The Tuatha d Dannan were born out of the violent, primal times of early Ireland. They came to power by defeating all who came before them and have guided the people of Ireland for a period of almost four thousand years. When the greatest threats were defeated, they elected to retreat from the World to Tr na ng, the Land of Eternal Youth, and guided the people of Ireland from there.
Like the Aesir (whom they most closely resemble and to whom they are in closest geographical proximity), the Tuatha are a noble lot, fierce-tempered and proud. No insult to their honor goes unavenged, and no crime against their people is ever forgotten. Personal responsibility and independence are both of vital importance to the Tuatha. Cowards, weaklings and shirkers are dealt with harshly. Artistic ability is also highly prized among the Tuatha. Music, poetry and storytelling are all respected and valued by the Tuatha, whether the person so gifted is one of the members of their own pantheon, another pantheon or a mortal. Some of the oldest recorded epics found in Irish literature are the stories of the Tuatha and their deeds, especially their war against the fomorians.
For the most part, the Tuatha treat their Scions well. While they constantly push their Scions to grow stronger and strive for ever-greater deeds in battle, they are not stingy with praise or gifts. Hospitality is a sacred duty amongst the Tuatha, and they are generous when it comes to handing out Birthrights. Swords, spears and other weapons are the most commonly gifted, but there is no shortage of non-armament rewards, such as cauldrons, harps, steeds and companions. But the Scions must prove themselves worthy of those gifts, and terrible is the reckoning if they do anything to dishonor the Birthrights they have been given. Awful tales have been told of Scions stripped of everything granted them when found guilty of not living up to their patrons’ expectations.
Aengus AKA: Aengus Og, Mac Ind Og, Mac Og
Aengus is the most beautiful of the Tuatha. His long blond hair, vibrant blue eyes and delicately sculpted features are enough to make men and women alike swoon in envy and desire. He has the lithe frame of a fencer or gymnast, rather than the heavily-muscled form of his father, the Dagda. Aengus is the God of youth, love and poetic inspiration, and he delights in embodying the first and spreading the other two as far and wide as possible.
Aengus is better known for feats of manipulation than deeds in battle. He was able to trick his father into giving him the Br na Binne, the Dagda’s own home, through a play on words. He is associated with birds, especially swans, and the birds that used to circle his head in a rapturous delight at the sight of his beauty have transformed today into the rows of Xs that lovers write to each other at the end of their letters.
In modern life, Aengus can be found wherever he has the greatest chance to inspire love or to prove his wits. He has been the host of a highly-rated daytime talk show and a sex therapist, a high-stakes gambler and a persuasive lawyer.
The Scions of Aengus are always beautiful and in the peak of health. The can be found in any profession where beauty and a silver tongue are in high demand – as attorneys, salesmen, models, actors and politicians. While they are better negotiators than warriors, more than one Scion of Aengus has ended a fight by talking rings around a less clever foe until more physically powerful allies could arrive.
Brigid not only fills the roles of maiden, mother and crone, but she is also the patron Goddess to smiths, healers and poets. Worshipped for centuries at the holy well in Kildare by a group of women who tended her perpetual flame, Brigid is associated with both water and fire – and not just the element of fire, but imbas (the “fire of inspiration”) that is the life-blood of musicians, poets and storytellers. Brigid is a tall, beautiful woman with hair as red as flames, eyes as gray as smoke and a scattering of freckles across her fair skin. She is stronger than she appears, untiring in the smithy and in battle.
These days, Brigid appears as a doctor, an edgy poet at poetry slams, a worker in a steel mill, a creative-writing teacher helping gifted students and a vet’s assistant. She loves positions where she can inspire people in what they do, whether that might be writing the Great American Novel or simply overseeing the Detroit foundry furnaces for the latest batch of automobile parts.
Brigid’s Scions are usually creative, charismatic, healthy people with an interest in the arts or healing. They tend to be calm, compassionate and good with their hands, with steady nerves and unwavering dedication. Her children serve equally as doctors or sculptors, nurses or musicians, paramedics or poets.
