While I could easily skip today’s post for the holiday, I have decided to do a specially themed Resources post. Today I have for you three Christmas movies that aren’t Christmas movies. And if that doesn’t make sense to you, Google it. You’ll understand, there are so many of these movies. The one’s I am sharing are some of my favorites and they are ones with some things you can take back to the table. In fact, each movie has a plot that would make for a great holiday session, sure to be full of hijinks.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Every October and December I, like many, get in the spirit to watch holiday movies and every year this movie makes the cut. But every season when I first think of this movie I can’t decide if it is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. It’s both, and really should be watched for both holidays. This movie is great for role-players because it represents a really basic concept that helps make many games memorable, and drives many RPG stories. It features a character who represents the pinnacle of his people and their ideals, who feels like he is missing something, and accidentally discovers there is another way. Although well-intentioned, he acts on his discovery and ends up causing a mess of trouble that he must help fix. In a way Jack is a villain, the best kind of villain, who thinks he is doing something good. If Tim Burton can use this plot device to make a movie that is both a Halloween and Christmas movie, we can all learn to include this in our games.
You cannot mention movies that are undoubtedly Christmas themed, without being about Christmas, without mentioning Gremlins. This is the perfect “oops we done goofed, now the town is on fire” plot. The plot fits into a nice movie time, but can also easily fit into a single session. What begins as a holiday festival in game can, somehow, erupt into an insane situation where the entire town is threatened. You could use gremlins or replace them with countless creatures like redcaps, imps, or demons. The possibilities for it fitting your game’s theme are endless. There are also the amazing cliches to be used, like the old man who owns the shop where Gizmo is obtained and the obviously laid out rules which are easily broken (oops).
Some of you may be asking why, but I had to include this one. Kevin is the perfect example of a classic kobold. Regardless of whether you give them fur or scales, kobolds have always been known for their traps. This movie is filled to the brim with traps, all of which can be adapted to at least one RPG genre and many of which any genre. A single kobold who gets into town and closes himself in the mayor’s home with the mayor’s family hostage and then fills the place with trap after trap? Talk about an encounter that will have PCs wondering where to step. Finally if you can picture all this, next time you watch the movie and think of it this way: the thieves are level 1 adventurers come to steal the kobolds’ stuff and failing to do so. How different and comical a viewpoint for such a classic starting adventure.