DM of the Rings CXXXIII:
Strategifications

By Shamus Posted Friday Aug 10, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 106 comments


Aragorn comes up with a different plan. No not really.

The best sort of player revolt is when they refuse to listen to your advice, but end up doing what you wanted them to do anyway.

 


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106 thoughts on “DM of the Rings CXXXIII:
Strategifications

    1. RawrImmaTaco says:

      made my life? i think…yes.
      post number one FTW

  1. DiscountNinja says:

    Shamus, your Primus Postum was almost as funny as the comic =D

  2. Browncoat says:

    Nice first post, but I expecto’d that. (hee hee)

  3. Creslyn says:

    Oh so true. Perfect screens for Gandalf at the end there too.

  4. lisa says:

    *pout* you’re not the boss of me, stupid NPC!

    he’s like a toddler with a title…

  5. Mattingly says:

    When the DM’s pet NPC agrees with you, he’s up to something.

  6. imhyper says:

    cant…stop…laughing…
    lol
    i hope sam and frodo have finished star wars…

  7. Culinte says:

    The 5th frame is an absolutely perfect expression on his face. I’m going to have to re-watch the show to see what the real context was. Excellent!

  8. roxysteve says:

    :o|

    (terse post)

    Steve.

  9. roxysteve says:

    Culinte Says:
    The 5th frame is an absolutely perfect expression on his face. I'm going to have to re-watch the show to see what the real context was. Excellent!

    My money would be on a grab from the section where Gandalf is telling Pippin that their imminent death is not so bad.

    Steve.

  10. Kaz says:

    Last night I ‘linked’ a friend this hilarious story, and then I ended up going waaayyyyy back to the beginning and reading the whole darned thing over.

    It’s a miracle I didn’t wake up everyone on the block, because by 2am I could barely breathe any more for laughing. So just in case anyone was wondering, yeah… it’s still hilarious the second time around.

    Thanks, Shamus!

  11. BlueFaeMoon says:

    Shamus, I’m gonna be sad the day this strip ends. But what a great time it’s been. Thanks!

    “Primus Postum” just about killed me. What a brilliant class clown you are. :)

  12. Knastymike says:

    I swear, I read that as “Primus Possum” first and expected a rather ugly marsupial.

  13. Wraithshadow says:

    Have it your way, king?

    Now I’m half-anticipating Sauron’s spokesman to show up with the Burger King’s face.

  14. scldragonfish says:

    ‘I think you should have a cheesebur…’

    ‘Shut up, I’ll order it myself. I want a..CHEESEBURGER.’

    ‘A wise decision my King.’

  15. Scarlet Knight says:

    Well, I didn’t expect the Potter Post! FUUNNNY!

    I can imagine a scene spliced from Hildago with cowboy Aragorn crying,”Mount up pilgrims! It’s time to ride!”

  16. Backburner says:

    Less than 20th?

    Great first post.

    Gandalf “An NPC wizard’s words do not railroad, they lead the PCs to precisely where they need to be.”

  17. theblacknecro says:

    Shamus I’ve read this comic from front to back in three days and I have to tell you, I’ve laughed more in those three days than in the past year (could be a sad commentary on my life but meh ;) )

  18. Zudrak says:

    I know we’re getting close to the end of this, but I’ve sure enjoyed “the ride”. Nice work again, Shamus. Hilarious!

    How’s about “GM of the Stars” next? You could tackle the Star Wars RPG with 6 movies. Actually, whatever you do is cool with me.

  19. Caitlin says:

    Hilarious as always and my favorite first post so far.

  20. MCyn says:

    Aragorn’s face in the 4th panel alone was more than hilarious. Combining that with the potter post just about did me in.

  21. Caius says:

    It takes a true genius to railroad the characters into railroading themselves.

  22. Midrealm_DM says:

    As the time for the end of this epic draws nigh, I am forced to wonder what will happen next, that is after the game is complete.

    I was wondering the same thing as Zudrak, perhaps all of the players would join up once again to play Star Wars. After all, (DM of the Rings XLI: A New Hope) our DM said he would run the campaign when this one was finished.
    And the other players seemed interested in playing as well.
    If it came to be, I wonder, would our Middle Earth DM be the DM or a player.. I can’t imagine a campaign where one of these other guys was trying to DM.
    P.S. Would they force Legolas to be princess Leia?

    As always, your story is superb and hilarious.
    It’s funny because its true. >;p

  23. Rollie says:

    I know it’s been said already, but “Have it your way. King.” Had me giggling like a schoolgirl.

