TBT: Epic of Cruhand the Rat Killer

So as a guy interested in fantasy and historical epic I decided to try and write some. It is not really that difficult because epics don’t necessarily rhyme and so I put together a form and tried it out. I decided that my epic form would have 10 syllables per line, 10 lines per stanza and 10 stanzas. Easy enough right? Well, here was my first attempt at it for a friend I game with.

The Epic of Cruhand the Rat King Killer

This is the story of a brave fighter.

He was a warrior from a land afar.

From the dark mysterious mountains.

In a land bathed in ever burning flame.

Where the dragons once ruled for an ion.

A place where only the strongest may live.

Where the weak are devoured by evil.

He was born with the blood of the dragon.

He grew up with a thirst for adventure.

His foes shook when they heard his name; Cruhand.

I, Rick James the Silver Tongue, first knew him,

Escaping from Rheek the Rat King’s sewer.

He and his brave band of adventurers

Were hacking and slashing their way inside.

I thought I was doomed with rats and ogres

Blocking my exit from the wretched place.

But ignoring the danger they attacked.

With much ferocity the foes were felled.

Shortly, before me lay our enemies.

With introductions I joined the party.

Their goal and now mine was to kill the Rat

So returning from whence I came we went.

And pushed through a space made for stinky rats.

Before we emerged on the other side

We were waylaid by a group of green slimes.

Cruhand and the rest went on the attack,

And our draconic hero was swallowed.

The slime began to digest his hard hide.

But succumbed to his fiery breath.

Slimes melted like jello we continued.

We journeyed into a pit for Rheek’s pet.

And nearly snuck by it undetected.

But the beast awoke and quickly attacked.

And Cru just laughed at the challenge at hand.

And pounded the beast with fist, breath and tail.

Bravely we fought the hideous creature.

Its tentacles whipped and smacked us around.

All the while Cru had his mark on the fiend.

Taunting it and teasing it to attack.

In bloody cries fell both hero and beast.

We gathered round to examine the mess

Fearing Cruhand had succumbed to his wounds,

The beast laying slaughtered covered in blood,

Cru faintly mumbled to hand him his hat.

Alive but injured there was one option.

We would bring our friend and cure his wounds.

I used my cunning to bluff by the guards.

Leading the team until Cru could be healed.

We disposed of more guards and fought gargoyles.

Finally resting in the Rat’s own nest.

With aid from me and a grumpy cleric

Cru was recovered and ready to kill.

Down hallways and into a room with ogres,

Cru yelled “plan A” and charged in with no fear.

Surrounded he fought in front and in back.

While I bluffed an ogre so cleverly.

The dragon man roared and spit holding tight.

Swinging and charging no thought for safety.

Cru and the group slaughtered all that challenged.

Countless guards and ogres met their demise.

I intercepted a guard getting help.

Enduring bolts from his deadly crossbow.

Evading him by crawling like a rat,

I quickly made my way to the prison.

With my grand silver tongue I bluffed the guards

Into releasing an ally they held.

But before I could escape with the man,

The archer fired a bolt in my back.

With battle raging, me nearly beaten,

Cruhand and group arrived and crushed them all.

Nearly to our goal I tricked all the guards

To think that Cruhand was heading away.

With madness they chased up to the surface.

Leaving us to find Rheek in his throne room.

But “Plan A” failed us as turning the door,

Dropped us into a pit with rot grub beasts.

The worms tried to eat their way through our skin,

But they could not overcome the dragon!

Cruhand burned the worms with his fire breath.

He crawled from the pit even angrier.

He burst through the door finally at his goal.

Guards and ogres would not stop him this time.

Too many times had Rheek escaped his fate.

The party made quick work of others there.

And Cruhand charged the Rat King on his throne.

His foot in an iron boot he fought on.

His hat looking magnificent as always.

Missing time after time, not losing heart,

He kept fighting, not accepting defeat.

Finally the Rat King died at his feet.

But Cruhand’s rage was still unsatisfied.

Even gold and jewels were still not enough.