Dagda AKA: The Good God, Eochaid Ollathir, Ruadh Rofhessa
Son of Danu, the Dagda is known for his prodigious appetites for food, sex and battle. He had numerous lovers and wives, including the Morrigan. He also fathered Aengus with Boann, Nuada’s wife. The Dagda served as king of the Tuatha after Lugh for eighty years. It was during his reign that the Tuatha faced some of their fiercest battles with the fomorians.
The Dagda owns a number of magical treasures, including a harp that directs the order of a battle, a cauldron that can feed an army and a club that can kill nine men with a single stroke. The Dagda is a warrior, first and foremost, and has been battling the Titans and their spawn for centuries. He firmly believes that his ways are the best, and if you disagree, he will tell you exactly why you are wrong, whether you are a man or a God.
The Dagda spends a great deal of time in the mortal world these days, spreading his seed and fathering more Scions. Disguised as a mortal, he is as at home in a professional boxing ring as he is tending pigs on a farm. He has been a senator, an Olympic weightlifting champion and a biker either willing to drink you under the table or mop the floor with you. No matter where he goes, he makes friends and enemies in equal measure.
Scions of the Dagda are as larger than life as their father. They are big drinkers, big eaters, big brawlers and big lovers, and their friends rarely have any complaints. Some who favor the Dagda’s guardian tendencies work as police officers and firemen. Others become athletes – usually wrestlers, weightlifters and boxers. Those who inherit his charisma are drawn to more social professions – actors, politicians and salesmen gifted enough to sell steak to a vegetarian.
There would be no Tuatha D Danaan without Danu. Danu is the mother of the Dagda, Dian Ccht and Nuada, and through them she is the original ancestress of all the Tuatha. As one of the earliest Irish Goddesses, she is associated with the primal waters of creation and the fertile earth of Ireland. She is considered the most powerful guardian of Ireland, and all creatures that live there are under her protection. Most often seen as a beautiful, if somewhat distant, woman with light blond hair and sky blue eyes. There is nothing that happens within her country’s borders that escapes her attention, and no torment suffered by her people is endured without her resilience and guidance.
Danu is seldom seen in the mortal world these days. When she is, it is almost always as a mother figure of some sort – nurse, midwife, nanny, teacher. From time to time, she will take on the role of gardener or veterinarian, but this is rare. She never takes on any role that requires her to cause harm. Her gentle nature abhors violence, and she would rather shield someone under her care from danger by taking attacks meant for them upon herself.
Danu’s Scions are quiet, calm, keen-eyed and patient. Their strength is more often expressed through acts of endurance than violence. Though they can and will fight when they absolutely must (usually to protect innocents), they prefer to follow their patron’s example and refrain from physical fights. Whether running a shelter for battered women, serving as an advocate for abused children, protesting the senseless slaughter of dolphins in tuna nets or working with environmental scientists to cleanse polluted soil of industrial toxins, the Scions of Danu are among the gentlest of the Tuatha.
God of healing, son of the Dagda and grandfather of Lugh, Dian Cecht is best known for his creation of a silver hand for Nuada. The silver hand worked every bit as well as the original, but because the Tuatha could not have a king who was physically imperfect, Dian Cecht’s son Miach and his daughter Airmed (other members of the Tuatha with great healing abilities) worked seven years to grow Nuada a new hand of flesh. This so incensed Dian Cecht that he killed his own son and scattered a profuse amount of healing herbs over the four corners of the World.
Dian Cecht usually appears as an older man in his fifties, with long white hair held back by a headband and a neatly-trimmed white beard and mustache. Unlike some of the great warriors among the Tuatha, he is not exceptionally muscular but has the greatest hand-eye dexterity among his companions. His skill with crafting and metalwork can be seen in the silver hand he created for Nuada, and although his skill with medicinal herbs is not as great as his daughter’s, he still knows which ones can be eaten, which can be used to heal and which are poisonous.
Dian Cecht does not visit the mortal world as often as some of the rest of the Tuatha. He still broods over his son’s death and knows his temper has not cooled since the ancient days. When he spends time there, he is almost always to be found in a hospital, clinic or medical corporation designing new prosthetics for amputees. Whether he works as an E.R. doctor, an oncologist, a virologist or a burn specialist, he labors tirelessly to eradicate pain, disease and suffering wherever he finds it. He is one of the few members of the Tuatha with little skill in the arts of war.