  24. J-rahm says:

    NOONE EXPECTS THE POTTER POST!!! Our Primus Weapon is surprise, surprise and silliness. Our TWO…

    Wait, Python quotes are banned aren’t they? I take it back. ;)

    My particular favorite here is Aragorn’s look in panel 4. ‘Until he cries like a little girl’ indeed…

    Oh, just saw the YouTube video of Aragorn to ‘Eye of the Tiger’. I almost forgot how cool he was in the movies – Shamus’ ScreenCap Kungfu is most impressive…

    And as a DM, I tend to set up an environment, give the NPCs their personality and agenda, and let the interaction work itself out. I’ve had groups slaughtered, groups barely make it through, and groups fired and replaced by an NPC group that actually cared about what was needed to be done… Little railroading though – if they wanted to do something else, I’d let the previous situation resolve itself to its natural conclusion in the background.

    I’ve been told I’m an evil DM…

  25. NeedsToHeal says:

    I like the title of this strip!

  26. Al Shiney says:

    Although Shamus is too polite to say it, I am not … all you “Please do Star Wars next” people, take a look at # 5 posted here (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1267).

    Terminus Postum on this subject, please?

    If I had dentures, they’d have come out and smashed to pieces on my monitor with the first post … too funny! Hmmm, is that a premonition for the next series? NO, stop that! Let the artist announce it in due time!

    “Castle Sauron” … and hilarity ensues.

  27. Marmot says:

    Ahahahaha, incredible! One of the best comics AND first posts of late! In particular Gandalf’s “Have it your way. King.” cracked me up :)

  28. Cenobite says:

    “The best sort of player revolt is when they refuse to listen to your advice, but end up doing what you wanted them to do anyway.”

    Yep. It’s a total win-win situation. The players are left with the illusion that they have successfully thwarted the will of the DM and remain in perfect control of the campaign. Meanwhile the DM laughs softly to himself while re-adjusting the settings on the brainwashing laser satellites.

    Not that any government would actually do such a thing…

  29. Al Shiney says:

    Apologies for the double post, I did my sign-off line too early.

    Notice that the “Have it your way” smirk on Gandalf’s face is the same as on Obi Wan’s in Ep IV’s “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”. I think Gandalf pulled out a can of Force whoop-ass on the weak-minded Viggo here.

  30. Gary's Friend Mike's Friend Jim says:

    Don’t know how much you know about superhero gaming, Shamus, but doing the X-Men trilogy as if it were a bunch of Mutants & Masterminds players might have some comic potential.

  31. leviathan says:

    A co-worker sent me the link to this, cuz he knew what a lotr fan i am, and i have read through all the comics and i don’t remember the last time i have laughed so hard. These comics are the best thing to start my day of work, puts a smile on my face every time. Thx Shamus for all the work you do to make others happy!

  32. Jindra34 says:

    Is it bad that i almost passed out laughing at this comic?

  33. Tsetut says:

    Why is Colin still allowed to post freely? Also, I know its been mentioned before but “Have it your way king” was really funny, just like the harry potter thing. I cracked up laughing.

  34. Sewerman says:

    Please, Please, PLEASE make them lose this campaign! I can’t wait to see Stareagorns face when you say: “Sorry, all your forces are defeated, and Sauron has the ring”.

    And Gandalf compaining: “If you would only have listened to me” ….Hehehe :)

  35. roxysteve says:

    Al Shiney Says:
    Although Shamus is too polite to say it, I am not … all you “Please do Star Wars next” people, take a look at # 5 posted here (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1267).

    Terminus Postum on this subject, please?

    I followed that sorta-link and got the following:

    5 Gary Says:

    August 7th, 2007 at 11:29 am
    I'm to lazy to learn how to “unsubscribe” in my RSS feed so I'll probably keep ready this too :P.

    Whatever piece of wisdom you were attempting to convey, it was lost on me.

    Steve.

  36. roxysteve says:

    [Shamus] Did you get paid for that viral fast-food plug, by the way?

    :o)

    Steve.

  37. Eric the vengeful says:

    I never knew you loved potter! Great comic and also dnd,today 2 for tuesday!

  38. Armagrodden says:

    One way to have short-term success in railroading a campaign would probably be to have a hated GM-PC advise the players to do the exact opposite of what the GM wanted them to do. Their natural disobedience would keep them on rails and convinced that they’re masters of their own destinies (at least until they figured it out).

    Steve – I think Al Shiney meant #5 within Shamus’ post, rather than the comments.

