Choose Your Own Adventure: Will You Survive The Wrath of Krampus?

Caleb Faulkerson, Cav-Culture Editor

POV: you and your buddies are the last survivors of a ski lift malfunction in the Alps. Your company has been traveling for several hours, and you suspect a storm is brewing from afar. Supplies are scarce, and the radio you salvaged from the wreck has been malfunctioning. With this in mind, you and your company seek shelter, but finding it will be no easy feat; a dense fog obstructs your path in all directions, and even Garrett, the self-proclaimed expert cartographer of the group, is getting lost. After a few more hours of perilous searching, you finally see what appears to be a church spire in the distance- this could be a town! How do you proceed?

  1. You press onwards towards the town, despite your suspicions. (go to 1)
  2. Trusting your gut, you search for high ground to get a better view. (go to 2)
Image courtesy of Pixabay ©

1) As you approach the smooth-birch spire, you realize it’s some sort of pagan totem, complete with strange, rune-like markings. Distracted by awe, you trip on a rock and scrape your arm on the shrine. The past has always interested you, so you’re instantly stricken with shame for tainting the artifact. That said, instead of dripping down the totem’s side, the gore from your wound appears to be absorbed right before your eyes. A red beam then emits horizontally from the conical head of the totem. How do you respond?

  1. You recoil in horror before Sarah (the group nurse) tends to your wound. You tell everyone to keep away from the totem, and you and the others (minus Garrett who said he would stay and study the totem’s runes) walk in the opposite direction. (go to Interim I)
  2. After boldly cauterizing your wound with a lighter, thereby catching the eye of Sarah, you decide to walk in the direction the beam is pointing. Since Garrett lost the bet about the “church spire” being a town, he’s forced to stay back at the totem. (go to Interim I)

 

2) Upon ascending a nearby hill, you and Garrett look across the hazy expanse. Garrett warns that a storm is approaching fast, but you remain determined to verify if there’s truly a town nearby. “Eureka!” you loudly exclaim after a moment, focusing the gaze of your binoculars upon a smoke pillar in the distance. “Ha! you lost the bet,” you say, swiveling towards Garrett with a frosty smile on your face, but only his backpack remains; the cartographer is nowhere to be found! You call out his name, but fail to hear a response. How do you proceed?

  1. Wait for 10 minutes before returning to the others as the blizzard descends upon you. (go to Interim I)
  2. Take all the valuables from Garrett’s backpack and leave in a hurry. (go to Interim I)
Image courtesy of Pixabay ©

Interim I} With the cartographer indisposed, you assume the role of de-facto group leader, much to the discomfort of Leni who grows wary of your newfound power. In doing so, you gain significant clout among the others, gaining the attraction of the group nurse, Sarah, and subsequent disapproval of her lover and self-proclaimed gymrat, Chad Braxton. Chad will remember this. After about half an hour of hiking, your nostrils are besieged by sweet aromas: treats! Upon seeing a frost-glazed village fence, your hopes are confirmed. “It’s about time,” you say as your company enters the village amidst the rising storm. The town looks vacant, but the pleasant smells persist. How do you proceed?

  1. Find the source of the smells. (go to 3)
  2. Pair off with Leni (the group linguist) and have a look around. (go to 4)

 

3) Within minutes, you locate the bakery from which the pleasant aromas are escaping. Through the frosty windows of the bakery, you spot several intricate rows of cakes and strudels typical of any alpine, Austrian village. Seeking local advice for how to escape, Leni stays outside to search for village natives. In contrast, you, having not eaten in hours, feel you simply must partake in at least some of the sweets. Even still, this display seems a little too convenient. How do you proceed?  

