Hyborian-Places

Aquilonia

Symbol of might in the Hyborian Age, Aquilonia with her legendary armies of Bossonian archers, Gunderland pikemen and Poitanian knights, wields indisputably the supreme military power of the Western world. More than any other kingdom, however, Aquilonia lies surrounded by grim and unrelenting enemies.

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Argos

The major sea power of the Hyborian Age, proud Argos sweeps the western sea from Vanaheim to the Black Kingdoms. Wealthy beyond its size, Argos seldom lacks for funds either to war or to weave far reaching webs of intrigue as the situation dictates. Natural enemy of Zingara.

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Asgard

Blonde reavers of the icy north, the mailed warriors of the Aesir are held in check only by their equally ferocious kin the Vanir to the west, the grim Cimmerians southward, and by arcane Hyperborea to the east. Loosely organized, the clans await their forging to a cause, or a great captain of men, to spur them over the ice towards bright and bloody conquest!

Border Kingdom

Serving as a buffer state between Nemedia and Brythunia and the more savage people of the north, the Border Kingdom was probably the last Hyborian nation to be founded. The country also served as a trade route for merchants trying to avoid the strict taxes of Nemedia. A sad wilderness with deserted, disconsolate marshlands.

Brythunia

The land of plains and horse, the Brythunians have become a culture of hunters and farmers, ranging their wide, flat lands ahorse and unfettered. The Brythunian army carries forward this heritage with a large contingent of disciplined cavalry regiments. Still, Bruthunia is split and scattered into small, widely dispersed fiefdoms.

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Cimmeria

Grim. Moody. Grey skied. The land of Crom amid hills and mountains. A warrior race, the Cimmerians are descendants of ancient Atlantis and only slowly coming again into the ways of civilization after contact with the Hyborian kingdoms. In battle the Cimmerians are unmatched in the darkly wooded hills of their homeland and few are the invading Aquilonian, Pictish, or Nordheim warriors who return from that grey land. A legacy of hatred runs strong amongst Cimmerians for their long time enemies, the Picts.

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Corinthia

Secure behind high mountain passes lie the city states of Corinthia. Notable for their highly disciplined battle phalanxes and fearsome weaponry, including halberd and pike. However, the fractured city-states all pay tribute to mighty Koth.

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Darfar

The sharply filed teeth of the Darfar savages haunt the dreams of even the boldest warriors who have faced them in screaming battle. Actually composed of a mix of various tribes, the Ghanata slave lords and the masked Tibu tribes foremost amongst them. Darfar gains its name from the scattered cannibalistic grassland tribes which most often provide the drive and leadership for empire.

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Hyperborea

Cold and heartless, Hyperborea is ruled by grim, gaunt, albino nobles and by the sorcerously powerful witch-women. Safe within their high stone keeps on the snowy Hyperborean plain, the Hyperboreans wield power far beyond their meager resources and small army. Fortress of arcane power in the north, Hyperborea is a spiteful foe to Aquilonia and quite possibly the most dangerous kingdom of the Hyborian Age.

Hyrkania

Savage horse tribes of the interior steppes, uncivilized in all but the arts of war at which they excel, the Hyrkanians move upon a shifting sea of unrest as turbulent as the fiery ponies upon which they ride. The Hyrkanian tribes war constantly amongst themselves, but when united under a great chief, they destroy armies as swiftly as their horse-archers can race across the endless flatlands which encompass them. Trained from childhood in horse and bow, the Hyrkanian cavalry has been called with good reason the finest horse-archers in the world.

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Iranistan

The golden land south of the Ilbars mountains is widely, albeit sparsely inhabited. Ancient and rich, Iranistan uses the Afghuli and the Ilbars hillmen as border defenses to turn back the swift horse-archers of their long standing foes in Turan and Hyrkania.

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Kambuja

Ruled by the god-king of the Scarlet Circle, deep in the jungle-girdled city of Angkhor crouches the hungry kingdom of Kambuja. The Kambujans are forever locked in war with neighbouring Khitai, whose great wizards, the dragon-sons, also contest on an arcane level. The Kambujan host fields huge war elephants, relied upon to smash the formations of Khitai in battle.

Keshan

A kingdom of barbaric splendor, the Keshans are well led by nobles and religious leaders who claim descent from the great people of Alkmeenon. Keshan also has a well drilled army patterned after the Stygian military organization. While Stygian troops often raid into northern Keshan, Punt is Keshan’s long standing and hereditary enemy.

Khauran

Rich in fertile meadowlands and at the center of trade in the Hyborian world, Khauran is a petty kingdom of abundant wealth. Khauran is well ruled by nobles of Kothic descent. The Khauranian nobles disdain the use of horse but hire mercenary cavalry troops as needed. Khauran is vassal to Koth.

