Monday, May 28, 2018

Poetry Challenge

(This is in response to David McGrogan's poetry RPG challenge)

Of Rules

Strength / agility / intellect / will
All at ten they shall rest still.
Take an attribute and add to it one
Move one point to another and look there, you're done.

Modifiers equal stat minus ten
Easy, yes? Listen again.
Skills come from your background, nothing new
Make up a profession, and this step's through.

Strength marks your health, agility defense
Intellect perception and will good sense.
Each night heal a quarter of max
Lost to sharp sword and biting axe

The target number sits at ten
Roll your d-twenty, add mod, and then
Apply d6 for each boon and bane.
(Watch that your luck doesn't wane.)

Go out to the wild, level up by achievement
Dig through a dungeon and watch where the time went.
The rest you'll find within the book
Open it up, give it a look.

If that won't do, just use what you know.
My job is done, give it a go.

Of The World


The fishermen were here first
They have a sacred bird called the phoenix

Stars above, below the pyres burn
Orange night sky glimmers to the west with distant lightning, somewhere out to sea
Manticores have a melodious call, like the lower notes on a flute.
Greenhouse atmosphere smells of sweet nectar and rot

This district was the center of the cult of the river goddess
I can hardly believe those dusty old highways led to such a lush and lively place
Professional and amateur humanists existed side by side
In the flaming distant past the landscape had been twisted all over the place
The great houses abandoned the city for country estates
Several times it decayed, then burgeoned again
A pillar rises like a petrified tree; its tip vanishes in the oak forest's treetops.
In undersea interfaces, you get chitinous cruciform organisms.

Oh, a night upon the town wouldn’t do us any harm.
You'll greet the sun with bottles high.

More of the Tall Castle lies below ground than above
Beyond the gates wide passages ran down to high halls and chambers
Winding tunnels, ceilings of mud propped with rickety beams
The Sect turned this section of dungeon into a verdant paradise
The lucky prisoners had a window in their cells


"No, man: Mother Warriors.
Men are too preoccupied with their swords.
Her eyes are never closed in slumber, and by day she perches, watching from tower or battlement,
Armored above and below with iron scales and hard gems.”

The code consists of four parts
  1. Let that which is born alive to human parents be suffered to live
  2. You lack perspective! You gotta walk the bottom if you want ta see the top!
  3. Keep my eyes open, keep my ears sharpened; there's nothing to fear but fear itself
  4. The only difference between war and murder is the number of dead
The doctrine, and the impassioned melodies of the prophet, spread like fire.

There are souls, he thought, whose umbilicus has never been cut.
He feels them newly born; awake again after years; just returned form lives of exile.

The angel of the south came on followed by his hosts, the kumbhandas, mounted upon blue steeds.
Across the restaurant, a prostitute in a red nightgown yawned prodigiously.
“I'm a sinner, finished my dinner, now I can go outside.”

What do you get when you combine sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal? Immortality.
Lord Golden was little pleased with this, but there was nothing he could do.
A great desire came over him to climb the tower and see the Sea.
Never had plans for a normal life.

The revolutionaries had created fierce mercenary cyborgs, who slaughtered thousands
They tore the sacred standard from his dead hand and carried it away.

There is such a thing as a tesseract.
Oh God all-mighty, I've never seen something so dangerous in my life.
A man has to die when he sees something like that.

(Bibliomaniac: someone with a lunatic's passion for acquiring books.)
Ancient tomes, waiting out there for some brave souls to come and salvage them!
(The coins are a red herring)
(The soil and salt were an ancient tradition to keep ghosts away)
How easily treasure buried in the ground, gold hidden however skillfully, can escape from any man!

Many miles away, something crawls from the slime.
The monstrous Thing, having thus consumed the body, turned to the offerings, and ate them also.
He's up there, building an artificial heart to keep the sun alive.

"How do you guys like your clown meat?"
"All chewy-ooey-gooey." 


I've been knocking on that door in my sleep
I died a thousand times, I did what I had to do
A fella like me really needs a good chopper this time of year.
Can't you see I've been classically trained?
(Destinations are for stronger souls than mine)

“What's this babble of alliances with the suns and treaties with the moon?”
“Astrology's the core of all religion.”

“Do you believe the Mountain Queen's false promises?
A rich ring she offered him, of red gold fashioned...”
“We are three times the slaves of the owner of the Golden Cap...”
“This generation is called to import hippos and eat them...”
“These are off-world concerns, here we must take the towers!”

“Have mercy, a devil is devouring my bowels!”
"You and your ancestors treated the world like a fucking great toilet bowl!
Them gods gonna hurt ya, son, when you play with a loaded gun!”


The cripple waited politely for the scratching of the clerk's quills to finish.
“Anum had been destroyed by his fellow angels, but his right hand had survived...”

There was no Dragon Army.
There's nothing central about it, as it transpires.

Little is known of the Executioners.
There aren't many and they are all horrifyingly dangerous
Their skin and eye colors are due to a chemical reaction to an oxygen atmosphere
They had flayed the tattooed skin from his back
They live in a more enlightened era, when the practice of legalized murder is no longer tolerated.

Great Voices were the whales.
They made it through, their baptism with fire had hardened and awakened them.

Everybody come along with me, I'll take you to a place you never did see
You should know what's really going on down below
There's a big dark town, it's a place I've found, there's a world going on underground!
Engraved on the wall is a masterfully designed image of a dwarf. The dwarf is screaming.
There was machinery too, all incomprehensible, all frozen fast by vacuum cementing.

The boy has broken apart what looks to be a heartshaped stone
And built many dungeons and domed halls of black stone, fire, and ice.
This is an extremely shitty place to die!
Bad enough having fucking flu without being crucified!
The environment is contaminated. You are already dying.

The Flagellants march around the circle.
They are never alone and their soul is always in peril,
And they ride with spears and lances like men of war.
God, forgive these bastards.

Something’s coming, something’s on it’s way.
Explosions ripple the clouds.
The exercise begins in ten seconds.
The sky will come for you once.
Just run for cover, you've got nothing left to lose!

1 comment:

  1. Commentary: The first poem is just rhyming couplets, because a sonnet to explain Shadow of the Demon Lord, while quite impressive, would just have me slamming my head against the wall.

    The second poem is a cento, which is 100 lines taken from other source with minimal to no editing. I added the constraint that I could not use two lines from the same source (same author was fine), and that game books were to be kept to a minimum.