DM of the Rings LXXVIII:
Think of the Children

By Shamus
on Mar 21, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings

Helm’s Deep. Dang kids.

Helm’s Deep. Dang kids.

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  1. Lizzle says:

    Hillarious – love it – another masterpiece

  2. Browncoat says:

    Last!

    (so far)

  3. Register says:

    Good one, hehe. Looking forward for a lot of bad combat jokes. =)

  4. Zudrak says:

    This series rawks. I wish my friends and family “get it” like I do. Maybe it’s a GM/DM/CK/Referee thing?

    Nice work, Shamus. I look forward to the battle!

  5. Blackeyed says:

    Aragorn in the fifth panel… pure evil.

  6. Woerlan says:

    Nice smile on Aragorn there.

    I was surprised to see the provisions comment, considering 99% of the d20 campaigns out there seem to forget that characters need to eat, drink, and use the chamber pot regularly (Gods forbid that they remember to BATHE). The only time adventurers eat or drink is at a tavern or when they’re guzzling potions.

  7. Blindeye says:

    I was surprised that this week was a joke about how the situation of Helm’s Deep from a player’s perspective rather than a DnD joke.

    I suppose that’s the biggest advantage to DMotR is that Shamus can go for either the DnD joke or the LotRs joke.

    It’s a conveniant situation. *nods sagely*

    I am also looking forward to the fight.

  8. silent_death says:

    wohoo, in the top10 ^^

    Nice1 !!

    I love this series! continue *g*

  9. Steve R says:

    “That’s just great pumpkin…”
    So the facetious w*nk*r ranger finally used his tracking skill eh?

  10. George says:

    The look on aragorn’s face in panel 5 is hilarious.
    “Gotta catch ’em all.”

    And blindeye, i think there is going to be a joke about the fight. He just isn’t going to show it, and crack some witty DnD joke. But there needs to be interaction with the DM more.

    Shamus you seem to be losing that touch that made this so funny, the interaction between PC and DM.

  11. scldragonfish says:

    Between Viggo-baby & Bloom-Boy, they were the ‘hotties’ of the LOTR series. After panel 5, I’m asking ‘WHO THINKS THESE GUYS LOOK GOOD?’

    It doesn’t matter if Shamus is picking the pics on purpose or what, I’m still looking at these guys and thinking they are NOT ATTRACTIVE.

    (not anti-gay here) But Im ready to hand Lego-lass a rainbow spandex outfit.

    And Aragon needs a bottle of dawn and a scrub brush.

    HELP ME UNDERSTAND!!!

  12. Shamus says:

    scldragonfish: I had to photoshop panel 6. The two guys were much closer together, and in the stills it really looked like they were about to kiss. No matter how I cropped it I couldn’t get rid of this effect, so I was obliged to move the two apart from each other.

  13. Shamus says:

    Another note is that a few weeks ago I mentioned I needed some shots of these two up on the wall, during the day. I couldn’t find the shots I needed, or anything even close. The original joke was a bunch of “strategy” the two were cooking up, which would sound like plausible player plans but would sound ridiculous in the context of LOTR. I couldn’t execute the joke at all, so I was forced to shelve it. I may be able to recycle it later. We’ll see.

    Which is why we got pokemon instead.

  14. scldragonfish says:

    Thanks Shamus, you really are the best.

    I just can’t believe their are girls with posters of these guys on their walls. It scares me.

  15. scldragonfish says:

    oops “there are girls” i can’t spell. WHY DO i TRY!?

  16. xargon says:

    10000 orcs, each with CR 1/2, that’s only an EL 27. Sounds like a fun encounter.