Khitai

An ancient empire, stronghold of the world’s greatest wizards and masters of the eastern world, Khitai has a powerful army and a sound leadership based in Paikang, Shu-Chen and Ruo-Chen. Khitai is forever at war with Kambuja to the south, whose god-kings vie with them for supremacy in the arcane mysteries of the Scarlet Circle.

Khoraja

Blessed with excellent leadership, a highly diverse and well trained army, a fertile land, and a location central to the rich southern and eastern trade routes, Khoraja is powerful beyond its tiny size. Khoraja is vassal to Koth.

Kosala

The Kosalans are an ancient race, decadent but not grown soft. They are devoted to the worship of the god Yajur and their armies are an arm of their religious organization. The Kosalans are aided by ancient magics and a fanatical if untrained populace ever willing to fight and die in battle. Kosala from of old is tied with Vendhya through intermarriage and treaty and can expect no invasions from that quarter.

Koth

Once the mainland of the forgotten empire of Acheron, Koth is now ruled by the mad Emperor Strabonus. While Khauran and Khoraja are historical vassals of Koth, Strabonus has also forced Ophir and Corinthia to pay tribute. It is whispered that the Emperor dabbles in forbidden magicks to fulfill his ambition: to restore the fallen empire of Acheron.

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Kusan

The westernmost Khitan kingdom, culturally advanced Kusan relies upon her excellent ambassadors and diplomats (easily the most adept politicians of the age) at least as much as upon her armies.

Kush

The semi-civilized Black Kingdom of most common knowledge among people of the Hyborian nations is Kush. Proud Kush is seldom raided, the Stygians usually preferring to take their slaves from weaker Darfar or Keshan.

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Meru

Meru is an isolated land in the heart of the Himelian Mountains, its origins known only through legend. The people is ruled by red-robed, slant-eyed priests of the demon-king Yama.

Nemedia

Nemedia, the central pillar of Hyborian culture and civilization, stands ever in defiance to their habitual foes, mighty Aquilonia. The gleaming Nemedian knights are rightly proud for their army which is as diverse as it is deadly.

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Ophir

A Kingdom of great beauty with gilded knights and high towered cities, Ophir is protected by natural boundaries of mountain and river on all sides but to the south, which the Ophirians have well fortified. But the kingdom lacks the will to fight dominant Koth and has been forced to pay tribute to its mad Emperor.

Pictland

Savage, warlike, brutish, persistently resistant to civilizing influences, the Picts inhabit the primal forest of the Pictish Wilderness. The tribes are constantly warring amongst themselves.

Punt

The barbaric splendor of the kingdom which is Punt is based upon the bright yellow gold washed down off the central hills. Hereditary enemies of Keshan, Punt also mistrusts the growing power of Zembabwei. If these two foes can be kept at bay, and if a trade route can be established to the gold-hungry markets of the Hyborian world, then Punt may well emerge as supreme among the Black Kingdoms.

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Shem

The city states of Shem lie between the mad ambitions of Koth and the malignant arcane power of Stygia. The western Shemish states form a loose knit nation with Asgalun dominating its politics. The eastern Shemish states stand in alliance with each other and also with western Shem, creating a friendly eastern border. The Shemish Asshuri and the famous Shemish archers make Shem’s armies very strong. Through mercenary service in over a dozen kingdoms of the western world, the Shemish generals have learned well the art of war.

Crystalline portal that appeared in the middle of the desert.

Stygia

Slumbering in her desert retreats, protected behind the mighty and brooding Styx river, lies Stygia. The ancient culture of Stygia is in decline, revolving in malignance about itself, but it is also the source of a great and evil sorcerous knowledge which may yet gain mastery over the Western world.

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Turan

Gleaming mailed and silken-clad riders, masters of the Vilayet Sea, Turan revels in sweeping the barely contested wastelands to the west and south. Turan, however, must bear the plague of a thousand frustrations arising from the seemingly indomitable and ever resurgent Kossaks, Zuagirs, and Vilayet pirates. Perpetually battling raiders and quelling revolts from a hundred pinpricking sources, the rulers of Turan pass their reign in unceasing watchfulness. Turan is a natural enemy to Iranistan and Vendhya, but stands in loose alliance with Hyrkania.

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Uttara Kuru

Dismissed as a myth in most regions of the world, Uttara Kuru is a land of ancient magics, misty mountains, dense coastal forest, and the strange, haunting architecture of the city of Uttara Kuru. The people of this kingdom are fanatically loyal in defense of their homeland. Ancient enemy of great Vendhya.

Vanaheim

The red-haired Vanir are isolated in the northwest and their mailed swordsmen therefore vent their warlike natures on their Asgardian kin to the east, the savage Picts to the south, or less often upon grim Cimmeria to the southeast. Many a hero of the Hyborian Age was of the Vanir and warriors of Vanaheim are known to be utterly fearless in combat.

