DM of the Rings CI:
There He Goes Again

By Shamus Posted Wednesday May 16, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 97 comments

Pippin swipes the Palantir.
Aragorn gets the crystal ball.

When it comes to giving things to the players versus making them “earn” them:

Give a player a fish, and he’ll probably try to sell it to an NPC fisherman.

Teach a player to fish, and next week he’ll show up with the book, “The Complete Adventuring Fisherman”. He’ll start hunting for some monstrous leviathan to catch and enslave, and he’ll be dual-wielding two fishing poles.


From The Archives:

97 thoughts on “DM of the Rings CI:
There He Goes Again

  1. oleyo says:

    HA, Pippen is silly.

  2. Lynx says:

    Gandalf, Kill Stealer! Hah! Loved that description. :)

  3. oleyo says:

    “tried to poach some of our loot” Awesome :)

  4. Jacob says:

    “and he'll be dual-wielding two fishing poles.”


  5. Issachar says:

    I *LOVE* Shadowfax the Rockethorse, with his blur motion and sound effects! LOL!!!

  6. Caius says:

    “Teach a player to fish, and next week he'll show up with the book, “The Complete Adventuring Fisherman”. He'll start hunting for some monstrous leviathan to catch and enslave, and he'll be dual-wielding two fishing poles.”

    That is a perfect decription of our group. Hurray for number crunchers

  7. the old master says:

    This Moral is soooo true!

  8. Marmot says:

    Ahahaha, the scene of Gimli actually standing up in Gandalf’s defense was an iconic one!

  9. Lynx says:

    Hmm, the Complete Fisherman might be a good addition to the Complete __________ line. Gods know that line has been overused, so what’s one more book?

    Anyway, seems like a number of MMOG terms made it into the comic this time. KS-er, TKer.. :P

  10. Cenobite says:

    I can’t wait to see the DM try to explain to the party what the Palantir is, and why it’s not exactly “trapped” nor is it proper “loot”.


    Aragormless: So this thing is basically like a cellphone?

    DM: NO! No, it’s more like…see…okay. Since Sauron has another Palantir right now, then using this one is kind of like seeing directly into his mind. And that’s very bad for the viewer. Trust me, that’s a bad place, and you don’t want to be there. Look at what happened to Pippin.

    LeggoMyAss: See into the mind of Sauron? But didn’t I kill him in our last session? Arrow crit, fall from tower, nasty spiky wheel? You’re getting all of our names confused again, aren’t you?

    DM: (sigh)

  11. Chrome homura says:

    Been a reader for a while, first post!

    “I’m never going to able to sell this thing now. Everyone knows it’s trapped.”

    Funniest line of the comic. Keep it up, Shamus!

  12. Jeremiah says:

    “Of COURSE I’m the owner. I saw it first!” So true. Classic adventurer mindset.

  13. plucky says:

    Hehe, many times I laugh louder at the quip after the comic than at the comic itself. “The Complete Adventuring Fisherman” indeed! :)

  14. Blindeye says:

    The panel with the blurry Shadowfax is awesome. Rockethorse indeed.

  15. Jacob says:

    I wonder how the other players will react when Aragorn becomes king…

  16. George says:

    you skipped so much!!!!

    I was looking forward to use use of the screen of aragorn saying ” the beacons are lit, the becons of gondor are liel gondor calls for aid” because he looks so emphatic in the movie.

  17. Clyde says:

    I’ll bet that crystal ball would really help Aragorn bag the chicks. Those RenFest babes go all ga-ga for anything that looks magicky. As long as he keeps a healer nearby (or some Cure Disease potions), it could be a very good thing. Chicks dig Big Balls.

  18. Alex says:

    “Chicks dig Big Balls.”

    *slaps Clyde with an NPC fisherman*

  19. Joe says:

    The “Give a player a fish” comments just replaced the sequence with Gimli attempting diplomacy (Dwarven Diplomacy) as my signature on my local webforum.

