Can Reindeers Fly?
A Christmas Adventure for Loose Threads
The Company is in the Arctic, a snowy and cold barren wilderness, with some green patches, with forests, glades and meadows here and there. The Company had gone there for some specific reason, perhaps looking for clues about their Heart’s Desires, maybe hearing something about Father Christmas and perhaps looking for some kind of magical help (or not). They stop at a local village near the Christmas Village, that they can spot in the middle of the white barren wild when the local people will mention that the villagers that works in the Christmas Village sounds worried.
If the Company talk with them, they will explain that Santa (another name for Father Christmas) is worried if his reindeer could not fly this year. They will explain that Santa’s reindeers are like any other reindeer found in the region’s glades and woods but treated in a special way with a special magic compound provided by the Fairies to give them their iconic magical abilities of flying and wondrous speed.
If the characters look for Santa, he will receive them in the Christmas Village and will explain that he would actually be unable to travel the world without resorting into the Fairy Dust provided by a friendly Fairy, the Sugarplum Fairy, which is mixed in the reindeer food of hay, carrots and sugar. But she couldn’t be found in recent times, and the power of the Fairy Dust is waning, which turns dangerous for him to travel through the sky as he could fall from the sky to death when the Fairy Dust magic wanes. But he will do it if needed, even if this could put his life under strife:
“I can not help but fulfill my obligations at Christmas, especially when many children see in me the only hope of some happiness, but I prefer to avoid the risks as far as I can. I’m also worried I took some action that bothered the Sugarplum Fairy and made me to lose her friendship. I would just like to understand what happened, if so.”
- Problem: Santa needs to deliver the Christmas presents, but the fairy that provided the Fairy Dust needed for the reindeer flies did not contact him this year;
- Solution: Find this Fairy and see what can be done until Christmas
The Christmas Village’s Elves will say that the only one that can produce this Fairy Dust, the Sugarplum Fairy, looks like disappeared for some time. It is known that she and the Ice Queen have some old qualms, but they never thought that the Ice Queen would violate the old time traditions of nonviolence among Fairies.
If they return to the village they came before, the people there will say that some evil creatures had grown into activity in the region. Especially at those time of Eternal Nights, where the Sun is almost a magical blessing, evil creatures have always liked into attacking and doing mean actions nearby villages. And while the Christmas Village protects nearby villages, as many artisans in the area help the Elves to produce the toys that are distributed at Christmas, this year things had grown even more dangerous!
The villagers will mention also the Ice Queen’s castle, which lies off the region, as well as a Dark Forest. The Castle is Made of Pure Ice, and there she lives surrounded by her lackeys, like Trolls, Hags and other evil creatures. But the most terrible are the Cold Hearted: they are called this way because their hearts are frozen through the evil magical arts that she possesses and uses.
To turn things worse, all the villagers know that the Ice Queen hates the Sugarplum Fairy with all her strength: first, because the Sugarplum Fairy is the Master of the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights; And secondly because it is a known fact that the Sugarplum Fairy is much more powerful than the Ice Queen.
The villagers will also says that Sugarplum Fairy’s Hut is in the middle of the nearby Glen, halfway between Christmas Village and the Ice Queen’s Ice Castle.
In-Between - Arctic
The Arctic’s snowy wilderness surrounds and encompasses the various locations nearby the Christmas Village, and in this winter the Arctic it is Especially Frosty and Dangerous. There’s many things that can happen to those fool enough to not prepare themselves for the harsh environment. However, knowing the environment well, life can be somewhat easy and even enjoyable: some groups of hunters and shepherds of elk and reindeer lives in the area, the hunt for creatures such as wolves, elks, hares and rabbits being their way of life.
At certain points of the white wilderness, there are small woods where pines and redwoods and similar trees offer some shelter from the snow and cold, and some pine cones, almonds, and even occasional blackberries for food. However, here are risks too, in the form of packs of Wolves and Foxes looking for fresh meat.
- Evil Wolves and Foxes poses some danger here. They often attack by surprise those who are unwary enough to pass near their burrows. They have +2 to attack in group and surprise, and -2 to fight when in disadvantage.
