Conan Technology

VincentDarlage said:
I find it interesting that the Hyborians are one of the youngest cultures in Howard's world (compared to Zamorians, Picts, Cimmerians, Shemites, Stygians, et. al.) but have the most advanced culture and the most advanced technology.

The U.S. is pretty young compared to other countries as well, but seems to do pretty well. Shoot back to WWII, when even significantly younger, and it developed quite a powerful weapon first as well.

The development of technology is typically driven at a higher rate by need due to danger/conflict/war, and perhaps the Hyborians had a greater amount of conflicts to drive their technological development during their existence (e.g., a couple hundred years), than others (the long-lived nations during those couple hundred years).
 
slaughterj said:
The U.S. is pretty young compared to other countries as well, but seems to do pretty well.

The US might be a very young country but it's not an old culture, it's basically an offshoot of the European one. The native North American culture was not particularly technologically advanced.

A more pertinant example is the age of European/Western World culture and it's level of "advancement" (on a technological level anyway) when compared to other more ancient cultures around the world, certainly when that comparision is made around the middle ages.
 
The Hyborians have such a jump-start technologically thanks to the same factors that have given our real world nations the same lead: being in the right place at the right time. The Hyborian nations, with the exception of Hyperboria, have a climate excellent for agriculture, which allows prosperity. Being surrounded by hostile barbarian nations also creates a need for war-tech, and their assimilation and conquest brings with it new information/techniques/ideas from the conquered peoples. Having a long winter also allows for some serious "indoor activities", which forwards the arts and cultures. Also being surrounded by so many nations, many of them maritime powers that have contact with the rest of the world, allows them to have profitable trade and exchange of ideas. The list goes on and on, but that's why they have such a leap technologically despite being so young; at least in my opinion.

They could have all turned out like the Hyperboreans... :)

-=Grim=-
 
VincentDarlage said:
I find it interesting that the Hyborians are one of the youngest cultures in Howard's world (compared to Zamorians, Picts, Cimmerians, Shemites, Stygians, et. al.) but have the most advanced culture and the most advanced technology.

Yeah, I agree.

I think "younger" cultures tend-even in RL-to embrace technological changes (among other things) more readily than "older" cultures. Consider Stygia,er, Egypt-their technological base changed veeeery slowly historically, while neighboring cultures were making technological leaps, e.g. the Hittites and the development of steel.

For older cultures, there seems to be an attitude of "hey, we already found the means to address issue X, and it works, so why change?" The same pattern can be found in individuals-younger people tend to embrace the new much more readily than the elderly, in any given culture.
 
My theory is that the advanced technology may have come from the gods and aliens that seemed to be more in contact with man in this age. Remember how the alien from Yag taught (by force) many things to the sorcerer, that otherwise he would most likely never have known. Just my theory on technology advancement. How do we really know this hasn't happened to us? Even in the Christian Bible, Moses[edit: silly me that would be Noah] was instructed by God on how to build the ship. So gods do advance technology sometimes.
 
I always figured stuff coming from 'out there' (gods, aliens, demons, whatever) would be more of a magical or supernatural nature. Mundanities like crossbows or plate armour seems unlikely, just in my opinion, to be brought to Hyboria by the aforementioned.



Even in the Christian Bible, Moses was instructed by God on how to build the ship.

And moral advice was given by flaming shrubbery.
 
Decurio said:
I think "younger" cultures tend-even in RL-to embrace technological changes (among other things) more readily than "older" cultures. Consider Stygia,er, Egypt-their technological base changed veeeery slowly historically, while neighboring cultures were making technological leaps, e.g. the Hittites and the development of steel.

I don't know about this line of thought. When it comes to embracing technology, the conservative wing in one of the worlds oldest countries: Iran, makes thorough use of modern technology. The east coast of another of the worlds oldest civilzations: China, is developing at a tremendous pace.

Looking at ancient history, technological progress seems to be dependent on a number of factors. Resources, structure of society, intellectual tradition, urbanization and so on.

As for the hyborians, I think that one of the reason for their high level of technology is what they have inherited from the Acheronians. I can easily imagine Acheron being ahead of the times when it comes to metallurgy and stuff like that. Another reason would be their adaptability as migrant concerors, compare to what happened to the Franks, the Visigoths and the Langobards after taking roman land. And ofcourse, the constant demands of many wars.

Still a bit iffy about plate though...
 
Etepete said:
I don't know about this line of thought. When it comes to embracing technology, the conservative wing in one of the worlds oldest countries: Iran, makes thorough use of modern technology. The east coast of another of the worlds oldest civilzations: China, is developing at a tremendous pace.

Technological dissemination has increased in rapidity in the twentieth century; compare the rate of technological advancement evident in the entire scope of pre-Hellenistic Egypt, the Roman republic/principate, the ancient Near East, etc. The rate of any given area of technical expertise progresses, to our standards, at a very slow pace. These cultures are much closer to "Hyboria" than early twenty-first century Iran or China. :D

I also think its telling that both examples you cite to question my "line of thought" are both indisputably products of the twentieth and twenty-first century, and if you look at ancient and medieval historical China and India, you will find, perhaps like the majority of ancient civlizations, a strong streak of conservatism that includes their respective technological base.

