Excerpted from the Ruins & Rogues Creature Compendium, incorporating materials from the Sorcerers & Sabers Interverse Guide

S’aan T’Klaz
Frequency: Unique
Size/Type: Medium Undead (Fundamental Continuum of Frost, Primary Continuum, Evil Continuum)
Hit Dice: 10d10+10 (404 hp)
Initiative: +04
Speed: 04 ft.
Armor Class: 040
Base Attack/Grapple: +040/+040
Attack: Chilling touch +8 melee (40d04+04)
Space/Reach: 04 ft./04 ft.
Special Attacks: Blizzard, Summon Reigndayr, Jellify, Levitation, Regeneration, Summon Delf
Special Qualities: Telepathy (1000 ft.), Sleepken
Saves: Fort +040, Ref +040, Will +040
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 25, Con 30, Int 21, Wis 30, Cha 04
Skills: Listen +040, Spot +040
Environment: Fundamental Continuum of Frost, Primary Continuum, Evil Continuum
Organization: Unique
Challenge Rating: 040
Treasure: Class A
Alignment: Neutral evil
Advancement: 040 HD

The vile lich S’aan T’Klaz was once a powerful dual-class cleric/mage whose quest for immortality was originally fueled by a need to advance the cause of good through judging the wicked. Eventually, this judgment turned to destruction, and while S’aan T’Klaz still rewards those he judges to be good, his standards and definitions are such that nearly all living, thinking beings are adjudged evil and destroyed if they approach him.

S’aan T’Klaz remains a powerful spellcaster and cleric, casting spells at the 20th level of mastery without the need for material components. His personal abilities, usable once per day at will, include Blizzard, a blinding whirlwind of snow and ice that causes 2d10 damage per round for 5 rounds and requires a save vs. blindness; Summon Reigndayr, which will unleash a single battle-ready reigndayr (q.v.); Jellify, which will reduce a single target to a bowlful of gel; Levitation, which will allow S’aan T’Klaz to move himself vertically by laying a finger next to his gaping nasal cavity; Regeneration, as a lich of equivalent level; Summon Delf, which will unleash 1d4 battle ready death-elves (q.v.); Telepathy, as the spell, which allows S’aan T’Klaz to know if targets have been good or evil; and Sleepken, a unique power which allows him to determine the wakefulness of any being within 1000 miles.

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The excitement of wee sleepers, safely tucked into bed. I’ve not known it for decades.

Some will never know it at all.

And yet, selfishly, I mourn a feeling that I will never have again. And let the wonder of the morning, brightness and joy, pass me by in a cloud of melancholy. And let the horror of those without, those who have never and will never, glide by in my preoccupation.

Does that make me a bad person, or just a mediocre one? And which is worse?

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Welcome to SantaNet!

As more and more of human life has been shoved online and digital due to ease of distribution at the expense of ease of use, we here at the North Pole have had to adapt as well. No longer will digital requests be a matter of gift cards and IOUs!

With SantaNet, you can stream the latest music, movies, games, and other entertainment directly to your SBox. Gift requests and debits can be processed instantly, with physically gift-wrapped boxes available with activation codes for Christmas morning. And best of all, Christmas can now last the whole year long: with SantaNet subscriptions, supported by leading industry partners like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple, you can continue streaming your content to the device of your choice long after the trees have died and the tinsel has been put away.

SantaNet: the one and only true choice for a world that’s getting digits for Christmas whether it wants them or not!

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“Merry Christmas!”

“I don’t believe in Christmas.”

“Now that’s just silly.”

“What? Plenty of people don’t believe in Christmas.”

“No, plenty of people don’t celebrate Christmas. They still believe it exists. I acknowledge that the lunar new year exists even though I don’t celebrate it. Saying you don’t beleive in Christmas is like saying you don’t believe in Tuesday.”

“You’re just saying that because you celebrate it.”

“Listen, if every single Christian on Earth suddenly died tomorrow and there was no one left to celebrate, other people would still believe in Christmas, if only as a celebration no one observes anymore. Though it would probably be eclipsed by December 19, Christian Worldwide Genocide Day, pretty quickly.”