  1. Satisfy your gut and eat an entire row of cakes. All you hear is the sound of your chewing. (go to 5)  
  2. Trust your conscience and abstain from eating for now. You and Sarah watch in disgust as Chad chows down, before rushing outside to Leni as she calls for you. (go to 4.5)

 

4) You and Leni stroll about the town. The two of you take in the sights all around, and she conveys her astonishment that anyone would abandon such a quaint, Christmas-card town. “I don’t know,” you reply, taking in the stillness of what looked like previously vibrant streets. “And that’s what scares me…” As you approach an icy fountain in the middle of the town, you hear a sudden slamming on a window pane followed by a wail of desperation. How do you proceed?

  1. “She’ll only slow us down,” you say before you part from Leni to join the others at a nearby bakery. Leni stays behind to investigate. (go to 3)
  2.  You rush up to the wailing woman to see what’s the matter (go to 4.5)

 

4.5) “Come quick!” exclaims Leni as you rush to her side. You are stricken with horror upon witnessing innards strewn about the room. It’s as if a demon had burst from someone’s chest. What hellish beast could’ve done such a thing? You think to yourself. After hurriedly giving the disemboweled town woman some of your water and already-scarce rations, she musters the strength to speak. “Ich weiß von dem, was du suchst- es ist im Keller…” she says with a raspy, hushed voice. “In… Den… Keller…” Leni roughly translates: “She knows what we’re looking for! It’s… in the cellar.” You ask the linguist to question the woman further, but the town woman lies still. “Looks like the witch is dead,” says Chad as he rushes in from the bakery, once again making another of his signature observations. Realizing this, you’re left with a choice: 

  1. Embrace your inner detective to locate and inspect the cellar. (go to Interim II)
  2. Fearful of what lies below, you dispatch Leni and Chad to find the cellar before you and Sarah motion to get a signal for the radio. (go to 5)

 

5) With a newfound sense of clarity, you set your focus on the main objective: being rescued from the dreaded Alps. Acting on this focus, you, with tech-savvy Sarah in tow, set about attaining high ground to send an SOS transmission. Chad wanted to tag along to keep an eye on you and Sarah, but he angrily backed down due to his fear of heights. Upon reaching the top of the town’s tallest structure, you notice that the blizzard subsided and that the others found a cellar for refuge in the distance. As Sarah struggles with the dying radio, you continue to skim the horizon and are gradually overtaken by a deep sense of foreboding. “It’s quiet…” you say as you peer off into the jagged, white expanse. “Too quiet.” Then, suddenly, a thundering in the distance: an avalanche. “Speak of the devil,” says Sarah with an upward glance. “Now what?”

  1. “Let’s send that transmission!” you exclaim before finding the batteries you salvaged from Garrett’s backpack and using them to fix the radio; allowing the two of you to send a single distress message before escaping to the cellar. (go to Interim II) 
  2. “Forget the signal, we’ve gotta move!” you exclaim before the two of you rush down to the cellar as the avalanche approaches. In the commotion, Sarah unknowingly drops the radio in the snow. (go to Interim II)  

 

Interim II} Once again in need of shelter and still somewhat curious about the secrets of the town, you and your company take refuge in a cellar on the hamlet’s outskirts. As you rush down the rickety stairs, you take note of the many crates and barrels scattered around the musty enclosure. “This must’ve been a mine,” you say to the others as they crowd around, taking note of the strangely familiar rune-markings etched along the support pillars. “An abandoned mine with ale galore?” joyfully asks Chad while skimming his hand across a row of beer barrels. “Now this is my kind of place!” Coincidentally, just after he says this, you hear a violent crescendo of pounding upon the cellar doors through which you came. “First a blizzard, now it’s raining hail,” pouts Leni. “So much for peace and quiet.” As you listen closely, you’re struck with a dire realization. “That’s not hail,” you say after a moment. “It’s an avalanche… and now we’re trapped.” How do you proceed?

  1. Have a look around and get used to your new home. (go to 6)
  2. Gorge on rations to quell your anxieties. (go to 7)
Image courtesy of Pixabay ©

6) Although the realization that you’re now trapped in the cellar has the others down in the dumps, as de-facto group leader, you refuse to let yourself succumb to melancholy. You wander about the enclosure as the others make use of its central fireplace, and quickly notice an incongruous pile of hay behind some distant crates. Could make a decent bed, you think to yourself as you pass by a visibly-unwell Chad, gradually accepting that you’ll probably be here for a while. How do you proceed?