- Trolls are creatures that live in the forest and eat basically anything, but prefer fresh meat when they can get it. They are extremely strong, receiving +2 while attacking using their giant bats, but at the same time they are very dumb, getting -2 when trying to do any kind of strategy, including defending themselves.
- Ice Giants are usually honored, and just want to stay on theirs. However, occasionally a Giant can go mean enough to seek to maul anything that comes near them. Due to their size, they receive +2 to attack smaller creatures with their huge weapons and knuckles, but they also receive -2 to defend themselves from these creatures’ attacks.
- The Arctic’s Intense Cold is extremely dangerous: if the Company is not properly dressed, consider that they suffer Fair (+2) Cold Attacks each turn, Defending with Physique. Characters can Freeze Over by the intense cold
- The Darkness in Arctic at this time of year makes it harder to see things, causing +2 difficulty in all Investigate involving sight;
- The Frozen Cliffs are dangerous because, with the Darkness, is hard to see the Cliffs. Consider a variable Danger for the cliffs, depending on the height of them. This will be the difficulty to Overcome to notice and pass through the Cliff (no matter the method) and the damage to be provoked in case of failure in the notice (by fall, cuts, frostbite, etc…)
- The Frozen Lakes_ can be great ways to cross to get into places or to obtain provisions by fishing, but they are very dangerous, maybe even more than the Cliffs. Use the same Danger system of the Cliffs, but if a characters got inside a Lake, besides suffering damage caused by Danger, this is also the difficulty of rescuing the person from inside the Lake, which can mean that there’s a chance of a character to Froze to Death there!
All the inhabitants of the Arctic are somewhat united, due to the region’s harshness. On the one side, they can be people in solidarity with the needy, even if occasionally suspicious; On the other hand, they may be cruel creatures, who are held together by a powerful and irascible leader.
- The Santa’s Elves are Feisty, Harmless and Tiny. They are torn between Create new toys and gifts and Build things, improving from things they already know how to build. All of them have Good (+3) or better Crafts;
- The Villagers from Nearby the Christmas Village are usually Orderly, Workers and Suspicious with foreigners. They are torn between Help travelers lost in the middle of the snowy expanses and Close themselves to their Chests, because they already have problems enough. All of them have Good (+3) or better Rapport;
- The Arctic Wolves’ packs are usually Cruel, Trustful and Territorials, torn between Hold their Territory, accepting what Nature gives them and just keeping outsiders away and Take all they can, not worrying about tomorrow. All of them have Good (+3) or better Stealth;
- Arctic Foxes are often Treacherous, Wise and Sneaky, torn between just Observe events, and with this to know how and when to act, and Act in order to get what they want, not worrying about tomorrow. All of them have have Good (+3) or better Deceive;
- The Evil Crows that live in the woods are Treacherous, Perceptive and Boasty, torn between Save their knowledge to themselves and thereby gain the advantage at the right time and Using them against their enemies, eliminating them once and for all. All of them have Good (+3) or better Lore;
- The Owls living in the woods are Wise, Perceptive and Mysterious, torn between Saving their knowledge to themselves and thereby gaining the advantage at the right time and Sharing them with the people in need, helping people lost in the icy forests. All of them have Good (+3) or better Lore;
- The Trolls who live in the middle of the frozen expanses are Dumb, Stubborn and Bullies, torn between Care about themselves and leave others in peace and Destroy everything in their bloodlust. All of them have Great (+4) or better Fight;
- The Tragic Cold Hearted, results of the Ice Queen’s magical experiences, are Cold, Cruel and Trustful, torn between Protect the Ice Queen, their “creator”, and Leave her to her own fate, taking care of only itself. All of have Great (+4) or better Will;
- The smart Snowmen, magical creatures that were created by Sugarplum Fairy’s magic are Weak, Bonny and Canny, torn between Helping Santa, even with the risks involved, and Stay out of trouble due to their weakness. All of them have Good (+3) or better Stealth;
The Sugarplum Fairy was actually captured by the Ice Queen: usually the Ice Queen would not be able to do this, but in a moment of carelessness at the beginning of winter, the Sugarplum Fairy took her bath and left her Magic Wand far enough for the Queen’s Wolves and Cold Hearted to abduct her from her house. The Fairy’s Hut is still all messed up and proper tests will reveal this story.
