Fionnghuala the Mistress of Swans

This was a really interesting deity to work on, in part because there were multiple sources of information to draw upon.  For one thing, Fionnghuala (pronounced Finella), is just about the only deity in Monster Mythology drawn from real-world mythology (Titania and Oberon are literary creations, perhaps based on mythological characters, but not in and of themselves from mythology). I slipped in some other literary mythology as well that seemed fitting. I also decided it made sense to allow half-elves to become swanmays in addition to humans, and I modeled a lot of the game stats on Mielikki.

Fionnghuala (PDF Version)
(White Shoulder, the Fair-Shouldered Lady, Mistress of Swans, the Queen of Swans, the Swanmay)
Demipower of the Planes, NG

Portfolio:  Swanmays, communications, sorority
Aliases:  Fionnuala, Finnguala, Fionnuala, Fenella, Odette
Domain Name:  Wanders/the Seelie Court and Tir na Og
Superior:  Titania
Allies:  Mielikki, Eldath, Balador, Beory, Chauntea, Eilistraee, Elhonna, Iallanis, Lurue, Obad-Hai, Shiallia, Silvanus, Syranita, Tapann, The Seelie Court, the Tuatha dé Danann (except Arawn, Math Mathonwy, and Morrigan), the Seldarine, the gnome pantheon
Foes:  Arawn, Cegilune, Daragor, Erythnul, Malar, Math Mathonwy, Morrigan, Talos, the Queen of Air and Darkness, the orc and goblinoid pantheons
Symbol:  White feather
Wor. Align.:  LG, NG, CG, N

Fionnghuala (fin-ELL-ah) is the Mistress of Swans, the goddess of the shapechanging swanmays. She roams the borders of the deep sylvan homelands of the faeries, zealously (some would say overzealously) protecting them from incursions by evil monsters and humanoids. She is also a messenger between the Seelie Court and their mortal and divine allies. The Bright-Shouldered Lady was once a mortal ranger, elevated to the rank of a demigoddess by Titania and given the gift of a white feather that allows her to change into the form of a giant swan. By gifting human and half-elven women with simulacra of that original token, she has created the swanmays, a close sorority rangers and druids.

Fionnghuala is a member of the Outer Circle of the Seelie Court, primarily because she spends so much time away from them. She is usually visiting gatherings of swanmays on the Prime Material, running messages and missions for the Seelie Court and visiting allies. She is swift to return in the event of an attack, however. On such occasions, she frequently rides Eachthighern or Skerrit into battle. While she is a member of the Seelie Court, she is actually closest to the goddesses Mielikki and Eldath, who she considers more than sisters. She is also very close to the giantess Iallanis; she has said little about this to her swanmays, although sages in Sigil believe the Fair-Shouldered Lady assisted an avatar of the Merciful Lady of Flowers in defending a tribe of voadkyn. Finally, she is also a minor member of the Tuatha dé Danann, although she spends very little time amongst them. Outside of the aforementioned groups, she works with most nature deities, such as Obad-Hai, Silvanus, Beory, and of course the Seldarine. She meets with them often, usually carrying messages from the Seelie Court and mortal sylvan races.

Fionnghuala’s greatest foe, like most members of the Seelie Court, is the Queen of Air and Darkness. The Mistress of Swans is ever vigilant for her influences and insidious actions. She is also a staunch opponent of evil hunting and beast gods, such as Daragor and Malar, as well as the hordes of the orc and goblinoid deities.