Vendhya

Vendhya is an ancient and proud kingdom, ruled by the Kashatriyan warrior caste and has mystics adept with their own peculiar range of magicks. Vendhya is pent up in the north by the savage and virtually unconquerable Ghulistan tribesmen. To the west lies Kosala, made unassailable by the well forged intermarriages between the two kingdoms. To the east broods Uttara Kuru whose silver-tongued diplomats and arrogant wizards have long held the weight of Vendhya at bay. As the huge Vendhyan host continues to swell in size, like a bubble it must burst forth into empire and the day of Vendhyan glory.

Zamora

An eastern kingdom founded by the ancient Zhemri people several thousand years ago. The elephant-being, Yag-kosha, said the Zamoran race was pre-Cataclysmic. It is an absolute despotism; the king dominated by a sorcerer. The main religious faith is the cult of the Spider-God Zath, centered at Yezud.

The nation is southeast of Hyperborea, east of Brythunia and Corinthia, north of Koth, and west of the Turanian steppe. On its eastern boundary are the Kezankian Mountains, beyond which are marches nominally subject to Zamora but increasingly nibbled away by Turan. The Karpash Mountain range lies on the western border and a small, worn range rises on the southern border. Their passes usually blocked by snowfall and spring rains. Zamora always places a crude fort at the approaches to its mountain passes for tariffs and protection.

Spider-haunted Zamora is a mysterious nation of thieves, kidnappers, extortionists, prostitutes and sorcerers. Small villages boast white hedge witches and the larger cities have powerful priests that work such potent magic that even the king fears them.

Population: 3,300,000
Capital: Shadizar
Ruler: King Mitradites
Major cities: Arenjun, Yezud
Resources: Sheep, cattle, tin, copper
Imports: Food, spices, gems
Allies: Turan (pays tribute to)
Enemies: Hyperborea
Tech level: Middle eastern
Religion: Zath, Bel, Ishtar, Nergal

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Arenjun: City of thieves, home to such nightmares that its inhabitants dare not walk places which are ill lit at night, for death and rape are certainly waiting.

Like most of Zamora, it is home to all manner of cults. However Arenjun is unique in that it may have the largest concentration of religious sects in all the Hyborian kingdoms. The people speak in hushed whispers of these sects, the most notorious being the sect of the Serpent (often linked to the lands of Stygia in the South), and the endless wars they wage against each other both for the hearts of the people and for a role of power. Travelers talk of street wars in the shadows, with dark robed men striking each other and silhouetted by the grim moon light. By morning though, no trace can be found as each Sect returns to there lairs to lick there wounds. Those caught in the cross fire only remembered by short lived fools…

Yet the Sect wars aren’t the main feature of peoples lives. By far the most controlling influence is that of the thieves. Whether it is the rumors of vast treasure hordes held by the Sects, or merely the reputation that anyone can make (and lose) a fortune in a day is enough to tempt travelers. To say that the people of Arenjun are naturally nimble fingered would be an understatement, for the people here are held in high esteem if they grow up into a successful thief. The rulers of the city, usually the son or brother of the King, enforce a strict policy. Those that are caught are either maimed for life or beheaded…

  • The Tower Of The Serpent : Old Sect home, the Serpent Sect has been in a slow decline since the collapse of its leadership.
  • The Tower Of Night : Masters among Assassins, the Night Sect is practically a hired army with secret covens in all the cities of Zamora. They are the tools of the King. It is a fine balance, and both know they only exist with each others consent.
  • The Tower Of Flesh : Shadowed in secret.
  • The Tower Of The Elephant : This tower once held a mighty sorcerer and his captive.

Larsha: The ruined city of Larsha, lying to the east of Shadizar. Its crumbling walls speak of glory long gone, and legends claim that it is the abandoned capital of the Zhemri. These same legends, spoken in hushed voices to young children by hopeful mothers, contains their ancient treasures that date back to the dawn of time. With even a handful of such items it is claimed that a man could buy the world. Yet these legends also act to warn them, and stories of the giant rulers of ages past defending there treasure is a constant and threatening reminder to those that would defile such places.

Such legends however, seem more the hope of the desperate poor, for the city is said to be dated back to Cataclysmic times. To when Atlantis was above the waves as detailed in the millennia old Nemedian chronicles. The city still draws people to its grim walls, although few if any are ever seen again. Some are driven insane by things which they never speak of, others return with ruined armor and weapons they claim they grabbed in the heat of the moment. These are unrecognizable – some claim even Atlantian in origin – and they rarely stay in the owners hands long.

The city itself is built in sections like an orange, all surrounding a central Palace although this has mostly crumbled and has not been reached successfully in years. The only surviving building with any height is The Tower Of Ishtar stands tall against the surroundings, once a place of worship of the gods now no-one goes there but the spirits of the dead.

