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Thread: The Pictish Confederacy

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    Member Member Taranaich's Avatar
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    Default The Pictish Confederacy

    The Pictish Confederacy


    Beyond the river the primitive still reigned in shadowy forests, brush-thatched huts where hung the grinning skulls of men, and mud-walled enclosures where fires flickered and drums rumbled, and spears were whetted in the hands of dark, silent men with tangled black hair and the eyes of serpents. Those eyes often glared through bushes at the fort across the river. Once dark-skinned men had built their huts where that fort stood, yes, and their huts had risen where now stood the fields and log cabins of fair-haired settlers, back beyond Velitrium, that raw, turbulent frontier town on the banks of Thunder River, to the shores of that other river that bounds the Bossonian marches. Traders had come, and priests of Mitra who walked with bare feet and empty hands, and died horribly, most of them; but soldiers had followed, men with axes in their hands and women and children in ox-drawn wains. Back to Thunder River, and still back, beyond Black River, the aborigines had been pushed, with slaughter and massacre. But the dark-skinned people did not forget that once Conajohara had been theirs.” – Beyond the Black River
    Capital: Gwawela (Wolf Tribelands)
    Settlements: Onayaga (Hawk Tribelands), Abooksigun (Wildcat Tribelands), Awanata (Turtle Tribelands)
    Current Ruler: Teyanoga

    The Picts of the Hyborian Age are very different to the Picts of the later European Dark Ages, although they are distantly related. They have some undeniable Native American similarities, particularly Algonquin and Iroquois, but they are much more savage then either, barely out of the Neolithic. I will be taking advantage of the Aztecs’ more colourful units to make some suitable Pictish warriors, though they will naturally be a lot less pretty and more savage, as befitting the Picts. The various Jaguar, Eagle and similar unit models will be made into the elites and officers of their respective tribes.

    Pictish armies are composed of weak but numerous un-armoured warriors, with powerful chosen warriors and shamans, as well as a few trained animals, which compensate for their lack of cavalry. Their assassins and spies are very effective when used against civilized foes, but much less useful against fellow savages and barbarians. Conversely, their diplomats, princesses and traders work well with other barbarians, but have little success with civilized factions. Only their powerful Shaman priests are equally effective at swaying barbarians and civilized cultures.

    The Picts at the moment are little more than a nuisance to the mighty Aquilonians, the stalwart Bossonian Archers successfully beating them back in their many raids beyond the Westermarck. Although they have great numbers, they are little use against the devastating Bossonian archers, Gunderland pikemen and Knights of Poitain, so any early raids would be best used for looting resources than trying to establish a foothold. They are also at a disadvantage strategically: Aquilonia continues to expand it’s borders into Pictish territory, which means that the Picts will likely lose land in the early game. At the start of the game, the Pictish confederacy consists of the Wolf, Hawk, Wildcat and Turtle tribes, which offer a useful variety for tactical purposes: the Turtle Picts are resilient as Picts go, and can act as spear infantry; the Hawk Picts are highly skilled bowmen; the Wolf Picts are highly effective ambushers and skirmishers; and the Wildcat Picts are savage and swift shock troops. Used in conjunction with the Wolf Pict’s trained wolves, they can be an effective fighting force. It is imperative that the Confederacy seek to absorb other tribes for their survival: in particular, the dangerous coastal Picts such as the Shark, Sea-Falcon and Panther Picts would supplement an army greatly, as well as give access to trade and a second route of expansion, perhaps even far south to the Black Kingdoms. If the Confederacy can last to the late game, then there is a chance for the Pictish Revolution: this will transform the Picts from a crazed rabble into an efficient, deadly horde that could bring the world to its knees.

    Units


    Tribesmen
    The average Pictish tribesman would be largely similar tribe to tribe, with only a couple of tattoos or symbols denoting their totem animal. They are fairly flexible troops, capable in defense and attack, and in sufficient numbers to act as meat shields. These warriors can be defeated easily by superior Hyborian troops, but used in conjunction with other, more specialized troops they can be deadly.


