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[Age of Arthur] Faires, Elves, Giants, and such


Bleddyn

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Here we need to talk about them.

In might a man, a youth in years, Of boisterous valour, Swift long-maned steeds under the thigh of a handsome youth ...Quicker to a field of blood, than to a wedding quicker to the ravens' feast

- Y Gododdin

"The soldier knows little of philosophers but in him and in his deeds life expresses itself more profoundly than any book can"

- Ernst Junger

E3b1a2 V13 V36

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Talk about them?

I would suggest finding all references to any of these things in the texts you want to use as the basis for the games, and then listing those references here. From the references, people should be able to build a proper writeup. But without knowing what the Gododdin et. al. actually has to say about these, I'm not sure I can contribute much. I have many historical/speculative books on the period, but non mention faeries, elves, or giants.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

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Here we need to talk about them.

Do we want only the "original" fairies from the Age of Arthur or also the ones from later and

often better known sources ?

There seems to be a major difference between the fairies and other fantastic creatures of the

original legends and what became of them in later centuries, especially during the time of the

Romantic movement.

I would prefer to stay as close as possible to the "old" versions, but I am aware that many peo-

ple know and expect only the "modern" ones and might have problems with a different descrip-

tion of the fairies and other fantastic beings.

Another, minor problem would be to choose a specific name and description from the various

local or regional variations of a creature.

As an example the "Kelpie family" from Wikipedia:

"In Orkney a similar creature was called the nuggle, and in Shetland a similar creature

was called the shoopiltee, the njogel, or the tangi. On the Isle of Man it is known as the cabbyl-

ushtey (Manx Gaelic for "water horse," compare to Irish capall uisge) or the glashtin. In Wales,

a similar creature is known as the Ceffyl Dŵr. It also apppears in Scandinavian folklore where

in Sweden it is known by the name Bäckahästen, the brook horse. In Norway it is called nøk-

ken, where the horse shape is often used, but is not its true form. In the Faroe Islands it is

called Nykur and in Iceland it is called nykur or nennir. Another similar Scottish water horse is

the each uisge, which also appears in Ireland."

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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We definitely need them as they were a staple of the legends of the time.

Dragons should definitely be included - Merlin told of the two dragons fighting beneath Uther's tower as a child. The Pennines are the spine of the Great dragon that lies beneath Britannia. Merlin calls the Dragon's Breath charm in the film Excalibur.

Fairy Folk should include the powerful demigod-like ones, such as the Lady of the Lake. I'd include Kelpies and some of the traditional fairy folk, but wouldn't include the "litle pretty fairies with wings". They should definitely be powerful and mysterious. Irish myths have the Seelie Court and Unseelie Court.

Giants are another thing to definitely include. I have a vague memory of tribes of giants in the Welsh and Scottish mountains, but that might be my imagination confusing me. I wouldn't make them very big, though, probably 4m or 5m at best, because we don't have any tales of giants the size of mountains.

PCs could be half-fairy, half-giant and even half-dragon, which would give them special powers/abilities, not least innate magical ability.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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We definitely need them as they were a staple of the legends of the time.

Dragons should definitely be included - Merlin told of the two dragons fighting beneath Uther's tower as a child. The Pennines are the spine of the Great dragon that lies beneath Britannia. Merlin calls the Dragon's Breath charm in the film Excalibur.

Fairy Folk should include the powerful demigod-like ones, such as the Lady of the Lake. I'd include Kelpies and some of the traditional fairy folk, but wouldn't include the "litle pretty fairies with wings". They should definitely be powerful and mysterious. Irish myths have the Seelie Court and Unseelie Court.

Giants are another thing to definitely include. I have a vague memory of tribes of giants in the Welsh and Scottish mountains, but that might be my imagination confusing me. I wouldn't make them very big, though, probably 4m or 5m at best, because we don't have any tales of giants the size of mountains.

PCs could be half-fairy, half-giant and even half-dragon, which would give them special powers/abilities, not least innate magical ability.

DRAGONS

Yup. The story of Lludd and Llefelys in The Mabinogion also has the motif of two fighting dragons. They are also described as shape-changers. Clearly, dragons have to be in (though very rare). They're the symbol of Wales, after all.

FAIRIES

Definitely agree. No Tinkerbell types. And I'd avoid the word "fairy" because it's not British (coming from Latin via Old French via Middle English). Likewise "elf" is of course Germanic. There are several names of Celtic origin for these beings: plant annwn or tylwyth teg (Welsh), aes sídhe or daoine sídhe (Irish), and others.

Essentially, these are the people who inhabit the Celtic Otherworld. The Otherworld itself may be visualised in different ways in different tales and traditions. Nevertheless, these beings are its inhabitants. Especially in the Irish myths, they are believed to dwell in the ancient mounds and barrows that cover the landscape. I think it's reasonable to assume that these myths may have arisen as an "explanation" by the Celtic peoples of the existence and purpose of such Neolithic sites as these - http://www.knowth.com/ - which were already over 3,000 years old by the time of our "Age of Arthur". For game purposes, we might want to say that this explanation is correct.

