DM of the Rings XLVIII:
Dwarven Diplomacy

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 8, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 176 comments

Rohan. Remembering Merry and Pippin.

I see a lot of kids with those “I Roll Twenties” t-shirts. I don’t know what game they are playing, or where they get their dice. I need one that says, “Help. The dice are trying to kill me.”


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176 thoughts on “DM of the Rings XLVIII:
Dwarven Diplomacy

  1. Klytus says:

    *I need a shirt that says, “Help! The dice are trying to kill me!”*

    I know *I’d* buy one or two! I have a number of fried who do not have cordial relationships with dice…

    1. ZAP says:

      Oh gods. I can relate. If I knew you I’d probably be one of them.

      I died four times before anyone else in the group died at all. Dice are not my friend.

      1. Nacata says:

        You’ve died? Cool.

        1. DamnKitty says:

          Oh… I so can relate to that. I was once killed by 3 goblins that rolled criticals (Yes all three of them), and the rest of the party went inside a building while failing the listen check… So… I died without them knowing.

          When they came back outside I was long gone.

          1. Nacata says:

            Something like that happened to my dad: his party’s thief found a goblin camp but failed his stealth check and when he went back to the party’s camp my dad’s character agreed to cover for them while everyone else ran, and the DM said there were 50 goblins. Except that he decided to run, its alot like that.

            1. Andy says:

              I made the t-shirt! But I only had cheap iron-on transfer paper, and I only learned afterwards that it’s supposed to be washed inside-out so it doesn’t come off.

              1. Mang says:

                Yeah, few years late, but relevant :p


      2. Kaeltik says:

        I had this problem in our one and only MERP campaign: I literally had zero successful rolls for two full sessions. One of the other guys had his character mock mine the whole time (there was bad blood between us IRL). Finally, midway through the THIRD bad session, we camped atop a cliff overlooking raging rapids. The following morning, the bad guys were spotted heading our way, so we began to decamp. The mocking guy had his character ignore us and sleep, waiting, he said, until my character was inevitably killed, whereupon he would beat the bad guys (he’d taken first pick of every treasure, so he had all the good equipment and the only magical item). I asked if I could kick him awake. The GM said to roll to hit. CRIT. Roll for bonus. CRIT. Roll for damage. MAX. His character was launched off of the cliff and into the river. There, fully armored, rendered comatose, and lacking any swimming skills anyway (he was min-maxed), he sank, drowned, and was swept away. Roll a new character. Sixteen years later, it still brings a smile to my lips.

        But yeah, the dice are fickle beasties.

        1. Angelus Nex says:

          Can’t… breath… Great story. I can just imagine you lightly tapping him with your boot and him flying off the cliff. I love RPG rules sometimes.

    2. I Take Tens says:

      You can get one on ThinkGeek.

      1. Doramuss says:

        Yeah, well, maybe the 5+ years between his and your post may have changed something like, I don’t know, what t-shirts ThinkGeek has for sale?

        1. Gwyrion says:

          Oh, calm down. They have them, that’s all that matters.

  2. Dave K says:

    Hehehe. InCREDible.

  3. Joreal says:

    Or one that says “My dice think my character is a dimwitted, ignorant, blind person that wants to swim in lava.”

  4. Kris says:

    I remember one time in the underdark, I was playing a rogue that got pulled into a river by some creature or other, and then succeeded to stab it’s tentacle off, thereby plunging himself helplessly down the river.

    The DM was really trying to help me out, giving me swim checks every few feet, but I still failed every one. (At least ten in a row.)

    I finally succeeded a reflex save as I was getting sucked into an underground tunnel by the river by taking my dagger and jamming it into the rocks above the tunnel and using it to hold myself against the flow of water. I then failed my next save (With a generous +5 for the dagger, DC 10) to hold on to the damn thing.

    That was by far the unluckiest character I ever played. His corpse is probably still rotting in the underdark as the rest of the party decided he wasn’t worth trying to save.

  5. Hoyce says:


  6. Darkenna says:

    “Jesus saves!!! The rest of you take full damage.”

    I once found a list of things to do to dice to “make them cooperate.” On it were things like:

    -Exiling the dice to a clear plastic container, so they can see all teh other dice all snug in the dicebag, but cannot be a part of it.

    -Placing on in the freezer and then showing it’s frozenness to all the other dice, making them watch as you shatter it with a hammer.

    -Lining up all your dice on a counter and slwly melting one d20 into a pile of goo as an abject lesson to the others.

    The list was long and unproductive. The dice just don’t listen to reason.

    1. Bryan says:

      Or threats either.

  7. DireDoomsayer says:

    This one had me in tears!! It’s the unexpected surprises that make this such a great comic. “Let’s see what these losers want.” Hah! been there done that…

    1. tjtheman5 says:

      “TELL ME YOUR NAME HORSE FUCKER!” is the best line ever, of all time.

  8. Julia says:

    The only dice shirt I have is alluding to the contents of the shirt, not dice, just making a joke that gamers would get but non-gamers probably wouldn’t.

  9. haashaastaak says:

    I love how you managed to make the movie dialogue make fun of itself. there is no higher form of low humor! The title of the script says it all, but I had no idea you would manage to stick so close to the actual movie dialogue.

  10. Breklor says:

    We have a baby around, so we keep our dice in clear plastic containers anyway. It’s sort of an updated geek version of Pop-a-Matic, from the old Trouble game. And he’s already figured out what you do with them. If you leave a dice container lying around, he’ll pick it up, give it a good shake, look inside and say “Oh SH!T!”

  11. Brass says:

    If you do run across that shirt, let me know and I’ll get one or two as well. I was on roll #8 only 10’down a knotted rop on a 40′ wall with my 4th level Drow rogue. Finally, the guys at the top just cut the rope and had the cleric heal me at the bottom. Then somebody mentions the take 10 rule. Bastards.

    1. Darcie says:

      what’s the take 10 rule?

      1. Arkanabar says:

        Take ten minutes, add ten to your roll. There is also a take twenty rule.

        1. WJS says:

          No, it’s if you’re not in combat, you don’t have to roll; just say you rolled a 10. (source)

  12. Steve says:

    [Killer Dice]

    Went to a convention once, with a nice, shiny army of lead figures each painstakingly modified and painted to a reasonably high standard. Had one heavy weapon in the mix. Fired it (i.e. rolled dice for it) 37 times over the course of the long weekend*. Missed every time. Not bad odds considering a 5 or 6 would have got the shot in. One opponent on the Sunday got so embarrased on my behalf he began begging me to re-roll. I refused, of course. When the dice are killing you, the only thing to do is go with it. It builds character.

    I also fielded a bod in heavy armour that was virtually indesructable on paper. It got shot to pieces in one volley with the equivalent of three cheap flashlights in that same Sunday battle with the begger. He took it worse than I did.

    As far as D&Ding with these die-rolling abilities, it fair does for the old reputation as a fearless Dwarf fighting machine if you can only roll better than a 10 once every 8 combat rounds, I can tell you. My D&D pals don’t take kindly to the fact that my principal role playing skills are screams of pain either.

    And no-one, repeat, no-one ever asks me to move silently.

    Dice. You have to love ’em.


    * It got longer as the carnage wore on.

