Some context: Every year I have run a Christmas themed game for one of my local gaming groups. The first one was supposed to be just a one shot, an overly dramatic story of a band of misfit toys who escape the island (really a peninsula), to return home, lead a revolt of the Candy Folk against the cruel tyranny of the Fey Lord Klaus and his wicked elven wild hunt, and reinstate Bannock, Gingerbread King of Candy Folk. And because I can’t control myself, this became an ongoing story, four years strong. This will be the first year since 2012 in which I have not done a Christmas game.
What can I say? I’ve felt rather uninspired in that regard and other projects are taking off rather nicely. So for now, the Dark God of Candy will have to wait to reclaim the world, here instead is an encounter table which sees a nondescript party of 4-6 Christmas themed adventurers level 2-4, wandering the frozen wilderness in an effort to evade Santa and his sadistic brood. It assumes information from the D&D 5th edition Players Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Roll 1d12 + 1d8
2. A shard of black rock sets a hard contrast against the white snow, dust cascades from it in the breeze, leaving a long, grey shadow. If a Good aligned player touches the black rock they must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma save or their alignment becomes Evil.
3. Roll on the combat encounter table, 1d10 + 4
4. Fresh snowfall covers everything, making the going tough. For the next two days travelling speed is halved. Acrobatics, athletics, investigation, perception, stealth and survival checks are all made with disadvantage.
5. Snow here has been worn by heavy footfall and has become as hard and as treacherous as ice. Each player must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or fall prone, taking 1d4 damage. Travelling speed for the group for the rest of the day is halved.
6. Roll on the combat encounter table, 1d10 + 1d4
7. The winds carry the sound of poorly harmonised song to your ears. A band of travelling minstrels occupy the road, along with a small child who rattles a coin-laden bucket. A group Dexterity (stealth) check DC 12 will see the players pass the wassailers unscathed. If seen, each player must donate 1GP minimum, or suffer disadvantage on Charisma checks for 1 week.
8. A towering fir is laden with golden baubles, and topped with a golden star. The tree requires a DC 11 Strength (athletics) check to climb in order to collect the ornaments. There are 4d6 (14) baubles worth 5GP each, and the star is worth 100GP. Following each round of a combat encounter, a creature who sustains damage rolls a Dexterity saving throw or smashes one of the ornaments they are carrying, rendering it worthless. A creature who falls prone smashes all of the ornaments they are carrying.
9. Roll on the combat encounter table, 1d10
10. You awaken to discover heavy bootprints running through and around the camp. You have been visited in the night. If this encounter is rolled three times, on the third time instead this becomes the Santa (14) encounter listed on the combat encounter table.
11. A herd of reindeer occupy the path, they seem reluctant to move. An Intelligence (nature) DC 13 check will help encourage the reindeer from the path without spooking them. If a player attempts to spook or alarm the reindeer they take flight, alerting the elves of Santa’s wild hunt. After 1d4 hours run the Wild Hunt (11) encounter from the combat encounter table.
12. Roll on the combat encounter table, 1d6
13. A cracker lies on the ground. It is bright green with gold ribbon tying the cinches. If two creatures pull the cracker, they engage in a Strength contest. Once pulled, a leprechaun in a paper crown appears and says:
– First meeting: “Friends! I can’t seem to find me marzipan. I guess it’s all been Stollen!”
– Second meeting: “Someone asked me what I thought of spiced wine. I told them I’d Mull it over.”
– Third meeting: “Another one? Alright. What do you get, when you cross a bear with an owl?”
On the first two occasions the winner of the contest will find 3d6 GP in their pockets, and the leprechaun vanishes without a trace. On the third, the leprechaun turns into an Owlbear and attacks.
14. An unusual hunger grips you all, as if food itself held some unnatural appeal. Each player must succeed on a Constitution check DC 13 or consume an additional day of rations.