  39. Al Shiney says:

    Quite correct. Shamus’ item #5 in the “The Next Webcomic” post that says:

    “5. The next webcomic will be roleplaying satire. It will not be Star Wars.”

  40. Nushi says:

    I know that feeling so well! GREAT COMIC

  41. -Chipper says:

    “Primus Postum!”

    Isn’t that some sort of coffee substitute?

    I like the way this strip continues the last one’s theme of the players getting the next move right, while still completely missing the big picture.

  42. Mirage says:

    Awesome!!!

    I have to agree, the look on Gandalf’s face in 5 and 6 is the most appropriate I’ve seen in the strip so far, context wise. Loved it!

    I thought I would throw the link below in. I read them in one sitting and laughed so hard, I fell out of my chair. They so remind me of my gaming days …

    http://www.llbbl.com/data/RPG-motivational/target62.html

    Enjoy!

  43. -Chipper says:

    “Why is Colin still allowed to post freely?”

    What’s the big deal? He (or she) is just popping up to say hi & let us know she (or perhaps he) is still enjoying the comic. There’s no abuse of anyone, no rudeness… just a wave to the crowd.

    Hi Colin.

  44. Reminds me of that SNL sketch several years ago. “Strategery!”

  45. Nogard (Bible-thumper) says:

    Damn… now i want a whopper with extra pickles!

    Fantastic strip today, and the fortune cookie rings true, as this very thing just happened in my campaign.

    oh, and a Harry Potter first post reference FTW!

  46. Tuccy says:

    Hilarious as ever, both the comics and first post :D
    I’m really looking forward to the ending of the saga in your RPG, esp. the meeting with Black House… Err, Barad-Dur PR manager :)

  47. Namfoodle says:

    -Chipper:

    Colin only ever says “Pimp!”, and then someone always posts something about him posting freely. Not sure if the complainer is the same every time or not.

    I fear it is an inside joke, and we are on the outside.

    I’m too lazy to search all the forum posts and try to figure it all out. I don’t recall a Colin ever getting busted for a flame war or anything, but who knows?

  48. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    YAAAY HARRY POTTER!!…..o good post to bro

  49. Jack - Jack ? sparrow? nah... says:

    Castle Sauron, [YOU MEAN MORDOR!] right… Castle Mordor.
    xD
    This is so cool :)

  50. wow, Gandalf getting pushed around, the DM is going soft :D

  51. Vrym says:

    “Oh, just saw the YouTube video of Aragorn to “˜Eye of the Tiger'. I almost forgot how cool he was in the movies – Shamus' ScreenCap Kungfu is most impressive…”

    Link?

  52. Jindra34 says:

    Namfoodle: Its become the new first post deal i think.

  53. Eric Towers says:

    Re #35, Tsetut: “Why is Colin still allowed to post freely?”

    He doesn’t. He posts “Pimp!”. Haven’t you been paying attention? :-)

  54. Maverick says:

    LETS HIT IT!. ROFL! keep them comming shamus, keep the comming

  55. Drow64 says:

    [IMG]http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x30/Zeeky64/PosticusFifty-Sevenus.jpg[/IMG]

  56. Drow64 says:

    How do you post an image here?!?

  57. Jindra34 says:

    Drow: I think only shamus can.

  58. DamoJO says:

    The comic is as brilliant as always, whats more I cant believe I look forward to the First Post now, they always annoyed me in the past.
    Shamus is cool

  59. Zaghadka says:

    Please, oh please, make Aragorn [b]die[/b] in this version of the story.

    LOL.

  60. Matthias says:

    @ 36

    That should be easy enough … get a screencap or two from the prologue of the 1st movie with Sauron wearing the ring.

  61. Jim says:

    I have to rewatch the movies again. I never noticed how many stupid faces Viggo makes!

  62. Lune says:

    haha I like the look of Gandalf’s face in the third last frame. he’s like “My god, what an idiot.”

  63. Overlord says:

    That was great.

    And the Aragorn screencap for the “…until he cries like a little girl” line was awesome.

  64. Catbunny says:

    Bwahahaha!!!

    Primus Postum, indeed. :-D

  65. James Walker says:

    Before the finish, any chance of avenging everybody who hated all of the bad poetry in LotR? (And for that matter, that most hated of GMs, the failed poet who puts execrable rhymes into his game?) This trio would probably shoot any NPC the GM used to spout poetry, yes?

  66. Doug Williams says:

    That “until he cries like a LITTLE GIRL” face is priceless!

