DM of the Rings CVII:
And the Clueless Again Shall Be King

By Shamus
on Jun 1, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings

Aragorn learns to roleplay.
Aragorn screws it all up.

The players may misunderstand the Player’s Handbook, forget house rules, and have trouble recalling the particulars of their character class, but never doubt their knowledge of loot tables.

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2020202018There are now 98 comments. Almost a hundred!

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  1. Cenobite says:

    LOL, loved the DM narration in the first frame!

    “You are eaten by a grue.”
    “What? What’s that?”

  2. Eric Lee says:

    Wow! First? Do I really make it? If not, Second! Hahaha. sheesh.. my life is so sad. Shamus, can’t wait to see how you’ll do the battle scenes!

  3. SteveDJ says:

    LOL — yes, really, out loud. :) Great one!

  4. Browncoat says:

    very nice.

    Now you’re getting into the D&D that I remember from my pre-teen years. Dungeons were the only things we knew to do for the longest time. But we never bothered searching for loot in the first room. In fact, we never searched unless there was something to kill or the DM specifically mentioned something: a torch on the wall, a pile of bones.

    How much did I miss out on by playing with them? Sigh.

  5. Wulfwen says:

    Wow, Aragorn – right page, wrong playbook!

  6. Kiwi says:

    I get DM of the Ring as an LJ feed. Today, I started laughing even before I clicked over to the page because the title of this one is so priceless! Damn, he’s such an idiot!

  7. Roxysteve says:

    Haaaang on! The DM (otR) never mentioned them stairs clearly in view in panel seven!

    Steve.

  8. Awesome!

    Love the widescreen shots!

    “Make Gimli do it, I’ll supervise.”
    Classic, AGAIN!

    Still waiting for the ghosts :D

  9. Mattingly says:

    The stairs only appeared because of Lego-lass’s elven ability to detect secret staircases.

    …You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.

  10. Doug Brown says:

    I always figured Aragormless for a stoner, but after looking at the expression he’s got in this strip, I assume he’s been working his way through the more potent hallucinogens. Fear and Loathing on the Paths of the Dead, indeed.

    As your atttorney, I advise you to have a great weekend, Shamus.

  11. Eric Meyer says:

    I also literally laughed out loud at the last frame.

  12. Chrome homura says:

    Haha. “Make gimli do it.” Awesome!

  13. Scarlet Knight says:

    “It’s good to be the King…”

  14. Isoyami says:

    Oh…My…Gods…

    That was sheer awesomeness. I LOVED, LOVED the Aragorn screencaps, especially the: “Yea, And?” (panel 2) and the: “I think I get it.” (panel 6).

    And come on, its not just a bare room… there’s … um … the exciting rock formations! And the fog! And the pile of bones behind Gimli in panel 3! I mean… they’re just laying out in the open, right there! Lookit!

    ;)

    And the staircase of course, as Mattingly said.

    And the Legolass screencap (panel 7) really made me laugh. Looks like the Dew rush from Helm’s Deep finally wore off. LOL

    And come on, Gimli, are you gonna let Aragon’s girlfriend boss you around like that? Put the little elf in her place! XD XD

    It’s amazing how much sheer win Shamus manages to cram in each and every strip. :D

  15. Romanadvoratrelundar says:

    Great facial expression on Leggylass in the 8th panel.

  16. Carl the Bold says:

    “Your keen ranger senses are telling you that your questmates are not amused at your play for power.”

  17. oldschoolGM says:

    “What are you talking about? It’s a tomb, not a Wal-mart!”
    Thats the line that really brought the funny for me.

  18. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    17th!

    Gimli just grows on you, doesn’t he? He does on me.

  19. haashaastaak says:

    Plus, the room’s more like 20 x 20.

  20. Rhykker says:

    Hahah great, I laughed aloud. The scepter-wielding in a kingly-way panel was a great pick.

  21. -Chipper says:

    I can just feel Gimli’s disapointment at his failure to properly inspire his cohort.

