DM of the Rings CXXII:
Xtreme Moves

By Shamus
on Jul 9, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


The players fight a Mumak.
Legolas tries to spice things up.

The players go back to stabbing the Mumak in the feet.

(I don’t have the sourcebooks handy, so I’m sure someone will jump in and explain how Animal Empathy doesn’t work that way.)

This really does seem to be how you’re supposed to fight huge epic foes: Stand underneath them and jab their toes until they die. Sure, you could use a bunch of feats to climb up onto the thing, Shadow of the Colossus style, but there wouldn’t be any advantage to do so. It would be hard, you’d have to roll the dice a dozen times, and in the end you’d just be doing the exact same damage, only higher off the ground.

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  1. Kerry says:

    What was the name of the big o? I can’t ever remember, but didn’t it begin with an “m?”

  2. Kerry says:

    *oliphant. Sorry.

  3. vonKreedon says:

    Why would the DM try to talk a PC out of using his attributes and skills to try something outrageous? They’re Heroes fo DM’s sake!

    Seriously, a couple of the best gaming moments have been when a PC tells the DM a whole long story about what they did or want to do and the DM hands over the dice and says, “Cool, now show me.”

  4. Stark says:

    OK, a little anatomy class folks… He’s not shooting the skull. That would be idiotic. He’s shooting the base of the spinal column, just as it exits the skull. This is a relatively exposed and highly vulnerable place on all mammals. It’s at the top of your neck just under the skull… you know, that softer notch shaped spot at the back of your head.

    It’s probably still wishful thinking that an arrow from a simple bow would penetrate deeply enough to sever (or even simply damage) an elephants spinal cord – but it’s orders of magnitude more likely than shooting into the skull.

  5. Sewerman says:

    Dernwine Says:

    But to hamstring you actually still have to cut quite deep with a creature that size…she merely scratched it. Ahh but the 20/20 would make sense…:P.

    Actually, if these things are pachyderm-based, the tendons in the back of the leg are very close to the surface of the skin- for one reason, the bones needed to support such a weight require a hefty volume.

    However, I will argue that in the movies, Eowyn slices the inside of each leg rather than the back.. Which might be a pain in the leg, but not quite a hamstring.

  6. DamoJO says:

    Yeah slam JJ again.
    Another reason to do Starwars next, Obi Wan can critical backstab him with a lightsaber straightoff.

  7. Lorgath says:

    In communist Lord of the Rings, Mumak climbs YOU!

  8. Gus says:

    That panel 2 screencap is, I think, my favorite so far. Aragorn looks like he just found a bowl of candy.

  9. Casper says:

    I agree to that. And the scull actually might be thin to make it lighter- with such huge animals their own wheight is major problem.

  10. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Dev Null Says:

    “Shadowrun: Maybe simpler for the players Daemian, but absolute hell on GMs. There is no reasonable way for the GM to make something “one harder” or “one easier” in their wacky system – changing the target number or the number of successes even by one could mean changing your chance of success by as much as halving or doubling it (and not just for incredibly unlikely things either.) At the request of a frustrated GM I once wrote a quick computer program to calculate the odds of every combination up to about 15 dice and put them in order of likelihood for him; he took one look at the result and switched us to a percentile system straight away. (Great world though, just a broken system…)”

    True,but first its way better than D&D,and(more importantly)it is highly modifiable.You can exchange d6s with d10s or percentile dies and still you wont break it.Its an excelent base you can build your custom system on quite easilly.Besides,dies should be used as a help in certain situations,and most of the work should be done by simple naration of both GM and the players.At least,thats how the best sessions I had were,both as a player and a GM.

  11. He’s not shooting the skull. That would be idiotic. He’s shooting the base of the spinal column, just as it exits the skull.

    I just watched the clip, and you’re right.

  12. Gus says:

    BTW, elephants are predominantly gunshot by two different methods: either through the ear, such as when wildlife managers seek to cull the herd, or through an open gap in the forehead. The cull method is efficient, disturbingly easy (I’ve seen video of a ranger killing five elephants in around fifteen seconds), and not considered an honorable method of hunting (much like shooting ducks on the water.) The other method is favored by sport hunters, in that the channel is small (about four inches tall by six inches wide, between and slightly above the eyes), and that the elephant must be facing you and therefore you are much more likely to be charged. That is when things get exciting.

