The Finnish apparently refer to Santa Claus as Joulupukki. However, Joulupukki was not always the jolly old elf we know and love today. No, apparently Joulupukki, whose name literally means “Yule Buck”, was originally an evil spirit with goat horns clad in goat skins. This Christmas Goat would go around demanding, not giving out, gifts. What’s more, in Iceland they had a giant Yule Cat that went around eating lazy people. And where there are strange legends of demonic creatures, there’s a Call of Cthulhu adventure to be found! (Or, at the very least, an X-Files episode.)
So, for this scenario, we create our own Joulupukki, a predatory creature from the hinterlands of Scandanavia. It has a sleek and lithe cat-like body covered in thick and shaggy white fur, with opposable thumbs on all four of its hands/feet. It has a lashing, barbed tale, long talons, and a horrid maw filled with glistening white fangs. Oh, and two goat-like horns (the straight kind, not the big curling kind) coming up from its head. It moves primarily on all fours, but can rear up and function as a biped as needed.
The Joulopukki primarily dwell in the great North, devilling communities throughout Scandinavia and parts of Russia. For the most part they prefer to dwell far from civilization, but occasional changes in their eating habits force them closer to the habitations of humanity, adding “human” to their diet.
Mortimer Doyle, a big game hunter, heard legends of the Joulopukki and decided he was going to seek out these rare and wonderful creatures for a private zoo that he was assembling. And, after several months of hard hunting, he captured a mated pair, loaded them on a ship, and set sail for home.
Home just happens to be wherever the Investigators are at. Convenient, isn’t it?
To make a long story short: He gets back, they escape (and kill Doyle in the process) and set about investigating the area for places to get food and shelter. Investigators will find friends and relatives turned into light noshes for the Joulopukki pair. Responsible Investigators will seek to stop this problem. Irresponsible/sensible Investigators will decide that Palm Springs sounds lovely this time of year.
For responsible players, here’s what they will face:
Damage Bonus: +1d6
Bite 45%, damage 1d10+DB
Claw 70%, damage 1d8+DB
Tailbarb 45%, damage 1d6+DB
Armor: 4-point skin.
Skills: Move Quietly 90%, Hide in Cover 90%, Track 50%.
They may investigate things and learn that Mr. Doyle was a hunter who wanted to add freaky Scandinavian monsters to his private zoo (he was going to put them between the elephant and the tiger). They can find his notes on the creature, his journal of the hunt (“Day 32: Damn, it’s cold.” “Day 33: Damn, it’s cold.” “Day 34: Still no sign of the critters. Damn, it’s cold.”), and some transcriptions of some Laplander legends of scary critters coming by in the winter and eating people, it’s Yuletide legends and the like. In the end, they have to deal with the critters, either through TRACK tests or by LUCK rolls of some sort. Hijinks then ensue.
Jeremy Zimmerman is a teller of tales who dislikes cute euphemisms for writing like “teller of tales.” His fiction has most recently appeared in 10Flash Quarterly, Arcane and anthologies from Timid Pirate Publishing. His young adult superhero book, Kensei, is available as part of Cobalt City Rookies. He is also the editor for Mad Scientist Journal. He lives in Seattle with five cats and his lovely wife (and fellow author) Dawn Vogel.