People of Zothique

Humans are among the oldest sentient species on Zothique, and have weathered a number of great cataclysms, natural and otherwise. Humanity has risen from stone-age savagery to attain lofty heights of sorcery and super-science—many times over. Presently, on the Last Continent, humanity has returned to a social and technological level roughly equal to the late Bronze Age—a dark age. Catastrophes and conflicts wrought by godlike aliens and their mortal lackeys have taken toll, and their kingdoms have collapsed or slid into decadence. No longer can empirical powers maintain the infrastructures of the last age. People in droves are deserting their crumbling cities to return to the relative stability of their rustic roots.  This is not to say everyone has abandoned civilization, but there are more ruins these days and lands ruled by outlaws, warlords, and worse. Nations and kingdoms, with a few exceptions, seem to be a relic of the recent past. Borders mean little save that the people within them are closely related in culture and appearance.

The following racial entries are linked to their closest historical Parallel, a time-honored sword-and-sorcery tradition. Like Appearance, Religion and other traits, exceptions certainly exist (especially among PCs), and these analogs are merely meant to provide shorthand sketches of otherwise complicated and unique civilizations. Bonus Languages are in addition to Trade Common, which every PC possesses. Many NPCs do not understand Trade Common, only speak their local dialect, and even fewer possess the ability to read and write.


Azjaman
Azjaman

Charnog
Charnog

Cincorian
Cincorian

Duzamba
Duzamba

Ilcara
Ilcara

Istani
Istani

Khanjari
Khanjari

Khojak
Khojak

M'tika
M'tika

Rathi
Rathi

Sotaran
Sotaran

Tasuuni
Tasuuni

Tcho-tcho
Tcho-tcho

Ullotroi
Ullotroi

Xylac
Xylac

Ymorthan
Ymorthan

Yorosian
Yorosian

Zhelite
Zhelite

Zyrane
Zyrane



Azjaman

Azjaman

Off the east coast of ILCAR is the tropical island paradise of AZJAM. Deep within its jungles rise the moss-grown palisade forts of the Azjamans, a proud matriarchal society ruled by the ebony sorcerer-queen YASONWU. Peerless archers, mariners, and guerrilla fighters; Azjamans raid surrounding lands for plunder and male slaves. Ilcar, the mainland kingdom from where the Azjamans' ancestors escaped patriarchal domination, frequently invades Azjam in retaliation. The warrior women retain a burning hatred for their former masters and have brutally rebuffed the larger kingdom for centuries.
Appearance: Female Azjamans are all tall and uniformly athletic, since infant girls with the slightest physical flaw are abandoned in the jungle. These sable-skinned she-warriors are not shy about using their charms to outwit male opponents.
Religion: In dread AYODELE, the fabled "Forbidden City of the Azjamans," witch-priestesses stain sacrificial altars to NUG and YEB, HISH-YIGGERA, ATLACH-NACHA, and UBZOTH with the blood of male infants.
Culture: Azjamans are Savages for the most part, but a valuable sect of  Civilized sages, advisors, and administrators work in the capitol.
Parallels: Amazons of classical myth; Dahomey Amazons.
Bonus Language: Ilcara

Charnog

Charnog

These northern tribesmen inhabit the frigid steppes, ash-covered plateaus, and low volcanic mountains collectively referred to as the NORTHERN WASTES. The ill-natured barbarians dwell in fortified villages with wooden feast halls, and live by farming, hunting, trading and raiding. They are a dour and clannish people, prone to violence and easily slighted. In every generation, there are always some who leave their ancestral lands to escape the ancient blood-feuds of their clans and explore the torrid empires of the south.
Appearance: Dressed in buckskin, with fur cloaks and boots; the barbarians of the north own barrel chested, robust builds, wear long light-brown beards, have suntanned or sun-reddened skin, and squinting eyes of blue, green, or hazel. Women typically wear their deep brown- to blonde-colored hair in elaborate braids. Many tribes practice cranial binding.
Religion: The Charnog extensively revere KURROG, but RLIM SHAIKORTH, THAMOGORGOS, and MUONG UTAN enjoy widespread followings.
Culture: These northern barbarians are primarily Savages. Some clans are Nomads, herders of caribou and mammoth. Rare are Civilized half-breeds.
Parallels: Early Siberian, Yamnaya culture, the Andronovo and the viking Rus'.
Bonus Language: Charnog

