Wednesday, 15 April 2020

The D&D Clerihew Challenge: Once You Pop You Really Can't Stop

You may remember my post about D&D clerihews, which took the internet by storm in February 2017. No? Nor did I until just before. But it popped back into my head and I re-caught the clerihew bug.

All you have to do for a D&D clerihew (and I wasn't even trying to make that rhyme) is to write a four line poem, AABB, about a D&D creature. Let's try some. This time I swear it'll go viral. (Are we allowed to use that metaphor anymore?)

A sphinx
Never blinks
And never lies
But they do get sore eyes

Don't bother keeping scores
When playing darts
Against xvarts

Like forks
Which are useful when eating pies
And for jabbing in peoples' eyes

A green hag
Always carries a bag
To hold spell components
And the dried gonads of former opponents

Have big brains
And blue skin
And a taste for gin

Of farts
And decomposing body parts

Like rhubarb fools
But what will steal their hearts
Are eyeball tarts

Interesting fellows
Are Derros
They like torture porn
And long walks along the beach at dawn

I make no apologies.

You get a gold star if you can do one containing a rhyme for "giant", "illithid" or "kobold".


  1. Ilithids
    Look like squids
    At least if you just check
    Above the neck

  2. I find it hilarious how well some of these reveal your accent. "Porn" and "dawn" I can adjust in my head so they'll match, but figuring out how to make "fellows" and "Derros" got me pretty good. I love it.

    1. Yep. I encountered this while looking in an online rhyme dictionary (a bit of a cheat) for things that rhyme with "missile". I was getting results like "thistle" and "gristle" and thinking, those don't rhyme with missile! Then it occurred to me that in US English maybe they do?

  3. Kobolds
    Subsist on moulds
    As they rarely dare
    To tackles larger fare

  4. The hill giant
    Is rarely pliant
    Unless you supply a bribe
    Of many barrels to imbibe

  5. Barbed devils
    Enjoy their revels
    With beings such as manes*
    In Hell's upper planes

    *I know, I know. But cf. Ambrose Bierce as "Bella Peeler Silcox" in The Devil's Dictionary:

    The electric light invades the dunnest deep of Hades.
    Cries Pluto, 'twixt his snores: "O tempora! O mores!"

  6. Koalith
    Are not a myth
    But these fishy green
    Hobgoblins are seldom seen

  7. Gnolls
    Like poles
    For doing harm
    Such as the fauchard, the ranseur and the glaive-guisarme

  8. Svirneblin
    Resort to pebblin'
    Their forebears' graves.
    There's not a lot to do in caves.

  9. Bugbears
    Shun shares
    as far too risky
    But gold pieces and human entrails keep them frisky

  10. Lizardmen
    Ask when
    And why it went beyond a joke
    To use the singular "lizard folk"

  11. The manticore
    Is such a bore
    Less than the sum of its parts
    Although its tail is rather good at throwing darts

  12. Bestiaries
    In D&D's
    Various books
    Are the consequence of far too many disagreeing cooks

  13. Sahaugin
    With spines and fin
    Occupy a space that's far too crowded with
    Such fishy creatures as the kuo-taoa, morkoth, merman and koalith

  14. (Apologies for misspelling sahuagin and svirfneblin!)

    The slug-man
    Is not a fan
    Of fro-ing and to-ing,
    He's happier blissed out in the opium dens of Yoon-Suin

  15. The gnoll
    His origin from Dunsany
    Whose gnoles were not hyena-like and thus very much less zany

  16. For those that care,
    The owl-bear
    When it was a boy
    Was a rather peculiar-looking Chinese rubber toy

  17. The norker
    Is a corker
    Of a foe
    To meet when low on hit points down below

  18. Orcs, pig-faced,
    Have been replaced
    By far more generic types often seen
    In Warhammer and World of Warcraft - and now they're green!

  19. First level
    Is a devil
    When you try
    To loot the dungeon on a singular hit die

  20. The wight
    Is all right
    Although he's quite the pain
    When he decides to exercise his level-drain

  21. Treants
    Are pants
    The Ent is much better
    But, alas, the Tolkien Estate is a stickler for the law's letter

  22. The shambling mound
    Is rarely found
    Gracing the dancefloor in promenade season
    For the obvious reason

  23. The carrion crawler
    Is like the party caller
    In that it's a relic of original D&D
    But of the two, it's the one that you much more often see

  24. The ettin
    Is bettin'
    That you knew
    That his name denotes no specific number of heads and is cognate with jotun too

  25. Bullywugs
    Are like Thugs
    In their general miscreance but not
    in the specialist use of the garrotte

  26. The flind
    Breaks wind
    As she strains to impress young gnoll bucks
    With her double-jointed nunchucks

  27. An Illithid
    Is splendid
    But I prefer Cephalopodcephali
    For "Illithid" is Wizards product identity

  28. I never wrote a clerihew, but do these count?

    The giant
    was scarcely pliant
    when the daring knight
    came 'round to fight

    But the kobold
    is most ennobled
    when goblins die
    and their leaders fly.

  29. Not sure if I'm doing this right but I tried

    A kobold
    Is so bald
    In winter they'll fight till their beat
    Just for the heat

    1. You did it right. It is almost impossible to do it wrong.

  30. Bless the giant
    For he is sized defiant
    to kick over houses
    and make men as mouses.

    1. That almost sounds like it comes from some poetic medieval bestiary.

  31. JC wins. Bravo! Those are brilliant.

    I want to know more about the owlbear.

    1. Cheers! The owlbear's origin story is here:

    2. Thank you so much! This was amazing to read!

    3. PS This is sensational. You led me to a memory of my very first years on earth. I actually had a set of these plastic critters. The six images following the words, "into the imaginations of the next generation of game designers" on the site you referred me to show plastic toys that I owned and played with. I must have been a toddler or slightly older. The feeling I'm experiencing is really, really strange, because I have no other memories of that time of my life! Thank you!

  32. The local stone giant
    Is really quite pliant
    When it comes to his stew:
    Any old hobbit will do.

  33. I wish Edward Gorey would have illustrated a little book of these clerihews!

  34. The flumph,
    One might harrumph
    Sucks and farts to fly.
    Flip 'em - then they die.

    1. Thank you - Nice G 1-2-3 reference and ambitious (true to life drow historical pronunciation?)final rhyme in yours, too!

      This clerihew exercise brought out some really nice results from everybody.

  35. A high-ranked giant
    Has been found compliant
    With plans of the drow
    For three modules in a row.

  36. I once knew an oily kobold
    whom I later found had more than once resold
    at double price to me a bulk-discounted slave
    of his, the flipping scaly knave