Brynn

Fierce, Independent, Adventurous, Curious, Earnest, Clannish

Be sure to check out the Brittanis Pinterest page for the Brynn HERE.

Abilities

  • Racial Traits: Hero, Human, Brynn.
  • Adaptable:+ 10 bonus Starting Points at character creation.
  • Dual Background: Humans can qualify for 2 Backgrounds with an approved History.
  • Cultural Weapons: Brynn characters pay 1 less CP for all Spear and Blade skills.
  • Hit and Run: Brynn gain EITHER the Light Armor or Combat Reflexes skill automatically at character creation.
  • Race Band: White with Green Stripe

Optional Racial Skills

  • Weapon of Choice (2, 2, 2 CP, 1 Stamina, Battle) When wielding a weapon from the Cultural Weapon list, a Brynn character may make 2 melee or missile attacks for “[Tier +1]  Damage,”
  • 2nd Purchase: Usable 2/battle
  • 3rd Purchase: [Tier+2] damage

4 Things to Remember About the Brynn

  • Each father a chief; each mother a chieftess. The core unit of Brynn society is the nuclear family—parents and their children. Brynn culture believes that once an adult (man or woman) chooses to have children, they are in effect claiming that they are responsible enough to place the best interest of their spouse and children above their own. The independent nature of the Brynn means that each head of household believes himself to be leader of their own tiny domain. If their family prospers, they are a good leader. If it falls on hard times, the blame falls in the leader. In marriage, the partner who proposes the marriage is considered the leader, because they have the confidence to believe they can care for a family and the courage to do the asking. In some particularly prosperous or strong-willed couples, they may alternate years of leadership for the sake of balance.
  • Brynn are led, not ruled. To the Brynn, self-sacrifice is the core character trait of a leader. Because of that, Brynn clan leadership is always chosen from those who have happy, prosperous families. This focus on small-scale leadership means that in order to win the loyalty of other families, a potential clan chieftess (or chief—the Brynn care nothing for gender, only leadership ability) must prove themselves capable of leading their own house before they can rule anyone else, and each family in the clan considers themselves an ALLY to the chief, not a subordinate. The Brynn are not ruled—that is for lesser creatures who cannot care for themselves. The Brynn are led by a person of proven wisdom, character and ability.
  • Life is adventure; reach out and claim your destiny. After generations of struggling in vain against Imperial dominance, the Brynn now desire to see what Brittanis has to offer in terms of experience, glory, and adventure. As a people they seek new things, new knowledge, and new stories to bring back to the clans and tell of the wide world beyond the highlands. Due to the fact that any potential clan leader must have proven themselves capable and prosperous, many Brynn since the Imperial retreat now serve in other lands as knights, warriors, mercenary spellcasters or wandering clergy in order to win the experience, skill, reputation and money the need in order to return to the highlands and make a bid for leadership.
  • Curamach. Pronounced “KYOO-ruh-MOCK”, this Brynn word translated roughly to “responsibility” but has a much deeper meaning. To the Brynn, actions have consequences and those consequences have meaning beyond just the immediate. Brynn take the long view of things, and though they might seem brash and headstrong, by the time a Brynn acts upon a decision it has often been contemplated and considered for a long time. This is why so many Brynn leave the highlands to seek their fortune—they see the goal of returning laden with glory and gold as worth the short term sacrifice of leaving home and hearth. They believe a person is responsible for the outcome of their actions, for good or ill. Curamach covers all these ideas, as well as the idea that even the “unintended” results of an action still fall on the shoulders of the person who did the thing. For example, in the event of a clan war it is common for the spouses and children of the conquered to be adopted or otherwise absorbed into a family or clan. Likewise, a wizard who casts a fireball while under attack by a monster and sets the forest on fire is responsible for innocent lives lost or property damaged by his action.

