DM of the Rings XCIV:
For The Shorties

By Shamus Posted Monday Apr 30, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 101 comments

Merry & Pippin are back.
Merry & Pippin are NPCs.

(As some people noted, it would not have made sense to re-introduce Merry & Pip as players. Each of them goes off on his own. It would have made a three-way party split, which is confusing enough. Worse, most of the humor comes from the players ignoring NPCs and talking to each other – something the Hobbits wouldn’t be able to do. I could have made them players, but I couldn’t make them funny.)

NPCs do enjoy such an odd status as second-class beings. Players will talk amongst themselves as if the NPC wasn’t there. Players will walk away in the middle of a conversation if they realize an NPC is of no use to them. Players expect NPCs to be available at their whim to provide information and dispense rewards. This applies even if the players are nobodies and the NPC in question is a King. In fact, if NPCs ever turned the tables and treated players as they treated others, it would most likely lead to violence.

This is as it should be. Imagine how tedious a story would be if every extra and minor character you encountered tried to shove out in front and make themselves into a main character.

Nobody wants that much realism.

 


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101 thoughts on “DM of the Rings XCIV:
For The Shorties

  1. Gothmog says:

    Yay, first!

    Welcome back Merry and Pippin!

  2. Ken says:

    We NPCs should unionize! We’s got nothing to lose but our, uh, chains…

    We demand to be treated as people! Really!

    Hey, why’s that big scruffy fellow sharpening ‘is sword?

    OK, OK, the treasure’s under the bed!

  3. esox says:

    That is just like every game I have ever played in…

    1. Darth Beta says:

      I feel bad for you. :(

  4. John says:

    Ah, but wait until Stoner Aragorn realizes what the hobbits have found…

  5. Knastymike says:

    I’m still curious about that Battletech game.

  6. Susano says:

    And once again PC arrogance foretells trouble later on. I wonder what these three will say when Merry helps kill the Witch King of Angmar (or will he?).

  7. Oh man you missed a good one. Don’t get me wrong this strip is funny. You had the campaign split with one part of the group going to play another game and the other staying. So two of the players that went to play star wars (merry and pippin) found that campaign was just as bad or worse (Jedi Sam hogging all the time perhaps). So they returned to the merriment of all.

    Just a suggestion. But it is enjoyable as is.

    1. WJS says:

      That doesn’t address the problem that they aren’t going to join the others. IIRC, one heads south to Gondor and one stays in Rohan while our trio of PCs run the Paths of the Dead.

  8. haashaastaak says:

    oh! Looks like I could be first!

    there’s a grammatical error in your first explicatory paragraph. When you say each of the two hobbits goes off on their own you meant to say each goes off on his own. There, I’ve contributed something.

    You are right that these bozos would ignore the hobbits. When I was playing we didn’t do that very often. The NPCs didn’t talk that much and when they said anything it was usually something we really wanted to know about. But why don’t the NPCs get angry about being treated so rudely and try to arrest the player characters and throw them in jail and things like that? I guess the GM hasn’t gotten that angry yet.

  9. haashaastaak says:

    that was quick! There were no comments when I started typing.

  10. Mrs T says:

    But they were players at one time. I guess they left their character sheets behind when they abandoned ship.

  11. AngiePen says:

    I was actually lucky enough to play with a large group of roleplayers. [wry smile] Player characters who were putzes got thumped, and NPCs who were companions were listened to. If one of them got in trouble, we helped them out, we rescued them if they got captured and once we used a charge from a Rod of Resurrection (in an incredibly magic-poor game where 98% of the time, if a character died the player just rolled up a new one) to raise an NPC, because he was our friend and our characters didn’t know he was played by the DM.

    Angie

  12. DB says:

    I would think bringing back the players wouldn’t have been too bad. They quit to play Star Wars, got bored of that, and decide to shuffle back in to see if things were going better. Wouldn’t they be supprised to see some XP and leveling? Might actually *think* that the campaign was beginning to get better.

    1. Darth Beta says:

      Its kind of fun to read comments that try to predict what will happen in the future years after they were made, mainly in the chance that their right, but also sometimes to laugh at how sooooo wrong they were.

  13. The Gneech says:

    Well, Pippin goes off with Gandalf (NPC), and Merry goes off with Arweowyn (NPC) … so ya, they only way they could be PCs at this stage was if the players came back to sit in on a game.