  1. Motion to make a makeshift mattress with the hay. (go to Interim III)
  2. Hide the extra rations and Garrett’s backpack behind the haystack. (go to 7)

 

7) Several days of entrapment have passed and the others are getting restless. The faint fire in the cellar’s center seems to be the only thing keeping you going. Sensing that rations are dangerously low, Chad wearily confronts you. “First you take my girl, now you take all the rations?!” he shouts in an aggressive, slurred voice. “It’s simple really,” you reply with a smug face and a shrug. “Fortune favors the bold.” To this, the malnourished hulk grits his teeth and takes on a stance of attack. Noting the tension of this moment, how do you respond?

  1. Grab the wrench from Garrett’s backpack and preemptively smite Chad. Return to the others afterwards and somberly announce that Chad has died. (go to Interim III)
  2. Defenseless, you’re unable to stop Chad as he beats the life out of you. Your stash of food belongs to him now. (game over) 

 

Interim III} With the others slowly starving, and with Chad indisposed, you’re eventually able to establish yourself at the top of the cellar hierarchy and get some shut-eye. In your slumber, you start off dreaming of the eventful ski ride you and the others enjoyed a few nights prior. However, things quickly turn awry when your inner subconscious recalls what you glimpsed in the commotion of that swaying lift cabin- a demon peering through the window panes! It’s as if you see it more clearly now; the blazing eyes of its horned, goat-like mane faintly illuminating the blackened skies of night. You frantically awake with a cold sweat, thus waking Sarah up as well. She asks what’s the matter. “It was an omen,” you reply in between panting breaths. “The demon Krampus is among us!” 

How do you proceed thereafter?

  1. You take a waterfall of whatever’s in the barrels before rushing over to Leni and begging her to believe you. (grab Garrett’s backpack if you took it earlier and go to 8)
  2. You scurry to your feet and warily back towards the fire away from the others, balling your fists and yelling “stay back!” all the while. (go to 9) 

 

8) After showering yourself in the barrel brew, you stumble and crawl over to Leni. “It all adds up,” you say with a mad look in your eyes. “We’re all players in His twisted game!” Sarah watches in disbelief as you go on like a lunatic. In the hopes of proving your sanity, you demand that Leni tells you what she knows about Krampus. Glancing at Sarah and then back at you, Leni finally concedes. “As of late,” she says with a sigh. “I have been able to decipher some of the runes in this cellar… and they do indeed speak of Krampus… my idol.” Silent in shock, how do you respond?

  1. “And you waited until now to tell us?!” you ask with rage, before reasoning that justice must be served and using some nearby restraints to chain Leni to a nearby pillar. “Traitors deserve to rot,” you say thereafter before helping Sarah find a way out. (go to Interim IV)
  2. Still in silent disbelief, you fill your flask with a shot of barrel brew before walking towards the fireplace to calm your mind. (go to 9)
Image courtesy of Pixabay ©

9) As you approach the fire, your vision seems to gradually blur. Even still, out of the corner of your eye, in the back of the dark enclosure, you’re able to see the faint, fuzzy outline of a rising, lumbering figure. As it steps into the firelight, you see the true horror of it; clear as ever, just like in your dream. Its shimmering, onyx-black horns dart upwards in an affront to the heavens, and its monstrous frame is enough to make cowards out of even the bravest heroes. “K-Krampus…” you whisper through quivering lips. As the beast lumbers towards you, you reason it’s now or never. Against the odds, how do you proceed?

