Fashion and Customs
General Customs of Shem and Uruk
This is in no way an exhaustive list of customs found within Shem. We trust that players will use common sense regarding most things. This is to act merely as a general guideline to aid people in getting started with the roleplay.
1) Real World Equivalents
As previously mentioned, the lands of Shem and the City of Uruk within it were written as proto-cultures on Earth. The best equivalent we can give are the lands of Mesopotamia, or modern day Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. As mentioned on the Shemite culture page, there are other influences from nearby locations which play a part in the every day life. As Uruk is a trade city, it would not be uncommon for various cultures to be passing through. Ignorance of local culture is perfectly acceptable!
2) Level of Technology
Uruk's level of technology is roughly Bronze Age. However, the city is a trade city and so has access to many cultures. Many of the other Kingdoms in the world have technology that is roughly equivalent to Medieval. There is a lot of flexibility concerning this, depending on where your character is from, or how well traveled they are. It would not be uncommon to have a mix of technologies as well. Hyborian Kingdoms have late medieval technology, their knights wear plate armor. Pikes, greatswords, crossbows and longbows are much used. Zingara is even better, their ship technology seems 17th century. Their armor etc. is similar to 16th century Spanish however there are no firearms. Shem is much like ancient Mesopotamia, but using steel swords, mail etc. as well as composite bows.
3) Marriage, sexuality, and family life
Like many ancient cultures, and cultures within the Conan series, polygamy is most commonly practiced. Having multiple wives can strengthen families and offer more opportunities in a land which relies upon manpower and trade. Marriages were almost always arranged by the families involved. Once a woman is married, it is assumed they will remain chaste to their spouse save for festival days and prayer. Men are not commonly held to such standards.
Inheritance is not passed on by order of birth or gender, but rather by aptitude and suitability in Uruk. It would not be uncommon for assets to be passed on to a third born daughter, should they prove to have the most level head. Children of slaves could not inherit.
Uruk's patron goddess is Ishtar, the Earth Mother. One of the common practices was to worship the Goddess through the use of temple prostitutes. To put it bluntly, sex happened. Chastity was not a prized virtue except in rare cases. Homosexuality is likewise, not taboo. Bastardy, or children born of unwed parents, is not uncommon. While bastard children are not in line to inherit wealth or social status, they are accepted all the same in a city which venerates the fertility goddess. Children born after festivals are considered especially blessed, or touched by Ishtar. That being said, medicine exists which can prevent pregnancy. Abortion is taboo, but undoubtedly happens. (( Note from Admins: We are all adults. No one will be forced to roleplay pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, etc. We leave that entirely to the players within the story. ))
The one, and only, taboo for sex in Uruk, is underage sex. Under no circumstances is that allowed. Ever.
Dress and Fashion
The descriptions in the novels are not abundant, although we can use common sense regarding general fashions. Uruk is arid, hot, and mountainous. It would be unwise to be dressed in fur in the desert, likewise a person wearing full plate armor would undoubtedly be harmed by heat exhaustion.
There were no strict codes concerning modesty, although given the climate, wearing more clothing is advisable. As always, in character actions and the perceptions of a character are determined by the roleplayers themselves.
Below is a Pinterest board made to be a visual aid in styling for Uruk.