The Crimbo Saga, Kingdom of Loathing

Michael Baker

Merry Crimbo!

This is a story that for me started in December of 2007, though it had begun well before then. Just one month earlier, I had registered a character in the quirky, text and stick figure online RPG, Kingdom of Loathing. I was still wet behind the ears and ignorant of the game's traditions on December 1st, when an advent calendar appeared in my character's campsite. It was time for Crimbo.

First, a little history is in order. The festive season of Crimbo was traditionally ruled by Father Crimbo up to his death in a freak accident circa 2004. In desperation, the elves accepted his drunken, derelict younger brother as Uncle Crimbo, and things were never quite the same. First he turned Crimbo Town into a sweatshop, until a Marxist agitator named Rudolph the Red fomented an unsuccessful proletarielf revolution in 2005. In 2006, Crimbo elves briefly took over Halloween, so that holiday's Scream Queen took her revenge the following Crimbo. A massive parody of "A Christmas Carol" ensued.

Back in the relative present, the me of 2007 had noticed an odd shape at the top of the game's browser page, where the two moons of Loathing were usually shown. It was curious, but I didn't think much of it until I opened my advent calendar over the first two weeks of December and received gifts of cookies, candies, and eggnog with descriptions that were very, very careful to state how ordinary and innocuous they were.

Then Crimbo Town opened its gates to the world.

I didn't know what to expect on my first trip to Crimbo Town, but whatever I might have imagined was nothing compared to what lay before me. A landscape that was dominated by a dodecahedral spacecraft and populated by cheery elfin cyborgs was certainly not what I would have had in mind. For more than a week and a half I battled against the robotic hordes, until the day I defeated twelve stompers stomping, eleven stranglers strangling, ten borgs a-beeping, nine lasers lancing, eight blades a-spinning, seven swarmers swarming, six (cybernetic) geese a-laying, five golden rings, four killing birds, three Swiss hens, two turtle mechs, and a death ray in a pear tree in order to reach Father Crimborg and put an end to his plans to assimilate the Crimbo Spirit back into the citizens of Loathing. It was certainly a memorable Christmas Crimbo, to say the least.

Subsequent years have proven just as entertaining. In 2008, the fallout from Uncle Crimbo's shoestring budget nuclear reactor resulted in Crimbo at Ground Zero and a hostile takeover by the Penguin Mafia. In 2009, I signed up with Don Crimbo to lead an army of hobo panhandlers, and betrayed him by collaborating with the Elf Liberation Front. Last year I toiled 9 to 5 in the soulless office space of CRIMBCO, slaying spreadsheets, wasting time on the Best Game Ever, and fighting off Hobo Elf incursions.

Even as I write, Crimbo is back in full swing in the Kingdom. This year, everyone received a nifty diorama, and day by day we get new items to fill it up. Now I can hunt down lolicats and lolligators in the Lollipop Forest, or slay cacao-based life forms in the Fudge Mountains. Who knows what new magic this Crimbo will bring?

Merry Crimbo, everyone!

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