  13. Carl the Bold says:

    I had a low level thief who was extraordinarily good at picking locks. He only had a 15% chance, which we tested by rolling a d20 and hoping for a 1, 2 or 3. What the DM didn’t realize, and I’m about to ruin this for anyone else who cheats like I did, is that each vertex connects five different numbers, and if you spin the die, rather then roll it, it will land on one of the five numbers revolving around the vertex you’ve put at the North Pole. As it happens, the first three numbers have a common vertex. :) In essence, my thief had a 60% chance of picking a lock. Not bad for a first level thief.

    On another topic, I have to register my disappointment in the language of this episode.

  14. Yama-Arashi says:

    Tsk, Mr. Bold. Where, exactly, is your moral highground that compelled you to register your disappointment? You’ll confess to cheating at an imaginary game, but you’ll complain about honest language in the funniest webcomic on the Internet right now? *sigh*

    Keep on rolling, Shamus — somehow you just keep hitting ’em out of the park, and I, for one, am very grateful for the laugh three times a week, salty language or no.

  15. Beth says:

    Beatiful. Just beautiful.

    I saw something like this happen once and the memory still brings a tear to my eye. Dwarves are a blessing and a curse. Well, okay, maybe an occational benefit… or at least not *always* a disaster? But either way, so much fun!

  16. Shamus says:

    Carl: Thanks for your toughts. I knew this one crossed a line I haven’t crossed before. I’m not bothered if other people register their disappointment as well. That’s what the comments are for.

    I don’t use that sort of language anywhere else on the site, and I messed around with different ways of trying to convey this joke without breaking my own rules about the content of the site. I moved that little “Gimli!” bubble around a LOT. I wasn’t trying to push any envelope or anything, this was just how the joke came out. I had to either make it work, compromise my own rules, or throw the joke away. What we have is the best compromise I could devise.

    1. tjtheman5 says:

      That line had me laughing for like five minutes, thank you for that.

  17. Ava Tari says:

    –> “I need a shirt that says, “Help! The dice are trying to kill me!””

    Oh God, me too. In fact, I suggest you submit this to Jinx Hackwear as a shirt idea. Or just Zazzle it yourself.

  18. Rustybadger says:

    Huh, Shamus – you coulda just said “Frackers” like they do in BSG. *rolls eyes* You can even use that word when girls are around!

  19. OrneryCuss says:

    This seems a good place to ask…

    Does anyone have any memory of a t-shirt from about 15 years ago; it had a large d20 on the front, showing a ‘1’, with just the word ‘shit.’ in a jagged typewriter font in lowercase below it.

    Either it’s vanished from the face of the Earth, or I’m going nuts.

    Or both, I guess.

  20. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Oh Shamus, Gold absolute gold my brother. I was literally rolling on the floor laughing. I noticed mom didn’t comment on this one :)
    But you raise a question I have always had, what are some good D&D curse words. I mean if you are to truly stay in character you shouldn’t say those kinda words. hmmmmm.. maybe next time things don’t go the way I planned I’ll just yell “soiled dwarven panties”

  21. Evil Otto says:

    Ok, my horror story. Well, not mine, because *my* character got through it fine. In Champions, almost all skill/attack/etc. rolls are based on rolling 3d6, the lower the better. Our house rule was that if you rolled a “3” when attacking you inflicted maximum damage.

    As our brave heroes battled the evil supervillain in his lair, my super-strong, super-fast character decided he’d had enough of getting pounded and decided to crash right into the ultra-bad-guy at top speed, hopefully doing some decent damage.

    I rolled a “3” to hit.

    Maximum damage. On 24d6. Took the villain out instantly. Knocked myself out. And, unfortunately, sent the bad guy flying across his lair directly into one of my fellow superheroes.

    The GM was feeling generous, happy to see a dramatic and appropriately comic-bookish end to the battle, so he told the other player to roll a simple DEX roll of 14 or less on 3d6 to dodge the bad guy.


    Then the GM asked the player to see if his character’s armor took the hit, another 14- roll.


    The damage resulting from the villain crashing into the hero was instantly fatal, but the GM even allowed a bit of a cheat and let the player roll a Constitution check at 14- to see if the character would merely be bleeding to death rather than instantly killed.


    And the brave superhero was turned into strawberry jelly. By an unconscious supervillain. I apologized, but I don’t think my friend thought I was serious since I couldn’t stop laughing.

  22. Lycoris says:

    Dude, I totally need that shirt, too. I can use anyone’s dice but my own!

  23. 3eff_Jeff says:

    And then there is the “Night of the Twos”. My current group ran a “hardcore” game (we rolled 3d6 keep ’em where they lay for character generation as a one-time house rule). It was fun, but our group went out into the woods and got destroyed by an ogre after all of the PC twenty-siders came up nothing but 2 for something like 6 straight rolls. This happened right after the ogre broke out of the Wizard’s web spell. It ducked around the tree where the rogue and I promptly attacked it and missed badly (three of the twos). It then mauled us, and proceeded to clean house with the rest of the party. The Wizard was the only one to escape the combat alive with the use of Expeditious Retreat (never so aptly named). After a few bad rolls and getting lost in the woods, the ogre found her and finished her off, too.

    I definitely need one of the “My dice think my character is a dimwitted, ignorant, blind person that wants to swim in lava” shirts.

  24. Russ says:

    If 25 years of playing D&D has taught me one thing it’s this. Players get more attached to dice than any other tool in the game. A player can spend $60 on a D&D book and $2 on d20. If he loses the book he’d be annoyed. But if he decides that the d20 is his ‘lucky dice’ and it goes missing………

  25. 3eff_Jeff says:

    Oh, and in a past group, one night, one of the players ran a game. He spent the entire evening rolling his 12 sider for his attack rolls. Nobody said anything. To this day, I don’t think he ever figured out why he couldn’t roll a decent init or attack. (Alas, I was not present for this, but there were multiple trustworthy witnesses, and I’d believe it of the gent in question.)

  26. Dice are Good, lovely little creatures… Honest

    I’ve never had a problem with them

    I’ve Never Failed a Roll

    and I Never Lie…… :P

  27. Marmot says:

    Oh my…

    this one was the best so far, I laughed so hard at the dialogue… mounted combat rules…. ahahahahahhahahahahaha! Awesome!

  28. J Greely says:

    There was some unhappiness at Kublacon a few years back when it turned out that someone in a D20 tournament had been rolling damage with Formula De dice.


  29. Myxx says:

    Man, this is friggin hilarious. “Tell me your name, horse-fu**er” made me laugh out loud. There was a barbarian character playing in one of my campaigns who was pretty much just like that, but his outbursts usually involved goats, not horses. Thanks for that laugh Shamus, I needed it today.

  30. 2bithacker says:

    I’d be in for one of those shirts too. Doesn’t matter how high my ranger’s saves get, I’ll be sure to roll a one every bloody time!

  31. Darkenna says:

    2bithacker: your ranger, my sorcerer, Gorm the Dwarf (who’s managed to chop off his own foot three times now… but who’s counting?), and any character Larry plays. How many times have Evanar and Vilius died? We could construct a whole new party out of the lost levels. And remind me to tell you the story about the time I gave Larry an exact duplicate of his character, so that he had two of her, and then wiped them both out with the same Power Word: Kill spell.