What the Brynn are NOT

  • Historically accurate in ANY way. Though Brynn aesthetic and culture is obviously inspired by various Celtic influences, it would be a mistake to just assume them to be a carbon copy of Celtic culture from Earth’s history. Use the guidelines in this brief to be creative and work with Staff to create new ideas and concepts for your Brynn character; don’t just copy what’s already been done. Brynn culture and characters combine and refine ideas about various Celtic groups from history: Wales, Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Gaul, Germanic Celts and several others. There’s lots of inspiration there, so don’t feel constrained by one particular group or culture.
  • Pagan. Brittanis is its own world with its own gods, history and spirituality. DO NOT bring any real life religion or spirituality into game. It is not appropriate in any way, or for any reason. Symbols (Thor's hammer, pentacle, etc), in-character beliefs, etc incorporating those themes or ideas are not acceptable for use in Brittanis.
  • Anarchist or Opposed to Authority. Brittanis is a harsh, dangerous world getting darker and more deadly with every passing year. The Brynn are not foolish enough to believe that people can survive without any kind of government or leadership—they just insist that a leader is proven to be capable, wise, and above all able to put the benefit of the community above their own personal advancement or enrichment. It is not uncommon for the children of a leader to follow them into positions of leadership, but that has nothing at all to do with bloodlines and everything to do with having grown up in the household of a leader and learning from an early age how to be a leader that the Brynn will follow. Blindly or arrogantly refusing the authority of a proven leader is the highest breach of curamach, and often leads to a personal challenge or trial by combat, for the person making the refusal is in essence calling the potential leader a liar and unfit for his position.
  The Brynn are the most ancient people left in Brittanis; their myths and legends say that they migrated to the continent of Brittanis, warred against the Fomorians and claimed the fertile heartlands for themselves. Many generations later, the Norn came and colonized the area, though the Brynn forced the invaders into the north and south where the land is more rugged and less hospitable. For generations the Norn and Brynn lived in relative peace until six centuries ago when Honoria Brittania led the Imperial legions across the Sea of Storms in a great armada and invaded Brittanis.
The Brynn clans and Norn tribes had lived in isolated, feuding, independent tribes or small confederations for thousands of years; the unified, disciplined armies of the Empire were a force like nothing they had ever seen. The legions won battle after battle and pushed the Brynn out of the central heartlands and into the rugged highlands of western Brittanis. In those highlands, the Imperial legions could not easily follow and their tightly-organized units were at a disadvantage against the skirmishing, guerrilla tactics of the Brynn. Though they paid taxes to the Empire and were nominally under Imperial rule, the heavy hand of Imperial bureaucracy never fully took hold in the highlands. The Brynn clans were never truly pacified and their fractious, inter-clan culture was not as heavily altered as the Norn.
When the Empire pulled back its legions, the Brynn harried them every step of the way, glad to reclaim some of the fertile farmland and mineral-rich hills they held before the soldiers first came over the ocean. Though they claim to have never been conquered, the truth of the matter is that the Brynn who struggled against Imperial occupation lived in squalor and remember it quite clearly; as a people they refuse to go into bondage to a foreign power ever again.

The People

The Brynn are a hardy folk, not afraid to take risks, always looking to challenge or better themselves. The legendary hero Connacht was of the Brynn people; like their mythic hero the Brynn are fiercely independent, protective of their freedoms and suspicious of threats posed by kingdoms or empires.
They recognize the government of Kings and nobility, though in the highlands of Cambria only clan chiefs and tribal elders rule. Brynn voices are loud in defense of their personal rights and freedoms, much to the chagrin of many a town council. They were the first to revolt against the Empire and while they took heavy losses for it, those who passed into the next life were considered blessed for they were truly free.
Natives of the western highlands, the Brynn are hardy and energetic folk undaunted by extremes of weather or human cruelty. Their culture focuses highly on family and clan, with many festivals and holidays serving as excuses to get together, drink and find a mate. They tend to be adventurous, bold, and even a little arrogant, seen as brashness or overconfidence by other races. They are organized into clans, and each clan has its own chief or chieftess, for Brynn are the most egalitarian of the human races. Male and female coexist in relative equality with both sexes defending their people and caring for the children and home. In Brittanis, the clans in a fief pledge allegiance to the Chief who oversees their area.
The rugged, hilly western highlands are the homeland of the Brynn people, and they still occupy most of those holdings. At clan meetings and festivals the stories of the Lost Clans are told, and many Brynn hold fire in their hearts toward the skraelings who migrated into what had traditionally been Brynn territory. Now those lands are overrun by the savage skrae with villages burned to the ground and thousands slain in the battles of the Wastewar. The Dalriada consist mainly of Brynn clans who have not bowed to any leadership but their own since the Wastewar, and the united clans of Cambria see Dalriada as little better than brigands, preventing a united Brynn people from retaking what was lost to the skraelings.