15. The night passes by unusually peacefully. The following day passes without event.
16. A natural arbour, hung with evergreen plants with budding white berries, arches gracefully over the path. It is remarkably, almost defiantly green against the white snow. If any two players kiss under the arbour of mistletoe they gain 1d6. They can roll that d6 and add the result to any skill check, saving throw, or attack roll made in the next 24 hours.
17. You pass a trio of noblemen, who appear to have stopped on the side of the road to argue the finer points of gift giving. If anyone in the group attempts to aid the nobles by creating a new gift, they will be rewarded with 50GP and a potion of healing. If someone offers to sell the nobles some other item, they will be offered twice the standard price for that item (DMs discretion on items not covered in the rules).
18. Five Gold Rings!!! They adorn the hand of a passing merchant, whose cart jingles and clatters. Give players the opportunity to buy and sell essential items, the content of the merchants wagon are up to the DM, but he charges an additional 75% (rounded down) on all items compared to the prices given in the Players Handbook. If the players choose to rob the merchant, any player who chooses to wear one of his gold rings will find them impossible to remove without a Wish or Remove Curse spell. The hand with the ring becomes bright red.
19. Smoke curls above a line of trees at the side of the road, a thin track leads towards it. The path leads to a small house build of various confection but mostly comprised of gingerbread, the residents are also gingerbread, a widow and two adult sons. It takes little persuading to convince the widow to allow the players to take shelter in her stable for the night, if they do then each player can choose to gain advantage on a single skill check made in the next 24 hours.
20. A brightly coloured parcel lies on the side of the road, a label dangling from a ribbon says “First Come, First Served. Enjoy!” Roll 1d6:
1. 6 flasks of hot chocolate that function as potions of healing, and 1 day of rations for up to 6 people.
2. A small painted soldier made of tin. A creature can spend an action to turn the key in its back to activate the soldier for 1 minute. While active it functions identically to a Monodrone except that it does not have a fly speed, and its size is tiny. It obeys simple commands given by the creature who opened the box.
3. A spinning top with four solid faces carved with arcane markings. Spinning the top functions the same as casting the spell Augury.
4. A pair of soft woollen socks, just your size but in a hideous array of colours. Wearing the socks functions the same as a Ring of Warmth, they are attuned immediately to the person who opened the box, and can be worn in addition to any other magical footwear without penalty.
5. The box functions as a Bag of Holding and has 2d6 x 10 (70) GP, 1d4 (2) gemstones worth 50GP each, and a tangerine already inside.
6. A spell scroll of Wish. The spell scroll disintegrates if unused within 24 hours, and the effects of the spell wear off at midnight on the day of casting. For example, a slain creature will return to life unscathed, a resurrected creature dies, a conjured item or creature will disappear.
If you roll this encounter again and get the same result for the present, instead this becomes the Mimic (10) encounter as listed in the combat encounter table.
1. In a small grove, a rafter of rather large turkeys mill about, scraping and pecking at the ground. A few acknowledge your presence with suspicion. 1d8 + 4 Axe Beaks, they can be avoided with a DC 12 Dexterity (stealth) or Intelligence (nature) check.
2. A red collar stands out against the snow. The tag reads “Snowball”. If a creature carries the collar for an hour, they will find themselves attacked by an animate snowball, which has the same stats as a Raven except that its damage is cold instead of piercing. If they continue to carry the collar for a further hour, they will be attacked by a Swarm of Ravens which follow the same adaption. This will happen every hour until they abandon the collar.
3. The path takes you by a natural cave. It is shallow, and the entrance is hung with heavy icicles, but you can see a long, graceful blade lying amongst the debris toward the back. A creature must crawl to the sword to retrieve it. It functions as a normal long sword, but is worth 80 GP instead of 15. When a creature grabs the sword, the icicles attack, they are 1d6 + 2 Ice Mephits disguising themselves.
