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Celtic Age - Roleplaying the Myths, Heroes and Monsters of the Celts

Celtic Age - Roleplaying the Myths, Heroes and Monsters of the Celts

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Published by Darkenning
Out of print historical fantasy role-playing game
Out of print historical fantasy role-playing game

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Published by: Darkenning on Apr 29, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/01/2015

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Literally “wood sense,” fidchell is the most
popular Celtic board game. The exact specifica-
tions vary by region, but it is played on a
square grid of anywhere from 7 to 19 spaces on
a side, laid out like a modern chessboard but

always with an odd number of spaces on each
side. The game appears to play best on a board
with 11 squares on a side. The center square
and the corners are all colored; these are impor-
tant to play.

The “defender” has a king and twelve “princes”
(sometimes called “guards”). The king is placed
on the center square, with the princes in each
adjacent square (including those diagonally
adjacent) plus one more in each square adjacent
to those that are in turn directly adjacent to the
center square.

The “attacker” has 24 pieces, usually called
“warriors.” Three warriors are placed at the
center of each edge, in squares along the side of
the board. Three more are placed one square
closer to the center, in squares adjacent to those
containing warriors.

The defender moves first, and play then
proceeds with each player alternating and
moving one piece. A player may not “pass.” All
pieces have the same movement ability: they can
go any number of spaces along a row in either
direction, but may not move diagonally or
change direction in the same move (just like a
rook in chess). A piece may not enter a square
occupied by an enemy piece. The object of the
game is to move the king into one of the
corner squares.

A prince or warrior is captured if the opponent
moves one piece on either side it. A prince or
warrior may move into such a square itself;

61

Winning at Board Games

A character who wins at a board game gains 1
point of Status, so long as someone is there to
witness the victory. Defeating multiple
opponents in a single night’s play is worth 2
additional Status Points. The warrior who can
demonstrate his or her cunning by winning
strategy games is as well-respected as one who
dominates a battle. The character who can do
both is doubly revered.

Gora McGahey (order #19251)

69.136.21.109

it is only captured during the opponent’s
move, if the opponent moves a piece into
capturingposition. The king is only captured
(and the game ends in victory for the
attacker) if warriors trap it from all four
adjacent squares.

Brandub

Brandub, or “Black Raven,” is very similar to
fidchell, played on a field of 49 squares (7 by
7). These are colored in checkerboard fashion,
usually black and white. The center, or home,
square is always black.

The defender starts with one king, placed in the
center square, and four princes placed in the
squares adjacent to the center. The attacker has
eight warriors, placed in the squares adjacent to
the corners.

The attacker moves first. All pieces may move
one square in any direction; all but the king
may move diagonally two squares if they only
enter white squares. Only the king may enter
the center (“Home”) square. An opposing
pieceis captured by entering its square (as
inmodern chess). The object of the game is
to capture all of the opponent’s pieces except
for the king, which may not be captured.

Hurley

This is an ancestor of the game that will one
day be called “field hockey.” Two teams of
players, usually from different clans or tribes,
square off on a grass field about 100 yards
long and 60 yards wide. At either end, a pair of
goalposts are erected, which are about seven

feet high and 12 feet apart with a pole mounted
along the top between them.

Each player has a stick about three feet long
with a curved end. A small ball (about 10
inches in diameter) made of leather is placed at
the center of the field and two players “face
off” to start play and after each goal. The
object of the game is to knock the ball through
the goal posts but below the top pole. The ball
may not be touched by hands or feet; it may
only be moved with the stick. Play continues
until one team reaches a set number of goals.

Each team has a goalkeeper, who can use his or
her feet to defend the goal and throw his or her
body in front of a shot, but hands may not be
used. Players are not supposed to use their
sticks to hit one another, but of course they do.
A lot. Swinging the stick, or using it on
another player’s face or head is considered out
of bounds, but a nice swift shot to the body is
considered good hard play.

Players are generally naked, and most young
men are eager to play: it is a chance to show off
their finely-honed bodies in front of the female
population. Women generally play only in
female-only games, though some play with the
men if they can keep up. In women’s games
there is generally less hitting going on, though
they are still much rougher than what the
future will consider “contact sports.”

Hurley will remain popular in Ireland for
thousands of years, sometimes called “hurling”
instead. The French will have the gall to claim
they invented it, but this reeks of untruth.

62

Gora McGahey (order #19251)

69.136.21.109

Drinking and Fighting – A Celtic
Tradition

For the most part, Celts are fighting drunks:
too much alcohol almost inevitably leads to
violence. Their pride is easily wounded, and,
when a Celtic warrior feels slighted, his first
reaction is to reach for his weapons. Serving
out the choicest portion of meat at a feast can
lead to deadly combat if more than one man
believes he deserves the first cut.

Celtic feasts sometimes include mock single
combat as part of the entertainment. Two
warriors fight to the “first touch” or even “first
blood.” The first combatant who is touched by
his foe’s weapon or suffers a cut loses.
Sometimes the loser concedes gracefully, but
other times they continue the fight with
greater anger, and it becomes a battle to the
death. This is considered an insult to the host
(unless, of course, the host is a participant)
and other warriors will usually try to calm the
situation.

Unlike most peoples, Celts do not esteem these
equivalents of 21st Century bar fights much

A mighty country loves mighty reapers,
Blood is a heavy return for new mead.
Aneurin,Gododdin, Canto 72

less than they do open battle. A warrior does
not need a noble cause in order to fight nobly -
while one does not earn honor for fighting
under an evil banner, neither does one need an
excuse wrapped in goodness and light.
Defeating a mighty foe during an apocalyptic
struggle to save the world gains no more glory
than beating him in a brawl over the best piece
of pork on the table. A great warrior will pick a
fight during a drinking bout, kill his opponent,
and then slice off the defeated foe’s head with
no less gusto than during battle.

Celts train rigorously for battle, though they
spend little time on mass maneuvers. Instead,
they practice to hone their
individual skills with swords and
especially spears. Some become
masters with these weapons,
and their teaching is
sought by
many.

A warrior people, Celts fight constantly against their neighbors and against each other. War is a ritual, the
place where manhood is proven. Winning and losing is not nearly so important as how one plays the game.
To the Celtic mind, war is a good thing, not an evil. Good and evil only come into play in terms of how
the war is waged. To show cowardice is evil. To fight well is good. This attitude puts the Celts at a severe
disadvantage when facing more organized enemies like the Romans or Greeks and, in earlier times,
the Carthaginians.

5
Celts at War

63

Gora McGahey (order #19251)

69.136.21.109

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