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Hyperborea is a country of the Hyborian Age.


The folk of Hyperborea are a strange and mysterious race; a surly and dangerous people despised by most in the North for their wanton slavery and habit of waging war upon those who share borders. Their land is as bleak and cold as is Asgard, though the southern reaches of the land are more favorable. There, the Hyperboreans can farm and herd to the best of their abilities, with small farming-steads outside their cities. Long ago, though, the folk now inhabiting Hyperborea were akin to the people of Hyrkania, likely departing that land and heading seaward from the east. These were a race of horsemen, great tribes of tent-dwellers, living beneath roofs of horse-hide, traversing the land far and wide, following the seasons, hunting and living off the land.

Hyperboreans are the tallest of the northern and Hyborian races, only equaled in stature by some groups within the Black Kingdoms. They are gaunt and have dirty blonde hair, and their features are generally rough. Eyes are usually gray. However, the admixture of alien blood from slaves — particularly Brythunian, Zamorian, Æsir, Hyrkanian, even Cimmerian — has given them a wider range of appearances than those from other countries.

"... the first Hyborian kingdom has come into being— the rude and barbaric kingdom of Hyperborea, which had its beginning in a crude fortress of boulders heaped to repel tribal attack. The people of this tribe soon abandoned their horse-hide tents for stone houses, crudely but mightily built, and thus protected, they grew strong."
The Hyborian Age.

The Building of Walls[]

For reasons now lost to time, these wanderers of old came into the land of the Hyperboreans and ousted them, claiming their name. They put aside their nomadic traditions and settled into the old Hyperborean villages, and from there they built walls around those villages, which became walled towns which became walled fortress cities. But even these great fortifications couldn't protect them against the tawny-headed savages — the tribe of Bor — sweeping down from the north on their way southward towards Gunderland. Bor’s descendants threw down the Hyperboreans of old, usurping their cities and even taking their name for their own use, as if it were a spoil of war. Like changelings, the sons of Bor became Hyperboreans and, eventually, the old race was all but snuffed out, a strange bloodline found only in the remote parts of this land.

Once ensconced behind protective walls and no longer prey to the rigors of life on the open plain, these new Hyperboreans became the first in the north lands to embrace civilization, and they were the first to marshal true armies to defend their lands against the raiders from Nordheim and even their former kinsfolk, the offspring of the tribes of Bor. They could even defend themselves against the riders of Hyrkania — the old birthplace of the folk that had come before them — as those horse-clans crossed the cold waste from the east, in search of glory and spoils of the West. The Hyperboreans fought off the ancient ancestors of the Nordheimer, and kept to their land, becoming as resolute and implacable as the stone from which their walls were hewn.

Surrounded by Enemies[]

Their ambition took the Hyperboreans far, and made them enemies wherever they went. From their brutal and ongoing skirmishes with the people of Hyrkania, expressed as running sorties back and forth across snow-dusted steppes, to the Brythunians and Nemedians, who they have plundered and enslaved in droves. The Æsir and Cimmerians hate them for the same reasons. The Border Kingdom is all-too-weary of Hyperborean incursion, and even far-off Aquilonia has been drawn into conflict with them, sending Gundermen and Bossonian archers into Hyperborea in retaliation for past slights.

The sole thing that has kept these nations from banding together and wiping Hyperborea from the map stems from their origin as horse nomads: the Hyperboreans retained their excellence as cavalry, and use their cities to transform themselves from light cavalry skirmishers to heavier armored cavalry, doing great damage to their enemies, unaccustomed to fighting in their hostile terrain. Even the Hyrkanians, matchless as mounted warriors, are unable to sustain sieges or assaults on Hyperborean walled cities, from which their heavier armored horsemen sally forth, backed with wave after wave of infantry and archers.

And so, it is for this reason the Hyperboreans are left alone, a growing concern in the North that will undoubtedly become a greater threat in the years to come.