The Scions of Dian Cecht are almost exclusively found among the medical fields. Nurses, doctors, paramedics, orderlies and developers of new drugs are all counted among his children. They tend to be driven and devoted people, all too aware of the damage done to fragile mortals by the titanspawn they fight and ready in a pinch to provide what help they can to their more martial brethren.
The grandson of Dian Cecht, greatgrandson of the Dagda and fostered by Manannan mac Lr, Lugh is the patron God of versatility. Although the Tuatha contain many Gods, only the greatest were admitted to the highest levels that ruled over Ireland. Lugh came to the door of King Nuada’s hall and was told he could not join them unless he showed perfection in some skill. A warrior, a harper, a smith, a poet, a historian, a sorcerer and a craftsman, Lugh demonstrated each of these talents, only to be told that the King’s hall already contained Gods who could each do these things. Lugh asked whether any of these Gods could do all of them and was granted membership. A tall, leanly-muscled man, Lugh is precise in his actions and as swift-witted as he is quick-footed. He is also one of the most charming and handsome of the Tuatha, with a short halo of dark auburn curls and green eyes that are usually full of cheer. Only in battle do they turn dark with steely resolve. Like some others among the Tuatha, Lugh is half-fomorian: his mother was Ethniu, daughter of the fomorian king Balor, and his father was Cian, one of the sons of Dian Cecht.
In modern times, Lugh has appeared as a musician, a soldier, a history professor, an author and a creator of fine jewelry. Even people who meet him briefly don’t forget him, and he makes friends with ease.
Lugh’s Scions tend to have worked a wide array of jobs during their lives and can draw on a large number of skills picked up at different times. They also tend to be charming, athletic and travel a lot. His best-known Scion was Cuchulainn, probably the most famous hero ever to come out of Ireland. Lugh gave Cuchulainn the battle-frenzy known as the rastrad, which made him nearly unbeatable in battle. Unfortunately, it also made it impossible for Cuchulainn to tell friend from foe. Since that time, Lugh has taught the warp-spasm to others among the Tuatha, and they in turn may teach it to their Scions.
Manannan Mac Lir AKA: Mannan beg mac y Leir, Manandan mac Alloit
Manannn was adopted into the Tuatha when the pantheon arrived in Ireland, but he comes from a much older pantheon whose name the Pantheon has been lost to history. He is the God of the sea and the ferryman that conducted the souls of the dead from the lands of the living to Tir na nOg.
Manannan is also known as a trickster God, whose pranks can be violent enough to cause harm but always teach a valuable lesson. He serves as foster father to Lugh and came to his aid when Lugh helped the rest of the Tuatha overthrow Bres, the corrupt half-fomorian king who ruled the Tuatha after Nuada. Manannan is also associated with horses and owns a magical steed named Enbarr that can cross water just as swiftly as it can race over land.
Manannan usually appears as a white-bearded, hoary old man, somewhat shorter than the rest of the Tuatha, with faded blue eyes and a wry smile. He is fond of seducing young women and has no compunctions whatsoever about taking on a younger, more handsome form to do so. He is an accomplished shape-changer and has been known to assume the form of a woman’s lover or husband in order to seduce her.
Manannan has taken to a variety of roles in modern times. As comedian or gigolo, funeral director or fisherman, card sharp or jockey, he is always found with a smirk on his lips, a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step.
Manannan’s Scions are best known for their sense of humor and their quick wits. They come from all walks of life, but large numbers of them gravitate to professions involving the ocean or death. Navy personnel, oceanographers, merchant marines and underwater photographers are as likely as forensic pathologists, gravediggers, cemetery caretakers and even serial killers (who often end up choosing their victims from the ranks of those who serve titanspawn).
