|click to embiggen|
1. True Shem is a meter wide strip of land between Near Shem and Far Shem.
The people of Far Shem believe their nation owns the True Shem. The people of Near Shem believe the people of Far Shem to be heretics, as all Near Shemites know that True Shem is ruled by Near Shem.
Neither Far Shemites nor Near Shemites may pass through True Shem without the proper prayers and petitions and performing the intricate, sacred ritual of Ear Purging. Because of the demands of this ritual, Near Shemites and Far Shemites do not trade with one another. Thus have Korsh-Emish and Near Stygia profited by encouraging both Shems to pursue their claims against one another on the field of battle.
2. Each of the Baracha Isles worships a different aspect of Barach, Petty God of Sacrificial Goats. One island worships The Black Goat, one The White Bleat, one The Mottled Liver, one The Marbled Eye, etc.
On the high holy feast day of Barach, islanders from every island gather in a great flotilla in an isolated bay. of the largest island. Each island's representatives slaughter 100 goats, the sea turning red with froth. The high priestess of each isle drinks a tanked of the bloodied sea and prostitutes herself to the crews of other islands' ships. Any children of these matings are pledged to Barach's service.
In this way, peace between the isles has been maintained for over a thousand years.
3. King Conan's harem is said to be filled with at least two women from each of the nations of Hyboria, but he prefers one of those who come from the wild tundra, as she reminds him of the first woman he ever laid with in his youth.
4. The Vilayet Sea was not always a sea. Vilayet was once a lush and fertile valley, a vast nation-state nestled between the Hyraknian Mountains and the Turanian Highlands. Vilayet was known throughout the world for its exotic fruits, fine-woven tapestries, and a particular breed of horse called the "fire mare," said to be able to speed across the lands faster than wildfire. Alas, a volcanic eruption in the northern part of Vilayet triggered a series of earthquakes that unleashed a previously unknown underground freshwater sea, and the waters rose to fill the vast nation-state's valley in a matter of days. It is said that the great treasure-house of Faroun El-D'hab, last emperor of Vilayet, still rests beneath the waves in one of his palaces in the capitol city.
5. The mothers of Bossonia wean their children with radishes, so that they may get used to the bitter taste of war.
6. Brythun'a elite calvary rides fearsome porcine mounts.
7. Every Prince of Corinth'a who wishes to be king must convince a coterie of nobles of his worthiness by undergoing various feats of strength. The nobles are drawn from states allied with Corinth'a and the nobles themselves design the challenges. It is said the current king stole an item from a petty goddess's boudoir to win his current position.
8. Zaporoska refuses to allow ships of other nations to dock in its ports. Any ship not flying Zaporoskian colors is immediately impounded and its crew sold into slavery--usually to slavers bound for Vendhya.
9. Vendhya has the busiest slave market in all of Hyboria.
10. Keshan's annual calendar begins at harvest time. Each harvest moon, the priests of Keshan burn a great effigy of the current Queen in an elaborate ceremony, during which the Queen cuts the throat of her current consort. A new consort is chosen from among the gathered priesthood by casting dice on the bloody hide of a recently flayed leopard. The elected is then stripped bare, scourged with whips dipped in the venom of the jubjub vine, and then wrapped in a blanket woven of nettles. The queen and consort publicly consummate the beginning of the new year on an altar in the capitol city's square constructed for this purpose each year. They then rule together for the following year. At the end of the year, the consort is clothed in finery and stuffed alive into the Queen's effigy to become the sacrifice for the coming year.
11. The Border Kingdom is not an actual kingdom. It is a representative republic, and the vote is given only to those who can afford to pay an annual tithe to the Temple of the Undying Sun. Only exiled nobles from other lands who pay an annual tithe to the Temple of the Undying Sun may run for office. It is said that the Goddess of Light is pleased with the current state of affairs, but may be persuaded to support another system of rulership for the right price--which is rumored to be the death of her rival Goddess, The Lamentatress of All Flesh.
12. In the Black Kingdoms, there exists a ziggurat built upon an ancient temple built upon an ancient holy site built upon the remains of a giant tree. To the surface of the giant tree clings a phosphorescent colony of sentient, psionic bacteria, organized as a hive-mind. This creature controls the local population for a three-mile radius around the temple. The only humanoids immune to the bacteria's psionic control are goblins, who have been waging a slow-simmering, unsuccessful effort to destroy the temple for millennia.
13. Zarkheba is a matriarchy ruled by women warrior-priests. The ruling council openly welcomes and shelters pirates, buccaneers, & privateers along its treacherous Southern Scurvy Coast.
14. Kuthchemes is a rugged, mountainous jungle terrain. In the deep reaches of a distant mountain valley, it is said the most beautiful bird in the world makes it home. The bird is said to be larger than a man and it is reported to be flightless, living in burrows it digs beneath the rich jungle loam with its powerful talons. No one has ever brought back so much as a feather from its plumage, as the bird is rumored to be poisonous to the touch and possesses the ability to saw a man in half with one chomp of its massive beak.
15. In Zamona, every rug merchant is also a member of the Assassin's Guild.