The Picts

The Warlord

Mongoose
Not trying to sound bleeding heart (trust me, I'm not), but after reading Across Thunder River, I don't really see the Picts as this great evil force of the Hyborian Age. Definitely not on par with say, the Stygians or Zamorans.

Sure, they're savage, but really they're motive isn't any different than the Cimmerians' at Velarium. I haven't read anything that shows the wickedness described on the back of the book, or whenever picts are mentioned. I mean, I'm sure if we had a book chronicling the ways Cimmerians wage war we can find many gruesome tactics as well. Don't forget they slaughtered women and children at Valerium. Heck, the Picts at least revere women.

I kinda feel I have to demonize them to stress thier 'evilness'. The text is written VERY well, and I've got lot's of ideas for Pict raiding parties in the Westermarck, and am even looking forward to running Defending the West. I just don't see them as evil as they're made out to be.

I understand the perception of evil comes from the civilised folks of the Hyborian Age's perception. However, the game flavor text seems to try to make them out as more, but comes across more sympathetic than anything else.

Any thoughts?
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
BullBear said:
Not trying to sound bleeding heart (trust me, I'm not), but after reading Across Thunder River, I don't really see the Picts as this great evil force of the Hyborian Age. Definitely not on par with say, the Stygians or Zamorans....
Any thoughts?
Picts aren't evil they are savages. If they were given an D&D alignement, I would say they are chaotic neutral.
Read again the second part of Howard's essay, the "Hyborian Age" with the tale of Arus of Nemedia and Gorm. Picts conquer later all the western part of the continent. Whatever civilization they may reach they always stay, live and think as savages.
They even fight each other because this is they way of life. If they kill prisoners it is just because in they eyes the losers should have no right to live.
 

Faraer

Mongoose
I don't have the book yet, but I was concerned that the Picts were portrayed as evil in the ad copy. They are not evil, and Howard was very much on their side -- they appear in getting on for 20 of his stories as well as the three Conan ones. They are at least as suited to be player characters as to be adversaries.
 

Johannixx

Mongoose
I tend to think Howard portrayed the Picts as evil, what with all their dark spirit worship, bloody sacrifices, and tortures. But he also noted that they were provoked by the Aquilonian land-grab, so I suppose it evens out. After all, despite his racial hatred of the Picts, Conan at least saw their side of the dispute and acknowledged its relative merit.
 

Hyborian

Mongoose
The Picts are not evil per se, but since the main stories about them are written from a Hyborian point of view, it's only normal that we see them as evil. After all Indians were not evil, even if the European colonists considered them as pagan murderers (the same is true for Kushites/African people).

And as a matter of fact, it's always easier to rob a people's land if you claim that this people is evil and barbaric. Bringing civilization to demon-worshipping savages has always been an excellent pretext to grab their lands and their wealth across human history, and the aquilonian conquest of the Pictish Wilderness is no exception.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Moreover, Kull stories depict the Picts (no pun intended) under another more peaceful aspect even if Picts and Atlanteans were long time ennemies. Their chief was even a master of diplomacy.
 
I guess one could claim the Picts were superior to the Zamorians and the Stygians in their villiany because they were actually successful in bringing down the Hyborians in a multigenerational plan stemming from peaceful stories of Mitra that the Stygians could only dream of bringing to fruition. Successfully destroying a civilisation could be called evil, I suppose.
 

bradius

Mongoose
Picts are evil. A society that revels in gruesome tortures. Worships demons, kills and enslaves women and children is evil. Yeah, the Cimmerians wiped out the Aquilonian settlement like the Picts did, but they don't have a society that embraces and celbrates torture.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
In fact one can easily consider who is evil (or which civilization) and who is not by the kinds of ritual used for worshipping: thus the Hyborians are among the only one who don't sacrifice any life. One can say they aren't evil.
 

Hyborian

Mongoose
bradius said:
Picts are evil. A society that revels in gruesome tortures. Worships demons, kills and enslaves women and children is evil.

Aside from the "worship demons" part, this satement could apply to Europeans and Americans not so long ago :)
 

Orkin

Mongoose
Hyborian said:
bradius said:
Picts are evil. A society that revels in gruesome tortures. Worships demons, kills and enslaves women and children is evil.

Aside from the "worship demons" part, this satement could apply to Europeans and Americans not so long ago :)

It's kind of interesting to see a character in the Hyborian world call another a "heathen". I mean, aren't they all heathen in that age? ;)
 
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