    At which point, they should complain that everybody else gained two levels while they were gone.

    -The Gneech

  14. Welcome To Isengard indeed, hehe.

    Now I am curious to see how they will work as NPCs.

    And maybe the players for Merry and Pippin will come back in from time to time.

  15. orcbane says:

    I played an NPC once… I don’t know how that works, but that’s what my DM told me, so it must be true! Also, everyone ignored my character, so that proves he was an NPC.

  16. Jindra34 says:

    Too true though not very funny…

  17. Blindeye says:

    I hope Shamus isn’t getting annoying with everyone telling him how to write his comic.

    Ignore them, man! March to your own drum! It’s a very funny drum!

  18. Blindeye says:

    You know what Jindra? Stop complaining or stop reading the comic.

  19. Shandrunn says:

    Panel 4 looks like Legolas’ horse is talking.
    It’s funny.

  20. SteveDJ says:

    Very funny! When they started thinking that the hobbits might be spies, I almost expected Lego-lass to immediately fire upon them like he did Gollum.

  21. Browncoat says:

    Thanks, Shamus. Another winner.

    SteveDJ, thanks for the image of Leggy putting arrows through the hobbits eye sockets. I’ll be laughing about that all day.

    DM: You see the two hobbits on the walls of Isengard.
    LL: I attack!
    DM: What? Why on earth. . .?!?!
    LL: They’re alive–ergo they are orc-spies. I shoot them both.
    DM: No, you can’t!
    LL: Too late! I already rolled for both, using my new Arcane Archer abilities.
    DM: But, but, but. . .
    LL: Oh, c’mon. They’re just halflings. How important could they be?

    hee hee hee hee

  22. Woerlan says:

    Similarly, most NPCs honestly wouldn’t give a damn about the PCs as well. It’s a player’s job to intrude on the otherwise peaceful lives of these characters. From anyone’s perspective, the only time anyone is of importance is how they relate to YOU.

    In the case of this particular iteration of LOTR, the players never got to know Merry and Pippin as characters. And they never went looking for them. So the paranoia is warranted.

  23. Phlux says:

    Five bucks says that Aragorn wants to use the Saruman’s Palantir to look into the girls locker room.

  24. Rich says:

    Please excuse the following OT link:

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciG-Xs7mBwU[/url]

    Sorry. Carry on.

  25. Wulfwen says:

    I love the way someone has to lead Legolas by the hand to each new conversational point…and then he *still* doesn’t get it! “Ooo…tricky!” Classic. I swear I’ve played with that guy.

  26. Raved Thrad says:

    Makes you wonder why Stonergorn isn’t happy to see these two. If anyone looked like they found strange mushrooms and stranger tobacco substitutes in the forest, it’s these two :D

  27. Melfina the Blue says:

    Ah, but then he’d have to make a fort roll. There’s nothing more humiliating then failing your fort roll and overdosing on ‘shrooms and pipeweed. And you know this DM would do that.

  28. Habenath says:

    Shamus, I’m with Blindeye.

    I’ve been following this strip from the beginning with total admiration for what you’re doing, and loving the cross-pollination between the Tolkien universe and D&D one. The fact you’ve been able to come up with three strips a week at such a consistent level is awesome, and good on you for not (so far) cracking under the constant Star Wars RPG-related needling. There’s a great story still being told here, and for those of you impatient for someone else to create story for you about another RPG universe? Stay patient!

    Rearding today’s strip – I did actually try to teach my players a ‘lesson’ once by having their depleted party encounter a larger NPC group who swallowed them into their ranks as they would have any smaller NPC group. It was a lot of work for me as a DM and pretty much only had an effect for one session, but it was priceless at the time.

  29. Roxysteve says:

    Without wanting to raise the rancour index of this fine site, and without any intention of getting in anyone’s face I would like to make an observation and a suggestion on a recent trend in the comments to this webcomic.

    Although I am by no means an arbiter of Good Taste and Manners, and have absolutely no authority of any kind when it comes to this site, I would like to respectfully ask all those who feel moved to bemoan the lack of “funny” in the comic to please keep it to themselves, on the following grounds:

    1) A person’s views on what does and does not constitute humour are totally subjective. “This isn’t funny” is a statement with little meaning and absolutely no constructive value.