    Hunters
    As well as war, all Picts are trained to hunt efficiently in the wilderness they live in, but just as some Picts choose to concentrate on warfare, some Picts specialize in hunting as their vocation. These warriors are normally safe to hunt in peace, and exempt from the predations of hostile tribes, as it is a grave offense among Picts to kill one of Jhebbal-Sag’s children while in hunting-paint. In times of war, however, these hunters scrub off their distinctive hunt markings to paint themselves in the unmistakable war paint of the Picts. A lifetime of hunting the deadliest animals on the earth has made them effective ambushers, and whilst not as effective in a melee as a warband, they have more than enough warrior spirit to prove a dependable support unit in a battle.


    Warband
    Picts have a great love of war and bloodshed, and so it is natural that most Pictish men take up service in the patrols and warbands of their tribe. While all Pictish men are trained for battle, the vast expanses of the wilderness mean that tours of duty can last weeks, so a rota of warriors is established: these Warbands are sent to see off any intruders, whilst the tribesmen remain at the village to defend it in their absence. They use the highly versatile spear, carrying a couple extra to hurl at foes before closing into the melee.


    Warriors
    For most of the Hyborian Age the Pictish culture was in a strange state of suspended animation: it neither advanced nor retrogressed. However, some Picts nearer the civilized lands have the cunning to steal or even trade for high-quality Hyborian steel, usually from the Zingarans. These warriors are few in number, but highly skilled and armed, wielding their steel with the ease they would an axe or spear. If the Pictish Revolution is triggered, then these troops can be upgraded to light mail and scale mail, becoming a disciplined fighting force with the ferocity of a thousand years of barbarism - a deadly combination that could bring the civilized lands to their knees.


    Tiger Warriors
    Each Pictish tribe has an elite group of warriors that put their regular troops to shame. The wild Tiger Picts of the central Wilderness have evolved a patience akin to their totem, choosing to advance silently before pouncing. Like many Pictish elites they are frighteningly adept at hiding in the jungles, and can appear out of nowhere to even experienced woodsmen. These warriors have proven their aptitude at ambush and quick, silent kills, their final test being the slaying of a tiger. Those who fail usually die: those who succeed are lauded, for only a tiger can kill another. As reward he is permitted to bear the skins of the beast as proof that he is of the tiger's brethren.
    Last edited by Taranaich; 06-17-2007 at 21:48.

    "Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world, like blue mantles beneath the stars...
    Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil.

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    The Scourge of Rome Member Spartan198's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Very nice. And that faction banner is cool,too. I like the bloody scratches.

    No body's responded to this one?
    Last edited by Spartan198; 03-27-2008 at 19:42.
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Everyone's scared of the spooky Picts!

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    The Scourge of Rome Member Spartan198's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Quote Originally Posted by cherryfunk
    Everyone's scared of the spooky Picts!
    They are pretty scary,aren't they? Makes Cimmerians look warm and fuzzy.
    My Greek Cavalry submod for RS 1.6a: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=368881

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  5. #5

    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    I wonder if the main tribes should get their own units, i.e. Tiger Warband, Wolf Warband, etc. Each type might have certain advantages and favored weapons -- this would add a great deal of diversity to the faction, which it might lack otherwise. Also, it would be worth looking at the Native American units in the Kingdoms expansion and seeing if any of those would be appropriate (with some tweaking, of course).

    It's notable that the Picts were REH's favorite race, and in his extended history of Hyboria they ended up conquering a vast empire if I'm not mistaken, so this faction should have sufficient complexity and detail to make it a very fun campaign -- and, a very potent enemy when the human is playing a different faction...

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    The Scourge of Rome Member Spartan198's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    I like the idea of a couple of distinct units representing major Pictish tribes. Meaning they're a step above other Picts. Kind of a Spartan / Greek hoplite type of seperation.

