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6 cheap and cheerful tabletop RPGs to play over the holidays

Winter holidays call for good company and rich storytelling - so try one of these delightful Christmassy tabletop RPGs with your loved ones.

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher artworks from several Christmas themed RPGs.

The holidays are a wonderful time to drink some cocoa by a warm fire and tell stories together with a suitably festive roleplaying game. Not just any typical campaign will do – but trust us, there are some wonderfully comfy (and reasonably priced) holiday-themed Tabletop RPGs to play over your winter break; here are six of our favorites.

Their unique themes make them fantastic options whenever the year starts to get a bit colder. From yuletide adventures with Santa to the mysterious winter landscapes of old Europe, these winter-themed tabletop RPGs are a splendid way to get into the holiday spirit.

The best tabletop RPGs for the holidays are:

  1. Honey Heist – best holiday heist one-shot
  2. The Doom That Came To Christmastown – Christmas DnD
  3. Mausritter – best rules-light RPG for holiday antics
  4. Santa vs. Santa – best spy themed Christmas RPG
  5. Vaesen – best RPG for winter frights and folklore
  6. Stille Nacht: The Iron Santa Initiative – Superheroes save Santa from the Nazis 

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher artwork from the RPG honey Heist, showing a black and white woodcut of a bear wearing a hat.

1. Honey Heist

The best holiday heist one-shot RPG.

Honey Heist has a very simple premise. You are planning a grand robbery that requires complex planning and precise timing. There’s just one catch: you are a bear. That’s the gist of the game, and it’s a hilariously easy TTRPG to run and play.

To make it holiday-themed, reskin the bear to be a polar bear, and have the heist target Santa’s Workshop (we’re 99% sure there’s almost definitely tons of honey in there).

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher artwork from the RPG Honey Heist, showing the one page rules.

Alternatively, reveal Santa himself is a magical polar bear and he has to sneak into a child’s house to leave presents and eat cookies without being caught. It’s a flexible little game, so get creative – the North Pole is your oyster. 

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher artwork from the RPG The Doom That Came To Christmastown, showing a terrifying candy cane worm with huge teeth

2. The Doom That Came To Christmastown

The best classic DnD Christmas adventure

The Doom That Came To Christmastown is perhaps the purest example of a classic Dungeons and Dragons adventure that’s been fed through a yuletide filter, with the conversion setting turned up to 11.

Running on the Dungeon Crawl Classics ruleset, this holiday-themed DnD-based RPG is a throwback to a time when tabletop roleplaying was much simpler. It’s essentially a Christmas special for a 1980s fantasy kids’ cartoon, as the adventurers must face off against the vile Grinch and prevent him from ruining Christmas.

Dungeon Crawl Classics prides itself on having none of the frills that many modern RPGs have, and there’s a clear focus on the dungeon-crawler aspect of the game. For people who want a classic, crunchy adventure, this is the one shot for you. 

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher artwork from the RPG Mausritter showing a mouse character in a dungeon with a burning torch

3. Mausritter

The best rules-light RPG for holiday antics.

Mausritter is a roleplaying game that’s easy to pick up but deceptively deep. The game is incredibly fast, thanks to its quick character creation and streamlined card-based inventory system. The setting of Stumpville also brings to mind the vibes of fantasy movies such as The Secret of Nimh.

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher artwork from the RPG Mausritter, showing several mousey characters adventuring

This RPG is also very easy to reskin. The adventure can take place during Christmas, or whatever the mouse equivalent of it is. Whiskmas? Christmouse? Whatever punny holiday you decide to go with, Mausritter is sure to be accommodating of any holiday flavors you want to infuse into it. 

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher artwork from the RPG Santa vs. Santa, showing a black and white woodcut of Santa Claus

4. Santa vs. Santa

The best spy themed Christmas RPG (where you play as an elf).

A completely free RPG suffused with holiday spirit, Santa vs. Santa reveals that, while Santa is indeed an impressively jolly man who loves Christmas, he doesn’t do his work alone.

Far from it; the reason for his surprising speed is that he’s not the one delivering the presents, but instead his highly trained cabal of elves scattered across the globe.

However, these elves have discovered a plot by an Evil Santa to foil Christmas once and for all. Play as one of these elven spies to stop Evil Santa from ruining the holidays, by any means necessary. 

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher artwork from the RPG Vaesen, showing a huge black cat standing on top of a well at night time

5. Vaesen

The best Norse horror RPG for winter frights and folklore.

While jolly old Saint Nicholas is the most popular folklore being to come out of Europe, there were dozens of ghouls, wraiths, and monsters that terrorized towns during the holidays. Whether it’s the nefarious Krampus or the child-eating Gryla, Christmas times weren’t always so wholesome in 19th-century Northern Europe.

Free League’s Vaesen – one of our all-time favorite horror RPGs – is the perfect setting for fighting off these folklore creatures. It’s a unique way to have a ‘saving Christmas’ storyline take on a darker, spookier tone.

If you don’t feel like making your own adventure, multiple Vaesen-compatible Christmas adventures can be found online. 

Best holiday themed tabletop RPGs guide - publisher website screenshot from the RPG Stille Nacht: The Iron Santa Initiative

6. Stille Nacht: The Iron Santa Initiative

The best superhero-themed Christmas RPG (with added Nazis).

A Christmas-flavored adventure for Metahumans Rising, Stille Nacht: The Iron Santa Initiative is a great way to live out your favorite superhero adventures with a festive twist.

In this case, the players are superheroes who hear a distress signal emanating from the North Pole. The message was simple yet frightening: “Let me be the one to tell you that Santa is real – and he needs your help.”

Soon enough, the superheroes realize that the villains behind this crime are none other than a shadowy group of Nazi occultists dead set on controlling Father Christmas’ magic for their nefarious ends. Think Iron Sky, meets The Avengers, meets Elf.

Bizarre? Yes. Wacky holiday funtimes? Also yes.

If you’re in need of more inspiration, check out our guides to the best DnD one shots and DnD settings – heck, even most of the canonical DnD cities could be easily Christmassified.

We can also recommend holiday presents for every stripe of tabletop gamer – from DnD gifts, to Christmas Lego sets, to perfect Christmas board games, and even a selection of Warhammer gifts (that aren’t more models).