    2) If you think you can do better, and by saying “this isn’t funny” you are implying you can, then show us by example. “Those that can, do*”. I look forward to a flood of imitators trying to find their groove. The possibilities are rich, given the indecent haste that any movie gets turned into an RPG. (Serenity, Red Dwarf (ok, that’s a TV show), Star Trek, Judge Dredd etc etc).

    3) It is hard for me to think of anything less constructive than to complain about the humour content of something one gets three times a week for free. Aside from the fact that Shamus does these for fun, for personal satisfaction (his, not anyone else’s) I can’t see how someone can support a job, a family and a hobby and put out this thing at the rate it happens.

    4) If you keep it up, the chances are Shamus will take you at your word and simply stop writing the comic. I’m sure there are people who would feel some sort of empowerment from causing that, but I would hope that we see a better class of person here.

    As Grover would say: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. One to grow on.

    Steve.

    * – those that can’t, DM

    1. Billos says:

      I know you’ll probably never see this (steve or author). But I agree wholeheartedly. Excellent work. I only found this comic hours ago nut I think it’s masterfully done. I read a LOT and don’t laugh out loud much. However, I’ve had Dad awake for the last 3 hours apparently from my laughter…

      Any parts in this that ‘aren’t funny’? Pffft! Just read on! The guys churned out an unbelievable effort here. Regardless of your humour tastes, if you don’t like it, try and help him improve. Well, not anymore. I take it from the post dates this comic is long since finished. I’m just not at the end yet :P Lmao love the tickbox under ‘Post Comment’ too.

  30. JagDell says:

    Hear, Hear!

  31. Woosh says:

    What’s worse than someone who posts “not funny”? Someone who posts why that guy isn’t funny.

    Mr. Long Poster, I find this comic very humerous, but I’m preeeeetty sure people are entitled to their OPINION, or did you grow up in some third-world country without rights? Like we haven’t seen your kind of post a billion times. Reading these things, Jindra hardly sticks out as “OMG BLASPHEMOUS!” “Dont say anything nice at all?” Are you 3?

    Think about a world of art where there was no one brave enough to stand up and say “It’s just a painting of a soup can! This sucks!”

    I dont play DnD but lego reminds me of just about everyone in my Gurps group. Imagine the chaos when no one knows the story.

  32. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Phlux Says:Five bucks says that Aragorn wants to use the Saruman's Palantir to look into the girls locker room.”

    Great idea! Shamus, you can splice a shot from “American Beauty” so it looks like he’s peaking into Arwen’s bath!

    Gimli: What are ya doin’ with that globe?
    Aragorn: Nothing…
    Gimli : Wait; who’s that? Elrond’s daughter!
    Legolas: Lemme see!

  33. Mr. No Imagination for Clever Names says:

    Steve,
    I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve been reading these comics and comments for a long time now. Lately I’ve noticed that your comments just aren’t as funny as they used to be. Please try to improve on that, will ya?

    Scott

    p.s. To everyone, and Shamus especially, thank you so much for my life a little better with your efforts. I love this site.

  34. Bugsysservant says:

    “Five bucks says that Aragorn wants to use the Saruman's Palantir to look into the girls locker room.”

    Now why would Aragorn need to do that when he has Legg-o-lass as his constant traveling companion? I imagine that he would merely be the kind who would watch him sleep.

    “I'm preeeeetty sure people are entitled to their OPINION, or did you grow up in some third-world country without rights? Like we haven't seen your kind of post a billion times.”-Woosh

    Having a right is not the same as being obligated to continuously exert it to the irritation of all else. I live in a state where public nudity is legal, but this in no way means that I should never wear clothes. Also, “like we haven’t seen your kind of post a billion times.” Ummmm… so Jindra can express his opinion, but you find fault in the logical statements of Roxysteve? At least he was neither hypocritical, nor wantonly negative.

    Ignore them all Shamus!!! Your comics are hillarious, and if you ceased production the vast majority of your readers would feel the loss deeply.

  35. Roxysteve says:

    [Woosh]

    Well, I was only asking.

    I’m quite a bit older than 3. So old in fact that I’ve seen this “not funny” trend several times. I know how it ends, but I won’t tell since I don’t believe in spoilers.

    Sorry I spoke. I’m sure you know best.

    [Mr. No Imagination for Clever Names]

    Cripes, you’re right! What’s gray and comes in pints?

    Steve.