    Absolutely hysterical.

  20. Hoyce says:


  21. Don Alsafi says:

    But the real question is … will Episode CIV be a Civ joke? Or are you above such obvious silliness? :)

  22. Henebry says:

    Lynx said: “Hmm, the Complete Fisherman might be a good addition to the Complete __________ line. Gods know that line has been overused, so what's one more book?”

    Actually, it already exists, and I think it was actually the first in the line:

    The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton & Charles Cotton, 1653.

  23. James says:

    Oh noes! The story is coming so quickly towards an end *sniff*.

  24. DocTwisted says:

    I love how an item injures one NPC that tries to use it, and the player assumes that means it’s “cursed.”

    I swear, I could have an NPC party member grab the wrong end of a torch and burn its hand, and no PC would want to handle that torch ever again.

  25. Woerlan says:

    Given that the screenshots are taken from the extended version, I’m looking forward to the post-Minas Tirith scene when Aragorn wields the palantir and gives some badass talk to Sauron. I’m sure that conversation will be MOST entertaining.

  26. atra2 says:

    CIV isn’t Civ, it’s C-4 explosive! :-D

  27. Lynx says:

    Henebry Says: Actually, it already exists, and I think it was actually the first in the line:
    The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton & Charles Cotton, 1653.

    Gee, must be a 1st Ed. text. Or 0th Ed. Wonder if there’s any worthwhile feats or spells in there? Quicken Baiting maybe? :p

    atra2 Says: CIV isn't Civ, it's C-4 explosive!

    Uh-uh. Bad idea. Imagine what trigger-happy Leg O’ Lass would do with enough C4. He’ll probably crack open Middle-Earth just to have another go at the Balrog again…

  28. orcbane says:

    Hmm… someone messes with the sphere, then the guy that was holding he sphere hands it off and runs as fast as he can… Its gotta be a bomb!

  29. Matt` says:

    hehehe.. Captain Beard and his rocket horse

  30. Scarlet Knight says:

    So when Elrond delivers Aragorn’s sword, he explains to him how to use the palantir. As soon as Elrond leaves, Aragorn immediately starts trying to spy on women, & finds Arwen (splice in shots “Stealing Beauty” ). Only then, he notices Sauron’s eye peeking in too!

    It could happen…

  31. Jim in Buffalo says:

    That’s like the “Shotgun Demon” mentioned on Fear the Boot… the one who has shotguns on his arms that shoot shotguns out of them.

  32. Shamus says:

    Originally Aragorn was going to say, “He’s been KS-ing our mobs, and then he tried to ninja our loot…”

    But I wasn’t sure how widespread this usage of the word “ninja” was and how many people would get it. I only heard it myself a couple of weeks ago, and I didn’t want to make the lingo too esoteric.

    Now I wish I’d done it. “ninja” is much funnier than “poach”.

  33. Mattingly says:

    Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day.
    Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for the rest of his life.

    Give a man a fire, he’s warm for a night.
    Set a man on fire, he’s warm for the rest of his life.

  34. theonlymegumegu says:

    Man, there’s really nothing to add to your comments after this comic. That really says it all XD

  35. islandergirlro says:

    *note to self*
    Do not read this comic when eating lunch
    *cleans drink off monitor*

    Yeah that Rockethorse panel just made me lose it. XD I couldn’t stop giggling for long time.

  36. Aaron says:

    Mattingly says:
    “Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day.
    Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for the rest of his life.

    Give a man a fire, he's warm for a night.
    Set a man on fire, he's warm for the rest of his life.”

    I love the second one, I use it all the time in lectures on how to use the library. The students don’t get it, but I’m not doing it for them ;)

    When I saw the “Rockethorse” panel I thought I was gonna die laughing and they’d have to drag my sorry ass home. That was just too funny!!!!

    Another awesome strip Shamus!

