Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts

Monday, December 24, 2018

Kris Kringle, Winter Warden

The lands of the north are full of magic. There is the Abominable Snow Monster, also known as the Bumble, the Dreaded Winter Warlock and human evils like the Burgomeister Meisterburger.  To protect the children of the lands of the north there is a fierce guardian, a Winter Warden, a man named Kringle.

Here is Kringle as a Warden from my new book The Winter Witch for Swords & Wizardry.

Kris Kringle
Winter Warden, 12th level
Human Male, Lawful

Strength 16
Intelligence 15
Wisdom 16
Dexterity 17
Constitution 16
Charisma 18

Hit Points: 70
AC:  6 (Heavy coat and dex)
Saving Throws: 4

Favored Enemy: Anyone that mistreats or harms children or animals.

1st level (3): Locate Animals, Predict Weather, Snowball
2nd level (2): Cure Light Wounds, Flurry of Snowballs
3rd level (1): Ward of the Season

1st level (2): Animal Friend, Create Snow
2nd level (1): Raven Spy

Equipment: Kringle coat, magic snowball, a huge sack of toys.

The man who would be known as Kris Kringle was left as a baby near the home of the Kringle Barbegazi (Ice Gnomes). Those these gnomes had also lived close to many Álfar (Snow Elves) that they had picked up their ways.  Many local humans simply called them Kringle Elves.
Kris grew to manhood and took on his adoptive family's decree as the First Toy Makers to the King to deliver toys across the mountains to Sombertown, the only place where the Kringles had not given out their toys (they were related to Tinker Gnomes as well).

To do so he had to first face the terrible Winter Warlock, whom he defeated but would take on as a friend.  The Winter Warlock (now Lawful and lost some of his powers) provided him with his Snowball of Seeing and magic corn for his flying reindeer.

Kringle is the current Winter Warden for the area surrounding Sombertown.  No one is sure who his parents are, but it is suspected his father was a powerful wizard or cleric.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Other Side!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: Blood Trees of Yule

Honestly. I couldn't resist.

Blood Trees of Yule
Hit Die: 3
AC: 8 [11]  (hardness)
Attack: 1 branch (1d6), blood drain 1d6 hp
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Cold resistance, fire vulnerability, Grab on natural 20 of 1d4 Con loss in blood
Move: 0 (see below)
Alignment: Chaotic
Number Encountered: 1d3 or 2d6
Challenge Level/XP: 4/120

The Winter Solstice, also known as Yuletide, is a time of rebirth amidst the surrounding chill of night, winter and death.   Witches of all traditions celebrate the return of the sun and rebirth of the Summer Lord who will reign until Midsummer.  People of all sorts stop and turn to each other and say "Well done. You made, half-way through the dark."

But not all Yuletide is celebrations. There are reminders that death still walks the lands.  Such are the Blood Trees of Yule.  Created by a powerful but evil and jealous witch these trees lure revelers to their death.  Once a creature, medium-sized or smaller is within a foot of these trees they will lash out with a branch to impale the unsuspecting victim. Impalement happens on a critical roll of a natural 20. Once so impaled they pull the victim into their branches where they are drained of all blood, 1d4 Con points per round.  The victim can be freed only on a successful Save modified by Strength.

These trees possess a rudimentary intelligence. They cannot move but they can bend and sway as much as 5 feet from their stationary position. The redder the tree the more evil and dangerous they are.

Encountering one such tree is usually the sign of some nearby corruption, the use of dark magics.  Encountering three or more is the sign malign witchcraft.  Encountering up to a dozen is a sign of the darkest, most evil form of witchcraft known.  The foulness of such trees is eclipsed only by the foulness of the witch that created them.

Speaking of blood.

This happened over the weekend:

I have not always been a fan of Lamentation of the Flame Princess, but James Raggi does do good work and I AM a fan of Elizabeth Chaipradikul.  She did the fantastic WITCH Fated Souls and the forward to my Green Witch book.
The book in questions above is She Bleeds.

James mentions that the warehouse in question could have destroyed copies they paid for, so he is looking into it now.  But the destruction of a book, any book, is anathema to me.

