In conjunction with the publication of the Guide to Setting for our campaign Pathfinder, The book of invasions, let's see how Irish mythology influenced the setting!

Do you know when the idea for a campaign comes from "I really want to face more monsters of this kind"? Here, The book of invasions , our campaign of Pathfinder that we have presented Thu, was born, in its fetal form, like an excuse to face more Sprites. By chance or by bad luck, none of my campaigns Pathfinder he made me meet these opponents.

Then came the whole part of documentation, because I'm not physically good at writing a campaign without doing it first hard worldbuilding: what is the history of Ireland? What is his mythology about? What deities were worshiped prior to Christianization? What are the climate, fauna and flora like? What clothing did the XNUMXth century Irish wear? How and what did they eat? What is the pronunciation of the cursed Irish names? What the hell is the bog butter?

Then, since I'm an infamous person, I thought well of expand the setting also to Scotland, Wales and England, also going through their history books, their legends and their cultures. Because I'm just not well.

When I had some notes ready, I bought an A3 sheet and started drawing the map of an archipelago, which I then called Hibernia, from the ancient Latin name that the Romans had given to Ireland. Taking inspiration from the true topography of the British Isles, I have outlined the coasts of three large islands: Eire, based on Ireland, Argyll, inspired by Scotland, e Prydain, designed on the basis of Wales and England.

So let's see the influences of Irish mythology on Hibernia and the contents of Guide to Setting!

Guide to Setting: all about the setting de The book of invasions

These days, on our Patreon has been loaded Guide to Setting, first of the pre-campaign modules of The book of invasions.

La Guide to Setting presents the campaign setting, explaining its past history, with all the invasions of peoples, and also presenting the present geographical and political situation. The various will be described realms present, each of which will be equipped with an in-depth panel with the most populous cities, the language used and the alignment of the kingdom. In addition, the most common names found in each kingdom will be listed, along with the form in which the "surname" is constructed.

We will then move on to the exhibition of World of Below, the permanent half-plane where the Tuatha Dé, or the Elves, live, dominated by their three Fairy Lords. Therefore i Nine, that is, the deities currently venerated by the Exiles, in honor of which nine religious Orders were also formed. Finally, a little study will be done on the languages ​​of Hibernia and on the pronunciation of the most common Irish names.

In the space of 15 pages, it is hoped to be able to give an overall idea, and without too many spoilers of the setting de The book of invasions, so from help players and masters to orient themselves. To get a more general idea of ​​the campaign, we recommend reading this article, where the contents of the Presentation of the campaign, a short free file.

Patreon and distribution methods

La Guide to Setting will remain available on our Patreon and can be obtained by those who want to support the work of us Seekers of Atlantis, through a $ 3 pledge (= € 2,65).

I remember that with the monthly pledge of $ 3 you can get it as it comes out biweekly, the whole countryside of The book of invasions.

The next scheduled releases are the Player's Guide and Master's Guide. In the first, the Classes granted and equipment restrictions will be explained, as well as the new background Traits, additional equipment and iconic characters. In the second, however, the whole plot of the campaign will be presented, complete with all the background and advice to the masters.

As soon as these last two Guides are released, we will start with the publication, always biweekly, of the campaign real, in modules of an adventure each.

Irish goblins were also taken up by Shakespear. Here the painting The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1849)
Irish goblins were also taken up by Shakespear. Here the picture The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1849)

The myth of the Tuatha Dé: the mythological basis of the Goblins

But let's talk about Irish mythology and its role in it The book of invasions!

As you well know, Irish folklore has adopted a whole series of theories to explain the nature of aos si o aes sidhe, fate and goblins of his stories. Some sources see goblins as fallen angels, driven out of Paradise for not choosing a faction to support during the Lucifer rebellion.

Other sources, however, link the aes sidhe ai Tuatha De (or Tuatha Dé Danann), whom Irish monks believed to be the heroes, rulers and mythological gods of ancient Ireland. However, the Tuatha Dé were not native to Ireland, but they were external conquerors, as well as the other mythical peoples who had inhabited the island in ancient times.

These repeated migrations of humans, giants, goblins and other more or less strange beings are told in Lebor Gabála Érenn, The book of the taking of Ireland or, as other sources translate it, The book of invasions. In this collection of texts in prose and poetry it is told the coming of the Tuatha Dé to Ireland, introducing many of the kings and heroes who were perhaps also revered as gods. We are talking about mythological figures such as Lugh, Nuada, Dagda and Manannán and many others.