  13. AngiePen says:

    Talking about the actual strip for a minute [duck] I love Aragorn’s expression in panel 14, the one where he says, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” He might be saying it’s stupid but he looks like he’s actually thinking, “Damn, that rocks!” I think he’s just jealous he didn’t think of it first. :D

    Angie

  14. Yeah, I’d figured it was into the spine as well.
    And I’ve heard that even into modern times, African pygmies would take out elephants by hamstringing them using little bleedin’ hand axes. So you never know.

    In a small plug for my game of choice–it wouldn’t be that hard to represent Leggylass’s piece of stuntery in GURPS. It wouldn’t be easy to *do*, but I can think of a PC or two in my campaign who could probably pull it off. And you would gain an advantage. Admittedly, there isn’t a specific defined hit location for “spine as it enters skull on an elephantoid”, but the general concept of hit locations is pretty well established, and the specific case pretty defensible; I’d make one up for someone who went to that much effort to get where they could reach it.

    Incidentally, I agree that Shadowrun’s mechanics are utterly insane in terms of probability distributions–but I like the game anyway. Somehow, it rarely seems to matter that much in practice, and the character and tactical options are quite rich.

  15. Al Shiney says:

    The arrow to the base of the skull is simply a called shot … well, three of them really, but you get the idea … and called shots should always be a part of RPGs. Also, you gotta assume the elf hero is carrying a pretty bad-ass magical bow and quiver of arrows, no? Start adding up all those pluses and throw in a crit roll or three and voila!

    Like others have mentioned before me, as a DM and player, I never restrict anyone from doing something incredibly insane. After all, there’s ALWAYS a chance, no matter how slim. That’s part of the fun, as is the spectacular failures that usually result when something so difficult is attempted.

    I’m also feeling particularly generous with insane stunts today, because I saw “Live Free or Die Hard” yesterday. Stupid summer movie fun, but you know every RPG player is going to try a variant of the car-kills-a-helicopter stunt in whatever system they’re playing.

  16. LoreMasterofGondor says:

    first time posting, lover the comic.

    i’m a huge middle earth nerd, and so i just had to chime in on the mumak(il)/oliphaunt discussion

    ‘oliphaunt’ is a hobitish word, and since the hobits are the main characters, it gets used the most.

    ‘mumak’ is another word for the war-elephants of the haradrim, possibly the elvish word shortened by men, and is used in this form on page 269 of the two towers
    ” ‘May the Valar turn him aside! Mumak! Mumak!’ ”
    “Fear and wonder, maybe, enlarged him in the hobbit’s eyes, but the Mumak of Harad was indeed a beast of vast bulk, and th like…”

    ‘mumakil’ is just another form of the word mumak, likely plural or possibly true elvish. it is used on page 101 of Return of the King.
    “…and both Duilin of Morthond and his brother were trampled to death when the assailed the mumakil, leading their bowmen close to shoot at the eyes of the monsters.”

  17. Panther says:

    Hello, all, and first post! Well, for me, anyway, although I’ve been reading for quite some time. I’ve often thought of comments, but never actually added them.

    That ShadowRun comment that was made sometime earlier, about it being both simpler and more descriptive. OK, descriptive, I’ll give you, but have you seen how long it can take to resolve a combat in that system? The only thing mroe complex that I’ve worked with is GURPS, but I’ve found it not much more complex, while being more complete, and so heavily cross-referenced that the time it takes to resolve anything that requires looking anything up is fastly shorter than anything else except for d20 (D&D, d20 modern, Starship Troopers, etc) and maybe Palladium/Heroes.

    As for the guys riding the Oliphaunts, I think they’re called something like the Harad’rim or Harad’Drim (I’m at work, no books handy, don’t quote me on the spelling!). I beleive they were the evil Men from the South, corrupted by Sauron, and who rode Oliphaunts.

