Today’s guest article is the third by Gnome Stew reader Tony G., who has been GMing for 20 years. Today’s piece features a Christmas-obsessed vampire. Thanks, Tony! –-Martin
With the holidays upon us, I was wondering how many of you have added a holiday theme to your games? Whether it’s a tenacious turkeysaurus or a rabid reindeer, I love to add a dash of this to my roleplaying games. For example:
One year, near Christmas, I had a vampire (Masquerade) that was adding small amounts of his blood to eggnog in attempts to take over a small part of the city. He had blood bonded people working for him at the Marva Maid distribution plant dressed as elves. He had very formidable fighting abilities but was obsessed with Christmas music. After tracking him down through holiday riddles and clues, he was beaten by one player fighting him while the other sang Christmas carols. On a side note, totally by chance one of the players had brought Marva Maid Eggnog to the game. It was an enjoyable session for all of us during the crazy season when because of everyone’s schedules, we didn’t get to see each other much.
Werewolves at SantaCon
Another year, the week before Christmas, I had my Werewolf crew, infiltrate a Santa Claus convention trying to find a possessed human murderer. e was working at one of the Santa visiting sets. The group had to visit each one to try and catch his scent. They had to navigate rude kids, carolers, cosplayers, jingling bells, and artificial snow everywhere. It was a tough test to not rage out in the middle of the con. The player that had to check the “Pictures of Santa and your pet” had it particularly bad. The fact that they had to bring the possessed human back alive, didn’t make it any easier.
I think that sometimes it is fun to throw a little irreverence into your game. The trick is to make sure everyone is okay with it. I feel sometimes the games can be a little serious and players feel that it should be treated that way. To a degree this is true, but once and a while it is fun to cut loose. You can sometimes gain clarity from goofing off.
Choosing your holidays
It doesn’t have to be the end of the year trilogy of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. They are obvious choices, but why not a friend’s birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, or even Valentine’s Day? Instead of your actual friend’s birthday, it can be their character’s birthday and the group is helping him or her with an epic quest. Valentine’s Day? The crew has to climb the side of Mount Precarious to retrieve the rare Heartblood flower that only grows there. Such a grand gesture would surely win their crush’s heart. St. Patrick’s Day? A serpentine overlord has moved into a nearby area and he and his minions have enslaved the people. They have hypnotic gaze that makes it hard to fight them…as long as you are sober.
I wouldn’t recommend just springing these on your group out of thin air, unless you know they would get a kick out of it. You may just mention that you have been thinking about trying something like this for the upcoming holiday. Once you have successfully pulled it off once or twice, I have found they look forward to them.
In the comments section please share any stories or ideas that you have thought about or tried. We would love to hear them. Happy Holidays!