The most excellent OSR RPG blog Swords & Stitchery has a creepy Lovecraftian creature for us – the Red Variuri, or False Santa, a greedy murderous lich that is sometimes summoned by evil cults to guard treasure or oversee evil rituals.  Doesn’t that just fill your heart with holiday cheer?

You can find the Red Variuri at Swords & Stitchery.

gingerbreadgolemGet on thgingerbreadgolemswarmose +5 Oven Mitts of Heat Resistance, because this one is coming to you fresh from the oven!

First up are two offerings of warm, sweet Pathfinder lethality from Christina Stiles: The Gingerbread Golem and Gingerbread Golem Swarm!

Both are single-page monsters for your Pathfinder game (and would be especially handy for those running a Shrek-themed campaign!), and both are free!

(Click images for links to their respective pages on RPGNow.)

Next, from Stan!, comes Gingerbread Kaiju, gingerbreadkaijua board game that uses actual cookies and candy as figures and tokens, giving players the satisfaction of literally devouring their opponents.  Gingerbread Kaiju is only $3.99 on DriveThruRPG!

I think that’s enough sweets for you today. I don’t want you spoiling your dinner. And remember to brush your teeth!

Martian HideThe classic Christmas film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was introduced to many of us through its appearance on Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and now you can bring the bungling Martians to your Pathfinder game, thanks to Asparagus Jumpsuit!

From the introduction by Berin Kinsman:

“I am an unrepentant fan of the 1964 film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. It know that it’s goofy, made on a ridiculously low budget, and has plot holes you could fly a team of reindeer through. I don’t care. It’s just fun. The idea that Martians would kidnap Santa Claus to help their children, because their own technological advancements have made them distant and cold, is sweet and touching. With a few notable exceptions, they’ve used their technological progress to move away from being a mighty warrior race toward being a kinder, more compassionate people.”

Martian Hide is part of an excellent series from AJ that “reskins” or reimagines classic monsters in different roles and fresh approaches. Martian Hide is a freebie, and the others in the series are not only reasonably priced, but your purchase will help Berin and his wife with a very important life transition. If you’d like to know more, check it out at RPGNow!

Teratic Tome is a retro-styled monster manual compatible with OSRIC and other old-school fantasy role-playing games. The cover and interior have been designed to capture the look and feel of some of the classic AD&D hardcover books of the early to mid-80s – the fonts, organization, and colors are all there, and a dead tree copy of this tome would fit right in next to the original orange-spined core books.

The monsters within are truly monstrous, not just big and hairy, and could easily cover a shift to let one of Clive Barker’s Cenobites have a day off. There seems to be a strong theme of creatures that seek out specific victims – the Acronical, for example, is an insectile beast created by ancient priests to find and destroy those who have been unfaithful to their spouses, as well as any who have aided and abetted such activity. The Epexiant is a tentacled serpent who seeks out those who are so wracked with grief that they do not wish to carry on with their lives. (What it does when it finds one, I won’t go into.) And these are not even entries from the demon or devil sections!

These are not monsters for a cheerful, fairy-taleish dungeon crawl. The dragons feature a list of horrific events that occur to herald their approach – unnatural weather, animal slaughter, and much worse. The halflings keep hell hounds as pets, and torture their captives for entertainment. If you’ve been looking for a bestiary to flesh out a Lovecraftian mythos styled fantasy campaign, I think you need look no further.

The artwork is superb, and other than a few typos and a section where some paragraphs were repeated, the layout and content is excellent. It’s difficult to read most of the entries without getting ideas about how to work them into a game, even as you’re shuddering at the thought. And that’s really where Teratic Tome shines – the attention to the details and motivations of the creatures really brings them off of the page.

As a side note – there’s an interesting twist on the way treasure is handled that would be worth using in most of your OSR games, even if you don’t get a lot of use out of the monsters.

Because I review a lot of RPG products with young people in mind, I feel obligated to say that these are NOT monsters to put into a campaign that you’re going to run for your kids. Please don’t. Save these for the grownups. And only the grownups with strong stomachs. Please.