    Yeah,you're right about the Pictish Empire. It extended from Pictland at least as far as Koth and western Corinthia,because REH's essay notes something like "...for a while,Pictish and Hyrkanian snarled at eachother over the ruins of the empires they conquered."
    My Greek Cavalry submod for RS 1.6a: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=368881

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  7. #7

    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan198
    I like the idea of a couple of distinct units representing major Pictish tribes. Meaning they're a step above other Picts. Kind of a Spartan / Greek hoplite type of seperation.
    Yes, the very simplicity of the Pictish roster leaves a great deal of leeway for some creative thinking -- and, as Roma Surrectum did with various Greek Hoplites (Athenian Hoplites, Byzantine Hoplites, Corinthian Hoplites etc.) -- the variation in skins will lead to the impression of a vast host of many different tribes pulled together by a powerful leader.

    And, again if we want to get creative, we could have the clans represented by unique characteristics. Visually, for example, the officers of the Tiger warband might be wearing tiger skins, the officers of the Wolf warband wearing wolfskins, etc. And likewise with stats -- Tiger warriors might be more impetuous, while Wolf warriors are more disciplined; and with weapons and armor -- say the Tiger clan prefers swords, while the Wolf clan specializes in javelin throwing. A tremendous amount of variety could be packed into relatively few units, which would make the faction much more interesting to play...

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    Member Member Taranaich's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Quote Originally Posted by cherryfunk
    I wonder if the main tribes should get their own units, i.e. Tiger Warband, Wolf Warband, etc. Each type might have certain advantages and favored weapons -- this would add a great deal of diversity to the faction, which it might lack otherwise. Also, it would be worth looking at the Native American units in the Kingdoms expansion and seeing if any of those would be appropriate (with some tweaking, of course).
    They really should, and they will. :)

    Howard mentions 12 different tribes in total: Wolf, Hawk, Eagle, Turtle, Eagle, Toucan, Cormorant, Sea-Falcon, Panther, Alligator, Otter, and Raven. In addition, he lists some of the "wildest and most barbaric of all" with shark's teeth, indicating a possible Shark tribe, and Gorm in The Hyborian Age wore tiger-skin, indicating a possible Tiger Tribe. Since there are frogs, elks, snakes, bears and jaguars in the Pictish Wilderness, there might be an Ape, Frog, Elk, Snake, Bear and Jaguar tribe too. All in all, that would provide 20 special units for each tribe, which would offer plenty of cool units.

    Some of the more exotic special units could be very interesting based on their Totem animals: the Turtles operate with a sort of barbaric phalanx, using large turtle-shell shields in a slow but strong formation, their spears darting in and out from behind the shields like a snapping turtle's beak. The Alligators are master ambushers who thrash wildly with huge rudimentary polearms like an alligator's tail and jaws, protected by alligator hide armour. The Sharks are relentless pursuers with incredible endurance and speed, clothing themselves in abrasive shark-skin and wielding toothed swords, wrestling their opponents to the ground, using their armour as a weapon in itself.

    All the other tribes would have similar advantages, all of which would offer interesting tactical choices. Send turtles to hold a position, alligators to disrupt pikemen, sharks after archers and skirmishers, and so forth.

    It's notable that the Picts were REH's favorite race, and in his extended history of Hyboria they ended up conquering a vast empire if I'm not mistaken, so this faction should have sufficient complexity and detail to make it a very fun campaign -- and, a very potent enemy when the human is playing a different faction...
    Definitely. The Picts are a race that Howard returns to in a number of stories, from Kull to Conan to the Bran Mak Morn tales, so it's very important that they get their due realisation.

    "Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world, like blue mantles beneath the stars...
    Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    I love the ideas for the different unit types, Taranaich! Lots off possibilities there for some very cool units with unique tactics, strengths and weaknesses. This could make the Picts an extremely fun faction to play -- and a very dangerous faction to play against! Especially when you add in the supernatual element that their shamen provide... and Crom help you if they summon a Ghost Snake!

