Who are the Picts supposed to be?

A

Anonymous

Guest
Are the Picts in Conan supposed to be analagous to the Picts in actual history? Or are they based on Native American cultures? Or some sort of mix of the two? I'm leaning towards arboreal Native Americans personally. That just means it'll be difficult to find decent Pict minis.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Well the Conan rpg book suggests Iroqouis style names, or anmimal/descriptive names like "Black Bear" or some such. Not to mention that they have animal tribal totems.

I haven't read any of Howard's stories involving Picts, which is something I intend to rectify. However seeing as Mongoose was trying to stay faithful to the source, I'll assume that somewhere in the stories they come off at least vaguely American Indianish.

I'm a little confused by Howard's use of the Pict name though. Seems kind of out of place to me.

BTW, I was under the impression that the Cimmerians eventually became the "historic" Picts of England. (or wherever the hell they kicked around at)
 

Yuan-Ti

Mongoose
They could be like native americans up to a point. Of course, they worship demons and apes, take the skulls of their enemies, are in all ways implacable and ruthless killers. In that sense, I chose to make them more Pictish (as in real Picts), although I also had them scalping enemies, including people who were still alive, because I thought it gave the PCs something to fear. :twisted:
 

DrSkull

Mongoose
I would say that functionally Howard uses Picts as "Injuns", making them act just as Indians would act in a typical Western story of his day. But, ethnically, they are supposed to be the ancestors of the Picts of Britian (and partially the Basques of Spain and Gaul and some others).

I think his physical conception of what a British Pict looked like was a bit off. The Picts really were nothing more that those British who were not conquered by the Romans.
 
Pictish culture is very similar to Iroquois Indians (who were actually a more bloody, gruesome culture than one might suspect - especially in regards to torture). An excellent article on them by Fred Blosser can be found in “The Tribe’s From Time’s Abyss”, Savage Sword Of Conan #33 (September 1978).

They descended from the Picts of King Kull's time and some tribes eventually mutated into the Picts of Bran Mak Morn's time. They weren't much like the Caledonians (real Picts) because information about them in the 1930's was sketchy and, often, inaccurate, so Howard drew on what he knew, which were American Indians, modifying them, of course, for his own story-telling needs.

As for Cimmerians, if you look at the end of The Hyborian Age (included in the core rules), they become the Gaels, the ancestors of the Irish and Highland Scotch. Other Cimmerians became the Scythians and the Cymric tribes.
 

cornelius

Mongoose
Howard once wrote "... my interest in the people which , for the sake of brevity , I have always designated as Picts . I am , of course , aware that my use of the term might be questioned ..... to me , " Pict " must always refer to the small dark Mediterranian aborigines of Britain ." he also states in " The Hyborian Age " that eventually the Pictish wilderness was swallowed by the sea and the western mountains of Cimmeria ( right next door ) became the British Isles . It would make sense that the Picts would flee here , hence the historical Picts of Britain . He also mentions that the ancient Etruscans had Pictish blood and these gave rise to the Romans . And yes , the Cimmerians eventually drifted westward and overthrew the Picts . The newly formed islands that would become Britain were now the most westerly point of what had been the Hyborian Age continent , so I presume the Cimmerians got this far and settled to become the Britons ( although he also states that this name is derived from Brythunian ) , but it would make sense that pockets of Picts would survive in the wilderness to become their later namesakes .
Obviously , trying to integrate a fictional history with real world history is bound to lead to some contradiction and confusion , but I thnk Howard deserves credit for doing it as well as he did .
Personally , I think Howard just liked the name and the romantic image of untameable savages it conjured and threw it in the mixing pot . A lot of his fiction re-uses names that he likes and this can be confusing . Also his views of other races were not always good and I think the idea of Native Americans as savages was still popular in a lot of places at his time , hence the NA associations in pictish names and behaviour .

"Phew" , I think I need to go for a lie down now .
( By the way , the quote above is from the Introduction to " Bran Mak Morn ")
 

Faraer

Mongoose
Read this and this. REH's Picts are not exactly historical nor exactly fantastic, they're not by any means solely defined by the Amerind inspiration that informs their Conan appearances, and they're one of the keys to REH's overall vision. REH's Picts are generally protagonists, not adversaries, with any main character but Conan.
 

Throthvile

Mongoose
Well, those links just informed the hell out of me. :shock:

Personally, I think I'll focus more on the Indian style presentation, there's already enough Europeanish peoples kicking about. Besides, when I find some players to run a campaign with, they prolly wont know I'm fudging things slightly anyway.

What I like the most about the Hyborian age is that you can go, " Hey, yeah, those Nordheimer dudes are like Vikings, sorta. Them Zingarians are kinda like Spaniards, Aquilonians are kinda Frenchy...." I think drawing those kinds of paralells can help people unfamiliar with the setting get a general grasp on things, and then you can start pointing out differences as you go along.

I've run several games all with different groups, whose familiarity went no further than the Conan movies. Oddly enough,several people from each group wanted to make Grace Jones' character from the second movie. I hadn't seen the second movie at that point. :shock: My god, the pain......
 
I would say that functionally Howard uses Picts as "Injuns", making them act just as Indians would act in a typical Western story of his day. But, ethnically, they are supposed to be the ancestors of the Picts of Britian (and partially the Basques of Spain and Gaul and some others).

Hmmm, yeah I read that in one of the Howard's stories on the "racial memory" IIRC. Being myself Basque and Basque speaking I suppose I can easily compile an English-(Howardian)Pict dictionary. Questions accepted from this very moment! :wink: (f.i.: "Kill!" = "Hil!" - pronounced as the word "ill".)

I think his physical conception of what a British Pict looked like was a bit off. The Picts really were nothing more that those British who were not conquered by the Romans.

I really have to recommend all of you this Osprey's book (quite recent and easy to found): Pictish Warrior AD 297–841, by Paul Wagner and Wayne Reybolds. (Paperback; May 25 2002; 64 pages; ISBN: 1841763462).

The Picts in fact represent a high point of Celtic civilisation, remaining free and unconquered beyond the borders of the Roman world, and rising to become the first barbarians to form a recognisable 'nation'. This title takes a detailed look at their origins, and examines Pictish heroic and warrior society, covering education and training, appearance and equipment, the status of women, and the experience of battle.

Only that their ethnic origins and language remains a bit of a mistery...
 

Yokiboy

Mongoose
Möhbius of Numalia said:
I really have to recommend all of you this Osprey's book (quite recent and easy to found): Pictish Warrior AD 297–841, by Paul Wagner and Wayne Reybolds. (Paperback; May 25 2002; 64 pages; ISBN: 1841763462).
The Osprey books are nice, I will check this one out. Thanks for the tip.

TTFN,

Yokiboy
 

Orkin

Mongoose
Möhbius of Numalia said:
Hmmm, yeah I read that in one of the Howard's stories on the "racial memory" IIRC. Being myself Basque and Basque speaking I suppose I can easily compile an English-(Howardian)Pict dictionary. Questions accepted from this very moment! :wink: (f.i.: "Kill!" = "Hil!" - pronounced as the word "ill".)
...
Kaixo, Möhbius! I too have always felt that Basque, dating back historically to "those days", might be a suitable stand-in for some Hyborian language.. 8)
 
The Osprey books are nice, I will check this one out. Thanks for the tip.

As most of you will already know these books include a number of pages devoted only to illustrations of the warriors and battles of the discussed age. In this book on the Picts, and in another one devoted to the study of Adrian’s Wall, appear the most striking pictures on the theme “Cimmerians smashing Venarium to smithereens” I have ever seen.
 
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