On a certain continent, nearly all kingdoms worship under the same pantheon. However, in the southern reaches the peoples take a much more...liberal stance on their Gods. Statues are nude, and very anatomically correct, and icons are often startlingly brazen. For instance, the icon of (insert name), the goddess of love, is an image of two nude twins embracing in a passionate kiss, signifying the love of both family and partner. This is a source of unending outrage and offense for the Northern churches, whose traditional and modest take on religion is constantly at odds with the near-blasphemous ideals of the Southerners. While this is not enough to provoke outright conflict, there is more than enough simmering discontent and long-held grudges between the two hemispheres.
Pirates' many bejeweled rings and piercings actually had a practical purpose - when the pirate or sailor died, the rings could be taken off as payment for a proper burial, saving him from a watery grave. This could be tied into regional culture, or made into a quest (The Pirate's Lost Rings, etc.). Also gives treasure-seeking divers another thing to look for besides crusty old chests.
SeaClans: The six seaclans are Dolphin, Gull, Ray, Kraken, Shark, and SeaDragon. These totem animals serve as mascots rather than any deep symbol of the clan. These seafaring organizations are filled with land based saliors and fishermen. They ply the seas and deeper waterways. They function like guilds for ocean sailors
The clans have their own homeland. These people live on large floating rafts- human made islands, as well as vessels of all varieties docked to it. These wetfoots never set foot on land (or only do it for a few hours at most).
Rat Clan: This guild is nominally related to the seaclans. The Rats ply the rivers and marshes of the world, as well as do longshoreman work. The seaclans hold the self proclaimed "rat clan" in contempt and the officials see them as just a Guild of River saliors and longshoremen with a funny name. The Rats hold their title with pride and will take it out on anyone who gives them grief about it.