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For Inventive GMs There Are No Bad Christmas Gifts

Christmas Day! It is finally here! And with it we embrace good tidings for all, holiday cheer, and loot. If you were a PC, then Christmas Day is when you get that +3 sword of Ass Kickery that you have been acting Lawful Good for all year long.

But much like the occasional cursed item appears in a module, so too does the occasional stinker present show up in the grand adventure of life. Yet clever gamers know how to use both to their advantage. Read on, and learn how to turn those dud gifts into the highlight of your next game session!

Socks – Nothing says “I really didn’t give a shit.” like the gift of cotton footwear does. Yet you can take this simple clothing item and turn it into the greatest threat the PCs have ever faced. Sew button eyes on one sock, slide it over your hand, and use it as a puppet. Refer to it as the “Sea Serpent of Argyle” and then attack the player’s miniatures with it.

Fruitcake – For dramatic tension have the PCs encounter a pagan mystic who will offer them a clue as to what they should do next, but only if they can pass a test of bravery. Then slide a plate with a slice of fruitcake in front of the players and say “Take a bite. I dare you.”

Ties – That tie you got from Aunt Petunia? Cut sections out of it, and wrap them tunic-like around your miniatures. You now have an army of paisley golems. Their weakness is ridicule, so a successful Bluff or Intimidate check will stun them for a bit. Cut larger sections out to use as graphic templates for Prismatic Spray, etc.

Snow Globes – Frosty’s back! And he’s got a Globe of Invulnerability! And he’s PISSED!

Sweaters – Ever receive a hideous concoction of knitting and lack of taste in a size too big or too small? You wouldn’t be caught dead in it yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t force someone else to wear it for your own twisted amusement! Have one of your players find the rare and powerful “Armor of the Sheep’s Wool!”. The PC will receive huge defensive bonuses in game, but only if the player wears the sweater while the armor is being used. Make sure to take pictures. <Insert evil GM’s laugh here.>

Got any ideas of your own on how to turn an awful gift into an awesome game prop/tool? Leave your comments below and help make this the best Christmas for gamers ever!

(Note: Special thanks to fellow gnome Kurt Schneider for his help with this post. He apparently has received many ugly ties and snow globes for Christmas.)

9 Comments (Open | Close)

9 Comments To "For Inventive GMs There Are No Bad Christmas Gifts"

#1 Comment By GeeksDreamGirl On December 25, 2008 @ 11:41 am

I’m a teacher, so I get lots of random useless gifts. This year’s favorite is a little “ceramic” (aka shiny plastic) christmas house. Now that I think about it, it’s about the right scale to use in D&D…. maybe it can be the house of the evil christmas witch.

I’ll put the ugly penguin snowglobe I got outside the house and make that sound that the air generator for those annoying blow-up decorations makes.

Perfect! The gnomes save the day!

#2 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On December 25, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

GDG: My wife paints ceramic Christmas houses — she has a whole village — and yes, they are perfect for 25 mm scale. Which is exactly why I have had my hands slapped for “borrowing” them on occasion.

She painted a whole Halloween village, once, which I do get to use — if I’m an especially a good boy. Conversely, she populates the village with the Reaper figs I’ve painted.

#3 Comment By GeeksDreamGirl On December 25, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

@ Troy – I’m hoping it’s the Halloween village for the Reaper figs… cuz that would be one crazy Christmas village! 😉

#4 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On December 25, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

I try to sneak an orc or troll fig into the Christmas village from time to time, just to see if she’s paying attention. It rarely escapes her notice.

But yes, the Reaper figs go with the Halloween village.

#5 Comment By Patrick Benson On December 25, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

I’m big fan of cardstock models myself for gaming, and I am now tempted to mod some with icicles and holly to run a “The Night the Reindeer Bled” session like from the beginning of the movie Scrooged.

Just imagine Santa kicking open the door with a sack of toys on his back and a Gatlin bolt gun in his hand. You don’t want to be on that guy’s naughty list…

#6 Comment By wampuscat43 On December 26, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

The ulgurstasta (sp) from the arena battle in Age of Worms:


(Tyrannosaur fig wrapped in an ugly green sock)

#7 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On December 27, 2008 @ 5:19 am

Wampuscat43: You know what, as an Age ofWorms fan, I think that is actually THE BEST ulgurstastasta (I don’t know the spelling either) I’ve ever seen. Good for you.

I also see you also use the trick of the empty dice caddy to show a character that is flying.

#8 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On December 30, 2008 @ 12:40 am


Nice, but I always use one of those “pizza box top holder upper thingies”.

That, and I tend to crack my dice caddies when I first open them…

#9 Comment By Patrick Benson On December 30, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

Dice Caddy = Gelatinous Cube