Fianna Style Guide
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Fianna Lexicon
- 3 Who Are the Fianna?
- 4 History of the Fianna
- 5 Who Have The Fianna Become?
- 6 Becoming Fianna
- 7 The Moons and The Roles
- 8 The Breeds
- 9 Fianna and The Litany
- 10 Fianna Camps
- 11 Leadership of the Tribe of Stag
- 12 Seasonal Rites
- 13 Moots
- 14 Tips to Playing a Fiann
- 15 In Closing
The Fianna Tribe in the genre of Werewolf: The Apocalypse explores very old cultural themes and ideals and their translation into the modern day. The Fianna themselves are a bastion of hope in the resounding despair that is the Apocalypse. The Fianna are an entire Tribe that thrives on legends of the past, find inspiration from heroes that harken back to days of yore, glorifies combat and bloodshed, and seem just a bit like warriors of a different time. This style guide is designed to help players familiarize themselves with the Fianna, their cultural habits and ancestry, and give guidance for concept generation and character development. As a style guide goes this one is a long read as a result of so much flavor and detail behind this Tribe.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse (TT)
- Laws of the Wild, Revised (MET)
- Tribebook: Fianna, Revised (TT)
- Tribebook: Fianna, 2nd Ed (TT)
- Book of Auspices (TT)
It must be emphasized that the following material is designed for IC (in-character) purposes only. Rituals, spirituality, and other hallmarks of the Garou help to tie the Garou Nation together in the World of Darkness, but can be downright unsettling in real life. Use discretion when approaching some of this material in role-play.
- Ard Righ/Ri: (Pronounced: Ard Ree): High King of the entire Fianna Tribe.
- Badb: (Pronounced: bave): One of the three aspects of the Morrigu, representing fury unleashed and battle madness.
- Beltane: (Pronounced: BELL-tinnuh), One of the four Fianna Seasonal Rites. Held April 30th – May1st; it is one of the most vivacious and raucous celebrations of the Fianna as they rekindle the light of the year.
- Brighid: (Pronounced: Breet), Totem Spirit of Stag’s Brood. Spirit of inspiration, creativity, and craftsmanship.
- Celt/Celtic: (Pronounced: Kelt/Kelt-ik): Ancient culture of peoples of Western Europe.
- Cernunnos: (Pronounced KER-noo-nohss): One of the three incarnations of Stag, the horned God and Lord of Beasts. Serves as connection to the Wyld places, the Umbra, and the Fae.
- Cuchulainn: (Pronounced: kyoo-HYOO-len): Also called The Hound of Ulster. One of, if not “the” greatest Fianna warrior that the Tribe has known.
- Danu: (Pronounced: DA noo): Totem Spirit of Stag’s Brood. An aspect of the Fianna tribe-mother and mother of the Fae.
- Dindsenchas: (Pronounced DINd-shen-hass): Secret “language” of ancient stories and poetic kennings relating to places in myth and fable as they correlate to the world.
- Eire: (Pronounced AIR-ruh): Ireland in Gaelic.
- Fianna: (Pronounced: Fyeh-nuh), Multiple members of the Tribe, or the Tribe as a whole.
- Fiann: (Pronounced: F’yawn): Singular of Fianna.
- Fionn: (Pronounced: Finn): Common Irish name, also name used frequently by the Fianna.
- Fionn Mac Cumhaill: (Pronounced Finn Meh-Cool): Greatest Fianna Kinfolk in history, hero of the Irish Fenian Cycle.
- Fomorians: (Pronounced Fo-MOR-eeans): The most ancient and hated foes of the Fianna, called the Fir Domnu, the Fomorians were descended from Domnu the evil sister of Danu. As powerful as the Fae and as gifted with Glamours and dark arts. In the most massive battle in Fianna history, Garou and Faerie wiped the Fomorians off of the face of existence…at least…so the story goes.
- Geas: (Pronounced: geeass): Spiritual quest or ban. Most characters of Fianna legend carried a Geas, and so it is said to mark an individual of destiny who has a Geas.
- Herne the Horned One: (Pronounced: Hurn): One of the three incarnations of Stag, leads the Wild Hunt of Stag’s foes, known for antler headdress and pack of nine Hounds of the Hunt following him. Stag’s aspect of vengeance and war.
- Imbolc: (Pronounced: IM-bullug): One of the four Fianna Seasonal Rites. Held February 1st – February 2nd. Imbolc is a holiday celebrating the coming Spring and honoring Brighid the spirit of creativity and craftsmanship. Artisans of all forms celebrate this rite to find blessing on their works through-out the year.
- Lughnassa: (Pronounced: LOO-nah-sah): One of the four Fianna Seasonal Rites. Held August 1st – August 2nd. Lughnassa is a holiday that acknowledges the fruits of the year’s labor and the harvest.
- Macha: (Pronounced MAH ka): One of the three aspects of the Morrigu, representing battle heroics and valor.
- Morrigu: (Pronounced MOR RE GAN): Triune Totem Spirit of Stag’s Brood. Called “The Great Queen” or “Mistress of Battles” she represents all of the aspects of war and conflict, and her symbol is a carrion crow. Fianna who venerate this totem pick one of her three aspects as their matron to the Morrigu.
- Nemain: (Pronounced NE-vin): One of the three aspects of the Morrigu, meaning “venom”, she poisons foes with is fear and cripples by sowing confusion and chaos on the battlefield. .
- Ogham: (Pronounced OH-um): Ancient runic language of the Druids used widely by the Fianna.
- Righ/Ri: (Pronounced Ree): A Fianna King over a certain region, nation, or Camp of the Tribe.
- Samhain: (Pronounced: Sowin): Traditional Fianna festival of the new year and honoring the fallen.
- Sidhe: (Pronounced: SHE): Royalty of the Faeries, also used to refer to Faeries in general.
- Sláinte: (Pronounced slawn-cha): A common Irish toast meaning, “Health!” in Gaelic.
- Tánaiste: (Pronounced: Tawn-ish-teh): Fianna second in command to their Righ.
- Tir na nOg: (Pronounced: Tcheer na nogue): The Land of Youth, Arcadia, the Land of the Faeries.
- Tuatha De Danaan: (Pronounced: TOO-‘ha-dA Dah-n’n): The Faeries and old gods and spirits of the Fianna.
Who Are the Fianna?
"Raised on songs and stories, heroes of renown, the passing tales and glories that once was Dublin town.” – In The Rare Old Times, Pete St. John
If you ask players, “Who are the Fianna?” a common response might be, “They’re the Celtic Garou who drink a lot.” And while this is not entirely wrong it does not nearly begin to paint the full image of this Tribe of werewolves.
The Fianna are the Tribe of the moment. They are the Tribe that represents the understanding that for the Garou each day may be their very last – and so they live and love to the full extent because of that realization. The Fianna soar through the highest highs of every moment of their lives, and feel most deeply the lowest lows.
Though even as much as the Tribe cannot help but live in the moment, they are also woven like knot-work to the tales and traditions of the past. Living for now and honoring yesterday, they are the result of their parent cultures from all over Europe that have not diluted nearly as much over time as they have among humans. They worship Ancestors like they worship Gaia, and they see the examples of their heroes and sagas and look to make their own. To be remembered is one of the greatest accomplishments a Fiann can achieve.
So who are the Fianna? They are the tangible echoes of legends and cultures past, and the heroes of now. They are the storytellers and revelers, the warrior poets and the wild rovers, and the Tribe who sees the splendor of the colors of life as they come from all walks of life.
Disclaimer: Some material is detailed here from the reference list as a means to reinforce those themes considered important to the chronicle's portrayal of the Fianna. Thus the history that listed below may not match exactly with accounts of historians or knowledge of history – but then again, humans likely wouldn’t be aware of all the details anyway.
History of the Fianna
The history of the Fianna is a living history. By that we mean that the history of the Fianna is known to every member of the Tribe, and known almost exclusively through oratory rather than script. And so long as a single Fiann lives, so too does the history of the Tribe. It also means that the history becomes subject to some embellishment, and the perspective of the members of the Tribe (who consider themselves, by and large, heroes) and so may be skewed from the perspective seen by other Tribes. What follows is an abbreviated history of the Fianna. A more full perspective of the history of the Tribe can be found in Tribebook: Fianna, Revised.
There are many tales regarding the beginning of existence, of the Shifting Breeds, and of the Garou. This accounting will fast forward past a number of those tales to focus on the birth of the Fianna. The War of Rage and the Impergium are summarized in saying that they both found Fianna as active participants, and this fact stains their history as it does most of the Tribes of the Garou Nation.
The only history before the official birth of the Tribe that we will mention is the ties between the Garou that would become the Fianna and the Fae. There are as many stories regarding the origins of the relations between the Tribe and the Tuatha de Danaan as there are for each of the creation tales of the other Tribes and Shifters. The most common tale says that one of the first (if not “the first”) Galliards howled out to Luna and the power and majesty of his howl attracted a strikingly gorgeous Sidhe. The Fae and the Galliard ran together, howled together, hunted together, and coupled. Then the Sidhe was gone by Sunrise. Nine years and nine days later, the Sidhe returned to the Galliard with two children, a boy with a feral mien, and a daughter who had the haunting beauty of the Fae. The Sidhe told the Galliard that she wished to share with him the beauty of their union, and that the Galliard would take the boy to raise among his people. These were the first ties between the Fae and the Fianna, and the blood of Faeries still courses through their lineages to this day.
After the Impergium and the War of Rage, the humans spread out across the lands of Europe and established their own tribes. Even in those times the Garou knew the value of having Kin, and where these tribes went so went the Garou. The people and Garou of Gaul were broken into several different tribes. The Skysingers dwelled in the Alpines. The Balkans were the home of the Night Claws. Throughout Gaul the Hounds of the Horned One lived, and on the islands furthest west lived the White Howlers in the Highlands. Yet it was that one Tribe settled the majority of Britain and out onto the Emerald Isle - the Fierce Ones, the Fianna.
The Fianna discovered Ireland and with it they found the Faeries, though as long ago as this was the Faeries were not as they are now. The Faeries were awe-inspiring, and carried the grace and power of Gods. The Faeries and the Fianna recognized each other as cousins from shared tales of long ago. Fianna, being as fond of family then as they are now, became fast allies with the Fae. However, discovering the Faeries on the isles was a mixed blessing, because with the Fae came the Fomorians.
