da Veni, da Vidi, da Vinci — da Verses

One of the Four Colors al Fresco scenarios that I’ve run a number of times is “da Veni, da Vidi, da Vinci”, or “I came, I saw, I conquered [Leonardo] da Vinci” (loosely translated). This scenario features The Daring daVincis, a bona fide superhero team (a rarity in the world of Italia). They are all artist friends of da Vinci’s that he has recruited, granting them superpowers with his phenomenal scientific and naturalist knowledge, so that they can Fight Crime!.

Their superhero, or “Omega”, identities are based on insects that da Vinci studied, granting them powers related to their artistic talent. Cricket is a master thespian, whose suit enables him to manipulate sound. But that’s not really important. What is important is that he always speaks in rhyme. Well, for convention games, we don’t really expect someone to actually speak in rhyme for the whole game—the character may, but that doesn’t mean the player has to. I provide a rhyming dictionary, should someone desire, but, really, I just expect a player to get into the spirit and do what they can: interject a few rhymes, or focus on alliteration, or give an iambic lilt to their speech most of the time. A couple players have managed to speak in iambic pentameter for the whole game, and a very few have, in fact, stuck to rhyming for the whole game. Unfortunately, this tends to cut down on their verbal participation, and thus their overall participation, and I’d much rather someone drop the poeticism altogether than be left out of the game.

But it’s great when someone really pulls it off—not a lot of people can essentially spontaneously compose verse, blank or otherwise, outside of professional hip-hop/rap artists. A few years back, someone really went above and beyond, however. He didn’t speak much during the game—though when he did, it was mostly rhyming. But what he did do was make a record of the game. He composed a poem in rhyming couplets, chronicling the course of the story, in real time while we were playing, and while still participating in the game. The result is a fun poem–mostly iambic, with only a couple forced rhymes. I’m amazed, at any rate. I meant to do this ages ago, but I’ve finally transcribed his poem, so here it is for all to read:

It started in Florence,
when Leo went missing.
The students were bound,
and the gardner kissing

the ground in the courtyard,
knocked senseless, near dead.
A woman, a wine rack,
some rope, but no head.

The following queries
revealed that the crime
was caused by a hero
of a previous time:

Bombardier Beetle,
a ‘Vinci at first,
thrown out of the group
for a malicious outburst,

broke into the house
and went up the stairs,
came down as a mantis,
and left with some wares.

The daVincis arrived,
found footprints in wine,
some chitinous shards,
and a link to a mine.

At nightfall the group
trekked out to the quarry,
in hopes that their actions
would speed up the story.

The trek was a waste,
as no facts were found—
just some books and some ledgers
and run-ins with hounds.

When it appeared that
our heroes were stumped,
Moth discovered a clue
that made them all pumped.

Thousands of rocks
were shipped to a place
that seemed real suspicious,
in this particular case.

Then out of the shadows,
came a group of bad men
clad in stone armor,
with evil intent.

Many were blinded
by Pillbug’s quick thinking,
while more were distracted
by Firefly’s blinking.

A ploy with a rope failed
to capture the foe,
but the lasso’s momentum
pushed them into the hole

The rest was quite easy.
The battle was done.
The hired mooks had fled
and the heroes had won.

Then out of the trees
came a shadowy man—
a mantis-like creature
with a sinister plan.

Then came a scorpion
to join in the fray.
He vowed that the Pillbug
was going to pay.

Confusion abounded
and mêlée ensued.
The heroes united
to fight the evil brood.

While the fighting continued,
the Moth was inside
seeking to find
what the men tried to hide.

The guards by the door
started to bicker.
The Moth took advantage
and started to pilfer.

One guard killed the other
—he won the debate.
The Moth then distracted
the surviving mate.

She unlocked the door
and opened to reveal
da Vinci was inside
—with joy he did squeal.

Outside in the mêlée,
the tables had turned.
The Mantis was fleeing;
the Scorpion had been burned.

Victory was achieved,
the villains were foiled.
But alas poor Pillbug
was heavily poisoned.

Lucky for Pillbug,
da Vinci was sure
that he knew of a serum
that would be the cure.

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