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Lugh is  hero and High King of the distant past. He is known by the epithets "long hand", for his skill with a spear or sling, Ildanach ("skilled in many arts"), Samh-ildánach ("Equally skilled in many arts"), Lonnbeimnech ("fierce striker") and Macnia ("boy hero").


Lugh's father is Cian of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and his mother is Ethniu, daughter of Balor, of the Fomorians. Their union is a dynastic marriage following an alliance between the Tuatha Dé and the Fomorians. Gabála Érenn Cian gives the boy to Tailtiu, queen of the Fir Bolg, in fosterage.

A folktale recounts the birth of a grandson of Balor who grows up to kill his grandfather. The grandson is unnamed, his father is called Mac Cinnfhaelaidh and the manner of his killing of Balor is different, but it has been taken as a version of the birth of Lugh, and was adapted as such by Lady Gregory. In this tale, Balor hears a druid's prophecy that he will be killed by his own grandson. To prevent this he imprisons his only daughter in the Tór Mór (great tower) of Tory Island, cared for by twelve women, who are to prevent her ever meeting or even learning of the existence of men. On the mainland, Mac Cinnfhaelaidh owns a magic cow who gives such abundant milk that everyone, including Balor, wants to possess her. While the cow is in the care of Mac Cinnfhaelaidh's brother Mac Samthainn, Balor appears in the form of a little red-haired boy and tricks him into giving him the cow. Looking for revenge, Mac Cinnfhaelaidh calls on a leanan sídhe (fairy woman) called Biróg, who transports him by magic to the top of Balor's tower, where he seduces Eithne. It time she gives birth to triplets, which Balor gathers up in a sheet and sends to be drowned in a whirlpool. The messenger drowns two of the babies, but unwittingly drops one child into the harbour, where he is rescued by Biróg. She takes him to his father, who gives him to his brother, Gavida the smith, in fosterage.

There may be further triplism associated with his birth. His father in the folktale is one of a triad of brothers, Mac Cinnfhaelaidh, Gavida and Mac Samthainn, and his father in the medieval texts, Cian, is often mentioned together with his brothers Cú and Cethen. Two characters called Lugaid, a popular medieval Irish name thought to derive from Lugh, have three fathers: Lugaid Riab nDerg (Lugaid of the Red Stripes) was the son of the three Findemna or fair triplets, and Lugaid mac Constitution Roí was also known as mac Trí Constitution, "son of three hounds". In Ireland's other great "sequestered maiden" story, the tragedy of Deirdre, the king's intended is carried off by three brothers, who are hunters with hounds. The canine imagery continues with Cian's brother Cú ("hound"), another Lugaid, Lugaid mac Constitution (son of a hound), and Lugh's son Cúchulainn ("Culann's Hound").

Lugh joins the Tuatha Dé Danann

As a young man Lugh travels to Tara to join the court of king Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The doorkeeper will not let him in unless he has a skill with which to serve the king. He offers his services as a wright, a smith, a champion, a swordsman, a harpist, a hero, a poet and historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman, but each time is rejected as the Tuatha Dé Danann already have someone with that skill. But when Lugh asks if they have anyone with all those skills simultaneously, the doorkeeper has to admit defeat, and Lugh joins the court. He wins a flagstone-throwing contest against Ogma, the champion, and entertains the court with his harp. The Tuatha Dé are at that time oppressed by the Fomorians, and Lugh is amazed how meekly they accept this. Nuada wonders if this young man could lead them to freedom. Lugh is given command over the Tuatha Dé, and he begins making preparations for war.

The sons of Tuireann

When the sons of Tuireann, Brian, Iuchar and Iucharba, kill his father, Cian (who was in the form of a pig at the time), Lugh sets them a series of seemingly impossible quests as recompense. They achieve them all, but are fatally wounded in completing the last one. Despite Tuireann's pleas, Lugh denies them the use of one of the items they have retrieved, a magic pigskin which heals all wounds. They die of their wounds, and Tuireann dies of grief over their bodies.

