Guide to Building Santa Claus Character: DnD 5e

When building Santa Claus in DnD 5e, the Druid Circle of Land is the best choice.  This is a fantastic character build for a friendly beer and pretzels night of Dungeons and Dragons 5e.  Naturally, you choose the Arctic Druid and base spells around Santa’s lore and other Christmas shenanigans.

Santa’s Wood Elf Backstory

Ultimately, I go with wood elf when building Santa.  Sure, Santa could be a human or dwarf, especially with the pudge, but something about a nimble fat guy works for Santa.  He surrounds himself with elves, so it makes sense that he may be one as well.  Plus, the extra wood elf Wisdom bonus is nice for his druid spells.

So, where did the pudge and beard come from?  Let’s say that Santa stayed in bear form for a little too long, falling asleep in the snow, and it had permanent consequences.  He has those kinds of odd backstories in the arctic homeland he comes from.

Much of the lore surrounding Santa is nature heavy—the North Pole, reindeer, Christmas trees, winter wonder lands.  Even if he works with tinkering elves, who may be more like wizards and artificers, Santa’s job is roaming the world with his reindeer.

Also, I’ve seen characterizations of Santa where he refers to himself in the 3rd person so many times, it sticks out in my mind.  It’s hilarious.  Go ahead and try it out.  “Santa thinks we should help the orphanage in the village.”

Santa’s Druid Spells

Naturally, Santa is going to have a specialty in snow spells as an Arctic Druid, giving him field effects and damage that hinders enemy movement.  I’ll gain freezing-like spells like Hold Person, Slow, and Sleet Storm to hinder movement as bonus spells to my druid list (among other icy spells that escalate in power).  Check out my arctic druid article here.

However, I still need to pick some other Santa-like spells from the druid list.  Fortunately, there are plenty of candidates to choose from.

  • Ray of Frost: Shoot a ray of cold light that deals 1d8 cold damage and slows the target’s movement by 10 feet until your next turn. This is a go to cantrip that leans into the snowy archetype.
  • Speak with Animals: Santa’s gotta chat with his reindeer, but also, Santa always had a reputation with animal friendship.  Obviously, this means you can talk to animals.
  • Cure Wounds: This character type is pro-social, so Santa would likely want to heal his friends from injury.  Plus, this plays strategically with Santa’s other best field-controlling attributes in battle.
  • Misty Step: This is my idea of how Santa gets down the chimney.  You can teleport in a misty swoosh of fog up to 30 feet.
  • Goodberry: Santa loves his snacks.
  • Summon Elemental: This is Santa’s way of calling on odd Christmas friends to help in battle.  More about that later.

Animal Shapes for Snow Environments

In 5e rules, you can shapeshift into any animal you want in the list of available forms for your character.  However, you can take those base animal stats and do a little reimagining for different environments.  For example, an early-level Santa would not have access to a polar bear stat block (they’re tough), but maybe I can make a smaller, white bear form with the black bear stat block.

I like to make these transformations focus on arctic creatures for this character trope, so consider the following:

  • Arctic Bears: Polar bears, grizzly bears and black bears with white fur.  You can gain the advanced stat blocks as you gain level.
  • Giant Badgers: digging northern creatures with a bear-like ability to brawl.
  • Seals, Walrus: Water forms that thrive in chilling water.  (swimming forms)
  • Giant Eagles/Snow Owls: Large northern birds clad in white and black feathers.  (flying forms)

Elemental Summons:  Take Christmas Forms

Druids in DnD 5e can summon beasts and elementals to their aid.  However, the elementals tend to be tough and totally worthwhile for a druid like Santa.  He’s got so many friends with Christmas themes to work with.

Therefore, let’s take a look at some re-skinning of elemental stat blocks we can use for each element.

  • Earth Elemental: An earthen gingerbread man ought to do Christmas some justice.  Santa loves cookies and this plays to the bulky, brown elemental type.
  • Air Elemental: Flying reindeer come to mind for Santa’s air elemental forms.  Of course, these reindeer could look more ethereal than furry.
  • Water Elemental: I’m thinking Frosty the Snowman.  Sure, he’s a little snowier than water, but he’s still made of the stuff.  The same goes for ice elementals.
  • Fire Elemental: Maybe Rudolf fits here, or maybe a Yule-fire-themed being.  Some candy is hot, so that can also be a great direction to take.

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