Once in the distant past, Fionnghuala was a mortal human woman. She was the daughter of the ancient Tuatha dé Danann sea god, Lir and his first wife, Aoibh. Just a few years after bearing Fionnghuala and her three brothers, Aoibh passed away. Missing her terribly, Aoibh’s father gave her sister, Aoife in marriage to Lir. Aoife was extremely jealous of the children, however, and cursed them all to take the form of a swan through power granted by the Queen of Air and Darkness. The curse was eventually broken by a group of faeries who had discovered her plight. In return, she became a ranger. During one of the worst incursions from the Queen of Air and Darkness, Fionnghuala lost her life protecting a grievously wounded avatar of Oberon. As a reward for her bravery, Titania brought her to the Seelie Court and elevated her to demigodhood. She appears in many cultures’ mythologies, one of the most common presents her as princess cursed to live as a swan by day, only transforming back into her human form by night. There are many variations on the ending to this myth, some tragic, some happy. Sages who know of her actual origins and these discrepant myths debate endlessly on whether or not the central character was a manifestation of the Fair-Shouldered Lady or an individual swanmay.

Fionnghuala is an extremely active goddess. Titania’s magic allows her to send her avatars to the Prime Material Plane, unfettered by the usual restriction upon demipowers. Most often, she is visiting gatherings of mortal swanmays, to share companionship and information. When a human or half-elf ranger or druid performs a great service to a faerie community, either knowingly or unknowingly, she may appear to them and extend them an offer to become a swanmay. Should they accept, she will gift them a feather token that allows them to take swan form, and will guide them to the nearest swanmay lodge. She may also appear to the young daughter of a swanmay in order to gift them a feather token. She usually does not appear to swanmays who have lost their tokens, unless it was during heroic actions. Lost tokens usually must be replaced by performing a quest of some sort. She also frequently patrols the deep sylvan lands, both as a human and a swan. She carries messages and warnings from sylvan community to sylvan community, and to the Seelie Court and back. If she ever witnesses a creature willfully slay a non-evil faerie, she will relentlessly hunt that creature and slay them.

Fionnghuala’s Avatar (Ranger 24, Druid 19)
Fionnghuala appears as a small, slim, human woman with vibrant red hair and brilliant green eyes. She wears near-weightless gossamer armor of fairy design and has white, feathered patches on her shoulders and on the crown of her head. Fionnghuala can also appear as a giant swan if she so chooses.

AC −1; MV 15 or 6, Fl 38 (MC: C); HP 153; THAC0 −3; #AT 3* or 2
Dmg 1d8 + 4 (longsword +4)  / 1d4 + 2 (dagger +2) or 1d6 + 3 (bow +2, arrows +1)
MR 30%; SZ M (5 feet)
Str 15, Dex 20, Con 16, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 18
Spells P: 11/11/8/8/6/4/2
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
*Includes two attacks with her primary weapon and one attack with her off-hand weapon.

Special Att/Def: In her right hand, Fionnghuala wields Ealalann (Swanblade), a longsword +4 that can heal her once per day. The sword was a gift from Oberon, and the bright, gleaming silver hilt is shaped like a swan in flight. In her left hand, she typically wields a dagger +2 that was a gift of Titania. She also carries a longbow +2 and a quiver with 20 flight arrows +1.

At will, Fionnghuala can transform into a giant swan. Three times per day she can polymorph other into a swan. She can create a whispering wind at will, and can persuade any small animal to bear messages for her.

She is never surprised, and no faerie creature or natural woodland animal or avian will attack her. She is immune to all paralyzation, polymorph, and petrification attacks, as well as poison, disease, caused wounds, and death magic. She can only be struck by magical weapons in human form, and +2 or better magical weapons in swan form. She wears magical gossamer armor, spun from enchanted spider silk and imbued with moonbeams; it is treated as having a +5 enchantment placed upon it. It is so light it doesn’t impose any penalties on her special abilities.

Other Manifestations
Fionnghuala typically manifests as a softly glowing ghostly swan that will lead a swanmay, typically to a faerie creature or community in trouble or to a place of safety. She sometimes will sheathe a swanmay’s melee weapon in a glowing nimbus of white light. If touched to an enemy, it will polymorph them into a normal swan, and if touched to an ally, it will affect them as a cure serious wounds spell. These abilities are communicated to the swanmay wielder as the nimbus engulfs the weapon.