My two gripes: The beautiful retro-styled cover isn’t a part of the PDF, and I think reading the monster entries before bed every night for the last few days may have given me nightmares. And some plot ideas. Okay, make that one gripe. (EDIT: Rafael informs me that the cover is now part of the PDF, so I am out of gripes.)

Check out Teratic Tome at DriveThruRPG

The family and I are leaving in a few hours to visit with friends over New Year’s Eve and Day, but I still have a few Christmas goodies to share with you – so I guess I’ll have to cram them all into one final post.

First up is Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide from Jon Brazer Enterprises. This is a short bestiary of very silly Pathfinder compatible holiday themed monsters. You get the Aberrant Fruitcake, Clockwork Nutcracker, Gingerbread Golem, Eggnog Pudding, Dreidel Swarm, and four others in this collection.

As silly as they are, each entry is given a bit of background info that is well written, and will make it a bit easier for you to find a place for these creatures in your campaign. Just be sure to expect some eye-rolling from your players once they figure out what they’re fighting next. Get your copy at RPGNow.

 

 

Next is another freebie from Spectrum Games – this time in the superhero vein. Christmas Comes But Once A Year is a mini-supplement for the Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul RPG, detailing Holly Daye, a supervillain who wants to take Christmas into her own hands. Driven by her superpower – a radar ability that can tell her who is naughty and who is nice – Holly has been known to steal presents and replace them with coal, destroy Christmas displays, and has a distinct hatred for anyone trying to impersonate the One True Santa!

This mini-supplement is mostly character lore, so it would be very easy to convert Holly to any superhero RPG that you prefer. Get your free copy at RPGNow.

 

 

 

 

Finally, there’s Winter’s Majesty, a collection of evocative background music for your winter-themed RPGs. The music here is clear and shining, hopeful and spooky, all at once. Most of the material is original, with two exceptions – “Scarborough Fair” and “We Three Kings,” and the majority of the music is instrumental, making it a good fit for non-obtrusive background music. (The DTRPG copy protection appears after a delay at the end of every track, so you may want to have a hand on the “Next” button to prevent it from breaking the mood).

Get your copy of Winter’s Majesty at RPGNow.

And that does it for this year’s 1d12 Days of Christmas! I hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday season, and I wish us all a prosperous and adventure-filled 2013!

He knows if you've been naughty.

Christmas and RPGs always seemed to have a connection to me, ever since I asked for the World of Greyhawk set back in 1982 and actually found it under the tree that year (and made a tradition for a few years after that of asking for at least one D&D book from my family, and chuckling as they share the tale of what they had to go through to get it).

So with that in mind, I bring you 1d12 Days of Christmas – a random amount of Christmas-themed Quixotist posts. Who knows how many you’ll get, or when they’ll happen?

For the first one this year, I bring you Krampus! If you haven’t heard of him yet, I’m pretty sure you will – in Alpine countries, Krampus is a demonic creature who accompanies St. Nicholas on his night journey, punishing the naughty children by giving them switches (or even hitting them with them), and sometimes even capturing some of the very naughty ones in a little cage slung over his back.

Krampus entered my family’s Christmas mythology the moment we first learned about him, and now along with cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, we leave some meat for Krampus (though since raw meat is usually dangerous to leave laying around, we stick to beef jerky).

Of course, just the idea of a monster connected to Christmas appeals greatly to gamer-type people like ourselves. as you would expect, lots of roleplayers have incorporated Krampus into their games in one way or another. Recently, I had the opportunity to do an illustration of Krampus for Berin Kinsman’s blog – so if you play Pathfinder or D&D 3.5, you can now add Krampus to your own personal Monster Manual. Enjoy!

If you’d like to learn more about Krampus, visit his Wikipedia page and the wonderful krampus.com.

And there’s your first 1d12 Day of Christmas. When will your next encounter happen? Only the DM knows…