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The kingdoms of Zamora, Nemedia, Corinthia, and Brythunia represent some of the larger struggles of power in the Hyborian Age. As East meets West, the rich subjugate the poor and barbarians clash with civilization. Each kingdom possesses a unique identity and problems specific to the regime, but they are alike in a one way: what they lack in military might, they more than make up for in guile and cunning.

Zamora is best-known for its two sister cities, Arenjun The Accursed and Shadizar the Wicked. This country is famous for its thieves, who claim to have perfected the subtle art. Zamora is an old kingdom, one that was ravaged by many wars and strange sorcery thanks to its location. Zamora’s long-standing ties to the kingdoms in the east have eroded, accounting for only a glimmer of its former prestige. The nation’s primary export is skulduggery.

Corinthia is largely composed of city-states wielding considerable economic power in overlapping regions. These cities — Magyar, Stregos, and Krotoa — were cultivated by expatriates from Koth, Zamora, Stygia, and elsewhere, people tired of oppressive regimes, high taxes, and religious intolerance. The city-states grew out of these trading ports and now hold considerable economic power, but very little political power, due to constant infighting between various factions.

Nemedia is an old kingdom, built upon the foundations of earlier peoples. Large stone and brick structures have been repurposed for these blonde-haired, blue-eyed Northern descendants and their adopted and occasionally invented culture. Years of wars and border disputes in every direction have forged the Nemedian army into a formidable defensive force.

Brythunia is a land of extremes — of cold, of cruelty, of ferocity. The conquering Hyborian savages moved south into new lands and forged small fiefdoms for themselves where they could continue their ancient tribal feuds in relative peace. The lords cling tenaciously to their scraps of land and fight tooth and nail for every inch of dirt. Western influence brought a semblance of order to the wilderness, and political business is now handled through marriage and, occasionally, a good old-fashioned raid to grab some hostages for trade.

All four countries, while being very different in peoples and cultures, have a kind of shared history in that they are both conquerors and the conquered. Warfare, insurgent occupancy, and political violence figure heavily into their communal past.

These countries also represent, rather broadly, the gateway from the west to the east by way of the ancient trade route known as the Road of Kings. While not strictly at odds with one another, the uneasy truce and fluid alliances between the city-states in Corinthia and the trade centers in Zamora and Nemedia allowed a thriving black market to emerge. This is the underside of civilization, where anything can be bought and sold, from family heirlooms to human life. In a time of general unease, plots are sketched out and plans hatched.

There is always a need for someone willing to do what needs to be done, be it for personal gain, for gold and jewels, or for some noble ideal. That these actions go against the laws of the land is immaterial. This world is brutal and harsh. The master thieves of Zamora and their loose affiliation of tricksters, brigands, murderers, and burglars have no end of business opportunities in such troubled times…

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