Oghma

To Celtic Gods

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Lee Lawrie, sculpted bronze figure of Ogma (1939). Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.

Lee Lawrie, sculpted bronze figure of Ogma (1939). Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.

Ogma or Oghma is a character from Irish mythology. A member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, he fights in the first battle of Mag Tuired, when the Tuatha Dé take Ireland from the Fir Bolg. Under the reign of Bres, when the Tuatha Dé are reduced to servitude, Ogma is forced to carry firewood, but nonetheless is the only one of the Tuatha Dé who proves his athletic and martial prowess in contests before the king. When Bres is overthrown and Nuadu restored, Ogma is his champion. His position is threatened by the arrival of Lugh at the court, so Ogma challenges him by lifting and hurling a great flagstone, which normally required eighty oxen to move it, out of Tara, but Lugh answers the challenge by hurling it back. When Nuadu hands command of the Battle of Mag Tuired to Lugh, Ogma becomes Lugh's champion, and promises to repel the Fomorian king, Indech, and his bodyguard, and to defeat a third of the enemy. During the battle he finds Orna, the sword of the Fomorian king Tethra, which recounts the deeds done with it when unsheathed. During the battle Ogma and Indech fall in single combat, although there is some confusion in the texts as in Cath Maige Tuired Ogma, Lugh and the Dagda pursue the Fomorians after the battle to recover the harp of Uaitne, the Dagda's harper.

He often appears as a triad with Lugh and the Dagda, who are sometimes collectively known as the trí dée dána or three gods of skill, although that designation is elsewhere applied to other groups of characters. His father is Elatha and his mother is usually given as Ethliu, sometimes as Étaín. His sons include Delbaeth and Tuireann. He is said to have invented the Ogham alphabet, which is named after him.

Scholars of Celtic mythology have proposed that Ogma represents the vestiges of an ancient Celtic god. By virtue of his battle prowess and invention of Ogham, he is compared with Ogmios, a Gaulish deity associated with eloquence and equated with Herakles. J. A. MacCulloch compares Ogma's epithet grianainech (sun-face) with Lucian's description of the "smiling face" of Ogmios, and suggests Ogma's position as champion of the Tuatha Dé Danann may derive "from the primitive custom of rousing the warriors' emotions by eloquent speeches before a battle", although this is hardly supported by the texts. Scholars such Rudolf Thurneysen and Anton van Hamel dispute any link between Ogma and Ogmios

Role-playing Notes

Oghma enjoys visiting and speaking to his flock . He strengthens their collective resolve to worship him, and teaches his priests the arts of his lettering and persuasiveness. Oghma seeks justice and will occasionally go out of his way to see that it is done. He will champion small causes at times, even those that affect but one village with only a few worshippers, if an injustice is brought to his attention.

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Oghma

Oghma is the champion of the Tuatha Dé Danann, noted for his great strength during the battle of Mag Tured. However, he is also the god of eloquence and speech. In fact Oghma exemplifies the ideal champion and leader of men, who can not only encourages the warriors on the battlefield with his own example of physical prowess, but also through Charisma and eloquence. For Oghma, Celtic warriors should model themselves on a paragon of Intelligence as much as of physical might; not just the strong brute who reveals as an uneducated moron once the battle is finished. Oghma's ideal champion is as much an educated than a powerful warrior. Oghma is traditionally depicted as an old but yet powerfully muscled man. He is dressed in a lion's skin, carries a great club, and has golden chains jutting from his tongue. These chains are attached to the ears of men who follow him enthralled.

· Alignment: Lawful Good

· Domains: Good, Influence (new), Strength.

· Symbol: Golden chain. Priests of Oghma wear such chains around their necks and upon their shoulders, as a reminiscing of their god who has followers tied to his tongue through thin golden chains.

· Favored Weapon: Great-club.

· Area of control: Eloquence and leadership of men in battle.

· Typical worshippers: Typically: poets and leader of warriors.

· Duties of priesthood: Priests of Oghma can be either clerics or filidh. They must be living examples of virtue, fearless in battle, but also able to rally men to their side through persuasiveness.

· Special Benefit: Filidh of have access to a special feat of their own: Golden Tongue, that gives them a +2 competence bonus on all Bluff, Diplomacy, and Perform (Oratory) skill checks.

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To Celtic Gods

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