Karpik Species in Manifold Sky | World Anvil


A karpik is a small, amphibious, omnivorous mammal similar in overall form to a river otter. Karpiks are popular companion animals for the nautically-inclined Rostrans, especially those found in their native Rostral C cube layer.

Basic Information


A karpik's broad physical characteristics are almost indistinguishable from those of common river otters, albeit with a slightly enlarged head and paws (neoteny) as a result of some domestication on the part of Rostran owners. A karpik's jaws contain an added set of blunt, grinding molars for use on plant matter - a deviation from the mustelid baseline which is often overlooked by those unfamiliar with the creature.

Ecology and Habitats

Karpiks can be found anywhere with sufficient water to support an aqautic ecosystem, mostly in the parts of the Western Tesseract not adjacent to the Distal Tesseract. Some small landmasses must be located in a cube for the karpiks to successfully reproduce there.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Karpiks are believed to be descended from common river otters, but their digestive system has evolved to allow them to digest certain aquatic and coastal plants. Seaweed, Penrose fescue and fallen mangrove fruits supplement the karpik's prey. This adaptation is believed to have come about in response to long exposure to the relatively limited resources of cube-bound environment - something that the humanoid cultures around their habitats have also been forced to grapple with..   For the karpiks, this more versatile diet has allowed them to escape their usual niches as freshwater and coastal water carnivores and, as a result, to expand their native ranges. Even so, karpiks do prefer fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, which they, like their aquatic mustelid ancestors, use small stones to break open. This primitive form of tool use makes karpiks a subject of study by Rostran biologists, who often remark in hushed tones that they are surprised that the ovinex made it to sentience before the karpiks did.

Additional Information


Karpiks are more social and more tolerant of varied living conditions than other otter species. They are also less aggressive and more amenable to training through treats paired with verbal commands, making them about as popular as ferrets to keep as pets - especially among Low Rostrans who tend to live closer to water.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Karpiks produce furs which have waxed and waned in fashionability with time. A properly maintained karpik fur coat is water repellent (though not necessarily waterproof) and warm in all weather conditions. However, as the popularity of karpiks as pets has increased, the market for karpik furs outside of the chilly Petalcap Vale has precipitously declined in recent years. Members of the Way of the Biocosm, in particular, regard what little of the karpik fur trade remains with disdain borne of their strong naturalist beliefs.

Conservation Status
In addition to those found in the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy territories, karpiks were once endemic to Medial A, but fur trapping by the Old Voxelian peoples drove these populations to the brink of extinction. As the relative price of karpik furs grew as a result of scarcity, karpik fur clothing became a symbol of wealth and prestige in a similar fasion to the furs of ermines or minks. This, in turn , caused the Old Voxelian Emperors to declare these creatures under the protection of the crown to preserve their value as status symbols. As such, karpik populations are on the rebound as of 10,000 AR, though industry and fishing still remain threats to their continued survival in Medial A.
Geographic Distribution
Related Ethnicities

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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