    About killing the Oliphaunt. If our anscestors could do it with rocks, spears, darts and atlatls, and these were bigger but Legolas had not only a bow, which has more power than the atlatl, but an Elven bow at that, with more ability still, well… I think the best way to sum up that whole issue was illustrated when we came out of the Two Towers movie, all pumped from enjoying a really great, entertaining move, not to mention finally getting to hit the washrooms, and some people were complaining that “An Ent couldn’t throw a troll that far” “A troll wouldn’t roll like that!” “As if the tower would survive that intact!” and other such nonsense, and while most of us made our very high DC will saves, one friend had to point out that, “Dude! You just saw a movie about Wizards, magic, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, magic swords, flying monsters (Nazgul), and walking, talking trees! If you’re really that upset that they imagined a giant, moving, ticked off tree could toss a troll down a deep Orc-spawning pit, then what were you doing watching this movie?”

    Of course, the need for imagination is just as accute when playing these games we love so much, (any of them), too, I’d think.

    Then yes, out group typically allows for bonuses and penalties based both on how good or bad an idea is, and how well or poorly they describe and roleplay it. A DM I play with while working out of town describes it as the “Unversal, all-permeating law of dramatic imperitave.”

    Rules are important because they help to maintain at least a modicum of realisn. Realism is important; it gives us a structure to flesh out with our imagination. Imagination is critical, because, in essence, that’s where the majority of the game should both be and come from, and also what allows us to have fun. Fun, my friends, is the whole point!!!

    Cheers!

    OK, so I wrote a lot, but like I said, it’s my first post!

  18. brassbaboon says:

    I loved the Legalos action scenes of this sort and think they added greatly to the “elven mystique” (actually since this is Tolkien based, that should probably be “elvish mystique”). For people who might grouse “aw, that’s not realistic…” my response would be “… and what part of this story is?” Personally I thought it was great, I was pumped watching that scene and the “That only counts as one!” Punchline that Gimli delivered was the icing on the cake. I have rarely enjoyed a scene in a movie so much.

    As far as the arrows penetrating the skull, what makes you think he was shooting at the skull? He’s an elf, he has been alive for thousands of years, and he knows the anatomy of virtually any animal by pure instinct. He chose three arrows because he knew that a Mamuk skull intersects with the spine with three channels for the main nerve trunks, and that if the Mamuk is swinging it’s head, then the skull will briefly expose those nerve trunks for a split second when the skull pivots on the vertebrae, and a perfectly placed shot will sever all three, but even if only two are severed, that would be enough to kill the beast.

    It’s simple, really.

    As far as being a DM is concerned, I would TOTALLY give the player a chance to try that whole sequence. I’d roll the dice necessary and if he made it to the top of that Malmuk intact, I would absolutely give him to hit and damage bonuses based on his ability to penetrate the beast’s natural defenses.

    This is exactly the sort of behavior in a well role-played game that should be encouraged to happen, rewarded when successful, and turned into Bardic legend to be played in the local taverns.

    I mean the whole thing is fantasy role-playing right? This rocks!

  19. lucas says:

    Ever tried casting magic missle directly at a necklace of fireballs? I don’t recommend it in an underground cave, but it was rather imaginative, in my humble opinion

  20. Deacon Blues says:

    I wouldn’t try it in Paranoia, however. To a Paranoia GM spectacular failures are just as rewarding as spectacular moves.

    Actually, Paranoia has (or at least used to have) the Dramatic Tactical System, in which you would get bonuses for describing your character’s actions in a heroic way. (Because which is more entertaining – a Troubleshooter crouching behind a row of boxes, getting off a shot with his laser whenever a target presents itself, or a Troubleshooter hanging from the landing skid of a cargobot, firing wildly into a crowd of traitorous commie mutants?)

    Addressing two other points:

    It’s “Limp Bizkit”. You’re welcome. :)

    The Big O was a Megadeuce. Not sure how that relates here… :D

  21. xbolt says:

    Oh yes, I can just see the epic enemy’s last words…

    “AAAHHH!!! My toe! I’m dying!”

    Hee hee…

  22. Susano says:

    See, this is why I like Feng Shui. You tell the GM you want to do a stunt like that, and not only won’t he penalize you for it, he’ll probably give you a bonus to your single die roll to pull it off (shooting the Oliphant is a different story….).

  23. Scarlet Knight says:

    ‘Kerry Says: What was the name of the big o? I can’t ever remember, but didn’t it begin with an “m?”’