    I’d like to have the players address each other by player name rather than character name – the only one I know is Dave (Frodo) & he quit to play Star Wars. Do Leggy, Stoner, & Gimli have names?

    Anyway I too laughed audibly at the punchline. Thanks Shamus for a great lunch-time diversion.

  22. Martin says:

    “They players may misunderstand the Player’s Handbook, forget house rules, and have trouble recalling the particulars of their character class, but never doubt their knowledge of loot tables.”

    Nor the stats on every creature they encounter

  23. Scarlet Knight says:

    Chipper #22 – Don’t forget Frank the fighter…’course, he’s dead…!

    Personally, I think Gimli looks like a ‘Jake’, Legolas like a ‘Brendan’ & Aragorn looks like a ‘Ramon’.

  24. Wraithshadow says:

    >> Plus, the room’s more like 20 x 20.

    I think this might be another example of classic DM errors.

    “The room is 10 x 10. No wait. It’s… crap. Okay, it’s 20 x 20. No- that means the hallway you were just in was 40 feet, so that 24 on your search roll should’ve been 20 feet before you got to the secret door. Wait- I know this room’s supposed to be 40 x 40, so that means each square’s 5 feet. I think. Hold on, is this the right map?”

  25. Kadea says:

    you’d think that one of them would remember that aragon is the king of men and gimli and leggy are not men…ok, poor choice of words, but you get the drift

  26. Da Rogue says:

    Behind every good king there is a good queen. In Aragorn’s case the queen is Leggolass…


    …Middle-Earth is screwed.

  27. FhnuZoag says:

    Nah, Gimli is definitely a Frank, or a Brian.

  28. Aaron says:

    Aragormless in panel 2 and panel 6. “Sweet smokin’ Conan” can you get much better screencaps? I got that irritated look from my assistant when I busted out laughing at his face in panel 6. Great strip again Shamus!! :D

    A

  29. scldragonfish says:

    [I got that irritated look from my assistant when I busted out laughing at his face in panel 6.]

    Shamus…that particular quote says alot dude, when this commenter has an assistant, much less one irritated with him because he is reading your comic at work.

  30. L. Scott Johnson says:

    “They players”?

  31. jperk31260 says:

    can’t you just see Gimli ” Laddy you may be a king but your not MY king.” And then Lego chipping in with “Hey thats right your not my king either, just who are you king of again?” LOL

  32. Alan Post says:

    i got so tired of my players saying “search for secret doors” in every room they encountered that i eventually just took to rolling the dice, ignoring the result and saying “you didn’t find the secret door.” every single time.

    i love this strip!

  33. Shamus says:

    “They players” – fixed.

  34. Cenobite says:

    “Laddie, you may be a king, but you’re not MY king.”
    “Hey, that’s right, you’re not my king either. Just who are you king of again?”
    “I’m Aragorn, King of the Gondorians!”
    “King of the who?”
    “The Gondorians.”
    “Who are the Gondorians?”
    “Well, we all are. We are all Gondorians, and I am your king.”
    “I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were a Dwarvish mining concern.”
    “You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in an Imladris: a self-perpetuating dream-state in which the immortals–”
    “Oh, there you go bringing class into it again.”

    Sorry, it’s been a while since we had a Monty Python reference.

  35. Carl the Bold says:

    @FhnuZoag

    Gimli is *so* not a Frank. He’s a Martin. Perhaps Alexander (not Alex).

    Aragorn, IMHO, could be a Michael or a Jack.

    Legolas is a Judith.

  36. Clyde says:

    Dang! I wish that I could speak in a Celtic font like that!

  37. Clyde says:

    And I think that Leggolass’s player probably has one of those sexually androgynous names like Terry or Chris.

  38. “i got so tired of my players saying “search for secret doors” in every room they encountered that i eventually just took to rolling the dice, ignoring the result and saying “you didn’t find the secret door.” every single time.”

