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Welcome to The Invulnerable King, the first part in an epic campaign for the Sláine RPG. This campaign will take your players from Albion all over Tir Nan Og and beyond, as they quest to depose their tyrannical king, re-assemble an ancient stone circle, and save all the northern tribes from the combined might of the Fomorians and the Drune Lords. This adventure is intended for 1st and 2nd level characters from the Fir Domain tribe. It would suit a party composed mostly of warriors, with perhaps one druid or witch and one thief, though it could work with an all-warrior party so long as their skills are sufficiently varied. At least one member of the group must be able to read Ogham script - in the case of an all-warrior group, the Games Master should allow one Player Character to select the capability as a feat, identical to the thief character class's Read Ogham class feature.
All you need to play The Invulnerable King is this adventure, a copy of The Player's Handbook¸ and the Sláine RPG. The first Sláine supplement, Tir Nan Og, would also be useful for additional background information on the various places and people covered by the adventure, but it is not essential. This adventure is intended for use as the first of a four-part epic campaign, though it can easily be adapted to stand alone - either by the Games Master inventing his own continuation of it, or tying up the loose ends by having the Player Characters return the last of the Teeth to Osdann and sending them on a different mission for their King.
In the land of the tribes of the Earth Mother once existed a ring of stones called the Teeth of the Moon Sow. Many tales were told of it as a place of power and potency, but in the time before Sláine, none knew of its real magic.
Long ago, the circle was dedicated to the Goddess in her aspect as the white moon Ceridwen, whose name means 'Crooked White One.' In gentle aspect, she was the muse, creator and protector of bards. In anger, she was a monstrous white sow, a flesh-devourer and bringer of madness. Ceridwen could inspire bards or she could destroy them, and the Teeth of the Moon Sow reflected her power.
The Teeth of the Moon Sow had not always been stones: Long ago, in the dawn of Tir-Nan-Og, the followers of Ceridwen held a great festival where bards from all across the world, and beyond the world too (for El bards were among them) could compete before men and gods. Of them all, ten were found, nine most gifted, and one the very best. Ceridwen, greatly pleased with these, turned them into stone, forever to be the guardians of her circle of inspiration. Nine made the circle, but the finest bard of all was her altar stone. From her own power and theirs, she made a very great magic.
Ceridwen created her stone circle to be an acoustics chamber, though it amplified more than melody. In the Teeth of the Moon Sow, one could intensify the power of dreams, and make them real. If a gifted bard stood at the circle's centre and spoke their tale, provided their will and imagination were strong enough, the very images conjured by their words would appear before the audience. They could create anything they wanted; treasures glinting on the grass, lovers created of woven flowers, demons of fire and flame, or armed men bursting out of the earth. The only limits were those of imagination and willpower. Should the bard possess enough of each, their creations might do more than just stand and be admired: given enough concentration, they could physically affect the world around them. The possibilities were endless and terrifying.
Long before this campaign begins, the Moon Sow circle had been destroyed, to the deep anger of the Goddess it venerated. Its stones were taken and hidden throughout the Lands of the Young, by the Avanc beaver-folk, who could not bear the nightmare side of her sacred place. The Avanc believed she would be angry but would relent, because they adored her in all save this one thing. But by the time of Sláine Mac Roth, any druid worth his salt would know that almost all the Avancs had been destroyed by the Falians, also known as the Tribe of the Shadows. The Goddess is a rose with many thorns. She may love, but she does not forgive.
Much of the campaign is based around the search by Player Characters and others to find the Moon Sow's Teeth and re-create or destroy the stone circle in their own kingdoms. It is not the land that makes the circle strong - it is the stones that make the land magically resonant, answering the desires of its most powerful bards. Thus, the tribe that has the Moon Sow's Teeth circle on its territory has a huge repository of dream to use. And they all want it! The four tribes of the Northern lands of Eriu will be seeking it, each for their own benefit. The various tribes of Midgard will be pursuing it. The El-folk crave it, the Drune Lords are looking for it and of course, the Cythrons wish to control it.
The obvious question is; if the Avanc feared the circle so much, why did they not destroy the stones as opposed to hiding them? The stones are imbued with the sentience and the magic of the bards they once were. He who destroys one will immediately take its place, set in stone forever. And there is, of course, always the possibility that Ceridwen will be more than a little angered.