Delving Dave’s Dungeon
The holidays are a great time to break from your normal D&D game by injecting the festivities from the real world into the game. Alternatively you can use the holiday season to inform and enrich your own game world by creating holidays unique to your world.
It’s the perfect time to introduce winter holidays into your game. There are literally dozens of real world holidays you can use for inspiration in your game worlds. Combine a fantasy themed holiday with any of your favorite holiday movies or shows and bam! You’ve got a holiday themed adventure to plop into your game.
Heat Miser and Snow Miser from The Year Without a Santa Claus could easily be turned into a D&D adventure. Two opposing supernatural forces with the players, NPCs, village, town or city in between all perfectly timed during one of these winter holidays to set the backdrop. There are probably dozens more of these kinds of kids shows you could repurpose into holiday D&D adventures.
I personally love taking known pop culture stories and sliding them into my D&D games. Especially the moment when the players have figured out what you’ve done. It’s even better if you can tie these to holidays you make up for your own games. The former Nerdarchist Ryan did this with The Krinch that Stole Father’s Winter Day. It’s an adventure that you can pick up at Nerdarchy the Store here. Another chance to use the MOUNTUP promo code!
From Ted’s Head
I’m preparing to run my own holiday themed adventure as this month’s fan game is happening for me tomorrow, but by the time you get this the game will be in the past. If you are interested in gaming with Nerdarchy, you can sign up for our newsletter, looks like you already did, or sign up for our support us on Patreon. Both of those methods get you a chance to game with us each month. So if you do both you get two chances, doubling your odds.
Investigation. Something has been stolen. Is it the feast, the toys or something else special? I guess a kidnapping could be inserted in this one as well. Here the characters are tasked with solving the crime and restoring the lost items/person potentially within a time frame. Because there are so many ways of doing this, what is taken and by who this idea can be done over and over again without the feeling of rehashing material it is a good well to go back to. Just remember to mix it up and have a lot of fun with it. You have to factor in motive — the villain need to have reasons as well. One thing to consider is what if the item stolen is gone. Does the adventure end badly or can a new item be made in time?
Magic. This theme is much broader than the last. The magic of the holidays is important and it can mean something different to each of us. Some might never truly feel the holiday spirit, some claim to do but are not sure, while others fully bask in it. It was tough for me this year but there was a moment a few days ago that really touched me. I will not bore you with the details but it was a really nice family moment. So one area you can touch on with magic is there is something wrong with the holiday magic or holiday spirit. Another direction is to add magic into something that might not need it or should not have it. In this case magic has gone awry and the party needs to find a way to set things right or get it fixed. The opposite of this idea is the magic has been removed from an item or person. You can combine it with the theft idea above or something else. The idea of the quest is to do something to get the magic restored. The item or person might need to be taken somewhere or the item must be present during a magical moment. And by magical I do not mean to cast a spell on it, but to be present during something that is all about the spirit of the season.
Gifts. Sometimes you as the DM want a nice easy session. In my last game I took the idea gifting to my players and turned it into a game. I had been very light on the amount of magic item opportunities and the campaign is almost over. While there was no actual mention of holidays or even festivities but the party was able to barter or negotiate with a number of vendors in a planar market and get access to better gear knowing their foe was still alive and they need to put him down for good. While there was combat there was no actual threat to the party and they were able to get even more magic items before the session was over. In my interpretation the session was a gift. No real challenge and a power up was had by all. I even had all the PCs minis around a Christmas tree on the battle mat at the beginning of the session. Fun was had by all.
However you want to prep your games, keep that last line on your thoughts and just make the session Fun!
From the Nerditor’s desk
My take on holiday adventures doesn’t have anything to do with what the characters encounter or how the Dungeon Master prepared a themed quest in the spirit of the special time of year. Instead, the holidays often represent a perfect opportunity to experience any sort of adventure at all. The Nerdarchy crew all loves Dungeons & Dragons of course, and lots of other roleplaying games too. And we get lots of chances to relish in the fun of playing games with a wide variety of people.