The Æcyr Gréne Campaign 

The Dynndh Faith and Culture

The Gorsedh
Dynndh Druidic Society and Organisation

The Gorsedh cannot truely be considered to be a Clerical Heirarchy - it is not centralised, there is no one person or group with oligarchic or religious control. Yet conversely, it is also far more than simply being a religious organisation. The Gorsedh is the very embodiment of the druidic culture of the Dynndh peoples that superseeds conceptual boundaries like religion, politics and social orders to become the very societal backbone of the Dynndh people, regardless of their divergent political aspirations.

An Overview of the Gorsedh 

The Gorsedh is more than simply being the religious heirarchy of the Dynndh people. It is the very social order that supports their way of life. The complexity of the structures are exceeded by its very simplicity - every learnéd member of Dynndh society has some sort of link to the Gorsedh. Furthermore, the Gorsedh serve the Dynndh people as advisors, teachers, historians and adjudicators of legal disputes as well as acting as the holders of knowledge and diviners of portents and augeries. Their role in society is so complex that the Gorsedh is structured into several smaller groupings - the Filidh, the Druis and the Breitheamh. However, to better understand these groupings, it is best to look at the structures in greater detail

One of the main functions within Dynndh society for the Gorsedh is to provide a high level of education to all who chose to avail of it. In addition to providing one or more members to act as teachers and advisors to the lords of the dynndh, the Gorsedh run a number of Halla Foghlama where people can recieve a rigorous education in History, Law, Leadership and Social Responsibility. This is also where the members the Gorsedh are first inducted into the organisation, chosen from the creme of the Dynndh people. The teachers and advisors of the Dynndh are generally drawn from the ranks of the Filidh, and the Halla Foghlama are run by the Filidh.

The second function of the Gorsedh is to act as the Guardians of the Fuil Donn, ensuring that the ebb and flow of the Fuil Donn is not perverted by the actions of unrestrained spell casting. They also monitor the activities and disposition of the Spioraid Lag and Spioraid Beannaithe - ensuring that the actions of their people do not cause these spirits to act against the people. These functions are performed by the Druis.

The final function of the Gorsedh is that of maintaining a level of social coheisiveness and unity in the face of political machinations, border squabbles and all-out-war between the Dynndh clans, spread out across half a continent. The Breitheamh of the Gorsedh are the repositories and administrators of the laws that govern every aspect of Dynndh Life. They also act as mediators and advisors to the Dynndh peoples, guiding them away from the worst excesses of internicine conflict. The Halla Foghlama play a large part in this policy - when you spend months or years at a time working, playing and studying together, you are less likely to decide on a whim to start a war with your neighbouring Clan. Of course, Dynndh pride and bravado are not things that can be set aside, but centuries of social manipulation has funnelled these energies into acts of oneupmanship like cattle raids when only the best cow or bull is taken, leaving the rest of the herd alone and avoiding dealing fatal injuries to eachother when in combat.

All of these differing strands of the Gorsedh are ruled by the Ollaimh - the eldest and wisest members of the Gorsedh community. The Ollaimh typically make up the leadership of the Halla Foghlama and the higher echelons of the Covenants of Druids.

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The Filidh 

The Filidh are those members of the Gorsedh that have concentrated on the preservation and dissemination of knoweldge and law. A bard is more than just a wandering minstrel in Dynndh society - they carry with them the teachings and knowledge of the Dynndh people, and will pass it on to any who chose to listen. Most Dynndh nobles have at least one Filé attached to their household to teach the children the Lays and Histories of the clan, the tribe and the land. The Filidh are also often eloquent poets and speakers, and can entrance an audience with tales of old, or biting satire and sarcasm - many a foolish Dynndh Lord has lost the respect of his peers and his people by upsetting a Filé.