The Hyperborean People[]

From many captive foreign strains, the Hyperborean bloodline has become impure, but they are still a distinct people, the tallest by far in the northern continent. Gigantic and blonde are the Hyperboreans, prone to gauntness and light eyes, and there is a crudeness to their appearance, a big-boned and rough-hewn sort of mien that is disquieting, as if they are a cruder sort of men than those from other lands. Half-breeds are common, though generally shorter and darker and less coarse in semblance than the Hyperboreans themselves. As a people, they are oft taciturn and sullen, boastful and careless with their words. Suitably, their language is coarse and thick. They speak slowly, their voices generally deep and rumbling, and if any member of that race showed joy, it was a grim and mirthless sort of celebration.

Hyperboreans rival Cimmerians in their tendency towards moodiness and bleak despair, shared across the entire people, and for that reason many of them grow restless, striking out and venturing to the south, entering the more civilized kingdoms where they can offer their services as sell-swords, or even turning to banditry and killing for hire.

They dress primarily in woolen garments, leggings and heavy cloaks, and armor themselves in studded leather, layered against the ever-present northern chill. They favor sword and spears, and though they no longer live in nomadic villages they have kept the tradition of mounted combat, specializing in heavy cavalry. Though they were the first of the northern lands to embrace the supposed virtues of civilization, they are still isolated and have disdain for many of its practices. Most of their men-folk are expected to serve in their armies at some point, and women in the Hyperborean culture are less respected or free than they are elsewhere in the North, or even the more civilized lands to the south. Hyperborea is not united under a single king, and instead its cities are ruled by minor kings or lords, usually war-leaders who hold onto their thrones through force of will, often serving also as the high priests of whatever god their city worships.

Hyperborean Gods[]

The Hyperboreans are prone to the worship of strange and grim deities — the demon-god Zernobog is their chief, dwelling in the highest of mountains and lording it over all. Other Hyperborean gods are Perun and Veles, brothers holding dominion over the sun and the underworld, each with a baleful cast and ill-will towards humanity.

Furthermore, the Hyperborean people believe in spirits and demons, such as the black dragon-lord Zhir, dwelling in the heart of the earth, a supernatural being depicted in standards hanging over many Hyperborean cities. As is often the case, the rites of dark gods call for blood sacrifice, and many slaves taken by the Hyperboreans meet this awful fate.

Hyperborean Way of Life[]

Hyperboreans are known (and despised) above all things for their enthusiastic participation in the cruel practice of slavery. From within their high-walled redoubts, they became renowned as grim and powerful foes and raiders, harrying the Cimmerians as well as the people of Asgard, striking out at their more civilized neighbors. They venture even further afield, preying on the people of Zamora, Brythunia, and crossing into the Border Kingdom, plundering wantonly and taking men, women, and children as slaves. The Hyperboreans revel in this despicable practice, boasting that they are better at slavery than even the folk of Koth, whom they in truth know little about.

Slaves are the source of much of their trade with foreign land, though they must travel far to find those willing to traffic in such wares. Others they have taken are treated less charitably, sold as chattel. Every Hyperborean household, no matter how humble, will likely have a slave or two, and though their neighbors fear and hate them for their trade in human flesh, the Hyperboreans themselves are the primary victims of this commerce, with many of the weak, poor, and unfortunate among their own people feeling the chill weight of the chain and the hot stripe of the lash.


Separated from Asgard to the west by the River of Death Ice, Hyperborea is locked in perpetual winter. Hyperborea is home to several mountain ranges, including the eastern end of the Eiglophian and Graaskal ranges.

The Hyperborean Land[]

Hyperborea is a rugged and desolate country, similar in geography and terrain to Nordheim. With much of its territory adjacent to or north of the Arctic Circle, the earliest people in this land suffered hardship beyond comprehension. They were Hybori — the northern tribe of Bori — though they became Hyperboreans, distinct from the Hyborians that ventured southward and founded most of the dreaming west. These early Hyperboreans were eventually sublimated or ousted by the horse nomads who settled into the land, using the primitive Hyperborean villages as an apparent springboard into rapid development of walled communities, among the first of the northern people to dwell in cities.

