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A poli (pl. polis or poli folk) is a sapient being. Polis are much like humans except that polis have no external hind legs. Their leg and foot bones are contained entirely inside the butt area. They walk on their hands and bottom, wearing thick padded gloves on their hands that serve as shoes for them. (Compare this video.)

  • Height: 80-90 cm
  • Defining characteristic: determination

Poli culture tends toward a can-do attitude. Don't call them cripples; they do what anyone else does, just in their own way. This extends to their unique style of hand-to-hand combat that takes advantage of their low center of gravity.

Anatomy and physiology

Walking on hands with an alternating gait leads to so-called tennis elbow. Treatment involves elbow braces and anti-inflammatory medication.[1][2]

More commonly, they use a "tripedal" swing-through gait to bear half the weight on each hand, often wearing what the Germans might call "hand shoes". (Real-world dragline excavator machines are also tripedal.) This leads to developing a large pad of thickened skin called an ischial callosity on the bottom for cushioning, not unlike that of a baboon or certain macaques.[3] But the skin over it isn't brightly colored, unlike the ischial callosity of some animals that display the buttocks to attract a mate, such as the butts seen in Bing Images or Cyanide & Happiness[4] or the bright red heart-shaped ass that a gorilla painted.[5]


Since before verifiable history, they have compensated for their lack of running speed by relying on traps, both lethal and nonlethal.[6] One example could be described as a nonlethal seesaw pitfall trap.[7]

With other races

When someone scoots on his hands and bottom, more of his body comes in contact with the dirt on the ground.[8] For this reason, they may be considered "dirty" by others.

In areas without a lot of these people, padded gloves made for fist-walking aren't available. It takes a lot of duct tape to keep inferior (for purpose) gloves holding together.[9]

Some of them who mingle with taller races compensate for their lack of height by wearing a tall pointed or stovepipe hat.[10]

When learning to speak standard common language, they may confuse the words for "arm" and "leg", leading to a situation not entirely unlike that depicted in the strip "No legs" by Kris Wilson of Cyanide and Happiness. Compare English wrist, which resembles Swedish vrist meaning ankle.

Being short is an advantage for urban warfare. Polis would face some of the same physical advantages and problems as gorillas, with similar solutions. On the one hand, they have a low center of gravity and greater ability to hide behind concealment and cover. Though they would need to stow their weapons to move, there exist quick-access and wrist-mounted weapons.[11]


As polis are shorter than other people, their houses tend to be smaller. The doors also open up rather than out, with a knob at the bottom. Buildings often include slides to descend to a lower floor, not unlike a certain house in Nakameguro, Japan.[12]

Some communities of polis have founded very long linear towns along roads and rivers.[13]

False polis

Soldiers who lose legs in combat and civilian victims of certain weapons or injuries may choose to go live with the polis.

Further information: Mark 9:45; Wikipedia:Social model of disability


See also


  1. Spencer West. "Detected: One Elephant". Redefine Possible, 2012-05-15. Accessed 2013-10-13.
  2. Jorden Weir. "5 People Whose Major Disabilities Only Made Them Stronger". Cracked, 2013-10-13. Accessed 2013-10-13.
  3. E. Reid Ross. "6 Animals That Prove Nature Has a Childish Sense of Humor." Cracked, 2013-03-31. Accessed 2013-03-31.
  4. Dave McElfatrick. "#3994". Cyanide & Happiness, 2015-07-20. Accessed 2016-05-18.
  5. Sam Blitz. "6 Amazingly Intelligent Animals (That Will Creep You Out)". Cracked, 2011-01-02. Accessed 2017-09-14.
  6. ivy_lynx. "Answer to Humans born without legs: how would they thrive?" Worldbuilding Stack Exchange, 2014-10-07. Accessed 2015-05-05.
  7. davidomurchadha et al. "20 MacGyver-Style Tricks For Fixing Everything In Your Life". Cracked, 2015-05-04. Accessed 2015-05-04.
  8. Nick Short. "Born Without Legs: The Standard-Examiner talks to Brooke McArthur about her life." Standard-Examiner, 2011-05-18. Accessed 2013-06-15.
  9. Spencer West. "Gearing Up". Redefine Possible, 2012-06-10. Accessed 2013-10-13.
  10. Compare this image macro by nr-uk: "Only short people need tall hats"
  11. AndreiROM. "Answer to Would gorillas with human-level intelligence make effective soldiers?". Worldbuilding Stack Exchange, 2016-02-24. Accessed 2016-02-25.
  12. Chan Teik Onn. "24 Ridiculously Cool Houses You'll Wish You Could Live In". Cracked, 2015-09-23. Accessed 2015-09-23.
  13. Such linear cities aren't unknown in the real world. See "The 6 Most Insane Cities Ever Planned" by Dwayne Hoover and "History of the Weird Utopia Roadtown" by David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace.
  14. Cristen Conger. "Do men really have more upper body strength than women?". HowStuffWorks, 2012-11-28. Accessed 2014-10-22. Via "5 Ways Society Is Sexist Against Men (and How We Can Fix It)". Cracked, 2014-10-22. Accessed 2014-10-22.

External links