The Filidh, like all of the members of the Gorsedh, enjoy special protection under the law. They may not be harmed, fettered, tortured nor alloed to be hurt through inaction. As messengers, heralds, teachers, law givers and ambassadors, they can do or say what they wish, and none may act against them save other members of the Gorsedh. Only another member of the Gorsedh may challenge them to a duel, and should a commoner or lord feel poorly treated by a member of the Gorsedh, they must appeal to another member of the Gorsedh for justice.

The Filidh are divided into several status and role related ranks. These are the Printíseach (Apprentice); Cainteoir - someone who has completed the first period of studies, and has passed the tests of knowledge and ethics ... someone who does not pass the exams, or who choses not to complete their training will be known as a Baird - they may freely travel, teaching, reciting the histories, and such like, but they do not enjoy the protections under the law that even a lowly Printíseach can rely upon. Typically, a Cainteoir will choose to proceed in their studies as either a Seanchaidh - somone who has mastered the indepth knowledge of the tangled genealogies of the Dynndh clans, the histories of the dynndh people, and the personal histories and achievements of specific families and communities - or one of the Breitheamh - specialists in the Laws of the Dynndh. (see below). However, if they have shown an aptitude for sensing and manipulating the Fuil Donn, they may be accepted as a Foghlaimeoir Draíocht (Trainee Druid).

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The Druis 

The Druis are those members of the Gorsedh that have concentrated on the manipulation and preservation of the Fuil Donn. With their deep understanding of the moods of nature and the ebb and flow of the seasons, the Druis fullfil the role of Cleric as well as that of Mage in the community. Thier blessing or advise is sought regarding auspicious times for planting and harvesting, they are closely involved in the many rites of passage such as births and deaths, adulthood and awakenings. Their mastery of the arcane arts allows them great facility as healers, which increases their position within the community.

While some Druis may remain as solitary figures, on the verges of the Dynndh communities that they serve, the Druis are also known to establish and protect areas that come to be termed Gárrain (Groves). These Groves will be held by a Cúnant - a grouping of Druis who will fiercely protect the Grove. To the normal person, the decision to establish a Grove is often one which does not seem to make sense - sometimes they will be extablished close to an existing settlement, but sometimes they are established in remote and desolate locations far from civilisation and habitation. However, the Druis chose the locations for the Groves based upon the ebbs and flows of the Fuil Donn - the Ley lines and Earth Nodes to which only the magically aware are attuned.

The Druis are divided into several status and role related ranks. These are the Foghlaimeoir Draíocht (Acolyte - Apprentice Druid) who are chosen from successful Printíseach (Bardic/Filidh Apprentices). Once the successful applictant completes the training and passes a complex exam in magical theory and practice, they may use the title Draíodóir. Often they will go on to specialise in certain forms of magic, and may adopt a variety of different titles. The most respected specialities are the F´idh (Seers) and the Fuil Fíodóir (Blood Weavers) - those mages most sensitive to the flows of the Fuil Donn, and best able to manipulate them to the benefit of the Gorsedh.

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The Breitheamh 

The administration of the Law is such a complex area that there are some Breitheamh that have concentrated in areas as obscure as Copyright Law, in addition to the more common trade, civil and inheritance legalities that make up the majority of their duties. Criminal law is normally adjudicated by the Lords of the Dynndh, but appeals may be made to the Breitheamh when the outcome is deemed to be unfair, or in cases of inter-clan disputes. All Breitheamh are Filidh who have chosen to specialise in learning the laws and customs of the Dynndh. In addition to the indepth knowledge of the law, the Breitheamh are expected to have an eloquence, public speaking and bearing that lends them an air of leadership and authority which is rarely equalled.

The path to become a Breitheamh is one which is long and arduous. First, the prospective student must be a successful Printíseach (Bardic/Filidh Apprentice). Once they have been granted the title Cainteoir, they may chose to commence on another arduous course of sudy, at the end of which - if the pass the tests - they will be granted the title of Dlíodóir. Those Breitheamh who gain the trust and respect of the peoples may eventually become Príomh Dlíodóir - the adjudicators of disputes and administrators of the Law.

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