  37. Shandrunn says:

    I think the rockethorse panel would be better with a VROOOM instead of WOOSH. It wouldn’t be appropriate, it’s just that VROOOM is so inherently funny :-D

  38. Cenobite says:


    (someone is asking for it!)

    “Look mate, this horse wouldn’t VROOOM if you put 4 thousand volts through ‘im!”

  39. brassbaboon says:

    Awesome Shamus. I stand in awe of your skills. You must have at least a +5 screen capture modifier.

    I don’t know how you are going to avoid Aragorn using the palintir to sneak a peek at Arwen in the bath. And having Sauron, the bodiless, peering over his metaphorical shoulder is just too good to pass up.

    I don’t envy you for the need now to top those gags. But I know you are up to the challenge! And I am anxiously awaiting the result. ;)

    Love the screen cap of Pippin being mind-sucked. I just wished Aragorn had referred to him as the “blonde halfling…”

  40. “What? Captain Beard is gone?”


    Some great screen caps in this one, the one of Pippin is PERFECT!

    Keep ’em coming :D

  41. TheDrone says:

    [i]Originally Aragorn was going to say, “He's been KS-ing our mobs, and then he tried to ninja our loot…”

    But I wasn't sure how widespread this usage of the word “ninja” was and how many people would get it. I only heard it myself a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't want to make the lingo too esoteric.

    Now I wish I'd done it. “ninja” is much funnier than “poach”.[/i]

    ninja is universal, should’ve gone with ninja.

    Esoteric? Probably went “VROOOM” over many heads.

  42. Teague says:

    “Look mate, this horse wouldn't VROOOM if you put 4 thousand volts through “˜im!”

    “This is an EX-Rockethorse!”

  43. Roxysteve says:

    [Vroom vs Whoosh] Definitely “Whoosh”. Think “Star Trek Movie Warp Sound FX”.

    Gandalf should also be dopplering away with a sustained “Aaaaaaaaaaaarrgghh!” in my opinion.

    Not Only That Dept:
    Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day.
    Teach a man to fish and he’ll lie about all in a boat all day drinking beer.

    The motto for this campaign should be:
    You can drive a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.

    Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you’ll be a mile away from them when you criticise them *and* you’ll have their shoes.

  44. Saelwen says:

    Gotta say Steve; that’s gonna be my new motto :P

    Another great one, Shamus. And I think poach is fine ;) You already have the Captain Beard thing going for you and everything.

    I vote Woosh

  45. The Pancakes says:

    James @ 23: I’m a little sad to see the end coming, too, but I’m holding out hope for a DM of the Force comic starring the halflings who left way-way back when. What do you think, Shamus? DM of the Force? How about it?

  46. Matt says:

    DM of the Force sounds good. You think Aragorn looks like a dumb stoner? Just wait until Shamus starts pulling screen caps of Anakin. I’m picturing Anakin and Obi-wan going through the droids and yelling, “That was sweet! You cut him right in half!” every time they kill one.

  47. Matt says:

    And Anakin can be one of those 15 year olds that HAS to play an evil character because he’s soooo misunderstood.

  48. brassbaboon says:

    I’m thinking “DM and the Holy Grail….”

  49. Cheesemaster says:

    It seems like this is coming to an end all to soon :-(, so a DM of the Force would be a pretty kickarse way to continue it.

  50. J says:

    I think the “Complete Adventuring Fisherman” would be interested in this kind of fishing…

  51. brassbaboon says:

    Aragorn: [holding palintir] “Hmmm… how does this thing work now…”
    Pause: “Sheesh, nothing but static, I wonder what that Arwen chick is up to….”
    Sauron: “Foolish mortal, now you are revealed to me! I shall…. what’s this?”
    Aragorn: “It’s that Arwen chick in the bath! Woohoo! Score!”
    Sauron: “Wow, she’s hot!”
    Aragorn: “No kidding! I’m so gonna get a piece of that!”
    Sauron: “How in the world did I let my body get destroyed?! No wonder I’m so pissed off all the time!”
    Aragorn: “Heh, your problem buddy, not mine. Sweeeet! Check that out!”
    Sauron: “I think I have to go.”
    Aragorn: “Your loss pal! I wonder if I can check out that forest elf chick next…..”