    In my little brother’s very first campaign, he was playing a halfling thief (2nd Ed. D&D). The rogue sneaked up to the edge of a swamp… or *tried* to sneak up (rolled a 00 on his Move Silent). The orc came around the high grass on the raft with his rotary repeating crossbow (picture a crank-firing Gatling gun). My bro rolls a 99 for his hide in shadows, gets spotted, and the orc fires. And rolls 4 nat’ 20’s in a row. Somehow, he rolls min damage, but it’s still enough to render my bro to a near-death state. Bro collapses… DM has him roll to avoid landing in the water (rolls a 1). DM has him roll to avoid landing *face-down* in the water (rolls a 1). DM has him roll to avoid inhaling water (yup, you guessed it… 1). DM has him roll a save vs. death… 2. (“Well, at least it’s not a 1,” says bro. He then tossed the die into a trash can. No one blamed him.) To top it off, at the very end of the fight, the DM mentions that there’ve been clouds of mosquitoes everywhere, and has everyone roll a save vs. disease. On a lark, my bro rolls a save for his drowned and bled-out halfling. Guess who’s the only character to get malaria on a roll of 1?

    On the other hand… whatever gods control the rolling of dice automatically favor anyone playing a kender. Seriously. Just try to get a kender killed. I dare you.

    1. WJS says:

      Just thought I’d point out that the original gatling guns were hand cranked.

  32. DM T. says:

    Oh god… I laughed too loudly in the office and some people even bothered to check up on me.

    These moments are all too true, I’ll send my players to read this ASAP.

  33. Osric says:

    Excellent, recognisable, highly game-relevant reworking of the characters’ lines. :-)

    My dice think my characters are unremarkable party plodders who never get to do anything cool — except they never let them die either. As circumstances get wilder, my characters’ not-dying can eventually get remarkable. But this is not a charm I want to destruction-test, if you take my meaning…

  34. Zolarith says:

    Dice, very unpredictiable. Back in the day of 2nd ed. I was playing a human fighter (i was in 5th grade, so give me a break), anyway, our party was going through a mountainside full of goblins, orcs and ogres, my meat shield got sapped down to 2 hp, so i hide in the tree while our ranger takes the ogre on, 1 on 1, me, trying to be a hero tried shooting a crossbow into combat to help with the ogre…but instead i end up killing our only able bodied fighter. Once the battle was over i threw the dice in the fireplace, but i belive the spirit of the dice still haunt my rolls to this day

  35. ChristianTheDane says:

    Tell me your name horsefu*gimli!* and i shall give you mine…


  36. bkw says:

    The brilliance of Shamus’ comic is that it works on so many different levels. From the screen caps to the characterization to the jokes to the “throwaway commentary” after the comic — there’s never just one thing going on. Humor is cumulative and multilayered, and Shamus puts these together well.

    The language may be out of place for Shamus and his site, but it sure as heck is in character for the fellow playing Gimli.

    If it makes you feel better, you can pretend Shamus typed “FLISKER” under the balloon. ^_^

  37. Ethan says:

    Why doesn’t the GM just end the hurt after a string of bad rolls instead of letting the dice decide the fate of the character. Its easier to say “Okay, you just got schelacked, you’re almost dead and if you don’t get healed in a very short time frame, you’ll be dead,” than it is to roll up another character in mid-game.

    1. Anonymoose says:

      Probably because of the ol’ “Player vs. GM” mindset, which is significantly more common than the “we’re a team trying to have fun” mindset that should be prevalent.

  38. Martin says:


    great addition

  39. John Horst says:

    I have a yellow/black d20 that my players (when I DMed) always said was a killer. Of course, I used it whenever I wanted a player (er, character) to suffer.

    These days it’s no better than any other d20 I have. I think it was all in their heads, but of course … the dread thought that your character is about to be crushed and eaten is all part of the fun.

    At least it is for me. :-)

  40. Rob says:

    I have to agree with Ethan on that. It is better to just decide to spare the character if it doesn’t add to the story for the PC to die in that situation. However, I’ve been part of many games that went the other way. Sometimes you just can’t believe how bad someone’s luck could be!

    Great strip, Shamus!

  41. Stormcaller says:

    I dont know what you are all complaining about… i get 80%+ chance of the roll being what i want on my dice… Best case i can think of is of one a few years ago, before it was known to all my friends about my dice, where the DM was using re-roll 20 on to hit and skill checks (with a further modifier of if you did a to-hit of more than 50 above AC you killed the target), and then trying to railroad us… At level three we were walking down a river bank when he wanted us to go crosscountry – this being the 6th (and final it seemed) episode for the game, suddenly (dispite my L3 Rogue having a spot (scouting) check of around 45) we walked into an Elder Red dragon. (The DM had really wanted us to go a different way :-) ) Now in most cases i grant this would have been fatal for a third level character but my rogue ran into the attack with a first roll of 87. The DM refused to believe i got 4×20 in a row asked me to reroll while he checked it. Unwilling cause i didnt/dont cheat my rolls i did it ending with a roll of 115, almost gibbing this elder dragon.

    To this end, now that i run games with these dice, im happy to roll against my players but i only take the dice roll as a guideline or i lose too many PCs.

  42. ubu roi says:

    I whipped out a quick “my dice hate me” t-shirt design, but then I realized it would be kind of tacky to go advertising it on Shamus’ site, so I just let it be. The time would have been better spent sleeping anyway. *yawn*

  43. Scott says:

    While playing Warhammer Fantasy RPG, I played a dwarf named Alanalda Axeblade… Since no one had EVER played a dwarf in our group for this system before, and since they really aren’t represented well in the old rule book, I got to make up a lot of their culture, and I decided something…

    Every Dwarven insult, every single curse and explitive, translated to “Rat Bastard” in common… Made it easier since one player had an issue with certain other swear words…

  44. Kat says:

    One set of my dice hate me. I keep them because otherwise another set of dice will begin to hate me (and roll opposite of whatever I want).

    A friend of mine took it extremely hard, when, through an entire campaign of about a year or so, he rolled 11 on 2D6 about 70% of the time. A 12 was a critical failure. A pair of the dice he was using are still somewhere below the window he threw them out of as an example.

    I eventually made him a lj icon saying roleplayers are superstitious about dice. I know I’m superstitious about my dice. It saves me from being superstitious about other things.

    Very entertaining comic. I’m not a D&D player myself, but it’s relevant to just about any other fantasy setting. Like Earthdawn, which I have played.

  45. Ubu Roi says:

    And oh yeah… It wasn’t my D&D dice that hated me, it was my photon dice in Star Fleet Battles. I got the nickname of “Range 3” because I’d always lose my nerve and fire at the low end of the 3-4 bracket, rather than waiting until range 2. My usual response:

    “Why should I wait? I’m only going to roll sixes!” The time my BCJ fired six photon torps at that range and missed with all of them (five rolls were a six) just sealed it. Lifetime, I think my hit% is half of what it should be, based on my to hit and actual results.

  46. Deoxy says:

    My existence is a disproof of the laws of statistics.

    On the other hand, that makes me a REALLY good tactical player, as I have to completely annihilate my opponent tactically to have even odds of winning (thanks to the dice).

    While I love the die with a 1 on it shirt and the one word beneath it (and the story of the kid who knows to say it immediately after rolling is pricless), i really just need to get one of those “I roll 20s” shirts and modify it: “I roll 1s”.

    I could roll with d12 instead of d20, and it wouldn’t really affect the game much.

  47. scldragonfish says:

    I don’t think it was the actual cursing that made me laugh my ass off, it was the punch-line comment, “Whoops. I rolled a ONE on my diplomacy check.” I died and fell off my computer chair!

    Personally, unless the people commenting on the ‘language’ are with the clergy, you need to get over yourselves.