The Fomorians came from the sea, and were the dark, twisted, siblings of the Faeries. As the Faeries were the children of the Goddess Danu, the Fomorians were descended from Danu’s evil sister, Domnu. The Fomorians were as massively powerful as the Fae were, and they had terrorized the people of the isles for some time. The Garou were still no strangers to the Wyrm, and the Fomorians were most definitely of the Wyrm. Together, the Faeries and the Garou fought the Fomorians with Glamour and Magic, Gift and Claw. This conflict would become the most gruesome and bloody battle that the Tribe’s Galliards would ever know or tell of. Eventually, the combined might of the Faeries and the Fianna would banish the Fomorians back to the sea. Fianna historians and masters of Faerie Lore will note that there was some tie between the Faeries and the Fomorians, as it was shortly after the Fomorians left the world that the Faeries’ power began to gradually decline.
The fall of the Fomorians did not rid the Fianna lands of the Wyrm, however. The Fianna found that the mortals of their territory had become twisted and turned by the Wyrm. Whether it was the presence of the Fomorians or something that always lurked in the lands, the Fianna have had to fight off the corruption of the Wyrm. One of the major manifestations of the Wyrm came in the form of Cromh Cruach. Cromh Cruach was an aspect of The Defiler Wyrm, and demanded the sacrifice of humans in dark rituals to appease it and gain its favor (much as the Fomorians had done). The presence of Cromh Cruach infected the peoples of Ireland for several centuries. The destruction of this Wyrm spirit wouldn’t come for many centuries, and was credited to St. Patrick. However, it was in this time that the Fianna began to notice that an impurity in the spirit of the mortals or usually manifested as physical deformity. Even the Kinfolk of the Tribe were not immune to the blight of the Wyrm, and this created a closer kinship between the Tribe and their mortal stock as the Fianna had to keep close to their kin to protect them.
While the Wyrm has never been banished from the Fianna homelands (in fact, it is worse now than it has been since the banishment of the Fomorians), the Fianna became settled in and established as did the other Tribes of Stag. Though the Tribes of Stag became established, the mortal people of the Tribe represented a culture of conquest and where Stag’s kinfolk go, so goes their Tribe. Stag’s Garou descended into the lands of the Black Furies, and found that Pegasus’ Tribe was more than capable of defending their territory. The same happened when the Tribes moved westward into Fenrir lands. Both the Fenrir and the Furies solidly beat back the Tribes of Stag. However, the greatest threat to Stag’s Tribes came from Rome.
Celtic seers and Stag’s druids had visions of the threat that Rome posed, and the initial interactions between the Celts and the Romans were not positive. The Garou had become aware of a subtle sort of evil that dwelled within Rome, and motivated their kin to attack so the Garou could clean up the city under the guise of war. However, in so doing the Tribes of Stag were stopped by the Warders of Man (who became the Glass Walkers). The Warders said they had become aware of the issues with Rome, but Rome as their territory and they would resolve the Wyrm taint. While Stag’s were talking with the Warders, the Celtic people received a substantial sum of wealth to leave, and so they fell back. The Fianna regret this even to this day, and no few carry a small bit of mistrust for the Glass Walkers who failed to cleanse their protectorates so long ago. In the minds of the Fianna, had the Warders of Man not failed their task then Stag’s Tribe would undoubtedly be the most powerful and influential of all of the Garou Nation.
Eventually Rome became extremely powerful under the sick churning of the Wyrm’s coils. The ambitions and greed of man fueled that taint within Rome. The leeches ruled the nights, and Rome began its conquest of the rest of the world. The conflicts of Rome and the tribes of the Gauls were legendary. The kin of Stag’s Tribes suffered for the conflict as their lands became more and more subjugated to the will of Rome and the Wyrm that drove it. Though some unity between the people of the tribes came, the cost of the conflict in regard to territory was staggering. Rome pressed all the way up into Britain, and with the Romans came the Silver Fangs in the House of the Conquering Claw. The Silver Fangs claimed several of the southern Caerns and kinfolk bloodlines in attempt to “bring stability to this region of the Empire”. The conflict kept the Tribes so preoccupied that none of them, not even the Fianna, noticed the signs of the Fall of the White Howlers.
The loss of Lion’s Tribe became of the great shames of the Fianna. To this day all Fianna carry a hatred for the Spirals that is more powerful than them simply being fallen Garou. The Spirals are the Fianna’s first target on any battlefield, and it won’t be until that entire Tribe is put to rest that the Fianna can feel they have recovered from the shame. The Fianna even have a special term for the Black Spiral Dancers, Wyrm Howlers, said to remind them of this debt and their failings in the past.
The fall of the White Howlers were also noticed by the other Tribes, primarily the Fenrir and the Silver Fangs. The Fianna’s mourning for the loss of their cousins appeared as weakness to the Fenrir who came into Britain with the Saxons at the invite of the Romans. Fenris’ Tribe sent many to attempt to oust the Fianna so that they could destroy the Spirals. The Silver Fangs attempted to quell the fighting, but were unable to do so. Eventually the Spirals capitalized on the fight between the Fianna and the Fenrir and moved to attack and destroy them, assuming Stag and Fenris’ Garou too weak to fend them off. In an amazing display of cooperation the Fianna and the Fenrir became galvanized by the conflict and fought the Spirals off, and cleared most of them out of Ireland and Britain. The conflict resulted in a grudging form of respect between the Tribes, as the Fenrir saw first-hand the battle furor of the Fianna when roused to defend their homelands, and to kill the Wyrm. Even the Silver Fangs took a long measure of the strength of both Tribes shown during the conflict. With Rome still looming as a massive threat, the Tribes agreed to neutrality, though the Fenrir managed to claim a few coastal Caerns along England.
Over time, the gnawing of the Wyrm within Rome caused it to begin to collapse in on itself. Rome’s standard, The Eagle, became replaced with religion and The Cross took hold among the many humans of the land. Eventually the “pagan” ways and worship of old spirits and deities waned. Christianity became the new faith, and the humans of Britain and Ireland adopted it. Whether it was the result of the rise of Christianity, the spread of plague or by some other means the most powerful lords and ladies of the Faeries finally began to leave the world. The pathways to Arcadia began to collapse, and violent rifts occurred between the Faerie Courts. As the weaker Fae were left behind, the Fianna upheld the ancient oaths of kinship between them. Eventually the Fianna ordered a peace between the warring Fae.
During the following centuries conflict erupted in Britain between the Normans and the denizens of the isles. The Normans were supported by the Silver Fangs, who negotiated with the Fianna that for the Fianna’s promise to remain uninvolved in the conflicts of the humans that the Normans and the conflicts would stay out of Ireland. Some Fianna are angered at this negotiation and agreement as it saw more and more of the Fianna lands and people turned over to foreign powers, but some argue that there was wisdom in keeping Ireland out of the Norman’s reach. After all, as proud as the Fianna and the Irish were, the might of the Normans could very well have cost the Fianna all of their holdings.
The last five centuries of the Fianna have been difficult. Mortal politics began to see the kin of the Fianna persecuted and as much as the Fianna have tried to stay out of mortal politics, it is hard thing for a Tribe so bound to the people they come from. The subjugation of Ireland and Scotland at the administrations of Cromwell risked Fianna intervention, however, the Fianna soon faced bigger threats that kept them preoccupied.
The ruling Silver Fangs of Scotland and Britain had received visions of an impending strike on behalf of the Black Spiral Dancers, and so the Fangs approached the Fianna and the Get of Fenris demanding their finest to assemble in an army under the leadership of the Silver Fangs to fight this coming army of the Wyrm. Both the Get and the Fianna were preoccupied with the defense of their kin and bawns from English soldiers, and the Spirals had been banished and remained unseen on the Isles for centuries. Both Tribes declined the demand for troops, but the Silver Fang refused to accept no for an answer. Using one of the most ancient of Fianna artifacts, the Silver Crown, the Silver Fang was able to demand obedience with his every word. The Jarl of the Fenrir managed to defy the Silver Fang still, and so the Fang drove his klaive through the Get of Fenris’ chest. The Fianna used a bit more wit, and agreed to the Silver Fang’s demands without the need to be ordered by the Crown. However, when the Fang Lord arrived at the battle field he found the army of Get and Fianna he had demanded arrayed against him.
The battle was brutal and bloody, and weakened all of the Tribes substantially. It was this weakness that signaled the Spiral’s arrival in scores, and it was for this reason that the Isles have still not yet been cleansed of the Black Spiral’s presence. Though the Fianna managed to reclaim most of their Caerns by the 18th Century, and came out as the strongest Tribe there again as had not happened in centuries, an old fire and mistrust for the Fangs still follows the Fianna to this day. The Silver Crown has also not been seen since the conflict. Some fear that it has ended up in the hands of the Spirals, who will use it in the coming nights as a weapon of the Apocalypse. As a result of this conflict, the Silver Fang House Winter Snow, which led this event, was completely abandoned.
The 18th Century was unkind to the kinfolk of the Fianna, as the many struggles of the Scottish and Irish mortals against the English crown resulted in utter defeat. The Fianna helped defend their kinfolk as they could, but English soldiers ravaged by beasts, and the use of Gifts and Fetishes would threaten the Veil, and so they had to maintain a distance. The Fianna remember very well, and recalled what happened during the Burning Times, and would not risk mortals discovering and compromising their Caerns again.
However, the Fianna found their Caerns compromised still. What became the Second Battle of Tara came when a small army of what appeared to be English soldiers, lined up outside the Citadel and began firing with leaden ammunition that pierced the ancient glamours and magics of the Tribe, and burned the Fianna like silver. Several Fianna perished in the attack before packs stepped from the Umbra into the midst of the soldiers and eventually slaughtered them all. To this day, the mystery of the empowered attackers has yet to be solved.
In addition to the mortal struggles, the Industrial Revolution allowed the tendrils of the Wyrm and the Weaver to seed corruption across the Isles. The black soot and chemicals tainted the land, and the humans who were starving had to seek out work in these factories, which turned them to the side of filth and disease. England and Wales were among the most detrimentally effected lands, but no part of the Isles went untouched.
As if the Industrial Revolution hadn’t poisoned the natural ways of life that had existed in Fianna lands for centuries, a famine swept the many potato crops of the humans. Potatoes had become a staple of Irish cuisine since it was brought over from America in earlier centuries. Overnight crops withered and turned black, and the people starved. The Garou saw the taint of the Wyrm in this blight, but where normally such a sickness would have a spiritual manifestation, only an Umbral miasma that covered the lands could be found – and it could not be fought. As a result of all of these struggles, a huge exodus from the Isles began, and a large portion of the Fianna and their kinfolk headed west to America and Canada.
In the land across the pond travelers found an opportunity for a new life with new expanses of land and territory to be claimed. Or so the Fianna thought. The lands had long been claimed by the Pure Ones, who became more and more persecuted by the Europeans. The Fianna were as much a part of this persecution as the Fenrir, and they took their fair share of Caerns from the Uktena and the Wendigo, especially in the Appalachians where the Fianna looked to settled down in Uktena territory. The Uktena and the Fianna have not shared a sense of trust since.
