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Cromnari



Cromnari are small powerhouses who are usually down to party.

Examples of cromnari:

Anatomy and physiology

Cromnari are small gregarious demons who are immensely physically strong, and are remarkable for reproducing parthenogenetically and for undergoing metamorphosis from a larval stage. It's considered by everyone else to be a good thing cromnari are small in size, as they would probably be devastatingly powerful if they were the size of an average demon.

Adult cromnari are habitually bipedal but can easily run on all fours, owing to their short legs and long powerful arms. They are plantigrade, like humans and bears. They can run faster on all fours than on two legs, but will not do this outside an emergency because they consider it undignified.

Cromari's small vestigial wings cannot be used for flight, but are are capable of doing chicken-flutters to slightly boost their jumps or to slow a fall.

These demons have short thick horns that are often thorny or ridged, and curved tusks in their lower jaws.

Magic use

These demons tend to rely much more on their physical strength than on magic attacks. When they do use magic, it's often to buff their physical prowess even harder, or to lend power to their allies.

Winter coat

Cromnari have permanent head-hair. During winter, they also grow sideburns and a ruff/mane of hair around the neck, as well additional body and limb hair. This winter hair is bristly and pig-like when it first erupts, and softens later. The hair is not water-resistant but keeps its warmth even when wet, much like sheep's wool does. Growth of the winter coat is kickstarted by a drop in temperature. Cromnari living perpetually in warm environments might never grow it.

Reproduction and ontogeny

larvae
Species life cycle (click for bigger)

Cromnari begin their lives as larvae. Or more accurately, each adult cromnar began her life as several larvae. Multiple larvae from different parents will form a cocoon together, and fuse to create a new adult with a new genome. In this way, cromnari avoid genetic monotony while still reproducing asexually. The adult will emerge from the cocoon with all the combined memories of the larvae that fused together to become her. She will usually be able to speak at a rudimentary level, depending on how much speech her constituent larvae heard and understood on their travels.

Cromnari are r-selectors: they have several offspring and leave them to fend for themselves. (This is as opposed to k-selectors: species that have a small number of offspring and raise them intensively.) After being left in the wilderness by their (sole) parent, cromnari larvae will form roaming packs, splintering and merging as they explore. After several years, each individual larva will hopefully have found a diverse gang of larvae from other clutches. Once there is enough larval biomass to form an adult cromnar, the pack will find somewhere safe and construct a cocoon with all of them inside it.

Newly-hatched adults appear somewhat 'unfinished', because they've spent more of their existence as a disparate set of beings than as a composite, and they're still working out who they are. Adults become more elegant and refined as they mature and their identity solidifies and coalesces. They might remain in the wilderness, or they might head for civilisation and hone their language enough to find employment.

If a clutch of larvae can't find enough/any other larvae to to bond with, they will return to the place of their birth like salmon. Here they will regroup and (if there are enough of them still surviving) combine to become a genetic clone of their parent. If this scenario happens, but there aren't enough survivors from the original clutch to group together and form a decent-sized adult, the larvae will give up and spend the rest of their lives in their juvenile form. They will not metamorphose but will mature and become bigger and uglier instead of staying grub-like.

Cromnar eggs are bean-shaped, translucent, usually greenish, and wet and squishy like frog eggs. They are retained in the parent’s body until a few days before hatching. They can be laid earlier but will need to be monitored to prevent them drying out.

Diet and cuisine

Cromnari are omnivorous. They use their tusks as multi-tools to cut up carcasses, break up friable rocks to get at minerals, and bore into tree trunks to get at insects. A cromnar's natural diet is fruit, buds and young leaves, insects and meat.

Distribution and Habitat

Adult cromnari will roam the wilderness looking for a home. Sometimes they meet other cromnari and band together. Villages of cromnari have sprung up this way, as multiple adults converge on the same location ideal for habitation. A lot of trading posts end up staffed by cromnari for the same reason. Sometimes a new adult will keep roaming until they find a city, move in and (assuming their grasp of language has levelled enough through osmosis) find employment.

Cromnari evolved in forests, and do very well in these environments. Their huge hands enable them to dig out temporary shelters, and their grasping toes aid them in climbing.

Social structure

These demons are adaptable and friendly. They get on with other demon species about as well as they do with their own, and when living among other demons will easily adopt their mannerisms and cultural expectations. However, cromnari will shun any actions they perceive to be 'undignified'. It can be hard to find out what is meant by this, as cromnari throw around the word 'dignity' in much the same way as Smurfs use the word 'smurf'.

Adult cromnari retain the memories of their lives as larvae. They remember faces and voices from this period, and continue to hold grudges against anyone who mistreated any member of their larval pack. They also recognise those who were kind to them. If a strange cromnar greets you warmly and offers to buy you a drink, search your memories for when you stopped to pick up a larva from the bottom of a ditch several years ago.

Genders and pronouns

Cromnari reproduce asexually, and are often described by demonologists as an all-female species. They don't necessarily see themselves as such. They didn't have a concept of gender until other species imposed it on them, because there was no need for them. Most cromnari just roll with it, and use she pronouns. Those who don't are probably trying another one out because of the novelty of other pronouns existing at all, or because they decided they liked the social connotations that pronoun had.

Clothes

Cromnari living in the wilderness rarely bother with clothes, as their winter coats keep them warm. City-dwelling cromnari will default to whatever is the local style, appropriately tailored to accommodate their wings and tails.

Compatibility with demonologists

It is possible for a summoner to form a contract with a cromnar, but recruiting one is hard. Cromnari are very strong and are usually unconcerned with magic, so it will be difficult for a summoner to persuade the cromnar that the summoner has anything to offer the demon with a partnership. A summoner's interaction with them is likely to be limited to one-off recruitment for a single task rather than a long-term contract. Cromnari are quite happy to do some heavy lifting in return for quick cash.


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