There were once tall walls surrounding the city, but after centuries of neglect they offer no deterrent to those eager to walk the abandoned streets of Larsha. Not all things walk however…

Shadizar: The capital of Zamora, Shadizar, lies on the Road of Kings; the principle trade-route of the Hyborian world. Known as ‘Shadizar the Wicked’, this complex city is well-known as a city of thieves. It is separated into different ‘quarters’, such as the Desert, a maul where debaucheries performed in privacy elsewhere are done quite publicly with a mind toward profit. The tavern of Abuletes can be found there and is reputed to be one of the best in Shadizar. Here the dancers dance naked and the thieves barter openly. The Desert is also home to the infamous Katara Bazaar, where Turanians sell their slaves and places such as the House of the Lambs of Hebra, an infamous ‘specialised’ brothel, prosper. Eriakes’s Inn is a popular stop for foreigners newly arrived in Shadizar and is at the edge of the Desert. Although other quarters of the city are patrolled by city guards, the Desert is not.

Elsewhere in the city, the nobility dwell in beautiful palaces with lush gardens. Although Shadizar is the capital of Zamora and home to Zamora’s despotic, drunken ruler, much of the city is virtually ungoverned, save by whatever government can be bought with bribery, sorcery and brutal violence. The king’s palace is alabaster and its walls are five times the height of a man. Those walls are protected by the King’s Own, loyal troops that wear gilded half-armor and horsehair-crested helms. Within those walls are the throne rooms and chambers of the king, where servants, dancing girls and playthings, dressed only in jeweled necklaces, attend to the needs of the drunken king and cavort with the king’s advisers and sycophants.

Shadizar has a population that averages 38,000 people.

Yezud: Among all the cities in Zamora, it is Yezud that inspires the most fear and revulsion in outsiders. The once small Tower of the Spider god (Zath) is now the city itself, earning the city the title of citadel-city. The black walls from a distant make it appear as merely the top of Mount Graf. Yet those people who approach closer tell a very different tale. The citadel itself has been described as much like the web of a spider. People are slowly lured into the citadel, tired after the long trek up the mountain, where they are trapped and at the mercy of the Sect.

Yet the Zamorians themselves, when speaking to outsiders, encourage trips to Yezud as an example of the true Zamora. It survives on pure religious zeal, with relatively little farm land or trade with the outside. However its position means the city is all but impregnable, and so the cult has thrived. It is openly known that the Kings brother who rules over Yezud openly coverts the throne, Yezud being the only place where this is possible. Were it not for the legions of fanatical Zath worshipers the Tower of Night would have been dispatched to Yezud long ago.So Yezud remains subservient on its mountain to the King, and in return for tribute and loyalty he directs people there way. These bring not only food for the people, but also themselves…

The city itself is relatively free from crime, although it is still considered one of the great careers. However a holy life in the service of Zath has become all important, and the greatest of prides is to be the parent of a girl. For a talented girl may one day get to dance before the mighty stone spider of Zath – truely a great honor.

Zath: The most famous of the Zamoran divinities is Zath, the spider-god of Yezud. Zath’s worshippers believe that the great spider-god walks the earth, and must be served by humankind. Indeed, the giant spiders which have occasionally been seen in the hills near Yezud are testaments to Zath’s power. In the temple of Yezud, the priests of Zath worship an enormous statue of the spider god. It is said that eight huge gems form its eyes. Zath is a god of darkness, spiders and poison. Priests of Zath are assassins, madmen and spies.

According to the cult of Zath, the huge stone idol in the temple of Yezud can come to life, devouring sacrifice which is regularly brought to it by the spider-robed priests. It can also manifest as the bite of a poisonous spider, or by the sudden webbing of buildings and passages.

Priests of Zath do not drink alcohol or fornicate, and those laymen in the service of the temple must also abide by these strictures. Even more guarded are the temple virgins, who dance for the spider-god on holy days.

There are rumors of extensive caverns beneath the temple of Yezud, where hundreds of giant spiders reside, fed cattle (and occasionally humans) by the priests of Zath. The cattle come from enforced tithes demanded from the steadings which surround Yezud; it is said that the priests would loose these spiders on the countryside if the king did not permit them their grisly worship.

Feridun is the current high priest of Zath in Yezud.

Zembabwei

A growing power in the southlands, vital Zembabwei is well led and armed. The Zembabwei command great flying reptiles found only in Zembabwei heartland. These soaring winged mounts strike terror into the hearts of all who behold them.

Zingara

The most powerful sea raiders next to their Argossean rivals, the Zingarans are active supporters of the Zingaran buccaneers (pirates by any other name). Zingara is a proud and rich land, though often torn by civil strife and bitter feuds between powerful members of its nobility.

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Back to Hyboria

Thanks to http://hyboria.xoth.net/ for much of this text, and for these maps.

Hyborian-Places

Drifters JohnMonahan