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The World of Slobbovia

Neurse Schivosk! Welcome to the world of Slobbovia, barbarian slime. We hope your stay here will be less miserable than it might otherwise have been.

Modern Slobbovian history began around 800 After da Faith (A.F.) when a number of peoples settled the lands around the Slobbovian Sea. These peoples migrated from the lands to the far north, and called themselves by a variety of names -- Slobbovians, Rabbitanians, Huns, and so on. Some of these races have retained their language and cultural identity virtually unchanged (the Slobbovians, for example) while others have interbred to form new nations (Venturia), still others have developed entirely new cultures in response to the exigencies of life in their new lands (the Pameranians, or Baratarians). Since the 820's, a number of Imperial Surveys have been carried out which have expanded the boundaries of the known world, until the entire expanse of the globe from east to west is known. There are still unknown areas to the north and south, however.

How Not to Make a Contemptible Idiot of Yourself

Barbarians unfamiliar with Slobbovian ways often make unfortunate -- sometimes fatal -- mistakes. The customs of Slobbovia are many and peculiar, but by keeping a few simple facts in mind, the visitor can avoid the most common mistakes.

The first think to keep in mind is the Slobbovian language. The Slobbovian language has three moods: the grovellative, to be used when addressing someone who his your social superior; the sneerative, to be used when addressing someone who is your peer; and the insultative imperative, to be used when giving orders to your inferiors. You are a barbarian foreigner and, unless you are of noble birth and have a proper title, or are an accredited member of a foreign bureaucracy, the assumption is automatically that you are a social inferior. Consequently, you should always use the grovellative when addressing anyone else. This is advisory since, even if the person is your inferior, he will feel flattered that you are acknowledging him as your superior. It is also simpler, since this way you only need to learn one of the three verbal moods.

As implied by the moods of the language, Slobbovian is a tongue in which it is inherently impossible to say anything nice. Consequently, anything you say even in the grovellative mood may be considered insulting, and you may find yourself in trouble as a result. The best thing to do is to preface and end all of your remarks with the phrase "Neurse Schivosk." This is the only pleasant thing which can be said in Slobbovian. Literally, it means "may you have a better time than you deserve on this cruddy midwinter festival," the colloquial translation of which is "Merry Christmas." Since it is the only pleasant thing which can be said in Slobbovian, it is often used in place of such common phrases as "hello," "goodbye," "please," etc.

In Valgoria, people sometimes use the phrase "Fecundar Strakh." Strakh means "prestige, intelligence, moxie, chutzpah" -- all the good things about a person. Fecundar means "increase" or "breed" or "engage in sexual activity." The Valgorians think the phrase means "may your prestige increase." However, in the northlands, it is usually translated as something quite different, and is considered a mortal insult.

Mention of strakh leads to another caution. When dealing with Slobbovians, it is wise to forget such barbaric notions as good, evil, fair dealing, justice, honor, etc. In Slobbovia, the basic philosophical division is not between good and evil, or between honor and dishonor, but between strakh and "strumph." Strakh is prestige and peer recognition, while strumph is power, raw power. A person is strakhful if he reacts to people on the basis of how amusing, clever, and prestigious they are.

A person is strumphish if he is motivated solely by concern for his own well-being, and by power-lust. Power itself is not thought to be inherently bad -- indeed, the Czar is at once both the most powerful and strakhful person is Slobbovia -- but being motivated solely by desire for power is despicable.

Consequently if, for example, you find yourself cheated by a merchant, do not expect any help from the authorities. The merchant was cleverer than you, more strakhful, and deserves his money. On the other hand, if you can get the merchant to laugh, he will probably cut his prices in recognition of your superior strakhfulness.

Justice in Slobbovia

You are advised never to get arrested. One way to do this is never to commit a crime. This doesn't always work, since once of the papers you signed when entering Slobbovia was an admission that you are actually Egor the Fink. He is one of the greatest of Slobbovian traitors, in the pay of Alfred Aardvark and Satin himself. Consequently, the authorities will always have an excuse to arrest you if they decide it becomes necessary to do so.

