#35 It Gets Worse

By Shamus Posted Friday Jun 28, 2019

Filed under: DM of the Rings 31 comments

NPC’s are immortal until the moment they finish delivering their dialog. At which point they usually either drop dead or cease to exist.

If I were an NPC I’d never tell anybody anything, just in case.

Shamus Says:

And so we begin Act II. I know these jumbo-size comics were murder on Shawn. On the upside, they were much easier for me and I really enjoyed looking at them once he was done.

So, call it a wash.

Shawn Says:


To be fair, I think starting Act II off with a jumbo sized comic ala the first comic was my dumb idea in the first place.

Also, I love the last panel, and Casey’s wall of text never gets old to me.

Edit 2019: The skeletons have the Deuse Baaj logo on them. One, I love that our supposed villain has a logo. Two, I can’t not see it as the Marvel Daredevil logo.

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31 thoughts on “#35 It Gets Worse

  1. chris says:

    i expected the punchline to be that the farmer would get annoyed and say the evil army took the sword with them, which would accidentally serve as the true force behind the group going after the bad guy.

    1. Karma The Alligator says:

      Well, it might still happen next time, but that would also be good DM’ing, and I’m not sure that’s gonna happen on this railway.

      1. chris says:

        Well it would be good DMing in a bad way. Youre supposed to make players motivated to do something because of the story and their character, not because of loot. My thought was that the DM would get annoyed with them constantly whining about the loot, he says “alright the farmer tells you the army took it with them, now back to the story…” and then the players say “ow wow where did they go we totally have to apprehend them and get the sword back” with the punchline being the DM being even more defeated.

        1. Arta says:

          Youre supposed to make players motivated to do something because of the story and their character, not because of loot.

          That’s a nice thought, but one that doesn’t play out, as you can’t control the players’ minds. If they’re that determined to accumulate loot, then that’s what the story and character is about now. And that’s not a bad thing, that’s just how that player wants to play.

          1. Kylroy says:

            Frequently, the story and the character dictate that what motivates somebody is loot. Greed is a totally legitimate motive, it’s just distressingly frequent and shallow in (a lot of) tabletop gaming.

            1. Decius says:

              Greed as a character motivation is a great way to bring character development into play later, by having a choice between loot and something else.

          2. shoeboxjeddy says:

            I was playing a Rogue/Thief in a campaign where we were captured and forced into gladitorial games. At one point, the town’s leader was brought to the arena to watch on his golden throne. My character INSTANTLY became OBSESSED with stealing the throne as both a way to get rich and as a way to get very direct revenge for the whole situation. I was able to convince the rest of the party to help me lift it by saving their lives in the last battle and promising to split the proceeds. I think it really added something to the escape that we were also carrying this great honking chair between us all.

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Please tell me you used it as a weapon at some point – a solid gold chair could do a lot of damage if just dropped or tipped onto someone!
              (And hilarity.)

        2. Agammamon says:

          Youre supposed to make players motivated to do something because of the story and their character, not because of loot.

          What if their characters are just in it for the money?

      2. BlueHorus says:

        i expected the punchline to be that the farmer would get annoyed and say the evil army took the sword with them, which would accidentally serve as the true force behind the group going after the bad guy.

        Well, it might still happen next time, but that would also be good DM’ing, and I’m not sure that’s gonna happen on this railway

        I can imagine Casey’s attempt to adapt to their greed…

        ‘The zombies – they took the sword! And the gold! And the treasure! They even took the – the magic scrolls and wands from the wizard’s house…and the precious ivory statues from the temple…and that giant gemstone from-‘

        ‘Come on Casey, how dumb do you think were are?’

  2. Zaxares says:

    That farmer must have an AMAZING set of lungs to have a last breath big enough for all that exposition. XD

    1. Freddo says:

      Hilarious how the text balloons just keep getting bigger and bigger as the DM is determined to get his story out with this farmers last breath.

    2. Liessa says:

      It reminds me a bit of those operas where the heroine dies of consumption (i.e. tuberculosis)… after singing a spectacular coloratura aria with her last reserves of strength.

      1. Lino says:

        Yeah, or the guys that can somehow sing several arias after getting stabbed to death.

        1. The Rocketeer says:

          Ah, Bellini’s Credo dell’Assassino.

  3. Joshua says:

    Can’t really blame the DM for obviously ignoring the PCs and monologuing: he’d have to address the idiocy.