Cincorian

CincorianFor two thousand years the advanced Empire of CINCOR was unchallenged on the continent of Zothique, taking tribute from coast to coast—until a sorcerous plague forced a handful of survivors to seek shelter in the MYKRASIAN MOUNTAINS. Many centuries later, other nations regard the resurgent Cincorians as a degenerate and evil people. This belief springs from past prejudice, but is strengthened because the Cincorians of today still prefer to dwell underground and worship many weird and loathsome gods. Cincorians experiment with strange sciences and sorceries and seem content to remain aloof from the rest of humanity.
Appearance: Gaunt of build and pale-skinned, with macrocephalic skulls, elongated fingers, and large, bulbous emerald- or violet-colored eyes. Some have long flowing hair or topknots, priests are often shaved bald. Profligate Cincorians cover themselves in tattoos and body jewelry and dress in gauzy robes. The more wholesome among them prefer simpler clothing or sturdy armor. They may wear distinctive tall caps often wound around with turbans while traveling through the lands of intolerant peoples.
Religion: The witch-cult of NHEBEQA is best-known and most widespread, which is fortunate because she is amongst the most benign deities worshiped throughout the Mykrasian holds. Other Cincorians revere a host of other abominations, such as TSATHOGGUA and UBZOTH, either whom they regard as deliverers from certain extinction.
Culture: The Cincorians, corrupted by their sinister experiments and dark worship, are mostly Decadent, but retain a significant Civilized stratum in and around their cities and mutant Degenerates in the more remote outposts of their realm. Carefully hidden enclaves of Cincorians may be Enlightened.
Parallels: Mythic macrocepheli, moai, Theosophic antehumans, speculative "future-human" tropes, CAS's Hyperboreans.
Bonus Language: Cincorian

Duzamba

DuzambaAlso known as the "dwellers in the cities of stone" by their tribal neighbors, the Duzamba of DOOZA THOM have an old culture centered on their stone towers, cliff-top cities, and bird-worship. The Duzamba are skilled masons and engineers, capable of raising massive stone structures, as well as dams and water conduits. Most of their cities are carved directly into the cliffs with elaborate patterns graven upon the columns and flying buttresses. In addition to their remarkable masonry skills, the Duzamba are accomplished ivory carvers, goldsmiths, and copper workers.
Appearance: The ebony Duzamba are tall, strong and proud, known for their discipline in formations with shield and spear. The men are usually shaven-headed, wearing cotton wraps around the hips, dyed a variety of colors, as well as animal skin skirts and more barbaric wear. Plumed headdresses, earrings, necklaces and bracelets complete the traditional attire. The women likewise go bald or wear mohawk haircuts; and elongate their necks by incrementally adding copper hoop collars as they mature.
Religion: The racial god of the Duzamba is GROTH-GOLKA, a reptilian bird propitiated with human sacrifice. His feather-cloaked priests know the secret spells to summon its avian servitors, the "fishers from outside." The Duzamba people's primary benefit from their ages-long association with the Lord of Talons is their renowned ability to tame and mount large birds and flying reptavians.
Culture: Duzamba are almost invariably Enlightened and Civilized, with some of the more jaded or depraved members of their upper class qualify as Decadent. Some old Duzamba clans in remote valleys refuse the trappings of civilization, and cling to barbarism as Nomads and Savages.
Parallels: The early Mandé, up to and including the Ghana Empire; RE Howard's Zembabweans.
Bonus Languages: Duzamban, Ilcara