The reason you should never let yourself be arrested is that the Slobbovian justice system is a peculiar. one. As an illustration, here is an excerpt from a recent issue of the SLOBINPOLIT ZHURNAL, Slobbovia's great newsmonthly magazine:

"Isn't she going to be here to defend herself?"

"No!" cried Shelmet Grnuclesvitch, bouncing up from under the table. He climbed laboriously on top of it and announced, "Since she is guilty of treason, to listen to her spout her treasonous poison would be treason on our part. Off with her head!"

"But...," said Emily of Gondal, "She has not yet been guilty found."

"Contrariwise," said the Czar, smiling slightly, "If she is innocent --"

"Guilty!" announced Shelmet, giving a little leap and collapsing on the table.

"Not just yet, please. If she is innocent, there is no need to subject her to this whole sordid affair."

There was silence in the courtroom.

"Are we ready to proceed?" asked the Czar.


By and large, Slobbovian religions are tolerant and you are unlikely to get killed or maimed for religious reasons. There are a few exceptions: Phumpha has its own unique religions, and is extremely intolerant of foreigners. Consequently, you are urgently advised to keep kosher while there.

The other religious group of which to be wary is the Satinists. The Satinists are one of the four major sects of the Holy Sativan Church -- the others being the Georgians, the Gregorians, and the Mazukovians. The Satinists practice human sacrifice, and the curia of the Sativan Church has deemed this a legitimate religious practice. Satinists are likely to pick up offworlders for their ceremonies, since foreigners are unlikely to be missed. If you do get in trouble with Satinists, you are advised to find a Gregorian as soon as possible; the Gregorians hate and despise Satinists, whom they like to burn ritually from time to time. (This, too, is deemed a legitimate religious ritual.) This hostility between the Gregorians and Satinists goes on despite the fact that the two sects are nominally both members of the Holy Sativan Church.

You may wish to attend a Gregorian religious ceremony. Many foreigners find it fascinating. The Gregorian equivalent of the Mass is called "Communion." Gregorians believe in coming closer to the Godhead by altering one's awareness with the use of many unusual substances.

Things to Do and See: Sports

If you are a sports fan, you must make time to see a mongeef game. Mongeef is the Slobbovian national sport, and is avidly followed by many in the land. The rules are very simple: at opposite ends of a field stand goal posts. The ball (known as a flamsch) weighs about fifteen pounds and is covered with iron spikes. Each time a team puts the flamsch through the opposing team's goal, one point is scored. Each team begins with eleven players, and no replacements for casualties are permitted. Players are prohibited from purposefully injuring spectators, though sometimes this occurs by error. However, the spectators are free to attempt to influence the outcome of the game. Because heavy weapons are not unknown on the mongeef field, the spectator stands usually resemble wartime bunkers.

One of the most famous of recent games was the World Cup of 862 A.F. The World Cup was fought between the Oleomargarine Shoggies (the official team of the Cthulhan Revolutionary Party of the States of Confusion) and the Grund Flet team (fielded by da Grund Flet, the Slobbovian Czar's Navy). The game was played at Boleski Stadium outside the city of Strakhenville.

The Shoggies fielded eleven shoggoth team members. Shoggoths are extremely powerful creatures ruled by Cthulhu, and appear as great congeries of bubbles about the size of a subway car. As such, they are no match for the average human. One of the positions fielded by the shoggies was a magician, whose job it was to interdict naval artillery strikes by the Grund Flet team. Before the game began, the odds were running 10-1 in favor of the Shoggies, because the Grund Flet team's major advantage -- off-shore bombardment -- was thereby negated.

Spectators were surprised when the Grund Flet team appeared on the field in gas-masks. The reason for this soon became clear. By the time the artillery shells began raining down on the field, the Shoggies had already scored ten points and killed two Flet players. But since the Cthulhoid magician was using his spells to prevent the operation of explosives, the Grund Flet team was using gas shells. Shoggoths have great endurance, and might not have been affected by any everyday poison gas, but the shells were loaded with nitrous oxide. The Shoggies collapsed in helpless laughter, and the gas-mask-clad Grund Flet set up a human chain to hand the flamsch through the goal, bring it around to the front, and hand it through again. The final score was 2374-10, Grund Flet.

