DM of the Rings CXXXVII:
Let’s Get This Parley Started

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 20, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 189 comments

Its time for parlay: Aragorn style!

“Parley” is the French word for “everyone else is flat-footed and bare-handed”.


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189 thoughts on “DM of the Rings CXXXVII:
Let’s Get This Parley Started

  1. baac says:

    I love this part of the movie – that weird mouth thing he does…

    Watched the series again this week. We’re depressingly close to the end of the comic, me thinks. Sigh…

  2. houser2112 says:

    I’ve had DMs that just would not allow actions during exposition. He was rather lame. It’s our business if we don’t wanna hear the NPC talk.

    1. Bryan says:

      Tell me about it. The worst I’ve seen was a DM who ruled that anyone interrupting his dialog would die of contrivance, and that’s exactly what happened. I didn’t stick with him for long…

      When I run games I usually say “he starts his monalogue” because he will almost always be attacked during it. Why write a speech which no-one will listen to?

      1. nocata says:

        what’s worse is what happens when they DO listen. if the king is too noble or the peasant is too humble, minor swearing, inter pc fights, and in the worst case, actual violence between the players. i’ve seen it happen, and it’s NOT the worst case in the latter except when the players actually draw blood.and sometimes they do, even.

  3. Browncoat says:

    I’m going to have to show this to my boss right before my next year-end review and let him know how negotiations *could* go, if I don’t hear happy numbers.

  4. Nikle says:

    And yet they keep falling for it.


  5. Ant says:

    “And yet they keep falling for it”
    Yes it is hilarious.

  6. Wade says:

    Parlay! They fell for it again! I love the personality you’ve given Lego-my-ass.

    Again, well done Shamus.

  7. Shamus says:

    Movie continuity error:

    Aragorn slices the guy’s head off, then they ride away. Yet on the ground we see no horse, no body, no head.

    1. sharheen says:

      And also they’re on horses, but when they charge at the orcs the horses are gone and there is no sign of them.

  8. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    This is why I never write dialog in advance.I only write what the characters would be like,then try to get into character if players suddenly feel like talking.Except when its a woman.Then I avoid getting in the character out of fear that theyll rape me.

  9. Deoxy says:

    “Oh, now I’m REALLY glad I killed him.”

    Heh. That was good.

    And I think your Screen-cap-Fu, already so amazing, has improved even more, I think. Those faces are all SO good.

  10. Felagund says:

    Hm, small error in frame 7. Aragorn did not actually shoot the mouth.

    So, I can’t help wondering whether or not we’ll be going back to catch up with Frodo and Sam, or if they are out just like Merry and Pippin.

  11. Scarlet Knight says:

    DM: “Will you stop killing my NPCs! Gimli isn’t the only one who likes roleplaying at this table!And I never get to play…sniff…”

  12. Jim says:

    Y’know, it seems to me that there are quite a few famous fantasy films that could be skewered . . .

    The Wizard of Oz
    Pirates of the Carribean
    Star Wars
    Harry Potter
    Raiders of the Lost Arc
    Jason and the Argonauts
    Conan the Destroyer
    The Sword and the Sorcerer
    O, Brother, Where Art Thou
    Dungeons & Dragons

    Which would everyone like to see?

  13. khorboth says:

    I’ve run the Dragonlance Chronicles several times. After becoming sick of the PC’s stabbing guys while they were in the middle of talking, I started to introduce the “text box rule.” I explained at the beginning that speech is a more-than-free action. When somebody makes a speech, everybody just stands there and listens. Even during combat. Then we go back to fighting as if no time had passed. The players were quite ok with this since I didn’t limit it to the NPC’s, and they could take advantage of it too. Besides, it helped set the tone for the over-the-top fantasy that is DL. Obviously I think the GM here should have done the same thing, but we’ve pretty well established his inadequacies.

    P.S. FIRST POST!!1!!!11
    P.P.S. And by “first post” I mean that it’s the first time I’ve posted here, though I thoroughly enjoy the comic.

    1. WJS says:

      OK, now I’m imagining the players needing to delay a villain, and deciding to filibuster him rather than fight him.

  14. txknight says:

    Lol! I always just remind my players that it doesn’t matter when they react, they are still going to have to roll initiative if they want to attack a bad guy during a speech.

    Quick question. Is the last panel from the movie? My eyes might be decieving me, but it looks like it was drawn (not that it matters either way).

  15. Carol Elaine says:

    Aw, Legolass seems a little put out that he didn’t get to kill the mouth. He almost looks like he’s going to cry.

  16. Jim says:

    All my NPCs have a special skill that allows them to fight and drone on at the same time!

  17. The Gneech says:

    “Aragorn slices the guy's head off, then they ride away. Yet on the ground we see no horse, no body, no head.”

    He got erased out for the theatrical release, then they forgot to put him back in, is my theory.

    -The Gneech

  18. Samrobb says:

    “Odds are low.” – heh :-) Reminded me of one of my faviorite strips from PA, “In The Grim Etcetera”: A Warhammer 40K MMORPG… sigh. My doom aproaches.

    Jim: In your movie list, you left off what has to be the best worst fantasy epic of all time – “Hawk, The Slayer” ( It’s the fantasy equal of “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. It’s so amazingly awful, though, that I can’t see any way Shamus could parody it… I mean, the whole movie is already a pretty awful (if unintentional) pardody itself.

  19. Tacoman says:

    Always good for at least a chuckle. Thanks, Shamus.

  20. Dafydd says:

    ** PCs did that to me too. BBEG about to explain his cunning plan and they attack.

    Aragorn goes back to cure the NPCs “EXPECTO HEALUM!” When DM of the Rings is done, I recommend you do DM of Harry Potter.

    1. James Harrison will taste Manflesh says:

      The spell is “Expecto Healum or somesuch.” As funny as the first half of it is, the “or somesuch” got me laughing twice as hard.

  21. adam says:

    All my NPCs follow the John Wayne School of talking.

    Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say much.

    Mostly because I don’t believe in those things called “scripts”.

  22. Thane says:

    I had a love/hate relationship with that scene in the movie. I loved the way the Mouth of Sauron was portrayed, and hated the way that Aragorn reacted to him.

    I think Shamus captured the reasons perfectly.

  23. Tuccy says:

    “Odds are low” indeed :D
    Great show of humour and screencap-fu, as always :D Nice one :D

  24. Caveman says:

    Awesome, I cannot wait to see how Gollum comes back to life to help Frodo and Sam destroy the Ring of Power, whose characters had left to play Star Wars early on! Truly amazing!

  25. kelsie says:

    i just got turned on to this comic, and spent the last day or so reading the whole shebang up until this point. LAUGHING MY ASS OFF! i love it.

