|Made by yours truly|
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a creature was stirring, and fate was at hand;
Trees of pine, bushes juniper, and tall pillars of oak
Occluded all vision as a near-dead-man awoke;
My children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of bereavement danced in my head;
And I in the snow-banks, their cold downy drifts,
In the forest hounded by bandits and robbed of my gifts,
When out on the horizon a motion was made,
I sprang from the dune, braced for a second raid.
Away from sight I dove in a flash,
huddled by a tree, face covered in sash.
The moon on the breast of the old-treaded snow
Gave a ghastly light to objects below,
When, what to my worrying eyes should appear,
But a gaunt figure astride and was quickly near,
His face was split by the gash of his teeth,
Nothing else was shown through his hair, nor beneath;
He had a sunken face, and withered black nails,
and he drug quite a path with his long coattails.
In the grip of his claws, he held fast a small toy,
the very same stuffed bear I'd picked out for my boy;
A widening of craw and a crane of his head,
Soon gave me to know I was as good as dead;
He spoke not a word, but gestured straight for my home,
And filled me with longing; A fool I was to roam,
now prone shivering at the feet of this beast,
this last gift I knew would survive me at least;
The creature's dread grin faded, slowly melting adieu,
And his crimson robe bled through the solid white view;
But I heard him cackle, ere he moved out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!
Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Pelznickel. He is truly named Zinigol of Immortal Sorcery, The Two Right Handed. In times immemorial, Zinigol undertook the ancient rites and became a Lich; a being of eternal life and rotting form. Centuries past by from his Hyperborean birth, and Christmas arrived. It was beginning to peter out (relatively) soon after its creation when Zinigol took notice.
In the jolly, red-clad figurehead of the holiday, Zinigol found an opportunity for cover. If he were to relocate to the North Pole, spend a year or two delivering gifts, and turned away any investigators with illusory spells, he could pass as Santa Claus and have a base of operations that no wily adventurers would seek out. It was foolproof!
Sadly for Zinigol, he was too careful in his work. Time's passage is harder to perceive when one reaches as advanced an age as he, and immortality distorts the view even further. Years of gift-giving quickly became decades, and decades became centuries, and on and on. A millennia later and Zinigol's withering old mind was bent out of shape.
He is Santa Claus, now. Except more like the Futurama S.C, where he'll kill you dead if he ever lays eye on you. His standards were already made up, now they're completely distorted. Gifts and baubles are devilish. No treats, only tortures. Christmas was saved, and ruined, by the same man.
LotFP: Armor 18, Movement 200', 9th level Magic-User, 100 hp, gnarled claws 1d10+paralysis(as ghoul) or magic, Morale 16.
DCC RPG: Init +4; Atk claw +7 melee (1d12+3) or magic; AC 18; HD 12d12; MV walk 50'; Act 2d20; SP un-dead traits, paralysis(as ghoul), phylactery, spells as 9th level wizard; SV Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +2; AL C.
By this point in his un-life, Santa Claus' phylactery has become something new.. something different. Most are physical vessels for soulstuff that direct the reassembly of matter into a new form for the Lich. Santa's phylactery has shifted over his loooonnnggg life to be the very Spirit of Christmas itself. So long as children and childish persons believe in him, he will reform at his base of operation; a ruined Soviet drifting station in the Arctic Ocean. Its machinery has been refitted to churn out diabolic devices of torture and mayhem painted in a thin veneer of childish glee.
(Merry Crustmas, TLN! I hope this satisfies what you imagined when you thought of the Lich who Saved Christmas. Thanks so much for all the wonderful posts and inspiration since I found your blog! This monster man was a lot of fun to think around. I'd love to run a modern-day fantasy thing someday. This would certainly be that world's Santa Claus!)