  52. Antiquated Tory says:


    Surely in this case he should be playing Vampire: The Masquerade?

  53. Nogard says:

    I always thoughtit was
    “teach a player to fish and he’ll try to convince you that he should be able to use his fishing skills:
    to throw a grappling hook (with his ub3r1337 casting prowess),
    as proficiency in whip/javlin/rapier (casting, spearfishing, pole is long & thin)
    as a substitute for survival any time his character is near water,
    to sail a boat,
    to BUILD a boat,
    in place of rope use (hey if i can thread and tie fishing hooks…)”

  54. Amazon warrior says:

    A wooosh bit my sister once…

  55. blackgryphon says:

    Give a man a relatavistic asteroid, and he’ll crack a planet in two…

    Teach a man the math and he’ll be cracking planets in two for the rest of his life.

  56. Jiggily says:

    I love the “teach a player to fish” quote at the bottom. Now if we can get that on a T-Shirt! I would buy it! If you dont plan on doing that, mind if I create one for myself?


  57. Phobiac says:

    While reading that at every mention of the orb being trapped I could only think of Admiral Ackbar. It’s a trap!

  58. elda says:

    i’m really looking forward to aragorn’s speach infront of the black gates. i’ve been guilty of shouting “but it is not this day!” so many times.

  59. brassbaboon says:

    To bad there aren’t any player characters who will be around to hear Theoden’s speech in front of Minas Tirith. Of the two I thought Theoden’s was far more compelling and far more gripping. And I could just see Legolas’s character looking around saying “death? Death? I don’t THINK so. Glory doesn’t come from dying for your country, it comes from making the OTHER poor son of a bitch die for HIS country.”

    (with apologies to Gen. George S. Patton…)

  60. YaVerOt says:

    As long as we’re ignoring what Shamus said in his Fear the Boot interview, and keep suggesting worlds he can’t get the rights to…

    Obviously the DMotR after running his Tolkien campaign, will want to do something heavy in politics. I’m betting he’ll run Dune.

    Yeuh: So Mr. Mentat has this place so locked up that the Barron won’t attack us and we’ll never get a round of combat… I want some XP this session, my character will sneak down to the basement and turn off the house shields….

    Paul: So my father is dead, my castle sacked, I have a broken ‘thopter, and the only woman you leave me with is my mother?
    DM: Look we aren’t //that// type of campaign…
    Paul: Well its a good thing I just took a level of thrallherd then, the local savages
    Paul: Whatever. They’re the only ones nearby, soon I’ll have an army of these people who’ve be effectively wreaking my spice harvesting.
    Jessica: Ooh, good point. And I can use my witches tricks to make you look like a god.

    Jessica: Look, I’m not doing it.
    DM: What? Why?
    Jessica: Drowned sandworm poison has a DC of 50.
    DM: You been training for this moment for a long time, the circumstance modifiers alone…
    Jessica: Fine, I roll a nat 1. I’m dead, happy?
    DM: Well actually …
    ..time passes..
    Jessica: So I was pregnant, instantly had the baby, and it’s grown to a 6 year old in a month?
    Alia: Look I had three other character concepts, but somebody won’t go back to town.
    Paul: I want to go back to town, but my elite fighting force keeps destroying instead of capturing the ‘thopters. Besides, your last character betrayed us to that fat man.

