DM of the Rings CXXV:
Faux Pas

By Shamus Posted Monday Jul 16, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 89 comments


Gimli still wants to help Merry and Eowyn.
The king of the dead returns.

I have to admit that King Carcass has a point: There were a lot of kings in that particular fight. There was Theoden, Aragorn, the Nine, and the king of the dead. It was pretty much the who’s who of who’s dead in Middle Earth. Everyone who was anyone showed up, posthumously.

 


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89 thoughts on “DM of the Rings CXXV:
Faux Pas

  1. Shamus says:

    First Tops
    First Spot
    Rifts Tops
    Rift Posts
    Fits Sport
    Profs Tits
    Soft Trips
    Oft Strips

    1. josh says:

      YOU SHALL NOT PASS !!!!!!!!!

      1. Darkstarr says:

        Shouldn’t that be, “You shall mot post!”?

    2. Conor says:

      You were lucky no one beat you to the first post.

  2. Phlux says:

    Fabulous first post. Anagrams are fun!

  3. Ken says:

    10 post! (2 in Binary)

    Great as usual, Shamus.

    (Of course, the *real* challenge is getting a post from 18-20, in the threat range, then getting a follow on post to confirm the kill!)

  4. sleepyfoo says:

    And the comic was good as well.

  5. NeedsToHeal says:

    Profs Tits??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    A while back, someone posted how funny “Hi” is. The “Oh Hi” bit cracked me up. And the “Yet” bit.

    Small little words can make a heapful of humor.

  6. Though King Carcass had no fricking business *being* in that fight– one of my least favorite changes from the book.

    All the emotional weight of the Battle of Pelennor Fields got stripped away by Jackson indulging his inner shlock-horrormeister and letting the undead army run comically roughshod over the orcish army, with the necessary consequence that, say, the ride of the Rohirrhim and Theoden’s death were just pointless wastes.

  7. Al Shiney says:

    “I think those two are central to the plot. I’m sure they’ll live.”

    And hilarious laughter and beverage-snarfing ensues. I for one would NEVER think of writing a script … err, plot … for a D&D game (anybody in my group reading this keep your opinions to yourself!)

    Even better tho was the “That dude looks … upset” line and relevant screen cap. Shamus, I bow in your general direction.

  8. Evrae says:

    I hate when players asume you can’t kill a NPC cause “their central to the plot” cause normally there right. :-(

  9. Zaghadka says:

    It’s fun to imagine this DM screaming “AHHHHHHH!” and “NOOOOOO!” at the table. It’s SO undignified. Frothing even. Star Wars d20 anyone?

    The DM has failed his SAN check for the last time.

  10. The trick to dealing with players who are convinced an NPC is protected by The Plot is to prove them wrong. Kill off the unlucky soul and let the players deal with the fall out.

    Captain Sheridan is dead? Oh dear. Looks like Ivanova is going to have to take charge, and she says you have to go to Z’ha’dum with a nuclear weapon, it isn’t all bad though, she has packed you a picnic basket.

  11. brassbaboon says:

    Wouldn’t it be “Frost Pist”?

    Don’t forget all the princes roaming around. Legolas was an elven prince, the Prince of Dol Goldur, Eomer, Farimir and the Halfling Prince… plus a bonus Princess on the battlefield. This makes for a serious royal party.

    I too hated the undead roaming around the battlefield like an avenging tide. It took all the drama away from the Ride of the Rohrirrim, and made it seem like all you needed to do to beat Sauron was call up an undead army. Why didn’t Aragorn just send them into Mordor? They seemed to be absolutely invincible after all.

    Of course, that just brings up the ultimate question, why didn’t the Fellowship jump on nine eagles and fly to Mt. Doom and drop the ring in?

    1. fantasywind says:

      They don’t use the army of the Dead cause you know sending ,,undead” to the land of a guy who is a….Necromancer isn’t exactly bright idea (especially when the Dead worshipped Sauron at one point :), then they do not use Eagles for the clear enough reasons…they would get killed and the huge fliers in the sky of mordor filled with ash and poisonous fumes where there are evil flying creatures, Eye of Sauron watches, there are orcs who can shoot them (just as Eagles feared men wielding bows in The Hobbit) and there are other difficulties from logistics (what those huge birds would eat there, when they hunt they can catch a whole sheep or even something bigger :) to difficulty of passing through mountains of Shadow where according to gondorians Dark Lord GOVERNS THE STORMS, and how would they resist the power of the Ring (not to mention other magical ways of protection (Silent Watchers you know those statues which made magical barriers at entrance to fortresses and sensed the intruders from far off and could even sound the alarm :) ) and the fact that they would have to land cause Ring can be destroyed only in the cracks of Doom not the peak of volcano, you must actually ENTER through the door Sauron made and landing of something so big would be seen by some patrols along the way even before they would land, the fact that the Eagles have to rest sometimes and Mordor is really large area it’s better to sent small child sized superstealthy figure in magical cloaks which allow to blend in environment at few paces who later can DRESS UP AS ORCS and avoid patrols on the roads, mingling in buzzling with activity interior of Black Land :).