    I don’t know about you, but in my house it’s called “Miraculous”…;)

  24. Stephanie says:

    “One of the cool things about Exalted, is as over the top everything is already, there are “stunting rules”. Basically, if you want to do something really awesome/heroic/whatever, and you come up with a great way of describing it and everyone likes it, you get bonuses. Depending on how awesome the stunt is, you get extra dice, or can even regain essence (magic) or Willpower.”
    Yeah, the people I know who play Exalted always come out of their games with big happy grins on their faces about the Really Cool things their characters got to do. “And then the GM gave me three extra dice!”

    You could also try out one of those Indy systems that use conflict narration. You roll the dice to work out the winner of the conflict and _then_ they narrate the outcome of what happened based on how good their success was, and what they think would be neat.

    So:
    Legolas: “I want to attack the elephant.”
    GM: “Yeah, I think it’s safe to say he wants to attack you back.”
    [dice roll]
    Legolas: “Holy cow, that was a huge success! OK, this is how I want it to go…”

  25. Zaghadka says:

    …and then you shoot him with the blue elephant gun.

    (These are jokes…)

  26. CyberGorth says:

    About the only “rules” in D&D that apply to situations like these in my mind are “The DM is always right”, and “The DM can add additional, secret modifiers to rolls as they see fit”. If you’re the DM and you want your guys to pull stunts like this, give’m a bonus when they try it. You really want to encourage it, give the guy who came up with the idea extra XP. I know nothing in the rules says you should do it, but there’s also nothing in the rules that STOPS you from doing it. I will agree though that D&D combat descriptions tend to devolve into the standard, “he misses, you hit for X” format, but that’s usually done just to save time ‘cuase there’s just so much combat that coming up with long, colorful descriptions for every round can really burn a DM’s imagination out. Still, if it’s an important fight, against an endboss type, it probably deserves the special treatment.

    http://s5.bitefight.org/c.php?uid=72542

  27. KiwiGlen says:

    84 lucas Said: Ever tried casting magic missle directly at a necklace of fireballs? I don’t recommend it in an underground cave, but it was rather imaginative, in my humble opinion

    Sorry lucas, Magic Missiles can only target creatures, not objects.

  28. HellBane says:

    I’m gonna have to agree with Stephie, Jeremiah, and Bigeshu. Legolas appears to be playing by the Exalted rules, while everyone else is stuck using 3.0 DnD.

    Then again, if the GM had read Lord of the Rings first, he would have just stuck them in the Tomb of Horrors to make himself feel better, especially with this group.

  29. YES YES YES YES YES!
    That scene is one of my 3 least favorite scenes in the whole trilogy, along side when Leggy shield-slides down the stairs and Aowen’s(SP? Never read the book) Says that stupid line to the Witch King.

    Keep the gold coming :D

  30. Miral says:

    Doesn’t regular D&D have rules about Called Shots and damage to critical areas? (eg. shooting someone in the eye causes more damage than shooting them in the leg) That seems like the most likely thing going on here.

    [I’m a little fuzzy on the rules, since I haven’t really played D&D since First Edition. Or was it Zeroth Edition?]

  31. Mike says:

    Heh – It seems that all epic foes in ALL games are like this… MMORPGs are pretty much always this way, etc… except Contra and Mega-Man… Mega-Man actually had specific methods that were ultra-effective on a boss monster, that made a whole lot more sense.

  32. Mike says:

    Oh, and I expected the punchline to be something like “Nah, that will never work…” since the move in the movie was so outrageous… almost Michael Bay-ish… :)

  33. General Ghoul says:

    41 Mrs T Says:
    July 9th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    That still only counts as one!

    I rank that movie quote 4th behind:

    1.I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

    2. So, do you feel lucky, punk?

    3. I love the smell of napalm in the morning, smell lick…victory!

  34. Experienced says:

    Here are a few rules for this situation:

    The size of the mumak is probably Gargantuan or larger. The rules say: “Any creature can move through a square occupied by a creature three size categories larger than it is.”

    Legolady could actually move freely within its area (taking Attacks of Opportunity, though). He doesn’t need to grapple the creature to do that.

    Also, the guys riding the mumak are considered occupying each square of its area. They can be attacked from the ground! (Likewise, they guys on the mumak could attack the heroes on the ground, and since they are on a higher position, they get a +1 to attack.)