Here's Wikipedia on the people of the mounds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aos_S%C3%AD

There are lots of different kinds of them, but I don't think we should be coming up with stats for each type as if they were different creatures in a bestiary. I think that each should be an individually crafted character. Oh, and for the most part they look just like beautiful humans.

GIANTS

These are mentioned in the Welsh Triads, and in The Mabinogion there's Ysbaddaden Bencawr, the father of Olwen. He lives in the biggest castle in the world and survives having three javelins pierce his knee, his chest and his eye. He is, in the parlance of our times, badass.

In some of the Irish tales of Fionn mac Cumhaill, Fionn himself and his retinue seem to be giants, twice the height of ordinary folk. It seems to be a common trope that the mighty warriors of earlier ages were bigger than today. (Might this also have something to do with the formidable masonry of the Neolithic tombs and the huge, mysterious standing stones in the landscape?) Giants might be seen as survivors from those times.

Here's some more food for thought, especially 3.1 Mythical creatures: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_mythology

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PCs could be half-fairy, half-giant and even half-dragon, which would give them special powers/abilities, not least innate magical ability.

I forgot to respond to this point. Allow me to do so with reference to the AD&D 2e Celts sourcebook that TSR published back in 1992. It's an excellent resource that draws on Romano-British history and archaeology, Welsh, Scottish and (especially) Irish myth and folklore, and a dash of Asterix the Gaul. I may well mention it again in these discussions!

In the aforementioned book, all PCs are assumed to be human, but each player has the option of making a one-off roll on a "birth-gift" table. One of the gifts is Mixed Blood. The character is either part-Sidhe (the term "Sidhe" is used - incorrectly but quite handily - to denote all the inhabitants of the Otherworld) or part-Fomorian. (As I mentioned, Irish material prevails in this sourcebook, but we could equally say part-giant.) A roll of 1D12 on a second table determines the exact nature of the gift, e.g.

1 = Part Sidhe, Charisma +2

2 = Part Sidhe, +1 to saving throws vs. spells

3 = Part Sidhe, +50% to base maximum age

...

9 = Part Fomorian, Constitution +2

10 = Part Fomorian, +1 to saving throws vs. poison

11 = Part Fomorian, +25% to base height and weight

and so on.

Other gifts include bad luck/good luck, blood feud, geas, ugly/handsome, courage, and magical affinity. I really like this idea, and a BRP percentile table for birth-gifts would be nice.

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Nice touche

In might a man, a youth in years, Of boisterous valour, Swift long-maned steeds under the thigh of a handsome youth ...Quicker to a field of blood, than to a wedding quicker to the ravens' feast

- Y Gododdin

"The soldier knows little of philosophers but in him and in his deeds life expresses itself more profoundly than any book can"

- Ernst Junger

E3b1a2 V13 V36

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I doubt it. Personally, I've got a lot on at the moment and haven't got a lot of free time. Towards the end of July I should have more time ...

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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beeen very busy myself

In might a man, a youth in years, Of boisterous valour, Swift long-maned steeds under the thigh of a handsome youth ...Quicker to a field of blood, than to a wedding quicker to the ravens' feast

- Y Gododdin

"The soldier knows little of philosophers but in him and in his deeds life expresses itself more profoundly than any book can"

- Ernst Junger

E3b1a2 V13 V36

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Aye, I wasn't being entirely serious. Just a sort of tentative, quiet "hello?" to see if anyone was around. Good to know you guys are still there.

Real life has long been recognised as the bane of gaming. It just takes up so much time! :-/

Anyway, I'm (supposed to be) packing for my hols. I'll be in a tent in the (doubtless) rain-sodden, midge-scourged Highlands, so no Internet access for a few days at least, but I'll take, um, a pen and, I dunno, maybe paper or some shit like that (I'm old skool, me), and I'll try and have some more ideas ready for when I return.

Cheers for now.

Alan

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Good to know you guys are still there.

I will keep lurking until inspiration hits me or I find something I cannot resist to comment on ... ;)

Have fun in the Highlands. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I thought summer was to be a low intensity season i am swamped with family, new additions to family and RL nonsense...

In case you guys don't know I am a veterans advocate and I just won a case for a widow: to award the silver star for her husband. I volunteer my time to go before the ABCMR (Army Board for Correction of Military Records) Also I belong to the Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans and Military Order of Stars and Bars. Currently I am in the second year of preping the Confederate Medal of Honor recommendation for a Lt.Col Alanzo Dargan of the 21st South Carolina Infantry who was killed at the battle of swift creek rallying his regiment by advancing with the regimental colors in a brigade attack. His actions allowed the Brigade to follow throough and extract the 11th South Carolinia for a precariious tactical position. Lots of research.

If you are a Traveller Fan I just had an article published in Freelance Traveller Fanzine on Zhodani Commandos. I have my thumbs in many pies.

Edited by Bleddyn

In might a man, a youth in years, Of boisterous valour, Swift long-maned steeds under the thigh of a handsome youth ...Quicker to a field of blood, than to a wedding quicker to the ravens' feast

- Y Gododdin

"The soldier knows little of philosophers but in him and in his deeds life expresses itself more profoundly than any book can"

- Ernst Junger

E3b1a2 V13 V36

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  • 10 months later...

