Celts in Mythic Europe

My character in our campaign is a Celt.. I think. Well, I know how he looks, and I know he's from Britain. So I was hoping someone here could help me with some background.

Right, Lutranaxx is a Bjornaer with an Otter heartbeast, Clan Maruhs. When I watched the film King Arthur, I noticed that the Woads had blue painting on their faces and such, spirals and other art, and I decided that my character should wear this. So what kind of background would he have? Woad? Celt maybe? I don't have the 3rd edition book about Loch Leglean, but maybe someone with that book could explain how the Bjornaer in that tribunal is, and how the celts, woads and other such tribes (if they still exists as such) is represented in the setting. :slight_smile:


Disregard any fact from King Arthur!

Liking that kind of movie I only barely made I through to the end (had really looked forward to "Romanized" version of the Arthurian legends)

(I even recall one of the actors having only one comment to the movie "I am sorry...")

Celts are many things so do whatever you prefer - in the middle ages the remaining remains of the culture primarily lived in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Britony.

Not to get into a film discussion here (I do that enough while running my own production company), I loved that film. Historical or not, it is one of many versions of the myth. I guess we've all seen the over-the-top Excalibur. What King Arthur has are excellent actors, very good director (Training Day, anyone?) and a dramatic storyline. And as for history vs. motion picture, well, why compare? If it had been historically correct (we know really very little about Arthur), it would have been called a documentary. :laughing:

But, I'm going off topic. What I really wanted to know is how House Bjornear's situation is in Loch Leglean, and what kind of Celtic people lived there.


Let's see...

Woad is a plant, not a tribe or even a tribal designation; the closest you get it Pict --

(woad: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woad)
(pict: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pict)

The Celts of Europe are a scattered group, just as they were in earlier times -- they are found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, and many other places, including Spain and Asia Minor

(celts: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celt)

None of the Celts in the real 13th century really hold to the old ways, but in Mythic Europe there might well be a few hold outs.

As for King Arthur as a film, well, it is dramatic in points, but ultimately unbelievable in so many ways that I cannot even begin to count them. The Alpine-like gorges of the Scottish Lowlands comes to mind, as does the changeable weather patterns, the knowledge of siegecraft, the knowledge of period history (or even potential period history), architecture, military tactics, etc. And, sadly, I have to disagree about the acting -- I think there were several game attempts, but the script was so bad as to leave any acting ability so hidden as to be unrecognizable.

Sadly, there are very, very few good Arthurian films -- worse yet, the best one that springs to mind is still Monty Python & the Holy Grail... :frowning:

Well, one fact can't be discussed in all this. People have different tastes in film. I absolutely hated Harry Potter 3, for example. Others love it.. just an example. I won't go into a discussion on scripts and directing (again, that's my occupation), the general opinion about King Arthur among my friends is that it's very good. Again, different movies, different tastes...

As for the Woad, I've read several references for "woad warriors". What can this be?

But, what about the Bjornaer in Loch Leglean? Please don't let this thread fall out of focus (I'd just have to start a new one). I can't get the Loch Leglean-book anywhere, and I'm curious about it.


Woad, was apparently used by some celtic warriors to paint their bodies blue before fighting, often associated with legends of celtic Berserkers.(If you can get it Gurps Celtic Myth has a lot of stuff on celtic culture of a mythic sort)

IIRC about Lions of the North as it is some time since I read it there are very few Bjornear in the established covenants of those two a Weasel and a Boar are Lovers and members of the covenant of Horingas which is dedicated to overthrowing the evil Norman rule of the British Isles in favour of Saxn rule.
However there are a lot of smaller and scatterred covenants which are not detailed which could hold many Bjorenar.
(The other two detailed covenants are one inside a faerie mound lead by a powerful fay merinita possibly with some Bjonrear , and a covenant consisting of local Grugarh hedge mages and some hermetic relatives and freinds )

3rd edition Loch Legean sourcebook showed most of the ex misc. in the tribunal as non hermetic hedge mages called Grumgrach, to summarize:
Decended from magic realm giants, having the power to bless, curse, and place geas, they could shapeshift themselves and transform others and the most overwhelming abilities are the external soul (into an object then hidden, gives immortality and coming back from mortal injuries) and magic resistance that was based on their magical skills and usually ended up better than parma magica. I think this was updated in the Land of Ice and Fire book for 4th ed, to be more balanced, but haven't seen that yet.

Their magic was all done in pictish not latin. According to the book pictish was a dead langauge due to interference by House Diedne to allow the Scots irish to overwhelm and subsume the picts. By 1220 the population was more Scots than pictish, except for the islands which were viking.

There were very few actual bjornaer listed in the book.

The Trollsynir rules in Land of Fire and Ice are very similar to Grugach

The Woads are based on, well, sort of what the Romans thought these people might have been like, from Ceasar's writings about them, rather than what the Albannach were really like.

Woad is a blue dye, made from a plant called woad. And urine, generally. Which is why dyers got drunk on a regular basis before making woad. I'd like to pretend I didn't learn way too much about the industrial uses for urine while researching to write for the line, but...

The Albannach were called the Picts either because they wrote in pictures, or because they drew pictures on themselves. They were absorbed by the Scots slowly, or maybe they absorbed the Scots and we just call them "Scots" now? Bascially, Kenneth Norse-Slayer, King of Scots, marries the daughter of the High King of Alba and names the new realm, made up of the Scottish kingdom of Dalraida and the Pictish kingdoms "Scotland". You can argue, and indeed I would argue, that when we say the Irish immigrants in Dalriada ("Scot" means immigrant, arguably.) absorbed the Picts, they sort of absorbed them in the sense that the Normans absorbed the English - which is to say that they were absorbed by them, but changed their ruling class, political structure and language.

