"Life flowed on its accustomed course in the filth-littered streets of Punt. Giant black men squatted in the doorways of their thatched huts, or lolled on the ground in their shade. Black women went up and down the streets with water-gourds or baskets of food on their heads. Children played or fought in the dust, laughing or squalling shrilly. In the squares the black folk chaffered and bargained over plantains, beer and hammered brass ornaments. Smiths crouched over tiny charcoal fires, laboriously beating out spear blades. The hot sun beat down on all, the sweat, mirth, anger, nakedness and squalor of the black people." -- Robert E. Howard: "The Snout in the Dark"
The Kushites are the black tribesmen most often encountered in Kush, Punt, southern Stygia, and the Black Kingdoms, although their tribes dominate the entire south.
The peoples of the Black Kingdoms are savages, who live in loosely organized tribes in their crude villages hidden away in the jungles of the south. Notable exceptions to this are the magnificent but savage kingdoms of Keshan, Punt and Zembabwei, as well as the Stygian-influenced kingdom of Kush itself.
Several large tribes of Kushites dwell among the deserts along and below southern Stygia, but most of these are nomads, who wander from one area to the next.
The Black Kingdoms are dotted with huge pre-Cataclysmic cities. Some are abandoned, empty ruins buried in impenetrable jungle; others retain small remnants of their original populations, sometimes horribly changed over the millennia; yet others are occupied by small groups of modern people who fled from the "civilized" lands and took refuge in the ancient citadels.
The peoples of the Black Kingdoms are black-skinned, with many variations in height, skin color, etc. Their eyes are savage, and they are strong, tall and usually very lean, although some chiefs are grotesquely fat. They have little chronic disease, as those who get sick quickly die.
In Kush, the common people are dark-skinned (as in the rest of the Black Kingdoms), but the Set-worshipping ruling class are light-skinned descendants of Stygian lords.
Tribal Kushites are adept at the use of the bow and the spear. They are governed by the whims of their tribal chieftains and witch-doctors, who they will follow without fail unto death. They worship many strange gods and beasts, many of whom are known only to specific tribes. Most of these gods are believed to dwell near the villages of their worshippers and will come forth to protect the tribe, or punish it, should the need arise.
Each tribe has a distinguishing ritual scar or tattoo which identifies its members; in a society where little clothing is worn, such marks make it difficult to infiltrate an enemy tribe.
The Stygians have enslaved many Kushites and turned them into remarkably servile servants.