Brynn Names

  • Brynn names consist of 3 parts: a Given name, a Family Name, and a Sept Name. All of these details tell an educated listener a GREAT deal about a Brynn in a very short amount of time. Sample Brynn names: Cedric mac Laurel mac Graine, Connor ap Ashlyn mac Branwen. Inspiration for given names can be found in Appendix A.
  • Given Name: The first name is a Brynn’s given name, such as Connor, Donegal, Brenna, or Cedric.
  • Family/Parental Name: "Mac" means "child of" and "ap" means "of the house of." The Brynn are matrilineal, so the second name would typically be your mother's name, if born into the clan. Using the examples above, "Cedric mac Laurel" means "Cedric, son of Laurel." 
Very rarely you could be born into the clan without an acknowledged mother, or deliberately repudiating a mother; then the father’s name is used. (Examples include adoption or a mother of a different house.) Example: "Brenna mac Donegal" tells the listener that Brenna either doesn't know who her mother is, or has deliberately chosen to separate herself from her mother's influence.
For formal situations, Brynn might give several generations of names, especially in a formal setting, but typically they only go one step back.
If sworn to the clan from the outside, Brynn (and other nationalities who swear to a clan) would use "ap" with the specific person sworn to as the second name. Some Clan Chiefs also forego their full names and take "ap [Clan Name]" as symbol of their dedication to the clan as a whole over their individual family. Again using the examples above, "Connor ap Ashlyn mac Branwen" says that Connor has sworn himself to Ashlyn and is the son of Branwen. An outsider might just claim "ap" and their oath-holder's name. For example, a dwarf named Gunnar Boarrune swearing to a Brynn named Donegal might have a name like "Gunnar ap Donegal of Clan Boarrune." 
When people join from outside the clan someone must speak for them/be responsible for them. Just as in other feudal organizations, while all Brynn are sworn to their clan, one might be sworn to the head of a household, who is in turn sworn to the head of the sept or the clan. Ap could be used to indicate great devotion, if someone wanted to proudly display their house allegiance instead of their parentage. It is somewhat flexible, and people do it a bit differently based on their particular points of view within the understood rules. Clan ties either through ancestors/parents and households are very important to the Brynn.
  • Sept Name: The final part of a Brynn’s full name is the sept name. A sept is a body of people larger than a household, but smaller than a clan. It is a sort of extended family of lots of households bound together by family, marriage, oaths, etc... Typically they are named after the person that founded them, and everyone who belongs to a particular sept uses either mac to indicate that they were born into it, or ap to indicate that they joined.
A sept makes its homes within one to several duns - anything from a village on a hill with a simple wooden palisade to a fortified stone keep with layers of hill palisades, walls, or moats. A sept is always organized around a primary dun, with a sept as big and powerful as the chief's occupying as many as five or six.
Brynn might introduce themselves differently depending on the audience, or circumstances but it would generally involve all 3 parts.
So when someone says their name is Cedric mac Laurel mac Carrach, you know that their given name is Cedric, who is the child of Laurel, and that they were born into the Carrach Sept (and that they very likely have their household established within one of the Carrach duns.)
If someone introduces them-self as Connor ap Ashlyn mac Branwen, you know that their given name is Connor, and that they are sworn to Ashlyn. They could not have been born outside of the clan, because they were born into a sept, so they wish to make it very obvious that they are directly sworn to Ashlyn, for some reason, and they were born into the Branwen Sept.
Another corner-case scenario is in the case of deliberately removed names. If a Brynn in a formal situation chooses to specifically omit pieces from their full name it says something specific as well. For example, continuing the above example, if Cedric wanted to be specific about the fact that he has no affiliation with his mother’s family, he would instead omit that name and speak only the name of his dun, being careful to name it specifically. His name in that instance would be “Cedric mac dun Carrach.” Dun is added specifically to avoid confusion that Carrach is his mother.
If a Brynn wants to declare (or for some reason does not know) themselves separate from mother’s family AND dun, tradition dictates they name themselves after the clan they are sworn to. In this case, if Cedric is of the Iceni from northern Brittanis, he would introduce himself as “Cedric mac Iceni” to make that clear— he is not Unsworn without allegiance or a place in the world, he is just being specific about who his allegiance is tied up with.
The most rare— considered both a tragedy and a cautionary tale to Brynn culture— are those with no ties to a family, dun, sept, or clan. These poor should know themselves only to be Brynn, but have no other ties to the people. These folk name themselves by their race alone, such as “Cedric mac Brynn” and are exceedingly rare.
For the Brynn, naming yourself is a declaration of self, family, and your place in the world. It is the foundation of all interactions between the Brynn— an established place in how the world and society functions and a basis for building relationship with any person you meet. A Brynn’s name says to anyone who knows how to hear it: “This is me, this is my family, where I’m from, and who I am sworn to.”

