Kuna

The kuna are sociable, charismatic and charming. They have the potential to become celebrities of Dunia. Attractive, socially apt and terrible at being alone, they navigate any social situation with ease and have no problem swaying the masses to their favor.

Almost every popular singer is a kuna and they are heavily overrepresented in professions like merchantry, military leadership and diplomacy. Kuna are also heavily overrepresented in social scandals, broken relationships and gossip news. Tall, slender and incredibly expressive, the kuna are a great choice for a social character.

Mekhrat shivered and stretched his frozen fingers towards the fire. "This god-forsaken winter is going to be the death of me!" He glanced at Chu'key, who was standing on guard, peering out into the darkness. "Get over here, Chu! There's warmth by the fire."   "I'm fine." Chu'key replied, in her typical matter-of-fact tone.   "That's not what I meant, and you know it." Mekhrat protested. "You're gonna freeze if you stand there much longer."   She again didn't turn her head, not wanting to ruin her dark vision with the brightness of the fire. "I'm a vindral, Mekhrat, did you forget? We're far more tolerant to the cold than you furballs."   Mekhrat chuckled and leaned back towards the fire. "Suit yourself then, you icequeen. There's food here when you're done being stoic."   He didn't see it, but she did crack the slightest of smiles.
— A group of Irdárian scouts on patrol make camp for the night.

The kuna are a canine folk stemming from the southern Great Plains. The diverse tribes of kuna roamed the plains like nomads, hunting and breeding cattle. They met the Kykr on the fields of battle and fought for a hundred years before the Kykr attempted diplomacy. Eventually, the sociable kuna joined forces with the vindral exiles and the Blood Coast settlers and together they formed the original Trifolk Alliance which stand strong to this day.

In those times, the kuna were made up largely of diverse tribes with unique customs and appearances, then known as the Natukunautep Nomads. The three largest and strongest were the Natukuna, the Kunautep and the Nihatmaturu. Members of these three tribe make up the majority of the kuna population of the world today. The stocky, hyena-like Natukuna, the slender, jackal-like Kunautep and the timid, foxlike Nihatmaturu. There are several other phenotypes of kuna, but these three are dominant.

Appearance

Kuna are built like canines in appearance with a wide, strong chest, thin waists and usually slender limbs. Their thighs are muscular, allowing the kuna to be quick runners, especially if they run on all fours. They have fur covering their entire bodies that is longer on the back, tail, cheeks and underarms. They have five dextrous fingers on their hands that end in sharp claws. Their feet have four toes that also have claws.

Digitigrades

Kuna's legs are built differently than the vindral and illim. Their knees appear "backwards", their feet are very long and they walk on their toes, just like the hind legs of wolves and dogs. This is one feature that makes kuna such excellent sprinters. Their actual "knee" is higher up on the leg and their thighs and calves are incredibly strong. The structure of their legs allow them to exert greater force on the ground and give a springiness to their gait. If they leverage this structure, they are incredibly fast sprinters.

The Three Tribes

The Kuna are primarily made up descendents of three tribes: The Kunaupti, the Natukep and the Nihatmaturu. Collectively, their species' proper name is "Natukunaupti", but everyone shortens it to kuna. There are rarer phenotypes of kuna from other tribes, but these are few and mixed up in the general population. The three phenotypes are so alike that most non-kuna don't even consider them different species, and genetically, they are the same species, only phenotypes.

Phenotypical differences

The natukep are hyena-like in head structure and facial features, have shorter, stubbier noses and broader, slightly more rounded ears. They also often have brown or black fur on their snouts and their fur is generally spotted and multicolored. The kunaupti are jackal-like and have longer, thinner snouts and sharper, pointier ears. Their faces and furs are more often uniform in color and smooth, as opposed to the more speckled, rugged natukep. The kunaupti are thinner and more slender than the more stocky natukep.

The nihatmaturu are rarer than the others and are foxlike in features, with narrow, sleek snouts and bodies, triangular, furry ears and prominent fur cheeks. Nihatmaturu have the longest fur out of the three and are often single-colored, even though there are patterned individuals. White, or at least light gray fur is the most common among the nihatmaturu, as opposed to the darker natukep and kunaupti.

Facial features

Kuna have lively faces with articulate facial muscles and expressive eyes. The eyes are usually green or yellow, set under pronounced brows. Kuna ears are long, triangular and pointy, but as previously mentioned, Natukep usually have shorter, more rounded ears and the kunautpi's ears are slimmer and longer. The fur on their cheeks is longer than the rest of the face giving some of them a foxlike appearance. Kuna have sharp Fangs they can use in melee combat.

Mannerism

With a charm and charisma on the level of gods, the kuna are incredibly successful in particular niches in society. They are extraordinarily keen on social interaction and possess an uncanny ability to read people near them, down to almost being able to read intentions and emotional states off of people. Whether this is just them being observant, their sense of smell reading pheromones or a combination is quite frankly, unknown.

