The Book of Exalted ScrewupsPrevious Post
But They Don't Fit in My Backpack!
By their very nature, fantasy worlds are rich in fantastic visuals. This is hampered somewhat by the fact that there is no visual component to the classic tabletop game, which leads to odd conversations like the one above.
The Book of Exalted ScrewupsPrevious Post
But They Don't Fit in My Backpack!
The plot of this game isn't just dumb, it's actively hostile to the player. This game hates you and thinks you are stupid.
Batman: Arkham City
A look back at one of my favorite games. The gameplay was stellar, but the underlying story was clumsy and oddly constructed.
C++ is a wonderful language for making horrible code.
Bethesda NEVER Understood Fallout
Let's count up the ways in which Bethesda has misunderstood and misused the Fallout property.
A screencap comic that poked fun at videogames and the industry. The comic has ended, but there's plenty of archives for you to binge on.
121 thoughts on “DM of the Rings CXV:
I’m sure many people will notice: This strip touches on the same theme as the classic gazebo joke.
its the pirates themselves not the ships right?
Fantastic. Simply fantastic.
“I hate this campaign” – nice to have that one return. I was beginning to miss it.
Funny thing is, EVREYBODY seems to hate this campaign (DM & players, and all have said so before, repeatedly), and yet, they keep playing… ?
Usually, there’s at least ONE person left who’s enjoying it, or the group starts playing something else.
I didn’t mean to imply that it’s not funny, mind you. I check this site multiple times a day for a reason.
In case you ever come back. Is your name a reference to DNA? I just got it. I mean duh! Its obvious now.
It could also be taken from the Pokémon “Deoxys”…whose name was taken directly from the full title for “DNA”, so yeah lol
Usually when the DM starts with “I hate this campaign.” its a good cue to start re-rolling cause everyone is about to die.
I loved panel 9. Gimli’s dialogue box is present, but he’s not. That cracked me up.
MINUS Tirith??!??!??!? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is there a Plus Tirith in some alternate universe to balance this out??? :)
Was intro’d to your comic this week. Brilliant! I was laughing so hard, the girl in the next room thought I was choking. Looking forward to the next comic and to any further series you choose to do. kepp up the hilarious work!
Long time reader, first time poster. Absolutley fantastic job and thank heavens I’ve learned (the hard way) not to drink my coffee when reading this site or today would have cost the company another keyboard….
Is there a Plus Tirith in some alternate universe to balance this out???
Plus Tirith faced Minus Tirith from the other side of the Anduin, until the Nazgul seized it and it became Minus Morgul. Duh.
This is why Tolkien drew a map.
Oh, and for Sartorius an appreciative
(No, I realize they’re not actually headed for the castle AAaaaarrggghhhh!)
Why do you take the time to tell them how places are suposed to be called, they will renember places like this:
Gondor Land of Aragorn
Minas Tirith White City
have Gmed this confused conversation many, many times…
Minus Tirith. I love it. Great job, Shamus.
What’s particulary funny is…the DM is wrong too! ‘Corsairs’ are the pirates themselves…you might say ‘corsairs’ when you really mean ‘corsair ships’ but it’s not a particular kind of sailing vessel. I’d never seen the “classic gazebo joke” but the same joke appeared in the “Knights Of the Dinner Table” game comic.
My favorite moment: “It doesn’t matter lad” from somewhere below the bottom edge of the window.
i love the look on aragorn’s face in pannel nine (i believe it’s nine…) where it looks like he wants to strike legolas down where he stands.
the whole comic was great, that was just my favorite part for some reason.
Shamus, did you purposely name this strip the same as your XXX strip? Misunderstandings Abound
3 Deoxy: “Funny thing is, EVREYBODY seems to hate this campaign (DM & players, and all have said so before, repeatedly), and yet, they keep playing… ?”
For an interesting write-up of the ‘love the ideal/hate the reality’ phemonenon, see the following:
Alas, my husband and I have each had games where we stomp home after each session and rant about how bad it is.
And yet, we set forth for the next one full of hope, knowing how good it *could* be…
Oh, and good comic, Shamus. :)
Now I find myself trying to think of every “corsair” I can…
Vargr corsairs, The F4U Corsair, A-7 Corsair, the car (from Ford), and so on.
