DM of the Rings XXXIV:
Let’s Make A Deal

By Shamus
on Nov 27, 2006
Filed under:
DM of the Rings

Departing Lothlorien, Rope, Boats, Celeborn

I’ve had my players try to barter for items I was trying to give them for free. This is not a bad thing, but it always throws me off-script. It’s like little Timmy coming downstairs on Christmas morning and crying out, “Sweet! Okay mom and dad, how much for the big box with ‘timmy’ on it? Huh? How much?” It doesn’t matter what you say now, the moment is ruined.

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From the Archives:

  1. Drake the Wonder Ranger says:

    Corn beef and Cabbage for everyone!
    P.S. I love this comic!

  2. Badger says:

    offering players freebies always confuses the hell out if us, and is one of the cruellest tricks in a DM’s arsenal; we spend the next 2 weeks just waiting for it to explode or the real owner (A dragon naturally) to turn up or…
    ;)
    Keep ’em coming. Priceless!

  3. claris says:

    I would so want to smack the players at this point. XD Idiots!

    This continues to be very funny. Thanks for keeping it up!

  4. Eve says:

    *LOVE* Pippin’s expressions in the two panels. Excellent sync of images to text!

  5. Orcbane says:

    Nice! I’ve tried that before. Powerful NPCs always seem to think I need to be more independant.

  6. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Of course there were times you had to barter with us just to get us to not
    take an item. Perhaps the time Thordek insisted on taking the skull full
    of poison powder. The very same poison that he had just inhaled while trying to open the chest it was in.

  7. Telas says:

    “An ounce of perception… a pound of obscure”

    Or in D&D terms, a pound of confusing conversations that resemble a friendly fire incident – everyone’s on the same side, but that doesn’t keep them from shooting.

  8. Anthony says:

    The last panel just cracked me up, luckily the coffee cup was on the table and not at my lips. Not since “The original pervy hobbit fancier’s Journal” have I laughed so much about my favourite movies of all time.

    *Wait*

    OMG. I read it a third time and still laughed! Do I get a badge or something?

  9. Parable says:

    I tried to post a reply but it didn’t let me. Grumble. Knowing my luck, as soon as i post this one my original will magically appear. Anyway, what i wanted to say was that you either stole, killed, or bartered because anything free came with a price later on.

    And that last panel was priceless.

  10. Chris says:

    Yet another great comic. I just started playing D&D a couple months ago, but already about half these things have happened to us, and many more are easily imagined. Keep it up!

  11. SteveDJ says:

    Celeborn speechless – that frame is perfect! I was a gonner by then; it was a challenge to compose myself enough to read the rest. Loved it!

    On a side note: I see the “Categories” entry on the sidebar is showing “DM of the Rings (36)” – yet this is only strip #34. Could it be? A double-header is in the process of being uploaded? Oh, I hope, I hope – and I can’t wait!

  12. Shamus says:

    SteveDJ: I didn’t realize that WordPress did this, but you are right, the two “extra” posts are in the future. One is today’s (Wednesday’s) and the other is Friday’s. I often write the posts themselves ahead of time (mostly my little blurb of text after the comic) and stick it in the queue to be published.

    I do this with a lot of posts, actually. Right now if I dropped dead this website would keep kicking out posts until Saturday. :)

  13. Fenyx says:

    Could you do us all a favor and not die? That’d be great. Thanks.

  14. Shamus says:

    Could you do us all a favor and not die? That’d be great. Thanks.

    You people and your constant demands!

  15. haashaastaak says:

    This is the best yet. Still laughing after reading all the comments

  16. As for “free” things – I take armour plating off of beasts I’ve killed to make my own armour (that my DM boggles about costing so little when I find a leather worker),
    poison sacks out of spiders for tipping my arrows with,
    taken a rusty cleaver from the kitchen of a ruin (DM, it’s a big cleaver, that’s going to have a handaxe’s damage roll) – took out the next fiend with it,
    and picked up stones quite often because
    a) if you’re good with thrown weapons they are deadly
    b) they _will_ work to distract sentries with a noise
    c) if you need to keep your good stuff for later, stones is good enough.
    I like to think it’s quite realistic to just pick up the oldest weapon right off the ground and clout your opponent a good one. If your initiative’s high, his head’s more than likely to be stove in. Surprise!