Either way, the best way to describe a kuna in general is an extroverted, charming and generous person who wears their emotions on their skin, or fur, as it were.

Genetic Ancestor(s)
Scientific Name
Natukunaupti
Origin/Ancestry
Kharamôran
Lifespan
~70 years
Average Height
1.8-2.2 m (6-7.2 ft)
Average Weight
70-100 kg (150-220 lbs)
Geographic Distribution
Related Ethnicities
Related Myths
Kuna CD10 Starting Traits
Big
1

3

2

-3

Eye Defect (Color blind)
-3

Eye Defect (Near-sighted)
-3

2

3

-2

-4

-1

1

2

2

Related Reading

Kykr
Ethnicity | Dec 14, 2020

The "kykr" are the dominant civilisation of the world, encompassing three sapient species: The Illim, the Vindral and the Kuna. They rule over the continent of Arjin in a diverse collection of cultures and nations.

Illim
Species | Dec 29, 2020

The Illim are a strong, sturdy and curious species of humanoids. Honest, loyal and reliable, the illim were one of the foundational species of the Trifolk Alliance.

Vindral
Species | Jan 12, 2021

The vindral are a minute, fay-like species belonging to the Trifolk Alliance and the Kykr culture. They are most known for their emotional detachment, sharp intellect and great ambition.

Extroversion

Plainshunter
Kunaupti plainshunter by Unknown

Kuna are notoriously social and actually require frequent social interaction with others, the more the merrier. Kuna families are almost always larger than vindral or illim families, owing to kuna preferring many children and having them live at home for many more years. It's not at all unusual for up to three generations living in the same home if there is at least one kuna parent in the family. They enjoy the proximity to their family and usually have a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

Social isolation

Since they have this huge, social need, kuna do not fare well when isolated. A kuna who cannot have frequent social interactions or percieves themselves as isolated risk slipping into deep depression. At the very least, their mood will shift greatly, first towards desperation and eventually to melancholy and despair. Once a kuna starts feeling isolated or alone they will become overly social with anyone who crosses their path and will begin chasing after even remote acquaintances just to fill the hole in their hearts.

It is less a fact and more a legend, but oral tradition among the nomadic tribes of the Great Plains told of a particular punishment levied by the tribes in pre-alliance times that would isolate kuna who had misbehaved or broken the law of the tribe. Sometimes for weeks or months at a time. This isolation was, according to the stories, highly tormentful to the sufferers.

Biology

Slender, dextrous and tall, the kuna are excellent sprinters and can easily outpace any of the other species in a dash. Belied by their slender builds they are quite tall, often reaching over two meters if they stood up straight. However they have a naturally hunched posture which makes them appear quite a bit shorter than they actually are. Their ears are sensitive and kuna have good hearing, on par with the vindral. They also possess hypersensitive noses and can identify individuals on their smell alone, smells too faint for most other species to even pick up on, with the exception of some dru'un. They can also detect smells from further away than other species. Kuna unfortunately do not have good eyesight. They are both myopic and partially color blind, being unable to see clearly further than five meters without some form of eye correction. The degradation is relative slow, however, and they retain the ability to identify individuals and objects for a relatively good distance. Dru'un's eyesight degrades significantly faster, being unable to see more than 10 meters before everything becomes focused on movement alone, unless it's something huge like a mountain or building.

Kuna age at about the same rate as illim and gestate for approximately 11 months. Kuna cubs are notoriously clumsy and take much longer to develop proper body coordination than other species. They don't start crawling properly until about a year after birth and walking upright comes around the age of three to four years of age.

Dimorphism

The kuna have a notable sexual dimorphism where female Kuna are, on average, about a foot (~30cm) shorter than the males and have an even slenderer build. Their facial features are also more delicate than the males, who by comparison are rougher.

Beautiful voices

Kuna have soft and beautiful voices with relatively small variance. Other species' individual voices vary more than between most kuna. The men have deep, barytone voices and the women have breathy, fragile voices. Both are perfect for talking and singing, further advancing kuna in the entertainment business.

Ecology

Kuna prefer a balanced climate which is not too humid or too hot. Due to their fur they can handle cold very well, but do not prefer it over a temperate climate. Like most civilized beings you can find kuna just about everywhere in the world, but due to their preference for temperate climates, you find slightly more of them in the Kfandr Bay area and on the Great Plains.

Dietary

Kuna are often stereotyped as carnivorous beasts with their ferocious appearance, and while they certainly evolved to be a predatory species, the kuna can eat just about anything and their primary diet varies a lot with individual preference. They lean towards meat-based diets, especially if they are hard working, but have no issues with fruit or vegetables.