“What's particulary funny is…the DM is wrong too! “˜Corsairs' are the pirates”
Hence the “Don’t you mean galleons?”
I’m no expert on sailing ships, but I’m pretty sure galleons were bigger, with square sails. That joke is that Legolas thinks all sailing ships are galleons, which is kinda like saying that all automobiles are SUVs. I couldn’t tell you what the ships in the film are, but they look decidedly eastern to me, while galleons were western.
Interesting little article over on GeekDad today about D&D – Wired’s Geekdad Blog
At some point, every player around the table thinks “I hate this campaign.”
Usually those moments come for players who are, for the moment, supporting the glory of someone else’s character. For the DM it comes when all the players question his authority en masse.
I love that phrase. Its DMotR’s “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” Those things never get old! :)
Love Aragorn’s expression in the last panel.
Love it that now the DM is complaining that he “hates this campaign.”
And the panel with “It doesn’t matter, lad” coming from an out-of-sight-because-he’s-short Gimli”” that’s just terrific.
And kudos to Purple Library Guy”” “That’s why Tolkien drew a map.” HAHAHAHA!!!
No wonder I’ve started saving this comic and the comments for last each day.
I laughed harder at the DM’s “I hate this campaign” than I have at anything else. I’m getting the eye from my cube-neighbors. Also loved Gimli’s dialogue bubble pointing down to him off screen.
“…and the clueless again shall be king, and he shall take the clueless for his advisors. Now come the days of the king. May he get a clue.”
Aragorn’s expression in the last panel is _perfect_. Nice to hear the DM utter the catchphrase as well. Thanks!
Love it, Shamus! When I read Aragorn’s comments in the top panels, I immediately thought, “GAZEBO!” :-)
I like the subtle Pirates reference from the hot chick.
like others have said, i *love* the panel with gimli talking but not present! awesome!
You are doing an outstanding job! I have enjoyed the whole series so far and don’t want it to end even though it is obviously close to an end. I hope we get more great work in the future. Great strip by the way, the one with the skulls trap is still my favorite.
Not sure I’ve posted before, been reading a while. Great comic, I love it! I’ve had my own gazebo moment as a DM back in high school. The party opened a door onto a room with a chest on the ground on the far side. The room had a green poisonous gas in it as well, which I described as “You see a tint in the air of the room”. I don’t recall the exact dialog at this point, but the party thought it was a tent instead. They thought they had found a magic tent and rushed into the room to figure it out. They were astounded when I asked them to make a save vs poison. Pretty amusing, particularly since I didn’t understand their mistake until they asked whether the tent had attacked them or something.
That’s not really a gazebo moment. Your players just misheard you. A true gazebo moment is when they heard you fine, but have no idea what the word you just used means and try to guess rather than ask.
I’m just impressed that Aragorn remembered the name ‘Gondor’ in the correct context.
I know. I was about to comment. He was finally, technically, right about something. He is going to Gondor.
hehe, confused conversations…
Player: So we going to kill this so and so wizard?
Dm: No that’s the good wizard from town.
Player: So why’s a good wizard trying to take over a dragon?
Dm: He’s not; the evil wizard so and so is trying to take over the celestial dragon.
Player: That’s not the same guy?
Other Player: Why would an evil guy want to take over an evil dragon? Wouldn’t they want to team up to kill us?
Dm: I hate this campaign.
‘Corsairs are Sailing ships’.
I…Think(I’m probably reaching) it’s a slight reference to EA’s The Battle for Middle Earth-‘Corsair’ is used for the ships and the ground units.
Lol! Loved the irony of the DM complaining about his own campaign.
Whoa–I pulled up the comic and the first thing that caught my attention, before even getting to read any dialogue, was a dinasaur and that weird leopard-thing, and I was all huh??? So I actually read it and… it all made sense! Amazing!
(cleaning monitor of water after seeing Gimli’s “below the fold / under the camera” comment)
Yeah, I know … don’t drink while reading DMotR.
