DM of the Rings CVIII:
His First Decree

By Shamus
on Jun 4, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings

Aragorn learns to roleplay.
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  1. ShadoStahker says:

    Lolipop Knight –

    While I agree with what you say, I agree with #35’s sentiment for two main reasons.

    1) “First”s mean that one has to scroll through up to 10 comments all trying to be first and saying nothing important to get to anyone who wants to contribute to the active discussion. (I have no problem with “First”s if they accompany a normal post.)

    2) Shamus has actually requested that nobody post “First”s, unless they are part of a larger post. He even went so far as manually deleting any “First” posts for a while.

    So if anyone has respect for Shamus, the person who gives us comicky goodness and pays for this website, they will refrain from “First”s in these comments.

  2. Mantiroc says:

    Dear Lolipop Knight,

    The feminists whinge a few comics back was much funnier.

    But good try!

  3. Naughty Girl says:

    Rocks fall, everybody dies.

  4. Anders Honore says:

    #64

    in response to 1) it is not actually because they take pleasure from it that I claim the right to mock it. Rather it is the fact that it is a trend that is, like mass-crossposting on usenet, using txt spk on a fullkeyed keyboard or actually saying ‘lol’ in reallife, distinctly uncool and an instant source of annoyance to all but the small segment who perpetuate these deviant cultural expressions. In such cases, the best one can do is to instantly point this out so as to deter others who might be inclined to adopt such practices without knowing any better.

    2) it may have served the purpose that all such posters are from now on and ever more sufficiently chastised that they shall never contemplate such endeavours again.

    3) I think maybe you do not recognise that this is the internet. As such, I just don’t think my arguments would carry the same weight if I didn’t provide thoroughoing analysis of someone’s deficient character based on scant evidence (I rather like your phrasing ‘to argue the value of another person’s life’ – it lends some extra pathos to my initial assesment).

    Dislodging my tongue ever so slightly from my cheek, I am genuinely impressed at how literal you read my comment. I would have thought that arguing the value of someone’s life based on a ‘first!’ comment would have made it plainly obvious that this was for dramatic, sarcastic, maybe even humourous, effect and wasn’t actually a literal observation. I really don’t think it merits being taken so seriously.

    Bottomline is that it’s annoying. And that when it grows it can turn into a real problem, as was evidenced on the Order of the Stick, where it severely hampered the bandwidth of the server because there were lots of people fighting to be ‘first’ to post until this was summarily made a banning offence. So all dramatic rethoric aside, it really is something that ought to be nipped in the bud.

  5. CyberGorth says:

    I think that there was a Knights of the Dinner Table comic where the GM tried something like this, he set up a dungeon with absolutely no enemies or treasure. The sad thing is, his players ended up stealing all the furniture and whatever else wasn’t nailed down and got obscenely rich off it anyways due to an obscure antiquity boosting an items value rule that one of them found.

  6. Katy says:

    You know what I mean.

    har har har!!! LOLZ!

  7. Bored of Silly Names says:

    Many years ago I liked to frustrate my players by having them find valuable/magical items of great size and bulk. Floor harps, exotic furniture, wagon-loads of fabric etc. I had to stop when they began bringing a horse and cart along so they could remove the furniture later.

  8. Roxysteve says:

    Anders Honore Says:

    in response to 1) it is not actually because they take pleasure from it that I claim the right to mock it. Rather it is the fact that it is a trend that is, like mass-crossposting on usenet,

    [thinks:] Oh gawd, not the old “usenet baseline” argument.

    using txt spk on a fullkeyed keyboard or actually saying ‘lol’ in reallife, distinctly uncool and an instant source of annoyance to all but the small segment who perpetuate these deviant cultural expressions.

    Well, we wouldn’t want to be the cause of the Death of Cool, would we?

    [Fast Forward] beedlybeedlybeedlybeedly

    Bottomline is that it’s annoying. And that when it grows it can turn into a real problem, as was evidenced on the Order of the Stick, where it severely hampered the bandwidth of the server because there were lots of people fighting to be ‘first’ to post until this was summarily made a banning offence. So all dramatic rethoric aside, it really is something that ought to be nipped in the bud.