    Paul: The Emperor has made a critical error and the time for our attack has
    Alia: Critical error? Won’t he just use his spaceships to nuke us from orbit?
    Jessica: We could attack during a storm.
    DM: The storm would instantly kill half your army.
    Paul: So? It’ll reform in three days.
    DM: Look I’m not going to let you…
    Gurney: Hey Guys! I just noticed I still have the family atomics on my sheet from character creation!
    Paul: Cool! Forget the storm, we’ll rig…
    DM: them on the shield wall so the storm destroys the Emperor’s air support.
    Paul: but…
    DM: Then charge in with your army before the Emperor decides to flee.
    Alia: As long as I get the fatman. He never paid my last character for bringing down the house shields.

  61. David says:

    Aw man, I’m up to date?

    I finally caught up from before the battle at Helm’s Deep, and, man this strip works well en masse.

  62. DMCain says:

    Hrmm, dual-weilding two fishing poles. So this guy is flipping around 4 fishing poles?

    Anyway, bizarre thought. Using your standard d20 broken rules.
    lvl 1 human fighter
    – Feats: Exotic weapon prof (twin blade sword), Monkey grip, 2 weapon fighting.

    Can anyone say “quisin-art”? (cuz I sure as hell can’t spell it)

  63. Naughty Girl says:

    Sometimes the comments make me laugh as much as the comic. :D

  64. QE says:

    YaVerOt’s DM of Dune comment is great.

    If memory serves you can only get the second attack with a double weapon if you use it in two hands. d20 may be broken, but it’s not quite that bad.

  65. rosignol says:

    Yeah, the rockethorse line was funny, but the one that got me was

    “I don’t think those guys had any ranks in Use Magic Device”.

    I know players who think like that. XD

  66. Salen says:

    Oh well, skip all that boring stuff. I hear there’s a dungeon full of ghosts and undead just to the north of the camp! Heheh. Can’t wait.

  67. Phil says:

    The Complete Adventuring Fisherman?

    Like this game needs another spratbook… ;)

  68. Richard says:

    Teach a man to fish, and you will be of no further use to him.

  69. Continuing the Aragorn-Sauron exchange:

    Sauron: I’ll be in my bunk.

  70. empty_other says:

    Do you read the weekly Nodwick comic? Aaron Williams (the creator) posted this youtube – link in his blog today, if you havent seen it:
    Funny stuff! :D

  71. Zolarith says:

    i cant imagine how the caverns is going to go… with the whole aragorn talking to the undead king…ooooh boy

  72. Tim Keating says:

    You really shoulda made a “Law & Order” joke for this comic.

    Which makes me wonder: is CSI a roman numeral?

    1. Andy says:

      Nope, there’s no S in the Roman numeric system.

  73. brassbaboon says:

    So, we have Legalos, Gimli and Aragorn in the undead dungeon.

    A ranger, a prestige archer and a dwarven fighter.

    Hope they have some magic protection from undead….

  74. Harlock says:

    @DMCain: Nah, what you do is either lvl 1 human fighter x-weapon Warmace (1d12 one-handed damage!), two-weapon fighting, oversized two-weapon fighting; or lvl 1 dwarven fighter, two-weapon fighting, oversized two-weapon fighting (with dwarven waraxes) And of course, you aim the dwarf at the Dervish PrC. Because you’re not a _true_ cuisinart without the Thousand Cuts class ability. Fourteen attacks per round (plus Haste, plus Slashing Fury feat…Ew.) Of course, aim a human fighter with a two-bladed sword at Dervish and Exotic Weapon Master and you can get yet another attack with the Flurry of Strikes class ability.

    But QE is right: you can’t get the second attack out of a two-bladed sword unless you use both hands. It says so right in the weapon description.

  75. Smith says:

    Hey Shamus:

    I thikn Rich Burlew’s been reading your strip. OotS 453, which posted today, had references to kill-stealing & ninjas, too. Coincidence?

  76. Raved Thrad says:

    hehe “Rockethorse.”

    Makes you wonder if there’s some spell Gandalf has to chant to get Shadowfax to run, like “Heigh-ho, Shadowfax, awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!”