Tartans in Brynn Culture

The most obvious and striking feature of Brynn fashion is the use of tartan fabric woven into a particular pattern of colors. Each clan has their own tartan and colors, and the weavers and tailors of the Brynn are expert at creating dyes and weaving the fabric into beautiful patterns. The use of a tartan for all members of a clan has several benefits: on a battlefield among many similarly-armed and armored clansmen differing tartans can tell friend from foe, and hanging strips of tartan cloth from a tree or wall is as good as a flag (or the heraldry of the Britons) for knowing where a clan’s territory begins and ends.
Wearing the tartan of a clan without permission is considered a grave offense, claiming the hospitality and protection of that clan without the offer being actually made. It is a serious breach of curamach. If the offense is simply unknown, and the offender takes off the tartan when challenged, no harm is done. But wearing the tartan of a clan once it has been challenged means one of two things: either the offender believes the clan leadership is not competent enough to resolve the situation (and thus is a common way for outsiders to challenge for leadership of a clan), or that the offender has intentionally placed themselves under the leadership—and judgement—of the clan chief and desires entry into the clan as a member.

Brynn Look and Feel

Brynn clothing and fashion is some of the most colorful and vibrant of the human peoples; only the Khemri surpass the brightly-hued Brynn in ornamentation and color. Brynn see color, jewelry, and ornamentation as signs of wealth, prestige and prosperity and those elected to positions of authority often choose to wear torcs, arm rings, necklaces and amulets of precious metals and stones to show their skill in leadership and personal achievement.
Tartan fabric is expensive; it is specially-dyed and treated, and the secrets of making it are closely guarded by weavers and tailors. Because of this expense, and the correlation that only adults and elders can afford large amounts of the fabric, customs have developed about who can wear what kind of garments made from tartan fabric.
Children wear no garments of tartan. For holidays, formal occasions or ceremonial purposes they may wear a belt of tartan, but the fabric is taken from them at the end of the occasion. During the ceremony where a child becomes an adult, a length of tartan in the clan’s pattern is gifted to the new member of the clan. From then on, an adult clan member can wear the sash in one of three ways however they choose—over the shoulder as a sash, over the head as a kind of draped hood or cloak, or a pleated kilt.
Upon entering adulthood, Brynn have a choice: either swear allegiance to the clan chief or strike out on their own. If they strike out on their own, they keep the sash of clan tartan and can wear it with honor till they swear allegiance to a different clan, upon which they adopt the colors of that clan. If the Brynn forsakes that allegiance or believes the clan leader to be unfit for leadership, throwing the sash at the chief’s feet is an un-mistakeable sign of challenge or a broken allegiance.
Broken allegiance is not the same as betrayal; it simply means that the person breaking allegiance does not claim the benefit or curamach of being associated with the clan. The family breaking allegiance can no longer wear the tartan and usually is expected to leave the village or move to a different part of a larger settlement. Once someone swears allegiance to a clan chief, they are considered members of the clan and can wear either long, ankle-length skirts of tartan fabric or long trousers of tartan as well. Wearing the tartan in other ways is still considered acceptable; the cost of additional fabric required to make trousers and skirt are considered signs of status and wealth.
When a clan grows large enough, the chief or council of elders may choose to split the clan into multiple, smaller units that will be allied by marriage and blood. Once the leaders of these smaller clans—called septs—are decided, the chief or council will grant the new clan the ability to weave and use its own tartan pattern, usually with one of the main colors from the “parent” clan as a basis. So if the parent clan has red as their primary tartan color with blue and black as secondary colors, the newly-made sept will likely use red as the base for their tartan, but might choose green and yellow as their secondary colors.
The Brynn believe that mortal life is an endlessly repeating cycle, striving for perfection. Each Brynn might take a different view on what that perfection actually means, but this cultural focus on circles and cycles expresses itself in their art as knotwork, with strands intertwining and endlessly recurving upon themselves to form a flowing, liquid style of art that is as beautiful to look upon as it is to contemplate.
It is important to note that while Brynn knotwork and Norn artwork might seem similar, Brynn knotwork focuses on symmetrical or orderly designs where all the strands are of equal thickness that return to each other in an endless loop. Norn artwork expresses an entirely different ideal and has none of the uniformity, symmetry or returning designs as that of the Brynn.

