Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Elves

Throughout the multiverse, on countless worlds, there exists Christmas - or something very like it.  Spreading this cheer hither and yon are the Christmas Elves, who live to make merry, please children, and generally do Nice Things.  Although found in many realms, the Christmas Elves trace their origin to a timelocked, always-winter factory world invisibly orbiting the star Polaris.

Although most Christmas Elves are mere workers (0-level) who use the intrinsic magic of a Workshop to create toys, particularly talented elves can make toys anywhere - and it is these happy-go-lucky phenoms who tend to leave their workshop of birth and search for adventure...

"But don't you see?  The ridiculousness only fuels the paradox which is my power!"

THE CHRISTMAS ELF (a variant Elf for Labyrinth Lord)

HD, saves, and xp requirements as per usual race-as-class Elf; prime requisites are INT and CHA

The Christmas Elf does NOT get the usual Elf racial traits except for infravision.  Whether they count as elves for the purposes of activation (“can only be used by an elf”, “does double damage against elves”) is subject to DM interpretation. Christmas Elves are typically Lawful, but there have been a few rogue elves of Chaotic nature, chiefly occupied with ruining Christmas.

Instead they get this ability:
Naughty or Nice: A Christmas Elf may know alignment, as per the spell, once per day per level.

And this restriction:
Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: A Christmas Elf may only use their Toymaking ability if they are properly attired.  An elf outfit is the default (and a 1st-level Elf begins play with one for free), but anything appropriately Christmassy will do.  For example, the Elf may use his powers when wearing a three-piece suit, if that suit is red velvet and there’s a sprig of holly on the lapel.  Etc.  Armor may be made suitably Christmassy at an added cost.

In lieu of normal elfy spellcasting, the Christmas Elf gets the Toymaking ability.

Christmas Elves can produce magical toys from thin air (or a sack, or their pockets); they may do so spontaneously, as the situation demands, but can only create so many toys a day (see chart).  Although a spontaneous “spell”-caster, the Christmas elf is limited in that he must constantly be inventing new toys and cannot repeat himself; and some toys have obvious weaknesses which may be exploited or have unintended side-effects.  At the DM’s discretion, the Elf may also manifest “Christmas-themed” stuff such as a tree, colored lights, fruitcake etc in addition to summoning toys.  Or perhaps only during the winter or something.

All elf-made toys fall into two categories: basic toys, and constructs.


Toys are generally temporary manifestations which replicate the effect of a spell (marbles underfoot acts as a grease spell, etc).  The player is encouraged to be original and creative in these uses, and reskin spells with abandon; the DM is expected to penalize boring cosmetic repetitiveness (which would never be encouraged back at the workshop).  Christmas Elf PCs who visit the campaigns of multiple DMs (a la FLAILSNAILS) are on the honor system not to repeat themselves.  If the Christmas Elf cannot come up with something new, they may miss their chance to act that round.  

Toys may be somewhat anachronistic, so long as they are obviously toys (a beeping toy robot is fine; a useful tool or weapon masquerading as a toy may not be).  It is suggested that the Christmas Elf be limited to the spells his toys can mimic; uncommon and unique spells are the domain of a proper wizard, not a Christmas elf.  

A Christmas toy mimics the effects of a spell but is still subject to any weaknesses of the form in which it is summoned.  For example, calling forth some brightly-colored telescoping stilts to count as levitate sounds like a great idea - but your enemies can still attack the stilts themselves.

(Note - I don’t want to give too many examples; you can come up with your own easily; just think of toys you had as a kid and what use they might be in a dungeon.  Remember, you chose this class because you like to improvise...)

read languages - decoder ring; Child’s First Dictionary; Scrabble tiles
detect magic - Junior Detective Kit (with magnifying glass and deerstalker hat)
floating disc - frisbee flying disc
magic missile - playground ball; other sports equipment; lawn darts(!); beanbags
charm person - pretty pretty princess costume jewelry; superhero cape
hold portal - teddy bear who leans on the door; silly string to gum it up
light - plushie glow-worm; Lite Brite
shield - wall of Play-Doh or LEGO or wooden alphabet blocks; hula hoop
sleep - lullaby music-box; soap bubbles
ventriloquism - kazoo; rubber duck (squeezing it produces a voice elsewhere)


At third level, the Christmas Elf gains the ability to make more permanent toys, and invest them with a semblance of life.  He can create animated teddy-bears, dolls, or toy soldiers, or even build large (but still undersized) vehicles.  Such constructs last longer than basic toys, and have increased capabilities, but use up more Toymaking ability.  Constructs last til dawn; you may continue the existence of the construct the next day, but must re-spend the toymaking ‘slots’ to do so.  At the DM’s discretion, each time you build the same construct, it is the same creature with the same personality (ie every time you summon a huge toy soldier into combat, it’s Lieutenant Happy).

Two spell levels = 1 HD of creature or 1 special ability.  Reskin monsters as appropriate.
So to create Flippy the Back-Flipping Dog (stats as guard dog, 1 HD) or a Tin Soldier (1st-level fighter, or maybe “orc” would be easier) would cost a second-level spell.

Constructs may also be vehicles, such as a cart (minimum 2HD, more for bigger), boat (minimum 2HD, more for bigger), bicycle/unicycle/amusingly-small-tricycle (1HD), or even a brightly-painted (but still comically-small relative to size of the pilot) biplane (4HD).

Christmas Elves can combine spell levels as necessary (a 2nd-level spell and two 1st-level spells burned = 2HD of Construct).


The Christmas Elves believe that every world - throughout time and the various dimensions - deserves a Santa. No matter how dire the planet, how far-flung the pocket realm, Elves will attempt to gain a foothold there. To establish a proper colony, the Elf must gain personal power and become...a Santa.

Upon reaching 9th level, a Christmas Elf undergoes a significant physical transformation.  The abdominal organ which powers his elf-magic begins to swell, giving him a tubby appearance; and his hair goes grey, then white.  Some Christmas Elves begin to grow beards at this stage.  At this level of fame and accomplishment, the Christmas Elf has earned the title ‘Santa’, and is ready to construct his own Workshop, and will recruit one or more helper species appropriate to the area in which he settles.  This Workshop need not be located in the traditional tundra; for example, Santa Ming built his workshop on a tropical island and staffed it with festive-minded howler monkeys in Hawaiian shirts, while Santa Grox built his workshop in a seemingly-bottomless ravine on the vampire world of Proxima Sanguinus, and recruited android centaurs to be his workers (he also flies around in a sleigh pulled by flaming skulls, so he’s pretty obviously not an orthodox Santa). The point being, the trappings and cosmetics do not matter - it is the core of the Christmas message and culture which the Elves care about in the long run.

Apparently "Holly Jolly" means "Kinda Slutty" in Middle English.  Who knew?  That said, "Holly Jolly" might be a pretty good character name for this young lady.

1 comment:

  1. Presumably chaotic christmas elves turn into grinches at name level.