After defeating the Fir Bolg and the Fomori, according to the myth the Tuatha Dé would have been the lords of Ireland until the arrival of its current inhabitants, the Milesi, who would represent the Irish. Defeated by the new arrivals, the Tuatha Dé decided to divide the earth with them: humans would live on the surface, while the elves would retire to live underground, in an immortal world separate from ours.

Page of the Lebor Gabála Érenn contained in the Book of Leinster
Page of the Lebor Gabála Érenn contained in Book of Leinster

Invasions and conquests: an ancient and recurring theme

For those who know me, you will know that I do not shy away from political debates on immigration and will know very well what I think of the policies of the current Minister of the Interior.

Consequently, it will be evident that, when in Irish mythology the theme of the great migrations of peoples appeared so arrogant, I did not hold back. That's why this campaign is called The book of invasions: since, inspired by the mythical history of Ireland and its invasions, he wants to propose a setting in which more peoples have arrived in Hibernia, clashing for supremacy and stratifying their respective civilizations over each other.

In this way, not only will adventurers be able to walk among the ancient ruins of past civilizations, they will also have to deal with today's civilizations and their frictions: will the latest arrivals, the Exiles (inspired by the Milesi) oust the remaining Tuatha Dé, divided and weakened, but still dangerous? Will the last exponents of previous civilizations, such as the Fir Bolg, take advantage of this to gain more strength? What happened to the Fomoris? And what do the Crones have to do with all this?

From Irish mythology to today: how to handle the matter

The clash between peoples and the need for their respective migrations are a starting point here, along with many other issues. Consequently, The book of invasions it is not a political commentary on the current Italian situation. However, some issues that we know well today will also emerge in this campaign, by force of things: feel free to approach them with your sensitivity and your thoughts.

Just keep in mind that Hibernia is a complex world, in which there are many moving factions, each of them with their own aims. And you, being mythical heroes with the power to change the world, you will have to decide how to deal with these factions, asking you a few moral questions.

But, as always, Pathfinder it is a game and these dilemmas must also be treated as part of the game. I am not an excuse to feed my ideas into it or to make the campaign serious and busy: they are a way to make the setting varied and interesting, to give personal motivations and ideologies to NPCs. How then you will want to approach these characters and these problems will only be your choice: you are not obliged to spend too much time and thoughts, if you just want to have fun.

As good old Brandon Sanderson says (we report Thu!) I am here not to tell you how you should think, but to give you something to think about.

The arrival of the Milesi, the last invaders. Image from the book Myths and legends; the Celtic race by TW Rolleston (1857-1920)
The arrival of the Milesi, the last invaders. Picture from the book myths and legends; the Celtic race by TW Rolleston (1857-1920)

A difficult coexistence: Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Anglo-Saxon mythology

Now, as was also clear from the previously published maps, Hibernia is an archipelago of islands inspired not only by Ireland, but also by Scotland, Wales and England. Also, as I mentioned in the Presentation of the campaign, we also wanted to draw on folklore and the various Scottish and Welsh mythologies. But how do these cultures relate to the Irish one?

Well, The book of invasions it has always been referred to by me and my players as an "Irish campaign", since Irish mythology has much more weight than the others. In fact, the whole fundamental question of the invasions of the peoples is proper to Irish mythology and its epic cycles, and in this campaign it constitutes the basis of the worldbuilding of all Hibernia.

As a result, the territories that are inspired by Scotland, Wales and England in this campaign will also be heavily influenced by this Irish-inspired worldbuilding. Consequently, the mythologies of these places will be present, but they will not be the protagonists of the cultural references of this campaign.

Scottish mythology and the Arcturian cycle

For example, when your characters arrive in Argyll (the Scottish inspired island), they will have to face Beira, the lady of winter, a winter hag. Well, Beira is indeed a figure in sight of Scottish folklore, but in this campaign she will be presented as part of the first migratory wave in Hibernia, namely that of the Crones.

But this predominance of Irish mythology will be felt above all when we come into contact with Arcturian cycle, of Welsh origin and, therefore, present in Gwynedd. Now, the Arcturian Cycle has a very long and prestigious tradition and therefore also carries with it a whole series of complex ramifications. If I wanted, I could write a setting dedicated only to the Arcturian Cycle and I would have material to carry out a campaign even longer than this.

Consequently, the Arcturian Cycle is a tough giant to confront, because it brings narratively very cumbersome characters to the field, such as Merlin and Morgana. This kind of enchanters hardly shares the scene peacefully with people like the Nine, and therefore would need to receive a lot of space. So if I had entered the Arcturian Cycle in all its glory, this campaign would have gone up to level 20, but it would also have told a different story.