  36. Scarlet Knight says:

    Bad ice cream?

  37. Roxysteve says:

    [ScarletKnight] Nope. A Mûmak.

    Why are Mûmaks all wrinkly?

    Steve

  38. hank says:

    Dammit, I just figured out what’s wrong with my life: I’m an NPC.

    It really explains a lot, now that I think about it.

  39. -Chipper says:

    hank Says:
    “Dammit, I just figured out what's wrong with my life: I'm an NPC.

    It really explains a lot, now that I think about it.”

    :-D Almost did a spit-take with that one! So not only are you an NPC, you apparently are the plucky comic relief! Oh wait, I should be ignoring you now, shouldn’t I? Unless I’m one too…

  40. Scarlet Knight says:

    Because Haradrim don’t know how to Pack-a-derm?

  41. txknight says:

    This is so true. I’ve had players be downright abusive to my NPCs. And it doesn’t matter if the NPC happens to be the town constable with powers to arrest them!

  42. Jurrubin says:

    Huh. Never had that problem after the abused NPC killed the rude PC.

    But then I run RuneQuest campaigns (3rd edition, not Mongoose’s version).

  43. Ellie says:

    can we please just stop talking about whether the comic is good/funny/whatever or not? if you have an actual comment on the content of the strip, then feel free to post it. otherwise, please, just keep it to yourself. you are entirely entitled to your opinion, but there are times when we’d all rather not hear it. thank you.

  44. Ellie says:

    I love the comic, btw, shamus!

    I’ve been the dm in this situation before. it’s especially irritating when the information the npc is providing is extremely important to the campaign. ah, well, serves those pcs right!

  45. Joshua says:

    Hmm, I’m wondering about this whole making the hobbits into NPCs thing. Most of the Return of the King is dealing with the hobbits and Gandalf. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli muster a bit with the Rohirrim, go down the Path of the Dead(or whatever it’s called), and then don’t show up again until the end of the siege of Minas Tirith. Shamus may have been able to make an almost equal portion of comics devoted to the Fellowship and Two Towers, but that’s going to be pretty darn challenging to do Return of the King with only these three PCs.

  46. L6 says:

    Smart move by Shamus if you ask me. If I were him I’d be utterly sick of making these and would be looking for just that sort of excuse to trim down the remaining number of strips.

  47. Myxx says:

    Steve, I’m with you. Woosh, I’m not. I have the right to not be exposed to people’s opinions, especially bad ones.

    Shamus, there are far more of us who appreciate what you do than those other buggers. Frankly, if people don’t find it funny, why are they here bothering us?

    Thanks for doin it!

  48. Jim says:

    Joshua sez: “Hmm, I'm wondering about this whole making the hobbits into NPCs thing. Most of the Return of the King is dealing with the hobbits and Gandalf. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli muster a bit with the Rohirrim, go down the Path of the Dead(or whatever it's called), and then don't show up again until the end of the siege of Minas Tirith. Shamus may have been able to make an almost equal portion of comics devoted to the Fellowship and Two Towers, but that's going to be pretty darn challenging to do Return of the King with only these three PCs.”

    Ah, but perhaps now’s the time for these three to get sick of the campaign, and the Hobbit players come back. Maybe Gimli’s player sticks around and takes over Gollum.

  49. Yahzi says:

    “We still get XP for finding them, right?”

    LOL!

  50. Phiend says:

    >>This is as it should be. Imagine how tedious a story would be if every >>extra and minor character you encountered tried to shove out in front and >>make themselves into a main character.

    Its called The Wheel of Time.

  51. Rick says:

    I wonder if Shamus reads some of these ideas for plots or jokes and thinks “Damn, I was already going to use that plot/joke/idea! Now I can’t or it will look like I stole his/her idea. First published, copyright and all that!”

    Mind you some of them are very funny – such as Aragorn using the Palantir to spy into Arwen’s bathroom mentioned above.

    So Shamus DO you have the whole thing mapped out and scripted already? If not, are you influenced by what you read here? How far ahead are you of the published chapters?

    1. smartalek says:

      I thought a palantir could only let you see through another palantir?
      If Arwen has one, is it because she, like Saruman and Denethor, has come under Sauron’s sway?
      Or do her pre-cog powers tell her that Aragorn will come into possession of one (or two), and it’s a way of keeping him under her…. sway (as it were)?

