The Yuletide Council is furious when Chordette brings the results in. You’re made to wait outside while there’s a great deal of shouting that unfolds in the official chamber. Eventually, voices rise to a crescendo, the doors are flung open, and Chordette is shoved out. She spins around, only to have the doors slammed in her face. The shouting resumes.
She takes a couple deep breaths and looks at you. “You know what?” she says. “Power is gross. Come on, it’s time for your next activity.”
She leads you to an airplane hangar, where a middle-aged woman is lounging in a deck chair next to her ancient cargo plane. She’s somehow smoking and drinking coffee at the same time.
“Hey,” says Chordette, without preamble. “How soon can you get ready for the stress test?”
The woman sits up and swings her legs off the chair. You can see she doesn’t have the pointed ears of an elf. “Twenty minutes, maybe? It depends on how icy the runway is. What’s up?”
“Things just got… unstable,” says Chordette. She faces the group of you and holds out a hand. “Santa Aspirants, meet Veronica. She’s only been with us a couple of years, but she’s already our most trusted pilot.”
Veronica stands, tosses her cigarette down on the asphalt and grinds it out underneath her engineer boot. She pats herself down and frowns.
“Anybody got a smoke?”
You pass her all the cartons of Camels you were given earlier.
“Holy shit, okay. And, uh, a light?”
Florence, the little match girl, steps forward. “Matches are tuppence, but I’m, er, having a sale right now. I may be going out of business soon.”
Veronica cracks a smile. “Would that be a fire sale, then?”
Florence manages to smile. “I suppose you could say that.”
They work out a quick deal where Veronica gets the little match girl’s entire stock for $5.
“I’ve never seen so much money before,” she whispers softly to herself.
Veronica examines one of the oversized sulfur matches, shrugs, and strikes it on her fly. She lights a Camel and sizes you up.
“I only got the order yesterday, but you’re all going to practice delivering presents. That’s a big part of being Santa.” She pauses and turns to Chordette. “One of these is going to be Santa?” Chordette nods. “Fuck me, okay. Well, I’m going to drop you as close to the target house as I can get, and you’ll stick the presents under the tree.”
You look at each other. “Calendar indicates it is December 8,” says Xmars Five.
“That’s why it’s a trial run.”
Chordette steps in. “We’ve confirmed the family has already put up the tree, and they have a chimney. This is basic Santa stuff.”
Kevin McCallister holds up a hand. “Hey, I saw The Santa Clause,” he says. “Do we need some kind of magic to get down the chimney? Or, like, maybe WD-40 and a crowbar?”
“Oh, right. Everyone hold still.” Chordette digs around in her rucksack and comes up with what looks like a can of Febreze, which she proceeds to spray all over you. It smells like new fallen snow, and also kind of like microwave popcorn.
“That should do it.”
You hold out your arms, studying yourselves. You don’t feel any different.
“Look,” says Veronica. “We gotta get this show on the road. Or in the sky.”
“Say the thing,” says Chordette, goading her a little.
“Fine. Chordette wants me to remind you that smoking is bad for your health, and that, for image reasons, the new Santa shouldn’t smoke. Or be caught smoking anyway.” Chordette shakes her head. “Fine, shouldn’t smoke at all.”
You climb in the plane.
Chordette explains everything on the flight over. It probably would have been quicker to do it beforehand, since shouting over the engines is clearly hard for her, but eventually you get the gist.
You are going to the house of Babs Overland and her two children, Orva (17) and Borden (12) in scenic Flatspoon, Ohio. You’re going in the late evening, rather than the dead of night, because Babs works an irregular schedule as a vet a few towns over. This evening, like many, Orva is cooking dinner for her and her brother, and they’re supposed to put themselves in bed at 9.
“Their house is near the corner of Main and Hayward,” shouts Chordette as the cargo ramp opens up and the warning lights come on. “Right down from the pizza place. You can’t miss it. Oh: One other thing you should know. There are 50 to 100 black bears in Ohio.”
“Okay?” says Dude Love, clipping into the parachute rail.
“They all live within two square miles of Flatspoon. It’s a bear node.”
“What’s a bear node?” asks Carol, but she’s the first one shoved out the back.
Flatspoon, Ohio, is beautiful from above, a wondrous grid of lights you do not at all appreciate as you plummet toward it. All of you land softly, however, except for Robot Santa. His steel hull far exceeded the parachute’s rated weight, and he hits a frozen lake like a dud bomb.
The rest of you land spread out in fields or forest. Florence, the little match girl, lands all alone on a country road she knows well. The lights of town glimmer up ahead.
“Are you okay, Eurus?” she asks down the front of her coat. The little iguana nestled inside says “yes” in iguana. Florence knows how to speak iguana, though no one believes her. That’s how she managed to solve so many murders here. A shame the bookstore didn’t work out.
“We’re probably gonna be murdered, but it’s okay. We’ll be with grandma soon.”
Most of the murders she solved involved victims who didn’t know they were victims. Florence knows exactly what’s going to happen to her, though. When she hears a group of footsteps coming up behind her, she stops in her tracks.
“Hold on,” she says, and reaches into the jacket for a final, secret match. She strikes it against Eurus and sees a face in the flame.
“I knew you were good,” she says. Then: “Alright.”
The attackers kill her quickly, and stab Eurus through her jacket. The two of them fall to the ground, and stay there. By the time a second, solitary attacker arrives for the double-tap, they’re both already dead and freezing over.
