DM of the Rings CXIV:
The Book of Exalted Screwups

By Shamus Posted Monday Jun 18, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 84 comments

Aragorn misplaces his army.
Aragorn:0 Undead: 1


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84 thoughts on “DM of the Rings CXIV:
The Book of Exalted Screwups

  1. Lee says:

    Outsmarted by the dead! I also think I’m first. What a coinkydink.

  2. Aiken Drum says:

    First! sorry, had to say it.

    As a DM I’ve pulled that trick more than a few times to stymie greedy and/or stupid players. Nice to see that others use the same tactic.

  3. LlamaNerds says:

    I figured he was just going to let the dead point out that they didn’t haven any treasure, so by giving him all their treasure it came out the same in the end.

    1. me says:

      so the thousands and thousands of skulls weren’t their treasure?

      they aren’t a race of headhunters who horde the skulls of their enemies, an economy based on bones?

  4. Browncoat says:

    They do just keep getting better, Shamus. You. Da. man.

    I don’t even feel cheated that frame 4 is a crop of frame 3.

    “Do I look like I’m kidding?” Ha! I’m blowing that frame up and putting it in my cube.

  5. TezukaDan says:

    “Do I Look Like I’m Kidding?”… The King Of The Undead Army Has The Greatest Quots Ever. By The Way, FIRST Reply.

  6. TezukaDan says:

    Noooo, How is it Possible than in the time writing the reply 4 persons post… ok, next time.

  7. haashaastaak says:

    not 1st.

    “Do I look like I’m kidding?”–my nominee for best screen cap yet.

  8. Mattingly says:

    Another proud moment.

  9. scldragonfish says:

    1 Lee Says:

    June 18th, 2007 at 11:02 am
    Outsmarted by the dead! I also think I'm first. What a coinkydink


  10. scldragonfish says:

    “Actually its not that easy to tell, now that your face is rotted off…” ROFLMAO!!!!


  11. Cenobite says:

    POOF! “Hi!”


  12. Deoxy says:

    “I figured he was just going to let the dead point out that they didn't haven any treasure, so by giving him all their treasure it came out the same in the end.”

    Yes, that’s exactly what has happened… only without pointing it out to them. Maybe the DM will point it out to them after they spend years digging for it.

    A lot better mileage on it that way.

    1. Ellywyn says:

      … You do realize you’ve just made me think of Aragorn and Legolas feverishly digging, both of them hiccuping and screaming, “EYE WILL DIG UP DE GOWLD!” like they’ve turned into El Capitan, don’t you?

      (for those of you who don’t remember, El Capitan is from Ducktales.)

      P.S. Why, yes, I am reading each comic and its accompanying comments one by one, why do you ask? :P

  13. Evrae says:

    That’s funny I run a game with a paladin wo refuses to take treasure of anyone. i was looking forward to trying tricks like that one to screw them out of but instead i have to trick these guys to take treasure.

  14. -Chipper says:

    Oooh. The dead are craftier than I thought. I thought the mountain of skulls WAS their treasure.

    Laughing audibly at each of the last five panels. Great job, Shamus.

  15. Parzival says:

    I have to give additional kudos to Shamus. This is the most consistently satisfying web comic I read. Almost all the others leave me hanging with a sense of “Dang. Now I have to wait two days to find out what happens next.” That’s not all that bad, actually, but it doesn’t make for a satisfying reading experience”” it’s rather like being forced to read a book one page at a time.
    Shamus, however, has managed to create a continuing storyline in which every segment is completely satisfying. Partial credit, of course, has to go to the fact that we all know where the story is going (courtesy Tolkien and P. Jackson), but Shamus has managed to create a sense of curiosity about how that story will progress, which is no mean feat. Best of all, he’s made every comic a nicely self-contained joke (often more than one). Even some of the best humor-and-adventure web comics fail to pull this off.
    So, great comic once again, Shamus. And great run over all!
    Thank you!

  16. Lynx says:

    I think the last panel is a better cap; Gimli looks like he’s actually smirking under all that beard!