Gelsir

Gelsir is a neurodegenerative disease with genetic origins and every kuna is born with it. The disease is not contagious and not found in any other species, but it is deeply ingrained in Kykr society because of its prevalence. Far from every kuna will actually develop symptoms and suffer for it, but every kuna has the genetic predisposition to.

Those that do develop symptoms become progressively more aggressive and violent, gradually losing the ability to manage their temper and recognize individuals. Eventually they appear to lose all ability to recognize other sapient individuals as anything but food, and their increased aggression will make them attack and eat everything and everyone. Kuna who are in late stages of Gelsir are referred to only as "Gelsir" to differentiate them from healthy kuna and help build a detachment to them as people. Treatment of Gelsir kuna is something incredibly morally gray and anything that can be done to blunt the feeling of moral ambiguity is welcomed.

Early symptoms

  • Failing long-term memory
  • Bouts of anger
  • Short temper
  • Nightmares
  • Confrontational attitude
  • Tremor

Advanced stage

  • Prone to violent outbursts
  • Trouble remembering recent events
  • Facial recognition gets harder
  • Significant increase in body mass, particularly muscle tissue
  • Higher than average metabolism
  • Cravings for meat, particularly uncooked or lightly cooked.

Exile

A gelsir is either straight up killed on the order of the crown or exiled from society, banished from their friends and family to live out the remains of their lives as a feral beast.

The word itself is an old Nahut word meaning "rage" or "fury".


CD10 RPG Mechanics

Latent Gelsir
v
-4
The Kuna carry a congentital neurodegenerative disease called Gelsir that affects only a few individuals in thousands. Every Kuna carry the disease, but only a few ever develop the symptoms and enter the gelsir state.   A Kuna who goes into the gelsir state is no longer called a Kuna. They are instead refered to as a Gelsir or a Gelsir Kuna, which is an old word meaning "Rage" or "Fury". A Kuna in the early stages of Gelsir will display increased aggression, short temper and violent outbursts. An increase in salivation give them a constant drooling and their posture will become increasingly hunched over.   A full Gelsir outbreak will strip the Kuna of their mental faculties completely and they will revert to a violent, aggressive state where they attack attack everyone in the hunt for food. They will have no qualms about eating the flesh of other races in this state. They cannot be reasoned with and they will attack any non-Kuna, and in some cases even non-Gelsir Kuna will be attacked.   As player characters
Every year past the age of 20, you must make a check against this trait. The difficulty increases by 1 for every five years past 20. So if you are 28, you make a yearly check against 2. If the check fails, you will begin to develop early Gelsir symptoms. Remove this trait from your character sheet and replace it with the Gelsir [DS] trait at -1. If the check was a fumble, you add Gelsir [DS] at -2.   The yearly Gelsir check is subject to Hero Points.
Gelsir [DS]
v
-1 to -4
Developed from Latent Gelsir, the Gelsir state is one of increased aggression, anger and inability to reason. The Gelsir trait works similar to Rage, but will also display other symtoms such as increased salivation, lowering of the vocal register, increased strength and somewhat hunched posture.   When resolving strength and agility related checks, the trait is reversed, turning positive.   Once you have acquired Gelsir, you continue to make yearly Gelsir checks, but this time the base difficulty is 6 with an added +1 yearly and you use this trait for check modification, since you removed Latent Gelsir. If the trait ever reaches -5, your character is fully feral and is no longer a playable character. If you fail a yearly check for Gelsir, the difficulty goes back to 6 and then increases by +1 yearly again until you fail another. Remember that this trait itself modifies your check as an Internal Modifier.   The yearly Gelsir check is subject to Hero Points, just like any other check.   For in-universe information on this condition, see the Gelsir, article.

Comments

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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Dec, 2020 21:22

Well done, as always, toblin. Its well written, the quotes are amazing, and as far as species go. It really feels unique. In this article, I think my favorite elements have to be their focus on social needs. The fact that they can really fall apart without social contact is a nice touch, as is their tendency to overcompensate when being social if they feel like they're in a period of isolation.   Gelsir is awesome. As as idea, at least. I always liked the idea of a species wide defect. Or at least a predisposition towards one. An excellent touch there.

22 Dec, 2020 22:50

In case you want a more grim description of Gelsir, feel free to drop in here. It's...dark.

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
23 Dec, 2020 01:24

Aw, I really like the Kuna as a species. I particularly like how social they are, and the fact that any form of isolation is intolerable for them. No wonder it used to be used as a punishment.   The fact that any Kuna could become a Gelsir must give all Kuna a slight level of constant fear. I imagine that anything that could be a symptom would have someone being like 'oh no, has it got me?'   Really great article. <3

23 Dec, 2020 01:54

It is my attempt at displaying the terror of degenerative diseases like Alzheimers. I just turned up the horror by not only making them lose themselves...but also become monsters.

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
23 Dec, 2020 02:03

Yeah, I definitely made the connection to Alzheimers. Terrifying.

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