Fionnghuala is served by swans, giant swans, and greatswans primarily, as well as good-aligned faerie creatures of all sorts. She displays her favor through the discovery of white swan feathers and secluded, serene pools.

The Church
Clergy:                      Druids, rangers, ranger/druids
Clergy’s Align.:      LG, NG, CG, N
Turn Undead:           D: No, R: No, R/D: No
Cmnd. Undead:         D: No, R: No, R/D: No

All rangers and druids of Fionnghuala receive religion (Seelie Court) and religion (primary pantheon or Tuatha dé Danann) as bonus nonweapon proficiencies.

Except in rare occasions, swanmays are generally a small part of an existing religion, such as that of Mielikki or Elhonna, and advance in that church’s hierarchy like any other ranger or druid (unless they maintain a special corps of swanmays, which the followers of Fionnghuala will be a member). The servants of the Mistress of Swans are always highly regarded within their primary faith, oftentimes seen as specially blessed. Amongst other faiths of a nature bent, as well as hunting faiths of good or evil alignment, they are viewed with great respect as semi-fey and magical. Swanmays are viewed by elves and faerie folk as a blending of the best aspects of humanity and fey magics, and are generally welcomed with open arms into any such communities they encounter.

Fionnghuala’s followers do not build temples dedicated to the Fair-Shouldered Lady. Since they are usually a part of another faith, they typically build temples suitable to their primary patron deity. They do not create shrines to the White Shoulder within the temple structure, and instead prefer to revere Fionnghuala with quiet contemplation in the woods and near secluded lakes. Swanmays prefer to live together in small lodges deep in the woods near bodies of water, such as pools, streams, and lakes; such communal lodges will have small shrines to any and all gods the various members of the group follow. Secluded pools and lakes are holy places to the Mistress of Swans.

Fionnghuala’s swanmays follow the hierarchies of their main faiths (although they operate independently when possible), and even those that only follow the White Shoulder have no organization; all members are equal. When a member of another faith, they follow the rules and requirements of that faith’s rangers and druids; of those who solely follow Fionnghuala (usually those born to a swanmay mother and raised to become one upon adulthood), rangers make up the vast majority of priesthood (80%), with far fewer druids (18%), and a tiny fraction of druid/rangers (2%). Almost all swanmays were originally humans (88%), with a smaller number half-elves (12%).

Dogma: Defend the forests and the fairies with your life. Hunt down those who knowingly harm either. Warn the forest folk of danger, and assist them in their times of need. Carry warnings and messages swiftly, and do not falter in your mission. Support, love, and care for your swan-sisters, and treat them all as equals. Walk the forest paths, and watch for signs of evil intent.

Day-to-Day Activities: Swanmays of Fionnghuala generally spend their time protecting the deep sylvan forests inhabited by the Seelie faeries and other allied creatures. They patrol the borders of the deep forests, and are frequently the first to detect the movements of evil humanoids and monsters who would threaten faerie communities. They maintain contact with other swanmays, gathering regularly to exchange news and information, and they time their patrols so they meet up with another swanmay at specific times and places. When a swanmay fails to show up, searches are quickly organized to find the individual and discover the reason for her absence, which is all too often a monster or evil humanoid incursion. Such searches usually involve local elves, centaurs, faeries, and other such creatures, as they all realize how important these women are as an early warning system and a first line of defense. They also function as long-distance message carriers between communities of faeries, as their swan forms are ideal for flying unobtrusively from forested area to forested area.

Swanmays also assist any good beings who are in distress or danger, and have frequent contact with druids and rangers of all faiths. They also maintain close ties with firbolgs and voadkyn who follow Iallanis, and work with them to protect their lands. Swanmays rarely venture out of the forests they protect, but will do so if pursuing an individual who murdered one of the faerie folk or to take an important communiqué to an ally.

