Shattered Swords of Hyboria
“…Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery…”
— the Nemedian Chronicles
Capital: Shadizar (pop. 410,000)
Ruler: King Mitradites
Major cities: Arenjun (pop. 330,000), Yezud (pop. 110,000)
Resources: Sheep, cattle, tin, copper
Imports: Food, spices, gems
Allies: Turan (pays tribute to)
Tech level: Middle eastern
Religion: Zath, Bel, Ishtar, Nergal
An eastern kingdom founded by the ancient Zhemri people several thousand years before the Age of Conan. (The elephant-being, Yag-kosha, said the Zamorian race was pre-Cataclysmic.)
The nation was southeast of Hyperborea, east of Brythunia and Corinthia, north of Koth, and west of the Turanian steppe. On its eastern boundary were the Kezankian Mountains, beyond which were marches nominally subject to Zamora but increasingly nibbled away by Turan. The Karpash Mountain range lie on the western border and a small, worn range rose on the southern border. Their passes were usually blocked by snowfall and spring rains. Zamora always placed a crude fort at the approaches to its mountain passes for tariffs and protection.
The markets of Arenjun
The capital of Zamora, Shadizar, was on the Road of Kings, principle trade-route of the Hyborian world. Zamora was an ancient and peculiar kingdom. It was an absolute despotism, the king dominated by a sorceror. The main religious faith was the cult of the Spider-God Zath, centered at Yezud.
Zamora was founded by the Zhemri about the time that Hyperborea the Elder was overthrown by the Aesir. Hyborians conducted slave raids into Zamora in the early days, but they never managed to seize the government.
Most Zamorians are black-haired and fairly dark of complexion. They are descended from the Zhemri, a mysterious race said to be one of the first human peoples. The Zamorians are regarded as an ancient and evil race.
Zamorians make the best thieves in the world and are known for keeping faith with their employers when thieving to order. This is not the same as a true Code of Honor but is simply a measure taken to ensure repeat business.
Culture: According to Yag-kosha in The Tower of the Elephant, the Zamorians are survivors of an ancient pre-Cataclysmic civilisation (probably Zarfhaana) and were one of the first civilizations to develop after the Great Cataclysm. The Zamorians’ 3,000 year-old civilization has long since sunk into decadence and Zamorians have a reputation as criminals. Cities such as the ‘City of Thieves’ and ‘Shadizar the Wicked’ only serve to enhance this notoriety. In theory Zamora is a despotic state, though in fact strong priests and other courtiers have been known to hold the king in thrall.
Names: Zamora is another melting pot of humankind, being on the crossroads of all land-based trade. Names from all over the world are probably appropriate. Of the two examples we have, one seems Spanish, the other Ukrainian; Ukrainian names are probably a better fit, given Zamora’s geographical location. Examples: (male) Shevatas, Yara. Suggestions: (male) Bohdan, Buryan, Danyo, Petruso, Vanko, Yare; (female) Anichka, Ionna, Luba, Olena, Orynko, Oxana.
Religion: Zamora has a large and varied pantheon of many deities which interrelate in a complex manner quite impenetrable to outsiders. It is most famous for the Spider Cult centred on the city Yezud, where dancing girls cavort before a black stone spider that is their god. The Hyborians regard this god as abominable and its temples are forbidden outside Zamora. In addition, Bel, God of Thieves, is unsurprisingly popular, being one of the few non-Zamorian gods whose worship is permitted in Zamora.
Racial Features: All of the following are racial features of the Zamorians:
- +2 to Dexterity, –2 to Strength: Zamorians are wiry and lithe but lack the sheer muscle-power of some of the larger races.
- +2 racial bonus to all Open Lock, Disable Device and Sleight-of-Hand checks and +1 racial bonus to all Craft checks: Zamorians have the quickest and nimblest fingers in all the civilized lands.
- +2 circumstance bonus to all Gather Information checks that relate to theft, assassination and the locations or powers of legendary or magical objects: Zamorians seem to know where to find the deadliest poisons and most ancient artifacts, as well as the richest treasures.
- +1 circumstance bonus to Climb, Hide, Listen, Move Silently and Spot checks in urban and underground conditions: Though they are no great woodsmen, Zamorians are adept at operating stealthily and efficiently in cities, tombs and similar locations and their senses are constantly on the alert in such conditions.
Background Skills: Knowledge (local), Knowledge (rumors), Open Lock, Disable Device and Sleight of Hand.
Favored Class: Thief or Temptress
Prohibited Classes: Barbarian, Pirate
Automatic Languages: Zamorian
Bonus Languages: Hyrkanian, Brythunian, Corinthian, Kothic, Shemite