  17. John says:

    “Outsmarted by the undead.” There’s your first DMotR t-shirt, right there.

  18. Mike R says:

    first time poster..

    I LOVED Gimli line.. “Another Proud moment..”

  19. elda says:

    1 Lee Says:

    June 18th, 2007 at 11:02 am
    Outsmarted by the dead! I also think I'm first. What a coinkydink


    darnit…i was staking out the site, and still didn’t manage it. hahahaha. that’s only cuz i forgot what i was doing. oh well. this was an awsome comic yet again. i’ll be laughing about this all day.

  20. Adam says:

    Hum.. not first… not last… MIDDLEISTES

    on all serious, very good. The last couple have been great and a very good lead up to the “yoink” of the treasure.

    I need to watch the extended of the two towers and return, seems like I missed alot of the movies not seeing them.

  21. The Gneech says:

    “That's funny I run a game with a paladin who refuses to take treasure of anyone. I was looking forward to trying tricks like that one to screw them out of but instead I have to trick these guys to take treasure.”

    I’m in a similar predicament, except it’s more that my players just sorta forget to look for it! They’re so intent on getting the badguy, they don’t stop to loot the bodies. It’s weird, I tell you!

    -The Gneech

  22. Lee says:

    Actually, I wasn’t staking out the site. I checked the other post about his neighbor’s widow, and when I clicked back, it was like, holy crap! DM of the Rings! I read it, and then I was like, holy crap, no comments!

    It’s actually the first time I’ve ever gotten a first post, and I got it without even trying.

  23. Michael says:

    “I'm in a similar predicament, except it's more that my players just sorta forget to look for it! They're so intent on getting the badguy, they don't stop to loot the bodies. It's weird, I tell you!”

    Can top you there. We caught someone rummaging through our rooms red-handed. Lynched him, and threw him in a deep drainage canal with plenty of weight to keep him from surfacing anytime soon. Only then did it occur to us we never checked him for our stuff!

    By the way, great comic! I’ve uttered sentiments similar to Gimli’s more than once in our games…

  24. Bahnmor says:

    I remember one game I played in. Our fighter-type had managed to trick the DM into giving him full-plate armour way too early… or so we thought.
    We were to sail across some ocean and the captain refused to sail with such a high risk passenger, so he insisted that the armour stayed in his travel chest the whole voyage. Such a shame that the ship was wrecked as part of the campaign, but the rest of us were happy that it crippled his spotlight hogging ways.

  25. Aaron says:

    I have to give the Screencap-fu award for panel 10. That look is beyond hysterical!!!!

    Are you gonna make “Hi” a running joke? If you are, it’s working! “(poof!) Hi”. LOL.

    One of my top 10 for sure! Nice job as always Shamus!


  26. james says:

    “Hi.” is always funny. Always! Peter David has been known to use that line to great comedic effect.

  27. So then I was all like, “FIREBALL”
    and she was all like
    thats hawt
    and then I did her!
    Actually, I’m like so tottaly avalible right now.
    And lonely.

  28. Lee says:

    Whoa, there’s another Lee here.

    I may have to rename myself. Especially since you’d have to get me at gunpoint before I’d do a “first post.” :P

  29. henrdake says:


    Gimli continues to be my favorite player-character, which is even more impressive since I hated what Jackson did to him in the movie.

    I liked Aragon’s ‘Stubby’ reference too.

    Does anyone get the feeling that the players are getting more ‘into’ the adventure? When was the last time we heard a proper, “I hate this campaign,” huh?

    Great work, Shamus – per always. I’ll be sad to see it end. What are we, about halfway through the last movie?

    I can’t imagine how familiar you are with them by now.

  30. Bex's says:

    Brillopads mate, simply brillopads :D another fantastic step in a long journey :D

  31. Uriel says:

    First ! My first post here I mean. What were you guys thinking ?

    Gimli’s comment on the last panel really cracked me up. Long time reader, even if this is my first post here, so “it really cracked me up” applies to many pages already, but this one REALLY cracked me up. Outsmarted by undeads… Boy, with the last few pages worth of text, this scene in the movie now does make some kind of sense.