    • WJS says:

      Heh, the rules on calculating CR break down way before you reach the thousands. Of course, that’s assuming there are casters in the party capable of hitting them with AoE spells; three fighters would be totally swamped unless they had magic items giving them DR. (Remember that the orcs will hit on a nat. 20, so with so many attacks coming in, they will be taking hits. Lots of low damage hits is what DR is best against)

  17. Steve says:

    All I can say is that the DMotR must have some truly awsome powers of description that we are never allowed to see if the players are reacting like that. Any DM of my acquaintence would probably expect to have a description of Helms Deep greeted with “Yeah, yeah. Is there a magic shop or a blacksmith?” Players can sometimes be dreadfully unimaginative.
    :o)

    Woerlan Says:

    I was surprised to see the provisions comment, considering 99% of the d20 campaigns out there seem to forget that characters need to eat, drink, and use the chamber pot regularly (Gods forbid that they remember to BATHE). The only time adventurers eat or drink is at a tavern or when they’re guzzling potions.

    You got that right.

    The biggest argument I ever got into in a game of D&D was last year when I refused (in character) to go gently into yet another damp cave right after having come out of one somewhere else, on the grounds I wanted to lie on a mattress for once, eat a hot meal and enjoy the company of the opposite wotsit for a bit. This seemed to be the height of role-playing to me in that situation, but our DM (who was complaining that we never role-played outside of conversations with people who were going to pay us) waved it off saying that the Clerics could create food and so forth and boy did the other players whine. It never occured to the players to do some RPing for the sake of it or to the DM to hand out fatigue penalties for sleeping on rock or morale modifiers for chowing on hardtack, umberhulk jerky and clericfud for days on end.

    I got my revenge.

    When we ascended to God-like levels I took to casting Mordenkainen’s Unfeasable Palacial Interdimensional Doss House and supplying the DM with detailed plans for the way it looked on any given casting. If the others ticked me off that day they slept in nasty narrow bunks in a poorly-lit barracks-like building serving 24 hour “gruel au pigswill”. If they were good they got a humungous banqueting hall a-la Valhalla blow-out, all the suckling pig and high-class plonk they could choke down with a private room for beddy-byes.

    But.

    They all had to bathe, including the female Elf archer, before I’d let them eat or sleep. I provided an open, communal bath for the purpose. I, of course, had my own suite with an elaborate safety protocol over who got through the door.

    The one time the DM got into the spirit was when I had my scruffy clothes repaired and cleaned by the magical minions inside Chateau Not-there-at-all while we slept. He took great delight in pointing out how sparkley I looked compared to them, and they (of course) immediately thought I had stolen new clothes from somewhere and started whining again. The look on their faces when I told them they could have had their gear repaired and cleaned for the asking was priceless. But that day someone was rude to my character so they slept in L’Hotel Sordide and dined on dishwater that night.

    It’s good to be the caster sometimes.

    I am retaining this character as an NPC for some never-to-be-played campaign in the future. He will make an excellent “Fagin” type. Think Ben Kingsley’s version meets the bloke on the cover of “Aqualung”, since he offsets a huge Charisma with an even bigger disguise self most days.

    Steve.

  18. scldragonfish says:

    Um, Wow, Steve you are bordering on an editorial.

  19. Thad says:

    “It looks like a Yu-Go-Oh! Con in here” made me laugh…and given I was eating at the time, I was lucky that laugh was all I did. :)

  20. Steve says:

    scldragonfish Says:

    Um, Wow, Steve you are bordering on an editorial.

    That happens when I’m not first poster. Be warned puny mortal: Let me be first or suffer my most potent annecdotes!

    Steve.

    :o)

  21. baac says:

    OK, I’m an idiot. I’ve been reading this comic since the beginning and I’ve only just noticed that the dice beside the comments are ‘rolled’ to the entry number. Wow… Thick as a brick.

    Another brilliant strip. Thanks for making work bearable yet again!

  22. theonlymegumegu says:

    The goofy look on Aragorn’s face in panel 5 is the best. I swear, this strip is going to make me laugh at totally inappropriate points the next time I watch the movies.