Things to Do and See: Drinking

Alcoholism in Slobbovia is not a hobby; it is a way of life. Throughout the world, bars, pubs, drinking establishments, wine ships, and package stores can be found. In addition to bheer and wine, the world of Slobbovia has developed a number of native boozes unavailable or rare elsewhere. You may wish to try one or several of these:

Schnarg is carefully fermented from crottled greeps. (Greeps -- crottled, pickled, or stir-fried, are one of the staples of Slobbovian cuisine.) the best schnarg is brewed in gymnasiums in Phumpha.

Schnarq (final letter q, not g) is a powerful beverage distilled from schnarg, and is the most popular liquor of the world.

Kummis is made from fermented weasel's milk, and his highly prized by the Huns.

Skumjas is another distilled beverage, and is made from something too disgusting to talk about.

Screech is a liquor distilled from whatever is handy. It gains its name from the fact that a single shot of screech often causes the drinker to screech in agony. It is not recommended for its taste, but is certainly an experience to drink.

Things to Do and See: Military Reviews

Though Slobbovia is now at peace (sort of), most of the nations of the world maintain sizeable military establishments. Military reviews are fairly common, and are among the tourist attractions in many capitals.

Two of the best are the 23rd Cavalry Drill at Strakhenville, and the Underwater Highlanders Parade at Oleomargarine. Both units drill weekly. The 23rd Cavalry is a unit mounted on heavy barded warfrogs, with its troopers wielding pluglunks and Lee Enfields. (A pluglunk is a polearm which resembles a canoe paddle with both ends sharpened.) The unit is one of the best in the Slobbovian army, but for some reason the sight of giant frogs bounding about with gaily-uniformed soldiers atop them seems to amuse barbarians.

The Underwater Highlanders are one of the most interesting units in Slobbovia, and one of the most feared in the armed forces of the States of Confusion. They are equipped with an invention of Fergit Raskolnikov, the bagpipe-aqualung. This device acts both as a source of air for the user and a musical instrument. Be early for the parade, because after the first few minutes, all that can be seen are a few bubbles rising to the top of the Oleo Sea, and the eerie sound of bagpipes played underwater.


A few notes on currency should be made for the benefit of the traveller. Slobbovia has an extensive banking network, and most currencies can be exchanged freely. Gold is relatively valueless because of the prevalence of wizards who have a habit of transmuting base metals into more valuable ones. Silver, however, is readily acceptable. The most common currencies are the Slobbovian and Venturian robotniks, and the Baratarian conti.

At one time, the robotnik was backed by gold, but inflation became a major problem when wizards began transmuting lead into gold. A reform was attempted by basing the currency on now-scarce lead, but this simply lead to reverse transmutations. For a while, the gravel standard was tried, without much success, whereupon the Imperial government simply cut the tie between the robotnik and other currencies. This led to paper-based hyperinflation; the result was robotnik notes printed with floating decimal points. During this period, 3.4 x 1037 robotniks was about enough to buy a ham sandwich.

This was obviously an unstable situation. So Czar Ra-Man established a government monopoly on paper, and began to print notes on gold leaf, backing them up with the paper monopoly. This was not terribly successful, as bootleggers began producing their own paper. Eventually, however, a marvelous solution was reached, whereby the robotnik was based on the most common commodity in Slobbovia: the serf. One serf equals one robotnik, by law. (Consequently, murders of serfs are settled in small claims court.) It is true that the number of serfs can be inflated over time, but human gestation and breeding does take time, so the Slobbovian robotnik is now relatively stable.

Slobbovian Society

Slobbovian society is a class-conscious one. There are basically four classes: serfs, who are peasants tied to the land, and may be sold or traded at whim; peasants, who are technically free men but have few rights; freemen (or, in Slobbovian terminology, bhadjerks); and the strakheinvolk, the aristocracy. At the pinnacle of the aristocracy are the Great Families, families which have had at least one Czar and one Grund Patriarch. The most notable of modern-day Great Families are the Vurklemyers, the Zhukovskis, the Dragomilovs, and the Seagoonskies. They are, respectively, the hereditary Prinzes of Venturia, Grand Masters of the Knights Dispensable of Jamul, Chiefs of the Slobbovian Assassination Bureau, and Goons of Phumpha.

