The holiday season leaves everyone pressed for time. Between family engagements, merry parties, and yet another cookie exchange at work, what’s a Dungeon Master to do? The answer is simple—roll for it! So grab your favorite polyhedral Dice Envy caltrop and see where fate will take your adventurers.
Each wintry scenario below is crafted to fit into a D&D homebrewed campaign or become a stand-alone adventure with a bit of elbow grease. If you use any of the scenarios below, let us know how it went!
While out adventuring, the party discovers a beautiful lake. The recent rush of winter air has caused the water to freeze over into a perfectly smooth crystalline top. At the far end of the lake, the party spots a heard of deer frolicking on the ice. Anyone with a keen eye will observe a trail of tiny hoofprints curving away from the lake. A small, sad, bleating can be heard, along with the hushed whispers of a masculine voice speaking in elvish.
Following the trail, the party finds a soft grey reindeer fawn, laying down and clearly distraught. A wood elf druid who is kneeling in the snow, comforting the young doe. He introduces himself as Hadriel Autumnstrider, a caretaker and shepherd in these parts of the woods. The fawn, Snowball, is too small and sickly to play with her reindeer companions. Snowball looks to your party with pleading eyes, and Hadriel asks if you would be so kind as to play with her.
If you accept his proposition, Snowball bleats in delight and Hadriel shifts into a majestic reindeer form. You spend the rest of the day frolicking with Snowball and teaching her how to skate across the ice. Eventually, the rest of the herd will join you and Snowball lights up with joy.
A day of frolicking complete, the herd moves into the woods before nightfall and Hadrien invites you back to his cottage. As thanks, he offers the party safe lodging and food for the evening, as well as a sachet filled with berries and a tuft of soft fur. This minor magical item will allow a druid to wild shape into a reindeer. This transformation is a cosmetic upgrade to elk form.
Wandering into town after their latest adventure, the party is bombarded by fliers, town criers, and royal blue pennants. The pennants sport a crisp, white, runic sigil. A particularly loud Town Crier bundled up in furs exclaims, “Hear ye, Lords and Ladies! The Brawler’s Area annual Chills and Thrills Bash will take place in three days! Those seeking glory are to sign up at The Chilly Cap Tavern by sundown two morrows hence!”
Should the party chose to fight, they must register at the booker’s table in The Chilly Cap Tavern. A world-weary gnome known as Dreary Shiverfeet will register the party in exchange for 10 gold per fighter. All fighters will be going head-to-head with fearsome creatures from the Northlands. Survival is not guaranteed, but should the party win all 4 rounds they will net a neat sum of 250 gold and a cache of weapons and armor. Shiverfeet also warns that anyone caught using fire-based spells, weapons, or abilities will be disqualified.
Winterhold Area is located 3 miles outside of town and is a massive Colosseum crafted entirely from ice and magic. Pine garlands and magically lit sconces provide light and decoration. Between rounds, players are allowed to mingle with other fighters, bet on fights, and drink. There are 5 other teams, including a solo female goliath barbarian. Should the party survive 4 rounds, they must fight the barbarian in a tiebreaker round to claim all the glory.
It snowed last night! The party wakes up to the gleeful sound of children running up and down the streets outside the tavern walls. During breakfast, the Dwarven innkeeper is exceptionally jolly. He shares with the party this town’s annual tradition--on the first snowfall, the largest and steepest hill in the center of town is converted into an extreme sledding course. He rambles on sharing stories of glory and crashes past.
By late morning, the obstacle course is ready. Children of all ages take turns navigating the steep curves while dodging snow walls and large snowballs thrown by onlookers. Shopkeeps are manning pop-up stands, offering fresh gingerbread, warm cider, sledding charms, and winter attire. A particularly popular stand, Snowpuff’s, offers sweetened snow in a cookie cup.
Anyone brave enough to challenge the course may do for 1 copper. The player must use their dice to roll a series of successful perception and dexterity checks. Anyone lucky enough to complete the course unscathed is awarded a toy sleigh and a Snowpuff treat.
A local Lord has put out the call for adventurers: He is offering a large sack of riches and a seat at his Winterfest table in exchange for the most beautiful and ancient pine in the forest. Finding the tree is simple enough, but the party soon discovers the evergreen serves as a home for the local fauna and a pack of dryads.
In a silvery voice, the dryads warn that the Lord’s prize is a sleeping Treant. They offer the party a deal. In exchange for leaving the Treant’s grove in peace, the Dryads will enchant a smaller tree to take on the appearance of the gargantuan evergreen. The enchantment will only last two days but would grant the party plenty of time to claim their reward and flee town. If they accept the deal, the dryads will also gift the party with a small acorn tree, capable of producing 3 nutritious nuts daily.
Should the party refuse the dryad’s offer, the forest awakens. The party must conquer the Ancient Treant and a score of dryads. If the victor, the party lays claim to the Treant’s body now a bit ramshackle and dropping needles. Seeing the Treant’s corpse, the Lord will be mortified. He is convinced that the party has cursed him, and will turn the party away sans reward.
Brittany Lindstrom is a mixed media illustrator out of ye olde Boise, Idaho. Under the banner of Spice & Rose, Lindstrom is oftentimes left dreaming of deep dungeon dives while chained to her studio. On the rare occasion that she's let out, you can find her presenting panels on art and Artist Alley at conventions all around the Intermountain West. She has a deep love for playing randomized characters.