Ilcara

IlcaraA country of contrasts, the kingdom of ILCAR is rich in gold, to the extent that even the king’s great herds of cattle wear golden ornaments. There are many skilled artisans and goldsmiths among the city-dwelling Ilcara. Beyond the reach of the capital city of KATANGA, however, the Ilcara of the untamed veldts and thorny scrub forests are hunter-gatherers—clannish and warlike. They live in villages of white clay, mud and grasses. Most are semi-nomadic, their lives revolve around the game animals they hunt.
Appearance: Mahogany to light brown skin, with oft close-cropped curly black hair. The tribal Ilcara dress in simple loincloths, if anything. City-dwellers wear more elaborate clothing, such as brightly colored robes and cloaks, and even commoners are often adorned with golden jewelry. Body adornments and modifications such as lip and earlobe stretching vary from clan to clan.
Religion: The nobles and upper class worship "Nataka," the ivory woman; Nataka is the Ilcara name for ILILOT. Meanwhile, commoners revere various tribal gods. Some violent and remote tribes honor NWUNGA ZHANGO and his beast-god minions.
Culture: City-dwelling Ilcara are a mix of Civilized and Savage people, while most of the tribal pastoralists are Savages or Nomads.
Parallels: Nubian/Kushite. The Kingdom of Aksum.
Bonus Languages: Ilcara, Duzamban

Istani

IstaniDwellers of the scrubland, dunes, and desert-cities of the west, the folk of ISTANAM are a people known both for the sophistication of their culture and their talent for intrigue. They migrated westward from the central wastes when their original domain of OLD ISTANAM was swallowed by the sand. An elite caste of scale-mailed cataphracts forms the backbone of their armies, which sometimes threatens YOROS and TASUUN. TARAAM's royal palaces are also places of a thousand intrigues, filled with eunuchs and astrologer-priests of the court. Istanis are likewise renowned as nomadic traders, master craftsmen, breeders of fine horses, and cunning thieves. Burly, tulwar-bearing Istani mercenaries find employment across the continent.
Appearance: Light brown skin, deep brown eyes, wearing loose pants, tunic, rope belt, and short vests. Male Istanis favor short, trimmed beards. Men of wealth and tradition prefer customary monochromatic robes and a keffiyeh headscarf. In moralist areas, women wear the chador, a full-body robe, complete with a hood and face-covering that may conceal even the wearer’s eyes.
Religion: The Istanis worship various grim gods, including LAAKASH, SEPPOPHIS, THASAIDON, and ALILA. YOT-AMIR is the high god of those who live and die in the desert, though he is feared more than adored. VERGAMA reigns supreme in the villages and towns of Istanam, though the cult of Laakash is gaining converts through lavish ceremonies and violent coercion. Istanis have a reputation for devotion to the point of fanaticism, whatever deity they worship.
Culture: Istanis from the desert can either be Nomads, or, rarely, Civilized. City-dwelling Istanis and soldiers are Civilized, with part of their upper class being Decadent.
Parallels: Levantian/Semitic. Canaan.
Bonus Language: Istani

Khanjari

KhanjariThe eastern jungle realm once known as the Kingdom of CALYZ, and the craggy coastal country of USTAIM, are inhabited by a diverse, closely-related people known for their fierce warrior castes, master craftsmen, skilled herbalists, and ranks of ascetic priests. The Khanjari live in walled city-states and build onion-domed towers that soar to the sky. As a race, the Khanjari are considered fatalistic by outsiders, guided by omens, prophecies, and horoscopes. From this determinism, the Khanjari spirit is strengthened against nearly any sort of suffering. They can endure anguishes that would break a foreigner without complaint.
Appearance: Of medium height, with golden skin and delicate features. The men oft wear waxen mustaches and keep their long black hair wrapped in turbans. Women wear colorful silken gowns and weave their hair into long braids, or let it flow freely. Soldiers wear medium armor decorated with silver and gold; the officers have their turbans set with feathers or gems to denote their station.
Religion: The Khanjari extensively worship NAMAGURU. In the decadent city-state of ARAMOAM, GEOL is popular. Underground cults to NUG and YEB fester throughout the land, particularly in the ruined Kingdom of Calyz. There are several remote villages in the jungles and hills that worship CHAUGNAR FAUGN.
Culture: The Khanjari are a mix of Civilized and Decadent. Some mystics among them are Enlightened.
Parallels: Iranian (Medes), Bactrian, and Punjabi (Harappan).
Bonus Language: Khanjari