  52. Rickster says:

    Dude, another classic spread. I remember this happen to me back in my playing days, there was always one chap who was paranoid plus. Can’t wait to see how the three players react to Saruman!

    Keep up the great work dude coz’ I know that story writing can be a brainteaser at times!

  53. Tola says:

    In the case of this particular iteration of LOTR, the players never got to know Merry and Pippin as characters. And they never went looking for them

    Yes they did. By DM forcing at first, perhaps, but they DID genuinely try(And found Gandalf instead). Look back through the strips.

  54. Isoyami says:

    Another good one. :D

    I liked the shot of Merl-err Gandalf almost falling off his horse in panel 6 of the last comic, maybe you could throw another one of those in there somewhere?

    On the one hand, I’m kinda sad cause we’re at the Return of the King, that means the comic is 2/3d’s over. On the other hand, I’m REALLY looking forward to see what Seamus does with the Army of the Dead…those little green dudes rocked!

  55. And once again PC arrogance foretells trouble later on. I wonder what these three will say when Merry helps kill the Witch King of Angmar (or will he?).

    Of course he will, all the great victories go to NPCs in this game …

  56. Valley says:

    Wait, wait, I thought they would at least stop to loot the stores of food and stuff at the main gate? Are they staying In Character? Oh my…

  57. The movie (especially the extended movie) RotK can feel like a substantial story from the perspective of these three because the Path of the Dead is presented as a pretty serious D&D adventure, not a story told to hobbits in retrospect. Down the path, into the lair of the undead, fight the undead, command the undead, bring the undead to have a big fight with pirates, sail the undead-filled boats up to Gondor so that Aragorn can make his big conquering entrance and be king. Seems like a straightforward quest from their perspective.

    I sometimes think that PCs ignore NPCs in direct proportion to how annoyed they are by the special DMPC (Gandalf, in this case). Don’t want to create still more opportunities for other people to steal center stage.

    “>>This is as it should be. Imagine how tedious a story would be if every >>extra and minor character you encountered tried to shove out in front and >>make themselves into a main character.

    “Its called The Wheel of Time.”

    Hah! Love it.

  58. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    I was drifting off to sleep last night and started thinking of my favorite DM of the Rings moments. I was thinking about keen ranger senses and shooting Preciousss in the eye and then I remembered Aragorn trying to expose that sultry temptress elf who came to help him at Hornburg. It was so funny it brought tears to my eyes.

  59. DB says:

    “Wait, wait, I thought they would at least stop to loot the stores of food and stuff at the main gate? Are they staying In Character? Oh my…”

    They don’t need food…PC’s don’t eat, and if they did, they would have plenty in that bag for carrying stuff…Merry and Pippin gathering food, that is out of character for the PCs. Only the DM would make them do that, or course, as NPCs

  60. Scarlet Knight says:

    “DB Says:They don't need food…PC's don't eat”

    I dunno…PC’s like loot, & free food always made my PC’s happy. I believe Gimli was happy to hear what food the hobbits had found…

  61. Erin says:

    Argh, attempt #2. For some reason the first time didn’t go through. Let’s see if I can remember everything I said the first time…

    I also expected Leggy to kill Merry and Pippin in a fit of paranoia. And I think the hilarity just keeps on coming, I’m mindboggled by your continued ability to crack us up, Shamus. Looking forward to more and dreading the end all at the same time.

    I know I had more to say the first time, but it obviously wasn’t important if I’ve forgotten most of it.

  62. bobniborg says:

    Still going strong. Keep it up. Another 45 and your done (until the prequel)

  63. Scarlet Knight says:

    “bobniborg Says:Still going strong. Keep it up. Another 45 and your done ”

    Shamus, when readers get ideas for episodes to come, how do you want them ? Posted here, or sent another way? Do “anticipated events” help or just add pressure; although I figure if you have to think up another 40-50 comics ideas would be welcome…

  64. Tian says:

    I read the thoughts on Return of the king being based on Sam, Frodo and Gollum and thought what better way to get Aragon, Gimli and Legolas into the last part than to kill them all off at the black gates and get them to reroll their characters as the hobbits and gollum. Serves them right for something doesn’t it.

  65. Tian says:

    Oh wait. Legolas already killed gollum ;)

  66. Shamus says:

    Scarlet: It’s actually tricky for me to use jokes from other people. Often they don’t fit within the plot I’ve come up with, or there aren’t screenshots available to make them work. If you have an idea, feel free to put it here in the comments. If I don’t use it, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. It might just mean I couldn’t make it work.