Just wanted to add another Corsair to Susano’s list (# 21). In the Robert Conrad TV series “Black Sheep Squadron (or Baa Baa Black Sheep if you prefer) from the 70’s, the pilots flew Corsairs in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
And Shamus, thank you so very much for taking away the ability of stalkers to make the first post … a brilliant solution!
KING OF THE KINGS!!!!!!!!
I haven’t laughed so hard in quite some time. This one was absolutely brilliant, particularly the part about Starcraft (where did you get that screenie? Battlestar Galactica) and the DM saying “I hate this campaign”.
Keep up the good work, Shamus!
Oh man that was sooo funny. I am going to miss this when its over.
So PLEASE Shamus, do Star Wars or I will get everyone who has laughed coffee, cocoa, water or whatever over their pc’s together and sue your ass for damages.
The DM saying “I hate this campaign”.
Brilliant and without peer. What a great laugh I got from that.
-A frustrated GM.
I thought corsairs were a type of airplane.
That’s pretty awesome… course, as soon as I read the first panel, I was waiting to see how long it’d take someone to bring up Starcraft. Glad you didn’t disappoint me on that one. ;)
Version of the “gazebo” joke that I originally heard (though I was led to believe this actually happened), was the “Portuguese” joke. The party was blocked from entering a castle by a Portuguese. They try talking to it, going around it, moving it aside, finally attacking it, all to no avail. Turs out the DM meant to say “Portcullis”.
While I don’t have a dictionary handy to make this irrefutable, the original meaning of the word “corsair” was “pirate”. A corsair could travel in a galleon, a frigate, a caravel, or even a dinghy — the title of the job (I use the term “job” loosely here) was ‘corsair’. It had nothing to do with whatever mode of transport he chose. Later on, though, the word was used for many vehicles. I believe it comes from the French.
OK, I went onto Wiktionary and got this. I hope you are all suitably edified while I go and mend my glasses with some masking tape.
corsair (plural corsairs)
From French corsaire, from French lettre de course, alternative term for letter of marque.
A French privateer, especially from the port of St-Malo
A privateer or pirate in general
1840 “If I had been born a corsair or a pirate, a brigand, genteel highwayman or patriot — and they’re the same thing,” thought Mr. Tappertit, musing among the nine-pins, “I should have been all right. But to drag out a ignoble existence unbeknown to mankind in general — patience! I will be famous yet. “” Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, [Chapter 34.]
The ship of privateers or pirates, especially of French nationality
Turkish Corsair: A barbary pirate, or barbary pirate ship (from Algeria, which was nominally in the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire).
A nocturnal assassin bug of the genus Rasahus, found in the southern USA.
F4U Corsair: A World War II fighter aircraft.
He should have just called them pirates. I’m sure the players know what pirates are.
For those who are not familiar with the Gazebo story, you can find it at
As for corsair, it refers both to the ship and to the pirates. Courtesy Dictionary.com
American Heritage Dictionary – corÂ·sair (kà´r’sà¢r’)
1. A pirate, especially along the Barbary Coast.
2. A swift pirate ship, often operating with official sanction.
Similar definitions from other dictionaries.
Lol. The classic gazebo joke. Reminding all GMs to describe the ships, then call them corsairs. Do it the other way around, and pretty soon they’ll be rolling initiative and attacking inanimate objects. Lucky for them that the ships are full of nasties to kill. ^_^
I never thought about it before, but isn’t the land of Minas Tirith mountainous? Doesn’t that mean these ships are sailing upstream?
Just wanted to add another Corsair to Susano's list (# 21). In the Robert Conrad TV series “Black Sheep Squadron (or Baa Baa Black Sheep if you prefer) from the 70's, the pilots flew Corsairs in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
That’s already on the list – that’s the F4U Corsair.
“doesn’t that mean these ships are sailing upastream?”
Yes indeed. In the narrative they made only slow progress until the wind turned in their favor. The “change in the wind” was noticed by Frodo, the mountain men, Leolas, and others in different parts of the world but at the same time. It was one of the devices that Tolkien used to tie the events together as the fellowship went its many separate ways.
AWESOME! Pure awesome.
Luckily, this kind of thing has yet to come up in my group, but I suppose it is inevitable. :D
I have to say the words “You see a wild Gazebo” did pop into my head as well. I guess some things are just universal. Stellar comic, as usual!