You want to paint yourself blue, say weird prophetic stuff and wander about half-naked? You should go talk to House Criamon...

Have you never wanted to just get naked, paint yourself blue and run around yelling things in strange languages? I myself do that quite often, I'll have you know! :laughing:

Nah, Criamon is not right for this character. I want a Bjornaer inspired by Celtic traditions, such as celtic art displaying his heartbeast and such. This character is a free spirit.

Hmmm.. could one enchant the woad dye to have magical effects? Charged items, maybe, in the form of applications of the blue stuff? Ideas, ideas :slight_smile:


Darn - just rushed to look for Lion of the North as pdf on RPG NOW, but apparently they don't have it! Sad for you, 'caase you might find it worthwhile - I have it print from God knows when, but borrowed it of to my beta SG (hope you're nejoying it Frakel!) so can't help you on that one!

Off course - just never acted on the urge...

But I guess you Norwegians have plenty of unsettled valleys and gorges to do that, whereas many of os don't... :smiley:

Surely a good idea. My gutt feeling would probably be to go for the Charged items as well. Btw the old Wizard's Grimoire had rules for Criamon Imprints (can't remember whether they made it into the HoH:ML) that might inspire you and in the Parma Fabulae (I think) there was a magic item called Pic's Warpaint (or something similar) that as far as recall was invested with Endurance of the Beserkers. This is all before 5th ed. but I'm sure you can be inspired by it and convert the mechanics to 5th.

No, they didn't...well there -are- basic rules for magical tattoos, but there is this little bit that says that Inscriptions were described in detail in TMRE. Note the incorrect tense, because the books were resequenced?

The enchanted tatoos from the Criamon chapter probably are what your character is looking for instead of inscribing the soul. I haven't seen TMRE yet (I hope to get my copy thursday) but the advantage of the enchanted tatoos are that they don't involve mystery initiation and (IIRC and I might not) they give only give limited, if any, warping.

But I don't want tattoos, just the blue dye, which can be washed off. Charged Item, I would think?


Lion of the North
Maybe this Amazon link will be useful in obtaining a copy.

Me too.

And that's exactly what you have in the Pict's Warpaint - a possibly charged item - in the form of blue paint you smear on your skin. Not paint in the sense that it can't be removed, but that you put it on whenever you wanna use it and wash it of whenever you wanna appear more civilized again... Put the box of dye/powder having spent a charge.

I actually just said you should disregard any fact from the movie King Arthur - I didn't say that my problems with the film was about it not being historically sound!

It's just a dry fact that it isn't very relatd to history. Excalibur also had its moments - and also some hillarious, such as the "mating" scene between the magically disguised Pendragon and his obsession the lady af Tingtagel. Ind front of the fireplace the lovers almost levitate in, her: butt naked - him: heavy cumbersome plate mail. This leading to the plotrelevant conception of little Arthur... lol

I don't mind movies portraying an abused version of history (as long as we are not talking downright propaganda). I can accept the limitless inconsistencies of King Arthur, such as the strange selection of weaponry (crossbows, trebuchets, daos and katars? but lack of saxon spears and saxs?) and tactics in opposition to the strenght of the used weapons and what the actual groups were unparalleled experts at. I can accept the films caption of being the true story, no myth, of a historical person as movie advertisement buff. I can even accept that even in the coldest climate Kiera Knightly is put in the silliest thin ar small dresses (hey, I don't complain - and they do that for a reason). But honestly I didn't feel that Clive Owen succeded in making his character credible - and historical or not outright hillarousness makes me loose the illusion of the story - this happened especially when the Saxons succeeded in landing North of the Hadrian Wall - but hey, mistakes are known to happen. But then King Arthur decides to forego his fortifiable wall but instead open the gates to his enemies....! Simply and utterly hillarious - he's lucky that only part of the saxon force decides to enter and that they forget to guard the entrance or take control of the Wall. Even if this has a nice shock effect on the remaining Saxons, it's a completely unsound and hillarious strategy. The most important is a good story and if you forego believability in sake of visuality you have to have a damn good action sequence, historical or not, to succeed. The Battle at the Wall was simply hillarious.

But the laughing was friendly and I enjoyed the movie anyway - and it has many beautiful and striking scenes (besides Knieghtly) and some well-orchestrated fights. And I'll wanna see it again, but can't promise that I won't laugh favorable a bit once and a while. :laughing:

If you do see it again, make sure it's the Director's Cut. Much better than the theatrical version :slight_smile:


I once heard that woad was actually slighltly poisonous and a mild halucinagenic... and this caused the berserker rage of the Picts. Any truth to that?

Regarding "lion of the North," I just saw a copy last weekend at the Atlas booth at the San Diego Comicon.... You might want to contact them and see if you can buy it.

Finally, and this might be going away from your character concept (I know you said his heartbeast was an otter), but in my Iberian campaign, I have a line of Bjornaer that are directly descended from the ancient CeltIberians. They all have Bull Heartbeasts. (Many of the CeltIberians were pagans that worshipped sacred bulls. There are still a few huge 2000 year-old Bull Statues in Spain.)

Have a good day,