  67. Habenath says:

    [Shamus]

    “If you have an idea, feel free to put it here in the comments. If I don't use it, it doesn't mean I didn't like it. It might just mean I couldn't make it work.”

    Here’s hoping – for the best reasons imaginable, that this doesn’t happen too often. For one thing, the resulting ‘competition’ could kill the reply board here with the weight of contributions – a chance to contribute to the plot? It’s the new ‘First!’.

    And for another (purely selfish reason), I’d really prefer to be surprised. Having punters blurt out what should happen a few episodes down the track seems to me like sitting in a movie theatre with members of the audience shouting out dialogue a second before it’s voiced onscreen.

    That said, there have been some great suggestions on here :)

  68. woodwalker says:

    i agree with Roxysteve. his points are valid, and, as the saying goes, ‘they can’t all be zingers’. it is hard to advance the plot of a story and make jokes fit in to it at the same time.

  69. Nogard_Codesmith says:

    so i just gotta know Shamus, was the title of this comic a reference to ATHF?

  70. Roxysteve says:

    Scarlet Knight Says:

    Because Haradrim don't know how to Pack-a-derm?

    Close. So close I am totally stealing that as an alternate answer.

    The answer I was looking for was “Have you ever tried ironing one?

    How do you know if you have a Mûmak in bed with you?

    (Sorry about the late response; I took yesterday off to have root canal surgery.)

    Steve.

  71. Shamus says:

    Nogard_Codesmith just won this thread.

  72. Wraithshadow says:

    I’m solidly of the opinion that for this series to embody the standard lifecycle of a D&D game, the question of ‘how will he handle the loss of Gollum?’ should not be answered. Why? Because that’s basically the end of the game, and in my experience, almost no campaign ever actually reaches the end. It dies out long before then, regardless of how long or how short it may be, and much like Fox TV series, you move on to something else that’s likely less developed, and less interesting than the grand story that was planned originally.

    What? Me? Bitter?

  73. Bugz says:

    “How do you know if you have a Mûmak in bed with you?”

    You find peanut shells in the sheets.

  74. Roxysteve says:

    Bugz Says:
    You find peanut shells in the sheets.

    Nope. By the “M” on its pajamas.

    By Jove, the old humour content of my posts is coming up nicely.

    How do you get four Mûmaks in a Mini Cooper?

    Steve.

  75. Alasseo says:

    Two in the front, two in the back.

    Back to comic- The way to beat that sort of behaviour (PCs ignoring NPCs) is to use a lethal system, and treat everything they say as in character. That way, when they blurt out their entire plan in front of an NPC who happens to be on the Other Side(tm), the DM can have a well-planned counter to it, and parry the nigh-inevitable claims of cheating (“If you’re gonna discuss your top-secret schemes in front of the bad guys then of course they’re gonna be able tostop it”)

  76. James says:

    You know, I really thought you were gonna reintroduce these guys by their coming back saying the Star Wars d20 game run by Frodo’s player sucked hard.

    Ah well. ;)

  77. Roxysteve says:

    Alasseo Says:
    Two in the front, two in the back.

    Indeed so. How do you get two whales in a Mini Cooper?

    Steve.

  78. Scarlet Knight says:

    You know , I once shot a Mumak in my pajamas. How he ever fit in my pajamas I’ll never know…

  79. Keekooceeaou says:

    RoxySteve: You don’t. The Mumaks are already there.

    PS. Long time reader, first time poster (Boring text. Can someone write something else, please?). Great comic. I don’t know what I’ll do when I get to the last strip and will have to wait for next.

  80. Kanosereg of Zilthor says:

    Say, that’s an interesting hobbit pose in the second to last frame. Looks like a particular hobbit is smoking his pipeweed doobie style. :-)

  81. Khyran Storm says:

    Ahh, the abuse of NPCs is another time honored tradition of most rpgs. From cohorts and hirelings to kings and All-Powerful Wizards, they all get treated with about as much respect as a kobald encounter. Unless the DM does something about the PCs attitudes, the disreguard for such necessary story elements typically continues unabated. As a DM, you begin to wonder why you bother. Little wonder people were talking about just giving out generic names (or even numbers) to NPCs in a previous thread.
    – Mer, uh, Mergandledore? was that his name? ah who cares…that wizard guy…-

    ~sigh~

    As for the whole ‘I think I’m an NPC’ comments above got me thinking. I need a t-shirt that says ‘NPC’ in big letters. Maybe even ‘Just ignore me’ under that in smaller letters. That would be kinda funny. :)

  82. Toil3T says:

    Everyone loves the XP you get for killing a high level wizard! And it looks like they’ve given up on what passes as treasure in Middle Earth.

