‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring . . . except for the orcs, goblins, devils, demons, and assorted other hordes of monsters seeking to ruin the holiday. Thankfully, wherever evil creatures or spiteful naughty kids seek to overthrow the season of giving and good cheer, there are those who stand in their way. Every Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. This time we’re using 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons to build a very special party for a very special adventure. After all, who else is going to defend Christmas besides Santa and his elves?
This one is just for fun, I’ll admit. There’s a dwarf, because where else are you going to get that magnificent beard? There are elves of all sorts, each bringing their own talents to the effort to save Christmas. There’s a reindeer animal companion, along with some Letters to Santa tucked away in a pack. Building a jolly fat man beloved by all he meets and his band of helpers was actually surprisingly easy, so if you’re looking to run a holiday themed one-shot then look no further for your band of heroes! Breaking from the mold, this party is actually built up to Level 10; Santa and his crew have been at this for a while, after all!
Santa Claus, Mountain Dwarf – Level 10 Paladin
HP: 94 AC: 18
Str: 18 Con: 16 Dex: 8 Int: 10 Wis: 12 Cha: 16
Racial/Class/Background Features: Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience, Dwarven Combat Training, Stonecutting, Dwarven Armor Proficiency, Divine Sense, Lay on Hands, Fighting Style: Protection, Spellcasting, Divine Smite, Divine Health, Sacred Oath: Ancients, Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath, Turn the Faithless), Background: Folk Hero, Rustic Hospitality, Extra Attack, Aura of Protection, Aura of Warding, Aura of Courage
Gear: Warhammer, Shield, Javelins x5, Explorer’s Pack, Chain Mail, Holy Symbol, Woodcarver’s Tools, Shovel, Iron Pot, Common Clothes, Belt Pouch with 10 GP, Two toy soldiers, one with a missing head.
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion, Animal Handling, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: Smith’s Tools, Woodcarver’s Tools, Vehicles (Land)
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Santa Claus, like most paladins, is the heaviest-hitting melee combatant and toughest member of his party. What makes him more than just a warhammer is what he can do for others. Lay on Hands grants him a modest healing ability, while taking Protection as his fighting style lets him inflict Disadvantage on attacks aimed for those near him. He has the usual array of Paladin spells at his disposal, with his Oath of the Ancients giving him access to more that let him use or wield nature as a weapon. Finally, his many Auras make him a living bastion for his allies to fall back to: while near him, they become immune to fear, gain a boost to saving throws, and gain resistance to damage from spells.
Bernard, Wood Elf – Level 10 Ranger
HP: 74 AC: 15
Str: 8 Con: 13 Dex: 18 Int: 12 Wis: 17 Cha: 10
Racial/Class/Background Features: Darkvision, Fey Ancestry, Trance, Elf Weapon Training, Fleet of Foot, Mask of the Wild, Favored Enemy: Fiends and Aberrations, Natural Explorer: Arctic, Forest, Mountain, Fighting Style: Archery, Spellcasting, Ranger Archetype: Beast Master, Ranger’s Companion, Primeval Awareness, Background: Guild Artisan, Guild Membership, Extra Attack, Exceptional Training, Land’s Stride, Hide in Plain Sight
Gear: Leather Armor, Shortswords x2, Dungeoneer’s Pack, Longbow and Quiver of 20 Arrows, Tinker’s Tools, Letter of Introduction, Traveler’s Clothes, Belt Pouch with 15 GP, A bit of folded cloth that, when unfolded, turns into a stylish cap.
Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Animal Handling, Stealth, Nature, Insight, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: Tinker’s Tools
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Bernard is the guide of the group, getting Santa where he needs to without being seen. Thanks to Natural Explorer and Land’s Stride, the ranger is an expert at tracking, foraging, an traversing difficult terrain. Hide in Plain Sight and his potent Stealth skill insure that Bernard will remain unseen when the elf scouts ahead. He’s no slouch in a fight, either. He’s particularly skilled with a bow, but is never unaccompanied by one of the reindeer that he helps to care for. Bernard has a bond with the reindeer that even Santa lacks, allowing him to command the helpful creature in battle. His Favored Enemy also insures that Bernard is prepared to fight some of the more dastardly creatures in the world (and thus the ones most likely to be a problem for his line of work).
