Holliday Adventure – Revenge of Krampus

A Christmas Themed, Family-Friendly D&D Adventure

krampus_dnd_character_sheet_artThis adventure is intended for 1 to 5 characters. The encounters are designed for 3rd to 5th level characters; however they can scale for up to 15th level characters.

This adventure relies heavily on exploration, role-playing, and problem-solving and has several opportunities for combat. This is a urban exploration quest with numerous random encounters are available in addition to combat, and role-playing opportunities.

This adventure can be played solo or in a group of up to 5 players. The BBEG’s stats have been provided with variables so he can be used at various tiers of play.

DM Notes

I have provided four maps (from Dyson Logos). For a one shot, I recommend only using the Darkling Town Pumpkin Farm map and the one or two levels of the Krampus’ Keep map. If you want the adventure to span multiple sessions, add more maps to explore.

In the Monster’s section below, there are links to lots of really good winter/Christmas themed creatures. I was inspired by the Nightmare Before Christmas for this one shot, hence the Jack Skellington and other Tim Burton themed creatures that are in the Pinterest board for this one shot.

The call for help in the Adventure Hook is a global call for help. If your party gets in too deep or you didn’t do a good job balancing an encounter and it looks like a TPK (total party kill) is about to happen, have another party of adventurers “stumble in” to help out. Don’t do this more than once as your players will come to expect it and they will throw caution to the wind.

Depending on the party size and character levels, you will need to scale the difficulty up or down. If you are playing with very young players, try using the 3 strikes method. See Kid Friendly D&D Adventures for more on this.

Darkling Town has many mysteries and it is filled with many colorful and downright sinister characters. Low level parties could spend a long time here unraveling its mysteries and leveling up.

Adventure Hook

The adventurers receive word from the Winter Elves; Jolly Nick has been kidnapped. Krampus and his imps have made away with him and a trove of magic items. Without Jolly Nick and his magic, winter will be long, dark and filled with winter demons. Children all over the land have already begun suffering horrible nightmares.

Having suffered a few disturbing dreams just last night, the party realizes that Jolly Nick’s disappearance could plunge the world into dark chaos.

BBEG's Plans

Krampus has hatched an evil plan. He has made an alliance between the demons of winter and the undead from Darkling Town. Their plan is to take over Christmas, bag Jolly Nick and claim winter all for themselves. Without Nick and his magic, winter will grow colder, darker and the forces of evil will spread through the long dark nights.

  1. Kidnap Jolly Nick
  2. Steal Jolly Nick’s magic bag, ring, staff, sword and armor.
  3. Use the magic bag to create weapons for his army of undead.
  4. Use the ring to teleport his evil undead soldiers all over the world.
  5. Use the magic staff to plunge the world in eternal night.
  6. Use the sword to cut hole in reality and let an army of nightmares loose on the world.

Interviewing the Survivors

Survivors of the raid tell tails of a hoard of undead skeletons and scarecrows with jack-o-lantern heads overrunning the keep and destroying everything in their paths. 

Survivor Provided Clues/Plot Points:

  • Krampus, it was 100% Krampus. No doubt about it.
  • The scarecrows mentioned something about being back to the pumpkin patch before dawn.
  • The skeletons were mostly armored and many had shields from a nearby kingdom.
  • Krampus can’t have traveled far with his army of undead because the scarecrows’ animation magic only works at night.
  • The attack came very late, pre-dawn hours.
  • Scouts tracked many of the undead and pumpkins south, but the trail stopped a few miles away where they found the remains of the army left behind by Krampus once the magic wore off.
  • Darkling Town is known for growing pumpkins. In fact they use magic to extend the growing season deep into the winter.
  • Skellersburg is the closest city known for using undead magic to animate an army of undead. 

Darkling Town

Darkling Town is know far and wide. Here are just a few things the characters may pick up about Darkling Town along the way.

  1. Darkling Town was built in a cave system with an underground river.
  2. Darkling Town has links to the Underdark. Drow and other Underdark races are not uncommon in Darkling Town.
  3. Nobody cares what you did before you got to Darkling Town. 
  4. Anyone can get anything in Darkling town if they have the money and the patience.
  5. You could spend a month in Darkling town and never eat pumpkin made the same way twice. 
  6. Dark magic hangs over this town like a thick smoke.
  7. The primary export of Darkling Town is pumpkins.
  8. The mayor of Darkling Town is called El Gran Gordo.
  9. There is a Pumpkin Festival in Darkling Town and people come from hundreds of miles around to attend.
  10. The Queen of the Winter Festival is crowned at the end of each Pumpkin Festival. 
  11. Sinister roomers about the fate of the Winter Queen.
  12. Nobody you meet has ever met a former Winter Queen.

Party Goals & Rewards

The plot of this one shot is simple and the party has a very short list of goals. There are many opportunities for side quests and distractions; so, be careful to not derail your one shot with a side quest.

  1. Track Krampus to his lair. I recommend the entrance be place at on the far side of the bridge in the south east corner of Darkling Town Pumpkin Farm map.
  2. Rescue Jolly Nick.
  3. Recover Jolly Nick’s magic items.
  4. Defeat Krampus before he can unleash an army of nightmares on the world.


The real complication of this one shot is keeping the players on track and not distracting them with too many side quests. Depending on how the one shot is progressing and if how much you want to draw the adventure out, here are a few distractions/complications.