The Ice Queen had captured the Sugarplum Fairy for a simple motive: she desperately needs the Fairy Dust that only the Fairy can produce for her selfish ends, such as creating her lieutenants, the Cold Hearted, from children kidnapped from elsewhere by her evil forces, and to maintain her own young and pretty semblance.
In fact, the Ice Queen is a powerful and evil Fairy, already quite old. Her natural look was once as beautiful as the one she keeps using the Sugarplum Fairy’s Dust, but in fact her present semblance is the one of a horrible hag, almost as abominable as a Troll and more evil than one.
Without the characters’ knowing, the actual Fairy Dust stock is waning, and with it Sugarplum Faerie’s time: although she herself does not need the Fairy Dust, she would not go low and prepare some for the Ice Queen. The Dust stock that the Fairy had was stolen by the Ice Queen when she kidnapped her, and is already waning. Obviously, the Ice Queen will do terrible things with Sugarplum to try to get more Dust, or even better the Fairy Dust Recipe, which was not in any of the books that the Fairy had (and she stolen).
A Secret that the Fairy will be able to comment on with the Company if needed: there is a single copy of the Fairy Dust Recipe, buried in a special place underneath the floor of her hut, and hidden inside a small glass flask. However, the paper where the Recipe is written is a Magic Paper, laced with some magics by the Fairy to reveal its secrets only For those with the Fairy’s Mark, a special breath that she gives on those she trusts that contains part of her magic, enough for the Paper to know that the person in question may use this Recipe. It is possible, for a proficient Magic User, to try to reveal the secret by Force, but it will demand Magic tests. And a failure can result in the Paper being destroyed.
The Fairy is hoping to escape, but between giving Fairy Dust (or the Recipe) to the Ice Queen and dying, she will prefer the second option as a no-brainer.
- Harsh Cold: One of the nearby Villages needs desperately some food and wood for fire, and the Company is the only option, since the adults are looking for hunting. The characters will be tested in their kindness, but if they pass in this Test of Kindness, some of the old women in the village will remember useful information and give useful tips and equipment to the Company.
- Mourning Mothers: some mothers lost their children, which the Ice Queen picked up and turned into Cold Hearted. The Company characters can Promise to turn them back into or at least release them of such big suffering, and the Mothers they will offer clues on to how to reach the Ice Queen Castle.
- The Lost Elves: Some Santa Elves came to get the Fairy Dust for Santa but had to hide to not be captured by the Ice Queen when they saw the Sugarplum Fairy being kidnapped by the Ice Queen. A Promise of Rescuing the Sugarplum Fairy can make the Elves lend useful items, but if the characters leave them to their own fate this will ensure Coal in their socks those Christmas (if there’ll be one).
- The Grinch: A really sullen creature, with thick, ugly green hair, is sick of all this Christmas mess, and will do anything to keep things quiet for him. A promise to end all this confusion will make him help with certain evil creatures he knows well. Otherwise, he may disrupt the characters affairs, giving the position of the characters in the worst possible moments.
- Jack Frost: A strange-looking kid who does not know what he is, actually he is one of the first Cold Hearted, but he still have some consciousness. He is trying to understand what he had became and how to protect the Human Village from where he came from. If the characters Promise to help him, he will go with them to confront the Ice Queen.
The Ice Queen
A very cruel Wicked Fairy, the Ice Queen stole the position of the Old Ice Queen, a Mortal turned a Fairy by the Magic of the Seasons. While her predecessor preserved and respected the cycle of life, the current Ice Queen wants only power, and for that she wants to dominate all the creatures of the Arctic. And what better way to prevent than by subjecting them to Extreme Cold and making them cold creatures, both body and soul, the Cold Hearted.
However, she still faces an obstacle: Father Christmas, who still looks the hope of warmth even in the coldest winter! And there is also the Sugarplum Fairy, which does not offer her the powers she wants. To achieve her goals, she is capable of everything, including killing the Sugarplum Fairy if necessary
- Description: Her beautiful young appearance is a façade maintained by its magic: in fact, the Ice Queen is as disgusting in completion as she is in character. Since she he stole the magic power of his predecessor, through evil arts by killing her, she looks very beautiful and well dressed, thanks to the mystical arts of the same, but in reality she is horrendous, with wrinkled face and huge, crooked and pointed nose and teeth.