The Great Wars came to affect the Fianna in the gravest of ways. Fianna lands were battered, blasted, and broken by mortal weaponry and warfare. The First War was a masterpiece of the Wyrm Aspect Beast-of-War, and during the chaos and slaughter the Spirals kept the Garou from intervening by attack Septs all across the Isles. Numerous Fianna from all over the world came to help fight and defend their homeland, but it all seemed so the Garou could not intervene in the violence and bloodshed. By the end of the conflict little good had come of the fight with the Spirals, who had become more firmly entrenched in Europe.
World War II brought a new kind of war and desperation as the Spirals rose again. This time, however, the Tribes united like never before to fend off the Nazi threat. The Fianna won the majority of the battles for their Caerns, but not all of them. Some say that Hitler had an obsession with occult artifacts, and as a result this led to the loss of many Fetishes of the many European Tribes. The Fianna’s fighting remained within the European theater, though Australian Fianna did contribute some in the Pacific, they were more concerned with the results of the massacre of the Bunyip.
This brings us to the conflicts of the Irish people in their struggles for how they establish their independence. As a sign of courtesy and respect to the players and people who had to endure such violence, we are not running or involving the Tribe in any plots regarding the Troubles. We will not attempt to weave a story around this time. Suffice it to say that the Fianna and their kinfolk remained resolved in not getting involved in the struggles, and were preoccupied with dealing with the Wyrm in the Isles. Moving on.
In 1976, the third and most recent battle of Tara came to pass. At the dawn of Beltane an army of Black Spiral Dancers converged from all sides on Tara with modern and ancient weapons. Explosives, toxic gas, and silver-loaded machine guns as well as massive Banes summoned from Malfeas itself were present. All were used and did massive damage to the Fianna, their kinfolk and Tara itself. Besieged and struggling, the Ard Righ, Brendan O’Rourke used his great antler horn which resounded the world over to any and all Fianna. In moments, silver flashes appeared as moon bridges brought Fianna packs in from all over the world to defend their ancestral Caern. With all of the Fianna present the Spirals were fought back and destroyed, and Tara defended.
In November of 2000, the most recent and fourth battle of Tara took place as Silver Tara was sieged, again at dawn, by a large assault force of Black Spiral Dancers. In the Scottish Highlands, ancient tunnels that were long abandoned crawled with Wyrm Howlers. Again, the Ard Righ O’Rourke had to use his horn to call on the Tribe again to defend their ancestral home. It was with this second attack that O’Rourke stepped down from the throne and his successor, Bron Mac Fionn became the new Ard Righ. It is said that O’Rourke stepped down to go on an Umbral journey at the order of Stag to discern how Silver Tara, which is covered in Glamours and magics that keep it unfound by any who had not been there, had been assaulted twice. Other rumors, though only uttered as whispers, say it was O’Rourke’s fallen son Gair, which is why O’Rourke feels so passionately about resolving the identity and existence of the traitor.
Since Bron has taken the throne of the Fianna, he has worked tirelessly to reunite the Fianna with their Faerie-kin. He has even appointed a Troll to serve as his body-guard. Though Bron has ruled for over a decade, the dissent of his rule over the Fianna as being overly concerned with the Fae and not with matters at hand has only worsened. He rarely listens to his Council of Song, and any king with no mind to heed the wisdom of his peers shows a lack of what is necessary to be a king, much less the Ard Righ. Some say that other Fianna have spoken of petitioning Stag to challenge him for the throne. Whether these words carry any weight remains to be seen.
Who Have The Fianna Become?
- Ireland: Ireland is the spiritual home of the Fianna, and it is from Ireland that the Tribe and its ancestors originated. It is Ireland that served as the place of union between the Tribe and the Fae, and it is the place that the Fianna have never lost a Tribal Caern despite the many wars and conflicts in the Fianna’s past. The Tribal Caerns of Silver Tara and the Tri-Spiral are located in Ireland, and by the direction of former Ard Righ Brendan O’Rourke it has been the seat of power for the Fianna. The current Ard Righ Bron Mac Fionn maintains Ireland as the seat of Fianna governance.
- Scotland, Wales, and Britain: These three countries serve as the other melting pots of Celtic culture most attributed to the Tribe of Stag. Significant ties to the Fae have also originated in these lands, especially Wales. Though the various peoples of these islands have had their own conflicts and wars the Fianna have ties that bind to these lands that are far older than the humans or their fights. While these lands used to be the sole provinces of the Fianna and the White Howlers, ages of raid and conquest have littered these lands with Silver Fang and Fenrir holds. It can still be said that the Fianna hold the most sway politically and have recovered most of their Caerns, the Fianna still have to work and compromise with these other Tribes.
- The United States and Canada: Whereas Ireland is the spiritual home of the Fianna, North America represents the actual home of the Fianna in modern times. There are more of the Tribe in these two countries than the entirety of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Britain. This can be attributed to the mass exodus of the Irish people through conflict, famine, and persecution, and the Fianna’s ties to their family. The United States Tribal Caern of the Fianna is in the Great Smoky Mountains and called the Sept of Living Echoes.
- Australia: Australia finds a very large Fianna population among the Garou Nation. In recent centuries Australia was used as a penal colony for prisoners of England. No few Fianna kinfolk songs lament of the trip to and the trials of the hostile wilds of Van Diemen’s land. The Fianna unfortunately did participate in the eradication of the Bunyip not so long ago, and regret that they so easily fell for a trap of the Wyrm. The Songkeeper camp still searches Australia for lost tales and lore of the Bunyip.
- Everywhere Else: France and Spain were the lands of the Gauls and the Celts in ages past, and still in modern times the Fianna find a presence in these countries, though it is certainly less felt than other Tribes. Any place that the English had colonized is sure to have some small presence of Fianna, whether it is India, or Hong Kong, trace amounts of Fianna kinfolk, and thus some Tribe members can occasionally be found. Africa is forbidden from the Tribe.
Family: To the Fianna family is king. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, cousins and every other branch of the family tree is a matter of not just import, but deep pride to a Fiann. Fianna believe nothing is thicker than blood. This is not to say that there aren’t quarrels within the family. Some of the fieriest fights are within the family, but the moment an outsider attempts to get involved they quickly find that the ranks close. A Fiann against his brother, a Fiann and his brother against his cousin, and the family against the world, is a fair perspective of how important family is to the Fianna.
Players are encouraged to work out lines of their Fianna family and ties with other players and storytellers all through the organization. This helps facilitate that all-important family aspect of the Fianna, and creates a whole network of ties for new and old players alike. It is for this reason also that Fianna players should feel heavily encouraged to start with at least two levels of Background: Kinfolk.
Passion: From the most enthralled, yet doomed romances to the most destructive and all-consuming hatreds – the Fianna feel every degree of the scale of emotion and they feel it profoundly. This passion is not so much a form of manic-depressive disorder as it is that whatever they are worked up to they feel it to the full extent, not that it shifts without cause or at every tiny provocation. More that when Fianna are moved to feel something or that they break, they break more intensely and powerfully than most people have ever felt. This makes Fianna simply the most likely of any Tribe to fall truly, madly, deeply in love. For those interested in stories with a love theme (as tragic they may be in the World of Darkness), the Fianna make a great Tribe to play.
The passion of the Tribe sometimes makes them too intense and difficult to handle in terms of friendships and relationships, but it is exactly this passion that makes them so fun to play. They are melodramatic, and moody, and to hold on tight through each mood swing and play it through creates a unique role-playing experience. Fianna Philodox have to be particularly astute as this abundance of emotion leads to other dangers, not the least of which is Harano which once afflicts a Fiann becomes a legendary tale to see them come out from.
Ancestry: Hailing from the medieval Celts the Fianna have long ancestral lines throughout Western Europe. Not simply Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England – but also France, Spain and numerous other European countries. This Celtic culture has followed them down through the ages by song and story and created a reverence for those who have come before.
It is expected that by the time a Fiann has entered into Garou society they are well aware of their ancestry for many generations back. They have learned of the great heroes and heroines (Garou and kinfolk alike) in their lineage, and can recite their ancestors’ tales. Many Fiann seek to become living legends as the next great generation with sagas and tales of their own to pass down for generations to come.
As a Fianna player trace a lineage for your character back several generations, and work with other Fianna players to make great legends and heroes of the past and to know their tales to tell at moots. Sitting down and creating goals for your character, the time of heroics you want to achieve, can also lend to making your own saga for the Galliards! It is for these reasons that Fianna should feel encouraged to take a few levels of the Background: Ancestors.
The Old Ways: Fianna prize the “Old Ways” as they cherish the knowledge of those that went before them. This makes the Fianna more than slightly superstitious, but also adds an element of culture that is great for adding character to a Fiann. Whatever culture you’ve chosen your Fiann to descend from it is worthwhile to invest time in picking up a few odd beliefs of that culture. Common things to accentuate your Fiann might be prayers, expressions and turns of phrase, swearing by the names of old heroes or heroines, etc. Some of the most common Fianna cultural ways, customs, and prejudices are:
- Triads: Fianna value the number three and multiples of three (nine is also auspicious, three by three). They see things in pairs of three as omens of good or bad luck. They arrange their virtues in triads, and they revere Gaia as the Triad of the Mother, Moon, and Sun. The Morrigan: Three aspects of war. Adding small reverence to the number three in the way you portray and costume your character is a great way to add detail and highlight to your Fiann.
- Virtues: Most Fianna place emphasis on the “Three Great Virtues” of Hospitality, Generosity, and Bravery. Bravery already being a prized trait of the Garou is commonplace, but Hospitality and Generosity are something distinctly Fianna. Typically, Hospitality includes Fianna welcoming and respecting visitors to stay (a three day welcome is customary, but the Fianna aren’t often rude enough to boot someone out at that point unless they have to), being respectful toward those who have welcomed them into their home and territory, and in general being hospitable. Generosity takes form in how much the Fianna give of themselves to others, whether it be the best food and quarters to visitors, lavish gifts to friends and relations, or even good to the less worthy. Though Fianna are generous, they aren’t overly concerned with financial resources, as those things are simply a means to an end. Still, it is not uncommon for a Fianna to be willing to give someone the shirt off of his back.
- Fae: As the tales go, in the earliest nights of Ireland and the Tribe, the Fianna and the Fae shared blood relations. The mercurial nature of the Fae made the ties with the Fae as varying as the moods of the Fianna themselves. However, when the homeland was in danger by dark forces the pacts held true and the Fianna and the Fae sacrificed and spilt blood together to drive evil from the land. As a result, most Fianna have some knowledge of the Fae and the old myths surrounding them. Some Fianna even claim to still bare hints of Faerie ancestry to these days. To say that Fianna still trust the Fae would be a stretch. The Fianna know better, but they also know that in desperate times the Fae can be called upon as fierce but capricious allies.