Khojak

KhojakThe nomadic tribes of the windy northeastern steppes and deserts are a mix of Rathi, Charnog, Khanjari and others. Calling themselves the Khojak, they are a free-willed, fierce and stubborn lot who live by marauding and slaving. A constant menace to caravans and travelers, they will unite in massive numbers every few generations under a charismatic warlord. Khojak mega-hordes are notorious for razing cities, torching fields, taking no prisoners, and leaving no survivors. As one Khojak warlord once famously said, "we would rule clear pastures, not subject peoples."
Appearance: The Khojaks are light- to tan-skinned, brown-eyed and long-haired; generally lithe of build although thickset individuals are prevalent. The riders wear red felt jackets or gambesons with fur or embroidered trim. Upon their heads, the men have long top-knots, wear tailed "Phrygian" caps or turbans and grow thick beards and mustaches worn in drooping styles. The women typically wear veils and trimmed robes, unless riding into battle with the men.
Religion: Chief among the gods of the Khojak is YOT-AMIR, the Ancient One, although his name is more often used in curses than in prayer. Still, the nomads fear the Lord of the Empty Wastes and make small offerings to avoid getting lost or suffering from hunger and thirst. Other tribes revere entities such as THAMOGORGOS, SEPPOPHIS, LAAKASH, and KURROG.
Culture: These fierce tribesmen are invariably Nomads.
Parallels: Scythians, Sarmatians; the medieval Kazakhs.
Bonus Languages: Charnog, Khanjari

M'tika

M'tikaThe M'tika are pygmies inhabiting the atolls of YUMATOT of the ILOZIAN SEA. Depending on tribe, they live in jungle caves or build huts in the canopy. They know the secrets of the rare lotus herbs that grow only on their islands—a commodity that attracts ill-intentioned visitors. Across their archipelago, customs vary, but the M'tika by and large are a reasonable if not gentle people. They are clever hunters, trappers, and poison-crafters who eke out any and every tactical advantage available from their terrain. They war against mainlanders—whom rarely regard the pygmies as human—and also rival tribes and other sentient jungle races, taking heads to decorate their villages. Zyrane slavers seize the M'tika in droves, and in this way many have found their way to the mainland.
Appearance: Small of stature (the tallest are rarely over 4½ feet tall) with brown-black hair and ebon to chestnut-colored skin. Compared to mainland men, the M'tika possess elongated feet and short legs. They go nude or drape themselves in loincloths and body jewelry of feather and bones, and arm themselves with hunting bows and blowpipes.
Religion: The M'tika oft venerate GHATANOZOA, "the Leviathan". His heralds are the reptilian lloigor and monstrous invertebrates that inhabit the islands. For most tribes, this devotion is based on responsibility, not love. The pygmies believe that placating the entity will prevent him from living up to his mantle, "Destroyer of Worlds."
Culture: The M'tika are Savages by and large, but also crafty, adaptable, and pragmatic. The deep jungles and swamps harbor small enclaves of cannibal Degenerates who commix with a widely dispersed populace of even shorter, small-brained hominids. These possess wrists and hands that are similar to an ape's; too, their skulls demonstrate a protruding brow ridge and minimal forehead. Most mainlanders, unfortunately, make no distinction between the M'tika and their subhuman neighbors.
Parallels: Melanesian; Prehistoric Indonesia.
Bonus Language: M'tika

Rathi

RathiThe rugged hills and canyons of TINARATH are home to the Rathi. Known for their leonine strength and ferocity, the Rathi are barbarian tribesmen for whom war is a fact of life. They live in small, isolated tribes that herd oxen, grow oats and raid one another for livestock or wives. Few Rathi leave their homelands, but those who venture into the sultry world of the south soon learn that the other civilized races do not follow their codes of honor or loyalty.
Appearance: Rathi are tall and powerful, with peach to suntanned skin, dark hair and blue or gray eyes, oft dressed in buckskin and furs. In war, body-painted berserk warriors wade into battle bare-chested, wearing kilts of cave bear skin and helmets adorned with stag antlers.
 Religion: Rathi respect strength and little else. Magic, they believe, corrupts the soul, and extracts a terrible price from those who practice it. They are particularly offended by necromancers. Their beliefs are best represented by their chief god, KURROG, though debased tribes may take THAMOGORGOS as a patron.
Culture: Most Rathi are Savages, but some are Nomads. Remote places harbor Degenerates, these being tainted with ape-man or caveman blood.
Parallels: Cimmeria (Crimea) and RE Howard's Cimmeria
Bonus Language: Charnog