  77. Scarlet Knight says:

    1) It says here in “The Complete Adventuring Fisherman” : the pole does only 1/2xd4 damage but if opponent is hooked, role as per entangle spell… also add +5 to bluff roles when telling stories…

    2) We’re nowhere near the end: There’s the path of the Dead, stealing the ships, oliphant hunting, the attack on Mordor, not to mention the wedding…

    3) An elf, a dwarf, & a ranger walk into a bar.
    The dwarf says to the barkeep, “I’ll have the usual.”
    “Aye , one stout it is.”
    The elf says to the barkeep, “I’ll have the usual.”
    “Aye , a Mimosa it is.”
    The ranger walks up to the bar and says to the barkeep, “I’ll have the usual.” The barkeep replies, “Directions to the brothel ?”

  78. baldrin says:

    No really! She was Karving her initials on the wooosh with the sharpened end of an interspace toothbrush. . .

  79. Jeff says:

    And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
    Till Gandalf brings me round again to find
    I’m not the horse they think I am at home
    Oh no no no I’m a rocket horse
    Rocket horse burning up his feed towards the Land of Stone

    (Apologies to Sir Elton John)

  80. landslide says:

    Haha, your narrative at the bottom is spot on. There’s a player in my group who consistently shows up the next week, knowing absolutely everything about any new power or item he got in the previous session. Even the errata, so he can dictate to the GM exactly how things work to get done what he wants to do :)

  81. IronNerf says:

    Echoes from FASA’s dim vault: May your horse Move By Wire, chummer. {snort} I wonder where it vents.

  82. SteveZilla says:

    [quote]Shamus Says:
    Originally Aragorn was going to say, “He's been KS-ing our mobs, and then he tried to ninja our loot…”

    But I wasn't sure how widespread this usage of the word “ninja” was and how many people would get it. I only heard it myself a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't want to make the lingo too esoteric.[/quote]

    You could direct them to this video to explain the lingo:
    World of Offline Gaming:

    And to explain the Leeroy Jenkins useage in the video:

  83. Gwendolyn says:

    Haha, so true about the dual-wielding =)

  84. Syreene says:

    Dual-wielding two fishing poles? Oh my God…I about busted a gut laughing so hard!

  85. Nick says:

    another reason to not play with people who can read…. they’ll trust you


  86. Cynder says:

    God, that Aragorn should be renamed Aragant. Never satisfied, is he? :P

  87. Morambar says:

    I always assumed the “Complete ___ ” line was inspired by the Angler, just as I assumed that was the direction Shamus was going with his commentary. It’s nice when great things come full circle. For example, when this day started I was in bed, and now, if I can tear myself away….

    And I never play with people who trust me; no matter how munchkinized the PC, he’s still just a paperweight (or maybe a paper weight) if the PLAYER’S useless….

  88. WeLikeShadowrun says:

    I’m actually going to create an uber fisherman character now, the oppurtunity’s too good to miss.

  89. ERROR says:

    Maybe instead of “WHOOSH!” it would be a very large “BOOM!” accompanied by a ring of smoke to represent supersonic travel… Or is that too fast?

  90. Xk says:

    My first Post !!! (Why didn’t I post every panel…)
    Read this comic in a flash 2 weeks.
    It’s delicious. Really. Damn (DM) good.

    By the way… 7th pannel “Curse” instead of “Course”, like “of curse it’s mine.”



  91. soapberries says:

    I want to believe.

  92. Hannah says:

    The authors notes actually happened in our campaign. We came across “Shawn Connery School of Cooking” in one of the cities we visited, and our thief spent the day there. Next thing you knew, he had switched out his daggers for a magical fishing rod that could find fish in any pool of liquid (including beer fish, urine piranhas, rainbow bass, ect) which he would then try to use as currency.

  93. i read this for DM skillz says:

    1st panel, “Muster of Rohan”. I didn’t know the rohanians made cheese.

  94. Andy says:

    So, is everyone in this comic British or what? Sometimes I can’t decide.

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