- Perfection: An often unspoken theme of the Fianna is perfection, and it is both their blessing and their curse. Their perfection manifests in their need to be great heroes worthy of legend, so they strive to be the greatest craftsmen, warriors, storytellers, poets, and performers. It is also their bitter disdain of the Metis who showcase the Fianna’s weakness of will.
- Physical Deformity: According to the tales of the past the Wyrm was not as subtle then as it is now. When the taint of the Wyrm spread across Celtic lands it would manifest in bent, buckled, and broken physical frailties and even blemishes. It is for this reason that the Fianna judge their leaders by many traits, but also that a King must be without physical impairment. Cosmetic scars and wounds are acceptable, and expected among any decent Garou – but while a Garou with a lost limb or physical impairment can go far and earn great renown and tales of glory to echo the halls of the Fianna forever, they will never become a Righ (King) of the Tribe. This is also a large reason why the Fianna treat their Metis so poorly, but we’ll get more in to that later.
- Life: In almost a summation of these themes for the Fianna is the theme of “Life”. Sing as if no one were listening. Dance as if no one were watching. And live every day as if it were your last. It’s an Irish saying, and it is printed on the back of the Tribebook for good reason. For the Fianna all the fighting and warring and terror that is the life of the Garou is all a sacrifice for the best moments of life. Unlike some Tribes who live to fight, Fianna fight to live – and they do it with everything they have to give.
The Fianna Tribe is steeped in many different cultures which makes them hard to accurately describe in any form of brevity. That said, this section will primarily describe the culture of the Tribe, but focus less on the Tribes of the human cultures they come from. We leave that research to the player as part of the process of getting a better understanding of who their character is and the environment they come from.
It is worth mentioning that canon currently holds the majority of Fianna being in North America (United States and Canada) than in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, or Englad. There are also Fianna found commonly in Australia. This means that players shouldn’t feel compelled to have to make a character from a specific region as they are very geographically widespread.
Stag is at the heart of this Tribe. He is more than a distant spirit that the Tribe acknowledges and rallies around. Stag is like family, and the Fianna take the title “patron” to literal regard as “father”. It could be said that the Fianna venerate Stag on the same level as Gaia herself as the father and the mother. Stag has ties to the Faeries, and it is said that the Good Folk honored Stag long before the wolves honored him as a totem. Stag manifests as a triune as well. His three aspects are The White Hart, Cernunnos, and Herne the Horned One. Honoring any of these aspects to a Fiann is the same as honoring Stag himself.
The White Hart, a large white stag, represents Stag in regard to family, the hearth, and kinship. It is most considered the aspect of love, passion, and romance as well good will, hospitality, and generosity. A toast to The White Hart over a large family gathering, meal, or celebration is typically considered the correct way to begin. The White Hart is a spirit of wisdom and is extremely elusive. The White Hart has never been caught, but if seen must always be chased. Often during the chase Fianna will come to find that The White Hart was drawing the Garou to discover a lost Kinfolk or a Cub, or a situation that needs the Fiann’s attention; and so the importance of the chase rather than the capture is well known.
Cernunnos is Stag’s representation of the Lord of Beasts and is a guardian of the Wyld places of the world and as the warder of the Otherworld. The Children of Dire give thanks and reverence to Cernunnos often, and it is said that Cernunnos is a custodian of the ties to the Fae with his ties to Danu. Cernunnos is seen in the deepest of Wyld places, and his presence marks a place untouched by man that should be guarded. If seen outside of places of the Wyld, it is often as an omen that some place of Wyld is in danger or needs to be rediscovered by the Garou. Cernunnos is usually found sitting cross-legged and is a large, muscular humanoid, often confused for being Fae for his Otherworldly grace and aura. He has a massive set of antlers sprouting from his head, a full head and face of wild brown hair, holding and wearing intricate and beautiful torcs, and surrounded by all manner of beasts and creatures.
The final manifestation of Stag is that of Herne the Horned One, also called Herne the Huntsman, and he is Stag’s manifestation of war and vengeance as Herne leads the Wild Hunt. He is seen as a massive man bedecked in a cloak and clothes of leathers and furs with a large headdress of black feathers and long antlers. Carrying a massive boar spear and surrounded by a pack of nine coal black hounds with fiery green eyes (called Hounds of the Hunt) he is an intimidating sight to behold. The call of his horn and the baying of his Hounds terrify even the most abominable Wyrm creatures. Whispers say that Herne and his Hounds can outpace the fastest Lupus Garou, and they never tire. He espouses the skills of survival in the wild, the hunt, athletics and combat prowess. When Herne is seen Fianna know it is time to go forth and destroy the Wyrm.
When playing your Fiann, don’t hesitate to utter a prayer of thanks, or in asking for a blessing to these aspects of Stag, whether it be to The White Hart for the family or love your Fianna has, to Cernunnos for an adventure into unknown territory, or to The Horned One for a hunt of the Wyrm or Stag’s enemies.
As family oriented as the Fianna are it should be no surprise that the Fianna hold their Kinfolk very near and dear to them. Kinfolk have played a large part in the history of the Fianna both in legend and in modern nights. Fianna tales are filled with accounts of brave Fianna Kinfolk gathering into their own “packs” of three or nine and going forth to work on behalf of the Tribe. This practice continues on even to this day. In some rare circumstances Kinfolk are also welcomed into Fianna packs as full members.
Fianna Kinfolk sometimes also represent a dilemma for the Garou Fianna in that they are often the inspiration behind inner-Tribe quarrels and concerns. Kinfolk quarrels between themselves and other humans have also dragged the Tribe into mortal affairs more often than the Fianna would like. The Righs of modern nights have done as much to stress the pertinence of encouraging Garou and Kinfolk alike to distance themselves from mortal politics as the Tribe simply has too many other threats to contend in the world of mortal politics. This is easier said than done, because the strongest heart strings a Fianna has is for his family.
While the Tribe of Stag is easily more open with their Kinfolk than nearly any of the other Tribes of Garou, not all Kinfolk are aware of the true nature of the Fianna. Some Kinfolk simply aren’t brought into the struggles of the Tribe, but all are maintained and watched out for – even if this means indirectly.
The Fianna see Metis as an example of neglect and dishonor of the importance of Kinfolk.
Creating a family of Kinfolk for your Fiann, even if it is in background and with NPCs, adds richness to your story, and also gives the Storytellers means to motivate your character and give her something to care about beyond the everyday existence of the Garou.
For a Tribe that is so emotionally driven it stands to reason that they are known well for their expressive natures. Fianna are renowned as master craftsmen of all different vocations. From brewing, tattooing, and cooking to the myriad forms of metalworking and smithing, to storytelling, poetry, singing, dancing and all other forms of musical talent. Their talents don’t end in the performing arts though. Stag is a totem of athletics, endurance, and the hunt. Any form of physical sport of competition or outdoor prowess is also entirely viable.
These forms of expression are important to the Fianna, because as Stag shows them – no person is simply one thing. No Fianna is as simple as just being a warrior, they have other dimensions and purposes and callings. The Fianna value performance and the ability to share the fire in ones’ soul as much if not more than the ability to kill things.
This makes the choice of an art for your Fianna an important aspect of your character’s development. Maybe you’re a young Fianna who is still seeking to discover their form of expression, an already established Fianna who hasn’t found the art form that best represents her after having tried many, or you could be the veteran Fianna who is perfecting your expressiveness to be told throughout your saga.
Fostering is a Celtic tradition that is countless ages old, and lives on in the Fianna traditions without exception. This tradition can likely be attributed to the tightly woven sentiment that keeps Stag’s Tribe so powerfully united in the darkest times. In ancient times, fostering occurred between different Septs, but as Septs become rarer and separated by greater distances, fostering now usually happens within the same Sept.
The Fianna keep close tabs on their Kinfolk, and as a benefit of that they don’t often miss a yet-changed Garou, nor do they lose them to the other predators of Cubs. After the Fianna Kin has changed and is brought to the Sept, he or she is fostered to an older Garou. The fostered cub is usually given to their closest blood relative Fianna, however, if the Cub has no blood relatives in the Sept, the Council of Song chooses a foster for the Cub. The surrogate becomes referred to by the Cub as Aunt or Uncle. The Uncle effectively becomes the Cub’s parent, and is responsible for her behavior, and for making sure that the young Garou grows up well and honors his pack and Sept. Any action that would impact the Cub’s honor, also impacts the Uncle’s.
It is considered a great honor to be selected to foster a cub (and is in fact, worthy of Honor renown each month that the Cub is fostered all the way through when the Cub passes his Rite of Passage), and it is impressively difficult (read: a common and nearly required component) for the Tribe to acknowledge one to become an Athro of the Fianna without having fostered a Cub. Metis Cubs are rarely fostered. Instead, they are the sole responsibility of their blood parents. If a Metis’ parents fail to care for the child, then the Cub is sent to a Caern of the Children of Gaia.
Fianna players are encouraged to make ties with other Fianna players or NPCs to have been fostered by them. This again creates the important familial feeling and ties that are at the core of this Tribe of Garou.
The Rite of Passage
After approximately a year of fostering and training, during which the Cubs have been denied both alcohol and sex, they are expected to have gone through and learned large quantities of information.
The first and most important knowledge they will have received is a comprehensive knowledge of the history of the Tribe, known as the 12 Sagas, and are expected to be able to recite it well upon command. Galliards are expected to be able to execute the tales with greater depth and verve. A Fiann Cub that does not know the Tribe’s history cannot become a member of the Tribe. It is in this way that the Fianna keep their Tribal history alive and thriving down to a single Garou. In this teaching the Fosterling learns of the traditions, protocols, and values of their soon-to-be Tribe.
There are also several physical tests given to the young Fiann. Often, Uncles and Aunts will give them tests equivalent to feats committed by legendary characters from Irish sagas, with the exploits of the Kinfolk Fionn Mac Cumhail being a favorite. These tests may include pulling a thorn from their foot while running without slackening their pace; defending themselves while being buried to the waist in earth against nine warriors who cast spears, with only a shield and a hazel stick; defending a wooden log over a stream against all comers; being the first up a cliff while pursued by three other Garou; tracking a specific animal for three days and three nights without it knowing that the Fiann is there; having their hair woven into braids and then chased through the woods eluding capture, without snapping a twig underfoot or causing a braid of hair to be disturbed, and other legendary feats.
Once passed, the Fosterling begins on their final journey to becoming of the Fianna. She must first craft or win something of great value in the eyes of the Council of Song, and then sacrifice it to the Caern’s totem. This can be anything from an intricately worked torc, shield, or weapon to a trophy won from an enemy in trickery or combat. The item is sacrificed by casting it into the water at the heart of the Caern.
