DM of the Rings LXXXVIII:
An Unexpected Maneuver

  By Shamus   Apr 16, 2007   100 comments

Gimli gets totally tossed..

Yeah, so this strip should really come before the earlier one where Gimli is already fighting on the causeway. I can’t help it if I don’t think these up in chonological order. Actually, I didn’t think about the Dwarf-tossing bit until people started talking about it in the comments and I realized it was an Anticipated Event.

A Hundred!A hundred comments! Everybody wins!


1 2

  1. Gelzo says:

    YAAAAY!! FIRST!!

  2. Jonathan San says:

    FIRST!! and my first posting here as well.. I enjoy your comic very much, keep it up!!!
    Cheers love and respect from Denmark

  3. tigerdreams says:

    Hm, are the comments on a different page now, or am I first?

    Gimli, Gimli, Gimli… never brag about how you just put one over on the DM, while the DM is still in the room! Wait until he takes a bathroom break before you say something like that.

  4. Darkenna says:

    Of course Dwarf-tossing was an anticipated event!!! Whole campaigns have been built around it!!!

  5. Carl the Bold says:

    did you hear that everybody? We can make Shamus do whatever we want by telling him what we anticipate!

    I’m anticipating Gandalf is off getting, not Eomer and the boys, but Smaug, who was only mostly dead at the hand (bow?) of Bard, and he’ll fly in and save the day.

  6. Jeremiah says:

    “Back when I was a DM I never would have let my players get away with something like this.” That’s gold. It’s so great how things we strongly argue for would be things we’d never allow if the table was turned. Well, not everyone, but some players are definitely that way.

  7. sexyskank says:

    wow.. you people are fast..

  8. Namfoodle says:

    Damn Dwarves, getting tossed about for free. I should be so lucky. I play a gnome wizard, and hardly a game goes by that someone doesn’t suggest stuffing my character into my own handy haversack. The other players seem to think gnome in a sack is the remedy for all problems.

  9. Woerlan says:

    Hurling dwarves is a good tactic. Concentrated mass in a smaller than human volume makes for a decent muscular cannonball. And, though it lacks a secondary explosion, it can lay down subsequent beatings from a point where the advantage of superior numbers is limited (at least in a cinematic setting).

  10. Roger says:

    Hmmm. Does Aragon actually free-throw Gimli, or is it more like he’s using Aid Another to help him make the jump? Maybe I should cue up the scene and take a look…

  11. Aaron Sautter says:

    Ha! Funny stuff! At least Aragorn didn’t use Gimli’s beard as his tossing point. : )

    “Hurling dwarves is a good tactic. Concentrated mass in a smaller than human volume makes for a decent muscular cannonball. And, though it lacks a secondary explosion, it can lay down subsequent beatings from a point where the advantage of superior numbers is limited (at least in a cinematic setting).”

    No secondary explosion?? Have we forgotten about Gimli’s intestinal, um, “fortitude” from earlier in the film?

    He, he, he.

  12. Vegedus says:

    I have to agree with Gimli there. “It’s all one score.” is probably the most inane logic there is, but some players think up stuff like that. Oh, and Jonathan and Denmark rules.

  13. superfluousk says:

    Haha, Gimli-player is still my favorite character. I like him for his rules lawyering, clever weaseling, and just that hint of actual RP-ing. Just as much as I’m sure I’d hate him if I were the DM. :)

  14. scldragonfish says:

    Who cares about First!

    I just like being here!

  15. Deoxy says:

    Hey, give the players some credit – they didn’t ask to get an attack roll from throwing Gimli at the orcs, and thus no debate about how much damage a dwarf would do.

    Of course, then the DM would suggest that ammunition is destroyed on impact, and we’d get a discussion about whether a dwarf counts as ammunition or thrown weapon (like a hand axe, which Gimli conveniently has an infinite supply of).

    And that would just be silly…

  16. Mistergreen says:

    First time commenting, long time reader.

    After getting the urge to watch the trilogy again this weekend I was surprised I didn’t see something bout Legolass flubbing his hit rolls on the orc with the sparkler. He gets criticals every time except those 2 shots, and he even took time to aim.