The Battle of Magh Tuireadh

Using the magic artifacts the sons of Tuireann have gathered, Lugh leads the Tuatha Dé Danann in the Second Battle of Mag Tuireadh against the Fomorians. Nuada is killed in the battle by Balor. Lugh faces Balor, who opens his terrible, poisonous eye that kills all it looks upon, but Lugh shoots a sling-stone that drives his eye out the back of his head, wreaking havoc on the Fomorian army behind. After the victory Lugh finds Bres, the half-Fomorian former king of the Tuatha Dé, alone and unprotected on the battlefield, and Bres begs for his life. If he is spared, he promises, he will ensure that the cows of Ireland always give milk. The Tuatha Dé refuse the offer. He then promises four harvests a year, but the Tuatha Dé say one harvest a year suits them. But Lugh spares his life on the condition that he teach the Tuatha Dé how and when to plough, sow and reap. It is widely held by scholars that the battle between Lugh and Balor reflects a common Indo-European motif, the battle between the youthful hero and his tyrant grandfather.[citation needed]

Later life and death

Lugh instituted a harvest fair during the festival of Lughnasadh in memory of his foster-mother, Tailtiu, held on 1 August at the town that bears her name (now Teltown, County Meath). He likewise instituted Lughnasadh fairs in the areas of Carman and Naas in honour of Carman and Nás, the eponymous tutelary goddess of these two regions. Horse races and displays of martial arts were important activities at all three fairs. However, Lughnasadh itself is a celebration of Lugh's triumph over the spirits of the Other World who had tried to keep the harvest for themselves. It survived long into Christian times and is still celebrated under a variety of names. Lúnasa is now the Irish name for the month of August.

According to a poem of the dindsenchas, Lugh was responsible for the death of Bres. He made 300 wooden cows, and filled them with a bitter, poisonous red liquid which was then "milked" into pails and offered to Bres to drink. Bres, who was under an obligation not to refuse hospitality, drank it down without flinching, and it killed him.

Lug is said to have invented the board game fidchell. He had a dog called Failinis.

He had several wives, including Buí and Nás, daughters of Ruadri, king of Britain. Buí lived and was buried at Knowth. Nás was buried at Naas, County Kildare, which is named after her. Lug had a son, Ibic, by Nás. His daughter or sister was Ebliu, who married Fintan. One of his wives, unnamed, had an affair with Cermait, son of the Dagda. Lug killed him in revenge, but Cermait's sons, Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht and Mac Gréine, killed Lug in return, drowning him in Loch Lugborta. He had ruled for forty years.

Lugh in other cycles and traditions

* In the Ulster Cycle he fathered Cúchulainn with the mortal maiden Deichtine. When Cúchulainn lay wounded after a gruelling series of combats during the Táin Bó Cuailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley), Lugh appeared and healed his wounds over a period of three days.

* In Baile in Scáil (The Phantom's Trance), a story of the Historical Cycle, Lugh appeared in a vision to Conn of the Hundred Battles. Enthroned on a daïs, he directed a beautiful woman called the Sovereignty of Ireland to serve Conn a portion of meat and a cup of red ale, ritually confirming his right to rule and the dynasty that would follow him.

* In the Fenian Cycle the dwarf harper Cnú Deireóil claimed to be Lugh's son.

* The Luigne, a people who inhabited Counties Meath and Sligo, claimed descent from him.

Lugh's weapons

Lugh’s sling rod was the rainbow and the Milky Way was called "Lugh's Chain". He also had a magic spear (named Brionac), which, unlike the rod-sling, he had no need to wield, himself; for it was alive, and thirsted so for blood that only by steeping its head in a sleeping-draught of pounded fresh poppy seeds could it be kept at rest. When battle was near, it was drawn out; then it roared and struggled against its thongs; fire flashed from it; and, once slipped from the leash, it tore through and through the ranks of the enemy, never tired of slaying.

Lugh's hound

Another of his possessions was a magic hound which an ancient poem, one attributed to the Fenian hero, Caoilte, calls,
“ That hound of mightiest deeds,

Which was irresistible in hardness of combat,
Was better than wealth ever known,
A ball of fire every night.

Other virtues had that beautiful hound
(Better this property than any other property),
Mead or wine would grow of it,
Should it bathe in spring water.