The Fosterling will have spent lengths of time in the Otherworld alongside their Uncle, and become exposed and given basic knowledge of the Umbra. They will use this knowledge to step into the Umbra at the heart of the Caern and are expected to find one of the incarnations of Stag (The White Hart, The Horned One, or Cernunnos). Often this is done with other Fosterlings (typically in groups of three or nine) that have reached this stage in their training as well. The incarnation of Stag considers the group, and those worthy are given a final quest to join the Tribe.
Sent back to the Caern by the incarnation, the Fosterlings are then properly decorated and blessed by the Sept’s Druids by being stripped naked and adorned with Ogham runes and knotwork. This process is done publically, and is meant to be more than a little humiliating to the Fosterlings. It is important that they are able to withstand derision and show a proper sense of humor. Once prepared and blessed they are sent on their quest. Should they pass, they arrive back at the Sept to a massive revel thrown in their honor. They are greeted with the finest brews and paired with a sweetheart to enjoy the night. The next day after the party-fatigue has worn-off, they undergo the full Rite and are official made members of the Tribe and given their first deed names.
As the Faeries taught the Fianna the power over things that comes with naming, the Fianna have a naming tradition. It is lore found only among the Tribe that Fianna in fact have three types of names. The name they are given when they are born, the name and names they are given as a Garou when they come into the Tribe or accomplish deeds, and a final, secret name that is given to them by Stag when they complete their Rite of Passage. This name is kept most secret, and shared only with the dearest and most true loved ones and companions of the Fianna.
The Moons and The Roles
While the Fianna are fond of kings and leadership they do not believe the slow, impure, or cowardly have any place in leadership regardless of heritage. It is this purpose, to test those who would be considered worthy, that the No Moons find their place in Stag’s Tribe. Temptation and trickery, puzzles and challenges, the Fianna Ragabash is always watching and studying for weakness in the leadership and members of the Tribe, Sept, and pack itself. The Fianna also value the ability of wit and humor as nearly an equal to Bravery, Hospitality, and Generosity. Being able to laugh at oneself and see the irony of life makes the Tribe stronger, and more apt to change and adapt when tradition gets in the way of reason. None facilitate this like the Ragabash of the Fianna.
Lastly, the tales of Fianna warriors that were more apt to trickery are vast. A Fianna Ragabash fights dirty, and hits foes where and how they least expect it.
Druids and seers of the Tribe, and they are fierce in their dedication to the Spirits. Though the Theurges of the Fianna may be accused of being more out of touch with reality, they are shockingly well-versed in forgotten Rites and magic (most of which showcase the bloody and merciless ways of the ancient Druids that seems lost to “New Age” paganism). Fianna Theurges will go as far as is necessary to appease and maintain positive relationships with the Spirits. Players of Fianna Theurges should feel free to find ways that their characters seems “otherworldly”. Whether they seem to offer small prayers to Spirits as blessings or in bouts of luck, seem to stare into mirrors and pools of water overly long, makes bloody sacrifices under certain moon phases, or behave in some other small way that makes them seem “touched” – it is up to the player, but it creates a very distinct feel for your Theurge.
To be a Half Moon of the Fianna is one of the most challenging roles in the Tribe. In a Tribe that constantly roils in the storms of passion and emotion, to have to be a disciplined voice of reason that sees all sides of an argument is taxing. The tales of the indomitable Wills of the Fianna Half Moon, Wills like steel tempered by their own raging fires within, have earned the Philodox of the Fianna much respect among the Garou Nation. Fianna Philodox find themselves warning their Tribe against the dangers of excess, and minding the Litany. At moots and revels it is the Philodox that keeps a sober watch over their contemporaries to make sure none fall to the temptation of Sin against the First Tenet. In doing such, Stag’s Half Moons have become match makers between Kin and Garou. Better to divert the need for passion by arranging matches before that pent up passion is directed inappropriately, they reason.
It is also the Fianna Philodox who watches those Fianna who may be falling deeply into the throngs of woe and sadness and risk the slip into Harano (a nearly guaranteed death-sentence for the suffering Fiann).
And while the Philodox watch for the falling spirits of their Tribemates it is the Galliard who tends to the Tribe’s spirit and pulls them from the depths of despair. Like great fire-tenders, these wolves of the Gibbous Moon stoke the infernos that blaze within the pounding heart of every one of the Fianna. The talent and mastery of the Galliards of the Fianna is an undisputed fact among the Tribes of the Garou Nation. Some say the ego of the Fianna claims the first of Gaia’s Galliards, to which the Fianna respond, “Not the first, simply the greatest,” with a smile. Indeed, the Fianna do know how to pull the heart strings of the Garou with their songs, poetry, and sagas; but it is more than just the telling that earns the Fianna Galliards’ repute. It is their ability to cause the Garou to see themselves in those sagas and legends and to aspire to that greatness that makes the Fianna Galliards what they are.
Their haunting howls and beating war drums, the likes of which crush the Wyrm-servants morale to its foundation, make them a welcomed ally on any battlefield. Their vast knowledge of the many tales and pasts of the Fianna makes them ready advisors to make sure historical follies are not endured a second time. Nearly as beloved as the heroes of Fianna yore, these Garou who promise to make legends of their fellows are never short of friends and allies who ask their tales to told around the many campfires of the Tribe.
Within the Fianna the Ahroun hold a special place of pride and respect. The Fianna appreciate a good champion and fighter and it is from the Full Moon that most of the glorious sagas are told, as would be expected. Fianna Ahroun stride across the battlefield shining like legends and heroes, adding a flare for combat that bolsters allies and terrifies foes. Some of the more conservative Tribes see Fianna Ahroun as reckless or foolhardy, concerned more with earning their reputation than fighting wisely.
Still, their success on the field of battle and furor earns a nod of respect from even the most battle-hardened Fenrir, who has to wonder what the Fianna would be capable of if they weren’t more interested in the revel after than ongoing battle.
Beyond the standard Auspices the Fianna also identify themselves by one of three (go figure) roles within their Tribe and Garou society. These roles aren’t limited to specific Auspices, though certain Auspices are predisposed to roles better than others as the roles more relate to skill sets and the way a particular Garou works within society. These roles are typically more informal than the standard Auspices, but Fianna use them fairly frequently.
Find a role for your Fiann, and use the term interchangeably or primarily among others of your Tribe. Some may even wish to earn their way into a specific role as declared by their Tribemates.
The Bards are entertainers one and all. Storytellers, jesters, singers and other vocations that lend themselves to performing for others find themselves often referred to as Bards. As might be expected the Galliards and humor-minded Ragabash are frequently labeled as Bards.
The Druids are wisemen and seers. Most often the Theurges, Philodox, and Ragabash are considered Druids as they are keepers of wisdom, though Galliards with a talent as educators are also called Druids. Lorekeepers, Ritualists, Fetish-tenders, and Spirit Liaisons are great Druids.
Warriors are fairly straight-forward, they lead the military strikes against the enemies of the Tribe and Gaia. This role is dominated by the Ahroun, however, it is not uncommon that Ragabash are found as Warriors too as Celtic myth is rife with stories of clever tricksters and heroes who overcome brawn with wit. Tacticians, brawlers, guerilla fighters, and klaive duelists are all found among the Warriors.
Player’s and Storyteller’s Note: The Druids and Bards of the Fianna as lorekeepers and storytellers are often familiar with two distinct Fianna scripts and languages. In the rare times that the Fianna do write something down, even today, they employ the Druidic rune language of Ogham. Said to be created the combined efforts of Faeries, Garou, and ancient druidic mages called Verbena, Ogham is used in all Fianna rites and at all sacred and secret places of the Tribe.
The second “language” is more of a poetic kenning, and as such is rather obscure and secretive. It is the language of story name places known as Dindsenchas which is used in guiding and mapping Fianna lands and important locations. Dindsenchas is a reflection of knowledge of the many tales of the Fianna, and the more well-versed the storyteller, the more fluent they are likely to be in Dindsenchas. To be able to understand, “From the cover of the sea, over the great Secret of the Tuatha de Danaan, and the Foam of the Two Steeds of Emain Macha; over the Morrigu’s garden…” (The Wooing of Emer), and know where is being referenced is the language of Dindsenchas.
Fianna who seek to embody these roles are highly encouraged to invest points in Ability: Linguistics: Ogham, and Ability: Linguistics: Dindsenchas. Storytellers are encouraged to expect knowledge of these two languages for any Garou to have higher levels (4 and 5) of Lore: Fianna.
Like the majority of the Tribes of the Garou Nation the Homid breed dominates the population of the Fianna. Descending from the many nations of Western Europe, as well as the United States, Canada, and Australia, the Tribe is rich with many of the cultures of the world. A common misconception of the Fianna is that regardless of where they come from they tend to put on an “Oirish” brogue, and speak of lands they’ve never seen and tales they’ve never heard. The Fianna are far too original for that, and represent wherever they are from (with perhaps an enhanced appreciation and taste for life through revelry, stories of the past, and a good scrap).
Homids also bring the human perspective and condition to the Tribe which is a mixed blessing. An inclination for politics, jealousy, and idealism from the primitive “monkey mind” has lead the Fianna into fractious inner and outer quarrels.
Also like the majority of the Tribes of the Garou Nation the Lupus population is woefully low. The Fianna being predisposed to human feelings and human matters find themselves regrettably forgetting about their Lupus kin. In addition to the impact the expansion of humanity has had on native wolf populations, the Lupus of this Tribe are rare. Though rare as they may be, the Lupus Fianna are never soft spoken or unknown. As fierce as any Fiann, the Lupus fight harder than most Homids to make sure that the Fianna do not forget their kin in all of their battles, and understand the importance of family.
The Lupus of the Fianna are also renowned for their majestic, powerfuly, and terrfying appearance as harkening back to the dire wolves of old with shining coats of red or black fur. Among the a Tribe that appreciates the inspiring power of a howl, the Fianna Lupus can rend the heart for their beauty and sadness.
Among the Fianna the lowest and most despised are the Metis. They are third class citizens at best, and can only hope to ever achieve the greatness of the most mediocre tales of one of another breed. Fianna cubs are often encouraged to tease, bully, and abuse their Metis counterparts. The Fianna treatment of the Metis has caused the concern of many of those outside the Tribe, but when questioned the Fianna cite that frequent fall of Metis to the Wyrm, and that if Fianna Metis can endure the treatment of the Fianna they can surely resist the temptations of the Wyrm. Tales still spread of how more remote and traditional Fianna Caerns “dispose” of Metis pups at birth.