The land itself is a fairly barren one, with sparse steppes wracked with snow and wind to the east, and rocky foothills and ice to the west, eventually giving way to nothing but icy sheets and uninhabitable land in the north. Hyperborea is alternately rocky, hilly, and sweeping. Its western border is defined by a light mountain range separating it from Asgard, though, like the wind that passes through these mountains, Hyperborean slave-takers cross this range freely when raiding. Here their cities and fortresses are stronger and older, more settled and sprawling, while to the east cities and towns are more modest, though also fortified against raids from the Hyrkanian hordes who sweep across the cold steppes in search of plunder and slaves.

The Hyperboreans of old were not that much different culturally than the Hyrkanians, horse nomads alike, but they have developed over the years a bitter hatred for one another, thus boxing Hyperborea in with enemies on all sides except the north, an isolation wholly of their own making.

Notable Places[]

Unlike the northern reaches of Nordheim to the west and the wind-swept arctic steppes to the east — dominated as they are by nomadic tent-dwellers — Hyperborea has many fixed locales, fortified cities, and mountain fastnesses, as well as ruins or locations whose origins and purpose have long since been lost to memory. The nature of some of these places have been left for the gamemaster to determine, though suggestions to these mysteries are provided.


The capital of Hyperborea, Opona is more a mountain fortress than any sort of trade or cultural center. Neither the most populous or the largest of Hyperborea’s cities, it is distinguished primarily as being the center of domination over the country. King Tomar, as have all his line before him, rules from this apparently impregnable fortress, financed by harsh taxation exerted on the surrounding kingdom. The city is fed by mountain streams, and the food storehouses are vast and well-stocked, allowing Tomar to outlast any attempt at a siege.

Sinashka, City of the Chain[]

Located in a wide valley in a region where Hyperborea’s rough border converges with that of Asgard and the easternmost points of Cimmeria, Sinashka is neither the greatest nor the most impressive of the walled Hyperborean cities. Instead, it is a relatively modest city, walled and civilized in appearance. Its most dominant feature is the immense slave market central to the town. Here, taskmasters converge with slavers from throughout the Border Kingdoms, Hyperborea, Hyrkania, or even further afield countries such as Zamora, Koth, Turan, Shem, and even Khitai. Though it isn't the sole industry of the town, slavery defines it: human flesh bartered openly, a parade of misery, subjugation, and callous indifference unrivaled throughout the entirety of the Hyborian world, equaled only by the Stygian slave markets.

Peasants, farmers, soldiers, barbarians, children, virgins, merchants, husbands, wives, even kings and kings-to-be have been brought to Sinashka and sold here. Slavers meet with Hyperborean kidnappers and slave-takers, to take them across the rest of the continent where they can serve to the end of their days in slavery, to be used as concubines or eunuchs, or to seal their fate as sacrifices to gods with unusual and specific tastes.


Kurghan, one of Hyperborea’s major cities and perhaps its most infamous, is famed for its central landmark, a great colosseum and a surrounding market complex. Into Kurghan are brought the most magnificent fighting slaves, as well as unusual beasts from across the kingdom, to provide popular entertainment for the jaded Hyperboreans, accustomed as they are to slavery and death. The city itself is surrounded by a necropolis, thousands of burial mounds, some little more than piles of stone, as well as mass graves where the dead are piled and set afire. Here go the victims, the unlucky many, who perish within the coliseum. Player characters captured as slaves might be brought here to battle for the delight of the Hyperboreans, or they may even enter the games as free men and women, paid gladiators. In the central floor of the colosseum, they will be brought face to face with the wildest and most dangerous beasts the northern lands offers, as well as human opponents aplenty.

