The Lopar People

One of the several minor cultures/societies that live on the outskirts of the spheres of influence of the League of Empires, the Lopar are a collection of tribes that live in a chain of islands – the Lopar Isles – close to each other, and they are a generally reclusive and aloof people, distancing themselves from the struggles of the greater powers. There are individual Lopar who travel away from their homelands, but those are few and far between; for the majority of the rest of the world, they remain mysterious and misunderstood figures. Even though the Lopar tribesmen are humans just like the rest of the world, their different culture and particular genetic and Karmic inheritance lead to strange tales and distrust; a Lopar is taller than most other humans, male or female, having an average height of above 1.80 meter, and due to their wilder (sometimes viewed as backwards) style of living, generally have tougher builds as well. Their hair is generally raven-black or dark blue, and eye shadings tend towards the darker spectrum as well, and males and females alike have a higher density of bodily hair than usual, which together with their costume of dressing in natural leathers, scales and furs, disregarding any clothing that cannot be found in a natural animal, like silks or linen, has led to many tales of savages and wildmen by wide-eyed explorers and sailors who didn’t have previous knowledge about the people they had found.

Each island in the Lopar Isles is home to a small number of loosely-related small tribes, varying from a few dozen to a couple hundred people; usually there are about a dozen or so tribes in each island. Each tribe is completely independent and self-sufficient, but the tribes from the same island consider each other like distant relatives, and as such there is always trade and mutual help on hard times. Trade with Lopar tribes from other islands is harder to come by, but not uncommon, while any interaction at all with outsiders is a rare sight; it is not that the Lopar are aggressive or refuse outsiders, exactly, but that they have an imposing figure and a general dislike for those who do not follow their ways, which creates difficulties for interactions with the outside world.

Each tribe is led by a Chief, responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the tribe, solving disputes, and making decisions that involve all the tribe, and a Shaman, responsible for the spiritual guidance of the tribe and the communication with the tribe’s Patron Scion. It is also a custom for the Chief and Shaman to be married, which symbolizes the tribe’s mundane and spiritual guidance being in concert. When matters that affect the whole island must be discussed, all the Chiefs and Shamans convene together in the Summit, where decisions must be reached by consensus. Each Summit also elects a Great Chief and a High Shaman, who convene (together with their spouses, if the chosen ones are not from the same tribe) with the other Great Chiefs and High Shamans in the Great Summit for matters that involve the entire Lopar People. In the event that a crisis is so great that a leader must be chosen out, they vote to elect a Chief of Chiefs and a Grand Shaman from among the Great Chiefs and High Shamans, who shall then lead the Lopar throughout the crisis.

The Karma inheritance of the Lopar People, and one of the reasons outsiders fear them, is their unmatched ability with manipulating natural Karma and internal Weaving, being able to enhance their own bodies beyond limits in feats that would be thought impossible by other people. Each Lopar tribe has a contract with a Karma Scion that takes the form of an animal aspect of nature, and each individual Lopar from that tribe can draw upon their Patron’s Karma to fuel exploits such as increasing their endurance or sharpening their sight, following the natures of their animal Patron. An individual Lopar who is blessed with a personal contract with an animal Scion can go as far as changing his body into the form of his partner’s animal, or into a beastly humanoid form somewhere in-between his natural human form and his partner’s animal form, which is extremely powerful. Few are blessed with such a personal connection with a Karma Scion, however, and every individual who is so acknowledged by a Scion rises to prominence among the tribes.

-JNicolini

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