  26. kelsie says:

    i, too, wanna see how gollum rises from the dead and frodo and sam come back from long long ago, in a galaxy far far away…

  27. Randolpho says:

    You all know how this is going to end, right?


    The PCs are gonna walk, pissed off that some forgotten NPC takes all the credit for beating Sauron.

  28. Jim says:

    Samrobb – That’s exactly why I left ‘Hawk, The Slayer’ off the list. It’s already sooo bad!

  29. Doug Brown says:

    If we’re lucky, maybe Shamus will have an epilogue with photos of his actual gaming group, looking pissed off and complaining about the neverending denouement, and how they never got to do anything.

  30. GEBIV says:

    Hmm… I’m starting to feel an “Orcs crush your army. You’re all dead.” ending here…

  31. Miako says:

    Equality is Equality.

    But if I’m hobbled in high heels and looking ready to fall on you — for the love of goodness, GET THE DOOR!

    I’d do the same for you, if you looked like you were having trouble.

    –hates high heels, can’t you tell?

  32. M&a says:

    Who ever said Gollum is dead? The GM’s failing is that he lost his composure and said Legolas killed what he thought might be Gollum. Sure Legolas critted, but was there a corpse to loot? Rule #1 of fantasy/adventure: if there is no corpse, its not dead. And if there is a corpse, it never hurts to stab it a few more times just to make sure it stays dead. Never leave an open end for your GM. Never.

    I keep wondering if Sam and Frodo are going to come back and declare that Star Wars was lame… just in time to finish things off. Of course, I also keep expecting our current band of misfits to either declare the perpetual lack of loot lame and run off to play Star Wars (I thought for sure they would do that after Minas Tirith) or to whine and protest that they are going to miss this campaign when it does finally come to an end. If they have made it this far, they really do like the campaign, even if they keep whining. Lets face it, players just love to whine and drive the GM nuts.

  33. John Marley says:


    I saw “Hawk the Slayer” when I was 9 or 10. I loved it, but ever since then, I have refused to watch it whenever the opportunity arrises. Because, in this case, I’ll take the fond memory over the brutal truth.

  34. Vegedus says:

    Heh, one of those times were the ending comment was funnier than the comic. I didn’t know parlay was french.

  35. Uriel says:

    “Parlay” isn’t actually a fench word. The correct french word would be “pourparler” (roughly pronounced “poor parlay”), wich originated the english word “parlay”.

    Now, the meaning is indeed accurate : it means “speak all you like, you’re wasting your time while we gather a decent army to spank your bottom real hard”.

    You might as well notice that we french no longer practice the art of “pourparler”, since we, unlike the Dark Lord, no longer have a decent army to gather, either.

  36. Astro says:

    I’d like to pull a J.K. Rowling here, and predict the last words of this webcomic:

    “I hate this campaign.”

    :D Loving the art and the story, man. Keep it up!

    P.S. I think the security word to post is cool too!

  37. Little Gen says:

    DM complaining: “I had, like, four pages of dialogue for him!” sounds so familiar…

    On a campaign I remember _someone_ tended to snuff out all the potentially important NPCs… Well, **it happens.

  38. M says:

    Apparently, “parlay” and “parley” are different words pronounced identically; “parley” does originate from the French term ‘parler’, meaning ‘to speak’.

  39. SophiCat says:

    “Rule #1 of fantasy/adventure: if there is no corpse, its not dead.”

    This is also rule #1 of soap operas. Although soap operas add the corollary “and quite often not even then.”

  40. matt says:

    Nice one. Another NPC down.

    I think you should take them through Conan the Destroyer. Gimli’s player takes over as DM, Aragorn’s is Conan and they force the DMOTR to play the princess. Dave is lured back and instead of a hobbit gets to play a really tall guy.

  41. matt says:

    Oh, and it goes without saying that Legolass becomes Grace Jones.

  42. As with Saruman’s death and Elrond’s sudden appearance with Anduril, “DM is trying to run the books but it turns out to be the movies” is one of the best veins of humor to mine. WTF *was* movie-gorn thinking in killing an emissary?

    1. WJS says:

      He was probably thinking something along the lines of “this guy is really pissing me off, taunting me about how my friends were tortured to death”. It may not have been justified, but at least it wasn’t unprovoked like the comic Aragorn.

  43. vonKreedon says:

    Love Legomyass’ two expressions. One of amusement that the bad NPCs keep being killed while trying to talk up the players, and the second of extreme annoyance that Stoner took what little XP there ways by beating him to the draw on the Mouth.

  44. melchar says:

    ‘parlay’ heh heh. Makes me hope that Shamus does ‘Pirates’ 1, 2 and 3 next. The players might like their PCs a bit more [tho I bet Leggy’s player has to play Elizabeth] – and the various fighting moves will give them a lot to complain about – or subject to ‘rules abuse’

  45. Scarlet Knight says:

    No, no, Legolas MUST be Will Turner, but Aragorn has to play Elizabeth as revenge for all those “hawt” jokes. And he’ll do it poorly,of course, which is why Elizabeth won’t behave as a proper lady, dons pants, etc.

  46. Jim says:

    Well, at least the DM is grinning that they’ll never get the loot off of the Mouth like the mithril shirt.

    As this seems to be rapidly approaching conclusion, just want to give a big THANKS! to Shamus. This has been a great comic.

  47. Caius says:

    My PCs did the same stuff to me, so I quit writing my own dungeons and started buy/downloading them. Now they simply ignore someone else’s hard work.

    I would love to see one of the characters be the DM, and let the current DM mess up the story line constantly as a main character. Revenge is best served when it will make the other guy cry.

  48. Aaron Nowack says:

    Actually, watching Pirates 2 without having seen the first movie, my enjoyment was greatly enhanced by imagining it being a “reunion game” of D&D, with the players getting back together for one last run. The English captain guy was the character of player who couldn’t make it, and therefore got turned into a villain. (I’m told this is utter nonsense given the actual plot of the first movie, but my version is better, dang it ;) )

  49. Ishmael says:

    Y’know, Scarlet Knight, that makes a lot of sense. Who plays Jack Sparrow, though?

  50. Sigrun says:

    Ooo! If you do Pirates, actually have Elizabeth be a played by a gal gamer. Then you can explore the intricacies of the girlfriend bonus, players breaking up but both refusing to quit the game, etc. Seems to me that will fit right in with Pirates.

  51. Craig Churchill says:

    Hello, first time poster, long time reader…

    The coolest thing would be to reveal near the end that after finishing up playing Star Wars (they didn’t like the Saga Edition or something) the guys playing Sam & Frodo went back and started playing their own separate game.

    “Yeah, I hope you have more fun than we did, we just spent the last eight sessions doing nothing but walking through this place!”

    … and now I hope I didn’t ruin everything and make you rewrite your ending…

  52. Scarlet Knight says:

    Ishmael Says: Who plays Jack Sparrow, though?