  23. Heather says:

    Since none of those who played under Shamus’ DMing (other than myself) are commenting here I will let you all in on something. Our house rules are “no casting for food”, “fatique/hunger costs you”, and several other things that mean that not enough provisions/sleep definitly cause trouble for your character. From what you all said I guess it is one of his quirks, he cares about that stuff and makes you care about it too or you end up falling over in the middle of the road from lack of sleep/food. :)

  24. jperk31260 says:

    I have to admit I was expexting the DM to be reading the Description of Helms deep while Aragon was askind for the directions to the local brothel. But I can deal with Pokemon

  25. Susano says:

    Maybe the GM had a map to show the PCs? Or some good pictures cribbed from Google?

  26. Harvi says:

    That picture above is not what made me crush on Aragorn, there are other, nicer pictures of him:
    http://thorn.as.arizona.edu/~kak/windswept.jpg

    And in any case, there’s a whole lot of guys out there whose taste I just don’t understand (i.e. Paris Hilton???!!!, Angelina Jolie??). eewwww

    From a girl who has a large poster of Aragorn on her office wall
    (love that long hair and scruffy look!)

  27. Shamus says:

    Harvi: Excellent examples. I feel the same way about PH and AJ as scldragonfish feels about the dirty aragorn: Yuck. The women actually are a good bit worse off, since they have the additional baggage of not being very interesting people, looks aside.

    I can’t imagine anything more tedious than a half hour with Hilton. Oh really? Your shoes are from where? You know what? I’m sorry I can’t talk right now something just fell out of my ear. I gotta go.

  28. Chaz says:

    My GM told me of a former player who was an awesome fighter, but would sleep through most of the session, eyes closed head tilted back snoring asleep. But whenever there was combat he’d be there. Eerily, no one ever had to wake him up, he would wakeup by himself, just before the fighting started. Battle on through, and soon afterward drift off to sleep again.
    Your players are anticipating combat, they Are Into It, this is what they minimaxed their characters for, the rest of that stuff is narrativist hooey to keep the DM happy.

  29. “Hooey to keep the DM happy,” eh? You will roleplay your #@)*%&! character and #($^ well enjoy it, mister. You enjoy yourself the way I tell you to or ELSE! You got that? :)

  30. Matt says:

    Nice comic, but the long vertical side panel thingys in the last couple are kinda annoying me – means I have to scroll down to see the bottom of that panel and read the important bit whilst trying to avoid reading panel 2/3

  31. Neotacha says:

    Maybe I’ve just been really lucky with the groups I’ve played with. We always had to deal with the food/drink/rest issues. And some of the players seemed almost compulsive about having baths (a half-orc bathing in rose water every chance he gets, for Pete’s sake!).

    Great comic, btw. I’ve really been enjoying it, and would love to see it in print some time.

  32. EmeraldTiara says:

    Heh. So now can we expect them to be making numerous cracks about how this is straight out of Final Fantasy?

  33. ladyalinor says:

    Honestly, I don’t get the Aragorn look they chose for the movies either. I happen to think Vigo M. is fairly hot when he’s clean shaven but if I were Arwen I so would have tossed him into a lake with some soap and thrown a razor at him before I’d let him anywhere near me.

    Hey, Shamus, given the lego-lass comments thrown around in the first few you should keep that image that looks like they’re kissing around for a later joke. It’s got potential.

  34. I feel a great battle of wits is drawing near…

    Laughter on the horizon.

    And that old guy, he’ll be there!

    Along with a bijillion Uruk-hai.

    Shamus – are you going to poke fun at the Elves showing up
    and stunning the LoTR purists? I mean, surprising the DM?

  35. Nogard_Codesmith says:

    Steve said:
    /*
    All I can say is that the DMotR must have some truly awsome powers of description that we are never allowed to see if the players are reacting like that. Any DM of my acquaintence would probably expect to have a description of Helms Deep greeted with “Yeah, yeah. Is there a magic shop or a blacksmith?” Players can sometimes be dreadfully unimaginative.
    */

    Maybe they are using miniatures and the DM stayed up all night building Helms Deep out of legos.

  36. Hotaru says:

    I’ve been in a situation like that before… a level 1 ranger and a level 1 monk outnumbered by 10 or so cats… i think we smacked the DM upside the head for it >_>;

  37. Yahzi says:

    The forecast calls for pain…

    :D

  38. Liss says:

    Been reading for a while, but first comment. This is sheer genius, and I read it as soon as I get into the office, which makes the rest of the day a bit better.