Sotaran

SotaranDangerous men and cunning women inhabit SOTAR the Isle of the Sea Reavers. Once peopled exclusively by swart refugees of the fallen Kingdom of CALYZ, contemporary Sotarans hail from many nations. Their couplings over the years have brought forth many who consider themselves natives of the isle, particularly in the fortified pirate-city of LOITHÉ.
Appearance: The skin-tones of Sotarans range from the ruddy peach of the Charnog to the night-black of the Azjamans, with most falling midway. They dress in gaudy pantaloons and adorn themselves with gold rings, kerchiefs, loose blouses, and leather vests. In rough waters, oiled wool coats protect their bodies from the sea's chill and spray.
Religion: THASAIDON is chief amongst those with felonious ambitions greater than the common pirate or thug; or those within organized criminal organizations who would ascend the hierarchy. THAMOGORGOS rules the hearts of those reavers to whom rape and bloodshed are reward enough for the rigors of seafaring. The gods of sea and sky are more feared than worshiped in the lawless port of Loithé, but most crews offer sacrifices to them. YUCKLA, the God of Laughter and GEOL, the god of fate, are also patrons to many pirates and smuggling crews.
Culture: The mongrel Sotarans are mostly Civilized or Decadent. Degenerate throwbacks abound on small, satellite islands where stranded crews and shipwreck crews have survived in isolation.
Parallels: Ancient Mediterranean Piracy; Golden age of Piracy
Bonus Languages: Charnog, Khanjari

Tasuuni

TasuuniAlso known as the "kingdom of tombs", TASUUN is a land covered by desert and semi-desert savanna. It is haunted by ancient sorceries and connections to the prior era's Second Serpent Empire. Its small population is notably xenophobic and obsessed with the subjects of death and immortality, building dark tombs for their mysterious mummies. Tasuuni are people raised on ritual, and their every gesture is made with sophisticated elegance—or exaggerated flamboyance.
Appearance: Tall and bronze skinned, shaved bald or straight dark hair cut to the shoulder, and gray eyes darkened with kohl. The nobles and priests wear golden pectorals, headdresses, and masks. Commoners dress in simple garments of white linen.
Religion: Tasuun is well known for its large pantheon of beast-headed gods, led by YULULUN, the Keeper of Tombs. The land is littered with giant statues and weathered sphinxes carved in their image. A powerful cult of NYARLATHOTEP is spreading from the capitol of MIRAAB, and has more than one king-priest amongst its unsavory converts. The disciples of the Crawling Chaos reject the old pharaonic traditions, and are responsible for looting the tombs of the ancient kings, desecrating the mummies within.
Culture: Children of an old culture steeped deeply in sorcerous mysteries, Tasuuni are a mixture of Civilized, Decadent and Enlightened people.
Parallels: The end of Pharaonic Egyptian.
Bonus Language: Tasuuni