    I need a shirt that says, “The dice rule me! Opps I cut my foot off!”.

  48. Darkenna says:

    Hear hear!!! My dwarven monk salutes you!

  49. AngiePen says:

    A friend of mine got to the game late once and the rest of us were about to go into combat so he was just wandering around, waiting for an opportunity for his character to join us. As the hacking started, he headed over to the TV, put in the “Zulu” tape (this was a while back) and FFed to the scene where a bazillion Zulus are about to attack Rorke’s Drift and the guys inside start singing “Men of Harlech.” And we started rolling dice. About three-quarters of our attack rolls for that fight were 18s, 19s and 20s. John kept rewinding and replaying that scene from the movie until we’d run through all the monsters, which didn’t take too terribly long. :D Our GM banned the TV during games after that, heh.

  50. Cyn says:

    This comic strip is so very wrong, yet oh so right…

    I choked on my orange juice, but it was totally worth it.

  51. Lyz says:

    Shamus, if you need anymore feedback from one of the people who needs to get over herself 9_9 I’d suggest next time making the “Gimli!” bubble bigger and basically covering everything but the F. We’ll all know what you’re saying, but my preschooler who likes to read over my shoulder won’t. (The other day when I was checking email she saw an ad on the side and said, “Buy now!” It caught me off guard because I screen out the ads so I hadn’t noticed, but that’s exactly what it said. I’d hate to be reading something I like so much and have her learn a dirty word – it’s not like she ever hears them.) Anyway, even us clergy-like stick-in the muds (or this one, anyway) aren’t completely appalled or anything. It’s just I’d rather not deal with that kind of language if I can avoid it, and I’ve really appreciated how clean you’ve kept everything so far (… unless you count all the gay jokes and Aragorn’s player’s thing with women. ;P )

  52. Deoxy says:

    Ditto what Lyz said.

  53. scldragonfish says:

    Lyn, I am so very happy that your child is reading at preschool age. That is wonderful and I highly promote literacy, I’m sure you are very proud.

    So proud, in fact, that you promote your child to read everything, even PG (parental guidance) discretionary comics that don’t actually show any real curse words, gay references not with standing.

  54. anachronist says:

    Lyz: The internet is not censored, and neither is this site. The WWW started out as an environment for adults, and will likely remain so. While I applaud the reading ability of your child, I have to say, “grow up!” If she doesn’t learn common everyday English vocabulary from you, she will learn it from others. What would you prefer?

  55. Shamus says:

    I need to point out that I DID solicit feedback on the language in this strip. I do run a polite and sort of family friendly blog here, and I knew I was doing something different here. I really do like to know how people feel about this sort of thing, so its not like Lyz was storming in and telling me how to run my blog.

    I asked what people thought. Some responded. I’m happy. No need for anyone to get testy.

  56. Anisa the Overprivileged says:

    But horsef*cking is so darn funny!

  57. Zelest says:

    Hahaha, I know that feeling. Rolling critical fail in important situations is something my players are really skilled with.

  58. Steve R says:

    Mt good dice rolls often kill me as much as my bad ones. I remember trying to lasso a flying creature with a ridiculous negative modifier. But I made it and managed to hold on. The falling damage eventually kiled me. Yeh, my own INT wasn’t to high back then.

  59. Telas says:

    Bad dice tale #9367…

    D&D 3.5, with fumble rules. I’m a barbarian who’s already killed off another PC through a fumble (nat 1 + nat 1 = friendly fire).

    We get into a nasty situation with a trapped exit and a half-golem (really high AC, high DR). My barbarian’s the only one doing any damage, and that’s only if he hits with a fairly substantial Power Attack. I figure enough dice rolls, and I’ll eventually get that x3 crit…

    Bu no, I don’t roll any 20s. I do, however, roll “double 1s” three times, and one “triple 1”. The DM is nice enough not to kill us all off, but there were only three survivors of five…

    The really strange part is that one of the players’ wife talked in her sleep the night before, and said, “Beware the blue die.” My dice were (you guessed it) blue.

    As for the language? I think you did a fine job with it, and the negative reactions were more due to it being a surprise than a nasty.


  60. Redbeard says:


    OMG that’s Gr8 I”m actually Crying I laughed so hard!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Andi says:

    Oh, man, this was perfect! “I rolled a one on my diplomacy check.” Heh heh! Who hasn’t suffered that?

    Years ago, neighbors across the street from us played RPGs, as did we. Although we had some players in common, it was a separate gaming group, and played on a different night from ours. We could always tell when they’d been playing and the dice were being especially cruel, though — our front yard would be littered with dice the next morning from the guys storming out of our neighbors’ house and chucking the dice across the street.

    We just threw ’em back. :-)

    As for the language, I think you did a great job with the Gimli bubble obscuring the “offending” horse-related word. You actually obscured four letters, where most sites would only obscure the “u”. I doubt a kid who didn’t already know that word would be able to figure it out.

  62. Lokrien says:

    Awesome web comic btw! Just wanted to throw in my 2c as to the whole dice thing:

    Some friends and I were playing Traveller–best rpg ever I think! Anyway, my buddy’s cousin decides to play with us last moment one night and our GM had a NPC ready to go. Now this friend of ours always thought he was a genuis and was a bit ticked that this handed to him character only had an IQ of 50 (5 in Traveller terms). My character had a 14 Int (140 IQ) and an education of 16… uber-brilliant dude in game terms. Some of the other characters were pretty smart too. We come across some ancient ruins and find some clues. I roll 1’s, and the other roll suitably crappy. For a lark we tell the imbecile to roll, and of course he rolls great, figures it out… 3 other occurences happen very similarly, with this guy bitching about how dumb his character is–even tho he is the only one figuring out stuff!
    My character steals something from him as we know he is working with someone else and has an artifact we need while unconcious after a fire-fight. We get into a space battle and I go to a gunner station… he comes along demanding the item back and when I refuse, launche a grenade into the gunner pit… he dies instantly, I somehow live (chair took the brunt of it and a great medic roll).

    He goes about rolling up another character, but he makes sure it is a super genuis dude, medic with unbelievable stats (a bit of creative rolling i am sure) but takes too long to play that night when our guys get arrested. The next time we play, our GM makes him the doctor who is taking care of me and escorts us to our trial with some police backup. We are ambushed as we made some bad enemies who want us dead so the sniper mistakes him for one of us and this brand new character, alive for all of 5 minutes takes 2 laser sniper shots in a row and dies 20ft from his starting point in the game… he never played again!

    My original character is still alive, the only one to survive over years of playing the same campaign!

  63. Charleyhorse says:

    I’ve never played a role playing game in my life and am not ever likely to. So I’m writing strictly as a lover of comic strips. Gimli’s comment shocked laughter from me. I can’t recall the last time that happened while simply reading a strip. Outstanding! Thanks much.

  64. Shimo says:

    Oh my god! I work at a helpdesk and made the mistake of reading this comic on a downtime. Just as I got to the end of this strip which I found simply superhilarious the phone rang. I had to gather myself for several seconds in order to answer the phone without laughing insanely. Even then it took me a good half a minute to calm down enough to speak.

    “I don’t want to have to look up the rules for mounted combat right now.” really made it for me. The strip gathered strength from horse-fucker, the punchline was the diplomacy roll and the ending was the second punchline, something that elevated this one strip from among the rest (which have been good too so far).