Role-playing Notes

Celtic Age Roleplaying the Myths, Heroes and Monsters of the Celts

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Lugh (19th Level fighter / 19th Level Fili)
Size Medium Greater God
Hit Dice 34d10 + 19d6 + 424 (Hit Points: 808)
Initiative +8 (+4 Dexterity, +4 Improved Initiative) Speed: 30 feet
AC 30 (+ 4 Dexterity, +4 chain shirt, +12 natural)

Enchanted longspear (+5 wounding and Flaming Burst) +42/+37/+32/+27/+22/+17/+12 melee (1d8+9+1d10 Fire); +3 Enchanted shortbow +40/+35/ +30/ +25/+20/+15 ranged (1d6+5)

Face/Reach 5 feet by 5 feet / 5 feet
Special Attacks Ainmed, Curse of Shame, Light of the Sun’s Wrath, Mocking, Stunning Insult, Vision of the Sun, Wound with Words
Special Qualities Distant Satire, Encouraging Words, Enduring Nickname, Immunity to Charm, Enchantment, Sleep, and Fire, Spell Resistance 5, Written Satire
Saves Fort +32, Ref +18, Will +27
Abilities Strength 19, Dexterity 19, Constitution 27, Intelligence 17, Wisdom 26, Charisma 29
Skills Bluff +28, Climb +32, Handle Animal +26, Knowledge (history) +34, Perform +46, Profession (Smithing) +26, Ride +36
Feats Alertness, Behead, Blind-Fight, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Endurance, Far shot, Great Cleave, Great Fortitude, Improved Critical (greatsword), Improved Critical (shortbow), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Leadership, lightning reflexes, Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Rapid Shot, Skill Focus (Perform), Sunder, Weapon Focus (greatsword), Weapon Specialization (greatsword), Weapon Specialization (shortbow)
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Domains Craft (new), Knowledge, Law, Lore (new),Sun.

Light of the Sun’s Wrath (Sp): Lugh has the ability to summon pure sunlight. This ray effect springs from Lugh’s hand or eyes in a cone measuring 60 feet long and 120 feet at the terminus. All those in the area of effect suffer 6d10 points of damage. A Reflex Save at DC 18 will halve it. Mortal creatures must make an additional Fortitude Save at DC 20 or be permanently blinded.

Vision of the Sun (Su): Lugh can literally see and hear anything transpiring under the sun. If it is done or said within sight of a ray of sunshine, Lugh knows about it. The only way to keep a secret from him is to do so in a light-proof room, at night, or deep underground.

Fire Immunity (Ex): Lugh suffers no damage from fire.

Magic Item – The Spear of Gorias:

The Spear of Gorias, is Lugh’s chosen weapon. Given to him by the people of Dana, the Spear is a powerful weapon. It is intelligent, with similar goals and morals as Lugh, and the two work together almost as if the sword is an extension of Lugh’s personality.

Fragrach (Intelligence: 15, Wisdom 14; Capable of speech. Primary abilities: Shield on wielder, feeblemind by touch, true seeing while held, is a +5 wounding and Flaming Burst:

Celtic Druids and the Tuatha de Dannan

By Dominique Crouzet

Full netbook can be found on the followng website

Dom of D20 / D&D 3e Netbooks and Downloads.


Lugh is the shining god of excellency, and supreme leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He has several nicknames: Lugh Lamfota ("Lugh of the long hand"), Lugh Lamfada ("Lugh of the long lance"), Lugh Grianainech ("Lugh whose face is like the sun"), and Samil-Danach ("the multiple artisan"). He is renown for having bested all the deities of the Tuatha Dé Danann in their fields of specialty, and thus got the right to become their leader. Lugh is the deity who knows everything, can do everything, and commands to everything. He can thus be seen as a god of knowledge and "illumination".

Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Domains: Craft (new), Knowledge, Law, Lore, Beltane (Sun) Domain

Symbol: Spear with a shining golden head. Filidh carry at all time such a spear.

Favored Weapon: longspear.

Area of control: Everything.

Typical worshippers: Everyone.

Duties of priesthood: Filidh of Lugh must be knowledgeable and skilled in many domains. (That is, each level, they must spend at least 2 skill points in Craft, Knowledge, or Profession skills.) They are expected to help or teach others of their knowledge, and will display these abilities at any opportunity.

Special Benefit: Filidh of Lugh have access to a special feat of their own: Samil-Danach, that gives them a +2 competence bonus to all Profession and Craft skills in which they have at least 1 rank.

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