  17. 2.5 cats says:

    Wow, it’s flattering to see that fan feedback is actually read, and was the midwife of this comic. Hilarious one, too.

  18. Anh Minh says:

    Wait. DnD stats are relative to normal men, right? So a Str stat of ten would mean average leg strength and average arm strength, not average leg strength in the arms.

  19. mneme says:

    Heh. The reasoning used is pretty silly. On both sides — “he’s too short?”

    Of course, a D20 rules lawyer could argue both sides with aplomb — Gimli’s probably not got ranks in jump, and his movement is 20″, and he’s wearing heavy armor. Even with an 18 strength, that’s a -8 jump check, so making a 15 foot jump (dc: 15) is out of the question, even with a run.

    OTOH, Gimli’s presumably in Aragorn’s maximum carrying capacity, which means he can be used as a thrown weapon (not ammunition, so no worries about him breaking on impact), with a range of increment of 10 feet. Even with a pile of minuses, Aragorn should be able to hit -the causeway- with him (with its touch AC of 0 or lower) with no difficulty.

  20. Dan Hemmens says:

    The DM really dropped the ball on this one…

    He forgot that Aaragorn still has that 99lb of looted Rohirrim gear in his pack.

  21. Valley says:

    I like how the orcs seem to be wondering what the heck is about to happen.

  22. Josh says:

    Long-time reader, first time poster. Good strip today, Shamus. I must admit, though, that miss the old 2-page comics. They seemed a little more “complete,” as there were a few lesser punchlines in the middle and the culmination at the end.

  23. David says:

    Funny comic as always. This is my first post. Keep up the good work. I’ve introduced many people to your comic. It is up there with OOTS.

    It would be interesting if all of the orcs had long spears, so as Gimli approaches them through the air, they all get an AoO because he is moving through their threatened square, albeit in the air. That would be a good DM response to a player comment like “I wouldn’t let that work if I were DM”. In a game I was in, the monk leap attacked a huge 3 headed creature. The creature had combat reflexes and a 20′ reach with its bite attacks. By the time the monk’s foot hit the creature, each head took a few bites out of him. It was funny to see his reaction to this, and knowing he couldn’t stop in the air. He survived long enough to get his kick attack on the creature, but he knew he was doomed before his next action would come up, having lost like 90% of his hps to its AoOs.

  24. George says:

    Well we cannot anticipate something that did not happen in the movie.

    But hopefully if shamus gets his hands on an extended version of the Return of the King he can do something with the scene where saurman falls off his own tower and dies.

    It’s shamus’s comic, but his success depends upon him giving us what we want to see. Not does not mean we should now continue to banter him with random outtakes and scenes we want in. What works works, what doesn’t doesnt. Maybe Eomer can be a new PC though, that would be kinda neat.

  25. Lil'German says:

    Poor Uruk-Hai :D Totally Confused by the weird actions of those players :P

    Another glamour bit of your strip Seamus

    And of course this was anticipated it’s one of the most famous scenes of the whole movie.

  26. solemndragon says:

    i disagree. A large part of his success lies in the fact that i- and other readers- don’t anticipate any of this.

    (Except perhaps the MP quotes, but i have yet to see a single real campaign without them- not to anticipate those is DM suicide.)

    Keep it up! It’s hysterical!

  27. RollD20 says:

    One thing that annoys me when I’m role-playing is listening to a fellow player arguing the GM into accepting something ridiculous.

    On the one hand, you don’t want to undermine another player’s creativity.
    On the other, if the GM realizes he’s being lead by the nose, you don’t want him to regard you as an accomplice to the deed. Plus, if he gets tired of being talked into things, will he draw the line at your own (perfectly reasonable!) suggestion later on?

    Ah well, whatever keeps the game going. The GM can always ban it in the future, as long as we get away with it for now. >:)

    • WJS says:

      If you can get a rep for arguing for what’s reasonable rather than whatever you think you can get away with, a DM who is in turn reasonable will give great weight to your suggestions. That said, only argue against the other players if they’re trying something really stupid.