    Yes it is annoying. Shamus himself commented that anyone doing it without a “proper post” to go with it would have their immortality erased. I’m thinking tyhat if he sees a problem, he’ll act (again).

    As for the practices on the forum of [The Comic That Must Remain Nameless Lest I get Banned From Its Forums] just about anything can get you banned there on account of the posters have no sense of proportion and the moderators have no outside lives. They can lay down the law there as they wish. Here their jurisdiction is thankfully curtailed.

    That the problem hasn’t grown since I believe I posted the first “offending” message* as a self-deprecating gag about two months ago is an indication of an in-joke rather than the end of civilization.

    Neither of those two conditions apply in this venue, where the men are tall, the women are good-looking and all the children are well-behaved. Except Shamus, who continues to flout the law, besmirch the good name of a beloved author and offend good taste with his so-called “parody” comic.

    Yes I’m smiling big when I say that. I can’t help it. I just read this installment.

    Steve.

    * Not credit seeking, but blame accepting.

  9. Librain says:

    One of the more common tricks I’ve heard of is to provide them with something that is extremely well guarded (locked in a chest inside a safe guarded by 20 orcs type thing) yet it turns out to be completely worthless, and useless in the extreme.

    It’s more fun if you make it obscure enough that no-one actually knows that it has absolutely no use, and is worth almost nothing.

    It’s even more fun if the players then manage to put it so some use, and then convince someone it’s valuable and trade it off for something.

    Heh, I’m just thinking of some of the options now – a dragon choking on a toaster, convincing a guard the ball bearing is actually made out of adamantine and is worth more than he earns in a year… oh the possibilities.

    Librain
    “I’m not arrogant, I really am that good.”

  10. Valley says:

    Makes sense to me.

  11. Lolipop Knight says:

    Dear Anders Honore,

    I seem to have misread you; for that, I apologize. I’m an overly literal person- I often have trouble detecting and conveying sarcasm, so I did take your post far too seriously. It’s unlikely that you scarred anybody, after all.

    If people actually do sometimes shut down forums in the quest for “first,” then I also didn’t realize the impact of the problem- my only experiences with first-post obsession are the joke on this site (as well as there apparenly being a problem until Shamus dealt with it some time ago) and the rather amusing youtube video.

    I thank you for clearing up your position, and again apologize for misreading you. I shall return to my lurking, and try to be harder to drive from my burrow next time.

    Yours most sincerely,
    The Lolipop Knight

    P.S. ShadoStahker, your points are well-taken, but I assumed that those “first” posts that were still in the comments were sufficiently related to the discussion, as Shamus did not choose to delete them. If deleting them is a convoluted process, then I am likely wrong.

  12. Moritz says:

    New Menorians!!! LoL
    Whatever happened to the Old Menorians?
    Did they die of poker-up-the-ass-itis?

  13. Tess says:

    Hmmm… I think the exchange between “Anders Honore” and “Lollipop Knight”, as well as the copious comments under the “Girl Trouble” comic brings up an interesting point. That is, the risk of a comment being taken too literally.

    While I enjoy a dry sense of humor and have been known to be rather sarcastic myself, I believe that no matter how over-the-top and outrageous and “there’s-no-way-anyone-could-think-I-actually-mean-this” a comment seems to be, people will take it seriously. And, I don’t think it’s their fault either. In speech, there are subtle clues a person can pick up on to tell if someone is making a joke, but those hints are absent in writing.

    Also, I believe the isolation of the Internet is another cause. People have no idea who the other posters are, nor what their intent is and what sort of sense of humor they have. Bottom line, perhaps it might be better to specify a joke when it’s made.

    So, what are other peoples thoughts on this?

    BTW, I’ve always wondered how “first” posters feel when it turns out they weren’t first after all.

  14. Matt says:

    What are you talking about? Sarcasm is totally easy to understand without auditory cues. Yeah, right.

    But seriously, did I really just see someone apologize for a misunderstanding on the internet and admit they were mistaken? That’s a new one. Very big of you, Lollipop Knight.

