DM of the Rings XXI:
The Epic Sounds of Battle

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Oct 25, 2006

Filed under: DM of the Rings 75 comments

Tomb of Balin, Chamber of Marzubal, Loot, Dice Rolls, Critical, To-hit, Damage Rolls, Totally retarded.

This happens all the time. No matter how epic the battle, once begun, the thing sounds more or less like a bingo game: People shout out numbers and other people get excited about them.


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75 thoughts on “DM of the Rings XXI:
The Epic Sounds of Battle

  1. Julie says:

    No! Don’t stop!!

  2. John Fiala says:

    I got a 12. Does that hit?

  3. mjspawn says:

    Its even worse using Eberron and the action point system. “I rolled an 18! Did I hit? Wait, what did someone else roll to hit? Should I use an action point? Is it worth it? 18 is enough to hit right? Someone else hit on an 18 didn’t they? Maybe I will spend that action point. But what if I need it later?”…. I’m loving this comic, keep up the good work.

  4. Silverbirch says:

    NOOOOOO!!!!! You can’t stop there!!! This is just too good!!! ::grins::

  5. Well done, sir. Looking forward to the next installment.

    – Sean Patrick Fannon

  6. Crusader Corim says:

    “Wait, what do you mean the immensely powerful NPC didn’t bring any curing spells?”

    It’s amazing how much any group starts to depend on the NPC being the one prepared for all this crap.

  7. Bobaloo says:

    Hilarious. Just found out about this today. Please keep going!

  8. Marmot says:

    Ahahahaahhaah, my friend pointed me to this comic half an hour ago, this is absolutely great work! Keep it up, it’s just amazing!
    once again, just for good measure, LOL!

  9. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Stop everyone, you’ll make his pastey white skin blush until it reaches tomato status. And I wo’nt even begin to tell you what could happen to his
    bolstering ego

  10. caio maximino says:

    Pure genius!

  11. theonlymegumegu says:

    Hahah, that’s an awesome way to put it, I never thought of it that way, but it’s totally true. Makes me think of how dumb I must seem whenever I celebrate a double 20 crit XD (which I seem to do relatively regularly…)

    1. johanna says:

      your roll to bluff was not high enough for me to believe that statement

  12. rabidsamfan says:

    I’m thoroughly enjoying this, not only as a gamer, but also as a Lord of the Rings fan. Even if it did make me late for work this morning. (Of course, the reward is that I came home and there was a new installment…) I plan on showing it to my favorite GM tomorrow, too…

  13. Eve Forward says:

    These are brilliant! Please do more!

  14. Theron says:

    Outstanding! I just found out about this today and put up a link in my LJ. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

  15. Stiehle says:

    I think I recognize a few names from the website where a good number of us were provided with a link to this excellent webcomic. I’ve no idea how large your fanbase is, but I think you’ve gathered a few more this day, and I’m one of them! Great stuff! Thanks for your work and keep ’em coming, please!

  16. jhilahd says:

    Awesome. Simply awesome. You’ve managed to “bottle” all the experiences I’ve had as DM and put up for all the world.

    Well… maybe not all of them. But you’re hitting the nail on the head quite a lot. More than 98%… ok ok.. 100%. You’ve so managed to capture the essence of a game. I’m crying with joy.

    Thanks for an awesoem read and keep it up!

  17. ubu roi says:

    I still think this whole segment reads like “P.O.’d GM decides to kill party, only to find out they’re either too powerful for the monsters he made up, or got stupidly lucky.”

    No, I never experienced that as a GM. At least, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

  18. Deathblade-Penguin says:

    I’ll go with stupidly lucky…

    I’ve lost count of the times that my party has survived due to dumb stupid luck even with the negatives i throw at them..

    and for the record.. seriously who creates a party of 9 people with no bloody cleric with them.. as a GM i would deliberate set them up so that they would need them.

    Perhaps I should start an Australian fanbase for this comic.