  12. It’s even better if you manage to project to the characters that THEY are not central to the plot and you have no bones about killing them, either. Although it’s pretty amazing how dumb people will be even after you’ve killed their characters off a few times.

    Conclusion: You cannot threaten people into acting intelligently. Either they’re going to act intelligently, or they arent.

  13. Keldin says:

    Too blasted funny — I had a player who always skipped to the end of a plotline and in reality couldn’t role play his way out of a paper bag — he’d kill NPCs who even looked at him funny and others he wouldn’t touch because he was sure they were “plot central”. I’ve never played Call of Chthulu but I know all about SAN checks from playing with this guy.

  14. The Gneech says:

    There were more kings there in the book if memory serves — but fewer dead ones.

    -TG

  15. MarkB says:

    Gotta agree with Jacob there. Aragorn’s undead army never made it to the battle in the novel, and the change in the movie lost us one of the most pivotal emotional moments of the books – that point where, just as all seems lost, the existing forces on the field leaderless and outnumbered, reinforcements sailing up the river en masse in black-sailed ships, SUDDENLY everything turns out right as the White Tree banner unfurls on the lead ship and Aragorn joins the field leading all the Gondorian troops he’s picked up along the voyage up-river.

    Sure, it requires the resolution of the paths-of-the-dead plot to be filled in as flashback, but Jackson managed much the same thing in the first movie with Gandalf’s escape from Orthanc, so it was definitely doable.

  16. superfluousk says:

    Well, I suppose you could say that since Eomer became king after Theoden died, he was a king and he lived… I’m not sure he should count tho.

  17. John says:

    “Your the only one whos not dead… Yet” I hate it when a DM dose that. It is realy worrying…

  18. Paulus says:

    In the threat range. Now can I confirm the crit?

  19. Marmot says:

    The impressively fun “NOOOOOOOOOO” by Eomer was one of the best screenshots of late. LOL

  20. Scarlet Knight says:

    I’m sorry, Jacob T. Levy & Mark B., “the ride of the Rohirrhim and Theoden's death were just pointless wastes” is wrong.

    Theoden didn’t ride because he could win. He NEVER thought they had a chance to win. They fought because it was their duty to fight, because an ally needed them, & because it was right; perhaps a very archaic belief. Whether it was undead or any other army pouring out of the ships was irrelevant. They were happy to win, but they would have fought anyway, that’s why they’re heros…

  21. Kassious says:

    A Penny For Your Thoughts: A Numbskull’s Guide to D&D

    Look through all your comments and think about it Shamus. You could make yourself a little book on how to run and play D&D.

  22. Kevin says:

    I’m with Jacob and Mark. In the book, the orcish army was defeated by living people, not some invincible army. Thus, in the book had the Rohirrim not come the good guys would probably have lost, so Theoden died to save Gondor. In the movie Theoden’s sacrifice, while honorable, was completely unnecessary–akin to the death of a soldier in the Phillipines in August 1945 in the days immediately after Hiroshima was nuked.

    The other thing wrong about it is that in the book the only power of the army of the Dead was fear–the men on the ships panicked and jumped into the water. Thus, had the dead been directed against a regular land army, the soldiers might have scattered it, but in a number of hours the army would have reformed.

    Fun comic, by the way. I’m both eager to see how it wraps, and loath to think about the days where I don’t get my thice/week fix.

  23. xbolt says:

    “Oh, hi.”

    Whenever that line appears in anything, I start laughing.

    Today was no exception. :D

  24. Atanamir says:

    “Don't forget all the princes roaming around. Legolas was an elven prince, the Prince of Dol Goldur, Eomer, Farimir and the Halfling Prince…”

    Dol Amroth, I think you mean, not Dol Guldur. If you’re referring to Imrahil.