Costume Inspiration

Iron Age/ Dark Ages Celtic costume, Dumnonii (LARP), Warrior Queen (movie), Braveheart, (movie), Roar (TV Series),

Colors

Just about any color is used in Brynn clothing, but the important part is to avoid anything that looks modern or not natural. Colors are fantastic; looking like a Halloween costume isn’t. Avoid metallic colors in fabric; Brynn believe that silver and gold are for jewelry, weapons, and armor as opposed to clothing. Embroidery in contrasting colors is ideal, as well as fabric trim in contrasting colors, but metallic trim or embroidery is not.

Materials

Wool is the primary fabric used to make tartans because it is durable, warm for the highland weather, and easy to dye. Modern tartan fabrics (acrylic most notably) are also okay so long as they adhere to the color guidelines. Brynn use cotton, linen and leather as well in clothing. Fur can also be used in garments, especially those designed to protect against harsh highland weather.

Armor

The western highlands of Brittanis are rugged, steep-walled valleys and rough plateaus that rise above the surrounding land. The weather is damp and rainy, and bitter-cold winds pour in off the Aquilonian Ocean in winter. Metal armor is difficult to maintain in such conditions, and it weight and bulk mean that only the mightiest and most wealthy warriors can afford to keep it maintained and carry it into battle.
Chiefs, lords, and mighty warriors may have metal armor, but the vast majority of Brynn rely on leather for protection because it can be weatherproofed and is light enough to march, climb, and fight in easily. Because of their focus on speed and mobility, the Brynn have perfected armor designs that feature protective pieces mounted on a softer, flexible backing. Brigandine (small plates of leather or metal riveted to a softer leather or canvas) is the most common; occasionally the armor plates will be sewn between two layers of fabric to silence the armor as well. Scale armor and lamellar styles are common as well for the same reasons.

Weapons & Shields

Spears are by far the most common Brynn weapon, with long blades often as efficient at slashing as in the thrust. Brynn spears are almost always equipped with a crossbar below the spearhead as well, preventing an enemy (or a wild boar if hunting) from running up the shaft and reaching the spearman.
Swords are considered backup weapons for the most part, and the Brynn typically eschew large quillions in favor of handguards that will not snag on clothing or weaponry while on the march. The Brynn favor sword designs with anthropomorphic, organic shapes and hilts shaped like stylized people or leaf-shaped blades are by far the most common.
One exception to this rule is shock troops equipped with large two-handed swords and the heaviest armor available. The straight, heavy blade of a claymore has large hand-guards and often a second hand-hold above the guard that allows the blade to be used in a spear-like fashion. These warriors have proven particularly effective against the heavily-armored forces of the invading Fomorians.
Axes have blades with curved, trumpet-shaped heads, recalling the Brynn knotwork designs. Two-handed axes are almost unheard of among the Brynn, mostly because the claymore is so much more popular when heavy weapons are needed. Blunt weapons tend to be spherical or oblong in shape without the flanges or spikes preferred by the Britons and Norn respectively. Again, the Brynn focus on speed and economy of motion determines that anything which can catch on clothing or armor is to be avoided and as such Brynn weapons are adorned with engraving, etching, carving or gilding but almost never with any kind of addition to the functional shape of the item.
Brynn shields are universally tall and thin, usually oval or rectangular in shape and barely wide enough to cover a warrior shoulder to shoulder. This style of shield developed during the Tiberian occupation, when the Brynn tribes were forced into the highlands in the first place. With a thinner shield, more warriors can be packed into the narrow valleys and canyons of the western highlands and the Brynn are incredibly effective shield-wall fighters to this day.

Religion

The White Court has little influence in Cambria and Dalriada, despite being adjacent to the heartland where the Court holds its greatest power. Most Brynn churches are one of two types: either devoted to the entire White Court, as the Brynn are the people most likely to devote themselves to each god as part of the whole, or a small shrine devoted to a single god, almost always Liriel, Emrys, or Dagmar.
The Three Sisters, on the other hand, hold great sway in Brynn homes, and sometimes shrines to both the Old Faith and the Court are found in large households to accommodate all members. Sarai holds the Brynn people dear to her; the Archdruid of her faith is historically almost always Brynn. The ferocity and primal nature of the Wild Queen appeals to the Brynn heart, and she returns their devotion with equal fervor.

All images on this page are intended to use as inspiration, not for commercial gain. Brittanis Live-Action Adventure wishes to provide all due credit for any images used on our site. If you know the provenance of an image that is not credited, please email brittanislarp@gmail.com and we will be happy to fix it. Many of the images on the Brynn page come from the AMAZING British LARP Dumnonii Chronicles. Brittanis uses these images as a tribute to the immersion and dedication of the players of that game.