Alksheist is home to a race of humanoid amphibians which resemble creatures such as toads. The three main species of this race are the quilgbi, the nifot, and the salfot. There are certain characteristics that set these species apart, yet they retain many that allow them to be classified as the same race. Though these species are closely related, their political ties are fraught with tension. This has led to the massive decimation of the salfot and nifot populations.
Amphibious humanoids, as their name suggests, are creatures that walk upright on their hind legs but resemble giant toads, frogs, or salamanders. They have large, bulbous eyes affixed to either side of their heads, protective nictitating membranes, wide mouths with long sticky tongues, and webbed appendages. Feet have five toes while hands have four fingers, each with sticky pads to assist in grasping and jumping.
They are omnivorous, capable of consuming fruits, vegetables, and bugs. As these humanoids have no teeth, they do not usually partake of meat. However, quilgbi can and do eat their nifot and salfot cousins, as well as the frogs, toads, and salamanders that they resemble.
Amphibian humanoids all have thin skin that allows for the diffusion of helpful gases directly into their bloodstream. This allows cutaneous respiration to supplement the aerated respiration already occurring in their lungs. Their skin is also glandular, filled with glands that produce toxins which can be mild irritants or corrosive poisons depending on the individual. These deter physical confrontation with stronger-skinned predators or enemies.
Reproduction and life cycle
All three species of amphibious humanoids share a similar life cycle and reproductive capacity. They begin their lives in soft-shelled eggs which must be submerged in amniotic fluid, either within a lake or within a female (in the case of salfots). Salfots are the only species that carry their eggs within them and lay the eggs before they hatch. For nifot and quilgbi, their eggs are lain by the female and then fertilized by the male separately.
Like their amphibian animal counterparts, these humanoids have a larval stage, an adolescent stage, and an adult stage. Larval tadpoles must remain in water and are only capable of breathing through gills. As they mature, these larvae grow lungs which will allow them to breath on land. They also develop their strong hind legs in addition to the forearms which are extant since birth. The tail in nifot and quilgbi young recedes or drops off to allow for easy bipedal motion. However, salfots do not lose their tails. Their hips and spine are somewhat differently avian shaped; the prehensile tail gives them incredible balance on land and allows them to swim quickly in the water.
The quilgbi (singular: quilgbus) are sometimes known as toad people and are distinguished from their cousins by their dry, wart-covered skin. They are the smallest of the three species, with shorter legs and an overall stumpier appearance. Their parotid glands are housed within the wart-like structures of their skin and secrete the toxins which deter predators. Quilgbi can control when and what they secrete, from a mild irritant to a solution that causes a burning rash in other creatures.
Quilgbi are adapted against numerous types of disease and infection and, unfortunately, are often vectors for illnesses that have stricken the nifot, salfot, and the fauns of the countries they have invaded.
In their warmongering society, conquest and conflict are glorified. While the rest of the world has done away with weapons of mass destruction, Zann continues to produce heavy artillery. They have even gone so far as to rediscover gunpowder, aided by plentiful sulphur reserves that exist nowhere else on Alksheist. The quilgbi reside principally in their native country of Zann, thriving in the half-frozen climate. Despite the year-round cold, the swamps and bogs which develop on top of volcanic springs are enough to keep the quilgbi warm and happy.
Each quilgbus receives a quiggle, a small toad-like mount, at the age of fourteen. Quiggle get to be around twenty feet long and about ten feet tall when they mature and are the principle transportation of quilgbi.
The nifot, or frog people, resemble their toad cousins to such an extent that some may be hard-pressed to tell the difference. However, nifot have longer legs than quilgbi with slightly larger feet. They are more adapted for leaping from place to place and a little more flexible. These people have smooth, moist skin where the quilgbi have dry warty flesh. Their skin is glandular, filled with organs that produce the slick substance that keeps their skin from drying out. These glands can also produce poisons, though the poisons nifot make are generally more dangerous and may even harm other nifot. Thus, they avoid this biological ability unless they have no other option.
Like the quilgbi, the nifot have their own amphibian mounts: the frog-like nimor.
The nifot are natives of Seville, a country under assault by the Zann Empire, and are nearly extinct as a result. They have fallen in battle, in the harsh working conditions, and in the onslaught of the quilgbi's strange diseases. Their weak immune systems and think skin have nearly doomed them.
Salamanders wear bright colors to warn off predators.