Fion wrote on Sep 14, 2021, 12:39:
I'm a massive fan of the Conan IP and the original works of Robert E Howard. Conan Exiles is an excellent game (and Mutant Year Zero was very good as well), so more games in the Conan universe can only be a good thing.
Serpent Men are a fictional race created by Robert E. Howard for his King Kull tales. They first appeared in "The Shadow Kingdom", published in Weird Tales in August 1929. The subjects of masks and identity are repeated throughout the story. The most obvious instance of this is the Serpent Men's ability of disguise through magic and their use of this to steal identities at will. Kull, as a barbarian, sees the diplomacy and politics of Valusia (and the others of the Seven Empires) as a form of illusion. Early in the story, before the Serpent Men appear, Kull's thoughts on the matter are described:
Strange to him were the intrigues of court and palace, army and people. All was like a masquerade, where men and women hid their real thoughts with a smooth mask.
Musing on his own identity later in the story, Kull extends the mask metaphor to himself:
Was it the real Kull who sat upon the throne or was it the real Kull who had scaled the hills of Atlantis, harried the far isles of the sunset, and laughed upon the green roaring tides of the Atlantean sea? How could a man be so many different men in a lifetime? For Kull knew that there were many Kulls and he wondered which was the real Kull. After all, the priests of the Serpent went a step further in their magic, for all men wore masks, and many a different mask with each different man or woman; and Kull wondered if a serpent did not lurk under every mask.
Robert E. Howard and his stories tell, among other things, of the Serpent Men trying to conquer the world once again, around 20,000 years ago, where Kull from Atlantis reigned over the Valusia Kingdom, located on the west coast of the main continent of Thuria. The ancient Serpent Empire was based on sorcery and alchemy, but collapsed with the rise of the dinosaurs about 225 million years ago during the Triassic era. The Serpent Men originally ruled over humans in Valusia, but were defeated and almost wiped out in humanity's battle for survival against the "elder things", which predated even them. Over time, humans dominated Valusia and the Serpent Men became a legend. The Serpent Men, one of the few surviving "elder things", infiltrated human society and ruled from behind the scenes for a time, but were again discovered, defeated, and cast out in a secret war. However, they later repeated this tactic. Soon, they added the front of a Snake Cult religion, which gained power and influence within Valusia while the Serpent Men used their abilities of disguise to murder or replace each reigning monarch.