    Bring on the battle!

    Oh, and as a Leggy fan-girl, can I just say ‘Yum’!

  39. Phil says:

    Legolas: “…trapped in a dead end without provisions.

    Gimli: “Ah, nonsense lad – there’s hundreds of horses here. Hang on and I’ll just go ask the King about cooking us a few…”

  40. General Ghoul says:

    10,000 orcs, where’s Drizzt when you need him. Had to be said.

  41. Thenodrin says:

    “10000 orcs, each with CR 1/2, that’s only an EL 27. Sounds like a fun encounter.”

    Actually, under 3.5 rules the EL maxes out at 12+ enemies. So, even 10,000 CR 1/2s would still only be EL 7.

    And, of course, this ignores situational modifiers (which most DMs, IME, tend to ignore.) I’d give a -2 for advance warning, and -1 for the terrain. I’d also give a +2 for the orcs having better than average leadership and tactics, and a +2 for the heroes having inferiour equipment. That would be EL 8.

    Also, by the 3.5 rules, the 1st level allies of the PCs would be considered “negligible aid.” Their role in the combat would be to prevent more than a dozen enemies from attacking any given PC at once.

    Finally, since there are only 3 PCs here, that is a -1 to their effective Average Party Level. In addition, the party is terribly unballanced (three fighter types, no healers), which is worth an additional -1 to the APL. Assuming all three of them are the same level, here is the breakdown:

    PC level 11 or higher (APL 9+) = easy encounter. The PCs should not be in any real danger, although if their main concern is the safety of the NPCs, they may place themself in danger to save the low level NPCs.

    PC level 7-10 (APL 5-8) = Challenging. The combat should drain 20-60% of PC resources. Poor resource management could result in a PC death.

    PC level 6 or lower (APL 4-) = Overpowering. At least one PC should be expected to die. Success is really only possible with exceptional tactics and incredible luck.

    The 3.5 rules for APL / EL work really well. But, only if you really take the time to study and learn the system, and use all aspects of it rather than just the ones provided in simple chart format.

    Theno

    • WJS says:

      Err, not for a fight of this scale they don’t. Let’s ignore the fortifications; they’re an enormous equaliser between two roughly comparable forces, but there’s no way 3 men can prevent the orcs taking the walls, especially when one of them has no bow. Let’s assume that their AC is so high the orcs need a 20 to hit (questionable in this case, they’re seriously underequipped in terms of magic items, but let’s assume it anyway). Let’s assume each orc only gets off two attacks before he’s killed. That’s still one hit they’re going to take for each ten orcs they face. Assuming an average of 5 damage per hit, the orcs will be dealing a total of 5000 damage to them. I think that’s a little more than they can handle, eh?

      All systems have a domain they work within, and expecting them to work outside that is foolish. Thousands of enemies is well outside the scope of the D&D rules. I’m not sure where you get the idea that 3 level 11 fighters should be able to easily kill thousands of orcs, but it’s clearly not the case, whatever the EL says.

      • Wide And Nerdy® says:

        You’re absolutely right about this situation.

        But if they were properly equipped, three level elevens might manage it. The key would be having adamantine armor for damage reduction. This would cut the damage down to a level they might actually soak. And in this campaign, its not entirely unreasonable to think that at least one of them picked up Deflect Arrow (if the movies are anything to go by, Aragorn certainly did).

        On the other hand, 3.5 treats volleys as an area effect that you roll a reflex save against. Aragorn at 11th level would have evasion if he stuck with the Ranger class. And Legolas strikes me as having levels in either Monk or Rogue, especially with the Munchkin playing him. So they both could survive a lot of volleys.