Dargava, The Fortress of the Walking Death[]

Once a redoubtable mountain stronghold and center of the slave trade, Dargava is located at the juncture of the mountain ranges bordering Asgard and Cimmeria. This was once a base from where slave raids embarked. Now it is shunned, feared by all and given a wide berth by travelers and even Hyperborean slavers. The city, once home to thousands, sheltered behind steep walls and centuries old, still stands. It is believed to be empty, or, if it's inhabited, the denizens inside are to be feared. No siege broke the city's great stone walls. Instead, its doom came from the smallest and most ephemeral and yet deadly visitors - plague.

Countless thousands of slaves passed through the gates of Dargava — golden-haired Æsir, surly Cimmerians, hapless Brythunians, people from the Border Kingdoms, and others from further afield — but it was one of these last which brought plague into the city. The victims grew blue, then purple, then black, choking on their own breath with blood running from the eyes, ears, and mouths. No one can be certain who brought the disease, and many suspect that the plague had a supernatural origin — a curse from an enslaved sorcerer or witch — but in rapid course, the city was utterly infected, the streets piled with the reeking, bloated bodies of the dead, houses filled with the fearful survivors, trying desperately to avoid contagion.

Hyperborea's king sent troops to ensure this disease was quarantined; his troops slaying with arrows from afar any who dared venture forth. Eventually, Dargava grew quiet, and the black peals of smoke from corpse piles stopped, until there were only small trails of wood-smoke from heating fires. Soon, even these stopped. Thinking their quarantine had outlived the last of the city's denizens, the surrounding forces were content to wait for several days more. The bravest of them wrapped their faces in herb-soaked cloth, in warding off infection, and went forward to breach the city’s main gate and see what remained.

Then, the howls began. Strange and terrible cries made from throats that could not possibly be human, these dismal calls sent waves of terror through the forces arrayed outside. They launched a fusillade of fire-tipped arrows into the city, hoping to set fire to all that remained alive within, whatever its origin. Soldiers caught glimpses of strange and terrible figures moving along the city walls, peering over at them, but they quickly lost sight in the smoke. Entry to Dargava was forbidden by the king and the city has since been abandoned: fear of the latent plague surpassed by terror of the unknown force now inhabiting the city’s streets.

Who knows what travelers may find should they visit Dargava? Ghouls like disease-carrying undead? Or are there still living people here, transformed through the plague into something not entirely human?

Kapova Cave[]

This ancient cavern complex is sacred to a fertility goddess whose name has long been forgotten — perhaps some early manifestation of Ishtar — depicted as a fleshy female figure, her head dotted entirely with horizontal rows of eyes. A large statue of her dominates the central cavern. Also, red ocher wall paintings depict her, her servants, and her worshipers, a disquieting display hinting at unspeakable fertility rites. There is something unsettling about the cavern, a warmth indicating a series of underground hot springs, which give off a gentle hum, almost akin to breath. As one explores deeper into this labyrinth, its paths become increasingly humid and impassable; the walls slimed with moisture and moss.

Far from any civilized towns or outposts, this cavern is reputedly haunted, although uninhabited. Both these assumptions are false. This is a place of power.

The Pain Mill[]

Located inexplicably in the middle of nowhere, in a desolate reach in the middle of the mountains that divide Hyperborea from Cimmeria, this construction stands empty and alone, deserted. A wooden structure, this wheel-like mill apparently depended on slaves to grind grain, though there are no nearby villages, and no storehouse for such grain. Circular ruts beneath the wheel’s spokes indicate how those who pushed it spent punishing years in this cruel gyre, undoubtedly worked to death with no clear result.