    Weeell, a case could be made for Gimli simply channeling his younger days at Woodstock.
    DM: Wait! “You want to roleplay a ‘stoned’ pirate?”
    Legolas: “Cool! Can I be a Goth pirate?”
    DM: “Who ever heard of mixing Goths & pir…wait a mo’…!” *scribble , scribble*

  53. oldschoolGM says:

    Shamus, the panel with Legolas “And yet the keep falling for it… It’s hilarious” is one of your best yet. Great stuff!

  54. Dez! says:

    “A force of 100 times your number pours out”

    Another fine example of why you don’t upset the DM and kill his NPC in the middle of their “rant”.


    Thanks Again Shamus.


  55. Me says:

    LOVE IT!

    But, I wish Aragorn announced a die roll to kill the Mouth of Sauron.

  56. Tyler says:


  57. Tim says:

    The change that Aragorn kills the Mouth of Sauron is ANOTHER instance where we see that Peter Jackson is just an immature kid. You know, a nerdy 10 year old who reads LotR, greatest fantasy novel of all times, and always thinks “DUH! THAT should be better! There TOTALLY should be elves at Helm’s Deep! And why doesn’t Aragorn simply kill the Mouth of Sauron, that guy is E-VAL, he should, like, slice his head of! And WHY do the other kids laugh at me all the time?”

    Sorry for the rant. I just hate Peter Jackson for what he did to LotR, butchering the greatest opportunity ever in movie adaption since the Godfather was made. X(

  58. Daza says:

    This is my second fav edition – the first being when they offed Grima(and then the follow-up on Saroman – I count it as one edition). One of the guys in our campaigns always does something like that – even if we need the NPC alive to know what to do next… Hilarious!

  59. Browncoat says:

    I find it amusing that people are still suggesting to Shamus what to do next when he’s said that the next comic is already in production. That’s not mean-spirited, BTW. :)

    That being said, Matt’s comment (#41 – “I think you should take them through Conan the Destroyer.”) made me think–I’m not sure the next campaign will have the same DM. With how much they hate this campaign, I assumed one of the others (probably Gimli) would be at the helm next time. There are a lot of “How do you like it?” jokes that can be peppered in.

    There is a possibility that when this campaign ends that the players could discuss how cool it all was. (Quiet, now! It is too possible!) We’ve all done things that we hated at the time but look back on with a certain fondness. Camping with my family when I was growing up, for one. Well, not for all of you, of course. Very few of you probably know my family, much less went camping with them.

  60. Carter says:

    “58 Tim Says:
    August 20th, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    The change that Aragorn kills the Mouth of Sauron is ANOTHER instance where we see that Peter Jackson is just an immature kid. You know, a nerdy 10 year old who reads LotR, greatest fantasy novel of all times, and always thinks “DUH! THAT should be better! There TOTALLY should be elves at Helm's Deep!”

    …There WERE Elves at Helm’s Deep. Even in the book, unless my memory is completely incorrect.

    1. WJS says:

      Well, there was one Elf at Helm’s Deep. Does that count?

  61. Chris Lester says:

    This makes me think of that scene in “The Gamers” where they keep shooting the Bandit King in the middle of his evil monologue. :-D

  62. michael donnelly says:

    I had a DM who would throw long, terrible monologs at us. We’d try to hack his dudes down before they could finish. He played fair — they’d only get to speak for six seconds each round.

  63. Ramplate says:

    precisely why I never write diologue – the characters want to wing it? so can I!
    Did I mention the time I killed a character on the player’s first night of AD&D ever? I turned him into a ghoul and made him chase the rest of the party up a tree… That’s what worries my players – they never know what’s gonna happen next because it’s not always written down. Muwahahaha!

  64. comicshorse says:

    O.K. I know we have no reason to expect another comic. But pleeeeeeeeeeeeease can we have another comic ? Anything ( but it really should be HAWK THE SLAYER)
    And no I’m pretty sure there weree no elves at Helm Deep. Though they and the dwarves were fighting Sauron’d armies elsewhere.

  65. Lycoris says:

    A true LOL from me for this one. My husband asked me what I was laughing about. XD

  66. Jim says:

    My vote for the next comic (or the one after that, since he’s already started the next one) would be all the Pirates (which – with three films – could easily run as long as this one), but I think Conan the Destroyer was much more in keeping with traditional D&D rules and such. Just think what the character playing Conan would say when his character (the MAIN character) dies!

  67. Jim says:

    No matter what the next comic is, we will all be reading. Even if it is Titanic . . .

  68. Errol says:

    I love the way Legolas’ expression shifted in 6 and 8. All smiles and then grim expression. And of course, the DM’s payback was sweet LOL I’m going to miss this when it’s over

  69. Poor Legolas, didn’t get to shoot the baddy!

    woo hoo for Pirates quote :D

  70. CyberGorth says:

    The biggest hint that we’re dealing with a novice DM is that he’s not utilizing the DMG-approved “secret die roll modifiers” to let him get what he needs to happen to happen. Oh, you’re trying to off the important talking NPC? All right, roll to hit. (Player’s roll vs bad guys’ AC with +100 dramatic speach making modifier) Sorry, you miss. He keeps talking.

  71. DesertDog says:

    Carter says:
    …There WERE Elves at Helm's Deep. Even in the book, unless my memory is completely incorrect.

    You memory is sort of correct. There were exactly two elves at Helm’s Deep — Elrond’s sons. They were part of the contingent of Northern Rangers who showed up, all human except them.

    1. WJS says:

      Were they with the rangers? Well then. That brings the total to three! Totally a plural number of elves!

  72. Matthias says:



    Sounds like to me the DM was only pretending to be offended over his NPC’s death. 4 pages of dialogue? After having put up with these characters (and I don’t mean the PCs) for so long? No, no … this was a complete setup from the time the Mouth came out and Boreagorn’s player fell for it! (and Legolass was standing by to…) Sure the DM was seriously metagaming against his players, but L.’s player pretty well admitted they were doing the same to him.

  73. Kristin says:

    …Dude. You forgot Legolas. He’s an Elf. He was at Helm’s Deep.

  74. Kristin says:

    And actually, Elladan and Elrohir and the rest of the Grey Company were NOT at Helm’s Deep. They showed up later, as they returned from Isengard.

    (Sorry for the double post.)

  75. ArchU says:

    Wow, the Mouth of Sauron didn’t see that one coming. Not that it has any eyes, of course…

  76. Katy says:

    The mouth of Sauron was by far the creepiest thing in all three movies.

  77. Yahzi says:

    Dang it… I liked Hawk the Slayer!


  78. Aspyre says:

    Maybe they could talk the orcs one at a time into parlay. Like the light grenade in Mom & Dad Save The World. “We’re going to need reinforcements!”

  79. brassbaboon says:

    Now the players can make the DM’s life miserable. How many miniatures does he have? What are the stats of every footsoldier and cavalry man in Gondor’s army AND Mordor’s?

    How many times is he going to have to roll those dice now? All Aragorn has to do is send his army out to meet the other army, head to the back, and tell the DM to wake him up when the gets through rolling 6,000 individual battles and finally gets through the Gondorian army where Aragorn and his buddies can turn and flee.

  80. RHJunior says:

    I have a DM who does that a lot. He plunks down an NPC who demonstrates no survival skills or common sense at all (Hi there, see the large angry heavily armed people? They want you to get to the point) who persists in his pre-scripted speech or actions no matter what the PCs say…. then he gets irritable when the PCs get fed up and maul the twerp.

    In one session, our party basically crash-landed/planeswalked into a museum of oddities. The Jobsworth there (an undead bureaucrat native to the campaign setting) refused to answer our questions, even the most basic ones, with anything but bureaucrat-ese, and kept trying to *grab one of the at-that-point immensely powerful party members and stuff him into a display case.* Jobsworths, for the record, are NOT much stronger than a commoner. Chronic failures at his grapple check, however, did not dissuade the Jobsworth from attempting this over, and over, and over again….

    The DM just couldn’t understand why my sorcerer got fed up, had his half-orc fighter cohort grab the fellow, and proceeded to interrogate him with single-syllable words (“Where…. ARE…. we?”) while the half orc twisted his limbs into bow knots….
    “That’s out of alignment!”
    “Not if he’s SNAPPED!”

  81. CourtFool says:

    I predict the current crew leave in disgust, but the DM gets the Return From Star Wars gang back. ‘Gormless and company are overwhelmed and slaughtered in a fit of DM pique, and the adventure carries on with Frodo as the star to the conclusion.

    Hey, maybe that’s the way it happened to Tolkien’s gaming group. Who knows?

  82. Kortir says:

    I love seeing Chaotic Neutral players in action. This continues to prove it.

  83. Gadush Kraun says:

    the four pages of dialogue is so true. If they talk for that long, best kill them to start with.

  84. Raved Thrad says:

    This certainly puts a new meaning to “shut up and die.”

  85. Gwen says:

    Actually, “parley” is not a French word (I’m pretty sure of that, as a french myself). But the remark is still right, anyway !

    PS : Congratulation for your great work, please keep it coming

    1. WJS says:

      English spelling of parlez, IIRC.

  86. Zaxares says:

    This comic should be read by RPG players. NEVER interrupt the DM’s planned speech, villain exposition, or similar rambling dialogue. It will end badly for you. Trust me. :P

  87. John says:

    Jim: In your movie list, you left off what has to be the best worst fantasy epic of all time – “Hawk, The Slayer

    HOW DARE YOU. Hawk is just one of the coolest movies ever. It has some of the best one-liners in it.
    I got the special edition that was released a few months back. Nice background on the whole 5 film epic they were trying to make. Sequel is supposed to be on the cards.

    As for the comic, it is kinda odd when as GM you go off on a huge NPC ‘boxed text’ ramble. Reeks of “bad-guy-spilling the whole tale cos u r going to die anyway Mr Bond”.

    We all do it DM’s i guess, but does often seem odd


  88. Alex says:

    Maybe the DM gets mad and decides that since Gollum got offed, then there’s nobody to stop Frodo from putting on the ring, so then the Nazgul grab him three minutes later. Sauron wins and nobody lives happily ever after.

  89. Phil says:

    –“Actually, “parley” is not a French word (I'm pretty sure of that, as a french myself).”

    Yes and no. Dictionary says “Parley” comes from Middle English but that in turn came from the Old French “parlee”, from “parler”, to talk (as it still is in modern French, as in “parlez vous francais?”). Which in turn came from Latin roots that you can look up for yourself if you really want to know!

    So no it’s not a French word but it does come from or at least via them.

  90. Alexis says:

    Best one for a while, Shamus. Eight stars.

  91. Phill says:

    Anyone who says that “Hawk the Slayer” is the worst fantasy film of all time obviously hasn’t seen “Ladyhawke” (with Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer no less). (Although a special “worst fantasy” mention has to go to Schwarzneggers “She’s dead!” line from “Red Sonja”).

    And since this is my first post, I have to add: excellent work Shamus. Utterly hilarious, and had me crying with laughter at work numerous times, much to the bemusement of my colleagues (and later my wife, when re-reading at home…)

  92. Steve says:

    Whatever you do Shamus, DON’T MESS WITH CONAN! I warn you…

  93. Browncoat says:

    77 Katy Says: The mouth of Sauron was by far the creepiest thing in all three movies.

    Things in LOTR that were creepier than The Mouth of Sauron:

    1) The look Frodo gives Sam at the end of FOTR and used with great aplomb by Shamus in Episode XLII, Frame 6.
    2) Any other of a hundred different facial expressions used by Frodo (actually one expression used 100 times). It’s a shame, because Elijah was a cute kid.
    3) The soup that Eowyn made, and I didn’t even have to taste it.
    4) The idea of dwarf women. Eveyone knows dwarves just spring up from the ground.
    5) The thousand-legger-bugger crawling on Frodo when the first Death Eater comes upon them on their way out of Hobbiton (near Farmer Maggot’s).
    6) Barliman Butterbur’s gout.
    7) The excess collagen in Liv Tyler’s upper lip. (I know I’m in a minority here, but I have no idea why guys find her attractive, and Shamus, I’m sorry–I know I probably just started a fight that will explode the size of this thread, but it has to be said.
    8) Deagol. That kid freaked me out.

    I’m tapped. Anybody have any others?

  94. Browncoat says:

    Nice. When you type the number eight and then a right parenthesis, you get 8), which wasn’t what I wanted.

    Also, they weren’t Death Eaters. They were Naz-Ghouls.

  95. Browncoat says:

    [shakes head] Sure. Now it does what I wanted before…

  96. JC says:

    “No matter what the next comic is, we will all be reading. Even if it is Titanic . . ”

    …annnnnd I need everyone to give me ANOTHER swim check roll.

  97. Midrealm_DM says:

    Phill Says:
    > Anyone who says that “Hawk the Slayer” is the worst fantasy film of all time obviously hasn't seen “Ladyhawke” (with Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer no less). (Although a special “worst fantasy” mention has to go to Schwarzneggers “She's dead!” line from “Red Sonja”).

    Depends on how you qualify ‘Worst’
    I think Hawk is bad, but in a good way, I would call it worse than Ladyhawk and Sonja. Both of which were ok, but not oustanding, neither of the later really grabed the attention like a really good, or really bad movie does.
    The group I D&D with often ridicule Hawk the Slayer and reccomend seeing it to other people _Because it is so bad_ and a film that is bad enough to be recomended for being that bad can’t be all bad.

  98. Thenodrin says:

    There is really no such thing as a “good” fantasy movie. Every fantasy movie will forever be compared to fantasy literature, and will therefore fall short.

    How many people complain that Jackson “butchered” LotR, for example?

    The problem is that most fantasy fans are very specific and, let’s face it, pedantic about fantasy. If the magic nimbulos isn’t the right shade of orange, the whole story has been comprimised.

    I have one friend who refuses to see Stardust because he claims that “stars aren’t people” and therefore the fantasy movie doesn’t make sense to him.

    But, is that any sillier than the shapechanging premise of Ladyhawke? Or Westley’s return from “nearly dead” in Princess Bride?

    You really can’t pick a “good” fantasy movie. There are just different levels of “bad” depending on the people you are talking to. Because all of them fall short somewhere, and anything less than perfection will forever be labled as “the worst ever” by self-proclaimed fans.


  99. Margaret says:

    Legolass; Parleley, parlelellyleloooo, par le nee, partner, par… snip, parsley…
    Aragon: Parley. Damn to the depths whatever man what thought of “Parley”!
    Gimli: That would be the French.


  100. Laura says:

    I’ve just heard of this comic and spent the last day reading it up until now. I love it!
    It brought back sooooo many memories of my RPG group playing AD&D, D&D 3rd Edition and Star Wars, we had awesome campaigns in all three, and had group members acting just like the PC’s here in the comic. Makes me want to play again.

  101. Caveman says:

    No corpse, you are right, Gollum Lives! (As a game store owner I should have not been so naive) Can’t wait to see how it all plays out. BRILLIANT!

  102. Joel D says:

    On a largely unrealted note, the D&D 4th edition Players Handbook will come out in May, the Monster Manual in June, and the DM Guide in July. That is all.

  103. Qurqriish Dragon says:

    Actually, with Gollum gone, Sam and Frodo may never have even made it into Mordor. The DM can literally do anything with those two. Although it is too late to have Faramir actually have taken the Ring. But I think Frodo would have tried to go through the front gate of Mordor, wouldn’t he? Maybe the DM could make it that Frodo *IS* the mouth of Sauron, having long since given in to the ring, since Gollum’s presence wasn’t a continuing reminder of the dangers… :-)

  104. Scarlet Knight says:

    #95 Browncoat Says:”… Liv Tyler… (I know I'm in a minority here, but I have no idea why guys find her attractive”

    Did you see how she looked in Aragorn’s palantir in episode CII. That is one HOT…um, elf!

  105. roxysteve says:

    Joel D Says:
    On a largely unrealted note, the D&D 4th edition Players Handbook will come out in May, the Monster Manual in June, and the DM Guide in July. That is all.

    D&DHammer 40k. I look forward to a never-ending slew of Codex:Compleat Mage etc.


  106. Caveman says:

    Liv Tyler, yum. nuff said.

  107. RobbieRob says:

    Ah, you all discuss how the PCs changes the history from the Lord of the Rings story, but you forget that this is not a roleplay based on LOTR. It is some parallell universe where a poor GM has created a world that happens to look quite like LOTR, but that is hidden from us. What we see is how the players makes the story take strange directions that moreor less follows the book. I love that meta aspect of this story. For instance how the hobbits tired of the game, and the GM had to rationalize that by sending them off on some hopeless errand by themselves – just as in the book. That’s brilliant.

    1. WJS says:

      No, he always planned for them to go their separate ways. Episode XLII: “No! You’re ruining everything! You didn’t visit Amon Hen yet! You’re not supposed to leave for a couple more pages…”

      So no, the breaking of the fellowship wasn’t a reaction to their leaving, he always planned to split the party. And run three games at once, I guess?

  108. Jochi says:

    There are lots of other movies that belong in the list:
    The Magic Sword — old, and really bad, but a great group of PCs that get killed off obligingly.
    Dragonslayer — short on PCs but perfect D&D.
    Masters of the Universe
    Labyrinth — one PC to start but it works up to four, one with a war dog
    Blood of Heroes — another great bunch of PCs
    and the series that would be nearly as much fun as Depp’s Pirates: Evil Dead and Army of Darkness
    And as to who will play Jack Sparrow — that kind of over-the-top play has to go to the current GM while Gimli’s player becomes the new GM.
    And if Shamus is already doing the next series, none of what I just said will hurt anything.

  109. Scarlet Knight says:

    Along with “Legend” (with Tom Cruise & Tim Curry), don’t forget another Billy Barty favorite: “Willow” with Val Kilmer.

  110. superfluousk says:

    > 4) The idea of dwarf women. Eveyone knows dwarves just spring up from the ground.

    I beg to differ on the idea that the idea of dwarf women is creepy.

    Exhibit A:

  111. capitain says:

    @95 browncoat
    I´m with you on the Tyler-dilemma.
    I´d like to add the homoerotic Sam-Frodo-complex to the creepy list as well as the Hobbit-peasants´ wife at the very beginning (“you have been officially labeled a disturber of peace…” shortly after Gandalf lights a small firework for the kids -this poor Hobbit would have gone through Part I-III without flinching and then be dragged, screaming, back home).

    With so many different potential outcomes… why not make a list. Just like: in the cart/pulling the cart/too blind to see the cart ;)

    Just call it “steal the ring/sell the ring/loose the ring”
    -If you like add a gollum-revenant to the list.
    But I´d prefer him to stay dead. That really got me. I laughed for two hours straight, had my muscles aching for days and still look it up after a gloomy day.

  112. Frankie D. says:

    Bilbo Bagshot: I once punched a guy out for saying that “Hawk the Slayer” was rubbish.

    Tim Bisley: Good for you.

    Bilbo Bagshot: Yeah, thanks. But that’s not the point, Tim. The point is I was defending the fantasy genre with terminal intensity, when what I should have said was “Dad, you’re right, but let’s give Krull a try and we’ll discuss it later.”

  113. comicshorse says:

    SPACED, right ?
    And Liv Tyler is okay but Cathe Blanchett is much cuter

  114. Tormuse says:

    I can’t BELIEVE that this last issue of the comic has only been up a day and already has 115 comments! :o It’s a tribute to how popular your work is, Shamus! :)

    I started reading these comics from the beginning a week ago and I’m finally caught up; They’re so funny, they’re addictive!

    I love Aragorn’s line: “Oh, now I’m REALLY glad I killed him.” :D

  115. Maverick says:

    Reminds me of ‘Um..parley?’ earlyer in the comic. =D
    May i ask what your going to do when you get to the end of this Shamus? You ARE going to do another comic, right?