  28. Azaria says:

    This was one of my favorite parts of the movie so having the comic without it would have been disappointing to me. I’m glad that the reader comments got it in there :o)

  29. Patrick says:

    You notice how the halflings were so often referred to by their players’ names, but you don’t notice it with the other characters? Somehow I failed to notice it until this comic when Aragorn said ‘Good one, Gimli’ when he was in fact referring to the action of the player.

  30. Isoyami says:

    Yes! Finally the Gimli toss! hehe!

    I’m a medium time reader, first time poster.

    Awwww, you didn’t do something with the bit where Gimli tells Aragorn: “And not a word to the elf!!”

    I would have loved to see a bit on that. :D (Seeing how Aragorn has experience on “lifting” *cough* Gimli now… >.>)

    Also, Mistergreen (#16), Legolas did hit the sparkler orc twice, once in each shoulder. But, it is explained that the sparkly orc is wearing heavy armor so he is only injured, not killed. If you slow the film down, you can see him run forward, then just kamikazi jump into the pile of bombs since he can no longer use his arms.

    Brilliant, as usual. :D

  31. Steve says:

    I care about being first scldragonfish. My vengeance will be slow but inexorable.

    I shall forge magic rings that I will offer as gifts to the regular contributers. These rings will subordinate the will of the wearer to me via my control ring. Once I have each one under my domination I should be able to secure first posting rights every time. I wonder how many I’l need? Lessee:

    I’ll need to take care of the three wiseacres who each claimed first today. One for Gelzo, one for Jonathan and one for tigerdreams.

    I’ll need some for the longtime posters, Darkenna, Carl the Bold, Skeve, Deoxy, Pixa Misa, Tola and Telas.

    Not forgetting the Johnny-come-Lately butinskis Woerlan, Roger, Chris, Libresse, Browncoat, Mom, Rolld20, Scarlet knight and Steve Lytton/Deathblade_Penguin.

    That should do nicely. A quick recap to assemble the bill of materials and it’s off to the forge for some amateur jewelry manufacture.

    Three rings for the swine who beat me in today
    Seven for the old gang, quick to write
    Nine for the new guard with lots to say
    One for me, to vent my spite.

    One ring to rule them all
    One ring to find them
    One ring to bring them all
    And in the darkness bind them
    In the DM of the Rings, where I’ll soon be boss of them all

    Steve.

  32. Wolfblood says:

    Dwarf tossing, how delightful. Someone has got to make a fair game about these: “Come and try ladys and gentlemen toss the dwarf to the causeway and win a teddybear…”

    Also I agree with Isoyami, there should had been something of the “don’t tell the elf… or something of the beard, is always nice to make fun of dwaven beards.

    By the way, first time poster, excellent comic Shamus.

  33. Alasseo says:

    @Isoyami- In actual fact, the Uruk-Hai with the sparkly is a berserker- hyped-up on rage and/or drugs so he just doesn’t feel pain or fear until he should have been long dead (plus the uruk-hai sappers who carried the bomb would have failed the WP checks to sacrifice themselves and set off the bomb).

    @Steve- Are you supposed to be Celebrimbor or Sauron with that quote?

  34. Rayne says:

    Tossings dwarves goes much better than tossing halflings.

    One day while playing D&D our party was in a quandry. The barbarian and halfling had fallen in a trapped pit and could not get out. One of the rangers and a druid were trying to help them out.

    We all got the bright idea to toss the halfling out of the pit. The barbarian did not have much luck, and ended up throwing the halfling straight up in the air. The druid, trying to help, decided to stick his spear out so the halfing could land on it or grab it as she was falling.

    But, as luck would have it, he ended up skewering her. At the same time, the ranger jumped across the pit to hit the halfling in midair, to knock them both to the side of the pit. He ended up hitting her and pushing her further on the spear.

    Moral of the story: Halflings were NOT made to fly!

    Hafling shiskabob anyone?

  35. Salen says:

    Woot! And yes, I’ve been waiting for Gimli to be tossed for a few comics now. Heh. Just like how Legolas was all for the shield surfing, Gimli is the dwarf-tossing. At least Gimli isn’t asking if he can make a charging attack since he’s being thrown.