Swanmays have no regular ceremonies, and Fionnghuala does not want any. She looks upon her followers as sisters, and wishes they do the same with her. She tolerates personal prayers and small shrines as a necessary bother, but is quick to intervene with kindly omens or a visit from an avatar when swanmays get too reverential.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Fionnghuala has no special holy days, and actively discourages the creation of any. Swanmays still follow whatever major ceremonies are important to their primary faith, however. In the event of a successful repelling of a monster or humanoid attack, the Mistress of Swans encourages her followers to spend time with the wounded and properly mourn the dead, and she instructs them to assist affected faerie communities in any way they require.

Major Centers of Worship: As Fionnghuala’s swanmays build no temples dedicated to her, the Fair-Shouldered One has very few major sacred sites. In large forests with a significant number of swanmays, there will be meeting sites where the swanmays gather at regular intervals of between one and four years, and the Mistress of Swans attends as many of these gatherings as she can. However, these sites are not actually holy or religious in nature. They are usually just conveniently located sites that may have some spells of protection cast upon them.

Affiliated Orders: Fionnghuala’s small dedicated priesthood forms no organizations; however, swanmays in other faiths are quite often part of a dedicated order. For example, those swanmays who are members of Mielikki’s clergy are often members of the Order of the Shining Feather, while those who follow Elhonna are Followers of the Feathered Bow. Such organizations are loose sisterhoods who operate in a particular area of the deity’s domain, such as the forest of Cormanthor or the Gnarly Forest in the previous examples.

Priestly Vestments: Those few who exclusively follow the Mistress of Swans usually wear practical clothing for their environment, favoring leathers or robes in brown or green, as well as comfortable boots. They keep their hair clean in whatever style they prefer. White feathers also feature prominently, usually in the form of a garland, skullcap, or a pauldron or epaulet like garment. Some prefer a feathered shawl or dress instead. The holy symbol used by the faith is either the swanmay’s feather token or a pure white swan feather attached to a silver chain.

Swanmays of faiths besides Fionnghuala wear whatever ceremonial garb is typical or required of them. In addition to such garments, they will also wear the same feathered decorations that independent swanmays wear. They use whatever holy symbols are standard for their primary faith.

In either case, through the grace of the Bright-Shouldered One, the swanmay’s holy symbol is the only item that they can keep with them besides their feather token when they change shape into a swan.

Adventuring Garb: Swanmays dress practically when in the field and in similar manner to their more formal garb, but with a greater emphasis on colors that blend in with the environment. They favor garments that allow ease of movement, and only rarely wear heavy armor.

Specialty Priests (Rangers)
Requirements:          Strength 13, Dexterity 13, Constitution 14, Wisdom 14
Prime Req.:                Strength, Dexterity, Wisdom
Alignment:                LG, NG, CG
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       Any (penalties to some special abilities accrue if wearing heavier armor than studded leather)
Minor Spheres:         Animal, combat, plant, travelers, weather
Magical Items:         As ranger
Req. Profs:                Survival (woodland), swimming
Bonus Profs:             Tracking

Most of Fionnghuala’s specialty priests are rangers. Their abilities and restrictions, aside from changes noted above and below, are detailed in full in the Player’s Handbook.

  • Rangers of Fionnghuala must be swanmays of human or half-high, half-grey, or half-wild elf stock.
  • At 3rd level, swanmays of Fionnghuala can cast whispering wind (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day. They gain an additional casting of this spell for every three levels gained above 3rd (so twice at 6th level, three times at 9th, etc.).
  • At 10th level, a swanmay of Fionnghuala can craft a new feather token for another swanmay or a normal human or half-elf female. This crafting takes a full month, during which the swanmay must pray and chant over the object. Generally, this process requires a small amount of blood from the individual the token is made for, and the individual must gather ingredients for the device. There are exceptions, however, especially if the future bearer of the object is not aware of the crafting. Each token is made for a specific individual and cannot be used by another, and the swanmay may not make one for themself.