  15. Raved Thrad says:

    About treasure and valuable items:

    One of the sickest and cruelest jokes a DM ever played on us was when one of us decided he wanted to play a samurai. To explain why he was wandering far from home (and in Ravenloft, no less) the DM decided he had gotten lost on the way to deliver an important parcel to the Shogun. Naturally the party thief wanted to find out exactly was in the important parcel, and he always had to sleep with one eye open to fend off the thieving halfling’s greedy hands, and the halfling’s partner, the greedy neutral evil _player_ who was playing a lawful good cleric .

    Anyway, the samurai charcter eventually got killed, and the first thing the two greedyguts did was go through his things to find the important parcel. Inside they found a tastefully decorated envelope containing a sheet of rice paper beautifully calligraphed with the message “Happy Birthday, Shogun.”

    So much for valuable treasure :))

  16. Steve says:

    The truly evil thing to do in this situation is to give the PCs some magic items, but make them cursed items.

    A sword that glows with a magical aura even without a “detect magic” type spell, and the DM implies that it’s really powerful, and when used in combat it is in fact very powerful … except it only hits your allies.

    A bow that fires the archer, rather than the arrow (like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.)

    An axe that cuts through anything … as long as that anything is a piece of bread.

    With respect to the first posts — nobody posting comments can have the first post, since Shamus has by definition had the first post in any thread.

    Anyway, how mayn other names can we come up with for the Numenorians? I’d like to recommend “Number moronions”.

  17. James says:

    Numan Or Ians

    People who only listen to music made by Gary Numan or people called Ian?

  18. Anders Honore says:

    (let’s see how roxy got those fancy quotes in…)

    [i]Well, we wouldn’t want to be the cause of the Death of Cool, would we?[/i]

    I do appreciate the irony of bringing this up on a roleplaying blog.

    [i]That the problem hasn’t grown since I believe I posted the first “offending” message* as a self-deprecating gag about two months ago[/i]

    A pox on your house, if I may say so.

    [i]Neither of those two conditions apply in this venue, where the men are tall, the women are good-looking and all the children are well-behaved.[/i]

    Quite true. At least, so I can testify from the people here I’ve met (me).

    Tess and Lolipop – Actually, I think the difference might be a cultural one. My impression is that Americans in general often aren’t as used to sarcasm and rough language being used in the light spirit it is often handed out in here in Denmark. Whereas I in turn am frequently caught off guard by the British who take this to whole new levels. Really, this is something I myself should have been mindful of when I posted the comment.

    [i]But seriously, did I really just see someone apologize for a misunderstanding on the internet and admit they were mistaken?[/i]

    I am likewise taken aback by this unforeseen development. My arsenal of scathing retorts are now rendered useless. If this phenomena were to grow, it would pose a serious threat to my online persona.

    [i]BTW, I’ve always wondered how “first” posters feel when it turns out they weren’t first after all.[/i]

    Must.. reist… urge… to comment…

  19. Anders Honore says:

    ok, so it’s not BB tags he used for formatting…

  20. Aaron says:

    My favorite gag was giving my D&D party a rock. Nothing precious, just a small chunk of marble that had been set on a pedestal by a tribe of orcs. The orcs thought it was magical, and when the players had slain their way to the orc shaman’s cave they saw him hovering over the rock and thought it must do something. They carried this 8lb rock around with them for 4 gaming sessions (and asked many things about it) until finally someone finally cast detect magic on it.

    Needless to say, I got dice thrown at me. It was so worth it ;)

    A

  21. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    The first major horde of gold, silver and jewels my players had was enchanted with a spell that animated the coins into swarms of what looked like bugs.

    Hence the phrase: “The shinies are going to eat me!!!”

  22. brassbaboon says:

    Sarcasm is easy, irony is hard. It is tempting to say that the problem on the internet is in the readers, not the writers, and in general I would say I believe this to be true. I don’t seem to miss the sarcasm or irony in posts like Anders Hanor’s above (now #34, not #35 as stated in Lollipop Knight’s rebuking post).

    But when the communication crosses cultural and/or language boundaries, as the Internet does so effortlessly, it is easy to understand how comments can be interpreted literally by intelligent and subtle readers, who just happen to be reading the comment from a perspective that makes irony hard to identify.

    So I propose a set of html tags which can be used by the browsers to communicate the intentions of the writer more clearly.