    Count me number one (unless someone was here before me and then we can roll for it or see whose level is higher)

    Steve – Ex GM

    1. Andy says:

      Steve, there’s no such thing as an Ex- GM, just like Ex-marine, it’s always there, just bubbling below the surface waiting for a few players to get together and the stars to align.

  19. AngiePen says:

    Someone on my LiveJournal Flist posted a link to the beginning of this and I’ve been snickering ever since. I haven’t played tabletop D&D in about a decade but it’s all coming back. Great stuff! :D

  20. Clint Memo says:

    I just found this the other day and have sent links to all my gaming buddies. Funny, funny stuff – right up there with “Order of the Stick.”
    Keep it up!

  21. Wampus Cat says:

    Very original and spot on the relationship between the players and GM. Count me in as a contributor to the word-of-mouth…err, email. Keep up the good work!

  22. Richard says:

    Great stuff! Sent link on to my gaming group.


  23. Colin says:

    Don’t do much D&D any more, mostly WoD, but many of these tenets still apply. I’ve long ago given up trying to predict my players with any degree of accuracy, and try and ensure all roads lead to plot, even if the backdrop has to be repainted.

    A good, fun read. Now I really do need to get back to work…

  24. Cameron Rogers says:

    This is absolutely brilliant. I’m loving it, and so are a bunch of other people I’ve directed here.

  25. Kugelblitz says:

    Oh please oh please oh please don’t stop making this. I am posting this URL in a few places and laughing my butt off at the same tiime. Thanks!

  26. Theora says:

    This webcomic made my morning. :)

  27. Eric says:

    jhilahd said “You've managed to “bottle” all the experiences I've had as DM and put up for all the world.”

    Tai-Patra wants to know if there’s anything you want to share. ;D

    Shamus, thanks for the laughs. It’s fun to read how *ahem* _other_ people (who aren’t me, honest) cause the DM so much pain. Please keep this going.

  28. Lyz says:

    Hilarious! Must thank the friend who directed me here. It makes me want to pull out all the old ideas I ever had and actually DM a game. … *sigh*

    Where’s that other Christian mom with little-to-no-time to game? (Mine aren’t old enough to homeschool yet.)

    I’ve usually played in all-girl or mostly-girl groups, so it’s especially fun to see exactly what those all-guy groups are like. *snickers* Silly boys. :P

  29. Thoth Amon says:

    Absolutely superb! Please continue this, it’s truly inspired and way f**king better than the original insomnia cure from Tolkien :)

  30. Ape says:

    NOOOOOOO!!! IT STOPPED!!!. . sry, caps.

    gimmeh more epixx humor,plxthx! I need only a teensiweensie bit of it to pay for skills and a new weapon, plzplz
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAhhahahahahahaah*cough-wheeze* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahaha

  31. Osric says:

    Shamus, this is just awesome — and judging by the numbers of comments, word is beginning to spread! I’m certainly bookmarking you for my daily site-check drill.
    Like the guys have already said, this is good on gamers (especially the best/worst brand of D&Ders) and good for LOTR fans (the not too sensitive ones).
    Me? I’m both — but more than that, I’m in the process of designing a Middle-earth game for a group of basically D&Ders. As a little lesson in how not to play, this could even be a valuable reso– Ha! We’re going to quote and quote you all through our game sessions!
    Right. Now to go back and read it all again but slower, even the Times New Roman bits at the bottom… Cheers! –Os.

  32. Ishmael says:

    *nearly chokes to death with laughter*

  33. Alison says:

    I’m Australian! I was pointed to the site from the email list of a local RP group, at the start of the week. So there are lots of Aussies watching! :)

    Excellent work… keep going, please!

  34. Susano says:

    Oh man, this is great stuff! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

    — Michael Surbrook

  35. Nestor says:

    I’ll join the resounding chorus. This is truly inspired stuff. Please, oh, please, keep it going.

