Twelve Kingdoms, thirteen tribes of Yisrael.
The setting of the Twelve Kingdoms of Man, is ahistorical, pseudo-medieval. In other words, it has more to do with Gor and Conan, than it does with King Arthur or even Middle Earth. But really, I'm not looking for an English Fuedal System. There's other systems -- the Athenian Greeks had a tyrant, for instance (essentially a dictatorship) that was benevolent during the Age of the City State. This man became tyrant of Athens by using a young girl and declaring himself chosen by Athena to lead the City State into a new age of prosperity.
The Tyrants were eventually put down and a Democracy set up (rabble rule). In ancient Israel, my ancestors were ruled by David the King. It was to be a monarchy that was set up by Yahweh, the El of Israel. Yahweh would choose the king -- first Saul (who was of the tribe of Benjamin) and second David (who was of the tribe of Judah). As was promised to Judah, his seed will carry the septre to the end of the World.
Setting up the twelve kingdoms in my new Pathfinder world to be like the twelve tribes of Israel, but giving each of them a different culture is the goal. One would be based on Persia. Another, based on Cimmeria, another full of amazons, two with fighting men, and so on (it's ahistorical, pseudo medieval, remember? I'm just making the 13 tribes obivious!).
Secondly, I thought I'd use churches instead of Gods. It's different, it's hip, its new.
The campaign setting might begin like this:
In the beginning of our story, the twelve kingdoms were once thirteen tribes who had four hundred years of prosperity. First as individual tribes, then a small kingdom, then a huge empire, then the empire divided into twelve kingdoms. This prosperity was not to last, as the kingdoms fell into decline an invasion from another world discombulated the peace and balance in the world.
Something to work on, I admit. The invasion, of course, are orcs; which threaten humanity. At least, humanity in the Twelve Kingdoms. There are others, to be sure. The orcs were released when a portal transported a raging Orc Horde into the world. They then spread out, attacking many kingdoms as they sought a place for their own clans and tribes to settle. The action of the Campaign Setting takes place in the Twelve Kingdoms and the rampaging orc horde with elves and dwarves in there somewhere.
However, the orcs have feeling, they have purpose, they have culture. I talked a lot about orcs on this blog in my world. Now it is time to dwell on human culture.