Florence, the little match girl (Emm) and her crime-solving pet iguana, Eurus, have died. Florence was the YULE SLEUTH (INVESTIGATOR).
Up ahead, Mario triple-jumps through the snow happily.
“It’s a me!” he shouts to a figure up ahead.
“So it is,” says a very posh voice. “But who, exactly, are you?”
“I just TOLD y-” says Mario, as the sceptre connects with his temple.
Mario Santa (Lindsay) has died. He (she) was a Santa Aspirant (Vanilla Town).
The rest of you group up on the edge of town and head in, caroling. You pass a shuttered storefront that says Florence’s New & Used Books, which has a “temporarily closed” notice in the window. None of you make the connection.
You find the pizza parlor a few blocks down, and it is powerfully underwhelming. A dilapidated sign announces it as PIZZAFAIRE, and the website you look up elaborates that it is “Ohio’s premiere medieval pizza experience.” Through the greasy windows, you can see kids playing in an arcade while parents check their phones in naugahyde booths. There might be animatronics in there. It’s too dark to tell.
“I know,” says Rod, “I don’t want to go in either. But we’re all hungry. What if – and hear me out – we have them deliver a pizza to us, out here?”
“To the sidewalk?” says Catbug. “Like, five feet outside?” But Rod is already making the call on an ancient flip-phone.
“Hey, do you have any animatronics in there?”
“Just an Uncle Klunk,” says the voice on the other end.
“How fast is delivery?”
You end up eating in a bus stop across the street.
“This is kind of a nice town,” muses the ambiguous in-flight meal. “I could still be chicken or fish.”
“There’s no such thing,” says Scrooge. “You’ll see when you’re 235.”
“I like it.”
“You tipped them too much for the delivery.”
A brief moment of silence.
“Do you think bears like pizza?” asks Comet the Wonder Reindeer.
“Yes,” says Dr. Manhattan.
But you manage to get through the rest of the meal without any encounters. When the pizza box is too big to fit into the municipal trash can, you just leave it on the bench and head down Hayward Street to the Overlands’.
Special thanks to Spookyfriend for furnishing a description of the “lucky” family when I asked who you should visit.
- April LKD / Kevin McCallister
- Demyx / Lucy Van Pelt
DW / Venom– VANILLA WOLF
- E-Dog / Evaneezer Scrooge
Emm / Florence, the Little Match Girl– YULE SLEUTH (COP) Flubba Gunto / Red, of the California Raisins– S.I.C. (WOLF)
- Goat / Forky
- Grumproro / Jack Frost
Hohopossum / Tiny Tim Possum– Vanilla Town
- Indy / Dude Love
The Landstander/ Vanilla Town Lindsay / Mario Santa– Vanilla Town
- Mars Five / Xmars Five, Cyborg
- Mayelbridwen / Comet, the Wonder Reindeer
- Mr. I’m My Own Grandfather / Robot Santa
- MSD / Rod the Puppet
Raven and Rose / Gerald Loggins– Vanilla Town
Sic Humor / Tobias, a Make-A-Wish Santa– Vanilla Town
- Side Character / Catbug
Spookyfriend / “Dave,” Morally Ambiguous Man Wearing This Sweater– Vanilla Town
- Subsaharan / Dr. Manhattan
- Sukaluski / Ambiguous In-Flight Meal
Tobias Morpheus / Joe Camel– VANILLA WOLF
- Wasp / Carol
- 11 Pure of Heart (TOWN)
1610 Santa Aspirants (Vanilla Town) 1 Yule Sleuth (Investigator)
- 1 Christmas Prince/Princess – Constitutional Monarchist (vigilante)
- 1 Krampus (serial killer)
- 2 Impure of Heart (WOLVES)
42 Elf Cronies (Vanilla Wolves) 1 Santa’s Illegitimate Child (recruited by the wolves, now evil)
- Win conditions:
- The wolves win when they are equal to the number of town-aligned players left (if the SK(s) are dead), or outnumber the non-wolf players (even if the SKs are still alive).
- Town wins when all the wolves and the serial killers are defeated.
- The serial killer(s) win when it comes down to just them and one other person.
- A three-way standoff between the last town, last wolf and SK will result in a special ending.
- Night actions:
- There isn’t a hard order that night actions occur in. This is to allow as many of them to go through as possible. Roleblocks (if applicable) will always take precedent over the actions of the targeted player, however.
- Yule Sleuth: All town forces come back NICE, all scum come back NAUGHTY. If the Yule Sleuth scans Santa’s illegitimate child the same night they’re recruited, the Yule Sleuth gets an error message about moral ambiguity.
- Depending on the alignment they choose, the Christmas Prince(ss) cannot roleblock or jail the same person two nights consecutively (or jail themselves).
- You have the option to vote “No Kill” (or words to that effect). If that option prevails, no one dies at the end of the day.
- A majority vote for one player (or No Kill) will end the day early.
- A tied vote at twilight will result in no one dying.
- There are no secret powers or win conditions in this game. Any changes I have to make to the mechanics will be announced publicly.
- No editing posts.
- No quoting or screencapping from your QTs.
- If you have any other questions about rules, please ask in QT, and I will answer publicly here.
Day 4 will end Tuesday, December 10 at 11 a.m. EST.