So, ne The book of invasions there will be references and ideas taken from the Arcturian cycle, but they will be quite soft and contour, as well as with a big syncretism with the Lebor Gabála Érenn.

Iconic image of Pathfinder (source)
Iconic image of Pathfinder (source)

Irish mythology e Pathfinder: a happy union?

Actually yes. I really have to say that thanks to its great internal variety, Pathfinder is a game system that is very well equipped to handle an Irish campaign.

Her Bestiaries teeming with goblins, beasts and monsters taken from Irish mythology and folklore, its equipment is so varied that, even with the restrictions I asked for, it still remains consistent, and the Mythic Degrees give that perfect power up for an epic campaign. Moreover, Pathfinder it is perfect for a campaign with a high magic content, while the low technological level and the general poverty can be easily managed through the automatic advancement mechanics.

In short, as a game system, Pathfinder it is equipped to support such a campaign. In addition, the lore associated with certain races and monsters of Golarion proved to be an excellent starting point for the worldbuilding of The book of invasions. Let's see how!

And meanwhile Fir Firs are there! Image owned by Paizo.
And meanwhile Fir Firs are there! Image owned by Paizo.

Monsters and elves: the contribution of the Bestiaries

As I said, i Bestiaries di Pathfinder they are very well stocked with beings related to Irish mythology.

Fomori and Fir Bolg: two unexpected discoveries

First of all, they have both the Fomoros and the Fir Bolg, which made me breathe a huge sigh of relief when I started thinking about using the populations of the Lebor Gabála Érenn.

I Fomors are located in the Bestiary 4, on page 94, with the name of fachen and endowed with an eye, an arm and a leg, just as reported by some sources that describe this mythological race (other sources describe them with a goat's head). The fact that these beings are aberrationsFurthermore, it brings interesting ideas for the creation of Sorcerers and Iracondi of Stirpe of (precisely) Stirpe Aberrante.

Instead, i fir bolg are located in the Bestiary 5, on page 116 of the English edition, with the name of Firbolg. I must admit that their representation in kilts certainly influenced my reinterpretation of the Pechts (the Fir Bolg in Argyll) as Scots, although they are named after the Pitti, the population that inhabited Scotland in Roman times. Then there is also to say that the kilt Scottish came into use around 1500, so its presence in this setting is more a question of color than true historical accuracy. The Fir Bolg of Éire, on the other hand, are inspired by the Wood Giants of the Bestiary 2.

The Tuatha Dé: Leprechauns, Leprechauns and more Leprechauns!

As for i Tuatha De, on the other hand, he drew from the Folletti dei Bestiaries, many of which actually are inspired by the tales of Irish, Scottish and English folklore. Kelpies and Leprechauns, for example, are typically Irish, while Brownies and Red Berets are of Scottish origin, whereas Puka are of English tradition. The great variety of Bestiaries has made it possible to re-propose an extremely heterogeneous population and very difficult to keep together. For this, some Elves of Greek origin, like the Dryads.

The three Lords of the Fairies, or the three powerful elves left behind at the helm of the Tuatha Dé after the departure of the Nine, are none other than the three elves of the Bestiary 4 equipped with Mythical Ranks: theHamadryads,Erlking and Leanan Sidhe. Although the Amadriade and Erlking are respectively taken from Greek and German mythology, the Leanan Sidhe is a typically Irish fairy and her two companions do not particularly clash in the setting, especially after having acquired more appropriate names and appearance.

For the levels to which it will be held The book of invasionsinstead, i will not be present Tane, such as Ciciarampa and Sard, which are of too high a challenge and, in any case, are not particularly necessary in the countryside.

Then there will also be some goblins created from scratch or through the modification of other creatures thanks toArchetype Fairy Creature.

Leanan Sidhe represented in Bestiary 4. Image owned by Paizo
The Leanan Sidhe represented in Bestiary 4. Image owned by Paizo

Le Megere: stories of witches between Irish mythology and Pathfinder

The inclusion of the Crones among the invasions stems from the story of Cessair, a woman who arrived in Ireland with the first migration, carrying forty virgins, one for each country in the world, as the Lebor Gabála Érenn. Furthermore, Raphael Holinshed (died 1580) reconstructed a story that Albion (the ancient name of Great Britain) was initially populated by the princess Albina and her retinue of 50 women, each of whom had previously killed her husband.

