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God Nuada Airgetlam

Gaulois en vue de Rome », huile sur toile d’Evariste-Vital Luminais (Nantes, 1822 – Paris, 1896). Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy. Date Author Evariste Vital Luminais (1822-1896)

Nuada, known by the epithet Airgetlám (“Silver Hand/Arm”), was the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Nuada was king of the Tuatha Dé for seven years before they came to Ireland. They made contact with the Firbolg, the then-inhabitants of the island, and Nuada sought from them half of the island for the Tuatha Dé, which their king rejected. Both peoples made ready for war, and in an act of chivalry allowed their numbers and arms to be inspected by the opposing side to allow for a truly fair battle. During this first great battle, Nuada lost an arm in combat with the Firbolg champion Sreng. Nuada’s ally, Aengaba of Norway, then fought Sreng, sustaining a mortal wound, while the Dagda protected Nuada. Fifty of the Dagda’s soldiers carried Nuada from the field. The Tuatha Dé gained the upper hand in the battle, but Sreng later returned to challenge Nuada to single combat. Nuada accepted, on the condition that Sreng fought with one arm tied up. Sreng refused, but by this point the battle was won and the Fir Bolg all but vanquished. The Tuatha Dé then decided to offer Sreng one quarter of Ireland for his people instead of the one half offered before the battle, and he chose Connacht.

Having lost his arm, Nuada was no longer eligible for kingship due to the Tuatha Dé tradition that their king must be physically perfect, and he was replaced as king by Bres, a half-Fomorian prince renowned for his beauty and intellect. The Fomorians were mythological enemies of the people of Ireland, often equated with the mythological “opposing force” such as the Greek Titans to the Olympians, and during Bres’s reign they imposed great tribute on the Tuatha Dé, who became disgruntled with their new king’s oppressive rule and lack of hospitality. By this time Nuada had his lost arm replaced by a working silver one by the physician Dian Cecht and the wright Creidhne (and later with a new arm of flesh and blood by Dian Cecht’s son Miach). Bres was removed from the kingship, having ruled for seven years, and Nuada was restored. He ruled for twenty more years.

Bres, aided by the Fomorian Balor of the Evil Eye, attempted to retake the kingship by force, and war and continued oppression followed. When the youthful and vigorous Lugh joined Nuada’s court, the king realised the multi-talented youth could lead the Tuatha Dé against the Fomorians, and stood down in his favour. The second Battle of Mag Tuired followed. Nuada was killed and beheaded in battle by Balor, but Lugh avenged him by killing Balor and led the Tuatha Dé to victory.

Nuada’s great sword was one of the Four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann, brought from one of their four great cities.

Celtic Druids and the Tuatha de Dannan
By Dominique Crouzet

Nuada, whose nickname is “Nuada of the Silver Hand”, is a god of warriors, bravery, and honorable combat, but also a fierce slayer of Fomorians. Nuada was the king of the Tuatha Dé Danann until the battle of Mag Tured against the Fomorians, where he lost his arm. Then, for having lost his arm he could no longer be king (according to Celtic law), and his place was taken by a Fomorian half-caste. However, Diancecht later grafted him a silver arm in place of that he had lost. As such, Nuada could reclaim his throne as king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, which he did after the second battle of Mag Tured, when the Fomorians were eventually driven out of the land. Nuada is renown not only for his silver arm, but also for his great silver sword that gave him great power over demons.

  • Alignment: Lawful Good
  • Domains: Good, Law, War.
  • Symbol: A silver hand.
  • Favored Weapon: longsword.
  • Area of control: War against the Fomorians.
  • Typical worshippers: Warriors, Fomorian-slayers.

Duties of priesthood: Priests of Nuada are clerics rather than filidh. Their main role is to counsel and help those who hunt, or are plagued by Fomorians. As such, they most of the time travel the land in search of people opposing Fomorians, so they may help them.

Special Benefit: Priests of Nuada are always proficient in the longsword (the favored weapon of Nuada) in addition to all simple weapons. Hence, when they take the War domain, instead of gaining Martial Proficiency in that weapon, they gain the Weapon Focus feat in it.

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