  42. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Heather is right, Shamus made us care about where we slept ate and what we had to drink.
    I still fondly remember the bathe house in our first campaign. The company would travel miles out of our way just to stop over at the monastery.
    We relished that our characters had the luxury of taking a “shvitz”
    Even Eomer who often spent his time sleeping outside as opposed to sleeping at an in loved the bath house greatly.
    Shamus removed the spells of create water/food because he thought them too powerful for low level characters. We didn’t mind and enjoyed the challenge. Also I have to agree with Steve, it is good to be the spell caster. Because when sword and force fail, Wisdom and intelligence will prevail.

  43. Darkenna says:

    Because when sword and force fail, Wisdom and intelligence will prevail.

    Orcfuscius say, “Never let puny little magic-man throw first punch.”

  44. Brian M says:

    Being Rp’n and DM’n since 1974 (check the records, folks) Yup, I’m older’n dirt. But I do love this stuff. This series is like a ride thru the past. I laff out loud every time I read it, and I’ve read it more than twice. It’s the kind of thing you wish will never end. Shamus, you are my new deity (or at least demigod).

  45. Woerlan says:

    Actually, 10,000 orcs being CR 1/2 assumes that they’re base 1HD (or 1st level) orcs, perhaps with the NCP warrior class. The math gets complicated when you realize that 1) Many of their opponents are URUKS, not orcs, and are thus more powerful, 2) Many of these, both uruk and orc, have character class levels, particularly the leaders. So even with Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn being high or likely even epic level characters, they were still in trouble. Otherwise, they would have leaped out in front of the walls and taken our the entire army by themselves.

  46. Steve says:

    [Thenodrin] Plus, of course, the fact that the good guys are outnumbered ten to one or whatever means that they will be nine times as knackered when the tenth orc steps up to the plate even if they do queue up in an orderly fashion rather than simply swamping the group with a mass bull rush and thumping.

    What penalties do you assess for battle fatigue under 3.5? Will our heroes get tired as they hack, slash and tobbogan-down-staircases-on-shields through the enemy or will they have seemingly endless reserves of stamina like they did in the movies?

    Steve.

    • WJS says:

      Another good point; even at 4 orcs a round each, it would take over an hour to kill 10000 of them. Over an hour of constant exertion, plus steadily increasing injuries. (As I argue above, the injuries would overtake them long before the orcs ran out, in an actual game)

  47. Proteus says:

    My guess for what comes next —

    LEGOLAS: “Remember those 10,000 orcs you mentioned?”
    ARAGORN: “Yeah?”
    GIMLI: “They’re about to break in!”
    ARAGORN: “Not a chance! You see the thickness of these walls? I’m telling you, you’d need gunpowder to blast your way in here, and these stupid orcs don’t have gunpowd–”
    ::BOOM!::
    GIMLI: “I think we need to have a talk about how Elves, the most advanced race in Middle-Earth, could fail to develop black-powder weapons before the Orcs.”
    ARAGORN: “We need Dave back in the game pronto. I need to borrow his lightsaber.”
    LEGOLAS: ::Holds up sign, stating ‘Will change alignment for food!’::

  48. mookers says:

    Shamus Says:

    I feel the same way about PH and AJ as scldragonfish feels about the dirty aragorn: Yuck. The women actually are a good bit worse off, since they have the additional baggage of not being very interesting people, looks aside.

    I can’t believe there is another man alive besides myself who doesn’t think Angelina Jolie is the hottest thing ever. Hell, even my wife says she’d change sides for Angelina! I just don’t get what all the fuss is about.

    Keep up the good work Shamus. Having never made it past Fellowship of the Ring, either in print or on screen, I’m treating this strip as a sort of comical Cliff Notes for the entire trilogy :D

  49. Tola says:

    Fun.

    10,000 SUPER-Orcs, remember. They’ve lost the INT penalty, which is half the reason they’re a proper army without the scare tactics Mordor uses.

  50. AJ? – feh. PH? – meh! Overexposed, and under-qualified for the attention.

    Kate Blanchett – though more as Elizabeth I than as Galadriel… charming, intelligent, & at least she can act her way oot of a wet paper bag, as Gimli might say.