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    The Scourge of Rome Member Spartan198's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Taranaich
    Some of the more exotic special units could be very interesting based on their Totem animals: the Turtles operate with a sort of barbaric phalanx, using large turtle-shell shields in a slow but strong formation, their spears darting in and out from behind the shields like a snapping turtle's beak.
    Oh,now that's original! REH would be impressed with that,IMO.

    ...be kinda funny if you decided to call that the "turtle-wall".
    My Greek Cavalry submod for RS 1.6a: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=368881

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    Member Member Taranaich's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Quote Originally Posted by cherryfunk
    I love the ideas for the different unit types, Taranaich! Lots off possibilities there for some very cool units with unique tactics, strengths and weaknesses. This could make the Picts an extremely fun faction to play -- and a very dangerous faction to play against! Especially when you add in the supernatual element that their shamen provide... and Crom help you if they summon a Ghost Snake!
    Playing the Picts and uniting the tribes would be a fun campaign in itself: you have to figure out how best to attack these barbarians who all have such different styles of warfare. There'd need to be a bit of imagination involved distinguishing the bird tribes since Hawks, Eagles and Sea-Falcons are generally pretty similar. And I've no clue what to do with Otters: how does that lend itself to warfare? I thought maybe making them faster and more resilient swimmers than others would be something, giving them a strategic advantage in river battles = important in the wilderness' many rivers and tributaries. Some sea-land tribes will have their own varieties of canoes, and of course some animal tribes can train war animals (though I don't know how useful War Toucans would be!)

    Also, the tribes won't just be distinguished by military units: different tribes will have different trade resources, buildings, technologies and ancillaries which would be a boon to any warchiefs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan198
    Oh,now that's original! REH would be impressed with that,IMO.

    ...be kinda funny if you decided to call that the "turtle-wall".
    Heh, perhaps. If the animation modders manage to crack the testudo formation I might nab it for the Turtles, though a shield formation would do just as well.

    "Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world, like blue mantles beneath the stars...
    Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    There'd need to be a bit of imagination involved distinguishing the bird tribes since Hawks, Eagles and Sea-Falcons are generally pretty similar. And I've no clue what to do with Otters: how does that lend itself to warfare? I thought maybe making them faster and more resilient swimmers than others would be something, giving them a strategic advantage in river battles = important in the wilderness' many rivers and tributaries. Some sea-land tribes will have their own varieties of canoes, and of course some animal tribes can train war animals (though I don't know how useful War Toucans would be!)
    You might consider simplifying a bit and basing units off, say, 10 of the 20 tribes, leave some of the more obscure ones to be represented by things like ancilliaries, buildings, etc. I'm worried that too many units with only slight variations would confuse the player and reduce rather than increase the gameplay experience. Or, you might represent all the 'bird' tribes, but give them the same attack/defense/special abilities, and only distinguish them by their skins... that way the player would know how to use them effectively, but they'd create the visual impression of a varied confederation.

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    Member Member Taranaich's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Quote Originally Posted by cherryfunk
    You might consider simplifying a bit and basing units off, say, 10 of the 20 tribes, leave some of the more obscure ones to be represented by things like ancilliaries, buildings, etc. I'm worried that too many units with only slight variations would confuse the player and reduce rather than increase the gameplay experience. Or, you might represent all the 'bird' tribes, but give them the same attack/defense/special abilities, and only distinguish them by their skins... that way the player would know how to use them effectively, but they'd create the visual impression of a varied confederation.
    Yeah, I think that would work. I can't really imagine the Otter Picts being particularly interesting soldiers in comparison to some others, but perhaps they have a special boat or trade situation with the Zingarans which would be useful. Same with the birds: one could offer a unique unit, another a building, another maybe ancillaries or trade bonuses, with all of them sharing a generic "Coastal Tribe" unit.

    "Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world, like blue mantles beneath the stars...
    Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil.

