Firstly, Why revise the Fir-Bholg? Well because The way they appear in Changeling: the Dreaming is unforgivable. Denizens of the Dreaming is by far the worst book in the line written by people who just don't get the game or its themes. Added to that is the basic fact that the Fir-Bholg as Adhene matches nothing in the Source myths at all and contradicts most of the previous C:tD canon.
So here are the Fir-Bholg as a Kith, matching the original myths of the Fir-Bholg and being worth playing. A Kith to bridge the gap between Man and Beast, between Tutha de Danu and Fomorian, and between the Mythic Age and the final Nights. The submenu at the foot of each page will take you to each page of the Fir-Bholg mini Kithbook.
The Fir Bholg share a common ancestry with the Tuatha de Danu from the time before the Kiths for both groups were once a single tribe, the Sons of Nemed. They ruled Eire together and fought the Fomoreans from the very dawning of the Mythic age and were only sundered when forced to flee the land of their birth. They were the founders of the Arcadian dream, born of the Dreams of our higher selves, of our earliest quest to find heroes and teachers and protectors. They were the Gods of the earliest men in Eire.
The sundering of the Sons of Nemed gave birth to the Tuatha de Danu and the Fir-Bholg and the tribe went in two distinct directions. While the Tuatha de Danu (Children of Danu) were dreamed as aspects of Sun gods and other celestial enigmas that concerned the earliest humans. Those now known as the Fir Bholg (men of bags) were created in the image of beasts and beast men, those horned gods and sacred beasts that primitive man adored and feared.
The Fir Bholg returned to Eire before the Tuatha de Danu and had to fight off the Fomoreans on their own for many years before eventually having to battle with their former brothers for control of the island. After they were defeated by the Tuatha de Danu the Fir Bholg made peace and the Sons of Nemed were reunited once again to battle to worst crimes of the Elder dark. They helped defeat Balor of the Evil eye and his enemies, and together the two halves of the lineage created the world today’s Changelings have inherited.
As time passed however, the different strain of Nemed’s blood began to effect the Fir Bholg. All of them began to change into beasts and for each life they lived as a man, they lived three as an animal such as a stag, then a boar, then a great sea eagle before finally become themselves once again. Some rare Fir-Bholg, however, changed into different forms such as Dogs or hares, salmon or Crows, even Horses and cattle or cats, but they always assume the form of three separate beasts.
This is a cyclical wheel of reincarnation, much like that undergone by Changeling commoners, unless the player takes the Fae Eternity Merit. In which case the Fir Bholg will have been born, grown to old age, been reborn in all three forms (which will have shared the long lives) and only recently have been reborn as changelings for the first or maybe second time. Even the majority of Fir Bholg Changelings will have far fewer human incarnations in comparison with his peers and their remembrance will be less about human lives and more about the experience of being a beast.
But the final war between the Elder light and the Elder dark played a cruel trick upon the Fir Bholg and many of their warriors and heroes were trapped by the Magic’s of the Tuatha de Danu in the awful tenebrous realms that were the prisons of the Adhene. Two Thirds of the Fir Bholg were lost at the end of the Battle of Trees and have only recently returned tot he waking world while the few who were able to avoid such a afate have dwindled during the years as Changelings.
The Beast-kings bridge the gap between the beastly Fomorians and the refined Tuatha de Danu. Forever wrapped in otherworldliness, these are the bringers of chaos who are destined to watch the fate of the Dreaming and to now bring the tales of what they have seen to the Changelings, the Descendants of the original Dream Sons of Nemed.
The serpent and the rod were the symbol of the children of Nemed, this symbol is still used by the Fir-Bholg. They represent the two natures of Fir Bholg society - Wisdom and the tool of the intellect, or a deadly creature paired with a weapon. But today it has also taken on anew resonance and represents the two strains of Fir Bholg, the Changelings and the Adhene.
When one looks at a report of the First battle of Moy Tura, the nature of the Fir-Bholg is well portrayed. While the Tuatha de Danu beat their shields, played leather tongued trumpets and screamed war cries, The Fir Bholg advanced in silence, spurred on by the voice of Fathach their Bard.
