Some random Christmas theming for your game

It is snowing.

At the first crossroads

… the party meet St Nicholas (see picture). He is cheery on the surface but underneath he is seething, he has done nothing but give out gifts for thousands of years and has been sustained only by brandy and cookies.

He presents each PC with a present, each wrapped with string in bright, sturdy wax-paper:

  1. Brass bottle painted with a bright abstract design and the words “Henderson’s Excellent Temporary Tonic”. Makes you feel like you can do anything, that obstacles are just tissue paper, for an hour — have d6 temporary hp. Then it makes you feel like you can’t do anything at all for a second hour — have d6 temporary negative hp. (if you’re temporarily at zero or below, you’re basically useless for the period).
  2. Random spell scroll in an attractive leather case. (casts at user’s level)
  3. Leather-and-wood party popper that has the name of a random spell on the side – casts it when fired. Level 5 effect but targeting protocol is unclear to say the least.
  4. Handheld paper effigy of St Nick that’s full of something solid. On the back it says “Drive back the dead this festive season”. Has a fuse coming out of his head, and if you light it the whole thing burns for one turn and no undead below 4HD may bear being within 20ft.
  5. Disposable hand-cannon (30’ range 2d8 damage, one use only)
  6. A fluffy white kitten in a Santa hat. Quite clever and helpful but oh so very vulnerable.

He does not give hirelings or retainers anything — it turns out they have not been good.

He is accompanied by four

St Nicholas’ ReindeerHD 2, AC 12, move 50ft fly 60ft, ML 8, bite d6

Much antlers, much fur, much… teeth and claws? Make a lot of mouth-sounds that are suspiciously like talking. If they are talking, they’re making a lot of insinuations and jibes. Will try to steal things and would quite like to eat you (but St Nicholas will stop them).

At each location

In every scene and/or encounter, roll d12 once on this to add Christmas flavour.

1d4 Christmas stockings, roll d6 for each:
1-3 d6*10 coins
4-5 d6*10 ordinary stones
6 Fat muscular worm with a face, Dex save or d3 bite damage
7A crashed (non-flying-type) sleigh. There the body of a sturdy farmer under the sleigh and wrapped gifts in the back. Gifts are consumer durables worth d6*20 coins but if you take any the farmer’s ghost will follow the PCs and harass them until they make amends.  
2Everything is candlelit, even if outside8Something ate a reindeer here. they did not eat it neatly and they left the bones behind
3It is particularly snowing now. Useful visibility is about 30ft.9St Nick is here too. “You again?”. He throws coal at you and a reindeer tries to steal a backpack.
4D3 more of those reindeer, as weird as the first time and with St Nick to rein them in10Children here, singing. They run away if you try to interact.
5A random magical treasure in a gift-wrapped box. It’s in the possession of any monster or NPC that’s here,11A nativity scene. The saviour is in the manger and the magi look on. Does it move when you’re not looking? Surely not.
6Holly tree at the focal point12A fat turkey gobbles about here. It’s wearing a little backpack containing with sausagemeat, sage, breadcrumbs, and two onion.

Lunacantium — players overview

This is the blog post where I will keep an overview of Lunacantium, my current adventure design project. Lunacantium features briefly in A Broken Candle, as the late and lamented capital of Rocaine, but I’ve never developed it in detail until now.

Lunacantium will also be my project for #Dungeon23, which I intend to do for at least a single day. I’ll put a warning at the top of every post so that current or potential players don’t see the secrets and thus ruin their joy and horror of discovery in-game.

Lunacantium, in play, is an OSR-style city-megadungeon. For three hundred years it was the glory of the nation, perhaps of the world, and then a century ago it collapsed. What remains is a dangerous ruin surrounded by mile upon mile of unlivable wasteland.

For rules I’m using Architrave, my lightly-reworked version of Knave 1e. I’ll probably put it up here at some point. Some assumptions (e.g. the very particular spell list) will set it apart from other OSR games.

What kind of game do I run with it?

  • There is a pool of active players, there are game sessions as and when (GM availability is probably the main constraint), and there is a (ruined) city waiting to be explored.
  • There is no plot. The story is about some people who went into Lunacantium and things happened there..
  • By all means roleplay your character as you see them. But I’m not going to target your character’s stories by e.g. setting up events that challenge their beliefs — you’ll have to make your own stories using the world as you find it.
  • I won’t scale encounters to the party, and I won’t fudge die rolls to save you. You’ll need to learn about the city and its dangers, and make sound judgements.
    • NB there is no at-all-straightforward resurrection magic
  • I will, however, strive to make it possible to read situations, to learn the nature (and risk level) of different areas, and to know when you’re getting into real trouble.
  • I may fudge rules for speed of play, particularly near the end of a game session.
  • I’ll probably run this intermingled with other things for a good while, but at any time it could disappear or be replaced by something else.

Finally, a promotional flyer: