Role-playing design notes

Random notes on the design of Gods & Monsters, and maybe even Men & Supermen if I can remember what I was drinking when I wrote it.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Urbana Mystica (Song of the City)

Jerry Stratton, January 29, 2010

One of the things I like to do is steal good poetry and rewrite it for Highland. I did this with The Lady of Shalott in The House of Lisport. I just did it again for a new adventure our group is currently going through, the road to the first city. I stole straight from one of the best: Rome Unvisited from Oscar Wilde’s Rosa Mystica. It turned out even better than the Lady of Lisport. The fifth stanza is probably going to be the highlighted text of the imprint page:

  • And yet what joy it were for me
  • To trod my feet upon the earth,
  • And journeying toward Aira’s birth
  • To kneel again at Drasoli!

The rest of the poem undoubtedly still has changes to be made, but I do like those lines!

Here for your enjoyment is Urbana Mystica: The Song of the City.


    • The corn has turned from gray to red,
    • Since first my spirit wandered forth
    • From the drear cities of the north,
    • And to the solar mountains fled.
    • And here I set my face toward home,
    • For now my pilgrimage doth yield,
    • Although, methinks, yon blood-red field
    • Marshals the way to Aureum.
    • O Mesiemblé, who dost hold
    • Upon the central roads thy reign!
    • O Mother without blot or stain,
    • Crowned with bright crowns of triple gold!
    • O Meshiaské, at thy feet
    • I lay this barren gift of song!
    • For, ah! the way is steep and long
    • That leads unto thy sacred street.


    • And yet what joy it were for me
    • To trod my feet upon the earth,
    • And journeying toward Aira’s birth
    • To kneel again at Drasoli!
    • And wandering through the tangled pine
    • That break the gold of Marsu’s dream,
    • To see the purple mist and gleam
    • Of morning on King’s forty-nine.
    • By many a vineyard-hidden home,
    • Orchard, and olive-garden gray,
    • Till from threaded Edekli’s way
    • The central hill bears up the dome!


    • A pilgrim from the northern seas-
    • What joy for me to seek alone
    • The wondrous Temple, and the throne
    • Of the sacrificial priests!
    • When, bright with purple and with gold,
    • Come Flamines maiores,
    • And borne along the sacred ways
    • The free-held Quirinalis sword.
    • O joy to hear before I die
    • The silver city’s people sing,
    • And see the crystal spires ring
    • The seven axes of the sky.
    • Or at Dupater’s stormy shrine,
    • Hold high the bloody sacrifice,
    • And show a God to mortal eyes
    • Behind the lightning and the wine.


    • For lo, what changes time can bring!
    • The cycles of revolving years
    • May free my heart from all its fears,-
    • And teach my lips a song to sing.
    • Before yon field of trembling gold
    • Is garnered into dusty sheaves,
    • Or ere the autumn’s scarlet leaves
    • Flutter as birds adown the wold,
    • I have walked the glorious road,
    • And caught the torch while yet aflame,
    • And called upon the sacred name
    • Of Marta who takes Ed’kli’s cord.
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