    For example:
    [irony]This will never work.[/irony]
    [sarcasm]Sure it will[/sarcasm]
    [tease]Heh, that’s what you always say[/tease]
    [insult]As usual, you don’t know what you’re talking about[/insult]
    [gratuitous_political_cheap_shot]Just like Bush[/gratuitous_political_cheap_shot]
    [angry_rejoinder]Oh yeah! Kerry’s grades were worse![/angry_rejoinder]
    [ad_hominem_attack]You’re an idiot for thinking that[/ad_hominem_attack]
    [veiled_threat]I can find out where you live[/veiled_threat]
    [outright_threat]Oh yeah, I’ll kick your a**[/outright_threat]
    [Obsequeious_retreat]I’m sorry, you’re really pretty cool
    [/Obsequeious_retreat]
    [snide_rejoinder]Yeah, compared to you, heh[/snide_rejoinder]
    [surrender]OK, you win[/surrender]
    [condescending_put_down]Yeah, but that’s no great feat[/condescending_put_down]
    [egotistic_challenge]Anyone else want to tangle with me
    [/egotistic_challenge]

    See how easy it would be? If we could just get these sorts of tags supported in the next generation of browsers, all of our communication problems could be solved!

  23. Roxysteve says:

    Anders Honore Says:
    (let’s see how roxy got those fancy quotes in…)

    I released my method into the wild ages ago, to widespread indifference. I said you should all pay more attention to me at the time, (and also that you should let me be first poster, send me money and stuff like that).

    As to the irony thing, Americans do irony, sarcasm and so-forth every bit as well as the British do (and I rate their use of the form as first-class), but the timing of the speech is slightly different. This, along with a few cultural referents that do not translate well lies at the heart of the British Humour/American Humour dichotomy.

    In the written form, irony, especially if couched in amongst genuine whining, is difficult to spot for anyone.

    As s rule of thumb, I generally put a failure to spot my irony for what it is as a problem of my own style rather than some innate disability on a national scale. The irony of a situation is also predicated on a shared experience of the situation and a shared interpretation of it (also based on mutual experiences). If one party lacks either experiential referent, it doesn’t work properly. Rain I’ll bet you can’t accurately identify where I’m doing it in this posting, for example, and rain on your wedding day can be ironic, despite what a bunch of music critics would have you believe.

    As for my house being poxed, in the words of the immortal (yet strangely dead) Marty Feldman: too late.

    Steve.

  24. Roxysteve says:

    “Rain I’ll bet”. Another triumph for Mr Brain and the old cut-and-paste skills.

  25. Medium Dave says:

    Rain. It rained in my library recently, thanks to my curious six year old and a sink located on the second floor.

  26. Roxysteve says:

    [Brassbaboon]

    Great idea!

    Steve.

  27. Tess says:

    I completely agree that culture plays a roll in someones perception of irony and I, for one, admit that we Americans tend to take things too seriously. Also, I should ammend my original comment and say that SOME people will take a comment literally. I laughed at Anders Honore’s original post. I really don’t know what the solution is, except for those gets-rather-annoying-after-a-while yellow smiley faces. Or, we just need to laugh more often!

    BTW, brassbaboon *giggle* I’m guessing you’re a Victor Borge fan. Am I right – CCCKKKHHWWW PPT!

  28. Tess says:

    P.S. ALL HAIL TO SHAMUS FOR MAKING THE INTERNET AND THUS THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE BY MAKING HUNDREDS, YEA THOUSANDS, OF US LAUGH MANY TIMES EACH WEEK!!!

  29. Vardav says:

    After the War of the Ring, Gimli and Legolas fulfilled promises to each other by visiting the Glittering Caves and Fangorn Forest together.

    Gimli became Lord of the Glittering Caves, founding a colony there.

    Legolas, prince of Mirkwood and son of immortal and unsailing King Thranduil, took a group of Mirkwood elves to the woods of Ithilien and founded a colony, making the place beautiful. Faramir became prince of overall Ithilien.

    Gimli and Legolas helped Aragorn rebuild Gondor better, stronger,…

    After Aragorn’s death, Legolas gave in to the sea-longing that he had been fighting since Pelargir, built a grey ship, and sailed with Gimli to Valinor. Gimli wished to see Galadriel again.

