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Easterners

The vast and mysterious east is a land of empires, a land of magic, and a land of strange and peculiar customs that seem wholly exotic to the folk of the west.  Turan's empire sprawls along the western shore of the great inland sea Vilayet, a bastion of brutal civilization and naked power, that acts as a constant threat upon the flank of the west's chivalry.  Their wilder brothers, the nomadic Hyrkanian tribes, keep to the steppes and plains of Vilayet's eastern shore.  Beyond the realm of the Hyrkanians is the sprawl of distant Khitai, a land of ancient magic where the influence of Lemuria's remnant is still keenly felt.

The Hyrkanians, once a unified people of nomadic tribesman, became divided when one of its great leaders decided to defy the codes of their culture by settling on the western shore of the Vilayet and founding the kingdom of Turan.  Similar to the great Mongolian empire, they are excellent fighters, exceptional horsemen, skilled with bow, sword, and lance.  Its capital city, gleaming Aghrapur, sprawls massively at the end of the Road of Kings on the shore of the Vilayet.  Slavery is extremely common in Turan, its cities housing some of the largest and well-trafficked slave markets in the whole of the world.  For all of Turan's wealth and power, they are still a society teetering on the edge of barbarism.  Some refer to them as the 'resplendent barbarians.'

Conversely, Vendhyan societies are probably the most advanced outside of the West and Khitai and feature highly sophisticated systems of government and religion. Vendhyans tend to have light brown to mid-brown skin, straight black hair and large dark eyes. Vendhyan adventurers are almost always from the Kshatriya caste, the ancient warrior aristocracy of Vendhya.  The rulers of the golden kingdoms south of the Himelian Mountains are considered little short of divine. Vendhya’s culture resembles that of the mythical India described in the Vedas.

Between Vendhya and Hyrkania, far beyond the ken of most western folk, a vast and harsh mountain range rises, inhabited by a number of small tribes. These tribes consist of tall, hairy hill-men who are very strong and fierce. They are disdainful of civilized standards of politeness and good behavior, though many adhere to a barbaric code of honor. The tribes include the Afghulis, Irakzai, Galzai, Dagozai, Zhaibari and Khurakzai, among others.  Himelian culture resembles the tribal lifestyle of Afghanistan and northern India and is survivalist and barbaric in nature. The Vendhyans seem to refer to the lands facing their kingdom as Ghulistan; possibly there is an ancestor tribe called the Ghulis of which these modern tribes are branches. Some Himelian tribesmen are a curious race of intelligent, though stunted, aborigines, conquered by the Hyrkanians on their westward drift. These would correspond more to a Tibetan style culture.

Khitai in the Far East is little known to the Hyborians. Khitan caravans trade jade, cloth-of-gold and silk with Turan and lotus blossoms with Stygia. These caravans and a few exiled Khitans are Khitai’s only contact with the West. The culture is essentially Chinese-like, with a powerful god-emperor in Paikang, a mighty city whose minarets rise amid the vine-festooned jungles of bamboo. The Khitans often appear mysterious and secretive to Hyborian eyes. They are also renowned as wizards, with some boasting that the Eastern wizards are greater than the Western ones.

According to Yag-kosha in The Tower of the Elephant, the Zamorians are survivors of an ancient pre-Cataclysmic civilization (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.

Any of these peoples could be played in Uruk, though Khitani in particular would be rare and need a particular reason for traveling so far to the west.  For more information, see below.