|Tempest of Set|
|Herald of Xotli|
- For other uses, see Stygia (Disambiguation)
Contemporary Stygians are a mysterious people whose society is strictly organized in a class system dependent, by and large, upon physical types. The royalty and the most ancient nobles are relatively tall people with black hair and fair skin. Below these, the ruling elite of aristocrats and a powerful middle class are dusky-skinned, hawk-nosed men, haughty of mien. The lowest classes are peasants or slaves of hybrid stock, a mixture of Kushite, Shemite, Hyborian, and Stygian ancestry.
Stygian society is dominated by the priesthood. The chief god of the Stygians is Set, the Serpent God, whose influence has stretched from the lands of Stygia into nearly all other lands.
Rarely will a Stygian venture from his own lands. Even more rarely will an outsider enter his, as it is death for one who is not a Stygian to enter a Stygian city. Any wanderers found inside Stygian territory are killed. This may be done unceremoniously, or it may involve a sacrificial ritual. The Stygians have never been known to allow captured trespassers to live. The only exception to this rule is the harbor-city of Khemi, where foreign merchants are allowed entry during the day, but must return to their ships at night.
The Stygians have developed an economy based on nomadic herding, fishing, and harvesting of the date palm. Major industries include the production of sorcerous charms and amulets, as well as drugs or pharmeceuticals for both medicinal and magical use. Silk or steel arms are also manufactured here and are sought after for trade by the merchants who travel the numerous caravan routes across the nation.
In Age of Conan Edit
The Stygians are an ancient, decadent people, born of a culture more than fifteen hundred years older than any of their neighboring kingdoms to the north. Once a Stygian has left Tortage, they will arrive in Khemi.
Dominated by a powerful theocracy dedicated to the worship of the serpent-god Set, the Stygians are masters of occult secrets and diabolic lore. The scholarship is legendary and their mastery of the magical arts is without equal anywhere in the known world. Unlike the Hyborian kingdoms the Stygians care little for what goes on beyond their borders; while the Aquilonians and the Nemedians measure their worth in castles and glittering armies, the scholar-priests of Stygia care nothing for such trifles. They learned long ago that true power lies in knowledge and in pacts with dark powers older than the cosmos itself.
Players in Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures will find that the Stygians can be a joy to role-play. Their mysterious and magically aligned nature makes them perfect for those who want to play an intelligent and wise character who holds great power behind his or her dark eyes, yet they might also choose to play the role of a Stygian rogue whose main goal is to grab the riches that might be found in the estates of those in the upper castes. The Stygians are a diverse people who follow many paths of life, and players will find a wealth of opportunities if they choose to enter Hyboria as one of them.
Stygian society is divided into three rigid hereditary castes: the nobility, the aristocracy or middle caste, and the peasant caste. The noble caste is much diminished in the modern age. Unlike the lower castes, whose blood has been increasingly intermingled with Kothian, Shemite and Kushite stock, the Stygian noble caste is tall and dark-haired, with fair, ivory-colored skin. They are rarely seen even in the largest Stygian cities, and are never known to travel abroad, preferring to spend lives of indolence and contemplation in their lotus-perfumed estates.
The middle caste comprises the Stygian aristocracy, and is the true ruling power of the realm. Tall but dusky-skinned, black-haired and hawk-nosed, the aristocracy provides the scholars and priests that run the kingdom’s many temples and maintain its fabled libraries. Beneath their heel lies the peasant caste, marked by their shorter stature, swarthier skin and heavier build. The aristocrats rule the peasant caste with an iron grip, steeping them in a culture of absolute subservience and fear. The peasant caste exist to serve the aristocracy and to feed the appetites of their god Set, and even the merest hint of disobedience is enough to merit an agonizing death in the torture chambers of the city temples.
Stygians as a people favor cunning, intelligence and agility over brute strength. Swords and axes are the hallmarks of a barbarian, not a civilized person. For this reason, most Stygians found outside the borders of their kingdom are typically scholars or seekers of knowledge. This quest for knowledge can come in many forms, whether through the practice of sorcery, the study of the body and the healing arts, or the stealthy practice of assassination or thievery. Each pursuit is equally valid in a Stygian’s eyes, because they require intellect, education and discipline; qualities they believe to be lacking in the lesser kingdoms of the age.
In Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, the affinity Stygians have for magic is particularly evident. Stygian Mages can become Necromancers, Heralds of Xotli, and Demonologists. Those who follow the path of the Priest become Tempests of Set, while those who choose to follow the ways of the Rogue can become Assassins and Rangers. Their superiority in magic has its price, however, as Stygians can never become soldiers.