  36. Natoc says:

    Halflings seem to get picked on a lot, at least in our campaign. I was playing a halfling rogue, and the DM had the idea of making us fight a peice of the space-time continuum (yeah, I don’t know where he gets the ideas either). Anyway, after we defeated it, there was a small rift closing, and the players wanted to see what was through it, but none wanted to put their head through it, as they were too big. So, as the only small character, they picked me up, and shoved my head through the rift, depsite my struggling. Apparantly it was similar to tripping out on something bad, as he saw four-sided triangles, circles with corners, and the like.

    Moral: Don’t adventure in a party if you are the smallest

  37. sexyskank says:

    wonder what would have happened if he rolled a critical miss?

  38. Parzival says:

    I DMed a game back in college where the party got in a tight spot; they were descending a staircase in an orc stronghold, and came upon a crowd of 20 orcs that attacked them from a wide hallway. The party had two fighters in the front meleeing at the choke point (keeping the orcs down to two attackers at a time), but there were way more orcs than PCs, so it was a matter of time. Two archers backed up the stairway and started shooting at orcs in the rear, over the heads of the front men, to reduce the numbers. I was allowing this (knowing the party was screwed if I didn’t, and really not wanting to see ‘em carved up. I wanted the story to continue), when one of the players— an engineering student, naturally— started arguing that the archery shots were impossible, as arrows are ballistic and would hit the ceiling of the staircase. I told him it was an open staircase with a ceiling reaching all the way to the top entrance level. He then argued that the top of the doorway would prevent line of sight to the orcs. I tried to shush him, but he was insistent, touting the laws of physics, etc., etc., most emphatically. I finally said something on the order of, “Look, I can rule the way you want, okay? But if I do, you’re all gonna die. So why don’t you take what I’m giving you and let it go?” At this point, with all the other players staring at him, he gave in. But he was never happy about it.

    • WJS says:

      Rubbish. Sure arrow shots are technically ballistic, but they’re very flat over short distances. It should be very easy to shoot through a doorway over the heads of your friends and hit a throng of orcs on the other side.

  39. Tola says:

    @Steve- Are you supposed to be Celebrimbor or Sauron with that quote?

    It’s Sauron.

    In actual fact, the Uruk-Hai with the sparkly is a berserker- hyped-up on rage and/or drugs so he just doesn’t feel pain or fear until he should have been long dead (plus the uruk-hai sappers who carried the bomb would have failed the WP checks to sacrifice themselves and set off the bomb).

    I find it interesting that even though the Berserkers didn’t exactly get much screen time, in both the LOTR games I’ve seen where they showed up, they’re VERY powerful.

    Battle for Middle Earth-High health for a single unit(Most infantry units are trained in groups-the Berserker is one of the few that is a single, if only because of the whole ‘Light bomb’ thing), high damage, and that damage has heavy ‘splash’ or ‘AOE’ if you’re more familiar with that term(In D+D terms he’s getting a Whirlwind Attack with every swing). Bad armour, though. They’re cheap and quick to train once you get them(If you want to know, ask), though, so even if some are shot to pieces, if/when they get through…

    The Third Age-The normal Berserkers are potent enough, with strong attacks and stunning, but suffer from poor defence. The Vetern Berserkers are another story. High defence(for the time), more life, and they can now leech life, as well as the strong attacks and stunning. Did I mention that both have decent status immunities as well? Even Gimli and Legolas, who are ‘guests’ in the battles they show up in, can’t really do much to them, and the Fellowship members in general are far better than your party.(With the notable exception of Eowyn, but that’s another thing entirely.)

    While I’m on the subject: In any of the movies, is there ANY elf called Aranel? Ever? I’m trying to work out whether EA(or whoever really made The Third Age) made him up.

  40. Tola says:

    Gah.

    For ‘Vetern’, read ‘Veteran’.

  41. Isoyami says:

    @Alasseo(#33) Yea, good point that. And Steve wants to be Sauron.

    @Rayne (#34) ROFL… talk about bad rolls…

    Oh, and I found this very amusing video on Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnUvw1rzziE

    How LoTR SHOULD have ended. They cut everything from Elrond’s Council to the end of RotK (About 7-8 hours of screentime) down to 2 minutes. Brilliant. xD

    And I love the little banter at the end. Hee.