But I'm getting waaaay of topic here. :wink:
 
Also, just because the technology is known, does not mean it will be used. China knew or invented gunpowder a long time before anyone made much use of it. So perhaps there is similarly known technology in Hyboria, but it isn't really utilized.
 
Mark Dunder said:
My theory is that the advanced technology may have come from the gods and aliens that seemed to be more in contact with man in this age. Remember how the alien from Yag taught (by force) many things to the sorcerer, that otherwise he would most likely never have known. Just my theory on technology advancement. How do we really know this hasn't happened to us? Even in the Christian Bible, Moses[edit: silly me that would be Noah] was instructed by God on how to build the ship. So gods do advance technology sometimes.
Ship technology was known by then. In the Apocryph texts, fallen angels (nephilim) are those who teach men how to build weapons and shields and women how to use make-up. They also taught agriculture and probably farming.

In the movie and the de Camp's Conan, the men learnt the secret of steel after gods came on earth to battle giants. Of course they won but when they departed the forgot to take back the secret of steel-smithing.
 
Oly said:
slaughterj said:
The U.S. is pretty young compared to other countries as well, but seems to do pretty well.

The US might be a very young country but it's not an old culture, it's basically an offshoot of the European one. The native North American culture was not particularly technologically advanced.

A more pertinant example is the age of European/Western World culture and it's level of "advancement" (on a technological level anyway) when compared to other more ancient cultures around the world, certainly when that comparision is made around the middle ages.

What are you getting at? Did you mean to include the "not" in the first sentence? But then you go on to seemingly contradict what you were saying and agree with me by your second sentence reference :?: :?:
 
Actually, looking through the Dark Horse Conan comicbook, I realise that's how I envision the hyborian age. (visually now, and not those purple giants they call hyperboreans, or a number of other things I'm really far less than thrilled about, but overall.)
 
slaughterj said:
What are you getting at? Did you mean to include the "not" in the first sentence? But then you go on to seemingly contradict what you were saying and agree with me by your second sentence reference :?: :?:

Yup you got me..... :oops:

I meant to say "The US might be a very young country but it's not a young culture, it's basically an offshoot of the European one."

Proof, if any were needed, as to the value of proof reading......
 
Oly said:
slaughterj said:
What are you getting at? Did you mean to include the "not" in the first sentence? But then you go on to seemingly contradict what you were saying and agree with me by your second sentence reference :?: :?:

Yup you got me..... :oops:

I meant to say "The US might be a very young country but it's not a young culture, it's basically an offshoot of the European one."

Proof, if any were needed, as to the value of proof reading......

Thanks for the clarification. But even with that extra age tacked on, it is still younger than the Native American culture, but obviously greatly surpassed it technologically, which is the point I made earlier...
 
Hmmm...
Speaking from a scientific viewpoint (I'm a senior in Archaeology at CU Boulder) there is nothing in the archaeological record to indicate that the level of technology as shown in REH's conan fiction existed during the time frame in question- Metal artifacts especially.

From a personal View point- who cares? Why the focus on realism? Conan is supposed to be larger than life. it is not supposed to be real. Not even a little. As has been mentioned Howard drew on many different historical periods to better the content of his stories. He created the perfect world for the kind of fiction he wanted to write.

I believe it is ideal for gaming as well, but one has to surrender one's obsession with realism- which has always, to me, seemed a bit out of place in rpg settings, anyway.
 
Well, realism also helps the suspension of disbelief, so I don't think I can agree with you there. But I do agree that you can try and look too far into a setting for the "realism", where you'll find up with too many inconsistencies. Howard's setting is consistent on the surface and that's all you need to game in it. I doubt the spread of technology being unrealistic will affect adventures in it. :)

-=Grim=-
 
I think internal consitancy is far more important than realism. Otherwise, supernatural monsters,scholars who use magic, and eager, shapely woman clad only in thin silk garments lost alone in the desert are pretty much out.
.
 
Plenty of people have little regard for science. Some believe the world is only 10,000 years old or so.

So I can believe the Hyborian Age existed and that the technology is what it is.

:p :p :p

:D
 
good for you. Hyborea is real enough for me too.

Truthfully, if I had a player who became so fixated on the realism aspect of the game that it interfered with their enjoyment, I'd probably cut them out of the game. I have had similar things happen a couple times in the past (players so obsessed with some facet or aspect of the rules/game that they can't even think of anything else) and my failure to act eventually doomed the campaign. In some cases it seems that once the fun is gone for one player, they conciously or unconciously begin to destroy it for everyone else.
 
Werd. If you look that deep into any game setting it will fall apart. It's fantasy. I remember a while back on another forum, some guy wrote this HUGE essay on how no game setting could realistically have the monsters in the D&D Monster Manuals in it because the entire ecosystem would fall apart. That's a bit much! Some realism is important for the suspension of disbelief, which is often critical for immersion, but too much (i.e.: looking too deeply into a setting) is a waste of time.

I can accept Hyborian cultures having medieval technology while Stygia has Byzantine since I can accept that my players will eventually witness a Frost Giant.

-=Grim=-
 
Back
Top