  4. Hector says:

    I had a thought about peasants begging the Evil Overlord with his Undead Legions of Terror to “conquer” them. That annoying lord with his soldiers lounging around eat a lot. Skeletons are not known for demanding half your grain! Plus, he’ll want to build lots of roads to move his army efficiently and skeletons don’t complain about it.

    The Undead: key to an early industrial evolution!

    1. Fizban says:

      Seriously depends on how many skeletons you can use. There’s little you can do with a human-tier undead that you can’t already do with a human after all. They make efficient slave labor since you’re freed from the 10% rule that would normally have 9/10 slaves farming to feed the 1 making the roads, but you don’t get any better machine tools than you could have run on human power to begin with. Rome used a ton of slave labor, and skeletons are cheap, but industrial they ain’t. For that you need steel and fuel, either or both of which can be replaced with magic depending on the rules.

      1. Kylroy says:

        If you’re mobilizing Rome-level slave labor that doesn’t need sleep or food, I think the effect on society would be as transformative as the industrial revolution. Not the same end result, but the same amount of overall change.

        1. Joe Informatico says:

          It could be, because it would eliminate two of the biggest motives behind the forces of the Industrial Revolution: the need for more labour, and the desire to reduce labour’s cost. But that assumes skeletons and zombies are intelligent enough to do road work or farm labour in the first place–I don’t think Dungeons & Dragons types are.

          1. Decius says:

            It’s also assuming that there is an unlimited supply of skeletons and zombies, and unlimited ability to create them.

            One of the resources that a necromancer has to worry about is fresh corpses, and the sustainable production thereof.

            1. The Rocketeer says:

              Look, if you run out of skeletons, just sleep at the in three times and they’ll have all respawned.

            2. Dev Null says:

              You only need fresh corpses for zombies. Raw materials for skeletons are practically everywhere. Including in the skeleton that just fell apart. Or just raise cattle, eat them, and then make skeleton beasts of burden from their bones.

              Of course, one of the (many) things that animated skeletons always seem to ignore is mass. I’d be amused to watch skeleton farmhands that were outmassed by their shovels. Seems like it’s magic that’s doing all the work.

    2. Hal says:

      I’m pretty certain there are fantasy settings out there where the undead are used to perform menial labor, with the intention of ushering in a golden age because people are freed to pursue intellectual and artistic pursuits.

      1. Kylroy says:

        Ever play Exalted? That’s pretty much Skullstone.

      2. Joshua says:

        That was one of the plot points in the Death Gate Cycle. The third world explored (out of four) was a series of huge caverns. Necromancy to use the dead as labor was wide-spread. They then later discovered that for every corpse reanimated, one of the living beings (of the Sartan race) on one of the other worlds died in its place. So, this race of basically demi-gods created their own near-annihilation because one of their groups practiced necromancy to obtain slave labor, and in so doing, killed off almost all of the rest.

      3. Nessus says:

        The world in the webcomic “Unsounded” has this. Reanimated dead are used as beasts of burden in some nations, outlawed in others. They’re not good for much more than pack mule labor, since they’re non-sapient, and need special management to keep them from getting bitey, so they don’t have an industrial revolution effect on society.

        It’s also the modern world situation in the end of “Shaun of the Dead”.

  5. BlueHorus says:

    “You see houses full of farm tools, housewares and personal belongings, all of which is ON FIRE.”

    So…a free +1d6 fire damage? ;-D

    1. Joshua says:

      For 1-6 rounds, the Improvised Weapon will deal +1d6 Fire damage, and -1d6 damage of its normal type, as it’s in the process of being consumed and will likely fall apart if it strikes a target. After that 1d6 rounds, the weapon is destroyed beyond use.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Don’t forget the constant fire damage/round done to the players hands…

        Also, I love the idea that Josh is just willing to dump the pigs in the middle of a burning burning town next to the questgiver’s corpse…and hope that qualifies as completing the quest.
        Such a perfectly ‘Munchkin’ thing to do.

  6. Stephen says:

    I was originally going to tweet this, but you don’t have Twitter anymore, so…

    Have you checked your webserver lately? I recently built a port scanner and was using it on random domains I knew, and when I ran it against yours it lit up: https://imgur.com/a/NmgNKQm

    Maybe these are all things you know about, but I thought I’d ask anyway to be safe. Happy blogging!

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