Tcho-tcho

Tcho-tchoFrom their hidden homeland upon the prehistoric PLATEAU of TSANG, deep in the southern CLOUD JUNGLES, the cannibalistic Tcho-tcho wage a war of terror and sabotage upon anyone who ventures into their domain. Few dare hazard the Cloud Jungles, for a Tcho-tcho hunting party on the warpath is something best avoided. That said, not all Tcho-tcho are wild; some tribes trade on occasion with the Tasuuni. It is rumored that the deepest regions of their realm are almost civilized, with crumbling monasteries ruled by powerful wizard-kings.
Appearance: Ochre- to mahogany-complexioned dwarfs, rarely over 5' tall with beady, green-tinted eyes. Naturally bald-headed, Tcho-tcho wear long wigs of braided yarn or human hair peeled from the skulls of their victims. Their habit of filing and blackening their teeth completes their preternatural, fearsome appearance. Tcho-tcho warriors have ropy muscles and move with pantherish grace. Hunters may be nude or clad in fur loincloths and human scalps. The women, especially shamans and tribal priestesses, adorn themselves with necklaces of bone and teeth. Jewelry, piercings, and war-paint vary from tribe to tribe.
Religion: Grotesque idols of demon-gods and grinning, inhuman skulls of unnatural proportions decorate the blood-stained altars of the Tcho-tcho. Most revere CHAUGNAR FAUGN as their creator and racial god, though customs vary from tribe-to-tribe. Some tribes instead place YOT-AMIR, ATLACH-NACHA, HISH-YIGGERA, NYARLATHOTEP, TSATHOGGUA, or UBZOTH at the top of the pantheon. Terrible serpents, giant bats and dinosaurs from the surrounding jungles also receive offerings as totems.
Culture: Characters of Tcho-tcho ancestry are generally Degenerates or Savages, though a chosen few are bestowed the delirious Enlightenment of the Great Old Ones.
Parallels: Âu Việt tribes, Dong Son-period Vietnam; Pre-Columbian Central America.
Bonus Languages: Tcho-tcho, the secret tongue of the Great Old Ones

Ullotroi

UllotroiThe tropical realm of ULLOTROI is near-mythical; a land of bamboo forests, towering pagodas, and serpentine statuary. Despite widespread devotion to the Virgin Goddess OJHAL, the Ullotroi are an ancient race who appreciate dancing, feasting and love-making; taking full advantage of any day that the monsoons allow for leisure. They defend themselves with ancient magics and a fanatical if untrained populace ever willing to fight and die in battle. Merchants who brave the unknown can make a fortune in Ullotroi when they return with caravans of silks, spices, lotus flowers and painted ceramics.
Appearance: Slender and yellow-skinned, with folded, almond-shaped eyes and finely chiseled features. Men typically wear a decorated tarboosh or turban on their heads while women prefer elaborate headdresses of embroidered cloth and coins. Both men and women dress in embroidered silk if they can afford it although the commoners generally wear little more than a loincloth.
Religion: Ullotroi worship the goddess Ojhal whose priests and monks are expected to live virtuous, celibate lives. In the villages of the bamboo forests, HISH-YIGGERA's heretical sects hold sway, worshiping the Severed Goddess in overgrown temples.
Culture: Ullotroi is legendary and old, its kings and generals almost uniformly Decadent. Their soldiers and subjects are more wholesome, Civilized individuals, and the Enlightened form monastic communities is remote locales. Degenerate tribes, oft tainted with Tcho-tcho blood, dwell in remote villages.
Parallels: Indonesian; Khmer Cambodia (Angkor Wat); Burmese (as the Pyu city states) to the west and Indo-Micronesian on the east.
Bonus Language: Ullotroi

Xylac

XylacThe sun-drenched Empire of XYLAC consists of city-states ruled by petty kings or senates with armies of bronze-armored pikemen. These are in turn governed by an emperor. While rolling hills and forest-covered mountains dominate the interior terrain, the coast has sandy coves nestled amid jagged cliffs. Fleets of trireme galleys protect their trade cities along the coast. Xylacs are known for their callousness and hauteur. They love blood-sports and debaucheries. At the same time, they are a learned and aesthetic people, their cities appointed with memorials, museums, colleges, and vast libraries. The great city of UMMAOS is renowned for the grand temple of ILILOT, where the goddess is often resident.
Appearance: Bronze-skinned, thickset with gleaming white teeth and curly brown hair, and short of stature. The Xylacs typically dress in light-colored togas, style their coifs with garlands and laurels, and flaunt whatever jewelry they own. Soldiers don breastplates, great shields, and plumed helmets when going to war.
Religion: THASAIDON is the oft-unspoken master of Xylac, an apropos symbol of a culture living as their prideful, carnal natures dictate—with every man hoping to rise through a society ruled by ruthlessness and tradition. Ililot and VERGAMA have wide followings and there are temples to several gods throughout their cities. The coastal peoples often make small offerings to BASATAN before setting out on voyages of trade or war. Xylacs comprise the ghoulish populous of remote ZUL-BHA-SAIR, where the Charnel God MORDIGGIAN resides.
Culture: Xylacs are typically Civilized, but a sizeable, increasing proportion is Decadent. Oracles of Vergama might be Enlightened.
Parallels: Mycenaean Greece.
Bonus Language: Xylac