  35. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Al Shiney Says:

    “The arrow to the base of the skull is simply a called shot … well, three of them really, but you get the idea … and called shots should always be a part of RPGs. Also, you gotta assume the elf hero is carrying a pretty bad-ass magical bow and quiver of arrows, no? Start adding up all those pluses and throw in a crit roll or three and voila!”

    Sure,a magical bow and arrow would do the trick.If it wasnt for the fact that the same arrows,shot from the same bow,by the same elf,using the same force(actually,like pointed out earlier,3 times greater force)DONT go through an unarmored orc,but penentrate the same distance as with the oliphant(or even shorter).Its simply one of those “Hey,this looks cool,screw the physics” stunts.

    Panther Says:

    “That ShadowRun comment that was made sometime earlier, about it being both simpler and more descriptive. OK, descriptive, I’ll give you, but have you seen how long it can take to resolve a combat in that system?….”

    Yes,I have seen,from both perspectives(player and GM).Never did we have a battle last more then 10 rounds*(6 players VS 20ish henchmen),each lasting no more than 10 minutes(very detailed descriptions included).And thats with core rules(only slightly modified).On the other hand,the same hour wes used in a 6 vs 6 fight (the same group,but with a different GM),with a MERP system(the previously mentioned rolemaster,but a couple of powers of ten simpler),and the players were just 2nd level.

    While in shadowrun I can make a group and guide them through one major and 3-5 sidequests in a single 12 hour session,I dont remember a single D&D session where we finished half a major,and 1 or 2 sidequests from scratch during the same amount of time,and thats not because the quests were more detailed,but because the rules are more complicated.

    Panther Says:

    “About killing the Oliphaunt. If our anscestors could do it with rocks, spears, darts and atlatls, and these were bigger but Legolas had not only a bow, which has more power than the atlatl, but an Elven bow at that, with more ability still, well… I think the best way to sum up that whole issue was illustrated when we came out of the Two Towers movie, all pumped from enjoying a really great, entertaining move, not to mention finally getting to hit the washrooms, and some people were complaining that “An Ent couldn’t throw a troll that far” “A troll wouldn’t roll like that!” “As if the tower would survive that intact!” and other such nonsense, and while most of us made our very high DC will saves, one friend had to point out that, “Dude! You just saw a movie about Wizards, magic, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, magic swords, flying monsters (Nazgul), and walking, talking trees! If you’re really that upset that they imagined a giant, moving, ticked off tree could toss a troll down a deep Orc-spawning pit, then what were you doing watching this movie?””

    Fantasy does NOT equal ruleless(I know,thats not a word).The fact that it has mythical creatures and magic does not mean that they all arent subjected to physics.A fireball in your face is always extremelly deadly,wheter caused by an exploding fuel tank or cast by a wizard.

    Also,yes our ancestors did kill elephants and mammomths,but usually by injuring them,then tracking them a long way until they bleed to death,or(as described earlier)aiming at their ears.There were oliphants dying in the background because they were hit with hundreds of arrows,I see nothing wrong with that,because if you get hundreds of papercuts(an equivalent of an arrow for oliphant) you will bleed to death.

    *Actually we did have longer battles,but those were usually either car chase scenes(which are indeed quite complicated),or boss fights where you have to figure out how to remove that indestructable shield,or stuff like that.BUt those were not very long though,because rounds were much shorter.

  36. Darkenna says:

    Side note on archery:

    An English or Welsh longbow can easily put a wood arrow with an iron head through a piece of sheet steel at 100 feet. I don’t think penetrating a skull at point-blank range would be all that more difficult, even a mumak-sized skull. Even if it wasn’t aimed at the spine. Plus, it was a (special) Elven bow, using (special) Elven arrows.

    But it still only counts as one, dammit.

  37. Richard H-G says:

    Re: Deacon Blues (post 85)

    You’re quite right, Paranoia does (or did) encourage dramatic play, encouraging GMs to let players get away with more for being entertaining.

    Sadly, however, this information comes not from the Players Handbook (RED CLEARANCE) but from the Gamemaster’s Manual (ULTRA-VIOLET CLEARANCE), so if you have read post 85 and are playing Paranoia, please report your character for termination immediately.

    Of course I’ve just realised that the same should apply for reading this post too. Oops! Oh well. Never mind. “Your cooperation is appreciated.”

    PS. My 1st post, so let me say: great comic!

