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Zamoran

 Zamora was a mysterious land, a buffer zone between the Hyborian nations of the West and the Hyrkanians of the Turanian Empire, with a culture which was part of each, and part all its own. Its people  were disdained by both sides, and even considered “evil by birth” by the Hyborians.

Bordered on the east by the Kezankian Mountains and by lesser ranges to the south and west, Zamora had emerged as a kingdom several thousand years before Conan the Cimmerian’s time. Its capital city was the aptly-named Shadizar the Wicked, although equally well-known was its City of Thieves, though this city’s true if little-used name was actually Arenjun. The local guard in Arenjun dared not set foot in Arenjun’s notorious Maul district, “where the thieves of the East held carnival by night.” In the Maul, cut-purses, kidnappers and murderers all rubbed elbows and amused each other with tales of their bawdy behavior and illegal exploits. The most mysterious and sinister of all of Zamora’s city-states was  Yezud, the City of the Spider-God, where—if the legends are to be believed—an arachnid the size of an elephant was worshiped as a deity. Conan is said to have done the world a favor by slaying the creature,  whose name was variously given in the ancient texts as Omm or Zath. One of the thing’s vile priests survived and gained the ability to transform himself into a leopard-sized arachnid, most likely as a result of some form of shamanic magic.

Zamora was an arid, infertile country. The locals lived by herding sheep and cattle, which thrived on the thistle scrub of the region, or by mining for tin, copper and other useful metals. Despite the number of mines, no gold or silver had ever been found in Zamora. The Zamorans were a short, dark-skinned race with dark eyes, jet-black hair, narrow features, and stunted limbs. The Zamorans had a reputation for cruelty, disloyalty and greed. This reputation was only partially earned. Zamoran attitudes reflected more of self-interest than of the high (but often ignored) ideals of the Hyborians. The people were insular, although the increased trade along the Road of Kings did much to increase Zamoran contact with the Hyborians and Turanians.

The nobles of the country’s various cities were the law in Zamora, though the nation did also have a king. Sentences were maiming or death, with all property confiscated by the local noble. An appeal to the Zamoran king was allowed, although sentences were usually carried out quickly enough to make appeals futile.  

The Zamorans worshiped many divinities. Some were local, embodying natural forces or places, such as Zath, the spider-god of the city of Yezud. Others were imported, such as Bel, the Shemitish God of Thieves, the patron of the Zamoran city of Arenjun, the well-named City of Thieves.

Names:  Zamora is another melting pot of humankind, being on the crossroads of all land-based trade. Names from all over the world are probably appropriate. Of the two examples we have, one seems Spanish, the other Ukrainian; Ukrainian names are probably a better fit, given Zamora’s geographical location. Examples: (male) Shevatas, Yara. Suggestions: (male) Bohdan, Buryan, Danyo, Petruso, Vanko, Yare; (female) Anichka, Ionna, Luba, Olena, Orynko, Oxana.