  116. Prince_Shadri says:

    reading your strips reminds me of my players Shamus… one of them opened a pub in the middle of a siege. the other one was caught by a bunch of guys (they never remembered the names so I stopped caring) that ruled the same city that was under sieged because he was lying about being a demon (he fooled them pretty good) and this town… kinda hated demons. so they went like executed him.
    my third jumped of a cliff trying to prove to me that he could do what he wanted in the campaign since something would save him by magic anyway.
    oh, the guy who opened the pub got killed when the soldiers broke through the gates… and he KNEW that he was the only one who had the powers to stop them, but he didn’t because he tried to prove the save thing as the guy who jumped…

    anyway, keep up the good job. love your comic!!

  117. Jim says:

    Oooo, Legend and Willow! Those would both be good!

    A lot of Hawk the Slayer fans out there. Good! Plan 9 From Outerspace needs competition.

  118. Self says:

    “The change that Aragorn kills the Mouth of Sauron is ANOTHER instance where we see that Peter Jackson is just an immature kid. You know, a nerdy 10 year old who reads LotR, greatest fantasy novel of all times, and always thinks “DUH! THAT should be better! There TOTALLY should be elves at Helm's Deep! And why doesn't Aragorn simply kill the Mouth of Sauron, that guy is E-VAL, he should, like, slice his head of! And WHY do the other kids laugh at me all the time?”

    Sorry for the rant. I just hate Peter Jackson for what he did to LotR, butchering the greatest opportunity ever in movie adaption since the Godfather was made.”

    Your rant is true and it’s not, since Peter Jackons is not, as such, responsible for the stupid changes in the story, since he didn’t actually write the script.

    It was his wife and her friend (also female). PJ just directed that crap. (Of course he could’ve stated different opinions, but then again, maybe he did and the original scripts were actually MUCH WORSE. Who knows.)

    But basicly it just shows you how little the Hollywood production machine cares about the. “Oh the director suggested that HIS WIFE AND HER FRIEND can do the script for ONE OF THE BIGGEST MOVIE PRODUCTIONS EVER, which is an adaptation of one of the most iconic and best known adventure novels in the history of literature. So, that’s one problem solved. Next point, Liv Tyler’s hot, could we fit her in somewhere?”

    My first post here, thanks to Shamus.

  119. roxysteve says:

    At the risk of drawing fire, Peter Jackson’s version of Lord of the Rings wasn’t bad at all from where I sit. For those who believe it was, I offer up the previous Hollywood versions of LOTR and The Hobbit for comparison.

    I don’t believe this trilogy deserves the vast majority of casual vitriol it gets, especially here. Let’s face it, No Jackson LOTR, no DMotR.

    I possess several versions of this story. Books, radio plays (on tape), films. I have to say that the Jackson movies represent the version I am most likely to revisit in the near future.


  120. Jochi says:

    Steve’s right to say Jackson’s version isn’t bad compared to its forerunners, like Bakshi’s. That one (covered roughly books 1-3) was so foul he never got to do the second half of the story.

    I always felt his rep outweighed his product — “Fritz the Cat” was awful, too. I did rather like “Wizards”, but could have done without the allusions to Nazi newsreels being the Fount of All Evil.

    “Wizards” and “Fire and Ice” are the only two things he ever did I’ll watch more than twice. At least that I can think of right now.

  121. Scarlet Knight says:

    I agree with Roxysteve & Jochi that Jackson doesn’t deserve all that bashing. When the day is done, he probably made the greatest (or second best) trilogy in movie history, with only “the Godfather” & the original “Star Wars” as competition.

    I must disagree about the Hobbit. I LOVED the cartoon Hobbit & would never have read Tolkien if it wasn’t for that cartoon.

    Now everybody sing with me: ” The greaaatest adventurrre…”

  122. comicshorse says:

    ” And that’s when I shot him, your Honour .”

  123. xbolt says:

    Another NPC bites the dust!

  124. Aries says:

    i cant help but feel the sentence ‘honestly his i was just trying to swat a fly…with my sword…and his head just kinda fell off Mr new diplomat sir…now er…parlay…or i may just try to swat that rather large insect buzzing rather unfortunitly by your neck too’ my just trip of Aragorn’s lips during the next potential talks

  125. Jim says:

    I liked Ladyhawke. It was the best example of a Thief/Acrobat ever! The worst fantasy film ever made was Dungeons & Dragons, which is odd because the second Dungeons & Dragons film was pretty good.
    Who suggested Evil Dead II? That’s just wrong. I think Shamus would have his Geek Card revoked if he lambasted a film as great as that. Besides, there aren’t enough characters.

  126. brassbaboon says:

    Wow, 128 posts and counting.

    I too laugh when self-proclaimed experts rag on Peter Jackson and LOTR. I am as much a LOTR fan as anyone, I have yet to meet anyone who has read the books as many times as I have (about 40 now, and counting), so I think my LOTR fan credentials are pretty solid.

    The movie is not perfect, but it is far better than I hoped it would be when I heard Peter Jackson was making it. The special effects were phenomenal, the acting was much better than is acknowledged, and the script is a fairly true to the spirit story. I only have three specific complaints, otherwise I think it was just about as good as it could have been.

    Here are the complaints:

    1. Frodo never should have turned on Sam, and Sam never should have turned back, even for an instant. That is so antithetical to the story that it more or less subverts the entire purpose for the Sam-Frodo relationship in the book. This is by far the worst part of the movies, and the only part that actually angered me when it happened.

    2. Faramir should never have agreed, even for a moment, to take the ring to Denathor. Faramir was one of the most noble and pure characters in the book, “in him the blood of the Numenorians still ran true” as Tolkien says (or words to that effect.) This didn’t anger me so much as saddened me.

    3. Frodo was played too much as a wimp, instead of the true hero he was in the book. Of course it is hard to demonstrate the kind of heroism Frodo had, but it was the key to the whole story. The whole point of having Frodo be the destined one to save the world was that no matter how small, a noble heart can change the world. In the book the nobility shone through, but in the movie Frodo just came across as a whiny little wimp.

    Other than that, I was absolutely stunned by the movie. Anyone who cannot give Jackson his due for turning one of the greatest works of written literature into one of the greatest works of cinematic literature simply needs to revisit their perspective on things.

    Ladyhawk wasn’t a bad movie. It had some clever moments. Dungeons and Dragons (the first) had pretty decent special effects, but was plain stupid. HOWEVER, it is rich in the sort of screen caps that Shamus would need to make a great parody.

    I haven’t seen Dragonheart mentioned. That wasn’t bad, and it has some pretty good visuals.

    But if I had to pick one movie that I think could be made into a role-playing game parody of similar proportion to DM of the Rings, I’d have to pick Bladerunner.

  127. brassbaboon says:

    Oh… And Cate Blanchette compared to Liv Tyler?