    Now my cow-orker is looking at me in a weird way…

  65. Nicki-Joe says:

    LOL! I’ll take two t-shirts

  66. Marty says:

    I don’t know about y’all, but I read it as “horse flicker”.

  67. SongCoyote says:

    Okay, it’s not all that great, but I just had to put a quick pic together. Hopefully I get the HTML tag right :P

    My Dice Hate Me!

    Love the comic. I’ll read it all :) Thanks for making it!

    Light and laughter,

  68. SongCoyote says:

    Oh, and I couldn’t resist making the next comment as well, even if only so I could say je suis les soixante neuf!

    Light and laughter,

  69. SteveZilla says:

    Evil Otto speaks true, for I was there as well. The strawberry paste’s — I mean character’s name was Dancer. And the ultra-bad-buy? Dr. Destroyer.

    Morale to the story? Don’t by your primary defenses with an Activation Roll.

  70. TherionRavenwing says:

    A friend told me about this comic and he is right, it’s drop-dead funny!!!
    “Tell me your name, horsefu*Gimli!” that was just so hilarious! Man, I’ve re-read this one page about 10 times and I laugh even harder every time! Keep up the good work!

    BTW, the scene reminded me of an odd situation my first gaming group got into while playing in an empty classroom in college:
    The not-so-brave party ventures down the dungeon in search for doors to kick and treasure to loot. Behind one of those doors, there was a bunch of frenzied bloodthirsty orcs. So, our brave dwarven paladin rolls diplomacy just for the fun of it and gets a natural 20!! Adding that to his various modifiers, he ended up with something close to a 35 diplomacy check! After staring in disbelief for a couple minutes (specially our slash-happy, steroid-fed, totally power-gamed human fighter, and our fireball-slinging elven wizard) everyone started to laugh so hard security guards came to check on us. After the guards left, we just decided to say the orcs were so overwhelmed by the paladin’s platinum tongue (silver was not enough) they ended up crying, reconsidered their lives and turned to the church of Pelor for salvation! Dwarven diplomacy is so unpredictable.

  71. Max says:

    Second comic to make me laugh out loud.

  72. Astro says:

    I kinda like reading as someone else is saying “Tell me your name, horse-$^&@er!” and Gimli is answering! hehe

  73. mocking bird says:

    Holy cow – look at the dice. Ironic considering the theme of the thread. Thought we were playing Earthdawn there for a second.

    Anyway….Whilst playing Tomb of Horrors, a player was complaining of his inability to make any saves. Very bad if you are familiar with the module. He quickly realized he was rolling a 20 sided d10 that he never marked the 11-20 side with. The same person much later did a similar thing with a 1-4 8 sided die.

  74. “the sun is trying to kill me” XD

  75. Rick says:

    Actually cried trying to stop laughing out loud (reading at work).

    Physical tears!

  76. Barron says:

    Now that it’s all over, this is still my favorite one-liner of the whole thing

  77. Sandman says:

    I found this site just a few days ago and was reading this strip while the family is asleep. I’ve busted my jaw trying not to laugh out loud and wake them up.

    I’ve played and ran so many campaigns exactly like this I can’t remember them all. I’ve had nights where the dice killed off 3 of my characters in a single session. I still have a character sheet detailing the various brands, tatoos, and scars from where he p—ed off the wrong NPC. Nothing like trying to play a thief with a nice glow-in-the-dark tat on his face and a dagger brand on his cheek.

    Gawd, it makes me want to campaign again.

  78. Vanake says:

    Hah I almost sh*t my pants…
    My classmates now think im nuts or something.
    Its SO good !

  79. Jaxius says:

    Yeah, been there with the dice. My second role-playing game ever was a white wolf vampire game. The DM asked for a perception role. The conversation went something like this:
    DM: Roll your perception plus alertness, difficulty 6.
    Me: What happens when you don’t get any 6’s?
    DM: You fail.
    Me: And you also get a one?
    DM: That’s a botch, this is what happens.
    The character got hit over the back of the head and woke up a vampire. Rolling did not improve after that.

  80. George says:

    Funniest yet! (I just started reading them, in order.) Kudos!

  81. geo says:

    As a Dm, my d20 dice can only roll 15-20.
    As a player, my d20 dice can only roll 1-6. d6 dice only roll 1’s.

    As a Dm my players hate me.
    As a player, my dice hate me.

  82. Sewicked says:

    Played with a guy with, bar none, the worst dice luck I have ever seen. I joined a high-level Runequest game. This guy had a very powerful fighter (Humakte Runelord for those who know what that means) who got into a fight to prove himself with another member of his religion. This is Chaosium, so it’s a percentile system and low numbers = critical hits, high numbers = fumble/botch. He was skilled enough to get 3 actions per round.

    In this fight, he would 1) roll, fumble, & roll on fumble table. He would get the result: toss sword away. 2) He would use the magic of the sword to summon it to his hand. 3) Parry his opponent’s blow.
    He didn’t just botch every attack. He rolled the same thing on the fumble table every time. It got to the point that the GM ruled that the onlookers thought his character was mocking his foe.

    The really sad part is that when we switched to play MERP (Middle Earth RolePlaying), which is also percentile but high is good & low is bad; his dice would switch too.

  83. Serpent Stare says:

    Oh, dice stories.

    In a game I DM, there was a dwarf barbarian who acted the very personification of Chaotic Neutral. He collected things and had an increasingly bizarre outfit that he ALWAYS wore. By the time he died, this included a spiked breatplate, a jester’s hat and pants, and a pair of dragon wings crudely impaled on the armor’s spikes.

    Anyway, he had the same modifier for Spot and Listen, but almost invariably, he would roll 1 to 3 on ANY Spot check and 18 to 20 when listening.

  84. TmO says:

    I rolled listen and spot checks for one of my players when she got lost in a swamp on a very dark night with Wisps all around a few ghouls to keep it exciting. The other players where shouting and casting dancing lights and light on all kinds of object and she just failed every one of those rolls, so I think a shirt with “The dies are killing my players!” could be appropriate as well!

  85. JJR says:

    “What business does a man, an elf, and a dwarf have in the Riddermark?”

    SO sounds like the set up for a dirty joke, doesn’t it?

    I’ve “done a Gimli” vis a vis PC-NPC dialogue before, too.

    My buddies will lever let me live down a Star Wars RPG session where we were all taken off and interrogated and accused of being rebel spies and they all played it straight faced and offered up indignant denials, while I cracked like an egg-shell. Totally derailed the plot…but hilarious, though.

    “I don’t feel like looking up the mounted combat rules right now…” PRICELESS.
    LOVE IT!

  86. LadyGrey says:

    Friend e-mailed this to me – must read the rest because these are too funny and too true! BTW if someone does come to 2008 GenCon with t-shirts that say something about “My dice think my character is a dimwitted, ignorant, blind person that wants to swim in lava” and can add “Except when I GM” on the back, I would SO buy one. I roll horribly as a player and then have to modify my roles down to keep the characters alive when I’m running the game…

  87. TheDeepDark says:

    I just gotta throw this in here. So I have my seperate D&D dice (1 set), right? And then my regular dice bag, mostly d6. Well, Turns out my Paladin rolls fine with the D&D die except for initiative. And, as I discovered last night, when mounted. It rolls really well for his mount, but if he himself wants to do ANYthing useful, I gotta roll a different d20 for him. I’m NOT kidding.

  88. Obidan says:

    Just so you guys are aware, there *IS* a t-shirt that says “the dice are trying to kill me” at thinkgeek(dot)com. just go there and search for dice, it will come up. Found it yesterday when I was looking for the dice referred to by another poster in a previous issue.