Ymorthan

YmorthanThese rebellious and fractious highland folk inhabit the YMORTH MOUNTAINS that jut up between ZYRA and USTAIM. They are born mountaineers who roam the treacherous mountain passes and live and die by the prosperity of their goat and sheep stocks. In desperate times, they can become wolfish raiders who feud incessantly among themselves—though foreigners are preferred as prey. Soldiers from Zyra are frequently deployed to the highlands to punish the worst clans, but no one can negotiate the crags like the Ymorthans. The southernmost tribes of lowland farmers have accepted the overlordship of the Zyranes, at least in theory, but in the breast of every Ymorthan beats the heart of a rebel.
Appearance: Men have bushy beards and hairy bodies, and wear floppy patterned  turbans (called lungee), loose breeches and heavy cloaks. They arm themselves with scimitars and short bows. Women typically wear a dress that goes down to the ankles and a scarf to cover their hair. Women's attire has exquisite embroidery and tasseled trim. Most Ymorthans look older than they are, their olive to brown skin is dried and wrinkled by the sun and mountain winds.
Religion: There are few priests among the wild Ymorthans, but cults to certain gods crop up amongst them, with MUONG UTAN being the most widespread. Others include CHAUGNAR FAUGN, GROTH-GOLKA, KURROG, and THAMOGORGOS.
Culture: Ymorthan are habitually Nomads, though some remote tribes are Savage and wholly given to banditry. The lowland subjects of Zyra are Civilized.
Parallels: Ancient Afghan. Ancient Sherpa.
Bonus Languages: Ymorthan, Khanjari

Yorosian

YorosianYorosians are a sub-race of the Zhelites, and comprise the bulk of the population of the Empire of YOROS and CYNTROM. They're regarded as savvy merchants, ruthless warriors, peerless sailors and shipbuilders. Only the reavers of dread UCCASTROG threaten Yorosian dominance of the high seas. The Yorosians are the greatest traders of their time and owe their prosperity to maritime commerce. They do business mainly with the Xylacs, trading wood, slaves, glass, spices and dyes.
Appearance: Slightly smaller of stature than their interior-dwelling brethren, the Zhelites, Yorosian men and women are Semitic but often have some foreign blood, the result of ethnic intermingling. Such crossbreeding usually manifests as a pinched nose, blond hair, green eyes, swarthy skin, or some other rare feature.
Religion: Most Yorosians worship the gods ILILOT, THASAIDON, and VERGAMA. Those who spend much of their time at sea sacrifice to BASATAN. Many strange gods arrive at their ports and bazaars, ferried by foreign sailors, mercenaries and merchants. There is a monastery to OJHAL in the wastelands of IZDREL.
Culture: Like their cousins the Zhelites, the Yorosians are a people both Civilized and Decadent. While Decadents are commonly found among the upper class, they are in no way confined to it, nor is the aristocracy entirely composed of them. Those dwelling amongst the brothers and sisters of Ojhal may be Enlightened.
Parallels: Phoenician
Bonus Language: Zhelite