  30. Alasseo says:

    @Tess(91)
    If he were a Victor Borge fan we would presumably see some verbal inflation three…

  31. Nova says:

    I agree that giving them useless magical items is fun – for example, an enchanted bag that, when you put items in, it eats them (it was a little creature, made by wild magic or something). My PCs didn’t realise it was enchanted until they tried to get their loot back out in town XD They were not pleased.

  32. 10rd Ben says:

    Hey… was that throwaway line from Aragorn “Lets do this…” a reference to Leroy Jenkins by any chance??? If it was accidental, it’s still funny!

  33. Xallanthia says:

    “New Menorians”??!! I snarfed *milkshake*

    Also: I haven’t been reading comments so I don’t know if this has been mentioned before, but I played about 2/3 of the Rolemaster LOTR “Quest for the Palantiri” scenario and it REALLY WAS this railroaded.

    (since I’m commenting now, I may as well say this now: you have ruined my evening’s productivity. I’m sure you feel terrible.)

  34. Xeno says:

    loot. It corrupts all

  35. Superbob says:

    LOL! Never knew aragorn like this

  36. FantasyLover says:

    Im 100! Legolas is the only smart one in this situation!

    ;-)

  37. Toil3T says:

    101!
    I laughes at the last panel. It’s so typical… Yet unexpected.
    “Tell me where you’re hiding the treasure!”

  38. Cynder says:

    Greedy Aragorn needs to learn a little self-control once in a while…

  39. Aragorn says:

    “TELL ME WHERE YOUR HIDING THE TREASURE!”

    Awesome.

  40. Aragorn says:

    My God… I’m STILL last…. Start chatting people! :P

  41. Moridin says:

    You were last because you’re late.

  42. Tatooine92 says:

    New Menorians… *has a gigglefit* I’d crack a joke about Old and New Menorians, but half the other commenters beat me to it, I think.

    This is absolutely brilliant. That is all.

  43. Leyomi the Parodier says:

    OH GOD THAT WAS SO EPIC!

  44. silver Harloe says:

    > Legolas went west over the sea, probably one of the few wood elves to do so, Gimli went with him.

    I was saddened by this scene being absent from the movie. I read the books when I was young and was extremely touched by the friendship between two people who by culture should have disliked each other – so strong their friendship that Gimli would be granted a trip normally reserved for elves (and a couple very special Hobbits). As I said, I was young and I didn’t yet know this stuff would be a cliche I’d run into over and over later in life. I mean, I read this stuff even before I read Romeo and Juliet. It was one of my fondest memories of the books.

    > One of the more common tricks I’ve heard of is to provide them with something that is extremely well guarded (locked in a chest inside a safe guarded by 20 orcs type thing) yet it turns out to be completely worthless, and useless in the extreme.

    Or provide them with something that would be well-guarded in real-life but it useless to the _players_ – like the goblin’s special totem (not magical) proving his chiefly heritage. Or the cultist’s ledger of salaries paid. The NPC’s marriage certificate. Etc.

  45. Robin says:

    I favor having a well-hidden and trapped chest or compartment that has something clearly worth guarding but useless to the party — ceremonial headdress of copper, or priestly vestments …

    … on top of a second secret compartment full of treasure. It is such a joy to see them suffer the trap and then *not* get the treasure it was guarding.

  46. […] sem fins lucrativos, todos os direitos reservados a Shamus Young- Navegue pela série«DM dos Anéis #107: E o Sem Noção Novamente Serás ReiAKPC_IDS += […]

  47. […] sem fins lucrativos, todos os direitos reservados a Shamus Young- Navegar pela Série«DM dos Anéis #107: E o Sem Noção Novamente Serás Rei Tags: DM dos […]

  48. Mr Gask says:

    Either these are getting funnier, or I am getting more sleep deprived. Probably the first one.

  49. […] sem fins lucrativos, todos os direitos reservados a Shamus Young- Series NavigationDM dos Anéis #109: Give peace a chance* […]

  50. Heisenberg says:

    I’ve been hurt in the past. I’ve hinted at it, but I think it’s time I’ve said it outright. Because I’m going to trust you, because I think you’re different from the other comment threads. They had 109 comments at the most, but you’re special. I look at your 115 comments and think that maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance I’ll see the message change.

  51. JK says:

    And, will the 118th comment change the line?

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