    “I got a rock” – Charlie Brown

  17. Dezmo says:

    classic the speechless frame followed by “behold!” had me laughing for ten minutes at least

  18. Chris says:

    No matter what you offer characters, they are always looking for more rope. I’ve played games where characters have been killed for their rope, houses of NPCs have been ransacked for rope, there are few crimes that my group are not willing to commit for more rope.

  19. Tahoe says:

    This is probably my favorite of the entire series. The expression in Panel 7…the vain attempt to come up with a better retort, and then giving in and making the best of it. Classic!

  20. Browncoat says:

    Definitely in the top 5%, as are most of the strips. I didn’t realize until coming back to this one how light the panels are in this strip. Everything’s so bright and hazy and. . .Elfish. Pippin’s finest hour.

  21. Delta says:

    God, coming back to read these again — this particular strip always reduces to me to tears. I laugh so much, it’s cripplingly funny. Really pure genius (subject, timing) with this one.

  22. JungianYoung says:

    You hit the nail on the head with this one… I was just going through your archives and I actually laughed to tears at this strip. Keep up the good work.

  23. Toil3T says:

    Wow, free stuff… What’s rarer is giving stuff away. We could have had a nice elfin army join us in our last session of the Red Hand Of Doom, but we sold the magic items from that black dragon. And those other big bads. Who gives away magic items?

  24. Ian says:

    Ha. Extra rope. Is that a nod towards Sam’s rope obsession?

  25. Simone says:

    Hah! This is totally a reference to that part from the Silmarillion where the Noldor steal the Teleris’ boats, right?….right?

  26. cheesebunny says:

    ask for a brothel damm you! BROTHEL!!

  27. illiterate says:

    Oh dear. I think my players did that to me last session. Tried to buy something off an NPC that had intended to give it to them. It was a quietly amusing moment for me.

    I think I ended up having him give “another” gift in return. Something which had value to the players but not to him (gold)

  28. Aragorn says:

    “It’s like little Timmy coming downstairs on Christmas morning and crying out, “Sweet! Okay mom and dad, how much for the big box with ‘timmy’ on it? Huh? How much?”

    I did that once when I was 3…. LOL. I was in SO MUCH TROUBLE I was grounded for a month :(

  29. Serenitybane says:

    The expression in the elf frames is perfect! Awesome job.

  30. spiralofhope says:

    Append mandatory Bookdock Saints reference. =)

    (some extra text to make this comment post.)

  31. Battlingdragon says:

    Pretty easy solution. Apply a Stupid Tax. Ask a stupid question? Bird drops a coconut on your head, take 1D4 damage. Ask to buy a gift? Not a gift any more sucker.

    “A knot in this rope will never unravel until you give the command, at which point it will untie itself and neatly coil. I will giv-”
    “How much for the Rope of Awesome?”
    “5 Platinum”

    “So, this mine we’re exploring, it wouldn’t have any rock candy, would it?” *CLONK* “Where the hell’d that coconut come from!?!?!”

  32. Alexandre says:

    “I’ve had my players try to barter for items I was trying to give them for free.”

    As a first time DM running my first campaign Keep on the Shadowfell, my players (mostly first-timers to D&D) were talking to the lord of a village who was asking them to complete the campaign’s quest, basically.

    Our fighter interrupted the lord before he could finish and asked for some kind of advance payment as motivation to undertake the quest, which I thought was silly but allowed nonetheless, because…

    As soon as the fighter haggled his way up to 30 gold pieces in advance pay, the lord resumed talking and handed the other three players one healing potion worth 50 gold EACH.

    The fighter, it goes without saying, got precisely what he asked for.

  33. Sir Robin says:

    Some times it is better to threaten the people with more work then actually threatening them

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