    And you make a good point; there were quite a lot of nobles hacking and slashing. To be nitpicky, Eomer, Faramir, and Pippin weren’t _exactly_ princes. Eomer was Theoden’s heir, but never actually called a prince. Faramir was the son of the Steward, but wasn’t Princified until after Aragorn became King. Pippin was the son of the Thain. That’s the closest the hobbits have to a Prince, and the Gondorians beleived he was, but I took the Thain of the Shire to be more of a Steward than a King. However, the title “Prince” seems to be given out a lot more readily in Middle-Earth. Imrahil’s one, yet he has no claim on the Kingship. The standard European nobility heierarchy (Duke, Marquis, etc.) never appears.

    I too was dissapointed by the movie version of the dead army. The question in the comic is, will Aragorn hold their oath fulfilled? I’m doubting it. He’ll want to keep them as long as possible and also to try to convince the DM that he should get the XP from their kills.

  25. Al Shiney says:

    I missed the “OH, HI” the first time through, but seriously enjoy each subsequent use of it. I keep wondering when the ultimate payoff is going to be, but don’t want to let my imagination spoil the fun of whatever Shamus has dreamed up for the final “OH, HI”. Hmmm, it may be time to start taking bets for it though.

    Shamus, you OK with us slobbering DMoTR-addicted idiots trying to guess where it’ll be … or should we just shut up and wait?

  26. Theoden didn't ride because he could win. He NEVER thought they had a chance to win. They fought because it was their duty to fight, because an ally needed them, & because it was right; perhaps a very archaic belief.

    Self-righteous much?

    You can think all those things and still think that you should fight efficiently– your goal isn’t to die, it’s to kill the other guy and help your ally. Faced with a choice between “the enemy army is entirely defeated” and “the enemy army is entirely defeated at a cost of 2000 of your soldiers and your king,” you pick the former, if only to be able to fight more effectively another day. “The right thing” and “duty” don’t demand dying completely pointlessly– if they did, the riders would have gone to battle without armor or weapons. The books’ heroic leaders never squander their men’s lives pointlessly just to feel good about having done their duty; the use of military force is always a means to an end for them.

    As others have said: in the book, Rohan’s presence was absolutely necessary for the victory. In the movie, Rohan’s presence was ultimately irrelevant– lots of Riders died, and the enemy was no more defeated than they would have been otherwise.

  27. Karaden says:

    I suppose this really belongs a few comics back with the wasted crits thing, but it took me a while to get around to putting it into words:

    Now then, by probability, a d20 should have an equal chance of rolling any particular number, so in theory if rolled 20 times, it should roll each number 1-20 once. This however is shown to almost never be the case. Even a single error is made rather large by proportion. Now then, when rolled 100 times, each number should come up five times, and in practice you are closer to this then when rolling 20 times. So, expand it out indefinitely, and you get closer and closer to achieving a perfect spread of numbers.

    So, using this, we can assume that for each 20 you roll, you’ll have to eventually roll one of every other number in order to reach this perfect spread, so, for each 20 you roll, you must roll a 1, as well as everything else, but a one specifically. Thus, even though there is no ‘d20 gas’ as someone put it, it does stand to reason that you can ‘burn out’ of 20s by shifting the spread too heavily to the 20, and the spread requiring evening out by rolling other numbers several times. Granted you can’t guarantee that it will begin evening out at any particular point, you do know that it will happen.

    On an extra note, thanks to the good old double slit experiment we can assume that die rolls not seen do not count towards this average, as they may very well land with all 20 numbers up when we aren’t watching.

    So, enough about d20s…
    I do have to admit I always thought it kind of odd in the books that Aragorn didn’t do exactly what he did in the movie. I mean he goes through all that trouble getting the ghosts on his side and then steals a ship with them and says ‘Ok, good enough, you can go now’ I mean sure, they couldn’t have hurt anyone during the siege, but the could have scattered and demoralized the enemy quite well, which is what the ship changing flags did. Then again, the ghosts would have likely scared Aragorn’s allies just as much as the orcs.

    Ok, that was more then long enough, good reading.

  28. Sartorius says:

    Thus, even though there is no “˜d20 gas' as someone put it, it does stand to reason that you can “˜burn out' of 20s by shifting the spread too heavily to the 20, and the spread requiring evening out by rolling other numbers several times. Granted you can't guarantee that it will begin evening out at any particular point, you do know that it will happen.

    Assuming you weren’t being facetious, this is called the Monte Carlo fallacy. The outcome of any individual dice roll has no power to “command” the future to average out, and offers no predictive insight into any other roll. Theoretically, you should not be terribly surprised to roll 5 20s in a row – sure, there was a 1 in 3,200,000 chance of that happening, but there was also a 1 in 3,200,000 chance of any other combination of 5 numbers coming up. The first couple 20s didn’t compel the last three numbers to be lower.

