For Great Justice

This Too Shall Pass
The Grand Canal

Christmas One Shot

Posted at January 03, 2023
Categories: Roleplaying

In my write-up on The Wolverines Take The Highway To The Danger Zone, I mentioned that I had an idea for a Christmas one-shot that I didn’t run. Well, my DM was going to miss a session before Christmas, so I took the opportunity and ran it.

Here’s the pitch:

It’s the day before Christmas, and things are tense at the North Pole. No-one’s seen Mrs Claus in years; the gingerbread men are acting funny; and a fringe group of elves want to Make Christmas Great Again. You’re one of Santa’s elves, working at the Charlie Brown Nursery for Special Christmas Trees at the edge of the North Pole, when suddenly Rudolph crashes to the earth in front of you, drops Santa’s List, then dies. Can you save Christmas before it’s too late?

OK. I’m not going to run it again, so I’ll spoil it. The inspiration was the January 6th insurrection. I moved it to the North Pole, and replaced QAnon with KAnon. Elves would swarm Santa’s workshop because the Christmas elite — Santa, Mrs Claus, and Krampus — were up to unspeakable things.

This was the fundamental flaw I overlooked, and why I’m not going to run it again. This elites were up to no good. The KAnon elves were being manipulated, but ultimately they were right. That’s not the takeaway I intended.

No, what I wanted to do was be silly:

  • I added a Christmas skill. PCs could use it to decorate or do other Christmas-y things, such as (hypothetically) co-ordinate an army of elves against Santa’s gingerbread troopers in Santa’s workshop.
  • For spells, I added a Holiday Magic skill, and used Christmas-y trappings. So bolt fired candy canes, and distract affected people with Christmas songs.
  • The North Pole was based on the Lower Mainland. The players started in the wilds of Snoquitlam, then climbed up Brr-naby Mountain to Jack Frost University, where they took the R5 Rapid Bobsled to Christmas City. Mrs Claus lived in a mansion in Point Sleigh. And so on.
  • My version of the Downtown Eastside was filled with elves who just weren’t that into Christmas anymore. I didn’t go anywhere with that, which was probably for the best, honestly.

At some point the players would confront Krampus or Mrs Claus, and they’d look themselves up in Santa’s List. They would discover the terrible secret of the North Pole: the elves were all children on the Naughty List, kidnapped by Krampus and transformed. In exchange, Santa and Mrs Claus would use the stolen lifeforce to extend their lives1 and run Christmas forever. Some time before the adventure Mrs Claus repented, and she’s running the KAnon movement in an attempt to destabilize the North Pole and bring the system crashing down before she dies.

Really, I just wanted to get to the point where I could say something like, “According to the List, [player’s real name] was on the Naughty List for talking back to their teachers. And [other player’s real name] didn’t do their homework.”

Anyhoo. It was fun!

  1. I didn’t think of this until after running the game, but this is basically the adrenochrome conspiracy theory. Yikes.