  42. Darkenna says:

    Steve:

    SWEET!!! I’m gonna take this shiny ring and use it to go build a fortune. Ha! I even know the perfect place, that old single mountain rising up out of the plains over there by it’s lonesome self! Come, Thror, my son, ket us ride to th—what, Steve?

    Power?

    Who craves that?

    (That was seriously cool, btw. Not sure how I feel about being classified in the “old-timer” category, tho…) ;)

  43. Aries says:

    Egerly awaited and thankfully not disapointed, ladys and gents i giveyou the best sport in all of middle earth…..midget chunkin.

    if i havent said it beforei LOVE the comic and i cant help but wonder how our infamously ‘fair’ DM is going to reintroduce the halflings into the story

  44. Peterus says:

    @hobbits
    I think Star Wars game by Dave is not *that* funny… and they’ll crawl back :D just for ent episode.

  45. Prawninator says:

    Icosahedra… MY PRECIOUSSSSSSS…

    Damn you guys are fast. And here I was at work, moping around and hoping the new entry would be up. I refreshed… and refreshed… And then boom, 43 comments.

    I wonder how the wind and Uruk-Hai stench felt on Gimli’s beard as he was soaring through the air…

  46. Steve/Deathblade_penguin says:

    hey everyone

    Steve mentioned me “Not forgetting the Johnny-come-Lately butinskis Woerlan, Roger, Chris, Libresse, Browncoat, Mom, Rolld20, Scarlet knight and Steve Lytton/Deathblade_Penguin.”

    YAY!!!!!

    and in response to a couple of posts – the ability to throw a halfling is a critical element of any good plan.. that’s why us big strapping 6 foot fighters allow them to come along…

  47. sexyskank says:

    hmm.. does it count as he’s making a leap attack?

  48. Nefke says:

    First-time commenter here! (Loving and enjoying the comic for a while now, though)

    Short people are obviously not made for long jumps… luckily for me, my D&D Gnome has a magic ring of jumping… +30.. that slightly changes the situation ;) Not to mention the cloak (or boots, or slippers) of spiderclimbing that might have done the trick!

  49. Phil says:

    Gimli’s probably not got ranks in jump

    Of course Gimli’s got ranks in jump – fighters have so few class skills they can pretty much put points in all of them!

    Besides he’d probably have at least a +4 belt of STR… :)

  50. Kalandron says:

    After the Tony Hawk reference, which had me in tears, I’m anticipating Legolas’s slide down the Oliphant’s trunk (or was it the tail?) at the Battle of Pelennor Fields…

    Also, I’m wondering if there has been any ‘Bored of the Rings’ references?

  51. Joshua says:

    “@Rayne (#34) ROFL… talk about bad rolls…”

    Actually, I was the Druid in that scenario, and I rolled a 16 or 17 on the d20 when trying that spear maneuver. The DM interpreted it as a successful ATTACK roll instead of a skill roll, mainly just because he thought it would be funny for me to skewer the halfling, not because it would actually be fair. Kind of along the same lines as Aragorn’s rolling of 1 while trying a Riding check to dismount keeps him ON the horse, because the DM wanted it that way.

  52. Browncoat says:

    Steve –

    Thanks for the “shiny” ring. May I suggest that you invest in a better pair of work gloves than did your predecessor.

  53. Medium Dave says:

    So in GURPS 3rd edition terms, Gimli makes a slam attack. His strength vs the uruks he hits, maybe a bonus for flanking and surprise (uruks NEVER expect hurled dwarves) which means that he could have… bounced off of them, or fallen after he hit or someone with a higher move could have stuck him with a pike. Quite risky.

    My players would have done this anyway, with a careful discussion from one of them explaining all the myriad failure modes beforehand (they always tell him to stop giving me ideas). Like I need time to think about clever ways to sabotage acts like this. Sheesh. As a GM, I’m not evil, I’m just more rational than the rest of the people at the table.

  54. -Chipper says:

    Steve,
    It generally is inadvisable to brodcast your plans to your enem- OHH SHINY! It’s so PRETTY. Can I see it? … Can I try it? I can HAVE it!? Sweet! You go ahead & post first; I’m gonna sit here & admire my new shiny.