Twrch Trwyth

Boar

Twrch is named as the son of Prince Tared, cursed into the form of a wild creature; he has poisonous bristles,

Culhwch is given the task by Ysbaddaden Pencawr, the giant whose daughter Olwen Culhwch seeks, of obtaining the comb and scissors from Twrch's head. Further, Ysbaddaden states that the only hound who can hunt Twrch is Drudwyn, the whelp of Greid, and then goes on to list the requirements of the leash to hold Drudwyn, the only man strong enough to hold the leash, &c. Ultimately Ysbaddaden calls on Culhwch to seek out Arthur, Culhwch's cousin, to help him hunt Twrch.

Prior to the hunt, Menw son of Teirgwaedd is sent to verify that the comb and scissors are between Twrch's ears. He takes the form of a bird and flies to Twrch's lair, encountering the boar with seven piglets. Menw then tries to swoop down and snatch one of the implements from Twrch's scalp, but only manages to take one silver bristle; Twrch is agitated and shakes himself, scattering venom onto Menw, wounding him.

The hunt for Twrch takes up the greater portion of the latter half of Culhwch and Olwen, and it is described in great detail the geographical route of the pursuit, and those who take active part in it. Although it is Culhwch who is given the task, it is Arthur and his men who take the most prominent role in the chase, Culhwch having successfully enlisted his aid.

Combat Notes

The gore of a Twrch Trwyth’s tusks is ferocious and it can both Sunder and Impale, although these manoeuvres are applied only if the boar strikes for a critical success. Otherwise the boar uses Bash as its primary Combat Manoeuvre.

Dice Average 1D20 Hit Location AP/HP

STR 4D6+6 18 1–2 Right Hind Leg 3/7

CON 3D6+9 18 3–4 Left Hind Leg 3/7

SIZ 2D6+18 24 5–7 Hindquarters 3/8

INT 7 7 8–10 Forequarters 3/9

POW 3D6 11 11–13 Right Front Leg 3/6

DEX 2D6+6 11 14–16 Left Front Leg 3/6

17–20 Head 3/7

Combat Actions 2 Typical Armour: Tough Hide. No Armour Penalty

Damage Modifi er +1D6

Magic Points 11 Traits: None

Movement 8m

Strike Rank +11

Skills: Athletics 25%, Evade 55%, Perception 50%, Persistence 43%, Resilience

58%, Stealth 55%, Survival 50%, Track 25%

Combat Styles

Tusk 65%, Charge 40%,Gore 55%

Weapons

Type Size Reach Damage AP/HP

Tusk L T 1D8+1D6 As for Head

Charge L T 1D8+1D6

Gore L S 1D8+1D6 As for Head

I am still trying to interpret the poison bristles of his hide. I used a horse for the size and power template.

In might a man, a youth in years, Of boisterous valour, Swift long-maned steeds under the thigh of a handsome youth ...Quicker to a field of blood, than to a wedding quicker to the ravens' feast

- Y Gododdin

"The soldier knows little of philosophers but in him and in his deeds life expresses itself more profoundly than any book can"

- Ernst Junger

E3b1a2 V13 V36

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Is it a one-off creature or a type of creature?

I can see that stats for a giant boar would be useful in Age of Arthur, but if this is a one of a kind giant boar then it wouldn't need to have random characteristics.

Edited by soltakss

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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According to legend there was 7 other piglets when this one was chased down by Arthur. So the random traits could cover the offspring.

In might a man, a youth in years, Of boisterous valour, Swift long-maned steeds under the thigh of a handsome youth ...Quicker to a field of blood, than to a wedding quicker to the ravens' feast

- Y Gododdin

"The soldier knows little of philosophers but in him and in his deeds life expresses itself more profoundly than any book can"

- Ernst Junger

E3b1a2 V13 V36

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  • 3 years later...

Not necessarily Athurian, but I recently saw the movie "The Magic Door" on Netflix.  It was a 2007 direct-to-DVD release, not a good movie either as a fantasy film or as a kids' movie.  However, what caught my attention was its portrayal of feral elves.  The creatures weren't Tolkien's noble, cultured beings but child-sized barbarians with feline fangs as well as pointed ears and armed to the teeth with bow and sword.  They went around hissing like cats at humans, trolls, witches, and even each other.  In addition to the villain's plot, the elves were involved in a sort of civil war/dirty politics among themselves -- not nice people at all.  Sure, the fairy princess was sexy and offered favors to the folks that rescued her.  But she was scary, too, like Miley Cyrus running for president.  You got the feeling that despite whatever boons she might grant at the moment, it'd be easy to get on her bad side and that she wouldn't be a good person to cross.  Even the elvish hero who helped free her from the witch did it more out of spite or for his own advantage than because it was the right thing to do or because he was loyal to her.  Definitely not the sort of folks you'd like to have living in the woods next to your home, which is exactly the position the human characters found themselves in.

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