  128. Jeff says:

    One of the problems with DMing online is players that don’t know when to shut the hell up.

    Dialog is ok, in that due to the nature of things we expect desynchronization, but for the love of bob, wait until the bloody DM has explained the situation before doing anything!
    Better to be slow than quick, because you can blame slow on the DM.

    DM: The Great Doors of MacGuffin rumbleopen, revealing a large cavern. Fifty feet wide, a bridge stretches forward.
    Player 1: I run forward!
    DM: At the far side of the bridge, fully a hundred and twenty feet away, the bridge connects to the castle of the dark warlord.
    Player 1: I scream battle cries and draw my sword!
    DM: Forty feet ahead, you the an army of fire elementals you’ve been tracking marching in your direction, dominated by the warlord.
    Player 1: Oh crap, I jump over the edge!
    DM: Sixty feet below the bridge, you see the large lake of lava that surrounds the castle.
    Player 1: Wait, what?
    Player 2: Ok, we use the Sphere of MacGuffin to close the doors again.
    Player 3: And then Rod of MacGuffin to reseal it.
    Player 2: That should hold him for a thousand years, right?
    DM: Yup.
    Player 3: Now we need to head to Castle McDoom to raise that army of water elementals…
    Player 1: Wait, what about me?
    DM: You take 2d6 per round, fire damage. And roll swimming to keep from drowning in lava.

  129. Jeff says:

    Oh wait, that should be 20d6. Clearly I’m not suited to run that adventure…

  130. WheatKing says:

    I can’t wait until the finale. The players are walking out on the DM and so the DM just makes the ring get suddenly destroyed killing the whole army with an earthquake that goes around the party!

  131. Doug Williams says:

    Legolas’ face is perfect when he says “He’s right too!”

  132. Phil says:

    –“Although a special “worst fantasy” mention has to go to Schwarzneggers “She's dead!” line from “Red Sonja”).”

    Red Sonja… Hm, wasn’t that the film where they find a chasm spanned by a giant lizard skeleton? So our hero (or heroine, I can’t remember who did this) warily sets foot on the “bridge” to see if it holds the weight of a man. Which it does.

    So they promptly lead the horses over it… :-)

  133. Phil says:

    –“I´d like to add the homoerotic Sam-Frodo-complex to the creepy list”

    I may not have the wording exact, but I’m pretty sure that the line “Sam held Frodo close and comforted him with his body” may be found in Vol III of the book… :-)

  134. Tola says:

    2. Faramir should never have agreed, even for a moment, to take the ring to Denathor. Faramir was one of the most noble and pure characters in the book, “in him the blood of the Numenorians still ran true” as Tolkien says (or words to that effect.) This didn't anger me so much as saddened me.

    I question this.

    Denethor is clearly utterly desperate in the scene where he’s asking Boromir to get the Ring. Hell, most of Gondor seems desperate in the movie-they’re not grimly standing against the tide, like the books.

    What’s wrong with wanting to please his father(Who is far more of an ass) and perhaps WIN this war?

    It’s not clear in the movie-verse just how much of the nature of the One Ring is known to Gondor. Denethor calls it ‘the weapon of the Enemy’. That’s only part of the story, as we know.

    1. WJS says:

      That’s one thing I never got about the ring. I can understand Gandalf and Galadriel being tempted by it – they’re both powerful magic users. But why would it hold such great appeal for the men or the hobbits? If I held the ring, I can easily imagine seeking to use it for good – then immediately realising I have no clue whatsoever how to use it, for good or personal gain. A weapon you don’t know how to use is worthless. That just leaves giving it to someone who does know how to use it, which would not sate any greed or lust for power it could instil even if they would accept it.

  135. Tola says:

    I may not have the wording exact, but I'm pretty sure that the line “Sam held Frodo close and comforted him with his body” may be found in Vol III of the book…

    Perhaps, but consider this: as a child, didn’t you need to be held by your mother when some pain was too much? Just held, and comforted, maybe rocked a bit, till you felt better?

    …It’s a sign of the times. NOTHING is innocent anymore. People can’t even shake hands without wondering if they appear homosexual.

  136. Tola says:

    Ah, and one more thing.

    Parodies of all three movies. They hit their mark fairly well.

  137. Valley says:

    Rock falls!

  138. roxysteve says:

    [Brassbabboon re: Bladerunner] Now there was a movie that carved the original story so badly it was almost unrecognisable.

    Didn’t say I didn’t like it, though. It just isn’t a “movie version of the book”. Where is the central crisis that starts the story and forms the main theme? Where the explanaition of why the owl is so desirable as a bribe?

    In point of fact, I actually prefer the voice-over version of BR, a choice that has had me labelled as the Skiffy Tw*t of the Month by fellow netscribblers despite the fact I’ve read DADoES? several times.

    “Retirement” is too good for them.


  139. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Scarlet Knight, I agree on The Hobbit, it was great (own it)…though Return of the King by the Rankin-Bass group was…horrid (Still own it)…and, of course there was the Bakshi movie (own it)…

    and I would put LotR, Back to the Future and The Man With No Name spaghetti westerns up top myself, though the third isn’t really a set of connected stories…oh well

  140. roxysteve says:

    25 minutes to go. Gibbering with antici…pation!


  141. Browncoat says:

    @ comicshorse #115) and brassbaboon (129)

    Because I don’t let things go easily:
    I agree that Cate is better looking than Liv, but mostly because I find Liv in the vicinity of ugly. It’s clear to all those who agree with me that Miranda Otto (Eowyn) was, by far, the best looking girl in the movies.

  142. brassbaboon says:


    Um… OK, I guess we all have our own ideas of what is beautiful and what is ugly, but I feel pretty sure that the vast majorities of males find Liv Tyler more attractive than Cate Blanchett and Cate Blanchett more attractive than Mirand Otto.

    1. WJS says:

      Translation: “I’m right and you’re wrong, based on statistics I just pulled out my arse”?

      I’m not going to bother arguing what is indeed personal preference, but seriously, speaking on behalf of “the vast majority of males” is just pointlessly presumptuous.

  143. Scarlet Knight says:

    In the books, Gimli argued with (I believe) Eomer as to whether Galadriel was more beautiful than Arwen. I guess we’re just keeping up the tradition.

    #141 Luke (Thrythlind): “Back to the Future” ahead of the “Indiana Jones” trio? For shame!

  144. JSM3050 says:

    I gotta agee with Browncoat in #143. I’m not usually one for blonds but I’m willing to make an exception in this case. Besides, everyone (for whatever reason) always wants the Elves. Less competition and just as good-looking if you go for the Human. :D

  145. jabbers says:

    casualty count is pointless the orcs are innumerable.

