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Angharad Culture

The Angharad People (General Information)

  • The Angharad are based loosely on the ancient Irish clans, Britons and Celts.
  • The lands the Angharad live in are known as Angtiria. Angharad people are sometimes called Angtirian by foreigners.
  • The Angharad are a druidic clan society ruled by Queens and a warrior aristocracy. Their bloodlines and ancestry are based on the maternal side (matralineal).
  • The Angharad revere a pantheon of nature oriented deities and their priesthood is known as The Circle.
  • The Angharad people are generally fair skinned and typically have brown, red or blond hair. Their eyes range from the browns to greens. Generally they are a hearty people, and many are tall and most are rangy instead of thick or muscle-bound. Some of the Angharad people are reputed to have "the second sight".
  • The Angharad people generally live pastoral lifestyles in small towns and villages.

Angtiria - Land of the Ang

Angtiria literally means "the land of the Ang", but the Ang have long since faded from the world after the Harad Migrations which brought new peoples to these regions of Eradain.

It is said in the Migrations of the Harad that two princes of the Harad traveled north from where the Harad first arrived in Eradain and encountered the Ang:
"Prince Khor and Prince Sinann, closest of the two brothers, traveled together west and north and encountered the Ang. The Ang were a diminished people with empty villages and they welcomed the Harad into their lands and hearths. They helped both the princes and their people and taught them of the lands and the gods of Eradain. Prince Khor's people continued to the north taking with them Ang druids who would show them the plains of the north and the ways of nature. Prince Sinann and his people inter-married with the Ang, and before he died declared their people no longer Ang or Harad, but both: Angharad."

The legends further tell that the Harad Prince Sinann married a woman of the Ang and they had four daughters, Tiran, Raetha, Umirelle, and Runiver who are the founders of the four major Angharad Clan Houses. Tiran was a skilled Swordswoman and Sorceress who fought many battles and was a hero to the people. Raetha was the first Angharad Priestess of the Ang goddess Dana who founded The Circle and became its first Great Druid. Umirelle was a traveling Bard and Tinker who was a fearless explorer of the lands and author of songs still sung to this day. Runiver was a druid and a crafter who established the city of Tilith as a trade town and wrote many of the laws of the Angharad.

Angharad Clan System Government

The rulers of the Angharad are the noble Clan families and their leaders are the Clan Queens. Among the Angharad all ancestry and inheritance is traced through the maternal side (matralineal).

An Angharad Clan is composed of groups of 10-20 families bound together by actual or perceived kinship and descent. The majority of the noble clan families are of the yeoman class (lesser freeholders below the level of nobility), and the leading families of the clans are the aristocracy. A leading family line within a clan is referred to as a 'Sept' (a branch of a clan), and there may be more than one Sept within a large clan. The primary territory ruled by a Clan is known as a Rhan.

The Clan Queens are not determined by inheritance, but selected from among eligible candidates by clan elders using a system known as 'tanistry'. To be eligible as Queen a candidate must be a clan female with arcane or divine magical ability. The elders of the clan select the Queen and her designated heir (or 'tanist') based on merit and ability (as well as internal clan politics politics and family power and connections). "Under Brehon Law the leaders of the clans were appointed by their kinsmen as custodians of the clan and were responsible for maintaining and protecting their clan and its property." The noble Septs are usually the families with the strongest magical bloodlines, and usually any clan females of magical ability are fostered by one of the Clan Septs or the Sept of another allied Clan. Typically Queens are selected from among alternating branches of the most powerful Clan family lines. In the normal course of Angharad politics, every Queen will have a designated heir (the 'tanist') selected for succession soon after she assumes clan leadership.

Multiple Clans (usually 3-10) can gather together based on kinship, vassalage or alliance to form Houses. The House Queens are selected by a conclave of member Clan Queens. There are usually four major Clan Houses based on descent from the original four daughters of Prince Sinann, but there are more than a dozen recognized Houses among the Clans.

Occasionally two or more Clan Houses will join together in alliance or vassalage and form a Great Clan. The Great Clan Queen is selected selected by a conclave of the Clan and House Queens. Very rarely, the various Houses and Great Clans will join together and elect a High Queen of the Angharad called The Banrion [bon-reen].

The Angharad priesthood, known as The Circle, plays a powerful role in the politics of the Angharad and they are keepers of the common laws followed by all the clans and the people. In addition, The Circle ultimately controls the usage of land by communing with nature to determine environmental impacts (see The Balance under Angharad Religion). Priests of The Circle as a body maintain strict neutrality in most matters of government, although priests may still participate in politics with their clans as individuals.

If a Clan no longer has a Queen, either due to there being no eligible candidates or because the elders fail to choose one of the candidates, then the clan is effectively dormant. Individual families may join with or be absorbed by other clans.

Social Classes

Angharad society is divided loosely along the following class distinctions in order of rank from highest to lowest. Class divisions are not rigid and upward mobility is possible by various methods (education, marriage, merit, ability), and there is no overall strong stigma attached to belonging to a certain class.