Metis Fianna can never hold the title of Righ or Ard-Righ among the Tribe, nor can they serve on a Council of Song, or as a Righ’s Tánaiste. Metis cannot hold a Chair of Song, Poetry, or Stories. Metis cannot hold Tribal artifacts or Klaives (though personally crafted ones are acceptable, though they part with the Metis when he dies and are not passed on), and Metis are not allowed near a Fianna Caern heart without the most dire of circumstances (such as an attack on the Caern itself). In modern nights, the best life a Metis child of a Fianna couple can hope for is in the arms of an adoptive Child of Gaia or Black Fury (for female pups), and this is quite a common practice.
As discussed earlier in the cultural ways of the Fianna, the disdain for physical blemishes and impurity is one of the major supporting factors of the way that the Fianna treat their Metis pups. However, the seed of the issue goes far deeper than that, though none would hear a Fianna admit it publically. The real issue with the Metis children of Fianna stems from the insecurities of the Fianna themselves. The Tribe cannot help but be hopeless romantics, swept away by passion and emotion with ease. Nothing creates a powerful and deep intimacy like fighting and surviving in the trenches against the worst horrors of the Wyrm with those of ones’ pack, Sept or Tribe. The Fianna are embarrassed with how easily they find themselves in violation of the First Tenet of the Litany, and the Metis are a constant reminder of their failures. For a Tribe that fashions themselves as heroes with legends to pass down the ages, the inability to keep it in one’s pants and defile Gaia’s Laws haunts a Fiann and his family for all time. It is for this reason that the Metis will never find anything close to acceptance within Stag’s Children.
While it may be difficult to play such prejudice it is of the utmost importance that Fianna players understand this intrinsic disgust and shame within the Tribe they are playing and embrace it. Despite the merits and best efforts of any Metis character, they will never be considered, spoken to, or regarded as equals to a Garou of any other breed. The Metis’ lot in life is to fight and die in the name of Gaia, long before the Homids and Lupus. In such a death a Metis can find some peace they have honored themselves and their Tribe.
Metis Fianna characters are characteristically devoid of a sense of self-worth or appreciation. Having their position in life beaten in to them for every inch of their existence has produced Metis that despise themselves and the deeds of their parents as much as their Tribe does. Submissive to their superiors (everyone else), they often behave in the manners of a beaten animal. Often refusing eye contact, speaking lowly and softly, but fighting with a fury that is often unsettling, a Metis Fianna on the battlefield is one of the most terrifying sights to behold. Even the vast forces of the Wyrm tremble at the rage-filled howl of a creature that has endure what the Metis of Stag have.
Player’s and Storyteller’s Note: This write up is not designed to discourage the playing of a Metis Fianna character. Such a role can prove to be one of the most challenging, and thus rewarding experiences in the Garou game. However, it is crucial that players understand the challenge in taking on such roles, and that Storytellers be aware of the level of difficulty of such a role when players inquire to play a Metis Fianna and present challenges accordingly.
Fianna and The Litany
Garou Shall Not Mate With Garou
As vehement as the Fianna are in their disdain for Metis offspring, and as vehement as they are to the attention to this First Tenet of the Litany, the Fianna tend to be one of the more frequent violators of this Tenet.
It is not for disrespect for the Litany, but instead that their own passions tend to get the better of them. Fianna don’t love casually, and as much as the Philodox may encourage them to find a Kinfolk to live their passions out with, it sometimes doesn’t sate the intimacy felt between Garou who live, bleed, and die next to each other day in and day out. Though the abuse endured by Fianna Metis is unending, the parents of Metis children do not seemed to be punished in an overly harsh manner. As if the Tribe can relate and understand to the passion taking over, or perhaps the understanding that the stain of a Metis on one’s legend is punishment enough.
Combat the Wyrm Wherever It Dwells and Whenever It Breeds
The Fianna are fierce fighters, and consider themselves one of the first Tribes the Wyrm tried to wipe out with the invasion of the Fomori ages ago. Their tenacity for fighting the Wyrm equals that of any of the more warlike Tribes, and their flare for doing so makes them memorable sights on any battlefield.
Respect the Territory of Another
This Tenet of the Litany is given all due respect by the Fianna, who prize hospitality as one of their key virtues. Fianna are well familiar with etiquette and proper territory protocol, and are familiar with bringing crafted gifts in the form of Tokens and other goods to Caerns they visit as well as paying proper homage to Caern spirits.
Accept an Honorable Surrender
Fianna may be prideful Garou, but they are also renowned good sports and know how to treat a bested foe with respect and let them up easy. This makes the Fianna also familiar with recognizing and acknowledging when they’ve been bested. Then again, the customary celebration drink and toast to the loser often helps mend any wounded pride.
As might be expected such sentiments of good will end at allies of the Wyrm.
Submission to Those of Higher Station
The Fianna recognize that any Garou of their Tribe that is of a higher station has been put to the test to be there. This means they are well aware of how to follow orders and give respect where it is due. Fianna also know that in order to earn respect, it has to first be given.
This doesn’t prevent jibes in good humor though.
The First Share of the Kill for the Greatest in Station
In the same aspect that those of greater station have been tested and proven to be there, the Fianna pay proper respect to this Tenet of the Litany. Stag’s Tribe are also renowned trophy collectors, and so weapons, fangs, and other memorabilia from fights are highly prized.
Still, it’s a poorly disciplined cub that takes from a kill before the more seasoned Garou have earned their prize.
Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans
To the Fianna this Tenet is simply commonsense, and applies to wolves just as equally as it does humans. Galliards often discourage members of the Tribe with tales of the foulness taste of manflesh, and that is a sign of madness and corruption.
Respect Those Beneath Ye – All Are of Gaia
Fianna very much understand that Gaia is a cycle, and that all things have their turn in the cycle. Fianna pay proper respect to this Tenet, though some Tribes are more than willing to point to the Fianna’s treatment of the Metis as an example of just the opposite.
The Veil Shall Not Be Lifted
Though the Fianna tend to be more open with their Kinfolk than other Tribes, they still recognize the gravity of the Veil, and maintain it as much as possible.
Do Not Suffer Thy People to Tend Thy Sickness
While the Fianna understand the pertinence of this Tenet, it is one that can be difficult for them to uphold. Wise and old Fianna tend to have many friends and family, and the compassion that comes with long ties weighs on the Fianna in orders of magnitude greater than that of other Tribes; this makes saying goodbye when it is necessary hard for Fianna to accept.
The Leader May Be Challenged at Any Time During Peace
This is one of the most important Tenets to the Fianna. A weak leader makes a weak Tribe, Sept, or pack, and no leader – no matter how eloquent a speaker or prestigious of Pure Breed leads a Fiann without proving his worth.
That said the Fianna do not spend all of their time challenging leaders, and not earning glory. However any Garou that hopes to lead a member of Stag’s Tribe can expect regular and strenuous tests to prove their physical, mental, and spiritual worthiness.
The Leader May Not Be Challenged During Wartime
And the Fianna’s respect for this Tenet is why the previous is so crucial. No war can endure leadership that is constantly undermined and questioned. So it is that the Fianna make sure that leaders prove themselves thoroughly during peace time, but during war the chain of command remains unbroken.
Ye Shall Take No Action That Causes a Caern to Be Violated
As one of the War Tribes, the Fianna leave no question about the sanctity of this Tenet of the Litany. Causing a Caern to be Violated is cause and guarantee to be put down.
The Fianna Tribe for all of its unity is a very diverse lot. Each Fianna answers the beckoning to different purposes and callings in life to serve Stag and Gaia. Some Fianna don’t join any of the following Camps, and while most of these Camps are founded in centuries worth of history there is nothing to keep a new Camp from forming.
The Songkeepers are the most commonly recognized Camp of all of the Fianna, and easily among the oldest. They are dedicated to keeping the history of not just the Fianna but all of the Garou Nation alive and thriving in the Silver Record. They are found traveling the world learning songs and stories at the various firesides of the Nation’s Tribes, and are pretty universally accepted, respected, and welcomed to hospitality in exchange for their knowledge. While the Songkeepers are typically Galliards they are not exclusively so. They are also comprised of Philodox and Theurges who travel to learn the various laws, traditions, Rites and magics of the other Tribes. Some Ragabash, intent on acquiring knowledge and secrets join the Songkeepers as well. The Songkeepers are well known to allow members of other Tribes as well.
The Brotherhood of Herne have far more martial goals and trials, however. This Camp arose in ages long past in response to the various Wyrm threats that cropped up all along the Celtic homelands. Composed primarily of Ahrouns and some Ragabash (Warriors), they are a few members of each Sept around an area, and get together to hunt down the various Wyrm beasties surrounding different Septs. This makes the Brotherhood a rapid response team to the worst threats to Gaia, and a sure way that the Fianna have a presence at every major conflict. This method of taking the fight to the Wyrm caused quite the inspiration and recruitment among young and old Ahroun alike. The Brotherhood is currently rallied and lead by Burns-the-Worm, and she stands as Righ of the Camp.
The Rovers are an example of a broken paradigm of the Fianna. Typical Fianna are fiercely dedicated to their homes and their lands where they have created families and ties, and so the Rovers shatter this convention by wandering all over Gaia. Among their number are the gypsies, the vagabonds, and all others who have an unquenchable wanderlust. The dilemma for this Camp is that their intentions are hardly as well-known as the Songkeepers. So what are the Rovers up to? While not widely spoken of, the Rovers are the eyes and ears of the Tribe. The Righs of the Rovers report to the Ard Righ which keeps the Fianna well-informed and quick to respond to threats.
If any Camp can contest the Songkeepers in age, it would be the Grandchildren of Fionn. Though the Camp itself is old it’s members are often quite young, usually within their first year or two of being Garou. The Grandchildren seek to live up to the glories of their ancestors past by roaming their regions and nations looking for foes to fight, challenges to overcome, and sagas to earn. While there are some more senior members of the Grandchildren of the Fionn,, typically the allure wears off and the call to settle down with Kin and a warm hearth supercedes the need for adventure.
The Children of Dire are a Camp dedicated to the purity of the wild places of the world, and are composed of almost entirely of Lupus Fianna. Though Homid Fianna who have shown a dedication to protecting Lupus kinfolk, and the wild by running with Dire packs can be considered honorary members of the Camp. Metis Fianna are never allowed in the Camp, nor the wild and pure places they protect.
The smallest of the Camps of the Fianna are the Tuatha De Fionn (Children of Fionn). They specialize in studying and knowing the various pacts and ties with the Faeries. They know best of all the Fianna the capricious nature of the Good Folk, and go through trips to the Arcadia Gateway through the Umbra to observe the Faeries at a distance and acquire special lore and knowledge of them. After their trips to Arcadia the Tuatha then work with and maintain relations between the Tribe and the Fae. No Fianna chooses to join the Tuatha, but are instead recruited by existing Tuatha who see special qualities in the potential recruit (some whisper of Faerie blood, others of some other exposure to the Fae). The Tuatha also study the other denizens of the World of Darkness and collect knowledge of them.