No one who looks upon the face of the Morrigan comes away unchanged by it. Feared even by her fellow Tuatha, her dreadful reputation in battle is legendary. She appears most often as a lean, gray hag with iron strength and a wiry frame, and if she is seen in battle, she is usually soaked from head to foot in the blood of her foes. There are no weapons the Morrigan is not expert with, though her favorites are spear and sword. She can be beautiful, too, as when she appeared to the hero Cuchulainn to try to seduce him before the Second Battle of Moy Tura. With black or red hair and flashing eyes, her enchanting figure in this guise is tied to her role as a fertility figure. She is associated with cattle, a common fertility symbol in Irish mythology, but more traditionally with ravens, crows and other corvids. She can take the form of a crow or raven and is often found flying over battlefields, surveying the damage and descending to feast on the bodies of the dead. Among the Tuatha, the Morrigan is considered their greatest seer, especially adept at predicting the outcomes of battles and the deaths of men in war.
The Morrigan can still be found on battlefields to this day, either as a soldier or as someone removing the dead bodies so they can be tagged, bagged and sent back home for burial. She has been known to appear as a martial arts instructor, a fortune-teller (inevitably seeing gloom and doom for those who come to have her read their cards or their palm), a dealer in black market arms and an animal rehabilitator working with injured ravens, rooks and crows.
The Morrigan’s Scions are among the fiercest, toughest and cruelest members of their kind. Strong, cold and used to both physical and emotional punishment, they can take nearly everything that gets thrown at them and come back for more. Whether they are found in the Special Forces, a zoo’s avian exhibit office or at a mixed martial arts championship, there are very few Scions (or titanspawn, for that matter) who can best them when it comes to sheer power, determination and lack of mercy.
The first King of the Tuatha De Danaan, Nuada ruled even before the pantheon came to Ireland. Tall, powerful, charismatic and the finest warrior of his people, Nuada led the Tuatha against the Pantheon Fir Bolg and the fomorians, and he lost a hand in a duel with Sreng, the fomorian champion. He had to step down as king due to a Tuatha taboo which stated that no man could be king who was physically imperfect. His hand was eventually replaced, first with one of silver by Dian Cecht and then with a flesh-and-blood hand regrown for him by Dian Cecht’s son Miach.
Nuada is tall, powerfully muscled and extremely handsome, the absolute ideal of a warrior-king of the Tuatha. He has long blond hair held back from his face with a ribbon and piercing green eyes that can see for miles. He is adept with every weapon and is considered the guardian of all Ireland. Nuada is the ultimate arbiter of justice in all cases brought before him, especially despising those who are cowardly, morally weak and cruel.
In modern times, Ireland has no king, and Nuada is more apt to be found in other venues where justice, leadership and warrior prowess are valued. He has been a prosecuting attorney and a judge, a police officer and a public defender, a politician and a soldier.
Nuada’s Scions are likely to follow his footsteps, and many favor the professions of law and law enforcement. They may be found among the members of the armed forces and police officers of many nations. Those of a more independent nature may end up running for public office with progressive platforms, teaching martial arts to disadvantaged people in crime-ridden neighborhoods, joining vigilante organizations that prevent crime in big-city subways or acting as bodyguards that protect women who brave the screaming picket lines at women’s health clinics.
The creator of the Ogham alphabet that bears his name, Ogma is considered the wisest of the Tuatha. He is the patron of all druids and guides those who devote their life to learning, especially in the fields of law, languages, poetry, art and the sciences. But his talents are not limited to peaceful study: Ogma is equally famed across Ireland for his intelligence and his prowess as a warrior. During ancient times, Ogma served Nuada as his champion and was so strong that he was capable of hurling a massive stone that required eighty oxen to move it. Only Lugh has ever equaled him at this feat.
The son of the Dagda and Danu, Ogma is tall, with hair like pale fire and blue eyes fierce as a hawk’s. Rather than the armor of warriors, he is traditionally seen wearing Druidic robes.
In modern times, Ogma can often be found at one university or another. He enjoys teaching history, literature, law and any number of languages, including Irish Gaelic. Though he has lost none of his skill as a warrior, he understands that entering a battle without a strategy is often futile. When he finally steps away from the books, however, he is a formidable foe to anyone he faces.
The Scions of Ogma are known for striking a balance between brains and brawn. They never rush blindly into a fight, but instead plan carefully and pay full attention to every advantage they can find. Those who eschew war for more intellectual paths are often among the finest minds of their generations, making new breakthroughs in archaeology, physics, chemistry, computers, linguistics and mathematics.