#44 Return of the Kinged

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jul 28, 2019

Filed under: DM of the Rings 16 comments

And here we deliver a pure, almost leathal dose of fanservice. Most of this is an in-joke for fans of DMotR. Who Steve is and what role he played is left as an exercise to the reader.

Shamus Says:

Yeah. A “leathal” dose! Nice spellcheck, Shamus-from-2008.

Anyway, quite a lot good in this comic. Shawn did a great job of capturing the Lord of the Rings Viggo Mortensen and turning that into our gaming stoner.

Also great is the shirt. I had the idea for a 4:20 shirt that used dice, but I didn’t have any idea how to depict the dice and keep them readable. Shawn is the one that came up with the stylized design that made it work.

As for humor: The “punchline” is actually the weakest panel in the whole comic. The Steve / Ivy panel is lots funnier and more interesting. I can see now how this one strip could be cut up into a few traditional three-panel comics.

If I had it to do over again:

Strip 1 would be Steve’s intro, with the “I’m the guy who won the last campaign” in the punchline panel.

Strip 2 would be his comment on the other characters, ending with the the “sexay” dialog with Ivy.

Strip 3 would have established the conflict between Steve and Josh.

Here I went nuts and crammed all three concepts into a single page. It’s funny and fun, but it just wasn’t sustainable. I’ve finally gotten the feel for this sort of humor. Only two years too late.

Ah well. It turned out nice anyway.

Shawn Says:

Steve’s appearance was kind of amazing. He showed up, became an instant fan favorite, and then stuck around for two weeks or so, and totally wore out his welcome to the point where the fans were clamoring for him to go away. I’d seen that sort of thing happen on many a tv show or what have you, but I’d never witnessed it first hand, and so quickly.

Anyway, I still really enjoy this strip. Mainly for that first shot of Steve, throwing horns and saying “Sup hoes?”

EDIT 2019: Looking back, I think I oversold the connection between DMotR and CB. Certainly the new characters borrow the same archetypes we see in the original webcomic. Chuck is the old-school Grognard like Gimli and Josh is the power-obsessed munchkin like Legolas, but the characters don’t really map directly. Chuck and Gimli have similar backgrounds, but Chuck has a mean streak that Gimli never exhibited. Legolas had a certain creative exuberance that’s missing in Josh. But Steve really does seem to be Aragorn, son of Anduril.

On one hand, it was probably bad form to imply direct continuity between the two works. I didn’t really feel any allegiance to the original group and I was happy to have the new characters break from the old in the name of a joke. On the other hand, it was nice to be able to use the old characters as a launching point for the new run.

I was able to skip a lot of character building at the start thanks to the established characters, but then it kinda annoyed people when the CB crew diverged from expected behavior. It was a tradeoff.


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16 thoughts on “#44 Return of the Kinged

  1. Mattias42 says:

    4D 20D

    …I just got that joke.

    Score one for the re-re-run (and the ‘wisdom’ of age), I guess?

    1. Olivier FAURE says:

      I still didn’t get that joke until I read the commentary.

  2. Olivier FAURE says:

    Yeah, to be honest, this comic is a little low on humor that’s… well… smart, insightful, cuttingly satirical… or funny or interesting in any way, shape or form, really.

    Or, more accurately, all the strips of this comic have some of the above, just… very very very diluted. You have to be reading it from an archive all at once to have fun with it. Or read it for the documentary value of knowing what a roleplay group should not be like.

    For contrast, every chapter of the MMO roleplays had me laughing my ass off at least once. There was some great shit in there. Of course it’s a different medium and all.

  3. 4th Dimension says:

    Offtoppic, but did Shamus NUKE the forums because they’ve been overrun by bots or something?

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I’m guessing so. There was a full-blown bot-pocalypse going on in there!

    2. Supah Ewok says:

      Probably just down while he and Peter figure a way to deal with it. He’d have made an announcement if they were permanently dead.

      It was a pretty bad problem. The last time I viewed them, the entire first page of Off-Topic were new threads with images of close-ups of vaginas.

      1. Decius says:

        When I was running a forum, the best way I found to stop bots was to have a question-answer CAPTCHA using a nonstandard question like “Who is the author of the Twentysidedtale blog?”.

  4. Mousazz says:

    Steve’s bottom-center face (especially the eyes) remind me a lot of the Youtube series “How it should have ended”. The artstyle is very similar, in my opinion.

  5. Abnaxis says:

    Legolas reminds me of a sort of mix of Josh and Markus. He was a very enthusiastic power gamer, but he also endured ceaseless “Leggylass” teasing

  6. BlueHorus says:

    Once again, Ivy steals the show. Shawn did a great job portraying a mixture of discomfort and disdain in that picture and that line fits perfectly.
    Also: ‘Your character’s player is sexy’? Sheeet, I missed just how creepy that line is the first couple of times.

    I’m curious as to why you thought Chainmail Bikini should have links to DM Of The Rings. They work fine as unrelated comics…

    1. Sven says:

      Also: ‘Your character’s player is sexy’? Sheeet, I missed just how creepy that line is the first couple of times.

      Shit, my mind just completely skipped over that extra word in the second line, and read it the same as his comment to Marcus. That was already creepy, but the actual text is much, much worse.

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        Christ, now I hate him even more.
        This character just screams “douche-bro” to me.

  7. Lazlo says:

    Of course, there’s the other big question:

    Where can I get that D4/D20 shirt?

    1. simon says:

      you could still (as of two or three years ago) get it on the old chainmail bikini website. i have one, and i treasure it.

  8. Ofermod says:

    I don’t know why, but for some reason, Chainmail Bikini Steve grated on me in a way that DM of the Rings Aragorn never did.

  9. Ira says:

    I think I’d disagree with the comparison of Legolas to Josh. I never got the sense that Legolas was a munchkin or even particularly good at optimising. He made a pretty straightforward character build; he struck me as a relatively young, inexperienced player, and as a result was exuberant, a little hyperactive, but also creative. Think of e.g. that strip where Legolas fanboys over the Arcane Archer class. Can you imagine Josh not being aware of all the existing prestige classes already?

    Josh is a relatively humourless optimiser whose goal is to break the game by making the most effective character regardless of style. Legolas is the opposite of that: Legolas is creative and fun and is absolutely obsessed with style. Legolas is in the game because he wants to be awesome.

    Which is why Legolas does things like propose the mumak stunt, or flip an orc shield on the ground and play Tony Hawk, or want to engage in huge epic battles no matter how sensible they are, like with the Dead of Dunharrow. Compare the climax: Legolas thinks it’s cool that the whole campaign is down to a single die roll. He loves that adrenaline rush. Whereas I don’t think Josh would even be very interested in that; he’s all about minimising variance and being consistently effective.

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