  • Great Clan Queens / House Queens / Great Druid*
  • Clan Queens
  • Clan Septs (Aristocracy) / High Ranking Priests
  • Yeoman / Prominent Bards/ Brehons / Lesser Priests
  • Craftsmen and Traders
  • Commoners

  • * Although given the respect greater than that of Clan Queens, the Great Druid does not exercise political power directly, being concerned primarily with maintaining the Angharad peoples spiritual needs and the balance with nature.

Naming Conventions

Any Briton, Celtic, Welsh, or Gaelic style names and fictional Deverry style names are appropriate for the Angharad. Following is an example of the naming structure for families and clans.

  • Commoners typically only have a given name (example commoner - "Rinvan").
  • Those belonging to a Clan will have a given name and their clan surname (example clan noble - "Rinvan Gweddyn").
  • A member of a leading family within a clan may also be called by the title of Sept (example of a member of a leading clan family - "Rinvan of Sept Gweddyn"). This may be use to differentiate between those of yeoman families vs. those of higher status.
  • Clan members belonging to a House will have a hyphenated name indicating their House (example clan house noble - "Rinvan Gweddyn-Daer" or "Rinvan Gweddyn of House Daer").
  • Members of a Great Clan will hyphenate their name with the Great Clan instead of their House (example great clan noble - "Rinvan Gweddyn-Mordwyen of House Daer").

Law and Justice

The common laws of the land are maintained by the Angharad priesthood of The Circle. Men and women educated in the law by the Circle are known as Brehon's or 'law-speakers' and bear white staffs with colored ribbons denoting their knowledge and rank. While the laws are maintained by the priesthood, the power of justice lies in the hands of the Clans. Petty crimes can be referred to any adult Clan member, while more serious crimes are typically handled by Sept members, and high crimes are typically judged by a Clan Queen. Lesser crimes by Clan members are judged by the Sept or the Queen depending on the rank of the accused but may also be referred to a responsible House Queen if a member of the ruling Sept is the accused. Rarely, cases may be turned over to The Circle for judgment.

Crime and punishment are rather simple, primarily being along the lines of 'an eye for an eye', but there is also a 'weregild' system. Weregild is a value placed on every person and every piece of property. In the case of a wrongful injury, the weregild value can be paid as restitution for damages. It is part of the skill of the Brehon's to know the weregild value of things as well as understand the laws. The injured party or their family can plead for payment "by gold" or "by blood" indicating their preference for payment or the eye for an eye sort of justice, but the final judgment of the punishment is up to the Clan representative reviewing the case. In situations of clan against clan if there is a dispute over the crime then appeal for judgment may be requested from a neutral Brehon or clan acting as arbiter, or the situation may be resolved by combat. Many disputes between Clans and Houses do devolve into open warfare. Some conflicts of this nature are never resolved and those clans are in a state of war with each other for long periods. Resolution of a dispute or conflict can also take the form of an honor duel.

Honor duels may take the form of single combat, or battles between groups. Champions may be chosen to fight for any of the parties, but that is typically in scenarios of disputes between groups rather than between individuals. Champions are always volunteers, nobody can be ordered to fight if they do not wish to. Honor duels can take many forms, from bloodless competitions to battle to first blood, or to the death. Generally, yielding is an option, however one party or the other can insist that the duel be to the death. To be an honorable duel these terms are all named in advance and there is no outside interference. Whenever possible a Brehon or other neutral party is called to observe and mediate any honor duel as well as record the official outcome and resolution of the conflict.

Economy and Trade

Generally the Angharad live pastoral agrarian lifestyles, farming and foresting. The most productive farmlands in the north between the Slaine and Sinann Rivers and in the south around Tilith. Sheep and cattle herding are common in the regions along the Dagalethe Mountains, and the forest regions of the Dathi and Arandil grow crops and harvest timber. The rivers of Angtiria, especially the Sinann are crucial to trade and the river clans transport goods from Erada to Tilith to the coast at Tarin and make use of all the rivers between. The Angharad are famed for their leatherwork and cloth which is usually decorated in the spiral knotwork and the blue and green dyes they create from special forest plants. The Angharad also have access to some of the best timber resources on the continent including unique high demand lumber such as Duskwood and Darkwood.

Angharad trade with the Khorharad of the north with luxury goods, cloth, food crops, and beer for cattle and particularly horses. Also in the north the Angharad trade with the Dwarves of Khuzdul with similar goods in exchange for metal goods such as tools, armor and weapons. To the east they trade over Erada and Daga Pass with the Sarharad in leather, cloth, lumber for luxury goods, fish, glassware and wine. To the south there is a little black market trade with the Harad, which is usually based around trading special lumber for drugs and some exotic liqueurs and spices. There is also some trade with the Hurloon Minotaurs of leather for precious metals and gems. To the southwest, the Angharad trade heavily with the elves, primarily cloth and leather in exchange for luxury goods, but also for elven wine and weapons such as bows and longswords. In the west, trade is conducted at the port of Tarin by seafaring merchants. Goods of every type are traded at Tarin, but much of the lumber taken from the forests ship out from this port to other destinations.