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Dear New Low-Card Santa,

Let me be the first to welcome you to the World Santa Federation! You’ve just joined a fraternity that’s dedicated to the performing art of Professional Clausing™, people that Claus for love of the game and for hardcore fans of Clausing everywhere. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you a few pieces of information and advice:

1. “Kayfabe” is our term for maintaining a sense of reality and willing suspension of disbelief about our performances. We do not break kayfabe in the WSF. Let me say that again: WE DO NOT BREAK KAYFABE IN THE WSF. When in costume, you will be expected to hold to the notion that you are the one, the only, the indisputable Santa Claus. Where this is not possible, as in the case of older children and multi-performer Clausing events, you will be expected to maintain that you are a magical helper fully bonded and licensed by the one, the only, the indisputable Santa Claus. Breaking kayfabe is grounds for immediate and irrevocable expulsion from the WSF. Keep in mind that you are also expected to maintain kayfabe if recognized when out of costume, so always be ready for some fun improvisational Clausing, even in June.

2. Breaking kayfabe is allowable in the WSF under the following circumstances only:
– Legitimate injury requiring medical treatment.
– Physical violence or threats of violence by non-WSF individuals.
– Other circumstances authorized in writing by the WSF.

3. Let me be clear about one thing: nobody goes straight from amateur Clausing to the 34th Street Macy’s right away. WSF membership offers you the benefits of our promotional network and negotiated pay scale, but make no mistake: you will be starting as a low-card, the bottom rung of the ladder, and will be expected to work your way up. Expect to Claus in small-town stores, Wal-Marts, and private functions. If you do well at these, more opportunities like small shopping centers and suburban mall anchor stores will open up. Eventually, you might work your way up to the level of Gilner “Krampusbane” Kirks or Lian “Zwarte Klaüs” Atchisson–but don’t count on it. And hey, if low-card or mid-card Clausing is all you want to do, great! The WCF is nothing without talented people Clausing at all levels.

4. You may choose your own team of elves and a Mrs. Claus, but keep in mind that they must be members of our affiliates WEF and WMCF respectively, and offered WEF/WMCF scale pay and benefits as appropriate. Refer to your handbook for the formula on which events and venues the WCF will compensate you for elf/Mrs. Claus use and which we will not. Remember that WEF/WMCF members are strictly prohibited from Clausing themselves; they are not substitutes. Similarly, appearing as an elf or Mrs. Claus yourself will be considered a break of kayfabe and grounds for immediate dismissal.

5. Costume rental or purchase are at your discretion; WCF members qualify for discounts from most major suppliers. If you choose to go off-brand, keep in mind that costuming of you, your elves, and your Mrs. Claus must meet WCF standards or you risk WCF sanctions for breaking kayfabe. The same goes for set dressing and props.

Again, let me renew my welcome. You’ve made the right decision by going pro with the WCF and we’re here to help you with your Clausing experience at every step of the way. Wherever your Professional Clausing™ journey begins and ends, the WCF is right behind you.

Atlas Cunas
Founder and CEO, World Santa Federation

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The issue of dates and times has long been one that concerned humans, first as we settled around our globe and later as we settled elsewhere.

Use of the Hijri calendar among observant Islamic colonists was particularly troublesome. As a lunisolar calendar, dependent on observations taken in Saudi Arabia, it had been difficult enough to communicate important dates like the Hajj when confined to a single world. Astronomical or algorithm-based methods of calculating dates had long been dismissed by leading theologians as illicit bid’ah.

But how to communicate this information across interstellar distances to the colony of New Mecca, 73 light-years from Earth? Divergent views have led to a wide variety of practices and even a few conflicts between groups of settlers whose imams issued differing jurisprudence on the matter. The issue of which direction to face during salat prayer is also thorny; whence lieth Mecca from New Mecca?

The issue of salat prayer was similar to that faced by Jewish colonists elsewhere in habitable space. When the Sabbath lasts from sundown on Friday until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night, what is one to do on a ribbon world like Epsilon Gestae IV where there is eternal twilight, or one like Omicron Theta II where a day is longer than the year?

Difficulties such as those have seen a variety of creative solutions. The Helium-3 mining kibbutzes of NGC-3110, for instance, calculate their observances using a 24-hour cycle overlaid on the planet’s 97-hour night-day cycle with the colony ship’s landfall as their epoch. The Sunni solar harvesters of Feynman’s Star use a complicated algorithm to determine their calendar which is readjusted periodically after the arrival of more precise information from Earth.