  29. Caius says:

    I have to give props to the player and DM. Normally our group would be bored by now, and would be playing something else. Oh wait, that did happen

  30. Vinchenze says:

    d31 i rolled a 31 on th d31

  31. QueenMAB says:

    As usual, absolutely brilliant Shamus!
    And the usual warning to all not to read while at work…..I was answering the phone when I hit the “I think those two are central to the plot. They’ll live.” Then, how to explain the uncontrollable laughter as the line connects…Thankfully, most people calling me need something rather than the other way around.

  32. Dan says:

    Oh hi.

    More o’ those, please.

    Back in my Rolemaster days when one lucky shot could take down a dinosaur, I took a poison dart pot shot at a “central” NPC. Just “testing my equipment” my character protested, but the NPC died, and oddly, so did my character not long after that…

  33. bruce says:

    In response to 27 Jacob T. Levy:

    I think you missed the point. When Theoden rode over the hill, saw the enemy and realised he didn’t have enough troops to defeat them he didn’t go “Bugger that, there’s too many, we’re off”.

    It’s a matter of honour, bravery and integrity. He promised to fight and aid his ally and he did, even when it was at great cost. His sacrifice delayed and disrupted the enemy until reinforcements arrived – whether they came in the form of undead hoard (which I thought was stupid and anti-climiatic) or aragorn’s army (true to the books).

  34. Giggglius says:

    In response to the fact that the word “yet” is funny . . .

    “Eleventy Billion Dollars isn’t even a number!”
    “Yet”

    Of course, DM of the rings cemented its numerality some time ago. I guess Keanu won that fight with Trebek . . .

    http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=721

  35. standgale says:

    “…that point where, just as all seems lost, the existing forces on the field leaderless and outnumbered, reinforcements sailing up the river en masse in black-sailed ships, SUDDENLY everything turns out right as the White Tree banner unfurls on the lead ship and Aragorn joins the field leading all the Gondorian troops he's picked up along the voyage up-river.”

    Actually, that sounds pretty cool. And I hate lord of the rings. (I just like this comic).

  36. Sartorious said: “Assuming you weren't being facetious, this is called the Monte Carlo fallacy. The outcome of any individual dice roll has no power to “command” the future to average out, and offers no predictive insight into any other roll.”

    Why is this called the “Monte Carlo” fallacy? The first “Man that broke the bank at Monte Carlo” noticed that one of the roulette wheels had a defective spindle and was coming up some numbers more frequently than others. It should be called the “Fallacy for people that bet at Monte Carlo and aren’t smart enough to cheat”.

  37. eccles says:

    Jennifer Snow said: Conclusion: You cannot threaten people into acting intelligently. Either they're going to act intelligently, or they arent.

    And the complication when it comes to roleplaying games is that picking up a character sheet seems to have the effect of halving your IQ. :)

  38. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Self-righteous much?”

    I'm not sure; what's the acceptable level of self-righteousness?

    Bruce #34 put it well; we have the benefit of hindsight. Théoden had no idea who was coming out of the ships, just like Aragorn had no idea he wasn't going to be killed on the Paths of the Dead.
    Also, in the movie, all plans were likely to fail. All anyone had was (if I remember correctly) what Gandalf described as “A fool's hope”.

    I wonder, if the undead army HAD marched into Mordor, would Sauron have had the power to turn them to his side?

  39. SSMcBeattie says:

    38 eccles Says:
    July 16th, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    “And the complication when it comes to roleplaying games is that picking up a character sheet seems to have the effect of halving your IQ. :)”

    Nice one Centurion ;)

  40. Sartorius says:

    Why is this called the “Monte Carlo” fallacy?

    If memory serves, there was a famous incident in the 1920s when a roulette wheel at Monte Carlo came up black something like 22 times in a row. As this went on, it caused a near-riot of people jostling to bet on red, because red was obviously “due”. Believing that the past performance of the wheel (landing frequently on black) would somehow “force” it to come up red in the future is the Monte Carlo fallacy – the same term generally applies to any similar belief about probability (such as that a d20, having rolled a 20, is now likely to make up for it in future by rolling a 1).

  41. Miftov says:

    As always the comic is coming along quite well indeed. I am not going to even put in my 2 cents about the royalty thing. I also am going to stay out of the was it a waste for Theodin to charge or not, but I will put in something about the D20. A dice is a random number generator that is why we use them for these games. There are odds of what numbers will come up, but for the most part that is only important for you to decided how good a chance you are going to succed so you can say I can do this and roll the dice or say hell with that is there an easier target or something better I could do instead. We all have our own little superstitions about our dice and the karam we have with them, but when it comes down to it you have as good a chance that any number on the die coming up as you do any other number on it coming on a 20 you have a one in 20 chance any given number is going to come up every time you roll it and that is the way it goes it is a random number generator so unless it is made defectivly or loaded it will always be just a random number on the die.