4. You were awoken by the sound of a distant wolf pack, but as the day wears on their howling draws ever closer. 3d6 + 3 Wolves. The wolves will not attack unless a creature in the group is severely wounded. They follow the party for 1d6 days, +1 for each creature who is not at full hit points.
5. A towering fir is bedecked with shimmering strands of red and gold foil that rattle in the breeze. A pair of Tinselworms that use the statistics of Giant Constrictor Snakes are coiled around the tree, and attack anyone who draws close. If carefully removed with a DC 13 Wisdom (survival) check each pelt is worth 25 GP.
6. 2d4 elves from the Wild Hunt are searching for the party, they use the statistics of Scouts. Use a Wisdom (perception) contest to see which group notices which first. At least one elf will attempt to flee combat after an elf is killed. If so, the next combat encounter roll is automatically considered an 11 (no matter what dice is used) except with an additional elf.
7. A light twinkles in the trees below you, red, blue, green, and yellow. If players approach the light winks out, but begins again nearby, followed by a second a little further away, and the same a third time if they follow. The lights are 3 Will-O-Wisps that lead the party into a 20 ft deep pit if they are foolish enough to follow. The pit can be spotted early if any player makes a Wisdom (perception) check of DC 14. The pit is an old hunting trap with broken spikes, fragile and no longer dangerous apart from the long fall. If a player makes an Intelligence (investigation) check DC 12 they will find 3d10 + 15 GP in a pouch on a skeleton in the pit. The sides require a DC 12 Strenth (athletics) check to climb.
8. In the distance there is a howling noise. From a nearby peak you can spot a large, green creature. It’s certainly spotted you, and is charging your way. The Ogre begins roughly 400 ft from the group, but at full speed can close that distance in 1 minute, or 2 minutes if the party flee. The players may use this time however they choose, but place a timer on the table to encourage rapid decision making.
9. A childish facsimile of a humanoid made entirely of snow, decorated with a red scarf and top hat, stomps down the slope to where you stand. The Snowman uses the statistics for Earth Elemental but exchange the damage vulnerability for fire in place of thunder, and add resistance to cold damage. A creature can attempt to knock the hat from the Snowman by making their attack roll with disadvantage, the attack deals no damage, but without the hat the snowman spends one round making attacks with disadvantage before finally stopping altogether.
Magic Hat: If the hat is placed on the head any object in the shape of an animal possessing a head, that object animates as if by the Animate Object spell. The object has a 50% chance of being indifferent to the creature that animated it, a 25% chance of being subservient, and a 25% chance of being hostile.
10. A brightly coloured parcel lies on the side of the road, a label dangling from a ribbon says “First Come, First Served. Enjoy!” The present is a Mimic which attacks the first creature to attempt to open it.
11. If a character has a Passive Wisdom (perception) of 14 or higher, or if a player has passed a Wisdom (perception) DC 14 check, read You spot an airborne chariot, drawn by reindeer, and carrying a pair of brightly dressed humanoids. Otherwise the Wild Hunt gets a surprise round. The 2 elves use the statistics of Scouts, and the reindeer uses the stats for an Elk except that they have a flight speed equal to their speed. The elves will not land unless forced.
12. At midnight, a phantom appears before you, it howls nonsensically about what awaits you in the afterlife, and foretells of more spirits to come. After that initial apparition, a Specter attacks the party every hour for three hours. Players do not benefit from a long rest.
13. In the night, a rattle of chains, and a deep, braying howl carried on the wind. This combat encounter will only occur if their is an evil party member, otherwise the players are awoken by the howling, and instead of rolling for an encounter the following day, instead presume a roll of 2. The Krampus attacks in the night, it uses the statistics of a Barlgura except that it also carries a Bag of Holding large enough to accommodate an apparently limitless number of people. It will not kill its victims, instead trying to stuff them into the bag.
14. Santa. Now, as for the statistics, and the nature of Santa’s arrival… come back for Thursday’s update.