Beware the Krampus

A pretty impressive Krampus mask.

Insertname brought it up on RPG.net: using the Krampus as an antagonist in one’s role-playing games. Coming out of eastern Europe, particular Austria and Hungary, Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas on his journeys, warning children to behave and punishing those who don’t. So he’s the bad cop to St. Nicholas’ good. It’s the classic buddy situation.

Krampus Comes to Town

1901-1910 saw a wave of over two million immigrants to the United States from Austria and Hungary. With so many believers living beyond the old country, St. Nicholas and Krampus expanded their travels to include the land of opportunity. When reports of a shadowy demon-like figure stalking St. Nicholas circulate among the “they know just enough to be dangerous” portion of the occult set, they undertaking the capture and banishment of the fiend lately come to America.

Doing so throws the balance of Christmas dangerously askew, of course. Without the threat of the Krampus’ punishment to keep them in line, children run amok in New York City. St. Nicholas correspondingly declines to travel the land. It’s a huge mess, one that can only be resolved by freeing the Krampus from his Leyden jar prison — and convincing him not to take it out on the well-meaning, if foolish occult investigators.

The League of Extraordinary Companions of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas, it transpires, has a whole entourage of companions, scattered all across Europe. Typically they work alone or with Nick himself, rarely collaborating together. Every once in a while, though, there’s that one child so recalcitrant, so truculent, so incorrigible who requires the attention of an entire pantheon of corrective spirits, with Knecht Ruprecht corralling their efforts. They’ll put that child through metaphorical Hell before the night is over. It’s the preventative maintenance version of A Christmas Carol.

Dark Ascension

In the world of Unknown Armies, some clued-in goon has decided to scoot into the Invisible Clergy as the Dark Companion, the shadowy figure of questionable means and motives that follows so many more visible characters. Come Christmas-time, that means he’s emulating the behavior and signs of the Krampus, including terrifying the local children. This is not going down well in the community, never mind the occult underground. Representatives from the different factions present on the scene come together to put down this would-be Krampus before someone other than him gets hurt.

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