Leadership of the Tribe of Stag
The following is a guide to how the Fianna select and maintain their leadership. It is designed to create inner-Tribe politics and communication and cooperation as well as giving individuals a chance on nearly every level to participate in the Tribe on the scale of our organization. Most of this is taken from the Tribebooks (Revised and 2nd Ed), though some of it has been created to facilitate the aforementioned gameplay.
As with most of the ways of the Fianna their Tribal structure is based on ancient Celtic culture. Fianna Septs are led by a Righ, which is the equivalent of a Chieftan or warleader. In order to become a Righ a Fiann must pass a number of very challenging tests. He has to prove himself in utmost physical condition, quick-witted to jest and answer riddles, and able to endure pain and show strength and speed enough to defeat the strongest of foes. He must also know the Silver Record and the legends of the Fianna Tribe by rote memory, and tell them with great skill. The Righ’s responsibilities are vast as she is King of the Fiann of her protectorate. She is responsible for maintaining ties between the Fianna and the other Tribes of her protectorate, as well as maintaining communication and cooperation between the other Righs beneath her. The scope of a Righ’s decision making power is anything that will only impact her protectorate. She can petition a higher Righ if a decision needs to be made with impacts on a grander scale. She is also imparted the duty to allocate the resources of her protectorate as necessary to fulfill the needs of the Fianna. A Righ can create and appoint new offices to handle specific tasks, but these offices cannot supercede or impede the core chain of command given here. While a Righ can appoint Metis to roles, the Righ must be very careful as to what responsibilities and roles he lets a Metis have. Anything commanding other non-Metis or entrusting Fianna secrets or Caerns is cause for immediate consternation from the Tribe. Righs are also allowed to appoint a successor to their throne, which will be discussed more in just a moment. Righs are often found among the Ahroun and Galliard Auspices, however, nothing prevents a qualified member of another Auspice from becoming a Righ.
Council of Song
Though the Righ leads the Sept, he is advised by a Council of Song. A Righ’s Council of Song is typically composed of the three wisest and most learned Fianna (typically Galliards and Philodox, though Ragabash, Theurges, and very wise Ahroun can challenge for the role as well) of the Righ’s protectorate. As with all positions within the Tribe, Fianna who desire to be on a Council of Song must prove themselves worthy of the title in challenges and competitions hosted by the Righ. This is one of the positions within the Tribe that maimed or “blemished” Fianna (excluding Metis) can contend for. The Council of Song is responsible for organizing moots and rituals for the Fianna the Righ oversees, and serve as the Righ’s voices of wisdom and insight. A Righ that goes to war or makes hasty decisions without first consulting his Council of Song does not remain a Righ long. He does not always have to heed them, but it is customary to take the Council’s wisdom and give it three nights of thought (when practical) before making a decision. In the event that a member or the entirety of the Council of Song is killed or deemed unfit by the Righ, a new call may be placed for those who would seek to stand on the Council. Challenges then commence to select new Council members.
All Righs have a second in charge that they select with the vetting and approval of their Council of Song (who will expect that the second proves she is equal to the standards expected of a Righ). This second is called a Tánaiste, and he is the successor to the Righ if the Righ were to fall or leave office. This prevents conflicts within the Tribe during times of war. If Fianna Septs are particularly close to each other in distance, the Tánaiste of one Sept may be the Righ of the smaller Sept.
Now, though a Righ leads her Sept, she in turn recognizes the Righs of more powerful Fianna Septs as their betters. This creates a spiral of leadership, and it scales all the way up to the Ard Righ, the High King of the Fianna and the leader of the entire Tribe. This seat is currently based out of Tara in Ireland, though it has not always been based out of Ireland as previous High Kings have chosen to base the Tribe out of their homelands. The Ard Righ also selects a Tánaiste, but this individual is first vetted on selection by the Ard Righ’s Council of Song, and is vetted a second time by a Council of Righs before a Tánaiste can ascend to the throne. The Righs are not limited to Septs and the Tribe. In modern nights when most Caerns are multi-tribal the Fianna have set to claim thrones as Righs over Regions, which are typically the greatest Righ or Fiann of that Region. Each Region also has a Council of Song, and a Tánaiste as well. These Regional Righs all report to their National Righ, who reports to the Ard Righ. Each Camp of the Fianna has a Righ and a Council of Song as well, who also report to the Ard Righ.
Change of Leadership
Righs and Ard Righs maintain their thrones for as long as they are physically, mentally, and spiritually capable of doing so. This means that a Righ who becomes badly maimed or killed whether by battle or other means, who becomes too old or infirm with illness to lead, or falls from grace of the Tribe or the Garou Nation can be removed from the throne of Righ. Most Righs recognize when they have become unfit for leadership, and will step down of their own accord to no shame or derision. Most former-Righs are given positions of great honor by the newly selected Righ. In situations where a Righ must be declared unfit it is done by the Righ (or Ard Righ) immediately superior to him, and it is quite shameful to have to be removed. In these situations the Tánaiste loses his claim to the throne. During a time while the region, Nation, or Tribe is without a Righ - the former Righ’s Tánaiste and Council of Song (or just the Council of Song if the Tánaiste is unable to ascend) rules in her stead. The Tánaiste assumes the full mantle of responsibility and becomes the new Righ. In the event that the Tánaiste is unable to ascend to the throne, the Council of Song calls for would-be Righs to come forth and make their claim to the throne known. If the former Righ was removed against his volition, the former Tánaiste may compete with all other comers for the throne, but his previous position only makes the challenges for him more difficult to prove he does not bare the taint of dishonor his Righ had. The Council then sets the very rigorous standards and challenges for filling the throne, and the challenges commence. Once the new Righ is selected he must first find a new Tánaiste. It is also allowed for the Righ to call for a new Council of Song, however, it is not mandated. If he chooses to or must select a new Council of Song, this is done before the Tánaiste is selected. In the event than an Ard Righ steps down, the procedures are the same for the stepping down of any other Righ.
Challenging for Leadership
Fianna challenges to replace a Righ are exceedingly uncommon. Most Fianna are able to resolve issues over drinks, and a few decent compromises. Maybe even an informal scrap to put a dispute behind them is in order. Also, few Fianna would want to see themselves considered “as power hungry as Shadow Lords”, and realize that leadership is more about service to and stability of the Tribe than the ability to rule. That being said the Fianna are extremely passionate, and when a Fiann has determined he feels fiery about something he is hard to deter. In the rare event that a Fiann wishes to challenge a current Righ for her throne (a very serious challenge, indeed), this can happen. The challenging Fiann first makes her case to the Righ and Council of Song who are immediately superior to the Righ she is challenging. The proper protocol for doing so is at a moot, where grievances are typically aired. To challenge and contest a Kingship outside of these parameters is considered highly disrespectful, and almost always a grounds for immediate rejection. Honoring the purpose of moots is of huge import to the Fianna. The Fiann must explain and justify the need for a challenge, and the weaknesses in the current Righ that have led to this coming to pass. The Superior Righ and Council then consider the challenge for one month, scrutinizing the challenged Righ for the weaknesses and causes for challenge as presented. These challenges are never issued or permitted lightly, and the Fiann who seeks to clog the chain of command with meaningless disputes and nit-picking will soon find herself losing Honor or Wisdom as well as all repute. If it is deemed that the challenging Fiann’s concerns bear merit, the Superior Righ and Council will create a new series of challenges and tests for the current Righ and the challenging Fiann. These challenges are physically, mentally, and spiritually intense, and require that both the Fianna can pass the standards of being a Righ, as well as overcome the weaknesses found that warranted the challenge to Kingship to begin with. If either the challenger or the incumbent fail these challenges, then the throne goes to the victor. If they both pass the tests and challenges presented, there is a final combat where the victor holds the throne of Righ. This final combat is often very fierce, but it is rarely set to conclude at the death of the loser. The Fianna will only let the most pure and worthy serve as Righ, but it is the duty of the Tribe as a whole to keep the Kings fit. The possibility of death to do what is necessary for the Tribe to remain strong discourages the very practice. If the challenger is victorious then the protocols for a new Righ begin, as mentioned in paragraphs above. While no Ard Righ has been challenged for his throne in recent centuries, the procedures do exist. In past millennia Ard Righ challenges were simple: massively bloody battles between the two Fiann, and the victor took the spoils. This tradition has changed over time, and the current protocols guarantee a more stability to the Tribe so that bloody fights for High Kingship don’t dramatically change the entire Tribe whenever a new Fiann thinks he has the stones to take the new Ard Righ. After all, a maiming of a proper Ard Righ by a power-hungry contender causes concerns about the need to change leadership. Now, the challengers concerns are given to incarnations of Stag, and they must be most grave to warrant taking Its time. It is said that if Stag does not favor the challenge, the challenger catches a glimpse of or has a vision regarding three Black Stags (brood spirits of Stag, usually sent to deliver the Incarnae’s displeasure or disfavor) and the matter is usually dropped there. As there are no current tales of the types of challenges Stag and his brood would issue for the throne of High King, one can only imagine that their terms would be most dire for the Incarnae to involve Itself directly. Most Fianna would sooner work any dilemmas out between them than earn the ire of their patron spirit.
The Fianna hold to the Equinoxes and Solstices as the Quarter Days of the year and the change of the Seasons. On each Quarter Day the Fianna typically host a Grand Moot and perform a minor Rite for the holiday. The ancient Fianna began their new days at sunset, and in honor of this most of these festivals last from evening to evening and not midnight to midnight.
Samhain (Oct 31 – Nov 1)
Samhain marks the beginning of the Fianna calendar year. For a beginning of the year festival it is a relatively calm event. It consists of a grand feast, music and drink to reflect on the year that has passed. Tributes and tales are told in honor of the recently fallen (who typically attend as spirits), and they are saved spots at the feast table. Druids often enact the rite Feast for the Spirits so that the fallen can dine as well. This time of year the Gauntlet is especially thin which makes communion with ancestor spirits much easier. The ritual and event typically help the fallen spirits in passing on as well. Some spirits take advantage of the thinned Gauntlet to cause all forms of mischief.
Imbolc (Feb 1 – Feb 2)
Imbolc is a festival of fertility and hope, acknowledging that while there are many cold nights still ahead, winter is coming to a close. Ritual bonfires dot the Caern, and the tales of the evening are of struggles won and of better times ahead. It is also the festival honoring Brighid, the spirit of creativity and craftsmanship. Honoring this festival is very important for crafters, poets, and performers alike, as Brighid is the muse of Fianna inspiration. It is also said that kinfolk born on this holiday are more likely to breed true.
