Words: © 1987 by Tom Smith
Music: "The Good Ship Calabar" (Irish trad.)
I used to run role-playing games.
My system of choice was not the ubiquitous Dungeons & Dragons, but
Chaosium's RuneQuest (the newest game in the same universe is HeroQuest;
if you prefer computer gaming, try King of Dragon Pass, or The Elder
Scrolls 3: Morrowind, designed by Ken Rolston, who wrote official RuneQuest
stuff for years.). In this game, characters are not restricted to narrow classes
(fighter, mage, etc.); a warrior might know several utilitarian magic spells,
be a fair hand at lockpicking and other thiefly skills, and perhaps might even
advance in the church of his or her choice -- indeed, become able to appeal
to the gods through Divine Intervention, abbreviated throughout the rules as
D.I. Unfortunately for this band of stalwarts, D.I. is also the abbreviation
for Gordon Dickson's Dorsai Irregulars, a band of intergalactic mercenaries
who will kick anybody's ass if the price is right. Their mortal enemies are
the Friendlies. The fair-use quote from Jimmy Driftwood's "The Battle Of
New Orleans" was used for exactly the same reason Frank Hayes used it in
Like "A Lamb To The Slaughter", and I happily admit that Frank
did it first, and I swiped the idea from him. I bow to the Mastah.
Come gather, lads and lasses, and a tale will be
Of noble young adventurers in search of a dragon's gold.
Well... maybe not that noble, maybe not that bold,
And as my song will soon relate, they didn't get that old.
Their leader was Delphine the Black, she fought with
She wiped her feet on noble fops and humbled mighty lords.
There was also a dwarf named Bristol, quite a strong and ugly lump,
So short and wide and thick of hide he was called the Bristol Stump.
Now, Biff the Drunken Druid was the party's magic
He spent his days in a bourbon haze through every waking hour,
And, for Delphine's affections, fought with Varicose the Vain,
A pretty-boy elf with a damn big axe and a thing for causing pain.
Their battle plan was simple: They would all have
lengths of wire,
And Biff, disguised as an ice cream man, would quench the dragon's fire,
They'd garrote off its arms and legs in a daring frontal raid,
And if that didn't work, well, they always had the Holy Hand Grenade.
So, they started off for the dragon's cave, its treasures
for to take,
But halfway there the birds flew off and the ground began to shake,
They heard a roar and a terrible crash and they all turned round to see
The dragon, right behind them, cleaning its nails on a tree.
(tune: "The Battle of New Orleans")
And they ran through the brambles, and they ran through the briars,
And they ran through the bushes where the rabbit couldn't go.
Ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em...
Then Biff said, "Divine Intervention! Hey, that's
always worth a try.
O Mother Goddess, save our hides! We beg you for D.I.!"
Now, Druid gods have always had a wit that's rather dry,
So a dozen guys in green and black fell out of a clear blue sky.
They landed with a mighty yell, 'cause landing hurts
But when they saw the dragon all their pain was quite forgot.
They hollered "WHAT A CHALLENGE!" and they hid behind some trees,
And they all whipped out their laser guns and blew away its knees.
Now, our heroes were in front of it, as you may well
And when its legs were vaporized, they knew where it would fall.
Now, Biff had a chance to save just one, and it caused him awful pain
To choose who lived -- whether Bristol, whether Delphine, or whether Vain.
Then he pushed Delphine to safety and knocked Varicose
to the turf,
And when the dragon hit the elf, he was shorter than a Smurf.
Now, Bristol the Dwarf was weighted down with all that stupid wire,
And he got crushed to dwarven slime, so now he's Bristol-Mire.
Delphine and Biff the Drunken Druid sent up a thankful
And thought of all the dragon gold the two of them would share,
Till they remembered all those warriors wondering what to do,
Until that balmy Druid said, "We're friendly! Who are you?"
So if you ask adventurers, they'll always say the
"Don't ever bother dragons -- nothing adventured, nothing gamed,
And never trust the Druid gods, nor beg them for D.I.,
'Cause you might get Intervention, and you just might get Dorsai."