So show Liz your support. Pick up a copy of one of her books.  I can only imagine how this must feel to her.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Classes

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all!

Been sick as a dog the last week.  I was planning on getting some new material out to you all, but that didn't happen.  Day-job was also insane.

BUT I did find something that is filled with Holiday Cheer.

Over at the DMsGuild there is a collection of holiday-themed classes.
Now I have dealt with a very mixed bag at the DMsGuild. There is some good stuff, but also a lot of bad stuff too.  Plus most of it it seems has a lot of art ripped off of the net without regard to ownership and you all know I can't abide by that.

Those issues aside I opted to pick up The Season's Subclasses - Player Options for Winter Cheer by Levi Pressnell.

This is a fun product.
For a buck (or more) you get new class options for all the core D&D 5 classes.

Here are my favorites.
Barbarian: Dancing Lights - The power of the Aurora Borealis is at your finger-tips.  The is a seriously cool concept and one that should be ported over to other settings/games like Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

Bard: College of Caroling - with a bit of a tweak you can get a Mummers Dance out of this, and that would be a lot of fun.

Cleric: Domain of Cheer - Love this concept!

Druid: Circle of the Evergreen - I like this one too, not what I thought it would have been, but still really cool.  Remove it from it's Christmas origins and now you have Eco-Protective Druids.  Think Swamp-Thing with spells.

Monk: Way of the Sugar-plum Fairy is far more awesome than a PWYW product should have.  A monk tradition. Based on the Fae?  Ah..yeah! Sign me the heck up!

Paladin: Oath of Winter - "Winter is Coming". That's all you need to say.  Gotta get a blank sheet and get my Ned Stark on.

Rogue: Chimney Lurk - major props for the name alone.  This one is really cool too.

Sorcerer: Frozen Soul - If you get the desire to sing "Let it Go" while playing this character no one will laugh at you.  They can't because you froze them in a block of ice!  Maybe one of my most favorite ones here.

The Wizard, Warlock and Fighter options are also fun, but I liked the others the best.

It's Christmas, pay more than a buck for this. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Post Christmas

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it or whatever your holiday.
We had a great one here. Lots of gifts, family, food, and plenty of my aged Egg Nog.

Boxed Set Day
+James Spahn  over at Halfling's Luck came up with a great idea and one I hope catches on. Make December 26th, Boxed Set Day!

So I plan to celebrate this in the future EXACTLY like I have been doing it for the last two years.  Last year I gave my nephews on my wife's side of the family a D&D 5 boxed set.  This year I gave my sister's son a Pathfinder Beginner Box.  Well in truth he paid for half of it himself and I gave him some minis.

A photo posted by Jessica (@zigada75) on

Next year I'll get a D&D 5 box.  Or maybe a Castles & Crusades one.  But this will be my new tradition, getting someone a boxed set of some game.  Boxed set with dice.

This is a good thing.
How many of you got your start with a D&D boxed set on Christmas?  Too many to know for sure I know that.

Now what to buy and who to buy it for? I have a little less than a year to figure it out.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Krampus for your OSR/5e Games

It's Christmas eve so you know what you need?  More demons!

Here are a couple PWYW products for your Christmas games.

Have a great Christmas, Holiday, Yule and New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Gaming

It's been busy time this Christmas.  So far I have gotten a lot of gaming in.
We went to my in-laws to see my wife's sister and her kids and my kids brought out D&D.  I got hit with some allergies and could not run, but my oldest decided to run some games.  He got both of my nephews to play some D&D 5.  They had a great time.  So great in fact that I went out got them some dice, minis, a Starter Set and the Basic Rules.

We went back out to visit and Liam ended up running Hoard of the Dragon Queen.  Instead of Tiamat he used his own creation, Aži Dahāka.  It went fantastic.  Really fantastic.

Even their other cousin and her boyfriend joined in for a couple of sessions.

They had such great time that the brand new Xbox One went largely ignored.  Not to bad really.

So I got 4 new people into gaming this holiday.  How did you do?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Kids vs. Krampus

Had a great time this weekend.
We went out to see my in-laws on Saturday. My wife's sister was in and she also has two boys close to the same ages as my boys. We took out Dungeon! a game they really love and on the advice of my wife took out some D&D 5th edition, some minis and the Krampus adventure I was going to run for my kids.