Beltane (April 30 – May 1)
Beltane is a festival of celebrating new vitality in the light of the light half of the year, and it is filled with wild abandon and celebration. Just after dark, the ritemaster bids every fire in the caern extinguished; after a few minutes of darkness, a new fire is lit, and its flame distributed to rekindle all the others, symbolizing a fresh start and the return of light.
This is perhaps the celebration where the Fianna let go and revel the hardest. Music, food, dancing, and loving are the order of the night, and it is said children conceived during this celebration are more likely to breed true as Garou.
This is also a very important night for Philodox to mind their Tribesmates, as inhibitions are let go and passion flies – it is also the most prone time for the Litany to suffer due to temptation.
Lughnassa (August 1 – 2)
This celebration marks the beginning of the harvest and for the Fianna it is a time to acknowledge fruits of labor and begin gathering strength for the coming Winter. Fresh bread and mead made from grain are the specialty of this celebration.
Moots are an essential part of the Fianna’s existence. Fianna display exactly who they are in revelry and celebration. A Fianna Sept that goes more than a month without some sort of celebration (even during times of conflict), has something seriously wrong with it. Fianna love hosting moots to display their hospitality and generosity. It is a very rare occasion that Fianna have such secret business that other Tribes are not welcomed to their moots. Of the shifters, the Corax are the only shifting breed given open welcome to most Fianna moots. The Ravenfolk are treated as welcomed and respected guests, and their gossip and stories are often much to the Fianna’s delight. They also serve as a perfect scapegoat for any Ragabash that have an agenda of steady pranking during a moot. Though rarer in these times, it is not entirely uncommon for the Fae to show at a Fianna moot to rekindle their ties to their wolf-born cousins. The Fae are welcomed (but not entirely trusted) guests. Fianna Half-Moons often make sure that the Good Folk aren’t bartering or stealing from Fianna that are three sheets to the wind, but also make sure that relations stay amicable.
Fianna themselves love attending moots, their own or even those hosted by other Tribes. Moots allow them to show their storytelling prowess, share the tales of their greatness, or display their great crafts and works of art. All Fianna moots begin at sunset with a Moot Rite and typically last a full three days, and three nights, ending on the sunrise of the fourth day. Each sunrise is marked by a Rite of Greet the Sun, and each moonrise by Greet the Moon. Three elements make up the foundation for any Fianna moot: song, dance, and booze.
Fianna often claim to be the greatest singers in the Garou Nation, not simply because of the beauty of their voice, but their ability to perfectly entwine song or instruments with the howl of the wolf. Most Fianna can sing passably, but it is the greatest performers who can create a blend of voice, instrument, and howl.
For the Fianna dancing is also a very key element to a good moot. Fianna moots host dances for all of the forms, Homid and Lupus which honor and include Kinfolk, and some dances in Crinos (monitored by the Philodox). Fianna dance is very physical and very raw. It is fast, furious, and wild abandon to the flow of music as it moves through the Fiann, who must often be mindful not to get too carried away when dancing with Kinfolk.
The final element for the Fianna moot is the drink. Some Tribes look at the Fianna fondness for booze and simply label them as lushes and alcoholics when the truth is far different. Fianna see a symbolism and connection in alcohol that other Tribes overlook. In the eyes of the Fianna a glass of whiskey is comprised of the aspects of the Triad of the Tellurian in their purest form. The Wyrm in the whiskey serves its purpose by breaking down the barriers and inhibitions cast by the Weaver, so that the Fiann can be open to the passion of their hearts that is the Wyld. As powerfully passionate creatures already, the Fianna view this as a necessary release to vent and restore balance to the Fiann.
Another common stereotype of the Fianna is that they are always drinking or are always drunk. While there may be certain cases where that is true, most Fianna hold some reverence for alcohol and the passion it releases, which makes them more “ritual drinkers” than consummate boozehounds. This means that you are more likely to find a typical Fiann having a drink as part of a celebration, or as a Rite, or as a motion signifying some important event; rather than constantly pounding down drinks. Even when drinking steadily, most Fianna do so for the pleasure of drinking and not to get drunk. Drunkenness is reserved for the moots. It’s even a thing of pride for Fianna brewers to wait and present their booze at moots for competition and glory.
So in addition to the regular monthly moots, and the equinox and solstice seasonal moots, Fianna hold other regularly scheduled moots as well. Once per year the Fianna host a Grand Moot, where the entire Tribe comes together to unite and discuss business of the Fiann and also to bond with friends and family they may have been absent from for the entire previous year. Missing the Grand Moot makes a poor Fiann indeed, and is cause for his friends and relations to check on his well-being. This massive family reunion is often touted as the “celebration of the year”, and it is during this time that the greatest positions of honor become open for competition: The Chair of Song, The Chair of Poetry, and The Chair of Stories.
While it is a great honor to be a famous and influential Righ, no position in the Tribe is as worthy of as much prestige as The Three Chairs. As their name sounds, each Chair represents a specific artform and talent that is competed for and labeled as the greatest of Fiann in that Chair. The competition for the Chairs is hosted by the hosting Righ and his Council of Song. All who are interested in competing for a Chair make their intentions known, and during the period of the moot the contestants compete and the Tribe watches and listens. At the end of the moot, the entirety of the Tribe decides the greatest of the Chairs (usually determined by howling for their favorite contestant as their names are called).
Most of the champions of these chairs are talented enough to keep a Chair for many years in a row, but it is always exciting to see a young Fiann win the seat. Rank is not a direct factor for winning, though with Rank often comes experience in doing these things well. That said, any Fianna with the talent can claim one of these Chairs and be honored for the year, after which at the next moot they will have to compete again to maintain the title.
Aside from the yearly Grand Moot, there is a Moot of the Righs that occurs once every three years as all of the Righs meet with the Ard Righ at the Fianna Tribal Caern and discuss Tribal business. These moots are among the more exclusive, where other Tribes are not considered welcomed without being invited by a Righ, and the same goes for the Corax. This moot is almost exclusively held for the Righ who is allowed to bring one member of his Council of Song with him in attendance. The Tánaiste and other two Councilors remain in the Righ’s protectorate to oversee the Righ’s duties while gone.
Tips to Playing a Fiann
To Brogue, or Not To Brogue?
Often times when players consider the Fianna one thing that frequently comes to question is whether or not they will use an accent to play the character. Some people love doing accents, some people feel they don’t have a talent for it, but really for a Fianna it doesn’t matter. Even if you’re portraying the most Irish Fianna there is, while the accent can be cool, it won’t do as much justice to portraying a Fianna as capturing the proper Fianna spirit. This is not to discourage people who love doing accents from portraying a Fianna with an accent. By all means have fun with your character. The key however is not to get so caught up in trying to nail the accent that you miss the most important parts of playing a Fianna. The truth is that as cool as we may think our accents sound, if our accent isn’t as spot on or realistic as we think then the artificialness of it becomes apparent to other players and detracts from the immersion in the roleplay and the quality of the scene for all involved. Rather than constantly trying to affect a brogue, a good tip might be to learn a couple of key phrases in Gaelic and use them in times of duress, or to put a slight accent on whenever your character becomes excited or startled. There are also plenty of ways of speaking that are phrases used primarily in conversation in Ireland, like instead of saying “Hey What’s Up?” you could ask, “How ya?” Plenty of websites and books and phone apps provide colorful ways of speaking that don’t require an accent but still hint at a bit of the Old Country.
Costuming is a huge part of any role-playing experience. Any player that regularly costumes can tell you that it does wonders for helping become immersed in the character and the story, and psychologically puts you in closer perspective to that of your character. For the Fianna where you have to feel as much as think like the character this is just as true. Around mundane eyes Fianna typically don’t dress far outside of the parameters of modern culture. They may have a bit of flare or a certain sort of roguishness or sense of playful mischief and fun in their clothing, but nothing that is strikingly outside of the norm. They may even dress in business casual attire, as we know that being sharp-dressed carries sex appeal. Among their own, however, Fianna dress distinctly and flamboyantly. Their clothing tends to be much more revealing, not just of the physical beauty of their bodies but also of their many tattoos, scars, and jewelry. Sex appeal is a big factor in Fianna personality (as you might expect from a Tribe that venerates a virility Totem), and they like to manifest it in their attire. Fianna love knotwork tattoos as they denote status or deeds of accomplishment. Though less common among the Fianna ritual scarification and branding is also a trend of younger members of the Tribe. Jewelry is also a great costume piece for a Fianna. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in getting jewelry costume pieces to attain a Fianna look. Wearing rings in threes is one idea toward completing the Fianna look, and whether it’s real gold or silver doesn’t particularly matter in game. Torcs are a more costly costume piece, but if you have the means they are great. Metal bracelets and bands, necklaces, earrings, all are good to wear, and better if you can do so in some fashion of three. Even if you are not interested or capable of getting jewelry, more natural items are just as good. Leather wrist or headbands are good, and you can typically find those at any Irishfest or Renaissance Festival. Vine armbands or rings also work.
If your hair is long enough to braid, doing three braids is an excellent Fianna look for guy or gal, and if you can’t braid your hair buying single attachable braids is not a great expense. Doing anything rather wild with your hair is a very Fianna thing. Think punk or glam rock with less emphasis on wild color and you’re headed in the right direction.
Fake tattoos are great for Fianna costuming. Whether they are drawn on, are part of a fake tattoo sleeve, or if you have your own ink you’re proud of – displaying it is great for Fianna costuming effect.
It is also important to take a moment to discuss Woad. Woad is the blue face-paint that is seen in old Gaelic culture, and probably sticks out as the stuff that William Wallace and his party painted all over their faces before a big fight in Braveheart. The key here is that it was painted all over their faces before a big fight. We won’t get into the debate as to whether or not it was a psychoactive or a hallucinogen or the like. All that can be said is that if you are going to wear Woad, make it for big fights and special occasions. Making it part of your everyday costume squanders the intimidation factor of it, but if players reserve it only for big fights then the sight of a whole pack, Sept, or Tribe of Fianna stepping forward covered in war paint is going to make one helluva statement: We’re here to kick ass, don’t make it be yours.
When playing your Fiann never hold back. Never give just a little. Play hard, fight hard, celebrate hard. Capture every moment and make it a moment to remember. Playing a Fianna can be exhausting, but in a very fulfilling way. You’re not a simple hedonist. You are not a drunk for the sake of being a drunk, nor are you a loud, belligerent, arse because you are “passionate”. There is far more depth to the Tribe than that. You aren’t as addicted to thrills for the thrills, but because there is a grander meaning to it all. Consider these things, these suggestions, and this depth as you play and you’ll have a great experience, and a great Fianna.
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