In short, between these stories and the fact that the Changelings were daughters of the Shrews, it was natural to insert these monstrous women in the setting. Furthermore, their presence gave me the opportunity to explore some Irish stories about witches, in addition to bringing Beira into play, a modern name with which the Cailleach Bheara, the Scottish goddess of winter (and many other things).

Le Changeling: from Irish folklore to glue with the Shrews

Now, anyone who knows a little about Irish folklore will know that changelings are the weak and the ugly children (or the elderly) of the fairies, who are replaced by human children. These are therefore kidnapped to be raised in the fairy realms, where it is hoped that they will bring new blood to strengthen the leprechaun bloodlines. Poor human parents, on the other hand, have to put up with a son who looks like their own, but who suddenly became strange, malevolent, sickly, very hungry and in some ways older and shrewd than normal

According to Irish fairy tales, a typical way to get rid of the changeling was to throw the false child into the fire, where he would turn into a goblin and run up the chimney, while the real child would be immediately returned. Otherwise, you could also have prepared some chamomile and poured it into an egg shell in front of the changeling, surprising it to the point of making the fake infant talk and thus revealing the deception. So you can throw the goblin into the fire without fear.

In short, I've always liked the changeling stories a lot and it goes without saying that insert these creatures also ne The book of invasions it was a must. Too bad that the Changeling in Pathfinder are all women (while mostly changeling impersonated male children, in Irish folklore) and daughters not of Folletti, but of the Megere!

A real wasted opportunity to talk about the children kidnapped by the fairies! But also a good opportunity to make the first inhabitants of Hibernia more present, who finally manage to reproduce with the Exiles. After all, how can the Shrews see their daughters, if not as tools to be exploited for their revenge? This definitely leads to the field many interesting stories about toxic families and parental bonds.

The basic Races of Pathfinder. Image owned by Paizo, taken from the Basic Manual
The basic breeds of Pathfinder. Image owned by Paizo, taken from Basic Manual

The Races of Pathfinder: how do they relate to Hibernia?

Here, one of the big questions when doing fantasy worldbuilding also having to deal with Pathfinder is: but we put all the basic races, or not?

Because if it is true that by now the fantasy setting with the usual Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and Halflings has a bit bored, playing Pathfinder without inserting at least the basic Races (or replacing them with as many new Races) is a rather poor experience. In fact, ne The book of invasions only Gnomes, Humans and Changelings could have been inserted as playable races, and nothing would have changed.

However, I realized that with only three Races perhaps the taste for variety in character creation would have been lost a bit, which in Pathfinder it is a vital thing. Thus, the cauldron of peoples who are the Exiles was created and, to justify the variety, the Empire of Astra was thought of, and then the whole diatribe between arcane magic and divine magic was conceived.

A matter of Breeds? Only up to a certain point

Ne The book of invasions, the real conflicts and the real political and cultural stratifications are due to the various migration flows. Therefore, when these migratory flows affected different races, there was racial tensions: Fir Bolg and Fomori have racial tensions and have formed monorace "kingdoms". Subsequently, the Gnomes (ex-Goblins) made a common front and created a community in turn homogeneous.

However, the Exiles are made up of people of many different Races with various political and ideological tensions, but not based on Races, but born around the acceptance or rejection of magic. As a result, the Exiles of Gwynedd, Bernicia and Argyll will consist of Humans, Elves, Half-elves, Dwarves, Half-Orcs and Halflings, with the addition of the next generation Changelings. We will not have the usual Dwarves who hate Elves, or the usual Half-Orcs who are descended from evil races and are therefore mistreated, or the Halflings looked down upon because they are all considered thieves: there are no racial tensions among the Exiles.

This means that we will not have the usual "kingdoms of the Elves", "kingdoms of the Dwarves", "counties of the Halfling" et similia, but realms defined by other characteristics. The only exceptions are the realms founded by the protagonists of previous migratory flows: Albanach and Dal Riata for the Fir Bolg and Éire for the Gnomes.

And, if I have to be honest, it relieves me, because I was tired of having the usual Elves of the forests and the Dwarves of the mining kingdoms in the mountains. Finally, I got rid of it.

Languages: death to the Municipality and to racial languages!

Going against any linguistic change, I arbitrarily decided that the language of the Exiles, once they arrived in Hibernia, has fragmented into many regional languages. Therefore there is no Commune and there are no racial languages ​​of the peoples of the Exiles.

