My first time as a Dungeon Master, I decided to do a Christmas special for my regularly established group to give our regular DM a well-deserved break.
This was last year.
I wanted it to be Christmas themed, with all the bells and whistles. I spent a bunch of money on miniatures, and Christmas decorations. I bought myself a ton of new dice. At the time, our established group was 3 players, 7 main characters, all around level 9. I took on a lot.
I decided to plot out my story using a PowerPoint. I even created my own color-theme so it was properly Christmas-ified (as in American culture Christmas, not religious Christmas).
This PowerPoint contains screenshots of digital media from Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons & Dragons manuals, along with some images taken from Google searches for private use. I do not own those images, but I am providing this PowerPoint as a free guide for new DMs who might be inspired, and for some amount of humorous value as a viewing glass into the naivete of my original campaign plan.
So, yeah, PowerPoint.
So, I went into my first time well-educated with a plethora of tools, several hours clocked of watching YouTube DMs give tips and advice, and quite a bit of enthusiasm.
Synopsis of my Christmas Special Plot:
The trickster god Olidammara shows up at the group’s favorite bar, disguised as an olive-skinned, brown-haired bard who looks to be about 15 years old. He plays his magical kantele and flirts with everyone in the room – dripping charisma. At the end of the night, he approaches the group, asking to speak with them in the previously non-existent back room of the bar. He informs them that he is an “old friend” of the barkeep (a person whom our characters were aware was secretly thousands of years old). He propositions the group of adventurers, introducing himself as “Ollie” and asking them to help him save his friends, whom he hasn’t heard from in awhile. They heartily agree, leave the room to begin packing for the trip, and find themselves instantly teleported, without warning, to “The North Pole”.
Little do they know that The North Pole, previously ruled by an amicable Santa Claus, is now ruled by an insane beholder disguised as Santa Claus. The previous Santa Claus’s wife, Marie, has been possessed by an evil sorceress. Together, Xanta and the possessed Marie are terrorizing the North Pole with chaos and evil.
The mission is to save Olidammara’s Chosen, a small group of bards, from the grasp of this evil beholder, Xanta. But, they must figure that out for themselves.
- Marie, an older human woman who plays the kantele and leads the group. She became possessed with the beholder, Xanta, disguised by a magical item as her husband, gave her the gift of a cursed kantele. When she isn’t possessed, she is a badass feminine figure, and a level 18 bard who is great with children, fun, and flirty: a true representative of a trickster god with her many pranks and mischievous antics.
- Ember, a tough-as-nails petite older female half-gnome/half-half-orc, who plays a full-sized bass. She is the sole escapee of the mass North Pole takeover, and hid away strategically while trying to find her wife and praying for Olidammara to send help. She is my favorite character. When the group arrives, she cheekily flirts with the orc barbarian, and insists on going along to rescue her wife, Sarai. Her magical full-sized acoustic bass is an entire foot taller than she is, and made of steel, but she carries it effortlessly due to her strength score of 20, (25 with an additional magic item). It is a battle bard weapon, containing a great sword, greataxe, and a whip within. Her orc blood is largely invisible in her physical appearance, but it lends itself in her strength, abilities, and temper. She is a badass, and I love her.
- Sarai, an older soft-spoken mischievous female gnome who is married to Ember, but in an open relationship, and plays the flute.
- Eddie, a young, somewhat naive and dumb male dwarf who plays the drums – very much so a drummer stereotype.
- D’rique, a very feminine female half-orc in her 20s who sings and probably plays some kind of percussion, but she never really became relevant because she was one of the first to die when Marie initially became possessed.
When they make it to Santa’s Village, they meet with Xanta, who explains away the suspicious oddities by sending them on a mission to the frost giants’ castle to save a group of dwarves that serve as their hunters, a group that includes Eddie. As it turns out, the giants are not the villains here (PLOT TWIST!), and the castle is ruled by two gay af frost giant queens. (I wanted to make sure there was plenty of gayness and a plethora of strong women in my story). The dwarves were rightfully being held prisoner because of their hugely flawed plan to kill one of the giants’ horses and bring it home for meat.
With this giant diversion in play, the group goes to save the dwarves while Xanta continues his evil deeds.
So, with all of my planning and tools and plot, surely I was ready to flawlessly embark on my first campaign as a dungeon master…
Read about how the actual gameplay went in my next post (which will be up Saturday)!
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