    But the superstitions and theories as well as the love for gaming is what keeps us all rolling them in our own little ways.

  42. The Old Master says:

    I personally love the d2 (coin). Flip it. Did you hit? No? …NEXT!

  43. Merrigold says:

    >>> in the book, Rohan's presence was absolutely necessary for the victory. In the movie, Rohan's presence was ultimately irrelevant”“ lots of Riders died, and the enemy was no more defeated than they would have been otherwise.

    Does my memory deceive me? Seems to me that Eowyn and Merry rode with the Riders (in disguise). So even if King Tut & Co. drove their living opponents off the field in terror, temporarily, they couldn’t have taken out the Naz-Ghoul who was capable of striking both terror and cold steel into the hearts of whatever-good-guys-were-about. In both cases Theoden and others die, but in both cases Eowyn & Merry being there is essential to taking down one of Sauron’s chief lieutenants.

    Alas, I can’t think about what I’ve just written without helplessly imagining a face-off between Undead (King) and Undead (Nazgul), both of them saying in high squeaky voices “Our CHIEF weapon is… ”

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition :-)

  44. Love it, Love it, Love it!

    “You’re doing what now?”

    Classic Beyond words man.
    Three thumbs up :D

  45. Jeremy says:

    Firsts Pot
    Firsts Opt
    Firsts Top
    First Stop
    First Opts
    First Tops
    First Spot
    First Post
    First Pots
    Rifts Stop
    Rifts Opts
    Rifts Tops
    Rifts Spot
    Rifts Post
    Rifts Pots
    Rift Stops
    Rift Spots
    Rift Posts
    Fists Port
    Sifts Port
    Fist Strop
    Fist Sport
    Fist Ports
    Sift Strop
    Sift Sport
    Sift Ports
    Fits Strop
    Fits Sport
    Fits Ports
    Fit Sports
    Fit Strops
    Profs Tits
    Frosts Pit
    Frosts Tip
    Frost Tips
    Frost Spit
    Frost Pits
    Forts Tips
    Forts Spit
    Forts Pits
    Fort Spits
    Soft Trips
    Soft Strip
    Oft Strips

  46. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Funny,but I enjoyed the first conversation about helping or not the NPCs much more than the second one.Also,it really was quite weird how no one in the movies went to help the wounded(except for the hobbit,that is).Like they simply didnt care.

    PS:Call me a child for this,but Prof’s tits?Thats hillarious!

  47. J.J. Binks says:

    Great work as always!

    I especially like how “comic-relief” Gimli is being tranformed into “voice-of-reason” Gimli. Makes so much more sense this way… Now, if anyone could make a web comic on StarWars: Episode 1, I’d be eternally grateful!

    Yoursa truly, J.J.

  48. Anonymous Botch says:

    I much prefer the Gimli in your strips to the comic relief Gimli in the films.
    Incidentally does anyone know when the convention that all Dwarves are Scottish started?

  49. Zippy Wonderdog says:

    Theodin wasn’t really worried about being outnumbered, you see the thing about huge armies is that well they are huge.
    He only had to concern himself with fighting the first dozen or so ranks and not along the whole length of the army either.
    The advantage of cavalry is that it is a hammer to the enemies anvil and the guys stuck in between are jammmed tight, can’t fight effectively and start panicing.
    Then theres the fact that the leadership of the army of Mordor was taken out pretty early in the fight.
    After that the army started crumbling, helped along by pain enraged oliphants and the reinforcements wheather living or undead.
    Really the only advantage of a big army is in a seige where you can send wave after wave of fresh troops against weary defenders.
    Oh course that didn’t happen because the gates of gondor where apparently made of dry rotten wood (like those of Helms Deep, you know the kings ought to have a word with their contractors…) and practicly cracked at the first swing of the ram.

  50. Jack says:

    I like the undead king more and more! :)

    For the record, I think he’s exaggerating by one; Eomer was named heir first, so when Theoden died, he became king, right? And not actually dead, despite crying “Death” and leading suicide charges. (That moment is the tingliest bit in the whole book.)

  51. Salen says:

    So many kings and royal types are ending up dead in this campaign. Wait till the adventurers find out what Gandolf has been up to.