    The strip reminds me so well why I quit D&D way back when as soon as I discovered other games. (The Fantasy Trip FTW!) Yes, I’d be Gimli in this hilarious little scenario, you smarmy punks.

    I’m looking forward to the whining when the party loses its god-level NPC. ;-)

  36. Neat. I heard there were two more books after “The Fellowship” so that could mean lots and lots more comics. I bet doing all those screen captures is a pain in the nethers. I can’t wait to see the Balrog.

    I’m using Firefox 2 and I noticed that its dictionary doesn’t recognize “Balrog.” What kind of programmers don’t include Balrog, Nazgul and Mordor into their default dictionary, but do include Hobbit?

  37. Greg Lynch says:

    This is genius! Now I have to go explain why this is so goddamned funny to my wife. ;)

  38. Deoxy says:

    “Where's that other Christian mom with little-to-no-time to game? (Mine aren't old enough to homeschool yet.)”

    That’d be my wife, and we’ve ben trying to find time to start gaming again since… well, about 6 months after our first child was born (some number of years ago now). sigh.

    Oh, and the comics continue to be really good. Please keep it up.

  39. Lyz says:

    *snickers* Tell her I said hello. ;) I’m about to give up on having time for tabletop gaming and start an online campaign or something…. not that I have time to run one….

  40. Doccy says:

    Hee! So many memories brought back reading this lot – including efforts to find the “hot” dice (“nope, that one rolled low… And that one… That one too… 17! Sweet! I’m sticking with thi… Oh, wait, 3…”)

  41. John says:

    Oh it hurts trying not to laugh out loud at work while reading this.

  42. Lucius Alexander says:

    William Smith:

    In answer to your question, obviously programmers who have played D&D (or other roleplaying games) but never read Lord of the Rings.

    Lucius Alexander

    Palindromedary Enterprises

  43. Dave says:

    Whatta ’bout the guy that never rolls below a 17?.. and always saves.. he looks at the die and says.. er.. yeah.. I save.

  44. Nicki-Joe says:

    I hate it when I roll ones. They should be banned from all dice…lol

  45. cmullenweg says:

    Ok, I get to show up for #47, again…

    “That'd be my wife, and we've ben trying to find time to start gaming again since… well, about 6 months after our first child was born (some number of years ago now). sigh.”

    Someone seriously needs to start up a cheap daycare on friday and saturday nights, don’t you think?
    There’s no kids in my house, but we welcome gamers bringing theirs; we just throw everyone’s kids in the office with a big-ass box of toys, and pray that we didn’t overlook anything that they might stab eachother with. After a while – if no one sneaks them sugar – they pile up like puppies, and fall asleep.
    At least that’s the theory…well, until they get old enough to fill out their character sheet, and then they’re fresh bait!

  46. Destroy Gundam says:

    Is it just me, or do Gimli’s eyes look un-even in panel 6?

  47. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Ran a game at A-Kon in Dallas in 2006 based on the idea of superheroes based on mythological creatures. (The campaign mentor character was medusa-like person named Terra working for the State department and the campaign villain was a super-strong character named Perseus)

    Anyway, for the third game (high level game) one of the players was there with her boyfriend and hadn’t played RPGs much if at all. I gave her the following explanation of roleplaying:

    Roleplaying is like when you were kids and you were playing “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and indians”. Only RPGs have rules, and the rules exist for two reasons.

    The first reason is so that when there is an argument over what would happen, we have something to answer the question other than “your dead” “no, I’m not” “yes, you are” “no, I’m not” etc…

    The second reason is so that we can feel “cool” when we get a good roll.

    Later, when her hispanic Dragon-Woman/Marine Lt made a strafing run obliterating large numbers of invading extradimensional aliens with ray guns, she went “ooooooo”.

    The rest of the players started chanting “one of us.”

    Character live journals:

  48. Max says:

    Natural 20=BINGO!

  49. baldbeasty says:

    *wipes tears from eyes*


    *wipes more tears from eyes*

    The goblin with the arrow in the eye comment is perfect.