    Keep up the good work, btw, this is some funny stuff!

  89. Toil3T says:

    I’ve noticed my dice either roll high or low. It’s rare for me to get something in between. On the other hand, I’ve had some very lucky rolls when almost dead. And I can’t remember cutting my foot off. My dice just like taunting me.
    I’ve had to bite my tongue in similar situations. We were negotiating with a powerful lich- we had his phylactory. I’m a druid. Lich is ex-druid gone Blighter. I kept my mouth shut and my hands away from my d20. Then we encountered a few weak brigandes raiding our favourite tavern, in an aevacuated town. They died. I had a huge hand in it. And I got away with it- being neutral pisses off the DM so much :P

  90. The Gremlin says:

    I [i]totally[/i] need a T-shirt that says ‘Help! My dice are trying to kill me!’…

  91. The Gremlin says:

    …wait…is there a way to get italics? On Paizo [i]this[/i] would do it, but does this work? Maybe {i}this{/i}?

    1. Anonymoose says:

      Depending on the site, try HTML tags (<i> and </i>), [i]BBCode[/i] (square brackets, like you tried), or _Markdown_ (\_underscores\_).

  92. The Gremlin says:

    …ah. So would do it.

  93. The Gremlin says:

    I mean, so <(Blank)this would do it.

  94. The Gremlin says:


  95. Mycroft says:

    I’ve had your commentary line as part of my sig in various RPG forums for a while now. (With a link to your comics.) Suddenly, out of the blue, I receive this shirt for Christmas. Win.

  96. Julie Scott says:

    The gaming gods over at Think Geek granted your wish many moons ago. (Given how old this comic is, I wonder if the shirt in question was inspired by it. Hmmmm.)

  97. Rolo says:

    Honestly, I don’t think the language is much of a problem here, as it is part of the joke: characters saying the worst thing possible in a tense situation. I must admit that I was shocked by the language, but found that the shock also made the joke side-splittingly funny.

  98. finalfork says:

    Good language, bad language, it’s all in the usage/intent, so as long as you’re intent was humorous, people saw it as humorous (as i can see from the many comments here), then you should be golden!

  99. Langstone says:


  100. JD says:

    Some of it is a Penny Arcade thing. You probably woulnd’t want to know.

    But yeah, find me a shirt that says that!

  101. WJF says:

    Mine dice are nice (rhyme on accident) when they dont have to be and mean when I’m in the most danger.

    I remember once while playing D&D (3.5) and my ninja has a +12 to sneak meaning a 3 is still sneaking. My group sees a guard in the distance and I decide to sneak up and Coup’de gras (I hope im spelling that correctly) him.
    First Roll:20+12=32 obvious success
    Second Roll:12+12=24 “Oh no,” I say,”this means Im going to mess up when I get to the guy I just know it!”
    Sure enough Im right behind this guy now is the worst time to mess up.
    Third Roll: 1+12=13 (13 the unlucky #) GM says: you step on a stick it breaks with a loud crunching noise. So now I have to start fighting while my friends are at least 3 rounds away straoght running. We live miraculously thx to my (sometimes) forgiving die *that only in battle and charcter stat rolls* give me the high values.

  102. Morambar says:

    Hey, if you can only get good rolls under two conditions, those are the two I’d pick.

    Assuming it’s cool with Harriet and Tor, Robert Jordan has a number of suitably authentic sounding but completely harmless “alternate universe swearwords” in his books. Though in terms of imagery, I still think “Mother’s milk in a cup!” worse than “SOB!” But “bloody goat-kissing son of a spavined mule!” doesn’t seem so bad. And, of course, the favorite line of the series best character seems inevitable here, as I’m sure Dovyenda would agree:


  103. Benjamin O says:

    I am amazed that this strip is still getting comments, but since I just sent this link to some friends, I’ll share this:

    We had a ranger in the party who was supposed to be on watch for the night. Spot check to see the wolves sneaking up on our party? Rolls a 1. Listen check? Also a 1.

    Next thing my character knows, I’m being eaten by a wolf. I think we ended up losing one character to the wolves, and the rest of the party was severely damaged. We were SO ready to tie the ranger up and leave him as an offering to the wolves.

    I’ve also noticed that the dice seem to think that rangers don’t need to be able to tell which direction is north. Ever.

  104. Rhi says:

    Another classic, literally had to stifle laughter moment. Particularly the “I rolled 1 on diplomacy”.

    Also enjoyed the many, many battle-stories of dice causing chaos. I know I’ve had some moments, but can’t remember specifics as it’s been years since I played D&D.

  105. Kami says:

    I totally need that short myself…
    Best example of said attempts, Fumbling my attack with a poisoned weapon, failing my reflex save not to hit myself, then failing my fort save not to be poisoned. I do believe the three rolls were, in order, 1, 5, 2. I do believe I rolled three 1s that night before I finally changed my die.

  106. Kami says:

    Gah! Stupid typos!
    Shirt. I need that shirt. I am quite short enough already, thank you very much.

  107. SlytherinSarah says:

    Possibly one of the funniest comics for someone who wishes they could be so cool as to know how to play RPG’s. I have some friends that play D&D, but my work schedule is too hectic to join, unfortunately. I love how the commentary is added at the end- it helps people like me understand what is going on a little better. Although I have sat through many a conversation about past D&D campaigns and countless hours of watching a previous boyfriend play WoW, I’m not completely lost.

    Oh, and insanely massive LotR fan. That mixed with wanting to know how to play an RPG and how good this is keeps me reading this comic!

  108. Andrul says:

    The sad part is my dice hate me personally but love my wife passionately. I’m notorious for rolling poorly during character creation. So badly that our DM switched to point buy just to give me a fighting chance. So eventually, when I was starting my own campaign in a home-brew system that included the slight chance for both good and bad mutations my wife asks me to roll her stats for her. I laughed at her foolhardiness and rolled. On baseline 3d6 keep ’em as they roll, her human ended up with a 31 Con and 26 Intelligence (a friend later did the math, she had less than .001% chance of this. Thinking “My luck has finally changed!” I rolled up a character for myself just to see what I got. Only one stat that was double digit.

  109. Sten Darker says:

    lol! You should make a TShirt like that! And on the back, it has, perhaps, two dice rolled as snake eyes! And then the the dots have “angry eyebrows” and like a sadistic smile beneath the dice, it all comes together to make an evil face! :D
    This is an excellent story. It’s re-kindling my interest in LOR and making me wish I had learnt D&D thorally, instead of letting my friend explain only the basics to me through one of those simplified mock-ups. However, it is thanks to that, that I understand most of these jokes. :D


    spamming: , , <-(how ’bout some music? :) )

  110. Donut says:

    i used to play with some friends who moved away, and one night we were playing a home brewed D&D game of mine based off of resident evil 2

    heres how it went down

    DM(me): The zombie rolls to hit you …. 20…20…..20 well you die

    5 minutes later during A”boss fight”

    DM: ok he rolls to hit the fighter 1…1…1….crap

    (when i dm rolling 3 1’s in a row kills you just out of sheer unluckyness {ie stabbed yourself with your own sword… through the chest})

    i think i killed myself (important npcs) around 3 or 4 times that game rolling straight 1’s until we just decided to quit

    p.s. im also a very unforgiving dm thanks to the people i play with so they get what they deserve lol

  111. Some random guy says:

    I had an experience almost the same as Gimli…
    ‘You make a diplomacy check. You have to get over a 12-your skill bonus. You roll a two.’