  52. Bex's says:

    Fabbo, wonderful, bravo :D
    Bex’s
    xxx

  53. Psalm of Chaos says:

    Let us not forget the king of the Easterlings! The one Theoden killed personally and was the reason why he and his guard were isolated from the main host, leaving the vulnerable to the Witch-King….

    Sorry if someone beat me to the punch on that one^^’

    Great comic, as always

  54. RogerR says:

    In RE: 49 Anonymous Botch: not sure when dwarves became Scottish, but Raymond Feist’s Midkemian dwarves are obviously Scottish and have been for his whole series. I think that was published around 1990(?).

    Tolkein’s dwarves never sounded like Scots in _my_ head.

  55. Lonster says:

    In statistics circles, your Monte Carlo fallacy is summed up by saying, “There is no Law of Averages”.

  56. Nogard_Codesmith says:

    >49 Anonymous Botch Says:
    >July 17th, 2007 at 3:44 am
    >Incidentally does anyone know when the convention that all >Dwarves are Scottish started?

    Its the only “gruff sounding” accent most of us can do.

  57. Scarlet Knight says:

    I wonder if it has to do with Ren Faires? DM's needed to create voices that sounded period , not foreign, but weren't as difficult as Elizabethan English. Ren Faires gave us an idea of what sounds acceptable. At the same time, Star Trek's Scotty gave people a template to use. So Scot accents were used for hard working serious characters- perfect for dwarves. Irish accents were fine for rogues & rascals; at least in so many Hollywood movies (ie Quiet Man, Master of Ballantrae) Cockney for low peasants (ie fishmongers,etc.) . No one knows what a Welsh accent is like perhaps because none are used in Hollywood. That also explains why so many people can do Monty Python voices. The drawback is that, although the accents are legit, every thinks “Python”, just like Liverpool accents are easy to do, but every thinks, “Beatle”.

  58. Matyas says:

    Another great one Shamus! I love Aragorn’s nervous look in the penultimate panel.

  59. Starsong says:

    But … I’m caught up? I just started reading these yesterday, now what am I gonna do at work instead of work?

    Seriously, I haven’t seen the movies (not a Tolkein fan) so maybe it’s easier to see this as a game. Sounds like a lot of the stuff the guys and I have pulled over the years. My husband and I met when I sat in on his gaming group about twenty years ago, to see what this “D&D” was that I’d heard so much about.

  60. oldschoolGM says:

    Scarlet Knight Said:
    I wonder, if the undead army HAD marched into Mordor, would Sauron have had the power to turn them to his side?

    Highly unlikely. As far as I recall Sauron never displayed any particular talent for controlling undead. Sure he commanded the Ringwraiths, but that was through the very specific agent of the Nine Rings. The spirits from the Paths of the Dead were only still hanging around Middle Earth because they swore an oath taking Eru as a witness (something that almost never turns out well in Tolkien’s world). They failed to live up to the oath during their lifetimes and so were cursed by Eru to stick around until they could make good on their end of the contract, so to speak. If anything, it seems to me they would have been more resistant to manipulation and being cowed by the Eye of Sauron than any mortal would be, being essentially beyond his sphere of influence.

    GREAT comic this time around Shamus! “You’re doing what now?” Comedy gold right there.

  61. Nogard_Codesmith says:

    Scarlet Knight:
    I think you are on to something with the source of scottish dwarves being Ren Faires. I’m a Ren Rat myself (well i used to be and probably will be again someday) and it is the source of most of my accent attempts.

  62. Morgana says:

    In a previous strip, the one about the monotony of fighting orcs and the absurdity of dungeons where all kind of evil creatures dwell, Shamus mentioned there should be a webcomic making fun of such a dungeon. So i am delighted to introduce one of my favorite webcomics to another: DM of the Rings meet Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, at http://yafgc.shipsinker.com/

    Enjoy!

  63. Parzival says:

    “[Theoden’s] sacrifice delayed and disrupted the enemy until reinforcements arrived – whether they came in the form of undead hoard (which I thought was stupid and anti-climiatic) or aragorn's army (true to the books).”

    Bingo. The charge of the Rohirrim was not a waste, either in book or film. Remember, at the point when the Rohirrim arrived, the army of Mordor had just breached the gates and were pouring into Minas Tirith. The Rohirrim attack disrupted this assault, drawing the vast majority of Mordor’s forces away from the city, relieving pressure on the defenders and doubtless saving the lives of thousands of civilians”” which is exactly what soldiers are supposed to do! (At least, the noble ones.) Had the Rohirrim not attacked, Aragorn might have arrived to do nothing more with his forces (undead or not) except revenge a horrible massacre. The men of Rohan did not die in vain.

