Friday, May 24, 2013

Castles and Crusades: Liath and Bodhmall

I want to wrap-up my week on Castles & Crusades with a post of two of my favorite characters of Irish Myth.  Liath Luachra & Bodhmall the Druidess.

One of my favorite stories is that of Fionn mac Cumhail.  I used him as character in the very first Buffy RPG adventure The Dark Druid. The back ground of the adventure had Fionn coming to the 21st century and that the characters in the game were the new incarnations of people from his past.  My conceit was that his foster mothers Bodhmall and Liath were Willow and Tara respectively.   I expanded on this in my Willow and Tara based Buffy/Ghosts of Albion games. Episode 5 of The Dragon and the Phoenix expands on this and makes the connection well known to the characters.  Episode 11 of Season of the Witch establishes that in the game world Liath and Bodhmall were also the founders of the Daughters of the Flame coven.   So these are some characters with game history for me.

So whenever I need a "D&D Version" of Willow and Tara I turn to Liath and Bodhmall.  This way I can direct their fates in new and different directions and not mess with my "modern age" versions.
I have stated them up for D&D4 here before. In fact I spent a lot of time on it since the D&D4 druid couldn't do what I wanted till Essentials.

Bodhmall as expected makes a better druid under the Castles & Crusades rules than she did under D&D4.
Liath though needs some tweaking. Ranger in C&C is a little different and not really what my mental image of what she is.  It is very, very close, but missing the key ingredient.  I have this mental image of the first time Bodhmall meets Liath.  Bodhmall needs a protector/body guard while she is taking a babe to be fostered to the north.  She sees Liath standing on a raised log. On either side of her on the log are her brothers. They are fighting with long staves and the men are trying to knock her off the log.  She is more than holding her own. Her hair is long and braided and despite her young age is already graying; thus her name "The Gray of Luachair".

Some might balk at me taking two established mythological figures (however obscure) and making them same-sex lovers.  In truth I wondered about this too.  But I was doing research and I picked up a copy of Morgan Llywelyn's  Finn MacCool and there was an interesting typo on the character pages.  It listed Liath as being Bodhmal's wife.  That clenched it for me.

Character Creation
If you ever made a character for 1st Ed AD&D then you can make for C&C in about the same time.  If you have familiarity with 3e, then it might go even faster.
(Honestly I am wondering at this point if C&C should just be the AD&D game I play.)

I like the way the powers for the classes work out for the characters.  I made the right choices.
Since I am using this with the Codex Celtarum, the characters both get a Fey power at 1st level, plus something special

1st level Human Druid, Female, Neutral Good

STR: 10 (0)
DEX: 10 (0)
CON: 14 (+1)
INT: 14 (+1) P
WIS: 18 (+3) P
CHA: 11 (0) P

AC: 13, Leather Armor
HP: 7 (d8)

Staff +0, 1d6
Scimitar +0, 1d6

Nature Lore
Druid Spells
- First Aid, Light, Purify Food & Drink
- Entangle, Magic Stones
Second Sight (1), p. 93 CC

Liath Luchara
1st level Human Barbarian, Female, Chaotic Good

STR: 13 (+1) P
DEX: 10 (0)
CON: 18 (+3) P
INT: 10 (0)
WIS: 16 (+2) P
CHA: 11 (0)

AC: 12, Leather Armor
HP: 13 (d12)

Spear +1, 1d6
Short Sword +1, 1d6

Combat Sense
Primeval Instincts
Shapeshifting (Salmon), p. 94 CC (based on Morgan Llywelyn's work)

All in all I am happy with those write-ups.

Of course I can't introduce Liath and Bodhmal and not have their Anamchara quality.  It is what helps define them.

So here it is for use with the Codex Celtarum.

Level 6 Druid, 6 Witch

CT na D 10 rounds R self + one other
SV none SR none Comp n/a

“The only thing more frightening than meeting a Celt in battle is meeting a Celt in battle with his wife at his side.” 
- Attributed to Pliny the Elder, 1st Century CE

Anamchara (“on-um-kor-ah”), or soul-mate, is the Gaelic term used to describe a deep and powerful bound shared between two people. This goes beyond mere companionship and even beyond love; the souls of the two people are connected at a deep and fundamental level. Some occult scholars even speculate anamchara share one soul between two physical people.

The anamchara (singular and plural) are often aware of each other on a preternatural level. While this not a full blown telepathy or even empathy it is beyond what the normal senses would allow. This manifests itself in mundane ways as two lovers humming the same song at the same time with no outside influence, husband and wife completing each others sentences, separated twins living parallel lives, or even one sibling knowing her other sibling is about to walk into a room before the event happens.

Anamchara can be, and often are, lovers, but they are not limited to that alone. Some anamchara can also be very close siblings or very deeply devoted friends. Sometimes the connection can be forged in battle, giving rise to a “brothers-in-arms” effect. The Anamchara can also have a deep connection resulting from life times of being together.

Extension of the senses (“I Will Always Find You”). This acts like a mild form of Empathy or a lesser Situational Awareness that extends only to their anamchara. This grants +2 to locate their anamchara via mundane, magic or psychic means. This also gives each anamchara a broad sense of the other’s health and well being.

Boost Morale (“I’ll Stand By You”). When anamchara are together even dire situations do not seem as grim. With a soothing word or even a knowing look a character can grant her anamchara +5 on any one test or roll. Best of all, she can do it after the player has already made this test. The granting character spends her round or turn explaining she is doing this to aid her beloved. This can only be done once per game session per character.

Combat Effects 
The benefits detailed above have some application in combat as well. The extension of the senses translate into making the anamchara a particularly effective fighting team. In order to gain this benefit the anamchara actually need to train together in a fighting style. Players should decide which style (martial arts, medieval weapons or even magic) they will train together in. This training offers a +2 bonus to all attacks of that type and damage for each. Both can also effectively fight against one opponent with out penalty due to room. Anamchara naturally avoid each others weapons. 

I am curious to see what the Castles & Crusades players think of this power.

I am also posting this as part of my giveaway for the Bloghop Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Win a copy of the Witch and help me support the Trevor Project!


Dana said...

Hey there. I just wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog during Monday's Blitz. I appreciate your comment. :)

Have a great weekend!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

My pleasure!

Pun Isaac said...

I'm still extremely new to C&C, but these look cool. I'll gave to add them into a game.