  • OLDER MORE MATURE GROUPS: The Winter Queen, also called the Pumpkin Queen is due to be crowned at the end of the festival. Unbeknownst to the fair goers, the old Winter Queen is sacrificed at an alter just below the festivities where they are crowing the new Winter Queen. An evil witch is using the festival to remain forever young and transfers her soul into the new Winter Queen’s body. The ritual can be stopped by destroying the crown or preventing the new Winter Queen from receiving the crown in the coronation ceremony. The ceremony happens to coincide with Krampus’ plans to sacrifice Jolly Nick.
  • The livestock auction includes a group of Quaggoths younglings. Quaggoths, sometimes called deep bears, are a semi-intelligent, neutral-evil species of vaguely bear-like humanoid that inhabited the Underdark. Quaggoths feared nothing and are a warlike vicious race that roam the Underdark looking for prey.
  • The mayor of Darkling Town is actively working to keep adventurers from discovering Krampus’ lair. He would prefer to mislead them, but arresting them and selling them as slaves to the Drown is another option. (Prison break anyone?)
  • Drow at the local tavern can be overheard talking about the upcoming slave market. The are transporting a group of kids they purchased from a nearby orphanage and expect to get very well paid for the lot.
  • The pumpkin patches near Krampus’ lair are infested with Pumpkin Spiders and other baddies from the Pinterest board for this adventure.

The Final Battle

If you have done a good job of timing the adventure, the characters will arrive in Krampus’ lair shortly before mid-night on New Years’ Eve. Krampus will be preparing to sacrifice Jolly Nick as part of the ritual to cut open a rift to the nightmare realm.

Defending Krampus will be a personal guard of Scarecrows and Pumpkin Spiders. Depending on the level of the party, you may want to throw in a couple of bigger monsters.

Krampus has not been able to attune to any of Jolly Nick’s magic items; however, he has plenty of his own. Nick’s equipment can be found in Krampus’ personal lair (a lower lever of the Krampus’ Keep map).

Phase One of Battle:
Krampus is in the final stages of setting up the sacrifice of Jolly Nick. If the PC’s manage to overcome the guards in less than 3 combat rounds, he will call for reinforcements. If the PC’s manage to get to the alter, they will find Krampus is surrounded by a globe of invulnerability. It will last until the beginning of Phase Three or 1 minute, which ever comes first.

Phase Two:
Seeing that his minions are falling fast, Krampus yells, “You die when I say you die!” and up to half of the monsters will rise, each having only 1 hit point.

Phase Three:
Krampus stabs Nick with his magic sword and yells, “You fools! Nothing can stop me now!” Magical energy can be seen draining from Jolly Nick into his sword. Krampus’ globe of invulnerability runs out and he joins in direct combat. His first action action will be to kick over Jolly Nick’s sack and an army of pumpkin spiders (or more beefy monsters) will spill out (depending on how the party is doing on hit points and spell slots).

Phase Four:
When Krampus falls below 50% health, he will begin retreating, hiding behind his summoned Imps and other monsters. He will do one the following, if he is allowed to have a combat round without being attacked:

  1. Retrieve Nick’s sword.
    • This triggers Nick to start making death saves on Krampus’. Make it obvious to the players that this is happening, but keep the death saves secret to build suspense.
    • Death saves are a 1d20 with no bonuses 
    • 3 out of 5 determines the outcome 
    • 1-10 Fails (dying)
    • 11-20 Succeeds (stabilizes with 1hp)
  2. Grab Jolly Nick’s bag
  3. Use the sword to open a portal to the nightmare realm (one full round action with concentration). If he is hit before he can complete the ritual and step through, the portal closes.
  4.  Walk through the portal and it will close behind him. The party can hear his parting words, “See you again soon brother!”

Monsters & NPCs

The following were collected from Pinterest and I have provided links to the original source of the images/monsters whenever possible.

Magic Items

Jolly Nick's Ring of Teleportation

Crafted for Jolly Nick by a legendary wizard, "Jolly Nick's Ring of Teleportation" grants the wearer the ability to teleport accurately up 100 feet without the need to see the destination. The wearer may be returned to their point of origin in 1d6 rounds (in a round, each combatant gets one turn), but the decision to return must be declared before teleporting. The wearer may teleport one willing person or creature in the same fashion up 4 times per day. Targets willingly teleported by the ring do not return like the wearer can.

Attunement: The ring requires attunement by a Fae creature or a character with Fae ancestry.

Santa's Avenger Great Sword

Jolly Nick's Sword
(Legendary Defender Great Sword)

Jolly Nick's sword can cut a hole in the fabric of space allowing travel for up to 5 individuals person to any other plane of existence once per day.

The wielder gets +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic sword.

The first time you attack with the sword on each of your turns, you can transfer some or all of the sword’s bonus to your Armor Class, instead of using the bonus on any attacks that turn. For example, you could reduce the bonus to your attack and damage rolls to +1 and gain a +2 bonus to AC. The adjusted bonuses remain in effect until the start of your next turn, although you must hold the sword to gain a bonus to AC from it.

Proficiency with a greatsword allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with it.

Notes: Bonus: Magic, Damage, Combat, Warding, Heavy, Two-Handed

Attunement: The sword requires attunement by a Fae creature or a character with Fae ancestry.


Maps generously provided here by Dyson Logos. Check out his site for lots of great RPG maps. https://dysonlogos.blog/

Darkling Town North

Darkling Town South

Darkling Town Pumpkin Farm

Krampus' Keep

Getting Started

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