Savage RIFTS: The Journeys of Morphicles
The Kopar Barbarians
The Kopar are just one example of the many tribes of human barbarians that make Dinosaur Swamp their home. Numbering at about 730 and living in the ruins of Atlanta, the Kopar are the descendants of survivors of the Great Cataclysm that did not evacuate the city, but instead sought refuge in what was called the Underground. Originally a city street, the Underground came into existence in pre-rifts times when Atlanta was redesigned and streets were elevated, creating, in effect, an underground city street. Businesses simply built upward, abandoning their first floor facades. During the time of the Great Cataclysm it became a place of relative safety for those wishing to escape the terrible storms at ground level, but who also didn’t want to brave the flooded metro tunnels. While the Underground saw its share of destruction due to earthquakes and flooding, it was arguably the safest place to be in the city.
One particular group of survivors adopted the image of a giant copper fish statue as a symbol of good fortune, for it pointed the way to food and supplies. Given their fragile psyche after having lived through the first wave of the end of the world, they began to look upon this statue as a real good luck charm. They developed a sense of pride over it, and it became a unifying force that helped these people survive. As civilization began to erode away, a host of tall tales evolved around the Copper Fish, creating a sense of community for those who lived around it, slowly becoming a thing of full-fledged myth. As the people slid into barbarism, they began to call themselves the Kopar, taking after the name of their “copper” statue-god, and it has assumed a primary role in the lives of these barbarians ever since. They believe that this massive 30-foot statue of a copper fish protected their ancestors when the Ocean Floods washed away humankind (which is how they speak about the Great Cataclysm), and that it also provided them with food, sanctuary, and survival for generation after generation. When the floods or some other danger comes again, their god, the Great Kopar, will watch over and protect them, too.
The Kopar tribe are a theocracy led by a Mystic named Porter. They are not openly hostile to outsiders and will trade for things like weapons, food, and raw materials, but are wary of new ideas brought into their midst. They also tentatively accept D-Bees—“false men”—who they believe are “fish and creatures of the sea turned into men by the Great God Kopar” to trick, tempt and challenge “true men.” (Of course, the Kopar Tribe are the chosen people even among other “true men.”) As a result, D-Bees and other non-humans are always viewed with a certain degree of suspicion and contempt. D-Bees who linger in the area will find themselves ignored after trade has concluded. The Kopar barbarians are very matter-of-fact about this, going to great lengths to point out that once trade has been concluded, they have nothing else to discuss with “false men” (D-Bees) and that they’ d best be going about their own business and stay out o f the affairs of “true men.”
The one group that the Kopar consider an enemy are the Rat Men. When the fIrst group of Rat Men came to the ruins of Atlanta, they stole food and some belongings from the Kopar and have come into direct competition for resources. Clan Chief Porter realizes that the Rat Men are a growing problem and will need to be dealt with soon. He has recently become aware of another group living in the tunnels (the True Atlanteans), but needs more information before deciding on what to do about them. His greatest fear is that this new group will ally with the Rat Men and then make war on the Kopar.