  38. Matt says:

    Legolas must have Improved Critical(shortbow), Point Blank Shot, maxed out Climb and Tumble, and apparently the ability to do at least 3 rounds worth of actions at once…

  39. Tola says:

    Be grateful this isn’t The Third Age. Fighting that thing is a deathtrap:

    It’s primary attack destroys your mana pretty much entirely(It’s something like 2200+ MP damage per strike, in addition to the HP damage, which is about 1/2 that. You won’t reach quad-digit Mana till very high levels)
    It may also auto-stun the entire party.

    If it weren’t for the bad AI, you really couldn’t win.(as showcased primarily in Evil Mode.) And God help you if you fight two of them.(They’re encountered as random battles on the Pellenor.)

  40. Nefke says:

    My gnome/roque-assassin once did a successfull death attack on a critter about the size of a barn. (the critter rolled a 1 on his save.. the only way I could´ve succeeded). It gave the DM a rather puzzled look as he was trying to figure out my character could do that.. But then it was Leggy-style all the way! :D

  41. Little Gen says:

    Like, AWWWWWWWWW. =D

    I just exploded when I read Aragorn’s comment.

    And since everything else has been said… waiting for “What Happened Next”.

  42. Phil says:

    “Really? I thought mûmakil and mûmak could both be singular… and I thought “mûmakil” was elvish.” – Evillama

    My suspicion would be it’s a Haradrim word that’s been adopted by the men of Gondor. I can’t offhand remember any Elvish words with that type of accent. The appendices may say but alas they’re not to hand!

    One thing you can be certain of is that JRRT knew exactly which language the word was from – and probably its derivation too!

  43. Alexis says:

    Does it annoy you how in movies sometimes, cars drive along without any apparent input from the passengers? Who are able to disagree to a divorce while still observing all traffic regulations?

    In Six Feet Under, this bugged me for a while. Until last week, they almost ran into a truck, careened off the road and crashed bigstyle. Now that was a 1 if I’ve ever seen one. OTOH, they *played* the faint disconnect into a dramatic situation.

    What do you think of this: let the players stab nonspecific areas for a while, then spontaneously say “well, it’s feet are bleeding pretty bad now and you reckon you may have just caught a hamstring. Its knees give way and it topples towards you. Roll to dodge”

    Alternatively, “you keep hitting, but there’s barely any blood. This thing has tough feet. Maybe you need to find a more vulnerable area…”. I’m sure if the Colossi hadn’t been primarily ROCK, a nice Achilles-bane combo would have made the game much shorter.

  44. JC says:

    LAST POST!

    Wait? what?

    No seriously…great strip today.

    Have to chime in with the ‘reward the creativity’ mindset…

    Running my monk around in a campaign was always more fun for myself, (and usually everyone else) when he was screaming, “Rushing leopard through the field strikes with giant fist of the gorilla and pounds on the eagles wing!”…as he used his monk-like speed to negotiate the room, making multiple tumble checks to avoid AOOs, in order to Ki-strike(quivering palm) the uber mage weaving and chanting a spell from across the room.

    Of course then I would have to deal with the bard screaming at me, “DUDE! the ONE time I get to counter song!…..NOW I gotta write some stupid lyrics about you running like some cat, grunting like an ape, and plucking some birds feathers!” (as he received bonuses form our GM on his songs if they were mindful ballads of past campaigns)

    ahhh, what a group :)

    Peace,
    ~JC

  45. Jewbacca says:

    I think Legolas’ “handling” of the Mumak in the movie is the final piece of evidence to show that the writers had no goddamn clue what they were doing with Legolas:
    “Well, what do we do with Legolas?”
    “Lets make him more badass than the rest of the Fellowship! Unrealistically so!”
    “Yes! In for a penny, in for a pound, right? Who cares if it makes it look like he could take the entire army of Saruman down himself! It’s ACTIONY!”
    “And Gimli can be the comic relief wherein we make light of the fact that he’s short!”
    “Yes! I’ve got all these midget jokes I’ve been meaning to unload…”

  46. Zippy Wonderdog says:

    Its why D&D doesn’t work, sure you have alot of hitpoints but so does the stuff your fighting, its just a war of attrition after war of attrition.
    It all boils down to what happens first, you defeating the beastie or your cleric running out of cure “whatever” spells.