The Evyenki Hollow[]

Located in the rocky lands east of Hyperborea, almost near a region where the steppes merge with the mountains at the northern end of the Vilayet Sea, this geographic oddity is an immense blasted crater, several miles across, struck into the earth as if by a wrathful god. The natives of the region, a tribe representing the admixture of Hyrkanian and Hyperborean ancestry, speak of the Hollow in whispers. They claim its creation happened many generations ago, a blast which shook the world and knocked trees down for tens of miles. When they went to explore the area, they found a blasted ruin, a great hole in the ground where once a village had stood. Pools of reeking liquid still steamed, days later, and never froze — despite the cold — while animals balked when brought into the area. Horrifyingly, this blast uncovered caverns, tunnels beneath the frozen tundra, and exposed to light grotesque secret that had, for thousands of years, shunned the sun. It is a cursed place, best avoided. Strange cries echo across the steppes at night. Shamans and sorcerers sometimes go there, to gather the metal they find scattered across the region, buried in the frigid earth.

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History and politics[]

This country is the cradle of the Hyborian age. The Hyborians have been drifting south-westward, destroying and absorbing conquered races. One tribe discovered how to build a crude fortress of boulders to repel tribal attacks and started using mighty stone houses surrounded by walls. This fortress evolved to the first Hyborian kingdom. Crude and barbaric, Hyperborea drove away other tribes who were defeated or didn't wish to become tributaries.

Around 2500 years after the Cataclysm, the blond arctic savages that would become the Nordheimir grew and evolved and drove the northern Hyborians from their ancestral homelands. In turn, those drove their own kindred before them, and even Hyperborea was conquered, albeit it retained its name. The arctic barbarians arrived to the south before Hyperborea stopped their advance, with the barbarians settling in Nordheim.

The kingdom suffered from wars from Asgard; raiding Æsir had destroyed Hyperborean cities, pushing back the kingdom's frontier.

Hyperborea had an ancient feud with Aquilonia during its greedy expansion. Its armies marched against Aquilonia, but they were devastated in the battle that ensued in the Border Kingdom. Hyperborea occasionally assisted Nemedia in its defensive wars.

After the fall of Aquilonia to the Picts, southern Hyperborea was devastated by a united force of Hyrkanian invaders. Being the north-westernmost province of the new Hyrkanian empire, its frontiers were swept by Æsir invaders.

When the glacier age came and the Nordic drift, the Æsir invaded Hyperborea and blotted it out. Across its ruins they clashed with the Hyrkanians. They assailed them so savagely that they retreated back toward Vilayet.[1]

They advanced rapidly, especially in the dark art of sorcery (?).

Sample Names[]


Alyosha, Arno, Borna, Boroda, Dobromil, Drago, Drazan, Durko, Dusan, Goran, Gothric, Henrik, Jarek, Karel, Marek, Miron, Nazar, Neven, Radek, Rurik, Taras, Vasa, Vasyl, Vedran, Velek, Vilad, Vitomir, Yarok, Ziven, Zoryn


Amalia, Anya, Asenka, Bruna, Devora, Dobrila, Draza, Dusana, Inna, Lada, Luda, Lyuba, Milena, Mirra, Nadya, Nadysha, Neda, Nyura, Orlenda, Petra, Rhada, Sveta, Uliana, Velika, Velina, Vera, Veruska, Vilna, Zhanna, Zora

Population and culture[]

The ancient kingdom of Hyperborea is more aloof than the others, yet there is alien blood aplenty in its veins, from the capture of foreign women — Hyrkanians, Æsir (Aesir) and Zamorians.[2]

Hyperboreans are tall, gaunt, big-boned.

People are of slow speech and taciturn, but vigorous and warlike with violent natures.

The ways of Hyperborea are described as weird. They are civilized and dwell in cities.

Hyperborea in Conan's day was ruled by wizards and witches, a group known as the White Hand. Its tall, gaunt lords and ladies tend toward white hair and emerald eyes. The lower classes can only look up from their huts and wonder what is occuring behind their cyclopean walls, where lightning plays about dark towers. [Citation needed.]

Stories set in Hyperborea[]

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Characters from Hyperborea[]

  • Queen Vammatar
  • Witch-Men


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