    Besides, if these dubious icons (PH & AJ) of womanhood were morally helpful to anyone they wouldn’t be promoted so much. Their usefulness for young women as “role” models is consistently in the category of “ironic”.

  51. Dantekrad says:

    Excellent!, I’ve read this from the first one (all today), is… is.. just GREAT!,

    i think how many miniatures you’ll need for this battle.

  52. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    Honestly, I don’t get the Aragorn look they chose for the movies either. I happen to think Vigo M. is fairly hot when he’s clean shaven

    I think they purposely kept him scruffy so when he gets crowned at the end you saw Wow!

  53. Ward Hall says:

    Phenomenal as usual, Shamus. Though I would have liked to have seen “Panel 5 Aragorn” deliver the Panel 6 line. I think the smirk would have added a whole new level of condescension to it.

  54. Being Rp’n and DM’n since 1974 (check the records, folks) Yup, I’m older’n dirt. But I do love this stuff. This series is like a ride thru the past. I laff out loud every time I read it, and I’ve read it more than twice. It’s the kind of thing you wish will never end. Shamus, you are my new deity (or at least demigod).

    Same here, only started earlier (that’s me in the early D&D books) and I really love this comic. I’ve enjoyed the rest of it.

    Need to note http://www.acaeum.com/forum/index.php guys again on this.

  55. Marty says:

    10,000 orcs? No problem… Just get your self, Cleave, Greater Cleave and Greatest Cleave On Earth.

  56. Dannerman says:

    Damn you Marty! You beat me to the ‘Great Cleave… Great Cleave… Great Cleave…’ joke!

    :-)

  57. Macros the Black says:

    Arrrrrggggg……I’ve just reached the end of the strips…..now I have to get back to doing some work.

    Anyway….keep up the excellent work Shamus

  58. Scarlet Knight says:

    Shamus, you are a genius. Not just because your comic is laugh out loud funny after 78 episodes; but because you inspire others to greatness! “Orcfuscius”? “Will change alignment for food”? “Uruk-hai, I choose you!” Magnifico!

  59. Thenodrin says:

    “What penalties do you assess for battle fatigue under 3.5? Will our heroes get tired as they hack, slash and tobbogan-down-staircases-on-shields through the enemy or will they have seemingly endless reserves of stamina like they did in the movies?”

    By the 3.5 rules, there are no such things as “battle fatigue” modifiers.

    Besides which, I’m fairly certain that I could run a combat of 10K out-of-the-book orcs against 3 10th level fighters and a few hundred NPCs in one game session. If the combat lasted more than 30 rounds (three in-character minutes) I’d be surprised. Two melee fighters can reliably kill 3-8 orcs per round depending on if they have the Cleave and Great Cleave feats. One dedicated archer can reliably kill 4 orcs per round. Assuming Gimli has Great Cleave and Aragorn does not (probably has Leadership and the player doesn’t want to bother with the complexities of the feat) that is 16 dead orcs per round.

    Assuming 500 NPC fighters and archers that can, themselves, eliminate half an orc per round each, but will, themselves, be killed at a rate of 1d10 per round, that brings down 250 orcs on the first round, and less each subsequent round. That’s a little less than 7,500 orcs killed by NPCs, and 480 expected killed by PCs over 30 rounds.

    And, that’s with above average tactics on the part of the orcs. None of this lining up and attacking one at a time, as mentioned by Woerlan. Also, bull rushing would be a dumb thing for the orcs to do. The best tactic would be to surround, and attack to aid. Seven orcs attacking to hit an AC 10 would give the eighth up to a +16 to hit the PC. This would present a real threat to the PCs, as they would be nickel and dimed literally to death if they don’t employ their own tactics.

    Something like, say, flanking the attacking army at the door and preventing the main force of the orcs from joining the ones who have already breached the walls. Two of them could kill at least 6 orcs per round, more if they have either of the Cleave feats. Eventually, the orcs would have to push their way around to flank and surround, and that would provoke AOOs, leading to the loss of more orcs per round. I seem to remember a similiar tactic actually being used in the movie.