  14. #14

    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Would it be possible to give the Pictish Shamans the ability to call a Warpath like the Apachean Tribes? This could be a huge advantage for the Picts to not only have very much increased movement ability; but also to supplement their numbers very quickly with "horde" type troops that the Warleader could summon to him at little to no cost in raising new troops.

    This way, while the standing Pictish military wouldn't be all that big, very quickly each Pictish Warleader would be able to raise more soldiers, increase his armies movement, and even give a religious zeal to his troops that make them fight harder.

    I know nothing of computer programming, but while playing Kingdoms as the Apachean Tribes, I used this tactic for the first time and immediately thought of Picts vs. Aquilonia.

    Also, using the Apachean Tribes, you could allow the Picts to gather technology that would allow them to later build structures that allow them cavalry even...just like in Howard's history. I don't know how you would change the muskets to just weapons...like I said, I know nothing of computers; but I thought perhaps it is possible.

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    Member Member Helgi's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Taranaich View Post
    They really should, and they will. :)


    The Sharks are relentless pursuers with incredible endurance and speed, clothing themselves in abrasive shark-skin and wielding toothed swords, wrestling their opponents to the ground, using their armour as a weapon in itself.
    I was thinking that maybe the Shark tribe, (you mostly thought of it already). Giving the sharks a primitive navy, starting them off with canoe's or a bigger war canoe (like the polynesians) and then maybe when the revolution starts to progress, give the picts (Sharks) bigger and better naval ships?
    Last edited by Helgi; 01-06-2009 at 01:45. Reason: didn't sound right.
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    Member Member Taranaich's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pictish Confederacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrik View Post
    Would it be possible to give the Pictish Shamans the ability to call a Warpath like the Apachean Tribes? This could be a huge advantage for the Picts to not only have very much increased movement ability; but also to supplement their numbers very quickly with "horde" type troops that the Warleader could summon to him at little to no cost in raising new troops.
    You'd better believe it. We see such a thing in "Beyond the Black River" where Jhebbal-Sag pulls together a whole horde of tribes to invade the Westermarck, so it's a no-brainer to implement it for the Picts. Indeed, this is one of the biggest problems the Aquilonia player faces, because it can come out of nowhere and overwhelm your forces unless you take out the Shamans preemptively (a mechanic related to my overhaul of the religious aspect into something else).

    Also, using the Apachean Tribes, you could allow the Picts to gather technology that would allow them to later build structures that allow them cavalry even...just like in Howard's history. I don't know how you would change the muskets to just weapons...like I said, I know nothing of computers; but I thought perhaps it is possible.
    In addition to the dreaded Pictish Reforms - a dynamic which requires a couple of conditions - there are a few of those technology-stealing Pictish units. Pictish Warriors are most common along the south & south-western frontier, having stolen, traded or found swords and mail armour and putting them to use. The Reforms would bring Pictish Swordsmen, Pictish Spearmen and Pictish Cavalry, with the present skirmishers & light infantry rounding up the deadly fighting machine. Plus the magic aid the Shamans bring like beasties and offensive/defensive sorcery.

    I was thinking that maybe the Shark tribe, (you mostly thought of it already). Giving the sharks a primitive navy, starting them off with canoe's or a bigger war canoe (like the polynesians) and then maybe when the revolution starts to progress, give the picts (Sharks) bigger and better naval ships?
    Quite possibly. The Picts never become the fully-fledged navy that they were in Thurian times, but they do indeed have polynesian-style war canoes, some rivaling the Black Corsair's galleys in length. The Sharks will have fast attack canoes, the Otters larger war canoes, and the Alligators big 20-footers. The Pictish reforms will allow the creation of big double-hulled waʻa kaulua-types like the Hokule'a (which I imagine is the type of craft the Thurian Picts used to travel across the world)
    Last edited by Taranaich; 01-06-2009 at 23:52.

    "Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world, like blue mantles beneath the stars...
    Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil.

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