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There are some basic guidelines which we expect that each one within the event will adhere. The event itself turns a lot around traditions, reputation, status, respect and honour. This all placed within the setting in which we strongly advice to read up on some Celtic history and books as it will help to understand what we and all the players and crew expect.
Celtic society knows many layers that create a very intricate and complicated pattern of behaviour and customs. There are many rules and traditions that restrict behaviour and at the same time allow a person to gain a great amount of freedom, respect, reputation and privileges. For every action there is a consequence and repercussions are easily brought down on oneself for behaving out of order.
Every action you take can make a king out of a common man and reduce a king to a man of no worth. Each action is added or subtracted from the balance of your reputation and status. Making up for mistakes will be harder than making the mistake itself and a heroic deed often comes at a greater price than any mistake you will make. However, doing so successfully will raise your reputation and status within society. It is hard to be a Celt of great renown, and easy to be an honourless dog that is spat on by the rest of society. But if you have the balls to walk the walk and talk the talk like a true Celt, you can gain great respect, status, reputation and many privileges. For those who are not of a daring nature, there is hope too, for respect is the currency that outweighs any coin and if you learn how to use it well, many doors will open. You get what you give and a Celt gives what he gets. Show respect and respect is accorded, show great honour and you will be relied upon in important matters, show great bravery and you will be seen as a great warrior, show them all and you will be seen as a hero.
Once one has obtained some status and a reputation, or you are born into a high rank in society as the son or daughter of a lord, chief or king, you gain privileges, gifts and honours will be bestowed upon you by your superiors and lesser. These privileges are often of the sort where you get the finer choices of meat at the table, a well-crafted sword or spear, can sit by the King's side, may stand at the head in battle or are given the better seat around a fire and ultimately a king can give you land to make a lord or chief out of you. However, it is up to you to keep those privileges, honours and lands, for it is one thing to receive them, but only the worthy are allowed to keep them. Because with privileges, lands and honours comes responsibilities, you have raised the bar and now you have to keep living up to that standard. Honours have to be returned to the one who gives them, lands have to be protected and the people on it cared for and privileges have to be respected and not abused. If you do not live up to that standard, you will find your privileges dwindling, the respect shown to you decrease and any man who oversteps himself may find himself with nothing left or his head on a spear. For every bit of status, expectations are increased and for every bit of reputation you will be tested often to live up to it.
Those with little status are expected to show respect to their superiors and step aside in many ways to let those superiors enjoy their privileges. This may seem to be an unpleasant thing, but it is exactly the respect that will reap more rewards than any coin can buy and will get you further up the social ladder.
If you show great respect to your superiors and prove yourself to be useful to them, their appreciation for you will grow and you may gain privileges in their household or lands or you could be given gifts. This does not mean you will automatically get this from all your superiors when you show respect, quite the contrary, for to please one of your superiors might mean you leave another disgruntled. Politics and power struggles are the common man's nightmare. But if you find a way to excel without losing your head in the process, you might just find yourself the next owner of a ripe piece of farmland or gifted with a finely made sword or spear.
The Celts see respect and honour as vital parts of what makes them civilized people, more civilized than Saxons or Vikings. Disrespecting a superior and ignoring their privileges is therefore not something that is done lightly, or will go unpunished unless it is under warranted but extreme circumstances. Like a High King that spends his days drunken in his hall and ignores the threats to his lands, letting his people be slaughtered or a warrior that ran from the field of battle for no other reason than fear. A King that does not protect is no King, a warrior that does not fight is no warrior and a farmer that does not work his fields is no farmer and thus will not be accorded the respect and privileges that belong with it. You are what you act like and the words you can back up.
Kings & Queens: These people are the Nobles and thus leaders and rulers of the lands and people. They rule their lands and people, but not as an ultimate judge or law giver. The Kings or Queens role was principally in dealings outside the clan and as a war leader. His authority was held up and carried out by a council of nobles and assemblies of the freemen which would be held annually, frequently in conjunction with religious festivals. Treaties would be declared and discussed at these assemblies and the nobles would then see that they were adhered to.
Clan leaders: These people are the Nobles and thus leaders and rulers of their clan.
Bards: These people are living history; they spread the word of your deeds across the lands and into the camps of your friends and enemies. If you are rude or hostile towards them, they will not share your shares, of worse still, they will tell bad stories about you, and soon all will know of you shrunken manhood and pathetic sword arm....."sticks and stones" does not apply here, your rep as a warrior is ALL you have. Words can...and will hurt you far more than any sword.
Druids: To quote Judge Dredd "I am the LAW" and these guys are the law, they make the laws and enforce the laws, wise beyond any mere sword slingers and scout.
Priests: We have the ears of the gods, we converse with your deities directly.
Insults to characters like these are seen, and are recorded. Being a warrior will bring fame and fortune, but does not mean you are top of the food chain all the time.
Boast of your deeds and be respectful of the deeds of others: A warrior should never tell a lie about his deeds, and should expect that other warriors are showing the same honesty.
Glory in your Geasa: Every notable hero in Celtic myth was burdened by at least one Geas. They defined them in many ways. The weakness that the Geasa gave them was a huge contributing factor to their "Heroic-ness" It charted the path of their lives and gave them their possible doom. It is the most inherently and uniquely Celtic trait of the Celtic hero. Write a Geas or two into your backstory. Love them and hate them in equal measure. Cynrain has... a lot of Geasa. They include, but are not limited to the following: Never wear a helmet, He must drink from every river he crosses, He may never sleep more than one night under the same roof, He may never be handfasted, He may never eat the flesh of the swan, And he must never refuse to give something to someone if they truly need it and ask him for it. Now some of these are purely roleplaying and background Geasa, but some could easily get him killed. I love that aspect of them. They give depth, and add risk.
Know your weakness and your place in the social order: Bards and Druids have you under their thumb. They always will. Chafe against it all you want, but it's true, and it makes the society so much richer knowing that for all we strut and shout and fight, the gits with the words are the ones who really sit on the top of the heap. Bards hold the key to your immortality. As Cu Chulainn said "I care not if I live but a single day so long as my tale lives on after me"
Be seen to be honourable: This doesn't mean you are good. Being honourable does not have to mean that if your opponent's sword is shorter than yours, or if he has no shield, you should match your weapons to his. There is a tale of Cu Chulainn in which he fights the king of Leinster. At the first clash Cu Chulainn cleaves the king's shield in two. The king reels back, shouting that Cu Chulainn should give him the chance to get another shield, or to throw down his own. Cu Chulainn kills him, stating flatly that a warrior should bring appropriate and sturdy gear to a fight.
Another aspect of the honourable nature of single combat, to me at least, is that heroes should not end up rolling around in the dirt with knives. Combat between heroes should be epic and cinematic, not something that resembles two pissed up chavs fighting in the street at 2am on a Sunday morning.
Evolve: Old warriors become something else, they become war leaders and advisors and emissaries. When we get old as our characters I think we enrich the setting by taking on these roles.