    This is the major problem with including a secret door or trap ANYWHERE in a dungeon. Once you’ve sprung that on players, they have to search every single room to check they haven’t missed either. After all, a proper secret door or trap is one that’s exactly where you don’t expect it, right?

  39. ZackTheSTGuy says:

    Great strip today! Love the scepter-wielding screencap.

    I will say in response to the ‘searching for secret doors’ thing that I’ve pretty much just stopped using them in my campaigns all together. After many months of searching to no avail, the players just stopped looking for them.

    Naturally, of course, this means that I’ve brought them back. :D

  40. Arshes says:

    Great strip, as usual ;)

    Just to make you know, Shamus, a lot of people here in Spain follow your comic every week. Personally I´m dying to see how the Hobbits are going to fit in at the very end of all this :P

  41. Caius says:

    At least they aren’t shouting out their bonuses, comparing them, then making the guy with the “hot hand” roll for the guy with the best stats.

    “I have a +10.” “+5” “-1” “+11” Jason, you roll the best, you roll for Eric. Sigh…

  42. Roxysteve says:

    Osvaldo Mandias Says:
    Gimli just grows on you, doesn’t he? He does on me.

    You need a prescription strength antifungal ointment then.

    Steve.

  43. Salen says:

    Hey, make the elf do it. Elves are the D&D equivalent of Secret Door magnets.

  44. The_Mighty_Brain says:

    hehe. Gimli looked a lot like an action figure in panel 5.

  45. Dan Hemmens says:

    This is the major problem with including a secret door or trap ANYWHERE in a dungeon. Once you’ve sprung that on players, they have to search every single room to check they haven’t missed either. After all, a proper secret door or trap is one that’s exactly where you don’t expect it, right?

    This is why I’ve never really understood the function of secret doors or traps.

    If the PCs *don’t* find a secret door, what’s the point in it being there. If they do find it, why make it secret?

  46. Joshua says:

    “Personally I´m dying to see how the Hobbits are going to fit in at the very end of all this”

    Actually, the ending of the ring fits in very well with this campaign. Dave shows back up, gets annoyed, and says, “Screw you and your railroading ways, I’m going to KEEP the ring!”

    DM: “You what?!? Ummm, well, Gollum shows up, and he, umm, errr, BITES the finger with the ring off.”
    Dave(Frodo): “Lame! I attack him to take it back. How do those darn grapple rolls work again?”
    DM: “Well, Gollum rolls a 30 for initiative, and, umm, dances so madly with delight he FALLS into the lava with the ring before you can act. The ring is destroyed!”
    All: “I hate this campaign!”

    Hope I’m not stealing the ending.

  47. Otters34 says:

    That will occur AFTER Aragorn is kiiled by a Troll at the Black Gates.

  48. Akatsukami says:

    DM: “You what?!? Ummm, well, Gollum shows up, and he, umm, errr, BITES the finger with the ring off.”
    Dave(Frodo): “Lame! I attack him to take it back. How do those darn grapple rolls work again?”
    DM: “Well, Gollum rolls a 30 for initiative, and, umm, dances so madly with delight he FALLS into the lava with the ring before you can act. The ring is destroyed!”

    Ah, but remember, in this game Gollum is rotting at the bottom of the Anduin with Legolas’ arrow through his heart. Instead, the dialogue will go like this:

    Dave: Screw you and your railroading ways, I’m going to KEEP the ring!”
    DM: You what?!? Well, Gollum shows up and…oh, wait, he’s dead. Hmmm…OK, you’ve decided to keep the Ring?
    Dave: Damn straight.
    DM: Alright…you put it on your finger…
    Dave: Go me!
    DM: …which Sauron instantly detects; he sends his Nazgul to kill you horribly and bring the Ring to him. All the rest of the party — and everyone else in Middle-earth — lives miserably ever after, which isn’t very long.
    All: I hate this campaign!
    DM : But not for very long.