    Keep up the amazing work, Shamus !

  32. stormcaller says:

    I run a D20 epic style game, one day one of the players was summoned to an audience with the king, he wanted help locating a large portion of his army that seemed to have disappeared, she accepted the task and heads off to round up the party, once they started off the rogue asked what the pay was… Followed by the chief negotiator asking me what she had agreed to getting paid… This was followed by the sudden realization that she had agreed to a 4-5 week job that seemed to be pretty dangerous for no pay… Now the highest charisma person isn’t allowed to negotiate anything :-)

  33. General Ghoul says:

    It’s about time the undead got the respect we deserve. This had a “Robot Chicken” moment to it. Did you see the long soliloquy between Vader and Luke on the future of the movies?

  34. I’m not a big fan of Undead in general, but I love Ghosts, so its great seeing them see some action :D

  35. jperk31260 says:

    its not to late to have them dig for years and years and find cracked gems stones, rusted armour, broken weapons, skulls, skulls and more skulls. What are the odds that’s its his first act as king of Gondor. Ok men as king I order you too… no his first act would be to bring out the women. Then again with his attention span he might just forget the treasure altogether. Maybe he could give his share to Gimli after all Dwarves like to dig right? LOL

  36. DamoJO says:

    First post here, long time reader, I love this comic, what is best is after I read it I read all these great comments. I wish Order of the stick had comments(2nd fave comic).
    Shamus U R Great

  37. DamoJO says:

    I agree with older posts on this site that Star wars should be done (but original trilogy please) cos I would love to see what certain hobbits were up to during this campaign.
    Which D&D edition are these guys using?
    Is Legolass male or female? (whoops this aint OTTS)
    Do you really gain great power by sicking your finger in an evil guys ring?
    And can I have gem dice for my post number

  38. ravenred says:

    Heh. I think the way Shamus will manage the hobbits is that the Aragorn player will decide to run off and play Ravenloft leaving it to two players and the DM.

    “Uh… nono don’t go! I… this campaign’s not finished yet… Duane will be back sometime. In the meantime we can… uh… play the hobbits.”

    “Hobbits? What are hobbits?”
    “You’re turning my stats back to crap again? No thanks!”
    “You mean I’ve got the Uber-Artifact, but I’m not ALLOWED to use it?”
    “Sam has ranks in COOKING? You’re kidding me!”

    Excellent work, Shamus, highly impressed.

  39. Woerlan says:

    They’re dead. They’ve probably had centuries to think of all these deceptive little side comments.

  40. Jaja says:

    “Not our problem”.

    If it weren’t for the fact that he’s undead, I bet he’d be shrugging as he says that.

    Nice one as always, Shamus :)

  41. Jindra34 says:

    Jaja: I believe he was shrugging… and if all undead were this smart they would have a worse rap…

  42. DocTwisted says:

    “Not my problem.”

    Possibly one of the best-used phrases in the English language. Thanks Shamus, I’ll have to remember this kind of exchange next time my PCs are getting loot-hungry.

  43. Isoyami says:

    Wow, brilliance. Utter brillance. I loved how you handled that whole sequence in the mountain, though I am a little sad it’s over. Ah well, all things must come to an end. At least we still have the Battle of Pelinnor (sp?) Fields before Shamus wraps this up…. *Big, excited grin*

    Oh, and the “Do I LOOK like I’m kidding?” line / panel is the new BEST EVER.

    Better than the “Invisible Leather T.A.R.D.I.S.”; better than the “Inconcievable!”; better than “and a whole quiver of LITTLE walking sticks”; even better than the *Suddenly Lord Elrond shows up in your camp.* “Hi.”

    It’s even better than having Aragormless fail his dismount check to get dragged off the cliff, and even better than Leggylass nailing Gollum and asking how much XP it’s worth.

    Absolute win.

