DMs Guild Review – 12 Christmas Slays

A collection of holiday-themed creatures.

dms guild review

This review has been sponsored by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Lucas AndersonBum LeeDaniel KingJack WeighillJonathan SwadleySharksideVivian VanderkolkAaryan Balu

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a delightfully themed bestiary! The 12 Christmas Slays is a collection of holiday beasties, from the Radiant Reindeer to the Snowman At-Arms, and even Santa Claus himself.

While only including a dozen creatures, the product fills a full 30 pages thanks to its fantastic original creature art and densely packed statblocks. Since many of the creatures are based on instantly recognizable holiday characters and myths, they tend toward higher challenge ratings and unique statblocks that take up an entire page, such as Santa Claus (CR 18), Jacquie Frost (CR 18) and Krampus (CR 17).

The monster supplement finds that perfect balance between maintaining the goofy joke of holiday-themed monsters, while also providing legitimately interesting and – from what I can tell, well-balanced statblocks.

Santa is a 19th level spellcaster, with radiant, cold, and healing spells, a candy cane staff that can charm enemies (or stab them) and a Sack of Wonders that acts like a Bag of Tricks. As a Legendary Action, Santa can bonk with his staff, pull out another toy construct, or dine on some milk and cookies to regain hit points.

My favorite is the Gilded Treant. Not only is the concept of a ferocious, devouring Christmas Tree hilariously perfect for D&D, but it’s also way more interesting than a standard treant. The Gilded Treant can swallow up enemies, grab them in its branches, and retaliate against fire damage by hurling flaming ornaments (d20 trinket table included)!

dms guild

Many of these creatures should be familiar (though some, like the horse-skull Mari Lwyd, not so much). The statblocks revel in the shared meta-knowledge that players may possess with thematically fun abilities. The Grumbler’s Stink Stank Stunk produces a poisonous aura around him, while NOISE NOISE NOISE means he’s vulnerable to thunder damage.

The White Elephant may be the most clever creature, based on the titular shared gift-giving exercise that is the eye-roll of many an office or family holiday get-together. The elephant can swap initiative rolls with anyone else, allowing them to do the same, while it can use its reaction to swap healing spells and buffs, creating a creature that’s hilariously annoying without being malicious or evil.

Each creature is also given multiple Adventure Hooks to help build story ideas. Player characters could be hired to save a naughty child from the Krampus, or work with the Krampus to teach a trio of naughty noble brats a lesson.

For Emery the Emerald-Nose Reindeer (CR 10), the party could be hired to retrieve the emerald sphere, which happens to be attached to the ornery reindeer. Or perhaps you need a guide (with nose so bright) to find a destination, or see a radiant creature crashing into the ground like a comet nearby. The exuberant reindeer isn’t evil, but is unpredictable and powerful, capable of exuding blinding blasts, charging through a horde of people, and divebombing them from the air.

With excellent theming, fun creatures, and a professional design, 12 Christmas Slays is one of the more satisfying monster supplements I’ve reviewed.

Pros:

  • Plenty of jokes and puns, with balanced statblocks.
  • Delightful original artwork for each monster.
  • Multiple Adventure Hook ideas for each entry.

Cons:

  • None!

The Verdict: The holiday-themed creatures in 12 Christmas Slays are vibrant, hilarious, and compelling, providing ample inspiration for a holiday-themed adventure.

This review has been sponsored by the publisher Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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