Specialty Priests (Druids)
Requirements:          Wisdom 12, Charisma 15
Prime Req.:                Wisdom, Charisma
Alignment:                N
Weapons:                   Club, sickle, dart, spear, dagger, knife, scimitar, sling, staff
Armor:                       Padded, leather, or hide and wooden, bone, shell or other nonmetallic shield
Major Spheres:         All, animal, elemental, healing, plant, sun, time, wards, weather
Minor Spheres:         Divination, travelers
Magical Items:         As druid
Req. Profs:                Survival (woodland), swimming
Bonus Profs:             Modern language (pick two from: brownie, dryad, elvish, korred, pegasus, pixie, satyr, sprite, sylph, treant, unicorn), weather sense

A few of Fionnghuala’s specialty priests are druids. Their abilities and restrictions, aside from changes noted above and below, are detailed in full in the Player’s Handbook.

  • Druids of Fionnghuala must be swanmays of human or half-high, half-grey, or half-wild elf stock.
  • At 3rd level, swanmays of Fionnghuala can cast whispering wind (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day. They gain an additional casting of this spell for every three levels gained above 3rd (so twice at 6th level, three times at 9th, etc.).
  • At 10th level, a swanmay of Fionnghuala can craft a new feather token for another swanmay or a normal human or half-elf female. This crafting takes a full month, during which the swanmay must pray and chant over the object. Generally, this process requires a small amount of blood from the individual the token is made for, and the individual must gather ingredients for the device. There are exceptions, however, especially if the future bearer of the object is not aware of the crafting. Each token is made for a specific individual and cannot be used by another, and the swanmay may not make one for themself.

Specialty Priests (Druid/Rangers)
Requirements:          Strength 13, Dexterity 13, Constitution 14, Wisdom 14, Charisma 15
Prime Req.:                Strength, Dexterity, Wisdom, Charisma
Alignment:                NG
Weapons:                   Club, sickle, dart, spear, dagger, knife, scimitar, sling, staff, long sword, long bow, short sword, broad sword, short bow
Armor:                       Any (penalties to some special abilities accrue if wearing heavier armor than studded leather)
Major Spheres:         All, animal, elemental, healing, plant, sun, time, wards, weather
Minor Spheres:         Combat, divination, travelers
Magical Items:         As druid and ranger
Req. Profs:                Survival (woodland), swimming
Bonus Profs:             Modern language (pick two from: brownie, dryad, elvish, korred, pegasus, pixie, satyr, sprite, sylph, treant, unicorn), tracking, weather sense

A very small number of Fionnghuala’s specialty priests are druid/rangers (only if allowed on the world in question). Their abilities and restrictions, aside from changes noted above and below, are detailed in full in the Player’s Handbook.

  • Druid/rangers of Fionnghuala must be swanmays of half-high, half-grey, or half-wild elf stock.
  • At 3rd level, swanmays of Fionnghuala can cast whispering wind (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day. They gain an additional casting of this spell for every three levels gained above 3rd (so twice at 6th level, three times at 9th, etc.).
  • At 10th level, a swanmay of Fionnghuala can craft a new feather token for another swanmay or a normal human or half-elf female. This crafting takes a full month, during which the swanmay must pray and chant over the object. Generally, this process requires a small amount of blood from the individual the token is made for, and the individual must gather ingredients for the device. There are exceptions, however, especially if the future bearer of the object is not aware of the crafting. Each token is made for a specific individual and cannot be used by another, and the swanmay may not make one for themself.

Fionnghualan Spells
Note that all swanmays gain access to the applicable religion-specific spells of their primary deity (Mielikki, Silvanus, Elhonna, etc.). Only swanmays dedicated solely to Fionnghuala gain access to the following spells.

Rangers and Druids of Fionnghuala may cast the 1st-level priest spell wailing wind, detailed in Faiths & Avatars in the entry for Eldath, the 2nd-level wizard spell whispering wind (as a 2nd-level priest spell), the 2nd-level priest spell natural attunement, detailed in Powers & Pantheons in the entry for Gwaeron Windstrom.

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