He crushed statues and even Rheek’s stone throne,

Showing the way to even more riches.

He collected those and searched the whole room.

But he look around for more things to take,

Crawled in a hole too small for our hero.

There a rat attacked him, gnawing his face.

There he died having come all that way,

Beat the king, but another rat’s dinner.

Fall of Gloryfate

Generations ago a clan of dwarves stood out among the other clans and shone brighter than any other. Gloryfate Clan was chief in the old world and was renown throughout the land. Master craftsmen of both weapons and jewelry, trade caravans traveled far to gain access to the Gloryfate riches. Days were good and the halls of Gloryfate glimmered in the mountain depths. All good things come to an end however.

Goblin hoards crawled from cracks in the stone and clawed at the luxury of the clan with lust. As a sand storm they assaulted the hall and wrecked havoc where ever their filthy feet carried them.

Gloryfate would not be undone by some dirty goblins however and their stout warriors fought back with strength and fury, pushing back the unholy creatures. When it appeared that the vermin would be exterminated the giants arrived. 


Huge creatures cold and angry plunged into the battle and left a path of death and destruction in their wake. Their hatred of the dwarves was unmatched by anything the dwarves had seen before and in spite of their bravery, fear crept in among their ranks. The giants could end Gloryfate, 

A weapon was commissioned. CLan King Oloben Gloryfate ordered his best smiths to forge a weapon for their king to weild and break the strength of the giants. Furiously the smiths worked without rest until, at last, they completed their task.They presented to their king a battle hammer unmatched in the world. They called it Gloryfate Giantbane. 


As Oloben Gloryfate lifted the weapon for the first time his hands were filled with courage that rushed like lifeblood throughout his body. His eyes blazed with vengeance and his clan rallied behind their king as they thrust in to the giants as a dagger into flesh. 

Giantbane crushed the beasts under its massive strength; breaking bones and caving skulls. Its song was the howls of giants under its weight and the song was sung loud. The notes echoed in the stone halls of Gloryfate clan. 

Giants could not resit Oloben’s vengeance and fell at his feet; bashed and crushed by his hammer fueled by his anger. But one still stood. 


A fabled foe stood tall against the king. He was Zanros Titan fist, Death Dealer; an ancient giant who led the war against the dwarves. He craved blood and death and hated dwarves beyond all other creatures for their constant tunneling and mining. Olobin found him surrounded by dwarf bodies, blood dripping from his lips. The two kings rushed each other and collided like mountains crashing together.

Their battle raged on, rumbling ever deeper into the earth. The mountains shook as they smashed and hit and kicked and pummeled each other. Dwarves and giants alike watched the champions dual to the death, pausing for a moment their savage conflict to witness a struggle more epic than any in multiple lifetimes. 

The battle was an earthquake, felt throughout the relm. Oloben swung his warhammer smashing the giant and Zanros countered, spitting hateful spells and swinging a wicked flail, each crushing against cave walls, shattering stone and bone alike. The struggle threatened to split the earth in their fury and rage. At last they drew close to death, their bodies and will wavered. 

With a final mighty blow, Oloben Giant Slayer, Champion of Prohpecy, Dwarf Avenger, crushed Zanros’ chest toppling the mighty foe. The wicked creature did not die quietly however and whispered one final, hateful curse that gripped the dwarf king’s heart and turned it black as if a dark cloud covered the sun and cast a long shadow over once beautiful land. The dwarf king collapsed. 

Dwarves ran to their king and giants rushed to theirs. No longer fighting, each breed tended to their champion. The giants carried their fallen king back to the depths from which they crept, and dwarves gathered their king to carry him to his throne room. The warhammer, Gloryfate Giantbane, had cracked and broken into two halves with the shaft separated from each. 

The dwarves laid Olobin down with the shaft of his hammer in his cold hands. The darkness gripped him and squeezed the life from his body. Mourning began and priests rushed to try to lift the curse from him. They prayed desperately that Moradin spare their king. To no avail. 