    I only wish I would have found this site sooner (I hate being the last one to game, the others always look at you with that “you’re not a true die-hard gamer like us” look and then make you the party ‘trap-detector’).

    Well Done!!!

  50. septima says:

    poor Dave. Almost dead at every fight. Stupid dice. :)

  51. Bill says:

    Comment 53.

    @52: Dave’s a Hobbit. They’re good targets, because monsters don’t think they’ll put up much of a fight. (Not to mention they probably think that Hobbits will make a good snack.)

  52. JJR says:

    Oh, lordy, not just bingo, but, especially with our magic users, more like lab techs quoting long math equations as they giddly total-up the damage…

    “+20 for surprise attack, +5 dexterity modified, DOUBLED,..”
    It’s DEAD
    “…then +30 for opposite alignment multipler and..”

  53. ben says:

    dont stop!!!

  54. Anton+ says:

    Damn. It never occured to me before, but it really does sound like a bingo game!

  55. JD says:

    Yeah.. except the players are the one’s calling the numbers and the DM’s the one trying to write them down. We had to create a system so people would speak one at a time, so it would be easier for the DM to keep track, seeing as everyone blurted their rolls out at the same freaking time.

  56. Karsten says:

    This is so darn funny! And it reminds me of the days I used to GM – long before most of you were alive! Also, even after all those years, I am picking up a tip or two – and now want to run my nephews/nieces through a campagin of old D&D!

  57. Colin says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but when I saw this scene in the movie, the combat actually seemed to be turn-based.

  58. resonanteye says:

    A friend sent me the link- this gave me a huge flashback to playing DnD in a cousin’s basement and hollering numbers until his mother came and told us to quit “doing math so loud”


  59. cheesebunny says:

    DAMMIT! NOW iM ALL STICKY WITH MEDICINE! (damm caps lock key -.-)laughter brought on a coffing fit whilst holding a spoon of meds, now Im all sticky over my shorts!!

  60. ERROR says:

    Gilmi in Panel #7 made me laugh, among other things.
    Looks like Gimli’s going “Dur!”

    1. Andy says:

      Also, Aragorn’s continuing bromance,but this time not with Legolas; “Nice roll Boromir”

  61. ERROR says:

    “Doing math so loud?”

  62. Spit Fyre says:

    Did you have to kill frodo?

  63. Pingback: Andrea Schamoz
  64. Elan says:

    I GOT A 4!!!

  65. Taz says:

    Invariably, whenever you get a one or two, your dm makes it obvious to everyone.

  66. subzero21601 says:

    I’m DMing a 3.5 adventure with some college buddies. there are 7 of them playing. 6 however at the time something like this happened. Basically, I had 3 hobgoblins using 3 wargs as mounts, mind you these guys were level 3 and 2. most of them were 3 though. well, they killed the hobgoblins and 2 of the wargs easily. But, after they started surrounding the last warg, things got really entertaining… for me. The players rolled 7 natural 1’s in a row. they were doing more damage to each other than to the warg and what the warg was doing to them combined. Plus, I am turning the adventure that I am sending them on into a book. :D, by the way, your stuff here is absolutely amazing and inspiring.

  67. Mackenzie says:

    Gimli leaves a good point. Why didn’t the dwarves make the door out of that stone instead? They may not have died then.

    1. WJS says:

      They clearly have the skill to make doors out of stone, the entrance was after all. Unless the increased cost over a wooden door is incredibly high (by the standards of a Mithril mine) I would expect they would appreciate the extra durability. I mean, it’s not like they’d never heard of orcs before, is it?

  68. 4ier says:

    There are several messed up character encodings in the comments.
    You've should be You’ve
    “bottle” should be “bottle”
    I've should be I’ve

    Where's should be Where’s
    aren't should be aren’t

    That'd should be That’d
    we've should be we’ve
    since… should be since…

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