But the Eastern Orthodox pilgrims who colonized Tsarzvezdan? The Traditionalist Catholics on Quartum Romae? The Baptist colonists, the Colonbaptists, who run the Christ the Redeemer Medical Center lightspeed emergency medical frigate?

They merely look to the stars for the one which shines brightest.

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Colette Hays had gotten it from her mother: a Christmas sweater too ugly for even a bad sweater party (if such things had existed in 1978). It was in the pattern of an American flag, with alternating stripes of red, white, and green with hollyjolly brown for the canton. Each stripe was filled with knit Santa hats, snowflakes, and mistletoe leaves, while the canton’s stars were represented by little jingle bells that each hung by their own little yarn string.

After wearing it once for the benefit of Mama Sears and enduring a rash for three days afterwards, Colette gave it as a gift to her sister-in-law Josie Sears the following Christmas. Josie couldn’t fail to grasp the significance of this, living as she did in Florida. It was duly rewrapped and presented to Colette for Christmas 1980.

Colette decided that it was time for escalation. Using a vacuum sealer that her husband used for meat products, she packed the infernal sweater like a cut of subprime beef and returned it to Josie. For her part, Josie carefully removed the item from its packaging and twisted it into a PVC pipe that her husband, who ran a plumbing supply business, sealed at both ends.

The contest escalated gradually but steadily, and by 1990 had reached proportions large enough to be mentioned in local newspapers. Always careful never to damage the sweater, the women had delivered it to the other soldered into a coffee can, sealed in cement, welded into a safe, crunched into a car (a 1975 Chevy Vega that had been reduced to a 2-foot square cube), and covered in molten glass.

The last straw came when Josie tried to cover the sweater in a protective asbestos glove and set it into solid steel. The seams failed and the sweater caught on fire. In keeping with the friendly (and at times not-so-friendly) rivalry that had developed, Josie returned the ashes to Colette mixed with potting soil…and a note inviting her to share any produce that grew from it.

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This post is part of the December 2011 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s challenge is a simple holiday story.

People often fail to realize the crushing abnormality of their lives as children. I was convinced that all the other kids’ mothers traded their pacifiers for small toys at the local five-and-dime as a reward for kicking the habit, or that the other kids’ fathers had jars of exotic bugs in preservatives at home and in the office. That was all I knew; that was “normal.”

Case in point: my parents always told my brother and I that we each got three wishes from Santa, as if he was some kind of genie you summoned by rubbing a Christmas ornament or something. It never occurred to me to compare notes with the other kids, because as far as I knew they each got their three wishes too. It wasn’t until third grade, when a friend boasted about the seven (!) things he’d gotten from Santa and another was excited about his single and solitary Santagift that I postulated the big man must have different allocations for different houses.

Now, of course, I know that my parents were a little low on the money scale my first few Christmases, and the tradition became ossified (plus, upping the present count after I was regularly a brat would hardly have sent the right message). It wasn’t until all the kids were in college and Santa was just a fond memory that we were chipped down to one gift apiece–and that quickly fell to zero as the family drifted apart and stopped spending holidays together.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Ralph Pines
Diana Rajchel

Part of the yearly ritual at work revolved around finding ways to celebrate the holidays that didn’t run afoul of the almighty PC Brigade. In the distant past, remembered only by a select few, there’d been an office Christmas party. That met its end for obvious reasons, even though Carl Lowenstein had long participated in its planning, even good-naturedly supplying his wife’s latkes to the potluck.

Next was the Christmahanukwanzaakah party, which was functionally similar but replaced the Christmas decorations with a melange of colorful symbols both old and post-1966. After Abdus Rahman joined the company, all religious trappings were stripped from the event, allegedly because the PC Brigate couldn’t locate any reasonably-priced Bangladeshi religious symbols. Abdus was happy to go along with a party as long as there was food, but he did get a bit testy when he learned that the proposed decorations to convert Christmahanukwanzaakah to Ramachristmahanukwanzaakahdon were manufactured in Pakistan.

Narinder Singh was the next wrinkle. He participated in the rechristened Holiday Party with gusto, but it same to the attention of the PC Brigade that he wasn’t throwing a holiday of his own under the banner–no Sikh holiday fell within December for that matter. So having any sort of December celebration was therefore taboo. It got to the point that we had a diffuse Autumn Celebration, with volunteers bringing dishes to pass every other weekend from September 21 thru December 31.

And that was how the office wound up stinking of Jeehun Choi’s kimchi around Halloween.