A few years ago, I went looking for a Yule/Holiday/Christmas one-shot adventures for D&D 5th edition. I wasn’t surprised to see there wasn’t a ton of content out there, but each year more and more is getting created. Also, there is plenty of good stuff there for previous editions. Here is the list of what I was able to find for various editions of D&D and other tabletop RPGs. If an adventure you love to run (or even wrote yourself) isn’t on this list, let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to this list.
D&D 5th Edition
- How Orcus Stole Christmas (5e)
It begins at a happy village’s beloved holiday feast. The joy-filled townsfolk spotted a scary stranger arriving in his unusual sleigh. With a deep belly laugh the pillaging began… Can your party save the children from the mysterious visitor’s clutches by Christmas?
- Armies of the Christmas War
Everyone knows the story of Santa Claus, but before he could become the jolly gift-giver we know and love, Frank L. Baum (author of the Oz series) wrote a tale of a fantastic battle between Good and Evil, waged between the Immortals and the Awgwas. It’s ‘Pay What You Want’ and the proceeds go to RCRF.
- D&D 5e Holiday Adventure – The Darkest Night – Tribality.com
The Darkest Night is our own Christmas-themed adventure where players battle an ancient evil (Krampus) to save Krinklefest. This adventure can be used as an outline for any game system, but the specific details are for four 1st-level adventurers using the rules of the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
- Bag of Krampus – Ultanya
Legend holds that Krampus captures terribly naughty children in his bag and then takes them to his lair.
- Yule Cat & Season of the Witch Adventure – Ultanya
According to legend, the Yule Cat will eat anyone who was not gifted new clothing to wear during the holidays.
- The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas tale of magic, mystery, and sugar plums for 5th level. The adventure is based on an 1816 German story by E.T.A Hoffman.
- Cantrips of Festivus
“These twelve Cantrips of Festivus may be cast by any magic-user during the holiday season. Even non-magic users may employ these spells if they believe with all their heart in the magic of the holidays. (Of course, always consult your DM before game time!)”
- Solstice Shenanigans: A Wintry One Shot
A 3-4 hour adventure for 5th-10th level characters. The Winter Games are in full swing on the demiplane controlled by the powerful archfey lord of winter, Jack Frost. Games and challenges await the players, along with a baker’s terrible mistake and a bout of mysteriously disappearing trees!
- Not a Creature was Stirring
Helpful and fun for beginners, this Christmas-themed adventure was created for new DMs and new players.
- Midwinter Maleficence
The adventurers are called to the village of Pinecrest where all but one of the children has gone missing. Can they find the lost babes in the wood before the children meet their grisly fate? A highly social adventure to run with characters of levels 1-4. Combat is balanced for a party of 5 level 3 characters.
- Winter is Coming – New!
Santa has been replaced by a charming vampire, Hans Von Gruber, who’s using the letters to Santa as invitations into their homes to enthrall all the realm’s children. To the rescue are 6 PCs based on my favorite Christmas characters: Cindy Loo-Who the tiny Sorcerer, The Grinch- a beastmaster Ranger and his dog Max, Yukon Cornelius the Bardbarian, Rudoph the Tiefling with antler weapons, Hermey the elven rogue dentist, and of course, the Bumble who’s just an actual Yeti.
- Slay Ride – Nerd Soured – New!
Players hunt for the Blood Wizard in this pun-filled holiday adventure that will creep up on your players. It will be too late to escape the table when they realize what is happening, they’re playing a holiday adventure.
- The Nightmare Before Wintermas
An Evil/Neutral oneshot for a Level 5 party of five
A morally-suspect toy and tobacco company is sick of Santa undercutting them with his charitable operation, they want you to infiltrate his workshop and deal with the problem for good
- Putting a Krampus in the Holiday
Putting a Krampus in the Holiday is a tongue in cheek adventure for a group of low level PCs. This scenario takes place during the Filbar holiday of “Giftus” a ten-day celebration that culminates in a gift exchange. This year’s holiday is threatened when a jolly Gnome finds a few items that turn a happy holiday into a potential nightmare! A short little adventure that can be played after your own holiday celebration!
- Krampus Stats (CR3) – New!
- Christmas Themed Magic Items – ENWorld Forum
- Santa Claus Monster Stats – World Builder Blog
- More Christmas Monsters – World Builder Blog
- Krampus Christmas Carnival – Kobold Press delivers a 3 part adventure in blog post format. Part 1 is for Pathfinder.
D&D 3rd Edition
- Santa Claus Monster Stats (PDF) – Wizards of the Coast
D&D 4th Edition
- A Christmas Carol (PDF) – 2nd Level adventure for 2 PCs
- The Hope Day Massacre
- Twas the Wight Before XMAS – Encounter Level 15
- Christmas Special – Sarah Darkmagic (PDF) – A great collection of encounters and monsters including the Grinch and Jack Frost.
- The Longest Night (Dragon 370) – New!
11th Level with Red Dragon
- Spirit of the Season – Evil Hat Productions and Atomic Sock Monkey Press
Spirit of the Season is a holiday treat featuring characters and new rules compatible with both Spirit of the Century and Truth & Justice. Spirit of the Season is your ticket to two-fisted holiday pulp adventure!
Miscellaneous Systems / System Neutral
- Krangle’s Workshop (PDF) – A seasonal encounter for five 10th-level adventurers
- Penny Arcade – Christmas Eve D&D – Article by Gabe that outlines a Christmas Eve game in detail
- Krampus Christmas Carnival – Kobold Press delivers a 3 part adventure in blog post format. Part 3 is for AGE.
- Sinister Soltice (PDF) – Holiday-themed adventure for Dungeon World
- Dragonlance – Yule Spirits – Dragonlance Nexus
While I don’t think Santa is really Krynn appropriate, I see no reason why there wouldn’t be some sort of Yule spirit or folklore figure on Krynn. The idea of mid-winter gift-giving occurs in many cultures, and hospitality towards guests is a similar common strain in culture.
- Three Sinister Santas for Your Holiday Game – Gnome Stew
- 4 Christmas Themed Adventure Plots – 6d6Fireball
- Adventures in Bayhaven – Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Free PDF) – Hero Kids
- The Christmas Wars (PDF) – Critter System
- The Cult of Christmas (PDF) – The Cult of Christmas is a tongue-in-cheek mission for the Corporation RPG.
- Christmas in Kingsport – Five Tales for a Not-So-Silent Night for Call of Cthulhu
Other Ideas & Resources
- Penny Arcade – Vault of Winter Comic
- Map: The Christmas Cabin – New!
A cool and very Ambient cabin In the snow. The Map has 4 rooms, A bedroom, a luxurious yet rustic Living room, a nice kitchen and a nice place for the feast to take place ! A decorated Pine in a corner with gifts on the floor lets you set a special holiday in your best fantasy game. The Lighting gives mood to the scene where you and your player will have the best of conversation!
- Dark Wizard Santa
Josh Lee wrote a description for the illustration I used on this post that paints Santa as the Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG) for an adventure:
“Once a year, every year, the hobelves swear themselves and their collective energies to the dark wizard Santa in the frozen forest. From the many clans throughout the frozen north Santa gathers this energy to perform his dark magicks around the globe.”
- Celebrating Christmas with 13 Trolls
The Icelandic Christmas period is an intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, but unlike most countries that have a single Father Christmas / Santa Claus character, Icelandic children are fortunate enough to be visited by 13 Yule Lads.
If you have anything you’ve created or found that you’d like to see included please comment below and it will show below once I approve (comments with links require approval).
Image Credit: Josh Lee – http://evil-santa.deviantart.com/art/Jolly-Wizard-169298145