doctor may order medical tests, take a biopsy, or prescribe pharmaceutical drugs or other therapies.

Manufacturing

In almost all munchkin ethnic groups, many traditional handicrafts are an important aspect of material culture. This includes a tradition of weaving handed down from Inca times or earlier, using cotton, wool and a multitude of natural dyes, and incorporating numerous woven patterns.

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