D&D General Do you incorporate holiday or festive themes into your games?


With the holiday season around the corner, I wanted to stir up a discussion about integrating holiday themes into our RPG campaigns. I recently designed an adventure titled "Thanksgiving Turmoil: The ROC Hunt" where, instead of the usual turkey, players hunt giant ROCs! It got me thinking about how we can creatively adapt holiday themes in our games.

Have you ever incorporated a holiday or festive theme into your RPG sessions? How did you twist traditional elements to fit the fantasy world? 🍁🐉🎉

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As part of a Curse of Strahd campaign, I ran the old "RM2 - The Created" as a holiday 'one-ish shot', replacing Gepetto with Fritz von Weerg, the legendary toymaker Gadof Blinsky idolizes. Pidlwick 2 was traveling with the party as a companion, and when they defeated his evil twin brother Maligno, they went around with von Weerg delivering 'toys' to the good little boys and girls of Barovia, even having a bittersweet moment when they realized how short the list of deliveries was.


Not on purpose, but this year my son pointed out the adventure we ran right before Hallowe'en had the PCs infiltrating a nobleman's costume party, with everyone in fancy dress. I had not intended it that way, as I had written the adventure months prior and had no idea when our schedule would have that one fall into place.


The Soloist

Yes, a very long time ago I did a Christmas story. Devils had managed to steal Santa's bag with all the toys. PC had to go through a portal to Hell and bring it back. It was silly and didn't make much sense but players spent a fun evening killing off devils dressed as mock Santa Elves and Reindeers. The dungeon looked like a devil's face with two horns when fully mapped.

Generally speaking, my group tends to skip gaming night on any week with a major holiday. Between family commitments, travel, and other stuff, it's just a bad time to try and keep D&D going. For this reason, crossovers been real life holidays and gaming simply don't happen.

The exception to this is birthdays. We've occasionally done one-off side quests or other small in-universe encounters if someone's birthday falls on game night. Nothing major that would disrupt the main game, though.


Oh, there was also the time (in my previous campaign) that the PCs went through a temporary rift into the Gamma World setting. There they met up with a bunch of dwarven-type mutants who rode "herdbeasts" (mutated reindeer) and worshiped a deity called Zontok the Lawbringer. The dwarves were astonished at the appearance of the elf and half-elf PCs, believing them to be celestial beings sent by Zontok to test their faith. The PCs teamed up with them to take down a nest of hissers ("sonic yuan-ti," to the PCs) and rescue a dwarven tribesman and his jackalope mount, as the jackalope was the littermate of the one the gnome fighter PC rode into battle. It was only then the PCs were ready to take their leave of the Brotherhood of Zontok that the dwarves burst out into one of their holy songs:

"You'd better not pout, you'd better not cry, you'd better not shout, I'm telling you why: the Zontok Laws are coming to town...."

The players all got the connection, whereas the PCs had no idea the Brotherhood was basically worshiping Santa.



My second-to-last game was set during a Harvest Festival that got raided by drunken bandits. It had events such as a tug-of-war vs. an owl bear, magically-enhanced scarecrow building competition, and classic drinking competition (it was kind of half Thanksgiving, half Oktoberfest). And I often like to run an X-mas-themed game; last year the caravan bringing toys for the orphanage got hijacked, and the party had to go find and punish the naughty wrong-doers, and then distribute the toys.
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