The game takes place during a winter celebration, in this case the Winter Frostival. The game is placed in a snowy village in the foothills during winter, in this case a stone walled city on a hill called Wintersfall.
First a note is discovered on a bulletin board in town which asks adventurers to go to the barracks since the town needs help. On the way to the barracks there's a large decorated pine tree with one important missing element, the star is nowhere to be seen. The clerk at the barracks explains that the star has been stolen and must be retrieved to return light and joy to the Winter Frostival, and that the guards are too busy to check on a ransom note written by the "S.N.O.-C.O.N.E." Investigating the loss of the star and the ransom note leads to a cave north of Wintersfall in the foothills, and the discovery that "C.O.N.E." stands for "Cult Of Naughty Elves".
The cave is set up in such a manner that a combination of traps and monsters ensures that anyone who enters the cave doesn't leave before the adventure is concluded. At the heart of the cave is a large bright celebration that is otherworldly. Instead of people celebrating, pine trees and candy canes play music and dance around a large cauldron of hot chocolate and a bright star placed upon the top of a large stationary pine tree. The trees themselves aren't hostile, but the candy canes will defend their celebration from any intruders and the cauldron is trapped so that it tips over and pours scolding chocolate on anyone who approaches the pine tree with the star.
Once all of this is dealt with, "S.N.O.-C.O.N.E." appears, an orc called "Super Naughty Orc - Cult Of Naughty Elves" who explains that people didn't like him and pointed fingers at him laughing. He's pretty much the Grinch since he stole the star so that the people of Wintersfall couldn't enjoy Winter Frostival, just as he wasn't allowed to participate in the festivities.
Once the star is returned to town, gifts are placed under the tree in Wintersfall to those who returned the star, gifts of magical staves in the form of giant candy canes and magical boots of green and red like those that Santa's elves wear.
Two unforeseen twists happened during the game. First of all, discovering that the star was magical led to a desire to keep the star instead of returning it to Wintersfall, or maybe giving it to someone else instead. To avoid this issue, NPC adventurers were introduced to ensure that the star was returned to Wintersfall.
Another twist was that instead of fighting "S.N.O.-C.O.N.E.", a charm spell enabled peaceful talks and conversion of the evil Grinch like orc to a creature that actually saved the Winter Frostival by being the one who returned the star, which meant that Wintersfall, who was unaware that Sno-Cone was the orc, hailed the final boss as the hero of the story, giving it a happy ending.
- Monster, trap, and skill difficulties can be modified to suit various levels.
- Random encounters may occur on the trip to the cave in the foothills.
- More active monsters and traps can be placed as safeguards in the cave, creating additional encounters and draining resources.
- The living pine trees may also act as guards, and combined with the animated candy canes and the trapped cauldron, this encounter may prove deadly.
- Expanding on Sno-Cone may create a memorable recurring villain or ally.
- An exciting exit from a crumbling cave with animate monsters and elementals combined with traps could create a good climax.
I personally enjoyed a Christmas themed adventure here in December and the happy tone of the game made my day joyous. There were points where I was afraid, such as when we went into the cave without knowing what we would encounter, or when we encountered traps or animated candy canes that tried to crush us. All of it could have turned bloody very fast. I liked that the game was serious and stuck to the rules with a logical explanation on why it was Christmas themed without forcing it.
If you want a copy of the adventure, leave a comment and we'll find a way to send you a copy of this Christmas themed adventure.