  47. Gerg says:

    ummm… sneak attack damage requires that you can reach a creature’s vital organs, so I guess Legolas has levels in Assassin because he was able to make a death attack once he got up near the creature’s head. So climbing did serve a purpose.

  48. Mazinja says:

    Not being rewarded for doing cool stunts was one of the things that has turned me away from D&D, and there’s nothing I hate more that fighting something or someone that only does a single repetitive if effective action and still manages to win against awesome narrative >:| (in this case, a Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, fighting a dude that does nothing but bite while I’m trying to hit him with a tree and pin him to an electric fence.)

    There is a time for realism in games, and then there’s a time for awesomeness. Legolas’ stunts in the movies were kinda silly but firmly on the side of awesomeness. Awesomeness should be rewarded because it makes the game more fun for everybody involved. If you want something that goes into the silly levels, well… see Ultraviolet.

    The other option is… well, see the comic :p

  49. Scarlet Knight says:

    So, how many levels in Arcane Archer did Legolas , extreme elf, need to take to kill an oliphant with a bow?

    “You know I once shot an oliphant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know…”

  50. superfluousk says:

    * Also, you gotta assume the elf hero is carrying a pretty bad-ass magical bow and quiver of arrows, no?*

    Remember that these bows and arrows were gifts from Galadriel. The same chick who made the magical camo cloaks which could look like a tree, a log, or a rock depending on the necessity, thus saving two hobbits from certain discovery by men not five feet away. The same chick who made the magical food which took the hobbits all the way from Sarn Gebir to Mt. Doom. The same chick who made the pretty flashy necklace that had the power to drive back Shelob, spawn of Ungoliant. In short: That bow and arrow set are probably pretty freaking bad-ass.

  51. Roxysteve says:

    LoreMasterofGondor Says:
    ‘May the Valar turn him aside! Mumak! Mumak!’

    Clearly the word ‘Mûmak’ in this context is an obscenity, probably invoking either an act of procreation or one of defecation, provoked by the sight of a large Oliphaunt charging towards the speaker.

    And who could blame them.

    Steve.

  52. *See, this is why I like Feng Shui. You tell the GM you want to do a stunt like that, and not only won’t he penalize you for it, he’ll probably give you a bonus to your single die roll to pull it off (shooting the Oliphant is a different story….).*

    I was going through this thread, wondering “When is someone going to get around to mentioning Feng Shui”? Last campaign I ran was a fairly beserk fantasy campaign with a chopped-up set of the Feng Shui rules for a suitable level of Elephant-climbing-and-killing.

    KG

  53. Dernwine says:

    Evilllama:
    Mumak is probably Haradrim as said earlier, but it is defiantly not sindarin. This is because the letter k dosen’t exist in Sindarin (dosen’t occur in any sindarin word, and in the sindarin alphabet there is no letter for it). TBH to deal with a Mumak I’d actually make a called shot against the ears or (just like in the book) against the eyes.

  54. Dernwine says:

    Oh and Ironically, one of the tactics used by the greeks and romans against Elephants was to but calthrops on the ground infront of them (Elephants stepping on them would panic and be in imense pain) *attacking the feet.* Other Strategies included luring them through gaps in the lines to let Skrimishers kill them with Javelins (think you could get a bonus for attacking an Elephant/Mumak with a Javelin?)

  55. Woosh says:

    Aragorns face in panel 2 is priceless, it’s got Legolas written all over it. “I’m going to stab it in the eye!” I was waiting a while to see how you’d handle this part of the movie. Aragorns pause after Legolas’ plan slays me.

    Reading about halfway down the comments, I was finding it harder and harder to keep my mouth shut about GURPS.

    In a cinematic game, climbing up the Mumak, automatically avoiding all of its strikers, and getting a nice shot in the back of its head would give you all kinds of benefits. Anyone with a really decent climbing skill and a pointy object could attempt it. ‘Course the mumak is just as likely to step on you. D:

  56. Woosh says:

    Woah, ok maybe not halfway down. Lots of comments o_O

    Keep up the good work Shamus!

  57. brassbaboon says:

    In The Hobbit, Bard the Bowman slayed a huge ancient red dragon with a single arrow to the chest.