    Oh, and the reason there are so many nobles on the battlefield is because it’s a medieval/ancient battle. Read up on historical battles from this time period”” the fields are literally littered with aristocrats because that’s who the officers were. (Indeed, this condition lasted up until the 20th century in European armies.) Also, Tolkien was writing in the tradition of epic literature (The Iliad, The Aeneid, The Bible, etc., etc.,), which regularly describe battles boasting kings and princes galore. Remember, up until the late 17th century, a king’s primary duty was to lead his forces into battle. It took gunpowder to convince kings (and their ministers) that this was generally a bad idea for the head of state…

  64. damien walder says:

    I’m with Merrigold (from Rivendell?), I think the DM will try to trump the fannish exposition by driving the players crazy for a change. Of course it won’t work. Most of these players are too glib to even be jaded.

    Albatros trumps Eagles!

  65. rosignol says:

    But … I'm caught up? I just started reading these yesterday, now what am I gonna do at work instead of work?

    Google ‘oots’ and enjoy.

    ;-)

  66. Ben says:

    On accents: At least for the movie, the accents of the various characters (Gimli, certainly, but also the Hobbits) were, I understand, chosen because of the cultural cues it would give to an English-speaking audience. Gimli has a Socttish accent because they’re thought to be earthy and have a kind of grounded out-doorsey wisdom (I realize this is a horrible description of the stereotype). Similar decisions went on when giving the Hobbits various accents to cue “country” or “upper class” etc.

    Now… I can’t speak to Dwarves having Scottish accents anywhere else. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if people were doing a similar thing subconsciously. They think, “This character needs an accent,” and the one that is associated with a similar stereotype in their head seems to be most natural to them.

  67. Mitey Heroes says:

    “The horse dude”? He had a great screencap.

    The Monte Carlo thing works out fine as long as you keep doubling your stake. It’s not a high-profit game, but you don’t loose as long as you have enough cash to back yourself up.

  68. Keldin says:

    Ben, if you read oots, you’ll find a Scottish dwarf! As for if Tolkein thought dwarfs (that’s how he pluralized it, isn’t it?) would have Scottish accents, I have no clue.

  69. Gammahorton says:

    Regarding “dwarfs” vs “dwarves” – I have always heard that it is Tolkien who started (or popularized?) using “dwarves” instead of the usual “dwarfs”. For instance, the 1937 Disney movie is “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.

  70. dr. duck says:

    that whole “f for singular, v for plural” thing is throughout English language and is often ignored, I think. Roof/rooves as an example. But knife/knives, hoof/hooves, and I am sure there are more that we learn to use without asking why. I think dwarf/dwarves is in that category, and of course Tolkien’s “business” was language. However, that thing up near the roof is not an eaf, is it?

    Actually, I just wanted to chime in on the evolution of Gimli from buffoon to voice of conscience. Yeah !

    And “You’re doing what now?” *snort*

  71. Al Shiney says:

    >

    What, have you forgotten Klingon? There isn’t anything more “gruff” than that!

  72. oldschoolGM says:

    Gammahorton Says: Regarding “dwarfs” vs “dwarves” – I have always heard that it is Tolkien who started (or popularized?) using “dwarves” instead of the usual “dwarfs”. For instance, the 1937 Disney movie is “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.

    He didn’t invent it, as “dwarves” goes back much further than that according to the OED (as Tolkien, a philologist who was an editor for the OED for a period would have known). He almost certainly IS responsible for popularizing the term, however, especially in fantasy fiction. Almost all fantasy uses “dwarves” following Tolkien, while other usages will use “dwarfs” as in “white dwarfs” in astronomy. Tolkien himself makes comment about “dwarves” sounding less silly than “dwarfs” in the introduction at the beginning of some editions of “The Hobbit”.

  73. jabbers says:

    I am waiting for the rediculous sceen in which golem bites of the finger of the invisible frodo.

    What DC does it take to bite off an invisible persons finger in combat.

    this entire scean was one of the unrealisic, It was probably just an excuse to use the special effects,

    perhaps this should have been employed against the elephant’s toes.

  74. Zippy Wonderdog says:

    Another reason why battles seemed to be all about nobles was because they where the “movie stars” of their time.
    You didn’t want to here ballads about the poor peasents in the first rank.

  75. DnD n00b says:

    Re:post 25 by Atanamir
    The hobbit on the field of battle was Merry, not Pippin.
    Being a Brandybuck, Merry had no pretensions to being a hobbit prince.