  67. Juice says:

    Pah, everyone knows Sauron’s place is called Barad-dûr. Mordor is the country it’s in.

  68. Obfuscato says:

    And this Aragorn’s going to be able to find his way to Mordor?
    Bwahahahaha! Then maybe we’re gong to see the scourging of the Shire by his army. But wait, no, since I said it, Shamus will make sure that won’t happen. But then, the perfect thing would be for Shamus to do just that because we will no longer expect it, and nobody expects . . .*urk*. But Shamus will KNOW I’m metagaming him and then take a different tack. but he’ll know that I know he’ll do that and what was I talking about again?

  69. Little Gen says:

    …awww… The “…Oh?” look on Big G:s face… can’t stop laughing… exploding *squirt*

    Okay, that was it. Next strip, please?

  70. Proteus says:

    A little off-topic, but somehow I wanted LOTR to end with Elrond striding out of the entrance to Mt. Doom and wearing sunglasses, saying: “Mr. Baggins! Surprised to see me?”

    But I’d settle for Dave’s Star Wars game bleeding over into this one.

    Great stuff, Shamus!

  71. victor says:

    Primus postem made my day. The comic is dead on truth too.

  72. oldschoolGM says:

    Awesome! I can’t wait until Aragorn and Co. realize they will never get near Sauron, but the (now NPC) halfling character get to off him. The ultimate XP steal!

  73. Ogreman says:

    Props on the title, Shamus. Made-up words are generally better than actual words.

  74. superfluousk says:

    Wow! This has got to be the first time in the campaign that the DM got the stick far enough out of his ass to actually think forward a few moves — namely, to come to the realization that Aragorn’s way would have the same effect as his proposed way. Hey! He’s learning. A few more months and this campaign might actually improve.

  75. Raved Thrad says:

    #7 imhyper Says:

    > cant…stop…laughing…
    > lol
    > i hope sam and frodo have finished star wars…

    Makes you wonder what would have happened if the hobbits had stayed on as PCs. Especially considering how a few bad d20 rolls could have easily wiped out that party of 2 (Frodo + Sam + Gollum == 2 people). What *would* have happened if, all this time, the Ringbearers were dead and Sauron had actually gotten the Ring back? >:)

    Very nice Gandalf scans, especially the 6th panel where it looks like he’s holding in a smirk. Ahh, yes, the railroad goes ever on and on, and this time the pesky players jumped onto the train of their own free will!

    1. WJS says:

      You count them as two thirds each? That’s rather generous. In height they’re about half, in weight it would be more like a quarter to an eigth…

  76. Raved Thrad says:

    Quick followup: Now I’m wondering if we’re going to see a pic of Les Claypool’s band when Shamus next fends of the firstposters :))

  77. Tola says:

    What *would* have happened if, all this time, the Ringbearers were dead and Sauron had actually gotten the Ring back? >:)

    Then the White City would be dead and gone-likely due to Sauron marching on the place HIMSELF. The power-boost would be sufficient that no-one in Arda would be able to take him down.

  78. Hendrake says:

    Great comic. Made me laugh. Thanks, Shamus!

  79. Tyler says:

    i think it would be funny when that orc ambassoder guy came out and aragorn immediately sliced his head off! lol

  80. Scarlet Knight says:

    Hmmm, Aragorn in a leather speedo yelling, “THIS IS GONDOR”!

  81. Rickster says:

    Hiya Shamus,

    Get another classic. How many times has a DM almost pulled his hair out coz’ some dumbass player is about to ruin everything only to do the same thing anyway, minus the ranting and raving. Gandalf’s expression was the perfect mugshot. Great work Shamus, this has been entertainment plus right from the beginning. Seriously You should do the Frodo and Sam part of this, coz’ I reckon the people out there would love you to do it!!

    Rickster

  82. Raved Thrad says:

    80 Tola Says:

    > Then the White City would be dead and gone-likely due to
    > Sauron marching on the place HIMSELF. The power-boost would > be sufficient that no-one in Arda would be able to take him
    > down.

    Ah, but that would be anticlimactic >:) The DM’s sense of melodrama’s been twitching for so long that he’d have to draw it out.

  83. Dan says:

    Wow. Legendary status achieved.

    This is Gilbert Godfried nailing the Aristocrats on television. Just when you thought it couldn’t go more over the top, Harry Potter shows up. Every frame was perfect, built to a crescendo, and paid off.

    If Time Bandits married MP Holy Grail and hired The Jerk as a live in nanny, this is comic would probably be a lot like what their kid would turn out to be.