  112. Burny says:

    Over the years,i’ve seen players try to teach their dice lessons(particulary the bad tempered ones)one player made a ‘Duce hat’ for his 20 sider,and made it ‘sit in the corner’ for one hour;we all laugh when it worked(for about 3 rolls)Another player twice trown his dice outside after repeted bad rolls;once on the roof of a nearby building,once on my snow covered lawn;the next summer,as i was mowing the said lawn,i heard something and surprise! the dice re-apeard intact! i gave it back and it roll great afterward!

  113. ultimate rper says:

    ugh d20’s my one weakness *gasp* *death throes* lol

  114. James "Dairyllama" says:

    I’m at university and we have gamers just like your lot. In fact, when it comes to dice rolls, I am the legend. My first roll ever was a 1, which ended up with me cleaving into a friend’s shoulder. My rolling has never improved.

  115. Monty says:

    That guy who was looking for the fumble roll with ‘sh*t’ under it. I found it! I’m gonna buy one for each of my nerd friends.

  116. Escher says:

    Oh, boy… I remember one memorable d20 adventure. It was actually my introduction to pen-and-paper RPGs. It was post-apocalyptic future, and of course, there were mutants. A lot of them. Our party was scouting around the edge of a particularly big camp of mutants that had been doing nasty things, and our scout-y character went in for a look. Not surprisingly, he managed to botch nearly every single one of his Move Silently rolls… even after the DM basically ruled that the first batch of sliding rocks was dismissed by the mutants as “just some animal”. So, of course, he’s spotted, and the ENTIRE CAMP comes after us.
    Then the dice proceed to almost save us… well, except for our super-Charisma guy who had a British accent for no discernable reason. He got smacked around in combat… But before that, two mutants converged on the scout, and one swings hard with a REALLY huge axe…
    and proceeds to fumble, which results in him smashing said axe into the face of his companion and killing him outright. Then my Fast Hero character picked up one of the dropped axes and literally sliced one of them in half with a lucky crit.
    Later on, I attempt to get the dying high-Charisma character out of there, only to be caught by mutants and forced to surrender (everyone else had taken off long ago). Charisma-boy manages to talk them out of killing us outright… except then I notice I still have an axe. With lots of chunky bits on it from killing that mutant earlier. I make a desperate Sleight of Hand roll to rub it clean… and somehow pull it off.
    And then there was the time the same group played D&D and were summarily knocked out and captured by the very first encounter group we ran into. Mainly because the enemy rolled about 7 natural 20’s in a row. Smooth… looks like the dice simultaneously love and hate my group.

    Of course, then there was the time someone pulled a Gimli without a single roll of the dice… all because the annoying British man from the d20 adventure hears the guards to the city talking about a late convoy, and then marches up to them, holding out the party’s only gun, and announces proudly, “I’m the convoy!”

    (Holy crap, I wrote a lot… sorry… >_<)

  117. Brian T says:

    Horse fucker is my favorite part.

  118. WeaselButter says:

    I just love the way you capped Gimli’s face in that panel as he says that about his diplomacy roll. Classic.

    And I want a t-shirt that says “I roll natural 1’s!” O_o

  119. Trae says:

    My group once had the classic “everyone misses” combat against a boss. After clearing out a cave of about 40 orcs in a single battle, we took on their leader. About five combat rounds later… he finally died to being clubbed with a bow. What few hits we put on him were pretty low in damage.

  120. DaveMc says:

    @Andrul (#109): “On baseline 3d6 keep “˜em as they roll, her human ended up with a 31 Con and 26 Intelligence (a friend later did the math, she had less than .001% chance of this).”

    I must be misunderstanding you, because my math indicates a zero percent chance of this: how do you get anything over 18 from 3d6?

  121. Serenitybane says:

    LMAO! This was soo perfect!!!!!!! I was in tears after I saw Gimli’s lines.

  122. Maladjester says:

    A GM friend of mine had to create a special magic item for my Werewolf character to stop her from botching all the time. She could botch an average difficulty with eight dice — and did, several times a session. It was uncanny.

    I once saw a Shadowrun character killed by a bad roll — not in combat, mind you, but at the meet beforehand. The Johnson asked, “So what do you guys do?” and the street sam impulsively said “We do THIS” and whipped his knife at the party physad, thinking she’d be sure to catch it with her insane reflexes. She was surprised, as this stunt had not been rehearsed, but she still had about twelve Reaction dice to try with, so she really should have gotten it. She didn’t just fail. She Rule of 1’d it. She caught the knife all right….with her throat.

    We figured out the odds of Rule of 1 there were 1 in 2,176,782,336. The player who made that roll is oddly proud of it to this day. Somehow, at the time, the Johnson was still less than impressed.

  123. A girl named Jessie says:

    My dice and I have a love/hate relationship. Sometimes I’ll roll multiple 1s in a row, and then follow it with multiple 20s.

  124. Bucky says:

    Ha! I actually have a shirt that says “the dice are trying to kill me!” You can get one at this site:

  125. Chuck says:

    The dice not only are trying to kill my group, they almost did. While fighting a giant crocodile the warmage rolled a 1 to attack, and when he rolled for damage to himself he ended up at -2 hitpoints. As the paladin I was obligitated to take my turn healing him even though it was only -2. When I got to attack I rolled a 1 and was down to one hp. We’re level 1, the croc is level 4, thanks to our half-elf Ranger we survived, even though his d20 only rolls 5 in combat.

    Our rolling is getting so bad the DM tosses us his dice and says “what did it roll when I tossed it to you?” I don’t think he’s ever seen a group roll so bad. This other time we were fighting a small dinosaur and we had it surrounded before we could hit it finally.

  126. Karn says:

    The dice ARE trying to kill you. Said so for years.

  127. Trae says:

    Sometimes the dice just end up going one way or another, completely varying based on the day we play. Two weeks ago we were moving through an “abandoned” fort rolling 17+ on all move silently, search, pick lock, etc. In the combat of next session, the DM apparently stole our dice because the bad guys rolled 5 different critical hits on us.

  128. silver Harloe says:

    The following story story is 100% true, even though you probably won’t believe it:

    I am 39. And I cuss like a drunken sailor… at a truck stop… with the stand-up comedian version of Tourette’s (as opposed to the actual disease which is so much more complicated than just cussing randomly)… after hitting his thumb with a hammer. Basically, I’m unapologetically foul-mouthed.

    When I read the comic the first time (a few hours ago – somehow, I always discover gems like this later than everyone else on Internet), I spent 20 minutes and the first dozen or so responses trying to figure out what a “horse-flicker” is exactly. I could see how it was probably nasty, but I just wasn’t sure what flavor of nasty (probably something to do with manual sex).

    It wasn’t until I got to the comment where Shamus explained, “I moved ‘Gimli!’ around a lot,” that I even noticed there was “bad” language to complain about.

    Incidentally, I agree with George Carlin – there are no bad words – just bad intentions.

  129. GONCOL the cleric-godling says:

    I have different charts for critical hits and fumbles, of course. The crit hit chart needs percentile dice, the fumble chart uses a d20. That way, the critical hits tend more toward the center (double-tripple damage) while there is an equal chance of any particular fumble result. In the fumble chart, a second 1 is the LEAST unfavorable result and a 20 the worst possible scenario.
    And I have a d20 with two 20s and no 1 at all, that I ONLY use as DM.
    I usually allow players to use the Unearthed Arcana methods of stat rolling a new character, but next time I have players roll stats, I might consider letting them roll 3d8 for prime requisites.