Almost equally divided between the two Courts, the Fir-Bholg believe that the Seelies inability to change is the greatest threat to the Dreaming. Although cultured and often wise, the Fir-Bholg are willing to take drastic measures to ensure the Younger Changelings learn that without a new fresh outlook, the Dreaming is doomed. Thus Fir-Bholg frequently become mentors or advisors, often in secret. The joys of the internet have revolutionized the old ways of correspondence by mail. Many are now infiltrating Courts and Freeholds as bards and storytellers.
The Bard still holds his ancient place of honour among the Fir-Bholg and his teachings guide the education of new Fir-Bholg. First among these teachings are The 3 noble strains , the secrets to which were known to every genuine Bard; The strain of lament, the strain of Laughter and the strain of slumber. The number 3 is sacred to all the Celtic peoples and especially so to the Fir-Bholg.
A Fir Bholg is a living history lesson, a living book of the fae and one with no memories or understanding of the Chimerical world is a sorry individual indeed. Only the new Born Childlings will have a score of zero in Greymere and Remembrance, and it is Equally likely that they will have high Mental Attributes and Knowledge’s such as Lores or Occult.
In the shelter of the of the forests edge he set about painting his body with Blue woad, white chalk and the juice of the red berry. He limed his blond hair and twisted it until it stood out stiff as a taunt rope from the nape of his neck and sprang from beneath his helmet like a wild horses mane.'
- Jim Fitzpatrick - the book of conquests.
Brutal and primitive are the first words that come to mind when describing the Fir Bholg, and it is an image they are careful to cultivate. No matter how cerebral they are underneath, the wisdom is always belied by the bestial. This is accentuated by the Fir Bholg habit of dying their fair hair with the blood of their enemies. Most Fir Bholg have chalk white flesh stretched taunt over rippling, wiry muscled frames.
With their body decorations and extreme clothing, they are often mistaken for Redcaps but they are taller, less bulky and more upright in stance than Redcaps and this is the most common way of telling them apart. However, all Fir-Bholg have residual animal features, even the new born, and the horns and fur has led others to momentarily believe they spoke with a Pooka or a Satyr. many sport Antlers while others simply have tusks or bristles or paws, but they all echo their time as beasts in thier Chimerical mien.
Childlings: Young Fir-Bholg are skittish and shy around adults or even other noisy children. They are Quiet and intelligent enjoying stories and songs. In their Fae mien they rarely have more than a single Animal feature but this can often be as obvious as all over body fur.
Wilders: By now the Fir-Bholg have developed at least one new Animal feature and have become more confident with their memories of the past. They are often poets or authors if they have come to terms with their roles, or parts of counter-cultures if still unsure.
Grumps: The oldest Fir-Bholg bear many Animal features and have accumulated vast collections of Lore. They can entertain even the most hostile teenager with tales of Eshu daring-do or Satyr orgies. They feel the weight of years pressing and an urgency to educate the modern Changeling youth before the Dreaming itself is lost to Banality and the return of their ancient foes.
Memory turned Myth - Fir Bholg NEVER forget anything, ever, possessing eidetic memories above and beyond natural means. They are the Dreaming’s chosen watchers and historians. Not even supernatural effects that would usually steal memories will effect the Fir-Bholg. It also means that while the performance of a song or play depends on other abilities, the recall is instant and total. This often leads to the Fir-Bholg having a certain morose outlook on life as they watch everything erode and the natural course of entropy unfold. In Addition a Fir Bholg can never botch a roll made using the Intelligence or Wits Attributes.
Breath of the Firchlis (as in the Denizens of the dreaming book) - Things happen around the Fir-Bholg, odd things. To effect things of the Dreaming, the Fir-Bholg burns a point of Glamour and then rolls his currant Glamour (Difficulty 8). Successes call the Firchlis over an area in varying and uncontrollable ways. By burning additional Glamour and rolling Glamour against the local Banality rating, the Fir-Bholg can effect the mortal world is subtler but similar way.
Bestial visage - All Fir Bholg have remnants of their time as beasts, which are nothing like the animal affinities of the Pooka. This bestial affinity causes mortals to react oddly to Fir Bholg (-1 to all social Roles with mortals). Animals tend to act in much the same way and they usually take instant dislike to Fir Bholg out of some unrecognized fear and dread of the proximity of a wild animal. Because of this barrier to normal relationships, the Fir Bholg often shun human society and are at a greater risk from bedlam, not to mention loneliness and depression.