Corsairs are actually a type of particularly vicious pirate in real life.
In Tolkien’s middle-earth, they were a sea-going group of people descended from Black Numenoreans.
Either way, they’re people, not sailing ships, so everybody was wrong.
I’ve just discovered this comic and sat and read the whole thing. Absolutely brilliant – well done! I’m spreading the word by blog and email. Keep it up!
And now I have a referent for the gag behind one of my favorite monster cards in Munchkin!
“No allies are permitted in this combat. You must fight the Gazebo alone.”
Corsairs are actually a type of particularly vicious pirate in real life.
In Tolkien's middle-earth, they were a sea-going group of people descended from Black Numenoreans.
Either way, they're people, not sailing ships, so everybody was wrong.
Um, cf #49 above for dictionary definition — although, etymologically speaking, “corsair” did initially mean the pirates themselves, in modern usage corsairs can, in fact, refer to either the vessel or the pirates aboard it.
Shamus — I’ve been reading for eons, and I think this is the hardest I’ve laughed since the PHP tangent. Marvelous.
Regarding those who thought Gimli was speaking in frame 8…notice that the text is in the same yellow boxes used by the DM. Gimli thought a corsair is a dinosaur; he’s sure not going to come up with the right answer two seconds later. The DM is the one that set them straight.
The DM’s “I hate this campaign” is the first time i have laughed out loud at this comic, sure other have mad grin or even a sort of snorting inside laugh but this litteraly had me in stitches. Increbile comic Shamus
Man, I hate it when work drags me out of town and it takes me this long to catch the comic. Then I end up posting at the bottom, looking like a slacker! I’m glad I checked in though, it’s great today. Panel 9 is great, with Gimli’s bubble popping up from below.
I once told my father the classic gazebo joke. He promptly started singing, “A MIGHTY GAZEBO IS OUR GOD” loudly, in a Thai restaurant. It would’ve been embarrassing if it hadn’t been so funny.
this is just too funny.
You can recognise youve been reading too much of a good comic, when you start saying “I hate this campaign” in real life. Truly i did.
“Flying Air Units” so funny.
where did you get that screenie? Battlestar Galactica
…You mean you don’t KNOW?
Blizzard have finally released info on Starcraft 2, including a long cut-scene with various units-including the Protoss Corsairs. That’s where he likely pulled it from. Do a search on ‘Starcraft 2’ and you should find it.
June 20th, 2007 at 9:50 pm
“Regarding those who thought Gimli was speaking in frame 8…notice that the text is in the same yellow boxes used by the DM. Gimli thought a corsair is a dinosaur; he's sure not going to come up with the right answer two seconds later. The DM is the one that set them straight.”
It’s actually frame 9 and definitely Gimli. A top gag.
Hmmm I notice Shamus is the first to comment on his own strip is this an attempt to combat the scourge of “FIRST!”?
Shamus… any chance I can give you money for an, “I hate this campaign,” t-shirt? Cause, you know, I’d like to.
Panel 8 is the GM, Panel 9 is Gimli. It’s pretty obvious, and also a nice little joke (Gimli being too short to be in the same shot as Aragormless & Prettyelf).
A map would definitely improve things for the poor players. I dread to think how they’ll cope when someone mentions The White City as well…
OMG. I hate to say it, but the gazebo joke actually made me laugh harder than this strip did. XD And here I thought that nothing beat DM of the Rings for amusement value.
Its always a proud moment as a player when you get a dm to say they hate the campaign
This campaign has turned in to Rails & Shooters: LotR Edition. I guess on the plus side, Legolas gets to shoot the director in the head in a bit.
Knew a guy playing his first PC who, on the first enemy presented said, “I charge him with my lance!” It was only then that the rest of them realized he bought himself a lance but had no horse! Guess what his nickname was for several years… Lance, of course!
68 solemndragon Says:
Shamus… any chance I can give you money for an, “I hate this campaign,” t-shirt? Cause, you know, I'd like to.
I see it as pretty simple… The title runs across the chest, and a series of speech balloons are randomly spread below it, with some of the funnier quotes.
Of course, “I hate this campaign.” tops the list.
Why is there so much debate in here over what is coarse hair?