  146. M. Scott Eiland says:

    Liv Tyler and Miranda Otto are both gorgeous, and well cast for the roles as written (Arwen as written in the book could have been portrayed in the movie by a cardboard cutout without much loss of depth). As for Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. . .actresses who are well over six feet tall, possessed of unearthly beauty, and with a force of personality that would make Angelina Jolie look like a shrinking violet are rather scarce on the ground. Ultimately, the greatest essential in portraying Galadriel was to make sure she seemed to be a larger-than life figure, and Cate Blanchett–who had finished playing Elizabeth I not long before–was a rather decent choice to that end, IMO.

  147. mocking bird says:

    Gimly: Great. You get to do all the talking up front and have a high dex, Leggylass has a bow, I am never going to get into combat again surrounded by all these kill stealers.

  148. Gathar says:

    Actually, the french translation for parlay is pourparlers. It is always a plural noun, and etymologically comes from “in order to speak”.

    By the way, I discovered this site today, an I will post this url to all my fellow roleplayers…

  149. Panther says:

    To answer themovie list question, Dungeons and Dragons would be good! A little more designed as a hopefully not too stupid campaign from the get-go than LOTR, maybe, but well-known to us fantasy fans!

  150. Firien wood says:


    i considered reading it again, but realized it would be a hilarious, but painful way to committ seppuku…….
    the whole thing was TOO funny….even the n+1 thing for how many comments there are……
    well off to committ seppuku now…..Heeheeeehee….

  151. scadian says:

    31 GEBIV:
    August 20th, 2007 at 12:57 pm
    Hmm… I'm starting to feel an “Orcs crush your army. You're all dead.” ending here…

    “Orcs fall. Everyone dies.”

  152. Garscow says:

    Shouldn’t that be: “Parley” is the French word for we are flat-footed and bare-handed”?

    Or possibly: “Parley” is the German word for “everyone else is flat-footed and bare-handed”.

  153. Toil3T says:

    “”Parley” is the French word for “everyone else is flat-footed and bare-handed”.”
    I’m gonna use that quote. I’ll give you the credit you’re due, and point people at this comic.

  154. Cynder says:

    All this ‘parlay’ buisness reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean :)

    I love this part of RotK – it’s so random and funny. XD

    Mouth of Sauron: My master, Sauron the Great, bids thee welcome *grins*

    I didn’t get it when he grinned. :P

  155. LotR Fan says:

    This is so awesome!

  156. Morambar says:

    Another example of how movie Aragorn isn’t fit to wipe book Aragorns boots (and shouldn’t even be trusted with them unless closely watched…. ) First he strings Eowyn along just because Arwen’s in Rivendell and Jackson needs a Love interest for the teeny-boppers, then he kills unarmed diplomats in the middle of parley.

    Quick, without thinking, tell me who the “bad guys” are again….

    And I agree with the view of explaining the changes the same way I do: I’m not sure the guys running this show have read the books…. ;-p

  157. bigstop says:

    Hello, discovering your marvellous work now. And really enjoying it. I just wanted to confirm that Parley is a pure English word. It does not exist in French. Parley is however coming from the verb “parlementer” in French, i.e. to argue things over (and ironically close to the word parlement which is translated into parliament in English).

  158. ERROR says:

    Just so I know, in the last panel, who’s speaking besides the DM? I can’t tell…

  159. serenitybane says:

    The last frame for Legolas was perfectly perfect. He looked like he was going to cry hehehehee XD

  160. Skywise says:

    Funny as heck!!!

  161. Robin says:

    I agree with brassbaboon (#128) that it’s mostly a great movie, and I also agree with the things he finds wrong with it. But the greatest thing wrong with it is when Legolas (at Isengard) and Aragorn (at the Gates of Mordor) choose to become murderers. Killing somebody during a parley isn’t an act of war; it’s murder. No army would follow such a king; no neighbors would sign a treaty with such a king.

    When Theoden was released from his bondage to Saruman, he had much more reason to hate Wormtongue than Legolas ever did, but he didn’t have him put to death; he just exiled him. Theoden should have had Legolas tried as a war criminal.

    (Furthermore, I can’t imagine anybody stupid enough to begin his reign by convincing the world to *never* talk to him or trade with him, as Aragorn did by murdering the Mouth of Sauron.)

  162. Ed says:

    This is my third read-through of this strip, and I’ve got to say: this is my favorite page out of the whole, awesome thing.

    “And yet they keep falling for it! It’s hilarious!” is as funny today as it was a couple of years ago :-)

  163. Tachi says:

    Love that screen cap in frame seven, Aragorn looks nuts, hair all wild… he looks like he snorted an ounce of meth 3 days ago and hasn’t looked in a mirror since…

  164. Puschkin says:

    The face expressions of legolas and Aragorn are exceptionally fitting and hilarious in this!

  165. Spike says:

    You have the extended version of the movies don’t you, Shamus?

  166. Nami says:


    Ahhh, WOW, just, WOW, Legolas… that should so be a quote for a Chaotic Evil character, instead…
    and yet, it somehow makes it funnier coming for him. XD
    The expression helps, btw. You are amazing with the screen caps, I gotta say. Especially the excited Legolas ones.

  167. Nacata says:

    Um, not to be rude, but what the heckaddy is parlay?

    1. WJS says:

      Basically the principle is that before a battle, the respective leaders meet to see if there is the possibility of not having a battle after all. If you start killing them during this time, they will start skipping it and going straight to the battle, and you will no longer have the option. Even if you have a bigger army, it’s still better to avoid battles where possible if you want your army to remain bigger.

  168. Daniel B says:

    “After becoming sick of the PC's stabbing guys while they were in the middle of talking, I started to introduce the “text box rule.” I explained at the beginning that speech is a more-than-free action. When somebody makes a speech, everybody just stands there and listens. Even during combat. Then we go back to fighting as if no time had passed. The players were quite ok with this since I didn't limit it to the NPC's, and they could take advantage of it too. Besides, it helped set the tone for the over-the-top fantasy”

    Great idea, that’s how it should be done IMO.

    “Lol! I always just remind my players that it doesn't matter when they react, they are still going to have to roll initiative if they want to attack a bad guy during a speech.”

    That’s a good way to handle it also.

  169. Another useful article again. Thanks.

  170. Septis says:

    Don’t tell me the odds

  171. Septis says:

    Parley good sir?

  172. mrbenz says:

    I just reading this starting this year.
    I know it’s kinda late, but I just want to say that this feels so similar with what I experienced.

    I just started my GMing journey, and when my players attends the Royal Court and saw the King who secretly evil, one of them suddenly stood and cast a spell in the middle of King’s speech. I was dumbfounded but realized now that sooner or later this kind of things will happen if I decided to become a GM.

    It’s just… I can feel the DM feeling now :(

  173. SuperPhenix says:

    “Parley” isn’t a french word at all..

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