The party is called to the bedside of Jacob Bardley, an elderly bard who has fallen very ill.
He hands the party the Deck of Many Cards, each decorated in tinsel and sparkles and notes he left a stash of presents (and his will) in one of the halls for safe keeping, and needs the party to go find them.
The problem is, he can’t remember which hall and, similar to the deck of many things, the cards must be randomly drawn.
Once drawn, the party is instantly teleported to one of 12 halls (for the 12 days of Christmas of Course), determined by a d12 roll, where they must search for the presents before coming back through one specific door, or the blessing of a creature in that hall.
They have one hour to come back or be trapped forever (d12 table below).
|The Hall of the Space Hamsters
|An astral hall with galaxies in the distance, this hall is kept by a cadre of 2d4 Space Hamsters, who will be curious about your arrival. They will ask questions before attacking. They’re also wearing Santa hats that are too small.
|A hall containing 1d4 ghosts, 2d4 zombies, and 1 vampire, all dressed in festive outfits. As the party leaves (if any are alive) they’ll yell “booooooo” (@thejitterybeholder)
|Send us the cease and desist. This is a hall of bright white walls, with only one man at the end of the corridor named Mark. He will attempt to tell the party every plotline from the Hallmark Holiday movie lineup in excruciating detail. For each movie plot he gets to, the party must roll a WIS save, otherwise take 2d8 psychic damage.
|Snow Place Like Home Hall
|A circular hall, with instructions on how to build a snowman. All of the materials are in a room in the center of the hall, and the only way back is to complete the task. DMs can have their party members draw the snowman they expect to build based on the instructions you give. Bonus points to anyone that is closest to following the instructions. Nothing bad happens here. Probably. (@danielder131)
|Hall of Silence
|A hallways lined with 3d8 Animated Statues, which are only confrontational if the party makes too much noise. DC14 Stealth checks along the way determine if the statues attack or stay still.
|Oops, all Halls
|A hall with endless doors, in which only one is the correct gateway, and all others open to wintery monsters like the Coldlight Walker.
|Hall of the Goblin King
|This is the Hall where the presents (and Jacob’s will) are hidden. Read on below for more details.
|With A Grynnch
|A hall in the mountain home of Mr. Grynnch, a misunderstood Bugbear trying to get his life back on track.
|Hall of the Hag
|This enters the home of a hag that is obsessed with a not-so-charming NPC named Rude Alf, the Red-nosed. He’s a dwarf that starts his nights jovially enough, but after throwing back a generous amount of ale, he gets a little too brutally honest, earning him his “rude” moniker.
|Hey Everybody Have You Seen My Halls
|This hall puts the party on stage immediately at a large concert hall, where all races and creatures have gathered for a holiday concert. The party must perform their way through, earning points in each direction depending on how they’re doing (a la Guitar Hero).
|An empty hall except for a female bard on a stool playing a holiday tune on a small piano. She takes on the Siren stat block and holds the key to the party’s exit.
|Hall of Oats
|Extremely difficult terrain, this hall is filled to the waist with oats. The party must determine how to wade through the oats to find an exit.
Use the above strictly or replace some of them with your own!
Finally the party finds the hall of the Goblin king, where the goblin king himself is elated by the gifts he “received.” Behind his throne is a chest that contains the will of Jacob.
The party can:
- Fight the Goblin King, though this will trigger three waves of goblinoids to emerge, fighting the party as the Goblin King hides (either in the presents or elsewhere). If the waves are defeated, the Goblin King emerges and will plead with the party, apologizing for the trouble. If attacked, he takes on the Goblin Boss stat block.
- Reason with the Goblin King, by making him feel valued and appreciated, he is willing to part with the gifts, but asks the party to find the one that best represents a gift that he is deserving of. If they select incorrectly (or DM views it to be the incorrect gift, it may trigger the waves above.
- Leave. The Goblin King will offer safe passage out of the hall for the party if they choose to abandon the mission.
If the party returns with only the will, Jacob will be appreciative, but will not offer anything in return.
If the party returns with the will AND the gifts, Jacob will reward them with one of several Holiday-themed items.
Here’s “The Legends of The Natural Ones” playing through some of the encounter (adapted to Pathfinder 2e).
We especially enjoy their interpretation of the Hallmark hall.