If the DM hates the campaign, does that mean we get to see an actual “Rocks Fall And Everyone Dies” scene?
Or maybe a “More Skulls Fall And Everyone Dies” scene?
One of the lowest points in my DMing career happened when I was running a commercial module and one of my PCs was sneaking peaks at the story, having bought himself a copy of the module. I’d happened to have changed some parts of the module and storyline to better fit the rest of my campaign, and when one of the encounters didn’t go the way he expected, he blurted out, “Hey, that’s not how the encounter was supposed to go, there weren’t supposed to be that many enemies.” I asked him how he knew that, and he admitted sheepishly to having a copy of the module. I picked up all the dice, rolled them, totaled the result and said, “Oh, look, a Bolt From The Blue hits you. Take 235 damage. You can save for half if you can roll a natural 30 on the d20.”
Considering this was 1st ed, it was highly improbable for a non-type V character to have 118 hp, even if you were playing a barbarian. And that’s only if you can *find* a way to roll a natural 30 on a d20 :)) Needless to say he was reduced to a greasy stain in the grass.
I never quite got to the “I Hate This Campaign” part as a DM, but I did lose my cool and kill a player by DM fiat.
Corsair = dog fur.
Great as always. And the Gazebo joke is epic :)
Great comic Shamus!
When dealing with Tolkien, there’s only 1 dictionary that matters: the OED (Oxford English Dictionary). Tolkien himself contributed to that dictionary, and it were the meanings in this dictionary that he used in LotR, and his other books.
And according to the OED:
“¢ noun 1 archaic a pirate. 2 historical a privateer, especially one operating along the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
Sorry Legless, Galleons are square-rigged:
Those ships are clearly Lateen-rigged:
and those are probably Galleass’s:
[hellknight] So you are saying that the only references you will accept as canonical are those written by the user of the words of phrases himself/herself?
How carabatuphillic* of you.
Since the various people who defined this word (seriously) agreed with you, was that just a dictionary snob jab at non-OED citations?
I gotta tell you, for all its much-vaunted (by UK dictionary fans) superiority, the OED adds transient neologisms far too readily these days for it to be bandied about as some sort of lexical bedrock. I accept no definitions as definitive when they come from a book that lists “ho” (in the modern street slang sense) as a legitimate word.
* I’ll define this word later, when I’ve got a job with the OED :o)
[shamus] Will PJ still get his cameo in DMotR? I didn’t catch his last two and this is the final chance for him to “do a Hitchcock” in the strip.
I want to see Aragorn’s expression if the DM ever says that they enter a room with several braziers on the wall. My husband (and DM) always mispronounces it as brassiere, which makes every one snicker.
Thanks for capturing our gaming sessions perfectly. I recently spent half a day reading all the back panels. Thanks.
Manwe: They have more guns than oars that I can see, therefore I doubt they’re galleases (or galleys for that matter).
My best guess would be a fantasy jabeque or other form of lateen-only xebec.
Shamus, I never thought you could make “I hate this campaign” even funnier, but you did!
Or am I an even bigger nerd than I had previously thought?
[Bugsysservant] Quite possibly. QED is the abbreviation of the latin phrase quod eres demonstratum, which roughly means “See? I’m right, aren’t I?” provided, of course, that one plays fast and loose with the translation.
Usually you see it at the bottom of a particularly long equation or a syllogistic argument of some kind.
Personally I’m surprised that there are people surprised that they can breathe… think about it…
Alasseo: Thanks for the clarification. I probably should have seen that coming, especially since I know a good bit of latin. Sigh, all those wated class periods. Ah well.
(Although I don’t think being fluent in latin abbreviations is much of a step above having a competent knowlege of quantum mechanics.)
[buggyservant] I usually use QED to throw the fact that I am missing the point into harsh relief and invite retributive responses from the cheap seats. I was told it meant “Quite Easily Done” by a vindictive teacher when I was about nine. This abuse has warped me forever and is directly to blame for my fond
Sometimes I am posting in my grumpy knowitall old sod persona. You can tell when I do this by the fact I’m wearing a pig’s bladder hat. When I’m being serious I wear a pig’s bladder hat and carry a machine gun.