    “It’s actually not that easy to tell now that your face has rotted off.” LMAO

    Now I’m imagining the Green Ghost King, Sauron, Xykon from [Large Person in the Recess Yard] and Death from Discworld meeting for poker nights every other Tuesday. Fun fun. LOL

    And now I’m really looking forward to these next strips, as they’re the climax of the whole series. No pressure. *Wink* LOL j/k.

  44. Zippy Wonderdog says:

    Getting into the campaign?
    You are mistaking stockholm syndrome for enjoyment my friend.
    At this point concerned friends and spouses of the vict… err… gamers have contacted police, the swat team has staked the place out but they can’t get a clear shot due to the fact the GM is holding the game in his mum’s basement…

  45. Woosh says:


    Why would anyone do that? Why dont they run a race. If being first is so important, get paid for it.

  46. inq101 says:

    ‘outsmarted by the undead’ Many undead are actualy quite smart, they’re just very lazy as well.
    Star wars YAY. But one at a time please, I’m enjoying this too much for SW to take over

  47. TalrogSmash says:

    “another proud moment for our band of heroes”
    I love him more and more as this goes on…

  48. Marmot says:

    Magnificent. When I saw the title I thought this was a rant about Book of Exalted Deeds for some reason, but this beat my expectations. “It’s a bit hard to tell with your flesh rotted off you know”. Great!

  49. Teria says:

    Heheee… my security word to this reply was “d20”. How appropriate. *G*

    Anyway, I love Aragorns face in panel 10 when realization dawns on him. “Please tell me you’re kidding.” Turning his original despair of seeing the pirate ships and even more enemies into the horror of having lost “his” treasure is sheer genius. Thank you!!

  50. Teria says:

    … or is it ALWAYS “d20” and I just never noticed? *blushes in shame*

  51. Basilios says:

    Shamus, I dare to suggest a new rule for the spam filter. Delete a post if it contains any instance of “first” followed by exclamation mark or full stop and/or preceded by “I’m” or “I am”. That should remove the competition, I hope.

    Sorry, folks, I’m just not keen on first post races.

  52. Alex says:

    This edition was so good I had to post about it.
    Thank you Shamus.

  53. Marlous says:

    “Now I'm imagining the Green Ghost King, Sauron, Xykon from [Large Person in the Recess Yard] and Death from Discworld meeting for poker nights every other Tuesday. Fun fun. LOL”

    While Sauron would undoubtedly have the best pokerface (seeing as how he doesn’t have on to begin wit), I’d like to know where he’d keep his cards.

    .. no, wait, never mind. I DON’T want to know that.

  54. Telas says:

    I’m sure Death would quickly find Sauron’s endless “I Spy” game tiresome.

  55. Zaghadka says:

    You guys should all be jockeying for “20th post.” There’s something geeky cool about having a natural 20 rolled next to your post.

  56. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    Ok men as king I order you too… no his first act would be to bring out the women.

    Yet another scene in the movie explained.

  57. Browncoat says:

    Telas – Ha! Sauron playing I Spy. [chuckles]

    Actually, if we’re going to include Death in this game, I suggest the Death from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. He was a game player, if not an accomplished one.

  58. Szocske says:


    I just blew two straight nights reading this comic from start hoping it would never end, and noone at work would notice I haven’t slept properly in a while :-)

    Keep up the good work, I just love the creativity and humor (even though I’m not into role-playing at all)

  59. Man of the Iron Pants says:

    Shamus… I think you missed your period button in that last panel =P

    Well, now that I’ve finally figured out how to work the flipp’n posting… thing… I feel I am entitled to say something. This is an excellent comic, and I can’t help but laugh at how often these scenarios actually happen. And as for the Cthulhu reference, I’ve never read those books, but that description STILL sounds disturbingly accurate to me. Of course, I’m looking forward to more. Who wouldn’t?

  60. Man of the Iron Pants says:

    Err, comics I mean. Not Cthulhu references. Those are creepy.

    *note to self: Find edit button*

  61. Jindra34 says:

    To Iron Pants: There is no edit button
    And the Call references are funny

  62. Ithelog says:

    First I have to say that this is the first online comic I have got addicted into. My first post about obtaining this comic in printed form was first thing that came to my mind with which I could tell Shamus how much I preciate his dedication and effort.

