Once upon a time, so the stories go, the ruling dynasties of the Kingdoms were formed by the combination of the divine (normally male) and human (normally female.) Each petty Kingdom has its own tale be it the Legend of the Glass Slipper, the Tale of the Maid and the Monster, the Sage of the Tainted Apple or one of a dozen others.
Subsequently however happy ever after have been in short supply. The waring ruling families with their professional armies supplemented by rampant mercenary companies (and occasionally a rump Knightly class) make life for the peasantry hell. The Peasants tend to rebel at what they see as a betrayal of the founding myth of their Kingdom. The region is a peninsular broken by deep, dark woods and volcanic mountain ranges so the battling states tend to scrap over the same passes and fields. The one thing that can unite the Faraway Kingdoms is the threat of the invasion that occassionally comes from the Starakand.
State faith of the Faraway Kingdoms tends to be the worship of the founding mother and father of the nation. The peasantry however tend to worship sprites and pixies of hearth, field and wood for their day today benefits in preference to the faith of their betters. Furthermore missionaries from Lorraland are spreading the religion of Therassion amongst the peasants.
The end result is that a steady stream of dispossessed squires, rebel peasants, deserters and the occasional overturned dynasty turn up in Drakesdoom having paid Caravaners or guides to bring them over the desert free from the ravages of the Desert Raiders. Starakand prevents the Farawayans taking the direct route. Of course the rivalries of the Kingdoms are not always left behind so the sons and daughters of Snowhitia, Cinderfell, the Red Riding and many other states make come in blows within the borders of the Midmark like they did at home.
The dress of the Kingdoms is sophisticated with layers, breeches, hose, doublets, ruffs or neckties. The common weapons are pikes or halberds with rapiers and/or crossbows for those who can afford them. Magic is often illegal (the founding myths frequently feature wicked witches) and so any occult practioners from those lands will be self taught from forbidden books.
Designers note – I may have been watching far too many Disney cartoons with my daughter and started reading Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country producing this curious mixture of renaissance Italy and fairytale stalwarts.