Here’s our D&D campaign for the day, invented by Tyler. DMs only — Run this for your group:
All the adventurers are running around the city of Frostfang celebrating Candlenights. A person is a suit runs out of the Hot Bubbly Rum factory “Are you adventurers? I’m being haunted! I need protection!” He offers you coupons for cheaper Hot Bubbly Rum if you help him. (Or whatever the party is into.) Help involves protecting him from the 3 ghosts.
Ebenezer Smooge takes you into his office in the factory. As soon as you walk in, a ghostly figure in the corner, wrapped in chains, tells you that you will be visited by 3 ghosts: the ghost of Candlenights past, the ghost of Candlenights Present, the ghost of Candlenights future. The ghost responds to every query with the same statement. If you do some sort of detect-magic or true-sight kind of thing, it appears as a Sending, rather than a ghost.
Smooge rings a bell and someone bring in some Hot Bubbly Rum (but it is cold. “Hot” is part of the brand name). Smooge is an asshole to him. If you tip or charm this person you learn that his name is Magic Bob Crotchett. At various times you may get more of his story: he and some of the other employees chipped in on a Wish spell from a desperate warlock, and asked for Smooge to learn a lesson. But maybe they weren’t specific enough.
At each future point in the story, the original ghost makes an announcement, whatever seems spooky and appopriate. “The ghost of Candlenights Past!” Smooge passes out in fright when convenient.
When midnight rolls around, the first ghost arrives. A 30-ft door appears in the office (it’s a warehouse. high ceilings). A t-rex in a santa hat walks out. The door closes. The T-rex has been instructed to celebrate Candlenights. Its idea of celebrating Candlenights is eating people. For stats, pick some monster appropriate to your party’s level and copy those.
After the party defeats the T-rex, the original messenger announces the Ghost of Candlenights Present. A giant door opens. A present comes out. The door closes. The present is a 2x2x2 box with wrapping paper and a ribbon. When it is opened, two more presents pop out. While it is open, more presents pop out every few seconds. Each of these presents have the same effect.
How do we end the infinite presents? This is a question to be answered in each game.
If someone tries to smash a present and is too successful, they might get sucked inside. After that, and damage to any present is half-transferred to the trapped character.
Any sort of dispel-magic or magic-cutting-off spell can cease the infinite regression of presents. When the magic ends, all existing present boxes contain four commemorative Hot Bubbly Rum glasses. (They’re pretty cheap. No Hot Bubble Rum is included.)
When the infinite present regression is overcome, it’s time for the Ghost of Christmas Future. Another door opens, and a 7-foot-tall cyborg walks through. Its label says Tiny Tim 1000. Set its stats according to party strength. Our DM, Tyler, sets them dynamically at “one round of fighting and then the party kills it.”
What happens after the party defeats it? This is a place for creativity.
In our case, the rogue investigated a safe in the office, found it trapped for explosions. We moved the unconscious Smooge over close to it, then tried to disarm it. Meanwhile Magic Bob walked in and threw a brick to set off the explosion. It minorly damaged the party members who were able to dodge, and killed Smooge. Our party let Magic Bob distribute the money inside to the plant workers. (Our warlock checked his intentions, and he was only gonna skim 10% off the top, which seemed fair to all of us.)
Tyler (DM) admits that this entire adventure blossomed in his mind during the long drive toward our Christmas gathering based on the pun of Christmas Present.
Have fun with it!