  58. Isoyami says:

    Yes! YES! I’ve been waiting for this one ever since Leggylass did the shield slide down the staircase at Helm’s Deep.

    This strip is made of win and pure awesomeness.

    In the actual movie I watched that sequence and thought: “Wow, awesomeness”.

    And yes, Gimili’s comeback: “That STILL only counts as one!” was just perfect.

    In the strip, when Leggylass slid off the trunk, I’m surprised he didn’t go: “BOOM, headshot!!”

    It would have fit the moment pretty well, I think. hehe.

    And yes, Leggy’s expression prefectly matches his “that’s retarded line.” :D

  59. Rowan says:

    Just a thought, guys.

    Remember that the arrows were given to Legolas by Galadriel. These are implied elven magic arrows, and like Sam’s rope, there is more to them than meets the eye. Legolas doesn’t always use the special arrows; he uses the Lothlorien arrows judiciously, with extreme care. And while I didn’t care for the Legolas on the Oliphant bit, I did believe the using the magic arrows of Lothlorien to kill it bit.

  60. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Had a player who had picked one of the two dragon-races of my game world (start out humanoid, had to learn dragon form by taking a class that got them there). He sort of became the Jack Sparrow of my game world.

    Situation: Characters are in the great hall of a haunted keep and ghouls and warlock ghouls are trying to break in through the doors and other openings while the characters are trying to break the stone table so they can get to the tree trunk below it that used to be the tree of the dryad haunting the keep.

    Velvet Surestrike (said dragon) decides to climb up to the ceiling over the table and starts cutting at the (un)dead vines around the ceiling blocks. Said vines start attacking him, and grabbing him so he uses one of his few fire-breath uses of the game to irradicate the vines.

    Me: Okay, well, you only feather fall so far, not fly, and there’s a helluva big rock coming down on top of you.

    Velvet: I’m going to tumble around on top of it.

    Me: Okay, roll…watches him make the 25 DC at level 5

    Rockfalls as Velvet flips around on top of it and lands in a surfer pose saying: Never fear, Velvet is here.

    Then vines “bled” a black pudding type thing down on the table…

    Velvet: “You know that undead animated ooze I was talking about earlier? I found it.”

    The Faen (think halflings) made that thing chase him around the edge of the table until the acid finished off the work done by the stone.

    In another game, we are allowed to spend 50 energy points during dramatic points in order to acquire the power of GM fiat for a brief moment: only we have to make it dramatic and cool and it has to fit, or else the DM will screw you over for it.

  61. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    so anyway, at least in my friends…the epic events are not dead

  62. Tola says:

    “Lets make him more badass than the rest of the Fellowship! Unrealistically so!”
    “Yes! In for a penny, in for a pound, right? Who cares if it makes it look like he could take the entire army of Saruman down himself! It’s ACTIONY!”

    …He’s an ELF. That means he’s AUTOMATICALLY ‘more badass’ than the rest of the Fellowship by DEFAULT. As much as it’s crazy stuff he’s pulling in the movies, he has the skill: it’s genetic/inborn, and well honed from having to deal with Mirkwood.

    Give him 2500-5000 elves, and they probably COULD take down the Uruks. Lord knows he was wishing for them in the books.

    …One more thing: Up to ‘shooting the thing in the head’ the plan’s sane and viable: killing the controllers means it’s more likely to run away….into the enemy lines. Abnd that’s assuming Aragorn doesn’t succed with Animal Empathy(Which he should have a decent amount of time to do from the TOP OF IT…)

  63. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    brassbaboon Says:

    “In The Hobbit, Bard the Bowman slayed a huge ancient red dragon with a single arrow to the chest.”

    Arrow of slaying+a missing scale(attacking a wounded place).This big guy,however,doesnt have a scratch on his head.

    Rowan Says:

    “Remember that the arrows were given to Legolas by Galadriel. These are implied elven magic arrows, and like Sam’s rope, there is more to them than meets the eye. Legolas doesn’t always use the special arrows; he uses the Lothlorien arrows judiciously, with extreme care. And while I didn’t care for the Legolas on the Oliphant bit, I did believe the using the magic arrows of Lothlorien to kill it bit.”

    I dont see him carrying two quivers,and he didnt know what he was going to fight in this battle,so why prepare special arrows for fighting against orcs?

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