  83. TheDeepDark says:

    I gotta comment on the abuse of NPCs here. I guess this is just what I get for playing a Paladin, and actually caring that I play him like a Paladin (too many times playing like a Munchkin showed me it just wasn’t as much fun); but either way mis-treating NPCs is unfortunately rather Un-Paladin like. So while my Paladin’s Charisma is a Lot better than mine, I gotta try to come up with how he’d tactfully deal with these people… Yikes. Maybe I shoulda stuck w/ a barbarian

  84. Cynder says:

    Yaaay! welcome back Merry and Pippin! even if you are NPCs!! :D

  85. Andimac says:

    My First Post. As I am reading all the comics before I go back and read ALL the comments I might have missed something. So I have to ask, what is ATHF?
    I am a roleplayer and a Tolkien fan and I love this strip, added to my essential comics favourites list along with OOTS and Dork Tower!
    Also, humour is VERY subjective, just because you didnt find it funny doesnt mean that I didnt fall off my chair laughing.

    Thanks, Shamus

    Andimac

  86. Escher says:

    Andimac- ATHF= Aqua Teen Hunger Force. ‘Tis a TV show on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim (and the movie version was behind a certain hilarious Bostonian freak-out over Light Brites… ^_^)

  87. Andrew Jensen says:

    You manage to accurately capture the arrogance of players yet again. My players once ignored the assassin NPCs holding them at (poisoned) knife point in order to decide who should make the diplomacy check (in game). At least they didn’t attack Merry and Pippin…

  88. Clinto says:

    You’re operating under a false premise sir; The NPC’s are just people too. They have their own motives and personalities. The false premise you go off of is that the NPC want’s the limelight. A good DM doesn’t seek limelight, and stays in character if the Players ‘walk away’ or ignore the NPC. You’re either in the game or you’re not; a good DM stays in the game, and reacts accordingly.

  89. Leyomi the Parodier says:

    I dunno… I’m wondering what would have happened with Merry and Pippin if they hadn’t left the campaign. I mean, how they would have reacted to that whole ‘days of being dragged helplessly across Rohan by Orcs’ thing…. I once had this character who was for a long time trapped in this… thing…. without aid of a material body, and it was one of the best gaming sessions I’ve ever played(I eventually escaped), but somehow I doubt those two would have the patience.

  90. Trae says:

    My current game has 3 PCs and 2 NPCs. I happen to listen to what they have to say, particularly since one of them happens to be our main healer.

  91. zay says:

    “Players expect NPCs to be available at their whim to provide information and dispense rewards.”

    I ran a hack-and-slash zombie apocalypse campaign – all rollplay – so, when the players went to town, I allowed them to shout “I need an NPC!”, and I’d have someone walk up and respond, “Yes? How may I help you?”

    Wouldn’t recommend this for games with any emphasis on roleplay.

  92. Techan says:

    I have to disagree on this point. While the players should not be constantly outshined by NPCs, and NPCs shouldn’t become main characters, there’s nothing wrong with a prominent NPC supporting character who acts as he should.
    I expect my PCs to treat the king like the king, he doesn’t need to be the spotlight of the scene or campaign, afterall the heroes are the heroes. But if you don’t show respect to an NPC in a higher position of authority or power than you, you’ll regret it. Doing otherwise, in my opinion, detracts from the realism of the game world. They shouldn’t be butting into PCs conversations constantly and trying to be the center of attention, but if the PCs don’t even try to treat them as actual living breathing characters, there are consequences. If you’re going to have conversations disregarding an NPC, just do it out of character.

  93. Mr Gask says:

    I get incredible kicks out of playing NPCs like PCs in any game I run. For some reason nobody wants me to GM anymore. I wonder if the two are related?

  94. Noble says:

    There iis certainly a lot to know about this issue. I love all of the points you’ve made.

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