  130. Nicola says:

    Oh God – I would cut your head off dwarf! ‘but I can’t be shagged working out the ruled for mounted combat’. I died!

  131. Bwahahahaaa!!!!!!!!! says:

    ““> “I need a shirt that says, “Help! The dice are trying to kill me!””
    You can actually get those at a website:
    In fact, here’s an exact match:

  132. lunjan says:

    The poor dice luck reminds me of a player in our hischool group a decade ago (a rather narcoleptic player)

    without fail, for more than 2 years, he would be asleep before the second battle, we would wake him up on his turn and he would have his dwarven cleric attack… never gave a target… didnt really matter:

    “flail plus one baby…”
    the only suspense was whether he rolled a 2 or a 3

    1. johanna says:

      Much to the chagrin of my hubby, whenever he plays his character i call him “Orrin the asthmatic”. I have also conjectured whether he feels guilty about hitting bad guys. Unfortunately for him, he is a cleric of Avandra, you know, the one for luck ;)

  133. Mel says:

    Oh wow. I’ve been giggling over these all evening, but this one had me laughing until I cried. My gut hurts now.

    I will never watch that scene the same way again.

  134. Violet says:

    This [including the authorial remark] caused me physical pain from laughter.

  135. Rurikjapa says:

    Holy Mother of Christ, I laugh until I cry every time I read that.

  136. Techan says:

    The dice are fickle (expletive)s. I for example have mediocre luck with dice when it comes to DnD. My dice work how you’d expect them to work, they come up randomly, not really bad, nor really good. However, if you change the venue to Warhammer, then my dice suddenly have a grudge against me. Seriously I’ve rolled 15 d6 before and gotten majority 1’s.
    My little brother on the other hand has ridiculously good luck with dice. It’s gotten to the point where in our games I have to make sure he rolls the dice where I can see. Not that I think he’d lie or cheat, but I just need to see it myself.
    If you use the 4d6 (drop the lowest) means of rolling up characters for DnD 3.5, he frequently rolls stats like (18, 18, 17, 16, 14, 12). He rolls criticals like it’s his job and he’s employee of the month.

    There is no way I’ve found to make dice like you better, you are forever a slave to their fickle whims.

  137. FGATT says:

    The shirt you mentioned exists!!!! :D You’re welcome! :D Yeah I saw this a while ago then I read this comic, and I thought you might already have heard of this, but… :)

  138. Newo Tigra says:

    Found this site last week, been reading through it since. Funny comics + good GM advice and gaming discussion? Do want.

    Recently started up a homebrew game with a few friends. So far due to critical failures/successes;
    The Biomage has exploded his own foot trying to heal it. Twice.
    The Warrior has accidentally stabbed the Assassin through an enemy, and has gained the ability to crash through non-reinforced/armoured walls with no penalty.
    The Assassin has spent 4 turns trying to climb up a 2-story wall, and has second degree burns over most of his body.
    The Fire Wizard has knocked himself unconscious by exploding himself to kill some mooks. Although it did also cauterize the arm he lost to said mooks.

    On the other hand they have killed a cow-dragon by strangling it (after giving it dandruff), and inherited a small fort + Two minions.
    So I think it more or less evens out.

  139. John says:

    I. lold. so. hard. ty.

  140. feral says:

    I am SO glad this site is still around — when i need to *really* laugh, i come here and read a few pages. Having recently lost my job, I find the need to come here more frequently.

    Thank you so much for one of the most funny and uplifting works of art in my life=)

  141. Hattingtion says:

    The ‘TELL ME YOUR NAME, HORSE F*CKER!’ made my day :D

  142. RariowunIrskand says:

    I’ve never played D&D. However, these strips make me REALLY wanna try it out. It’s a shame that 99.9% of the people I know consider RPG videogames boring, yet alone pen-and-paper RPGs with a whole book needed to play.

  143. Nacata says:

    One time i was gonna roll diplomacy but DM (dad) wouldnt let me because my bonus trumps all checks for that that a lvl 3 could possibly need to make. I rolled a one since i just rolled on my own without showing any 1. Those d20s are ornery!

  144. Greg says:

    Let’s be fair. The dice can be quite cruel. Or quite generous.

    I watched a friend of mine pass a 20 on the bluff check for “I dropped my lockpicks.” while getting caught cracking a safe.

    I once sneaked into a party member’s bag and swapped a healing potion for a poisoned one while he was sleeping. Passed all the not poisoning yourself checks with flying colors. Then the next day, some guys left the party to pursue n alternate path. Next session, that subparty needed to heal a guy at -7 Health. The DM gave him a generous DC 15 on a d100 role to notice the correct potion. I was only observing their half of the campaign, but the looks on their faces when the DM said “He has died.” turned to me, “You leveled up!”

  145. Sheanar says:

    I let My boys (the play group i DM) get away with so much based on the fact that I hate digging through rule books mid-combat (i look it up after the game and let them know how next time we game). That being the case, the last panel KILLS me! I have said those exact words, at least to myself, if not to them. haha!

  146. Amake says:

    We train young men to drop fireballs on orcs, but we won’t let then write the word “fuck” on their horses because that would be obscene.

  147. Thornrapt says:

    That seems like the appropriate shirt for my group. In our second session we got party wiped by a lone kobold with a rock because we all rolled an impossible number of ones and twos.

    Also, this strip is just the best thing since OoTS.

  148. 4ier says:

    There are a few messed up character encodings in the comments.
    PAGE 1
    Klytus, Ava Tari:
    “Help should be “Help
    me!†should be me!”

    “My should be “My
    lava†should be lava”

    PAGE 3
    “Help should be “Help
    me!†should be me!”
    –> should be —>

  149. Wide And Nerdy says:

    You moved forward the plot and told a joke just like you’d been striving to do.

  150. General_Karthos says:

    The folks with the “I roll twenties” shirts? I’m their DM. Any time I introduce a major villain/group of villains intended to intimidate them and drive them into retreat (to prove that I will give them encounters they can’t possibly win, they proceed to utterly destroy an encounter WAY above their level. In one encounter, level four characters killed a Lich they were supposed to run from. They didn’t roll anything below a 19. And I countered by rolling nothing above a 4. And their initiative was fast enough that my Lich couldn’t cast any spells without being disrupted, and of course, his save rolls weren’t sufficient to keep him. A Lich who can’t cast spells is just a Skeleton who is hard to hit. Although not that hard when you’re rolling 19s and 20s.

    Countering this is my girlfriend, who made an archer who legitimately had more kills of her own party than enemies. All my players got to explore my ranged critical miss charts (most of which don’t hit your allies) when she fired at the enemy. And when she fired into a melee, they got to explore the critical hit charts… on their characters.

    We all play first edition (the best edition, though fifth is much more in the spirit of D&D than any edition after 2nd.) Deaths are more common, and less forgiving than in later editions. You have to check against a system shock table when resurrected, or the action fails. And you permanently lose one constitution every time you are raised from the dead. Eventually you will fail a check or your constitution will drop so low that you can no longer be successfully raised. (In which case, if your death was suitably heroic, I will help you construct a character of roughly equivalent level.)

    Anyway, I reread these comics roughly every month, because they make me laugh out loud.

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