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Manannan mac Lir Purviews?

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  • Manannan mac Lir Purviews?

    I was wondering if anyone who looked at 2nd edition of Scion shared my opinions on Manannan's purviews? I personally would have him having the following: Death, Deception, Journeys, and Sky. Moon, where is the evidence for that? Stars? I would have that as a purview of Niamh (his daughter). Water? That would be his father Lir. Death is supported in the tale Manannan at Play where he resurrects a person after cutting off the man's head. Journeys should be obvious to everyone, what with his chariot and Embarr. Here's my justification for Deception and Sky. Mist is the most commonly mentioned association with Manny, being mentioned as his cloak (which shrouds the Isle of Mann, hides the homes of the Tuatha from mortal eyes, permanently separates Cuchulainn and Fand, etc.). Now look at Fragarach which he loaned to Lugh (who presumably returned it), and then compare it to lightning. Number one, it cannot be stopped by any armor or defense. Number two, it commands the winds. Number three, when used to threaten someone they cannot tell a lie. It seems to me that swearing an oath of truth upon the heavens and subsequently being struck down by a bolt of lightning if one lied afterward is a common theme in many religions. I would imagine therefore that holding a blade of lightning to someone's throat would cause a Blurt It Out effect, out of sheer terror at the very least. Lastly who would recover after being pierced by a sword made of lightning? Hence the piercing wound from which no one would recover. Anyone have any thoughts or opinions?

  • #2
    We thought about a lot of those, but here's how he ends up: Manannán mac Lir, God of the Sea
    The Tuatha sea God commands great respect from a pantheon whose Worldly home and multifarious Otherworld realms are all islands. Manannan usurped the position from his father, the Fomorian Ler, and now governs passage to Tír na nÓg. He claims the Isle of Man, to the east of Ireland, was named for him. It's hard to argue the point with several Axes Mundi leading to the Irish Otherworld hidden in the mists there.
    Manannán fostered Lugh as a son and entrusted him with several of the magical treasures in his copious cache. All Scions, not just his own, may benefit similarly from the sea lord's generosity if they travel to the Otherworld and suitably impress him, though what impresses him is never clear. His incarnations manifest as merchants, sailors, guides, and jesters with hidden agendas. When the Gaels drove the Tuatha into Tír na nÓg it was Manannán who divided the fairy realms between them, for he knew them better than any. He splits his time between ferrying worthy souls across the ocean to the Underworld and wandering the World disguised to show off his pranks to mortals.
    People call upon the Scions of Manannán for guidance in travel and adventure, and especially as chaperones to the Otherworld or messengers to the dead. Dealing with them is rarely a straightforward affair, though, whether because the Scion herself has ulterior motives or because she gets caught up in someone else's shenanigans by accident. The sea God's children stumble across deeper mysteries with alarming regularity, consistent with rumors that Manannán predates most of the Tuatha and has seen realms long vanished into the fog of prehistory. The Gods whisper that if anyone could discover a lost God-realm and claim it for the Irish—or discover the truth of Danu and Domnu’s murky history — it would be a Scion of Manannán mac Lir.
    Callings: Guardian, Liminal, Trickster
    Purviews: Deception, Journeys, Prosperity, Stars, Water


    Neall Raemonn Price
    Beleaguered Scion Developer

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    • #3
      I rather like the figure that the write-up paints. Hell, I already have Manannán as the divine father of my main Tuatha Scion.

      Admittedly, dunno how accurate that is... But I wager I know someone who would.

      Watcher, Irish Lore question! Your thoughts on 2E's write-up of Manannan mac Lir?

      Also, IIRC, Stars has less to do with LITERAL stars as a Purview.


      Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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      • #4
        Sure Kyman, I can put my two cents in here.

        Lir is mentioned as being a Fomori here, which is something that I have not heard of before. It could entirely just be something for the Scion-verse, but if it’s not, I’d love to know where it’s from. I have not seen Lir identified as being Fomori in any of the texts I have read, and he is a... lovely man really. I have a very big soft spot for Lir, he is at the center of one of the more human tragedies to befall a Divine Entity in Irish Mythology. He longs for his children, loving them with all his heart, but unable to save them from a curse placed on them. A curse which was placed on them out of jealousy for how much Lir adored them. He doesn’t seem like a Fomori to me, he lacks any suggestion of physical mutilation, or relation with raiding, or similar.

        I expect that Manannan’s usurpation of Lir is based in having Lir be a Fomorian, which, if so, is cool. But, overthrowing your father for Kingship is a pretty big deal, a pretty villainous thing unless there was legitimate cause such as poor harvests, etc. Manannan can be King of the Sea without having to write Lir out, Lir sort of has already written himself out. Lir is chained by his own sorrow, his loss and longing for his family has bound him tighter than Prometheus was. (I’m discounting the ‘A priest shows up and fixes everything’ angle that shows up sometimes) Manannan can totally be King while Lir is imprisoned by his grief. I think Lir makes a good Primordial to be honest, he can just be the ocean itself. A massive, overwhelmingly powerful entity who can’t really relate with the world any more.

