Magma Hurler – Poetry

Here’s some more adventure poetry from gaming sessions about the deaths of heroes. First, a little background, which you can scroll past if you just want to read the poems.

Back in 2007, I took a hand at dungeon master for some D&D 3e gaming, and while I don’t think I made the game excessively hard, there were some deaths of heroes. A new game master sometimes doesn’t know how to manage the difficulty or challenge rating. I didn’t fudge any dice roles, and even made crucial roles on the player side of the DM screen. It was pretty tense from what I remember, which is how the games should play out.

The players made some tactical errors that contributed to two deaths. Resting and healing before combat is always important, and ranged attackers staying back behind the meat shields, especially the less hardy wizard. Once a character falls, the balance is thrown off, and things can go downhill quickly. The following two gaming poems, similar to the Fall of Ormenth, are about the decline of two heroes against a magma hurler.

Smoking Ash – the Fall of Bob the Wizard

           Smoking Ash
With light aloft he held back darkness deep,
While his fellow heroes did clang and creep.
Using normal sand he made goblins sleep,
Casting spell to leave them piled in a heap.

In dungeons his voice echoed like a choir,
Weaving magic glamour, pitch getting higher.
Ahead loomed a monster of rock and fire,
Whose flaming spit, unknown, would be dire.

With heroic gusto Bob ran forth and cast,
Three flaring blue missiles to be his last.
Smoldering magma hurler strode forth fast,
And smote defenseless Bob with molten blast.

Paladin and warrior attacked with slash,
While swift arrows flew and maces crash.
When the lava monster fell with echoing smash,
All that remained of Bob was smoking ash.

Fallen Komrade

           Fallen Komrade
He crept through shadow on feet so light,
Silent death shifting in the dark of night.
Deftly shooting accurately with his arrows,
Striking from shadows his foe he harrows.

Intricate chests unlocked and traps disarmed,
With skillful art he remained unharmed.
Plentiful skills, successful rogue for hire,
Not knowing his mortality would end in fire.

He witnessed the magma beast hurl molten blast,
Bob fell. He left sanctuary and darted in fast.
Hoping with assistance to save his fallen friend,
Not realizing such heroics could lead to his end.

He fired arrows deftly at the fire creatures head,
Not knowing after the next blow he would be dead.
The adventurers who survived the fight would say,
That Komrade Tusk had certainly earned his pay.

Poetic Style

The first poem uses quatrains, groups of four lines, though I elected not to use the formal style of alternating rhyme scheme. While I tended to use relatively simple words for rhyming, it’s still challenging to arrange them with similar number of syllables and tell a decent story. The second poem uses couplets, pairs of rhymes, also grouped together in four lines, also with similar syllable count. I find you can get away with being a syllable off, maybe two. Any more than that and you lose the musical quality of the lyrics. For more information on rhyming types, schemes, and definitions, check out the great site Poetry Foundation.

Wrap up

In the end, it was a sad day for two players and their characters, and victory tasted bitter sweet for the survivors. Winning sometimes comes with a cost, and the cost of defeating the magma hurler was high. -DJF

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