  49. Matt says:

    Or it could always be, “I keep the Ring.”
    “Fine. Rocks fall, everyone dies.”

  50. Dave says:

    I guess that’s why I like to DM… no matter how much loot a DM would give me I couldn’t care less.. just words on the paper.. I was too into making it fun and dramatic.. I could just go home and write into my character sheet a bunch of loot.. so what.. the fun is the story.. I sooo felt like our dwarf here. … though I must say the room looks plenty big enough for a horse.. why did the DM make us leave our horses again??

  51. The Chino says:

    Oh loot…how I have missed thee. I can relate to the ‘search the room for loot’ in every friggin room thing…it’s never a pretty thing when you have 73 rooms to search…*sigh*

    ~Chino

  52. Ed Dunphy says:

    Mattingly Says:
    …You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.

    “Adventure”, played on a monochrome screen.

    Fnord.

  53. Tonko says:

    LOL, Legolas’ look off of Aragorns search order is perfect.

  54. Joshua says:

    “Ah, but remember, in this game Gollum is rotting at the bottom of the Anduin with Legolas’ arrow through his heart.”

    I hadn’t forgotten, but I didn’t think the fact of Gollum being dead would stop a panicking DM either.

  55. Angel says:

    I tend to deal with players who constantly search for treasure by giving them stuff.
    Most recent dungeon-like segment was an enemy barracks. Every time they searched for treasure in a room that was extremely unlikely to contain any, I gave them a little useless something. The final list included (in addition to all the treasure which was supposed to be there in the officers’ quarters and the storerooms):
    a sturdy leather belt
    6 minotaur porno mags
    a bunch of bananas
    the last 3 pages of the script to “dude, where’s my spellbook”
    a box of spent matches
    3 corroded copper pieces
    a large treause chest which had been welded shut (which was carried round for about 3 weeks before they found someone able to cut it open and discovered that it was empty)a loaf of bread
    a glass jar with airholes in the lid
    an orc’s jockstrap
    a box of sequins, 3 needles and 16′ of curtain fabric
    a pewter figure of an angel
    another glass jar with airholes in the lid, this one containing a butterfly

    I figured that after a while, they’d give up on collecting this stuff.

  56. DB says:

    It’s not Smeagol who shows up for the ring, but Deagol. The pc’s don’t know he’s already dead, and he did find the ring first.

  57. Dannerman says:

    Angel That’s genius! I’m going to have to start doing that. The problem is, I bet your players never gave up collecting it, did they?

    I usually like allowing my players to take everything they can find and then ruthlessly enforcing all the encumbrance modifiers just before a major battle.

    (Had one player who’d managed to amass 10 ill-maintained halberds at one point… I have no idea where he got them from – they certainly were not in any adventure I had run…)

  58. Sylvia says:

    LOL!
    I once played an elf fighter, who always got away with standing around (sorry, “keeping watch”) while the dwarfs in the party did all the work.

  59. Jindra34 says:

    been gone a while but good to see this is still funny

  60. Nogard says:

    I have to admit I am guilty of endless secret door and trap searching. Comes from playing years of playing Angband. Now if only “detect hidden traps/doors” were a spell you could cast every 30 seconds in D&D like it is in Angband.

  61. Sayajin Dwarf says:

    I like the fact how Gimli’s mood the particular night affects his gameplay, like how in the start he was a very serious roleplayer and the he would become some uber powergamer before he has returned as the hardcore roleplayer I love him as!

  62. Felblood says:

    The real problem with the angel solution is that players occasionally find uses for the items that you give them. I once gave a guy a partly burnt up stick of fire wood, when he decided to search an abandoned camp site.

    The things he managed to accomplish with that two foot pole made me glad nobody ever thought to buy a ten foot one.

  63. Andrew says:

    Sayajin Dwarf: To quote a few Order of the Stick merchandise items, “Good roleplaying does not preclude fireballing their @$$es.”

    http://www.cafepress.com/orderofthestick/264507

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