    Second thing I have to say is that it is nearly impossible to build proper first posting filter. Even though first panel of this comic wasn’t anything to tell home about, such filter would make references to it hard to express and still there would be plenty of expressions left for indicating of posting here first, like Star Trek quote variants about beeing first at exploring places in the universe etc. I have been studing artificial intelligence that much that I say with quite certainity that building working Cylon raider of BattleStar Galactica serie is about easier task than making trashfilter that really works.

  63. Marcus says:

    Most enjoyable. Keenly observed and well written!

  64. Elusive Pastry says:

    The movie is almost over….what are we going to do without our daily dose of DM of the Rings? It’s the only way I stay sane during the day! *sniff*

  65. Phlux says:

    I don’t know why you guys are acting like there’s only 10 more strips left.

    There’s Pelinnor fields, the aftermath of pelinnor field, the mouth of sauron, the battle at the black gates with Aragorn’s little inspirational speech, the destruction of the ring, the collapse of barad-dur, the re-union with Sam and Frodo, the coronation and probably some stuff about how legolas and gimli don’t have any epilogue in the story (as filmed).

    If that’s not at least 20-30 strips worth of material I’ll eat my hat.

    If that’s not at least 30 strips I’ll

  66. Club Medic says:

    I’m a teacher, and with school out, I finally got to sit down and read the entire… how many?… comics. Wow, Shamus has some talent, and a way with words. I’m very impressed. Of course, now I’m wishing I hadn’t started reading them until the end of the summer, so I would have more of them to read right now! Looking forward to every next installment.

  67. TheJoeSword says:

    I love this comic. Grats on an excellent idea Shamus! After Dm of the Rings is done,are you going to do one on the Star Wars game that Dave and them went to play?

  68. Rob Sack says:


    A request:

    Please post a gif/jpg of the “Do I look like I’m kidding?” panel. I promise I’ll link back to your site!

  69. Alasseo says:

    Pelennor. Not Pelinnor. Honestly, what’s the point of Tolkien’s language appendices, or the fact that the cast of the movies learned to pronounce things properly if people don’t pay attention?

    Anyway, on to important matters- this comic, as has been already intimated, contains possibly the best screencap ever.

  70. elda says:

    You are mistaking stockholm syndrome for enjoyment my friend.

    not to sound like a total idiot, but isn’t that a song by muse? i rather like that song….

  71. Scarlet Knight says:

    ‘Marlous Says:”Now I'm imagining the Green Ghost King, Sauron, Xykon from [Large Person in the Recess Yard] and Death from Discworld meeting for poker nights every other Tuesday.’

    Well, that would explain why the King of the dead has only skulls left for treasure. You’ve got to figure that our heros would find what the dead soldiers had on them when they died. Kind of like Prince Valiant finding gold with King Solomon’s face on it. I mean, I figure Sauron cheats…

  72. Logan says:

    Outsmarted by the UNDEAD! What a victorious moment for our heros? Great Strip man!

  73. Cynder says:

    Let’s hope that sooner or later Aragorn will either find some loot or realise that treasure isn’t everything. Although I think neither are very likely. Stupid boy. XD

  74. dyrnwyn says:

    so do they go back with a excavation team pickaxes and dynmite?

  75. deathknight says:

    in the last panel it looks like a hand is touching gimli! lol

  76. A bad DM says:

    I love the caption think when you scroll your mouse over it:
    ‘Aragorn:0 Undead: 1’

  77. Michael says:

    Can you please make a picture of just that undead face, with a large black border, and the caption in white underneath? Just like those motivational/demotivational posters.

    Oh: am I the only one that feels that most of these images are “thin-ified”? (What’s the word for taking a 16:9 image and scrunching it to a 12:9 TV?)

  78. Mr.Pete says:

    Oh man, I laughed so hard on this and the last one I almost choked.
    Well, seeing that I started to read today and am close to the end I think I’ll survive.
    Although I do fear the coming battle. So many chances on puns and jokes…

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