Fianna Eirinn

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Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767–1824)

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767–1824)

Fianna were small, semi-independent warrior bands in Ireland who lived apart from society in the forests as mercenaries, bandits and hunters, but can be called upon by kings in times of war. They appear in Irish and Scottish mythology, most notably in the stories of the Fenian Cycle, where they are led by Fionn mac Cumhaill.


Fianna was made up of landless young men and women, often young aristocrats who had not yet come into their inheritance of land. During the winter the fianna were quartered and fed by the nobility, during which time they would keep order on their behalf, but during the summer, from Beltaine to Samhain, they were obliged to live by hunting for food and for pelts to sell.

In the Ulster Cycle the druid Cathbad leads a fian of twenty-seven men which fights against other fianna and kills the twelve foster-fathers of the Ulster princess Ness. Ness, in response, leads her own fian of twenty-seven in pursuit of Cathbad.

However, the stories of the Fiannaíocht, set around the time of Cormac mac Airt, depict the fianna as a single standing army in the service of the High King, although it contains two rival factions, the Clann Baíscne of Leinster, led by Fionn mac Cumhaill, and the Clann Morna of Connacht, led by Goll mac Morna, and lives apart from society, surviving by hunting.


Membership was subject to rigorous tests. In one such test the applicant would stand in a waist-deep hole armed with a shield while nine warriors threw spears at him; if he was wounded, he failed. In another his hair would be braided, and he would be pursued through the forest; he would fail if he was caught, if a branch cracked under his feet, or if the braids in his hair were disturbed. He would have to be able to leap over a branch the height of his forehead, pass under one as low as his knee, and pull a thorn from his foot without slowing down. He also needed to be a skilled poet.

War cry and mottos

The Diord Fionn was the war-cry of the Fianna, and they frequently employed its use prior to and amid battle, either as a mode of communication or to put fear into their enemies. In the legend "The Death of Fionn", Fionn raises the Diord Fionn when he sees his grandson Oscar fall in battle (Battle of Gabhra) against the armies of Cairbre Lifechair, and proceeds to strike back at the enemy with great furiosity killing many dozens of warriors. The Battle of Gabhra marked the demise of the Fianna.

They had three mottoes:

* Glaine ár gcroí (Purity of our hearts)
* Neart ár ngéag (Strength of our limbs)
* Beart de réir ár mbriathar (Action to match our speech)

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This warrior band protects the Irish borders from foreign invasion. They are immensely loyal to the king, to Ireland, and to each other. The Fianna Eirinn are fierce fighters and more than a measure for most foes of their homeland. Only the most capable are allowed to join them, and their tests weed out the less than perfect quickly and efficiently.

These characters never leave Ireland. Their job is to defend it from invasion. Thus, they make good characters if the campaign is set within
the boundaries of their homeland but not otherwise. They can make fine opponents for those who would bring harm to the Irish throne, though.

To prepare themselves for combat, the Fianna Eirinn spend six months away from home, sleeping under the stars. This helps attune them to nature and toughens them against the elements so that they are more effective on the field of battle. They are allowed to marry, but
they may not do so among themselves and their first loyalty must be to the throne, not their spouses.

Requirements: Dexterity 14+, Base Attack Bonus +8, Perform Skill: 8 Ranks, Wilderness Lore Skill: 4 Ranks, Loyalty to Ireland (see below)

Hit Die: d10

Skill Points per Level: 2 + Intelligence Modifier

Class Skills: Animal Empathy, Balance, Charioteering, Craft, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (nature), Perform, Tumble, Wilderness Lore

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Fianna Eirinn are proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons, with Light Armor, and with Shields.

Special Restriction – Loyalty to Ireland: Fianna Eirinn must be devout denizens of Ireland, swearing to protect her at all costs. Nothing
can come between the character and this devotion. If something does, the character loses the benefits of the Class and is no longer Fianna Eirinn.

Fianna Eirinn Class Features
Level Attack Fort Ref Will Class Features
1 +1 +2 +2 +0 Dispersing the Nine Spears
2 +2 +3 +3 +0 Weapon Finesse Feat
3 +3 +3 +3 +1 Woodland Stride
4 +4 +4 +4 +1 Diord Fionn
5 +5 +4 +4 +1 Clarity of Purpose
6 +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Trackless Step
7 +7/+2 +5 +5 +2 Legendary Devotion
8 +8/+3 +6 +6 +2 Cat’s Grace
9 +9/+4 +6 +6 +3 Selfless Fury
10 +10/+5 +7 +7 +3 Devotion Beyond Death

Class Features

Dispersing the Nine Spears (Ex): If the character has a shield, he or she may add +3 to
his or her AC against all ranged attacks.

Weapon Finesse Feat: Fianna Eirinn gain this Feat for free at 2nd Level.

Woodland Stride (Ex): The character can move through natural thorns, briars, overgrowth, and other areas that usually impede movement at his or her natural speed. Those that are magically enchanted to slow movement still do so.

Diord Fionn (Sp): By calling their warcry "Diord Fionn", the Fianna Eirinn can inspire the rest of the troop. All characters who hear the cry gain a +1 Bonus to Attack and Damage rolls.

Clarity of Purpose (Ex): The character has become devout enough in his or her defense of Ireland that he or she now garners a +2 Morale Bonus to all Saving Throw attempts.

Trackless Step (Ex): At this level, the character leaves no trail in the wilderness and cannot be tracked.

Legendary Devotion (Su): A Fianna Eirinn of this level is now capable of inspiring all those around him or her by the character’s devotion to the throne. During battle, all characters within 10 feet of the Fianna Eirinn gain a +2 Morale Bonus to Attack and Damage rolls.

Cat’s Grace (Sp): Once per day, the character can cast the Cat’s Grace spell upon himself or herself. Note that this is not so much casting a spell as the character summoning up the best of himself or herself at a critical time.

Selfless Fury (Ex): The character can now fling himself or herself into battle with wild abandon with devastating results. The Fianna Eirinn may choose to subtract from his or her Armor Class, adding an equal value to all Attack rolls for that round. The limit of the number of points the character can subtract is equal to his or her Armor Class. This number can be adjusted up or down each round.

Devotion Beyond Death (Ex): Fianna Eirinn with this ability are very difficult to kill in combat. They are not Incapacitated when they reach 0 Hit Points but may fight on until reaching -20. A character at negative Hit Points becomes Incapacitated and begins dying as soon as the fight is over. Those that have -10 or fewer Hit Points when the battle ends die instantly upon conclusion of the fight.

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