  1. Grab a hatchet next to the fireplace and throw it at Krampus. You miss so Sarah, having caught the weapon, motions to do what you could not and tries to attack Krampus. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot a tunnel opening. That must be the way out! you think to yourself. (If you’re still wearing Garrett’s backpack, its game over as Krampus stuffs you into the blazing fireplace; if you’re not, go to Interim IV
  2. Grab a red-hot fir prong from the hearth of the fireplace and throw it at Krampus like a javelin. Rather than striking the beast, the searing javelin goes right through Krampus’ chest, striking a crate of TNT instead. (go to Interim IV)  

 

Interim IV} Now that you’ve discovered a way out, you and Sarah rush to escape through the now-revealed tunnel leading from the makeshift cellar to the rest of the mine. You leave Leni behind to meet her fate, and run through the old tunnels until your feet grow numb. Having lost sight of its wicked prey, Krampus howls, thereby rumbling the walls of the mine to the point that it begins to collapse. The threat of being horribly mauled by the beast spurs you along through the mineshaft, but Krampus is a cunning creature and chases you from afar. As you continue running, you hear a faint propeller noise in the distance. Salvation! You think to yourself. Before you reach the source of the noise, however, you reach two split tunnels. One of them is barred off by several wooden planks. Which path do you choose?

  1. Use the hatchet you threw to Sarah to proceed through the barred off tunnel. (go to 10)
  2. Unable to break the planks, you proceed through the open tunnel. (go to 11)

 

10) Eager to escape the dingy, collapsing mine, you attack the planks with Sarah’s hatchet. After one final whack, you break the last plank necessary for you to climb through the opening, making it just wide enough for you to proceed through. Sarah, however, is not fortunate enough to be able to fit through the crevice, and you’re forced to leave her behind. How do you proceed?

  1. Empty your flask in honor of your fallen friends before pressing on towards the propeller noise. (go to Finale)
  2. You refuse to let emotions get the best of you; press onwards without looking back. (go to Finale) 

 

11) As you rush through the new open tunnel, and the helicopter noise begins to fade, you quickly realize the error of your ways. Unable to turn back, you accept your fate and prepare to be buried beneath a shower of coal and rocks. What are your last words?

  1. “At least we’re still together.” (game over)
  2. “I have to go to the bathroom.” (game over)

 

Finale} After a minute or so more of rushing through the mine, you finally see the light and a faint silhouette of a helicopter. Reinvigorated by a new sense of hope, you successfully climb your way out of what remains of the mine. However, once you reach the ledge outside the cave, you realize you’ll have to jump off a cliff ledge to board the helicopter. Knowing that your escape depends on your next actions, how do you proceed?

  1. Lighten your load in order to properly leap into the helicopter. Throw out your flask in the process. (go to Epilogue 1)
  2. There’s no time to think; just run and jump to get to the helicopter. (go Epilogue 2) 

 

Epilogue 1} Before you jump, Krampus leaps from a ledge above you in order to attain the flask. Good thing you hesitated to jump, it seems you dodged a real bullet there. With Krampus no longer a threat to you, you finally take the leap of faith and board the red helicopter. You’re surprised to see Garrett there waiting for you, along with the pilot who introduces himself as Klaus. “Today’s your lucky day, kid,” says the pilot. “Thanks to your friend, ze map geek here, and a faint signal we picked up, you’re finally going home.”  At long last, you think to yourself. But at what cost?

The End

 

Epilogue 2} You take a few steps back before lunging off the cliff’s edge. As you fly through the crisp alpine air, you can almost feel the railing of the helicopter. However, even after all your suffering, it appears your escape was not meant to be; for Krampus lunges down from a ledge above that which you were standing on and intercepts you in midair! The beast had captured you, a naughty child, thereby achieving its grand ambition. Together in freefall, the two of you tumble down the mountainside. While you are terribly bruised and battered with every stone-hit, Krampus appears impervious to the blows. As you look into the beast’s cursed eyes through the whirling haze, you sense it relishes in this moment. While life fades from your bloodied body, you’re horrified by a sense deep within that maybe, just maybe, you’ll become like Krampus after death…

The End?