    So, at the end of 30 rounds, there are about 2,000 orcs left and around 300 NPC defenders left. At this point, if the PCs haven’t been significantly hurt (as in reduced to 20% of their max hit points) the combat can be called in favour of the PCs. And, if they have been significantly hurt, Gandalf can come in and save them all without the players feeling cheated. (They successfully held off the attacking force until reinforcements arrived.)

    Theno

    • WJS says:

      Why assume that each NPC defender can kill 1/2 an orc per round, but each orc can only kill 1/200 of a defender per round? If the fortifications reduce the orcs to hitting on a 20, then even if only 1000 of the orcs have bows they’ll still kill 50 defenders per round. I would also suggest that an orc soldier wearing a breastplate should have better than even odds of surviving a lvl1 commoner conscript with a bow.

      That’s definitely how to run a battle like this though, precompute the mooks on each sides odds against each other and assume attrition for all combatants not directly engaged by PCs. However, while your numbers would reduce the orcs to about a third by round 30 (which is a pretty long combat), that’s assuming the defenders will only take minimal casualties. With more realistic defender attrition, they’ll all be gone by round 10 and there’ll still be over 8000 orcs left by round 30. At 16 orcs a round it’ll take over 500 more rounds to kill them all. That’s almost an hour. That’s a more realistic timeframe for a battle than 3 minutes, but rather a long time for constant exertion. Combat fatigue isn’t explicitly mentioned in the rules no, but they do specify that you can only run for a few minutes (I can’t seem to find any more specific rules, which is odd), and fighting is a similar level of exertion.

  60. Hotaru says:

    Thenodrin, your post made my brain hurt… but anyway… there’s only one problem in this comic strip with the 10th level fighters thing… no mention has been made that they ever got off level 1, but it is a possibility they got a number of XPs from the quests they have completed (getting to each town,escorting the peasants, etc.) and killing a bit in the battles they’ve fought. and could you imagine having to roll for 10,000 orc NPCs and 500 human NPCs as a DM? that in it self would take a good deal of time… not to mention which orc you’re rolling for…

    • WJS says:

      Don’t be ridiculous, only a fool would try to roll for each of hundreds of men and thousands of orcs. You simply assume that the men kill half their number each round, so if there are 300 men left 150 orcs die. See? You would presumably adjust these rates once the battle moves to the walls, since the men stand a better chance shooting the orcs than they do up close.

  61. superfluousk says:

    Have I mentioned before how much I really like the Gimli player, for making at least the slightest effort to speak in an in-character manner?

    “Oh, no, who let the roleplayer in the group?”

  62. Jillzmom says:

    I wish PJ had cast Sean Bean as Aragorn and Viggo as Boromir. I have been a fan of SB since he was Richard Sharpe. He has a much better voice quality. The breathy, nasal voice in a king just doesn’t work for me, no matter how well he speaks Elvish.

  63. Thenodrin says:

    Hotaru,

    Every successful mass battle I’ve seen (and there were a lot of mass battle “Battle Interactive” events in the early Living Greyhawk campaign) used simple attrition for NPC v. monster conflict.

    No, I wouldn’t roll for every orc or for every NPC defender. I’d average it out. Like I said, I would assume that a 1st level NPC could reliably kill half an orc per round, so one orc would die for every two NPC defenders left at the end of the round. You should only roll for an attack that has a chance of affecting a PC.

    So, I’d swarm the orcs around Aragorn and Gimli at the gates. I’d lose some orcs to AoOs, but then I could roll for all the ones around each. And, I wouldn’t roll 16 times for the round. Since the orcs have established leadership and tactical abilities, they would delay and all act together on their leader’s initiative. I’d take 8 d20s, one a different colour than the rest. Seven of them would be for Aid Another to attack, and the different colour would be for the actual attack on the PC.

    The combat would play out really smoothly in the hands of an organized DM.

    And, I think (although I could be wrong) that it was established earlier in the strip that only the hobits were low level and that everyone else got to start higher level when they joined the campaign.

    Theno

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