  55. General Ghoul says:

    All those shouting FIRST, reminds me of a a friend’s rogue character who demanded to scout point. He always wanted to be first in a room (probably to scout out the good loot to keep for himself). He had great hide skill, but skimped on find traps. Ahh well you know how the story goes from there…

    Steve, I feel left out of the old timers here, but your mind control rings don’t effect the undead ;).

  56. AndiN says:

    Fantastic strip, Shamus! Dwarf tossing rules!

    Re: being the first commenter, I don’t wanna be first. Because then the little dice next to my comment would be a 1. Critical failure. And I get enough of those when I game. :-)

    Me, I wanna be #20. Critical hit!

    @Tola: According to The Encyclopedia of Arda ( http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.asp ), Aranel is a title for Dior Eluchil. It means “noble elf”. Dior Eluchil was accounted King of Doriath from c.1 504. So, no, EA didn’t make him up. Tolkien did. :-)

  57. Tola says:

    That doesn’t explain what he’s doing escorting a party of adventurers through East Emnet Gullies. (No, amazingly, you DON’T get to help Boromir-he’s already dead by the time you get these. This despite the fact you later get to fight Mumakil and help take down the Witch-King.(Hell, you’re doing most of the work there-Eowyn is completely outmatched.) Also just before this, you’ve helped Gandalf with the Balrog(Though HE’s the one doing the REAL damage. There’s an odd symmetry there.) The Third Age is funny and sad all at the same time.)

    Nice Ring. What does it actually DO for me, though? I’m not putting it on till I get an instruction manual for this thing.

  58. Steve says:

    [Tola] A printed copy of the instructions for your ring can be obtained by mailing a certified check or postal order for US $50 (to cover postage) to:

    Roxysteve World Domination Inc,
    PO Box 666
    Mordor
    Mo 10001-0001

    Make checks payable to “Roxysteve Nest Egg Account”

    DO NOT SEND CASH.

    Cash should be placed instead in a small brown paper lunch bag and left behind the water tank of the toilet in the third stall from the left in the Isengard Public Restrooms in the South Concourse. Don’t forget to write your name and address on the bag so I know where to send the -c-u-r-s-e- instructions.

    Whoever left their ring on top of their clock radio: Please either move it or change the channel. The Lite FM is giving me indegestion.

    Steve.

  59. Nogard_Codesmith says:

    Steve wins the comments for this comic.

    As for the comic itself. It was funnier the second time i read it when i was actually awake. ^_^

    We’ve had discussions in games like this, and i seem to recall several sage advice articles focusing on questions related to how far/high characters could hurl one another by whatever means. So its obviously a widespread phenomenon.

  60. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Not forgetting the Johnny-come-Lately butinskis Woerlan, Roger, Chris, Libresse, Browncoat, Mom, Rolld20, Scarlet knight and Steve Lytton/Deathblade_Penguin.”

    Steve, If I accept your ring & take good care of my horse, can I then get a longed necked, flying, riding beastie? Can I, huh? Can I? Or maybe a pointy knife that burns with the fires of a thousand evils?

  61. Kortir says:

    I just found this comic recently, but I very much love it. this is fun :D

    Oh, I can just see them arguing for experience and the ability to chase orcs all the way back to Isengard.
    Hmm… maybe a comic is also due afterwards for one of the players trying to multiclass? Because everybody knows getting one level of Barbarian for the rage ability is awesome :D

  62. Steve says:

    [Scarlet Knight] Pointy knife of 1k Evil Flame is in one of the booster packs, although it has a rating of “extremely rare”. The Flying Beastie will be available separately in time for next Christmas in the Minions of Steve Play Set.

    Steve.

  63. Rolld20 says:

    [Steve] Following my SOP with unidentifiable magic items, I placed the ring on a bound and sedated halfling. The test subject began singing Celine Dion songs in the Unnamed Tongue. While this does make a change from my iBard, I was wondering if I can switch the output to Billy Joel instead? Hitting the subject repeatedly only resulted in occasional Abba.

  64. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Also, I’m wondering if there has been any ‘Bored of the Rings’ references?”

    Yes, when Gimli calls himself “son of Groin”.

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