Once out there I didn't want to get right into playing; long drive and I wanted to visit first. So my oldest took it upon himself to help them roll up new characters and he started running them through some quick and simple adventures.  He was hesitant at first, but soon really got into a groove DM'ing his first game.  He was having fun doing the voices and playing all the npcs and really coming up with a cool little adventure on the fly.  I was very, very pleased with him.  The kids enjoyed it because they played they played till almost 1:00am; about 12 hours straight!  So now I need to pick up a D&D5 starter kit for the other two boys so they can play at home.

On Sunday I ran the Krampus adventure, "Twas the Night Before Krampusnacht". I had been working on one for a little bit but something was not quite right about it.  So I was reading through some adventures for another campaign and I came across +Pete Spahn's Stealer of Children.  It did 90% of what I wanted to do I just made some tweaks. The Grombel was now Krampus, the dryad Merrit was now La Befena the Christmas Witch, I even used the Burgomeister Meisterburger and Grimsley from Santa Claus is Coming to Town (though here they were good) and the village became more like Whoville.  The kids discovered that Father Christmas was also captured by Krampus and if he is killed on the eve of Krampusnact the entire area will be plunged into endless winter.   They were able to defeat Krampus, thanks to a potion cooked up by La Befana.

The boys are already talking about when they will play next and my oldest is considering running the Rise of Tiamat adventure for them on Christmas eve when we seen them next.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyus Solstice, Happy Festivus and Happy Hanukkah everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gamer Christmas 2014

Soon the fat man in the red suit will come to you house, eat your cookies and maybe leave something behind.  I am not talking about your weird uncle, I mean Santa Claus!

So what RPG item are you all hoping to get this year?

I am somewhat at a loss myself.  I really got into the new D&D 5 system this year, so I am just hoping to get some gaming in.  But nothing really on my Christmas list.

I did pick up an early Christmas/late Halloween present for myself, the old WEG d6 DC Universe Game.

My family are all bigger fans of DC than Marvel so this should be fun to try out.  My youngest wants to play an Arrow-like character (not "Green Arrow" but something closer to the Stephen Amell version).  I am going to suggest something like a DC-TVU version of Connor Hawke.
My oldest want to play a Green or Blue Lantern.

This is my first big dip into d6.  I had Ghostbusters and the Xena game, but I am planning on doing a bit more with this.

I am still a HUGE fan of the Green Ronin's DC Adventures game, so I am going to use their Universe book along with it.

Hopefully I will have more to say in the New Year.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Christmas? Really Brannan?

I know I am neck deep into Halloween and Thanksgiving has not even happened yet, but I am thinking about Christmas.

Yeah. Christmas.

Every year I try to get something together to send to the troops overseas.

I am no where near as patriotic as I used to be when I was young, but these kids are fighting for us. Or at least they are fighting for something.   I want to let them know that we are not forgetting about them.

I want to get some bags of ready to go game kits.  So a set of rules (I am leaning towards Basic Fantasy), so character sheets, some dice and my Basic Witch book (because I can).

If I want to send these out for Christmas then I guess I need to start organizing and getting everything together to send.

Anyone else out there interested in something like this?  I am sure with some organization we could get some nice things sent out.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from The Other Side

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Other Side!!
Here are some of my favorite "modern" Christmas songs.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is...

It's the weekend before Christmas!
It is also the first (full) day of winter.  Traditionally my wife and I give each other gifts on this day.

What are you all hoping Santa (or Krampus) leaves under your tree this year?

I am hoping for an OD&D boxed set.

How about you?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cancer Fundraiser for RetroRoleplaying

I have long been of the frame of mind that gamers, in general, are some of best people when it comes to helping others.  Is it because our hobby is one of pure social interaction? Is it because we learn the value of helping each other out in the game very early one?  Not sure why, I can only say I have seen it work.

One only needs to look no further than the fundraisers at DriveThruRPG for various disasters or even the Bad Myrmidon fundraiser.  I have raised a little money myself for various charities.