        I really like the inclusion of Manannan being the one to divide up the lands and forge the treaty with the Sons of Mil, and including the ‘Manannan gives everyone Relics’ bit is also great. Both are really neat features, sort of this source of strange Otherworldly magical tools, and also being sort of like a reasonable ‘third party’ to make the deal between the Tuatha and the Sons of Mil.

        Now, something I’ll admit I am not sure of is Manannan as a Psychopomp. I have heard it repeated so many times over the years, by Gotham By Night, by a ton of people, that it seems that it honestly must have some backing somewhere. But, I have never actually found any evidence to it. From what I have read, Manannan never actually serves as Psychopomp, or moves the dead around. People say he is, that he is a Psychopomp and guides the dead, but he never actually does it, or is even referenced as doing so in the texts as far as I have read. I know he shows up in some glossaries in the mid-Medieval period that might mention it in theory, but I think they just refer to him as a Sea God. I believe that it might just be something that has been repeated so many times it seems true, but doesn’t actually have any fact at its core.

        I can understand if this is a Scion-based addition to the Tuatha however, since the Underworld situation for the Irish is really poorly attested to, and they sort of need all the help they can get making it something approachable for people.

        For the Callings, all of them are great. He is a folkloric protector of the Isle of Man for Guardian. He is a wanderer, traveler, and general vagabond moving between this world and the Otherworld for Liminal. He plays a fool, tricks, and confuses people for Trickster. I think the callings are all on-point for him, and all work great.

        For the Purviews, Deception is bang on for similar reasons to Trickster, also the trick he pulls with his cloak to permanently prevent CuChulain and Fand from ever seeing each other, as well as purging their memories of each other is one of the bigger feats of really ‘big’ magic in the texts. Journeys works, he travels here and there, has a magic boat, magic horse, both of which facilitate travel in a magical way. (Boat flies, horse runs on water) Water is bang on, he’s a Sea God, does a ton of stuff with the water.

        Stars, I’m not sure of, and I’d be really interested to know where it is coming from. I can think of two possible reasons he has it though.

        Now, if Stars has something to do with Navigation, that could explain it. But, the Irish were honestly pretty terrible at traveling places by sea that are not Otherworlds. They would raid across the Irish Sea, but they were not going on grand oceanic travels, again, not counting the Otherworldly-Sea trips by Bran and Brendon. The Irish had no need for navigational techniques, and I don’t think we have any record they were doing it. The Irish were surrounded by water, but were not really that good with it. They’re no Norse. I don’t think Stars is connected with all Navigation though since Poseidon doesn’t have it, but that could be different in a newer version of the Theoi!

        The other reason I can think of is based off 1e’s version of Stars having something to do with Time. Now, a lot of the Otherworlds have some really brutal time distortion, so Manannan could be having that folded into him. I wouldn’t entirely agree with it, it’s more of a geographic feature than something he is causing, but I can understand why he might have it. If this is the case, then I expect we will see Ryujin with Stars as well since his home has some pretty serious time dilation on it as well.

        I will add in that the Scion team has said they’re not aiming for a insanely accurate, boringly academic, sort of game. They have mentioned several times that they are making a world of mythology and legend, not necessarily a world exactly perfectly mirroring our own. This is their Manannan, and their Lir, just like their Ares is their Ares, their Tezcatlipoca is their Tezcatlipoca. It’s a mirror of our world to tell stories and have fun, not a perfect copy.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Watcher View Post
          Now, something I’ll admit I am not sure of is Manannan as a Psychopomp. I have heard it repeated so many times over the years, by Gotham By Night, by a ton of people, that it seems that it honestly must have some backing somewhere. But, I have never actually found any evidence to it. From what I have read, Manannan never actually serves as Psychopomp, or moves the dead around. People say he is, that he is a Psychopomp and guides the dead, but he never actually does it, or is even referenced as doing so in the texts as far as I have read. I know he shows up in some glossaries in the mid-Medieval period that might mention it in theory, but I think they just refer to him as a Sea God. I believe that it might just be something that has been repeated so many times it seems true, but doesn’t actually have any fact at its core.
          Maybe it was similar in the way that Loki in popular culture became a Fire God? There was a mistake/assumption made and it kept repeating around and around? I don't know, honestly.


          Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post

            Maybe it was similar in the way that Loki in popular culture became a Fire God? There was a mistake/assumption made and it kept repeating around and around? I don't know, honestly.
            Its a reasonable assumption though with his name etymologically (like when his Utgard rival was Logi the hungry flame), as well as his parents names thought to be referencing Forest Fires.


            It is a time for great deeds!

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            • #7
              I think Loki being a fire god comes from confusion with his name and that of Logi, the fire giant he lost an eating contest to, but its stuck around and his name does have some connections to fire. Kind of like Kronos and Khronos, two different figures whose names are similar enough that they often get conflated.

              As for Manannan being a psychopomp, its not backed up in myth as far as I know, but he does rule over an afterlife, and unlike Donn we don't know how Manannan collects souls, so it makes sense to assume he collects them himself. In all honesty, the Aesir and Tuatha are the two pantheons you really need to incorporate theories to flesh out, otherwise, you're left with tiny pantheons where only a handful of deities have more than one or two associations.

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