  76. Doug Lampert says:

    “However, the title “Prince” seems to be given out a lot more readily in Middle-Earth. Imrahil's one, yet he has no claim on the Kingship. The standard European nobility heierarchy (Duke, Marquis, etc.) never appears.”

    That’s basically the French system you’re giving to all of Europe. Prince ORIGINALLY meant basically the same thing as King, but was traditionally given to rulers of smaller regions.

    The nominal ruler of Monaco is still a prince to this day.

    If you check the dictionary several definitions of Prince will refer to it as an independent noble title which may be held by either an independent ruler or a subject ruler. Giving it to the King’s children is actually a courtesy title just as a Duke’s heir will sometimes have a nominal title as a count.

  77. Toil3T says:

    “1 Shamus:
    July 16th, 2007 at 6:36 am

    First Tops
    First Spot
    Rifts Tops
    Rift Posts
    Fits Sport
    Profs Tits
    Soft Trips
    Oft Strips

    Show-off. 79!

    But you have a good point. So many undead kings. I’d hate to think of Aragormless coming back to haunt Middle-Earth.

  78. serenitybane says:

    “AHHHHHHHH!” “NOOOOOOO!”
    Those two lines had me laughing up a storm!

  79. Ross says:

    “that dude looks….. upset.”
    funniest thing there i’m serious apart from the whole
    “lets go kill us an undead king”
    “youre doing what now??”

  80. silver Harloe says:

    “…that point where, just as all seems lost, the existing forces on the field leaderless and outnumbered, reinforcements sailing up the river en masse in black-sailed ships, SUDDENLY everything turns out right as the White Tree banner unfurls on the lead ship and Aragorn joins the field leading all…”

    whether it’s the undead or Gondorian troops, does it really matter? The point is, Aragon brings the reinforcements, and that’s when and how they win. Everything up to that point was necessary to keep people alive until Aragorn shows up with the winning troops (whether they were undead or not).

    the only sensible argument I’ve heard for “leaving like in the books” was the one that said “these insubstantial undead can’t really hurt people, just scare them.” Otherwise, Aragon would have been perfectly justified to bring them along on the ships and use ’em to clear the army there. And even justified in letting them clean up Mordor – he bound them to help him win the war, not bound them to help win a battle. As long as Sauron was still a threat, they were still under oath, and he would have been no oath-breaker to retain their help until the Big Bad was dealt with.

    If he kept them around as “peace keeping troops” after Sauron was defeated, that would have been oath-breaking.

  81. Giodin says:

    Another thing about nobles in battle (aside from being history book-worthy etc) is that they were the ones who could afford all the snazzy weapons AND armour AND horses, not to mention pay someone to get them suited up and on a horse when they’re almost too heavy to move. Commoners were more likely to end up being the guys with pointy sticks, unless their commander could pay for more great equipment for them as well =P

  82. Robin says:

    The Oxford English Dictionary listed “dwarfs”, not “dwarves”, as the plural. Disney correctly used what the authority said. When somebody pointed out to Tolkien that he wasn’t following the words of the OED, he replied. “Yes, well, since I wrote that entry, I’ve changed my mind.”

  83. GORTOG, SUPREME NIGHT MANAGER OF THE UNDERWORLD says:

    Nobody knew if they could win; everybody was just doing whatever the heck they could to keep Sauron from taking over, and if that meant the sacrifice of Theodin and a couple thousand of his men, then so be it. He knew full well that there was almost no way they could win against Sauron’s army if they had to face it in full, barring some spectacular miracle (like the ring being destroyed).
    “Faced with a choice between “the enemy army is entirely defeated” and “the enemy army is entirely defeated at a cost of 2000 of your soldiers and your king,” you pick the former, if only to be able to fight more effectively another day.”
    The first choice is not possible! do you really think they’d choose to let them die just to win faster? This is how it seemed to them:
    ‘We’re all most likely screwed in the end no matter what we do. Let’s try our best to do something, anything, even if it just delays the end. If we don’t live, so be it, but one of those people living back in Rohan, or in Minas Tirith, or elsewhere, might, and since we have no chance either way, we may as well do this for everybody else.’ How it comes out in the book is that they are fighting, ready to sacrifice themselves (if they haven’t already) when Aragorn show up with some reinforcements, just enough to push back the Orcs, though not soon enough to save all the people that had died. THis put more stress on the lack of men to fight Sauron with in the book, because all they could do was distract him and hope Frodo succeeded. In the movie it is a little cheap that the undead goes, well, we’re here, we’ll just kill everybody and go.Such a ‘Deus Ex Machina’ does not reflect the depth of Tolkien’s work.

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