So I wanted to let you know about another one that I think is worthy and not really getting the attention it deserves.

Randall over at RetroRoleplaying is raising some money to help treat his wife's cancer.
He is asking for donations, but he is giving away an absolute trove of treasures from the early days of gaming.  It's insane the stuff he is parting with, but I would do the exact same thing.

So please. Go to his site. Donate what you can. It's Christmas after all.
How about this.  Instead of that large coffee you get before work today or while doing your last minute Christmas shopping, you donate $5 to Randall's wife.  Make her life a little better, and hopefully a little longer. Not trying to sound overly maudlin here, but this community has given so much for lesser reasons (myself included and especially) that maybe this also something we should do.

If everyone that reads this blog here, via Facebook or even Twitter gave something, well that would be great.

Start here:

I can't promote this one enough.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The 12 Days of OSR-Xmas

Tenkar over at his Eponymous Tavern will begin his "Twelve Days of OSR Christmas" where he will be giving away a TON of great OSR products.  Included in the mix are a copy of the Witch and Eldritch Witchery.
That tomorrow is also Friday the 13th makes it doubly fun for me.

So please make sure you stop by and give it a look.  Hopefully you will win something cool.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Krampus, The Christmas Demon

Today (December 5) is the eve of Saint Nicholas Day. It is also the time when the pagan demon Krampus walks the earth in search of bad girls and boys.

I had done Krampus a few years back for Ghosts of Albion.  Though today I'd like give him a try is old-school/retro-clone stats.  As before I am taking a large number of liberties with this write up.  So please keep that in mind.

Krampus, The Christmas Demon
Long ago, long before children would know of the kindness of St. Nicholas there was a demon that tormented the long Alpine winter nights.  This demon, know locally as Krampus (from the word meaning Claw) would torment children and punish wrongdoers. Sometimes Krampus would even carry off a child that had been particularly wicked.
The trouble was that Krampus was more or less in a pact with the parents of the region that had used him as a means of controlling unruly children. Over the decades since their un-witting pact Krampus had grown in violence and deceit.
That is till the coming of St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas was able to confront the demon and was well on his way to dispatching the fiend (Santa was a bit more of a fighter in those days) when the issue of the pact was brought up.  The pact made with the demon was strong, and even though not one adult in area had made it an overt one, built up over the centuries with a little tale here, a story there, made it as strong as any pact sealed with a soul.  St. Nicholas then employed Krampus as a personal assistant, he could still torment bad children, but now under the eye of St. Nick himself.  Krampus also got more children as he traveled with St. Nick. Since St. Nicholas was know as Sinterklass in some areas and Father Chritmas in  others, Krampus also received more names such as "Belsnickel" or even "Black Pete".
Sometimes it is even said that his travels with St. Nicholas has tempered his evil.
Or maybe he is just bidding his time.

Armor Class:  2 [17] (hide)
Hit Dice: 6d8+5* (32 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 claws /  bite / birch switches
Damage: 1d4+2 (x2) / 1d6  (bite) / 1 (birch switch)
Special: Acute Senses (taste, sight, smell), Cause Fear (Cha: 2), Unique Kill
Movement: 60’
No. Appearing: 1 (rumored to be unique)
Saves As: Fighter 6
Morale: 12
Treasure: None, Krampus carries a bundle of birch switches to hit bad children with
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
XP: 500

Krampus will only attack bad children and typically only with a single whack with a birch switch.  If attacked though Krampus reveals that he is in fact a demon with claws and bite.

Krampus appears as a particularly nasty looking satyr or demon.  He is covered in fur, but is sometimes wearing a coat covered in soot.  He has one cloven hoof and one animal-like paw for feet.  His legs are like that of a goat and his upper body is humanish.  His hands are human, but end in terrible claws. His face is a twisted snarl of evil, with goat like eyes and a mouth full of sharp teeth.  His long tongue lolls out of his mouth and constantly drips saliva.  Despite this he can still speak eloquently.  He uses his tongue to lick a person, typically their face, to know if they are naughty or nice.  His head supports to long curved horns.  He smells of burnt coal. He is sometimes seen carrying an old rusted chain. It is not clear if the chain is for himself or for the children he terrorizes. He also carries a satchel of switches that he uses to beat children with.
His overall appearance is menacing and demonic. He cowers though from any stern word from St. Nicholas.
Krampus does have a weakness.  If given a piece of fruit, typically an apple or an orange, by a child, he will sit down to eat the gift, sharing it with whomever is there and engage is polite conversation.  Krampus will then leave the area, harming no one.