- Populations: Hags (Treacherous, Sneaky, Magical), Malignant Fairies (Evil, Magical, Trustful), Fairies (Magical, Trustful, Responsible)
- Traits: Treacherous, Evil, Magical
- Agenda: The ultimate goal of the Ice Queen is to make the Arctic her Dark and Cold domain. To do this, she will do whatever she needs;
- Cost: Facing the Ice Queen may involve making Promises to receive help, or __Giving up the Heart’s Desire to defeat her;
- Skills: Fantastic (+6) Alchemy, Wishes Magic; Superb (+5) Geasa Magic; Great (+4) Deceive, Provoke, Fight
- Description: The Sugarplum Fairy is one of the most powerful creatures in the Arctic, if not the most powerful. She looks like a slightly older version of the Tinkerbell, but in reality her real appearance is the one of an older lady, although with a kind and vigorous semblance. She is currently imprisoned in a Mistletoe Cage in the Ice Queen Castle. She is the only one that knows how to produce the Fairy Dust which, among other things, gives to the reindeers the ability to fly at a astounding speed and (she did not know) make the Ice Queen young (as herself)
- Populations: Fairies (Magical, Trustful, Responsible), Arctic Guardians (Responsible, Suspicious, Communicative), Fairy Godmothers (Traditionalists, Trustful, Judges)
- Traits: Magical, Responsible, Trustful
- Agenda: The Fairy Sugarplum wants to free herself from the yoke of the Ice Queen, but for this, it needs her Fairy Wand, which was taken by the Ice Queen: without it, the Mistletoe Cage removes all her powers, and it would be very risky for her to appeal to her Great Magic to escape. If this is not possible, she will asks the characters to hand the Secret Recipe of Fairy Dust over to Santa (or some reliable person) .
- Cost: Delivering the Recipe to Santa will demand a Promise, while releasing the Fairy will certainly demand to confront the Ice Queen
- Skills: Epic (+7) Great, Geasa, Alchemy and Zaps Magic; Fantastic (+6) Wish Magic; Superb (+5) Empathy, Rapport, Resources
- Stunts: Fairy Wand, Staff of Power
- Description: Jack Frost looks a common kid, although his hair is similar to little icicles, and his eyes are a frozen blue. However, although he looks like a Cold Hearted, in fact he is always smiling, even though he does not understand who he really is. He does not remember anything until a year ago (if he even existed before at all), and the only thing he knows is that he can not stand with the Ice Queen for some reason.
- Populations: Cold Hearted (Phlegmatic, Cruel, Loyal), Villager (Orderly, Workers, Suspicious), Arctic Guardians (Responsible, Suspicious, Communicative), Snowmen (Weak, Bonny, Canny)
- Traits: Loyal, Orderly, Responsible, Canny
- Agenda: Jack Frost wants to discover more about him: he believes that he was the first child to be turned into a Cold Hearted, but he does not know why he still has feelings while the other Cold Hearted do not have. Moreover, although he does not remember anything until a year ago, he feels there is something important involving the situation as a whole and he is in the middle.
- Cost: The characters can Promise to help Jack Frost, and he will assist them in the midst of the icy Arctic expanse.
- Skills: Good (+3) Stealth, Deceive, Empathy; Fair (+2) Fight, Zaps Magic
- Description: The Grinch is an ugly, grumpy creature who hates everyone and everything. In general, he only wants to stays alone, bu he can easily get angry with anyone who disturbs his solitude and quietness
- Populations: Grinch (Grumpy, Evil, Sincere)
- Features: Grumpy
- Agenda: The Grinch wants to stay at peace, away from the confusion and Tra-la-la of the Christmas season, but at the same time he hates the Ice Queen with all her desires for conquest that disturb his quietness… And he probably also hates the Company that is making a mess to stop the Ice Queen
- Cost: Promising to leave the Grinch alone is a way to make him get out of the way, but a Promise to restore peace will ensure that the Grinch will (reluctantly and grumpy) help
- Skills: Good (+3) Stealth, Deceive, Provoke; Fair (+2) Athletics, Fight