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A disclaimer for all my normal, non-Dungeons & Dragons playing friends:  What you're about to see is what I threw together this lazy (ok, not-so-lazy) Sunday for a Holiday contest Wizards of the Coast was putting on.  I've never written an adventure before and I'm sure there's game junk wrong with it, but, well, at least enjoy the pretty pictures.  The stats were produced using the D&D Monster Builder, which is a pretty snazzy tool to use if you're into the perks of an Insider account.  I know I am.  Oh and those images are kind of the property of Wizards, because they're screenshots of their online tool...I think.  Just covering my butt.   Oh and a "Wight" is a Dungeons & Dragons zombie, more or less, in case you didn't know.   Enjoy.

Twas the Wight before Xmas...

Warning to Fantasy Traditionalists:  If you're not into including Xmas in your "ultra realistic" fantasy setting filled with elves, unicorns, and halflings, by all means I recommend using the local holiday of Crossmas.   Crossmas originally started when normal village folk realized that monsters (and sometimes their corrupt neighbors) would drop random packets of treasure upon their demise.  What followed was a period of violent madness, historically known now as Schwarzer Freitag, where no one was safe from the greedy claws of winter gift-seekers.  For the sake of diplomacy (or sanity), the tradition of Crossmas began, where villagers would simply give gifts to one another, as an appeasement for not looting their homes and thinking the pet dog might be a minion of some sort.  They would meet at the town crossroads and thus the tradition of buying your life for one more year earned its name.  During even the most harsh winters, a lone tree covered with twinkling lights can be seen as a constant reminder of what must never happen again.

Sometimes the past is best left forgotten.  Tradition has, indeed, a very different meaning based on who you speak to.  Centuries-old opinions aren't always to be trusted, as one Elf did by making the mistake of reviving that which would not die.

Encounter Level 15

4 Gingerdeadmen (2 on each table)

1 Savage Maul Santa

2 Bellringer Wights

2 Silent Wights

1 Krumple, a most traditional Elf

Setup:

The PCs arrive in a small desolate village.  A few lore rolls will tell them they have arrived in Tinselkompf.  Signs in Elven are everywhere as this is (or was) a primarily elvish town, known for it's long tradition of producing some of the best craftsman throughout the land.  And yet....there are no elves to be seen.  If the PC's search through any of the properties, they find strange tidings (not of joy).  While each home is empty, each kitchen is filled to the brim strange creations of bread of ginger.  A workman's tools have been refastened together to resemble what could only be a wooden duck.  PC Elves will hear a constant twinkling song just out of their reach of hearing...something is wrong. 

Moving forward in the town, they will notice the only working chimney on the outskirts of town.  What was once a humble chapel  is now painted with grotesque reds, whites, and greens.  Are those canes of candy hanging from the rafters?  The sound of hammering resonates from inside and below, as if the shape of the earth was being crafted into a gift never meant to be received. Could this have anything to do with the rows of empty graves each with a wreath above their tombstone?  Upon opening the door, the strangest looking elf, adorned in tattered clothes and skulls, looks up from his work.  An obese rotting undead sits upon a throne, crudely nailed over the entrance to the lower levels.  With a ferocious roar, the lumber hulk rises to his feat.  Its time to deck the halls with parts of zombies.

Perception 20 or Arcana 20:  PCs will notice that the piles of gingerbreadmen are, in fact, slowly moving constructs.  The gift objects, explained later, are still a mystery.

Here's my map, crudely done because, well, yeah.  That's how I roll. 

Most notable are the "Gift" obstacles, medium in size.  These operate similar to traps, only have "Xmas Surprises" inside them.  Enemies within these packages cannot be targeted by attacks and have Resist 30 All in regard to area effects.  Enemies inside can step out as a free action, including doing so to make attacks of opportunity as holiday party crashers unwittingly move past them.  Once a Gift has been "opened", remove it from the board and replace it with whatever was inside.  A gift hit by any attack opens automatically, though the contents inside are unhurt.  Please note that not all gifts contains Wights.  The socks are women's long and the coal is enough to keep a toasty fire for up to a week, if one is conservative.

Tactics:  Santa & Krumple want the adventurers to open their presents and attempt to delay until at least 2 Wights are on the table.  Once in action, Santa will do his best to remove the most naughty, which for some reason tends to be strikers.  I'm not sure why.  Krumple will, however, not delay if there are any Elves amongst the PCs.  With "Call of the Keeblers" he'll do his best to recruit them into his new necrotic-toy building empire.  Once Gifts B, C, & E have been opened and necrotic vulnerability is in play (via the Bellringers), Savage Maul Santa will do his best to make sure that the entire party sleeps in heavenly peace.  The Wight will, naturally, delay their actions while within the gift boxes...surprises are what this encounter is all about.

Fun fact:  The Gingerdeadmen do not know that they are "Delicious".  Honestly speaking, I wouldn't want to know if I was tasty either.

So....there you go.  Kind of crappy and random, but hey, this only took me a little time to throw together.  Thank you for your forgiveness.

After the encounter you find the Elven slave mines, filled with freshly-minted toys.  Even after liberated, the rescued elves feel they've lost a little part of themselves.  The cookies sing to them as do the ever-pointy shoes.  -end

 

-Jared

"a big dork"

 

 

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Copyright 2008 Jared von Hindman or maybe just Jared Hindman.  It depends.  Any images used that are not Jared's are used via Fair Use review purposes and belong to their respective owners....who are nice people that don't want to sue me.

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