Within days the curse stole his life away. The moment the king exhaled for the last time a furious earthquake shook the mountain. Zanros had cursed not only they king, but the entire clan. Rock collapsed from the ceiling and walls crumbled and caved. The quake seemed endless as dirt and dust filled the air choking those were not crushed by the rubble. Darkness fell in Gloryfate Hall. 

When the rumbling was through and tourches were lit, Gloryfate clan was destroyed. Like the hammer, the hall had cracked in two. Rubble and rock separated the halves of the great clan. Weeks of digging could not reunify the clan. Families were lost or split up. Entire sections of the hall were gone. The king and his throne room were buried along with the shaft of Gloryfate Giantbane. The two halves of the hammer were also separated. One on each side of the hall. 

In time the dwarves found their way out of the mountain though they were now divided. Gloyfate was no more. Eventually two new clans rose from the ruin of the one from the refugees that survived the tremendous battle. They were Battlefate and Gloryborn. Each thrived on opposite sides of the insurmountable range. Each believed they had kin on the opposing side. Neither knew for certain. Glory and Fate remained separate. 

Into the dark you must go

The water rushes deeper into the mountain with a roar that makes it difficult to think let alone hear. Through the mountain, Arsenal commanded, to reunite with lost kin. Kin that no one is sure still exist and have not heard from in generations. What fools errand has he sent you on? Into the dark you must go. You survived orcs only to find a young dragon guarding the river. And a witch. Was she in league with the beast? She didn’t warn you after all, but she is your only hope for not getting lost in the deep dark of the mountain. With tons of rock separating you from the sky it is a comfortable place for a dwarf except that you do not know what beasts lurk beyond. The river will take you, the witch suggested, but take you where? Into the dark the water plunges. Into the dark you must go.

The caves welcome you like the jaws of a wolf welcome fresh meat into the creature’s belly. Instincts warn you that there is nothing friendly beyond. You hear and see nothing except the rush of the river and the darkness which covers the evils that hide among the shadows. Into the dark you must go. How far will the river take you? How deep does it plunge? What is waiting at the end? You cannot know. The witch mutters that she too doesn’t know. Do you trust her? Into the dark you must go.

Your armor and weapons are damp and dripping, the air is heavy. It is likely to be heavier below and it may indeed choke you yet into the dark you must go. You know from legends and stories that digging too deep into the earth only reveals unpleasant foes and sometimes savage beasts but you cannot waver. The piece of hammer you carry to your kin must reach the other side. The hope of Konigsberg and indeed the entire Battlefate clan rests with you. Fail and they will be doomed. Succeed in finding your kin and the tide may yet be turned. Into the dark you must go. May Moradin bless you and keep you. Into the dark you must go.


Woods. Not a dwarf’s favorite environment. No, they much more prefer the rock and ore of the caves deep in a mountain to the open air and engulfing darkness of woods. The river runs nearby making it difficult to hear anything else. Even the river does not comfort. Any manner of dangerous creature may emerge from its waters to strike at you. So what will it be? Hug the river and hope there is nothing dangerous, or the tree line where you know there is something dangerous? Already beasts ambushed you from its deceitful shadows. What else lurks in there? Nothing good you imagine.
It is not easy to explain, yet you are confident that indeed something is watching you. You stare intently into the depths of the woods but cannot see the beasts that stare back. You shiver thinking about what may lie so near yet entirely unseen. Another lion? Bears? Trolls? Or worse, something you have yet to encounter.

As you rest a moment and regroup, your party does what it can to try and determine the nature of the imminent threat. No one is especially comfortable in the woods however and information is difficult to come by. The dwarves are especially grumpy about it, kicking dirt and grumbling, unable to determine anything useful from the clues around them. The minotaur however notices some tracks. Multiple actually.

Studying the ground carefully around the river, Ferdinand declares that there are at least two distinguishable tracks. One set looks like they were made by a wolf, possibly multiple. The other set looks like it was made by a man, again there could be more than one. This brings up a whole new set of questions.

