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Author Topic: Cad Goleór Discussion Thread  (Read 29523 times)
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« on: April 20, 2011, 02:04:36 PM »

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As a side-project to Avayevnon, I am thinking of a small setting that would be making use of Celtic mythologies, most prominently Irish, since it is what I am most familiar with.  I would be using pathfinder as a base system for this.  Not sure quite how much of this has been done before, but I am throwing it out as an idea I am fiddling with, and I was curious to see if anyone found it interesting.

The Specs I have so far:

Scope: The Setting would be a fairly small geographical area, probably the size of the British Isles.  The World would be larger, but the rest of the world would only ever be alluded to, outside of very particular possible adventures.

Political Climate: The High King rules over many petty kings who fight amongst each other. The setting may include another Kingdom or two where the political climate is different.

Tech Level: Early Iron Age, I think.  Most weapons and armor would probably still be bronze, with Iron being rare, foreign, or expensive.

Magic: It would be a high magic setting.  The Magic using folk would be vastly outnumbered by the mundanes, but there are people running around transforming into animals, putting geasas on each other, and making and breaking curses.  A Bard's satire can dethrone a king, and eating a magical fish can grant you wisdom.  Magic items are rare, powerful, and unique.  You aren't likely to find a +1 sword.  You may, however, find the Loathblade, a weapon wielded by a demon in the Battle of Aman Magh.

Gods: Gods are very real.  They mostly keep to themselves, but when they have an agenda they will see it through.  They will grant boons, place curses, or try to trick you into breaking a geas.  On rare occasions, gods will mate with mortals, and produce demigods.  

Classes: I am only including classes that fit the flavor of the setting to me.  
 
    Barbarian*Bard*Druid*Fighter*Ranger*Oracle*Witch*

And I was wanting a class, or perhaps a prestige class, based on the Fianna (or Fenians).  I have seen a barbarian variant that works pretty well by substituting rage for some ranger abilities.  That might work.

Races: It would be human-centric.  I'm not sure whether I would allow any other races.  The other races would all be considered Sidhe (Fae).  I might allow half-breeds, though.  Elves, Gnomes, Dwarves, Goblins, Hobgoblins, and so forth could all be Sidhe races that cause trouble, or want things from mortals.  They would probably more often be "monsters" than allies.

Monsters: Mostly Fae, but Ogres, Trolls, and the like would be around, as would the occasional dragon and some Dire animals.  There would also be Fir Bolg and Fomorians.  Since I have found different descriptions of the Fomorians, I might include different types.  Sometimes they are described as demons, sometimes as pirates.  Sometimes they are described as beautiful; sometimes having one eye, one arm, and one leg; and sometimes as having the heads of goats.  So maybe I'll have a beautiful humanoid kind that are pirates; Monocular, monopedal giants; and a goat-headed type to round it out.  Or maybe the goat-headed ones are the pirates.  Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 05:17:46 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2011, 02:29:08 PM »

Sounds awesome.  I like that a lot of Celtic myths feature heroic mortals more frequently, rather than gods screwing around and bickering (i.e. Norse, Greek).  Obviously other myth cycles also have mortal heroes (and the Celtic myths still have gods), but they're often pawns of gods and/or get screwed by gods, whereas the Celtic heroes go around killing Fomorians like it's no big deal... I guess it feels like the mortals have more agency/power in Celtic myths.
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2011, 03:37:00 PM »

Steerpike


Sounds awesome.  I like that a lot of Celtic myths feature heroic mortals more frequently, rather than gods screwing around and bickering (i.e. Norse, Greek).  Obviously other myth cycles also have mortal heroes (and the Celtic myths still have gods), but they're often pawns of gods and/or get screwed by gods, whereas the Celtic heroes go around killing Fomorians like it's no big deal... I guess it feels like the mortals have more agency/power in Celtic myths.

This is true.  If I'm not mistaken the myths in some cases allow for mortals to overcome the gods, like with the song of Amergin.  Cuchulainn also successfully drives off the Morrigan three times (though he's a demigod, so it's not quite the same).

But yes, Fomorians and Firbolg I need to add to the list.
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011, 03:55:30 PM »

I went ahead and added Fir Bolg and Fomorians.
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 06:21:37 PM »

This looks promising
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2011, 06:26:25 PM »

Tolkien had this to say on Celtic mythology after an editor criticized his vaguely Celtic-sounding elf-names:
[blockquote=Tolkien]Needless to say they are not Celtic! Neither are the tales. I do know Celtic things (many in their original languages Irish and Welsh), and feel for them a certain distaste: largely for their fundamental unreason. They have bright colour, but are like a broken stained glass window reassembled without design. They are in fact 'mad' as your reader says'”but I don't believe I am.[/blockquote]To this I say HELL YES TO THE MAD ELVES OF UNREASON!  I will take psychotic, unseelie sidhe over haughty, benevolent Vanyar any day of the week.
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2011, 06:05:14 AM »

I think I have mentioned these before when people talk about doing Celtic-themed settings, but have you checked out Mongoose Publishing's Sláine RPG or Avalanche Press' D20 Celtic Age? I have been aware of/semi-coveting both for several years now but still have yet to get either. Alternatively, you could just have a look at the excellent comics that inspired the Sláine RPG. I believe D20 Celtic Age also has a splatbook all about Celtic fairies.