You should remember that, as a foreigner, you will be accorded the status of a bhadjerk unless you can prove patent of nobility or membership in a foreign bureaucracy.

Non-Human Races

There are three main nonhuman sapient species in Slobbovia, of which you should be aware. The most common are the cronks. The sapient status of cronks is fiercely disputed, since their language has only one word: "birdie!" "Birdie," loosely translated, means "yummy." Cronks are capable of eating literally anything -- dirt, people, telephone poles, even food-- and consequently, if you ever meet a cronk who says "birdie!" while looking at you, you are well-advised to run like hell. Cronks are vaguely humanoid, are covered with dirty brown hair, stand about 4 feet tall, and stink to high heaven. Their stink is one of their major weapons, since their stench has been known to cause others to faint, making them easy prey for a cronk.

The sand whales live in the great sea of Sand along the northwestern periphery of Slobbovia. Their first known appearance was on a map drawn by the Second Imperial Survey, on which a whale was drawn within the Sea of Sand. This was assumed to be a cartographical error until the Archbishop of St. Tammany voyaged to that desert, discovered the sand whales, and converted them to the Holy Sativan Church. Sand whales look much like other whales, but swim and dive through the sandy desert, eating other tunneling creatures.

Hokas, common on other worlds (see Dickson & Anderson's EARTHMAN'S BURDEN) stand about 3 1/2 feet tall, are covered with brown fur, and look much like teddy bears. They are a vigorous, strong, and highly imitative people. In Slobbovia, they live mostly in Phumpha and environs.


The titular sovereign of Slobbovia is the Czar, currently Czar Alexandr D'metre Nikolaievitch Illanov-Rabinsky. The Slobbovian Empire lays claim to the entire planet, but controls only a portion of it. The rest of the globe is controlled by other prinzes (or republican assemblies), some of whom acknowledge the titular sovereignty of the Czar, others rejecting it. For many years, the Empire was essentially autocratic, but seems to be evolving toward a democracy. The Douma, a legislative body occasionally called into session by previous Czars, has recently been made permanent, and endowed with the power to remove the Czar upon its pleasure. As the Douma is now elected, rather than stuffed with the Czar's cronies, political parties are beginning to evolves -- the most important of which are the Loyalists, the Party Party (whose slogan is "Let's Party!"), and the Corruption Party (which promises to bring patronage to the little people).

The third great institution of the Empire of the Imperial Bureaucracy, which makes the wheels of government turn. It is immense and basically ungovernable, operating most of the time without the knowledge or understanding of the Czar or Douma. The Director of the Bureaucracy is Vladimir Beacronk, reputed to be more powerful than the Czar himself. The Bureaucracy's motto is, "Czars and Empires Come and Go, but the Imperial Bureaucracy Lives On!"

Other lands are ruled in much the same way. Venturia is the personal fief of the House Vurklemyer, Jamul of the Zhukovskis. The States of Confusion is a revolutionary state which has recently been coopted into the Empire.


Foreign barbarians sometimes make the mistake of attempting to overawe Slobbovians with "superior" technology. This mistake is often fatal. In the past, Slobbovia had nuclear weapons, supersonic aircraft, and all the out-dated accoutrements of a society headed for ecocatastrophe. Today, the more advanced modern devices, such as the airship, the rifle, and the railroad have been developed; already, some of the more advanced state are experimenting with spears and arbalests. Simpler devices are used because they are cheaper, last longer, and are less prone to breakdown. In addition, the "labor-saving" aspect of "modern" technology is irrelevant to Slobbovian society. Serfs, after all, are cheap.

Phage Pie Euphraino U, Komrad

This is the motto of the Slobbovian Empire, and a fitting one with which to end this travellers' guide. In Slobbovian, it means, "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, Comrade." We hope your stay in Slobbovia is not too detestable, and that you will spend lots of money and make us all rich.

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