Krampus may be a demon, but he is fair and impartial. "Good" children have nothing to fear from him, "Bad" children are only punished in relationship to the severity of their "naughtiness".  Of course Krampus will attempt to use any trick he can to get someone onto his naughty list. For truly evil children he carries a sack to put them in. He will either drown them or take them off to Hell.
It is suspected though that he in fact feeds on the children's fear and the tales told by the parents.

Krampus is most often seen during the first two weeks of December.  All other times he is bound to his cave somewhere in the Alps.  There is no known way to dispatch of Krampus permanently.

Like many of the supernatural creatures associated with Christmas, as long as one child believes then he will return next year. He can be killed but will return next year.

Krampus is kinda like the Grinch really.  Except a Grinch that eats bad children.
Though given how Cindy Lou Who turned out the Grinch might reconsider.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zatannurday: Merry Christmas

More Christmas messages from the Other Side's Magician in Residence, Zatanna Zatara!

Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas,  and Happy New Year.

Monday, July 23, 2012

DriveThruRPG Christmas in July

I know it has been 100+ degree out, but DriveThruRPG is thinking cool winter thoughts.
They are having their annual Christmas in July sale again.  The sale begins today (at 9:00am Central) and continues for a week!

They are featuring 25% off hundreds of titles (I found nearly 11,500).

This might be your best chance to get that game you want before GenCon.

Friday, January 6, 2012

La Befana The Christmas Witch

La Befana at Disney World
Every year I try to remember to say something about La Befana, the Italian Christmas witch.
This year I remembered, but had set the date wrong.  Oh well.

You can read more about her here,

The most common tale is she directed the Three Wise Men to the new baby Jesus, but declined to go with them till her housework was done.

Like St. Nick/Santa, she gives out gifts to Children on Epiphany Eve.  Befana, like many other Christianized myths has her origin in an older story of the Goddess Strenua.  So she is seen a protector figure in myth.

Given that she is such a complex character it would be difficult to do her justice in a write-up.

But I can talk about her broom.
Her Broom seems to be perfect as a powerful witch artifact that you can drop into your games.

The following is released as Open per the OGL.

La Befana’s Broom
La Befana was a great and powerful witch. Legend says that she once helped three great and powerful Magic-Users find their way when they were lost, search for a young king. They had asked La Befana to go with them, but she declined telling them she had cleaning to do. In reality she did not want to go because she had lost her own baby and seeing this new one would have made her sad.
 The Magic-Users on their return brought La Befana a gift, a magical broom that would clean her home for her if she uttered the proper word. It would also render her invisible and allow her to enter the home of anyone unnoticed as long as her intentions were good and pure. La Befana used this magic to go into people’s homes on the eve of the Magic-Users' return to her each year to clean the homes of the good people in her village and leave a small present, usually a bit of candy for the good children or a bit coal for the bad ones.
She has let the broom go now so it may continue to do good in the world where she can’t go.
In the hands of a Good witch this broom will manifest the following powers:

  • Act as a Broom of Flying 
  • Act as a Broom of Protection, Threshold 
  • When held it will render the witch Invisible 
  • When used to knock on a door the door will open as if a Knock spell was cast on it. Inhabitants will not be able to hear the knock.

Neutral witches can also use these powers, but only if their intent is pure and good. If they attempt to do anything that is considered harmful or against those pure intentions then the Broom treats them as if they were Evil.
Evil witches cannot use the Broom at all. Once they touch it it becomes a Broom of Animated Attack. The broom will attack for 1 round (it gets the initiative due to surprise) then it disappears.
Typically the Broom will remain with any given witch only for one year then it will disappear to find another worthy witch.

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