EDIT: Oh, and I forgot to say, it looks great so far! smile
I look forward to seeing more. I think Celtic-inspired settings should be more common, they're just so... nuts! Like Steerpike was saying about the "mad" Elves... everything in Celtic myth appears to run on seeming dream-logic, and there is a grim sense of humour underlying much of it which can lend itself very well, I think, to gaming.
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2011, 02:30:55 PM »

Kindling


I think I have mentioned these before when people talk about doing Celtic-themed settings, but have you checked out Mongoose Publishing's Sláine RPG or Avalanche Press' D20 Celtic Age? I have been aware of/semi-coveting both for several years now but still have yet to get either. Alternatively, you could just have a look at the excellent comics that inspired the Sláine RPG. I believe D20 Celtic Age also has a splatbook all about Celtic fairies.

EDIT: Oh, and I forgot to say, it looks great so far! smile
I look forward to seeing more. I think Celtic-inspired settings should be more common, they're just so... nuts! Like Steerpike was saying about the "mad" Elves... everything in Celtic myth appears to run on seeming dream-logic, and there is a grim sense of humour underlying much of it which can lend itself very well, I think, to gaming.

I don't currently have either, and haven't had a chance to hold them in my hands.  From what I've been able to garnish by preliminary poking around and descriptions of them, I don't really like what Sláine did with the Celtic material, but maybe I'm being too quick to judge.  Celtic Age looks better, and I might check out more of what it has to offer.  Thanks for the references.
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2011, 06:11:28 PM »

Yes, Sláine may not be exactly what you're looking for. I don't know about the RPG, but the comic is (as comics often are) very stylised, and goes for style over substance the whole way. It's more Cletic-inspired/themed than just straight up Celtic. I do love it though smile
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2011, 06:17:15 PM »

Another good source of inspiration might be Robert E. Howard's Bran Mak Morn stories.
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2011, 11:31:28 PM »

Great source of links, Steerpike! I knew about Gutenberg.org, but Wikisource is a lot better organized and easier to use.

For some vague celtic inspiration, you might check out Pair o'Dice Lost's "Death from the Depths" campaign, linked in my sig.
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2011, 01:30:37 AM »

Working on a map.  Two big Islands and several small, minor ones.  Each of the two big islands will be considered a kingdom.  The main island looks to be setting up for a High King who rules over 7 regional petty kings.  One of the minor islands I think will be ruled by the Fomorians.
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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2011, 02:50:05 AM »

I was developing something very similar intended as a published setting for Pathfinder called Iron Age Celts, but then I got buried in the development for release of Kaidan products, so I've shelved it for sometime late this year or next. But I did quite a lot of development using lots of fey connections. I created a tattoo based wizard alternate class. I created a Clan Warrior alternate ranger class. I created a fey bonded sorcerer class and bloodline. I've even got a character class for a sword wielding spellcaster called an Iron Mage developed by someone else, who wanted to include it in my setting.

I did lots of research on Brehon Laws, the laws of hospitality, succession by tannistry, matriarchal lineage of the Picts, keeping noble hostages in the halls of the great kings to insure loyalty among the lesser states abroad. Social caste system of the Celts is important. I l even looked at the value of items in cost in livestock and slaves, rather gold pieces.

I converted Druids to a caste and Trait included: bards, clerics, druids, wizards and sorcerers as all possessors the Druid Trait.

I planned to create a Celtic northern and central Europe analog with a 'British isles' as only one small part. But here's the map for the 'Irish analog' for the setting.

 

I even paid a commission for one piece of art - a gateway into the Fey lands, with some fey elf like woman standing.

 

So I've done lots of research into doing this same kind of setting done right.

What do you need? Maybe I can help.

GP
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2011, 03:12:23 AM »

One new idea I've been thinking about. In Kaidan, we're generously using the Haunt mechanic from the Game Mastery Guide in several of the adventures, which basically ties undead with a trap. Proximity to a 'trapped area' invokes a magical spell caused by the manifestation of a 'ghost'. What if you substituted the undead with a fey being. Perhaps a fey being under some geas bound to a specific location. When the fey being manifests, it becomes an encounter to deal with. Destroying the fey, like a Haunt is not permanent as it will reset in 24 hours. However like a ghost there exists ways to lay the Haunt to rest and end it permanently. So killing the fey being is temporary, freeing it from its geas can build relationships between humans and fey.

I also have the 2e Celtic Sourcebook in PDF with some great ideas, especially for enchanted places, and a GURPS Celtic resource just for different ideas. I purchased a 3.0 d20 supplement for Fey called Fairies with some cool monsters and weird ideas (I didn't use). I've even got Mareen Duffy's The Erotic World of Faery - which features the word 'phallic' at least 200 times! I've got a great book called Ancient Celts, from a historian-linquist's point of view. I've done lots of research on this.
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2011, 12:46:51 PM »

Well, I do need to learn more about the Brehon Laws, for one.

I am familiar with the Caste system idea, but need to learn more of how it worked beyond the trio of Ovates (or Vates), Bards (or Filidh) and Druids.

I didn't see what you were getting at with the Fey Haunting thing for a bit, but I think I worked it out, and I definitely like the idea of forging connections by ending the geas on them.

Just looking at the page of the GURPS Celtic Myth gives me ideas.  I've looked at a couple teasers for products, and headhunting and fighting naked (or at least without cowardly armor) seem to be things that come up a lot.  The more-or-less equal status of women also bears mentioning.
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