  84. Wtrmute says:

    Then the White City would be dead and gone-likely due to Sauron marching on the place HIMSELF. The power-boost would be sufficient that no-one in Arda would be able to take him down.

    If you said “no one in Middle-Earth”, I’d be forced to agree. Tulkas can still bend him into a Pretzel, Ring or no Ring. I just wonder how much more of Middle-Earth would sink beneath the waves this time; it’d probably be your chance to buy that cool beachfront property in Northfarthing you always wanted…

  85. Jeremehovah says:

    I can see it now, the two players of Sam and Frodo decide to join one last session, only to “steal the show” of the other PCs.

  86. roxysteve says:

    I think people ought to stop calling for Shamus to waste time on any movie screen-cap comic after DMotR is done. It almost certainly isn’t going to happen because a) He’s already done the “movie as the rpg that it inspired” gag with DMotR and 2) there is almost certainly no potential to go commercial with the idea a-la OOTS.

    If people truly want a “Star Wars” screencap comic, then let someone who is so fond of the Star Wars thing that they live the movies for great portions of their day and play the game when they aren’t do it. For that’s what it takes: A genuine love of the material and long experience gaming.

    And the observational wherewithal to make it pithy, ironic and fun.

    And an almost fanatical devotion to the pope. (Oblig. MPFC joke)

    Shamus has shown the way, now let your own creativity shine.

    Anyway, “Judge Dredd” would be better than Star Wars. :o)

    Steve.

  87. Vicky W says:

    I love it! A Burger King commercial quote FTW! “have it your way. King.” snicker snicker snicker

    loved it!

  88. IronNerf says:

    Yeah, how ARE Sambag and Frodito doing with that Star Wars campaign, anyway? We should drop in on the furry-footed bastards and see what they’re up to. Because it’s quiet… too quiet.

  89. Thenodrin says:

    “Terminus Postum on this subject, please?”

    I dunno. I think that point five contridicts itself.

    It says that the next webcomic WILL be role playing, NOT be Star Wars. But it does so as if the two are mutually exclusive.

    With the 3rd (or 4th) Star Wars RPG system on the horizon, even if Shamus didn’t know of the previous systems, surely the new one will provide plenty of role playing hilarity?

    Theno

  90. Jasper says:

    I hate to be a g33k, but shouldn’t it be “primus postus”?

  91. Toil3T says:

    Possibly the best strip yet. And even though your next comic isn’t Star Wars, I’d still like to read it.

  92. Archgeek says:

    87 Wtrmute says:

    If you said “no one in Middle-Earth”, I'd be forced to agree. Tulkas can still bend him into a Pretzel, Ring or no Ring. I just wonder how much more of Middle-Earth would sink beneath the waves this time; it'd probably be your chance to buy that cool beachfront property in Northfarthing you always wanted…


    Actually, if I’m remembering my Silmarilion correctly, Valinor, and indeed the whole continent of Aman, was excised from Arda by Iluvatar himself, sealing the last of the silmarils deep in the the earth during the fall of Numenor after Sauron had corrupted their government and convinced them to forcibly make a naval assault on Valinor. Thus, none of the Valar were in any position to do a thing about Sauron during the war of the ring. Though if he could’ve, no doubt Tulkas would’ve punched him the face…kinda like when he struck Melkor’s arm, but funnier.

    1. Jacob ningen says:

      Gandalf is olorin the maia and glorfindel returned from mandos’s halls so they can return its just that it is a one way street as in valar can come to middle earth but excepting the elves who are permitted the other direction is impossible.

  93. The best part is how much more blue Ian McKellen’s eyes get in the frame. The GM is just saying, “Yes. Yes, that wasn’t what I wanted at all.”

  94. dyrnwyn says:

    Is there going to de some awkward silence at the end or something or is frodo going to appear out of nowhere like elrond and drop the ring in mount doom.

  95. Kris says:

    Holy Crackers! I nearly died laughing so hard at this one!!! Also, the “Primus Postum” made me bol irl!

  96. Andrew Jensen says:

    Castle Sauron! and post number 100! Yey, a D100!!

  97. xyphileous says:

    101! and every thing is good about these comics

  98. Michael says:

    How is Colin able to post? Simple. Neither Bluey nor Enigma have rigged up any internet blocker yet.

    And, I loved “Primus Postum” too.

  99. Nacata says:

    In terms of avoiding railing, an inexpierinced DM won’t try to railroad you. Maybe. Ok, 40% chance.

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