This choice of mine answers several reasons:

  • Distinguishing the realms also from a linguistic point of view is my fetish. And it tends to make worldbuilding more varied and nice, at least in my opinion. Even if I go against the most basic diachronic linguistic transformations, but sticazzi, because it is aesthetically beautiful.
  • I broke the fucking city hall. The Municipality is the hatred of the linguist role player: enough with these lingua franca that are not even called by their name, but with a shitty name and which flatten the linguistic landscape of the world, making every language that is not the A minor, local and exotic language is common. DEATH AT THE MUNICIPALITY! Long live the hard and bad multilingualism of the year one thousand. In this campaign there is no Municipality!
  • Since the Exiles are one big people, they would hardly have kept their original racial languages (Dwarven, Elven, Orchesque and so on). It makes more sense to characterize their languages ​​based on where they settled.
  • So we can withdraw it out beautiful proper names typical of the Celtic languages ​​(or Germanic, in the case of the Anglo-Saxon and Norse languages), such as Maithgemm, Eorcenberht, Feardorcha, Blathnaid, Gwenddydd and Thorgunna. All very pronounced and catchy stuff. But you want to put respect to the ugly "elven" names with a thousand thousand apostrophes? Pure poetry.
The god Manannan Mac Lir. Drawing by Erwan Seure Le Bihan (Source)
The god Manannan Mac Lir. Drawing by Erwan Seure Le Bihan (Source)

Divinity: from Irish mythology to Pathfinder's needs

As we well know, if the characters of a party in Pathfinder they can also be atheists, who plays Clerics, Paladins and Fighting Priests needs to have some reference deity. In short, Domains and Favorite Weapons are no small matter for character creation!

As a result, it was necessary to create a pantheon of at least nine deities, who later also became the owners of the nine Anchors (and the relative Mythic Ranks). Thus, i was born Nine, that for the Tuatha Dé, the Gnomes and the Fir Bolg are the historical Nine Kings and Queens, and that for the Exiles they are the Nine Gods.

Predictably, the Nine were inspired by the deities of the Irish / Celtic pantheon, which in this sense is very rich and varied. Furthermore, many of the Nine also appear in the Lebor Gabála Érenn, where they make massacres of Fomori and we can admire above all Il Dagda, Lugh and Nuada.

In general, however, one must take into account the fact that Celtic deities have been told to us through many sources, often discordant with each other, and therefore present many different versions of the same divinity. Consequently, it was inevitable to have to choose between these various representations, in some cases even putting mine.

This means that the Nine will not necessarily be faithful to their original representations. To learn more about Irish gods and mythology, I recommend reading Ireland's Immortals: A History of the Gods of Irish Myth by Mark Williams (2016).

The nine Anchors VS the four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé

Irish mythology tells us about four mythical treasures of the Tuatha Dé: Lugh's spear, Nuada's sword, Dagda's cauldron and Lia Fáil, the Stone of Destiny which proclaimed the rightful Supreme King of Ireland.

It would have been nice to insert these four treasures as Anchors to be found, thus obtaining the Mythic Degrees. However, the creation of the pantheon of the Nine and the reworking of the origin of the Tuatha Dé on my part have meant that it made more sense to create nine treasures to find. Thus, the nine Anchors were born, inspired by the four treasures.

All of this will be better explained in the Master's Guide, the supplement that will be released next month and which fully reveals the plot of The book of invasions and its background.

The god Nuada imagined by Jim Fitzpatrick (source)
The god Nuada imagined by Jim Fitzpatrick (source)

The book of invasions it is inspired by Irish mythology, but does not coincide with Irish mythology

As will have been made clear by the last paragraph, The book of invasions it will not be a campaign that will tell what happened in the world Lebor Gabála Érenn, or that he will bring us back only the Irish fairy tales, or that he will tell exactly the adventures of Cú Chulainn and Finn Mac Cumhaill. We will not have an exact Irish mythology which, casually, was proposed with the game system of Pathfinder.

Pathfinder and his lore actively contributed to reworking this mythology, which was then reworked by me to tell a story of conflict. This syncretism between Irish mythology, Pathfinder and my personal taste was the basis of the worldbuilding de The book of invasions: how to harmonize all this, giving it meaning?

In Guide to Setting I have tried to expose this worldbuilding, telling the history of the world, its physical and political geography, as well as the influence of the Underworld and its pantheon. Unfortunately, I realize that it will not meet everyone's personal tastes: each of us has that special part of Irish mythology that we absolutely want to see, sometimes being disappointed.

Anyway, I tried to do the best job possible your criticisms, considerations and questions are always welcome! I hope you will be able to support the work of us Seekers through Patreon, and I hope you will enjoy this campaign!

For sure, the next material is out: see you in early May with the Player's Guide!