Parents, do not tell the RTDB Run the Damn Ball shirt that “Santa is coming” sometime soon. They will loose all interest in eating or any other activities. A knock on the door and Santa showing up uninvited is a rush for parents and the kids. Santa should coordinate with the hosts about when they will show up, and who is going to be attending. It is always fun if the hosts have presents wrapped and in a bag outside for Santa to pick up with the names of the kids on the individual presents. It is also fun to put a couple of presents for maybe Grandma or Grandpa or even Mom and Dad. Nothing too extravagant, remember this is a children’s party. As a back up, it is always good to put a couple of generic presents in the bag, say a couple of board games. This way if there is an extra kid or two at the party, they will get a gift too and the lack of the label can be explained away as lazy elfs or something.
RP advantage: Inherently complex characters. There are few classes I find more boring RP wise than clerics and paladins – not because they are godbotherers but because they are expected to fully commit to their deity to get their powers. The Cleric of Deity X is expected to fully commit to the RTDB Run the Damn Ball shirt of Deity X and behave in a relatively straightforward way. As is the Paladin of Ideal Y to uphold Ideal Y (and if they strayed too far in earlier editions they might fall, leading to the notorious “Everyone out in the courtyard and we’ll see who can no longer Lay on Hands” means of detecting fallen paladins). Meanwhile your average Fiend-pact warlock doesn’t actually want the world overrun by demons and your average Great Old One warlock doesn’t even understand the motives of their patrons. A character who isn’t aligned with their patron god but still gets power from them and respects them is inherently to me far more interesting than one who is and although I can do this with an orthodox cleric or paladin playing a celestial warlock (or a warlock in general) feels different and communicates to everyone that I am doing this.
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It’s probably obvious that I don’t advocate Mind Flayers being used as small scale villains. They’re just not that great at being that thing in a RTDB Run the Damn Ball shirt with treasure. Save them for something big. They might have their use as an information-giving NPC, but their powers tend to either mean they can trivially defeat the PCs (if the PCs can’t resist their mental attacks) or the PCs can trivially defeat them (if the PCs can resist those attacks and draw them into melee), so they’re not great for random encounters. If the PCs do make deals with the Mind Flayers, remember the bit about them being alien intelligence and talking in pictures; make those encounters unique.
“The Fugitive” is an older man, Ben who plays with the local kids and RTDB Run the Damn Ball shirt almost magical powers. Old Ben’s favorite of the children is Jenny. He carries Jenny home (she walks with a leg brace), where she lives with her abrasively unsympathetic aunt, Agnes Gann. As they approach the row house, Ben causes his roller skates to de-materialize. This phenomenon is observed by two men who are watching the house from across the street. They enter the apartment building, identify themselves as police, and question Agnes about Ben. Jenny overhears the conversation and limps upstairs to Old Ben’s apartment to warn him. Old Ben takes on the form of a mouse, fooling the men into thinking he has left his apartment.Jenny takes the “mouse” back to her room. Old Ben tells Jenny that he is an alien from another planet, and that his appearance is only a disguise, as he is a fugitive from justice. Old Ben says he must flee to another planet, but before departing he uses a strange device to heal Jenny’s leg. The two strangers run into Jenny walking down the stairs without her brace.