Clarice, Drow – Level 10 Warlock
HP: 63 AC: 15
Str: 8 Con: 13 Dex: 18 Int: 12 Wis: 10 Cha: 18
Racial/Class/Background Features: Superior Darkvision, Fey Ancestry, Trance, Sunlight Sensitivity, Drow Magic, Drow Weapon Training, Otherworldly Patron: Archfey, Fey Presence, Pact Magic, Eldritch Invocations, Pact of the Chain, Background: Entertainer, By Popular Demand, Misty Escape, Beguiling Defenses
Gear: Light Crossbow with 20 Bolts, Arcane Focus, Dungeoneer’s Pack, Leather Armor, Quarterstaff, Daggers x2, Flute, Favor from an Admirer, Costume, Belt Pouch with 15 GP
Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Arcana, Deception, Acrobatics, Performance
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise Kit, Flute
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Clarice provides Santa’s team with offensive spellpower, all flavored through the lens of her Archfey patron. Much of her spells, particularly those from her patron’s list, involve trickery much more than offensive damage – sleep comes to mind as a likely candidate. This is further backed up by abilities such as Misty Escape and Beguiling Defenses, which are more about avoiding harm than weathering it. Her Drow Magic complements her patron as well, even cribbing from the Archfey spell list at times. Clarice is also the most charismatic of the team, further enhanced by her Performance and By Popular Demand. As an added bonus, she is never seen without the sprite familiar granted her by the Pact of the Chain.
Holly, High Elf – Level 10 Bard
HP: 53 AC: 14
Str: 8 Con: 10 Dex: 16 Int: 16 Wis: 12 Cha: 17
Racial/Class/Background Features: Darkvision, Fey Ancestry, Trance, Elf Weapon Training, Free Cantrip, Extra Language, Spellcasting, Bardic Inspiration (d10), Jack of All Trades, Song of Rest (d8), Bard College: Lore, Bonus Proficiencies, Cutting Words, Expertise, Background: Sage, Researcher, Two Extra Languages, Font of Inspiration, Countercharm, Additional Magic Secrets, Magical Secrets
Gear: Rapier, Diplomat’s Pack, Lute, Leather Armor, Dagger, Bottle of Black Ink, Quill, Small Knife, Letters to Santa, Common Clothes, Belt Pouch with 10 GP, A diary written in a language you do not know.
Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Performance, Religion, Nature, Insight, Investigation, Performance, Arcana, History
Tool Proficiencies: Lyre, Lute, Pan Flute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Holly serves in the grand tradition followed by many bards: that of a jack-of-all-trades who is good at pretty much everything, without being the best at anything. Despite that, she does actually have some points where she stands out. She’s the most intelligent member of the team, with a staggeringly broad array of skills. Those she’s not proficient in still get half of her proficiency bonus from, well, Jack of All Trades. Expertise will let her pick several skills, not chosen above, that can gain double her proficiency bonus. Countercharm allows Holly to use music to disrupt attempts to frighten or charm the team. As a High Elf she gains an extra cantrip, and Magic Secrets (plus Additional Magical Secrets) gives her an extra four spells that don’t even have to be from the bard’s list. Last but certainly not least Holly can use Bardic Inspiration to boost a team member’s rolls, and Song of Rest to help the entire team heal between fights.
And there you have it: Santa the Paladin and his Elven Helper Adventurers! There’s not much to be said about Who They Are and How They Interact this time, of course. Santa is, generally speaking, Santa anywhere you go in the world even if the name or some of the details change. Bernard is in charge of scouting out locations and taking care of the reindeer, Clarice serves to spread the good word and play a few tricks on naughty monsters, and Holly is Santa’s premier researcher as to who has been naughty and who has been nice. So mount up in the sleigh and go have a holiday adventure.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a generally awesome time to everyone, and to all a good night (and save the Divine Smites for Krampus).