Zhelite

ZheliteThe fertile plains and rocky deserts of ZHEL are home to a several related peoples renowned for their skill in irrigation, commerce, war, archery, and their religious devotion. Roughly, they are split into two subcultures—indulgent urbanites in the west and fierce nomads in the east. Zhelite nomads and barbarians can also be found throughout the highlands sweeping up into the MYKRASIAN MOUNTAINS. In the western city-states, Zhelites specialize in trade and manufacturing, living off the unending camel trains. These walled commonwealths surround a ziggurat that houses a patron deity whose attendants rule the city. The city-states of Zhel are ever at odds with each other, alternately allying with and sabotaging their neighbors in search of monopolies. In the east, robed hordes of nomadic Zhelites raid each other and their western cousins incessantly, burning with a fierce hatred for their civilized kin. Zhelites of all stripes are infamous for their brutality in warfare, casually dispatching wounded enemies without a hint of mercy. Archers from Zhel are highly regarded as marksmen and fletchers, and employed in mercenary armies across Zothique.
Appearance: Broad-shouldered, olive-skinned, thick-bodied with aquiline noses and blue-black, curly hair. Zhelite men are especially proud of their beards, lathering them in scented oils and braiding them into coiled locks. The women are voluptuous and fair-skinned; prized as slaves in foreign seraglios. Wealthy urban Zhelites wear loose, floor-length robes with sleeves while the poor wear simple sashes or belted tunics are about knee-length. The raiders of the east wear bronze breastplates or scale mail over their abas, keffiyehs on their heads; with the colors of their garb varying by tribe.
Religion: Nowhere, except perhaps in TASUUN, are found as many gods as in the city-states of Zhel. Above the hundreds of shrines to lesser gods arise the awesome ziggurats of greater deities such as MERUKAAD and ILILOT. According to the Zhelites, these comprise a pantheon known as the NEUNNAKI. The neunnaki gods are said to have returned to Zhel to rebuild a great civilization lost and forgotten in a previous age.
Culture: Zhelites are a people both Civilized and Decadent, although Decadents are more often found in the upper classes of the west. A few men and women of Zhel are Enlightened. The rank-and-file raiders of the east may be Nomads or Savage, but are led by sheiks who hold to elaborate Civilized customs.
Parallels: Ancient Mesopotamia. Civilized Akkadians and Sumerians of the cities and farmlands. Savage or nomadic Zhelites are akin to the Amorites of the desert and the Gutes of the foothills.
Bonus Languages: Zhelite

Zyrane

ZyraneThe fire-worshipers of ZYRA are an offshoot of the Istani race. When OLD ISTANAM was swallowed by the sands, the Istani migrated to the western coast while the future Zyranes went eastward along the southern foothills of the YMORTH MOUNTAINS. At some point in their search for new lands to settle, the Zyranes welcomed an influx of jinn into their society, and today nearly everyone in Zyra lays claim to a jinn relative or ancestor. Where the Istani are honorable and devout, the jinn-blooded Zyranes are corrupt and self-indulgent. They have exploited the riches of their new kingdom well, and have grown rich as sages, viziers, spice merchants, metalsmiths, and slave-traders. Despite a reputation for decadence, theirs is a rich and colorful civilization. It is wondrous for its employment of small enchantments in everyday life. Having brought with them a high level of culture from Old Istanam, the Zyranes are skilled artisans whose city of QAYYOOM is a center of learning as well as trade and craftmanship. The eastern salt plains of Zyra are dotted by the towers of autonomous wizards, and dominated by the fortress-city of SHA-KARAG, the City of the SLAVE SULTANS. Sha-Karag is held by a council of jinn slave lords who pay scant lip service to the emir of Qayyoom.
Appearance: Male Zyranes are swarthy, usually bearded, wearing colorful robes, keffiyeh, and gold-hilted curved daggers. The raven-haired Zyrane women are famed for their sensual beauty; they often appear scantily clad, veiled, and adorned with glittering jewelry. Their jinn heritage manifests in a talent for sorcery. Some Zyranes exhibit small otherworldly characteristics such as casting shadows that move on their own, or eyes that glow with elemental light.
Religion: The Zyranes hold the elemental god LAAKASH above all others, though cults to NAMAGURU, SEPPOPHIS, and VERGAMA proliferate on the sly.
Culture: This wealthy and callous populous is mostly Decadent, with only a smattering of Civilized individuals remaining, virtually none of them among the upper classes.
Parallels: Pre-Islamic Arabia (esp. ʿĀdMidian, and Majan)
Bonus Language: Istani