Appologies for the confusion.
My fond nothing it would seem. Dunno what happened there. Shame really. There were about six lines of truly beautiful explanitory prose that deconstructed my so-called sense of humour for all to see, a Rosetta Stone to my psyche if you will.
Oh well, never mind.
i’ve never player starcraft but i’ve played Warcraft, which is close enough.
BTW. NO MERCY FOR THE SERVER!!!
can we hit 100 comments? once plzplzplz.
Long time lurker, first time poster.
With all due respect, Alasseo, but I’m afraid it would be Quod Erat Demonstrandum — “what was to be proved”. And, as far as i can trust my Latin, there’s even no verb form “eres”.
And the comic – great as ever!
Nope.. 100 is right out.
ALL HAIL STARCRAFT!
Don’t you guys get it? It’s all an afflictive addiction!
They love and hate the campaign, as they love and hate each other (especially the hot chick) and the script and the dialogues and the DM, and ditto… etc.
– no wonder the characters are desperate
First post and all that, but damn – the strip is fantastic (I only found out about it because of Lore’s “Slumbering Lungfish” blog) and the link to the old Gazebo joke killed me.
Seriously, this is great stuff. I may have to hunt down this comic book maker program and see if I can’t make it part of the curriculum for English…
Couple points to the discussion…
Given the emphasis in the comic, it could be argued that the GM meant sailing as a verb rather than an adjective- that is, not that they are ships for sailing, but that a bunch of pirates are sailing ships (right at you).
Secondly… weren’t the corsairs in Starcraft anti-air only? Well, I suppose they had that ability to stun installations, but nothing for attacking ground units. So they really had nothing to worry about there.
Wait, isn’t a Corsair a rear-engine Chevy?
Pure beauty. I was waiting and waiting for this moment – a moment every DM has had during a campaign when the players drive him to the comment, “I hate this campaign.” – so many times haha, so true.
Of course that’s when I usually go grab the chainsaw from the garage.
“Corsairs are flying units” is going to keep me giggling all day. (I’m a Tolkien fan, not a gamer, so StarCraft is the only one of all the games thus far mentioned (including D&D) that I’ve actually played).
As a Johnny-come-lately, I wonder if Shamus knew the Coeurl is from Final Fantasy XI?
I keep recommending this comic to other people. I just need to somehow convince my DM to also read it…
Way, I’m beginning to think that Aragorn and the DM are thinking along the same lines. This campaign must be pretty damn tough to be hated by so many. XD
This comic gives me whiplash
I LOVE how the DM responded, that was PERFECT!!! XD Super well done!
I realize that this was published over a year ago, but i just can’t get over Frame 5. Legolas’ face is just perfect for what he’s “saying”, and the way Aragorn is looking at Legolas in the 9th fram is beyond priceless. This is by far my fav comic :)
Great job with the trilogy, i hope something else is next :)
I read the story of the Dread Gazebo a few years back in Dragon Magazine and i’m prety sure the who;e party felt for it,attack and raided every gazebo in the kingdom(something to do with a falling gazebo roof on a PC)Angering the DM so mutch that he summoned a great Gazebo god to smithe them…
or it just stoped short of that,i have an enourmous stack of Dragon mags to short trough’sigh’
First of all, the OED does not define the word “ho”; the OED2 does. While might seem like a trivial distinction, precision of usage is basic to my point.
You need to understand that the OED / OED2 is primarily a research work — possibly the largest research project on the English language ever undertaken. While it gives definitions, the crucial part of the work is the citations — showing examples of how each word in English is used, in every definition, in every century. Since “ho” is used in that way in the 21st century, it should and will be listed in the OED2.
The citations will show you what kind of use and what kind of user, but since it is in common use in the English language, somebody sees it in print and doesn’t know what it means should have a way to find out.
That was so epic.
Do you play FFXI? (panel 2)
I learned to draw mainly for that exact reason. I still can’t do it over well but I can at least make people understand what the monster they’re fighting looks like.
I love the fact that Legolas, for all his airheadedness, is the only one in the group that plays RTS. Also I’ve totally known guys like that, and Legolas is ESPECIALLY the kind to only build Carriers in starcraft 1. lol
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