Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Krampus!

Greetings, Kids!

I hammer out this post even as my lovely wife, Anna, is baking sugar cookies. Looking up and over the credenza I can see the decorated tree with its pretty ornaments & colorful lights. Lots of carefully wrapped presents lie under the tree.

I think it's Christmas Eve.

In the spirit of this fine holiday, I was asked by Jenny Snyder over at Vanity Games to do a little write up for a creature of legend that haunts the dreams of naughty children this time of year - The Krampus. This is the second year in a row I've done something like this, and you might remember the dragon I wrote up last year (I'm at loss to find a link for that creature at the moment).  These creatures find their way to Jenny's annual holiday game, and it is my pleasure to stat them up for her.

The Krampus is BIG NEWS and sort of the "flavor of Christmas Monsters" this year it seems. My take on this grumpy guy is a little different than many of the others out there, but I hope you'll enjoy it.

Folklore is persistent with tales of Saant Nikolas, the true spirit of generosity and giving. In fact, many lands still hold this figure in high regard, setting aside a day in Mid-Winter as a holiday to celebrate his generous spirit. This holiday is characterized by giving gifts to one another. Children especially love this holiday, and are warned that if they are not good, instead of a gift from Saant Nikolas, they will receive coal from the Krampus.

Who is the Krampus? Common mythology is less clear as to this origin of this figure. Children live in occasional fear of his coal “gifts”, but little is known about the creature.

Until now.

The spirit of Saant Nikolas has an ugly secret. It’s common knowledge that he has several assistants that help him prepare his sleigh for his journey to the homes of the world’s children. Mistakenly called, “elves”, these creatures are actually gnomes. Hard working, faithful to the cause, and loyal to Saant Nikolas, they work throughout the year making toys and other treats for good children.

What the gnomes don’t readily report is that once a year, a terrible curse strikes one of their number. That curse twists and disfigures one gnome, turning that creature into an embodiment of spite & evil. That creature is known as the Krampus.

When the Krampus is discovered, it is kept under lock and key. It’s wild nature is destructive, and unless kept under control, it can cause widespread destruction and chaos. However, Saant Nikolas’ very nature prevents the destruction of the Krampus. In keeping with his generosity, Saant Nikolas brings the Krampus with him every year on his journey, in order to show the creature the true spirit of giving. To keep the creature out of trouble, the Krampus is charged with giving coal to bad children encountered on the journey. It is thought that if Saant Nikolas encounters no naughty children, the curse of the Krampus will be lifted.

While it is unlikely that adventurers will ever encounter the Krampus, there have been tales of occasions where the Krampus escapes its confinement prior to Saant Nikolas’ journey. During these times of chaos and destruction, it is not unheard of for the gnomes to call upon additional help in order to defeat the creature. Unfortunately, if the Krampus is slain before the Mid-Winter holiday, another gnome undergoes the curse. The race is then on to discover this new Krampus and place him into custody until Saant Nikolas can journey again.

And there you have it, my version of the Ancient Krampus of the old legends. 

On behalf of my family and myself. I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and Joyous New Year.  May the season be filled with the loves, hopes, & dreams that you deserve.

Until next time...

Game excellently with one another.