Are the tracks related? Was the man hunting the wolf? Or perhaps the wolf was hunting the man. Who lives in the woods? Elves? What kind of wolf was it? Most importantly however is the burning question, are any of these things still nearby and are they tracking the party? The entire group stares at the foreboding and towering trees. None of you know for sure what lies beyond. It makes you wish you were at the orc caves already. Almost.

Game Intro: Dwarves wanted

Arsenal Battlefate paced the great hall in Konigsberg. His head hanged low and his mind was a world apart. His long grey beard nearly brushed the ground as he trod left and then right. All eyes were on him. Gnarl Battlefate sat nearby watching the elder dwarf and clenching the hilt of his sword so tightly his knuckles went white. The air was thick with fear and gloom. Arsenal muttered to himself though knew that the group gathered would hear.

“There’s not enough of us,” Arsenal grumbled, a hint of desperation in his voice. “We can only hold for so long. We certainly cannot push them back and reclaim the hall. It is not going to work.”

“Then we die trying!” shouted Gnarl rising to his feet and lifting his sword high.

Arsenal swung to face the warrior dwarf and his eyes were ablaze. “No!” he shouted as he lifted his hammer high above his head and slammed it down on his counterpart. Gnarl parried the blow but the force and rage of the old cleric was so great that when his hammer hit the ground besides then a shock wave blasted from the stone sending Gnarl against a wall and tossing the tables and those seated there from their seats.

Everything in the room was frozen in time. The only thing audible was the breathing from enumerable quivering throats. At long last Arsenal lifted his hammer from the cracked stone where it landed; cracked like the Battlefate Clan. He slowly stood straight and gathered his breath, calming the blood that boiled in his veins. Not a soul dared to move.

When Arsenal spoke this time his voice was strong and clear. “The fate of the clan fell to me and I will not allow us to be destroyed. We will hold this city until the last of our strength and then flee if necessary to ensure the blood of the clan survives. We will not fade at the hands of these evil creatures.”

Gnarl crawled to his feat and sheathed his sword. In a low and weak voice he questioned, “Are we to abandon Battlefate Hall? Konigsberg? We are not a weak clan. We are strong and I do not wish to run.”

Arsenal did not look at the captain of the dwarven guard instead he stared off as though trying to envision a time not yet come. “It is true. We are strong and we are proud. We are not finished either, but we do not have the strength to reclaim the hall at the moment. The best we can manage is to hold the city and even that has been difficult. We have recruited as many as we can to help in our defense but it is not enough to push the enemy back. We need more. We need dwarves.”

He shook his head and lifted a table, placing it back where it belonged and then turned to stools and began to replace them as well. The others in the room did the same. In a few minutes it resembled a hall once more and with Arsenal seated at the head everyone took a seat and waited. His gaze was beyond the physical. Arsenal saw images far outreaching what the others could see. His mind searched for answers through a lifetime. All waited in silence for him to find what he was looking for. At last he spoke his voice echoed from a place nearly forgotten.

“When the Battlefate clan was at it’s peak, long before our enslavement by the giants, we dwarves tunneled through the entire mountain range. So large we were that we populated the entire mountain. The giants arrived and the ensuing struggle forever altered our history. We battled for years against the hideous foe and finally in victory we celebrated. By then we were fewer. Many of the tunnels had been destroyed or damaged. No longer could we travel through the mountain. We did not despair however for we were pleased to have survived. We rebuilt and grew. Time passed and many of the memories did with the dwarves who made them. All was nearly forgotten until were got word from some travelers of afar that there were dwarves on the other side of the mountain range. Glorygem they call themselves. They are undoubtedly our kin; long lost cousins of Battlefate. We defeated the giants once before. If we are to do it again, we will need all the dwarves we can find in order to do so. You five heroes of Konigsberg must venture to reconnect with our kin. Find them. I will send you with proof of our kinship. Ask that they join us in our crusade to once again defeat and ancient foe. Remind them of our glorious heritage. Inspire them. Only united will we prevail.”

Arsenal stood, saluted the group and retired to his chambers. All stared from one to another searching for and answer to the cleric’s call. Will you answer his call?