DM of the Rings Remaster X: Our Growing Family

By Bay Posted Sunday Mar 12, 2023

Filed under: DM of the Rings Remaster 23 comments

Even more reviled than a typical roleplayer is a roleplayer who insists on roleplaying. When the dorks need to feel superior, this is the guy they denounce as a dork. Honestly. The only person worse than him is the DM himself.

–  Shamus, Wednesday Sep 27, 2006

I love that in the original version of this strip, Gimli’s text at the end is actually covering the site URL. Since the URL had been seen on both the side, and the bottom of different strips, this was something that could have been avoided, and I wonder if it was an intentional gag.

This weeks French comic can be read here.


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23 thoughts on “DM of the Rings Remaster X: Our Growing Family

  1. MrGuy says:

    While I love the general “look, none of us have time to read all the nonsense this GM wrote” vibe of DMoTR I think it’s a little too far for Gimli not to know his backstory, and not super necessary to make the same joke a third time.

    Having his father’s name correct is DEFINITELY a detail the annoying role player would know and repeat at every opportunity. He can ignore everything about the world, the quests, and every other member of the party, but he’ll by gosh have his own character correct to a pedantic level of detail.

    1. hewhosaysfish says:

      Counterpoint: “Groin” is funny to say

      1. Gresman says:

        Also there might be people like me, who do not notice that this is not what the source material states.

        PS: Please be kind to someone, who lost all interest in LotR in the Foreword.
        PPS: I still find the comics rather funny.

        1. CSilvestri says:

          It took me a while longer, but LotR never really worked for me either. Things that people often cite to recommend it (like the prose style) just didn’t have much of an impact on me, but it’s only in hindsight a while after I dropped the books as a kid that I think I know one of the biggest reasons, which is that the story has very few women in it anywhere and the ones it does have aren’t around very much.

      2. Michael says:

        Gróin is Glóin’s father, Gimli’s grandfather.

        The dwarvish names in this pattern have two syllables (the accent on the ó marks it as a long vowel). So Gróin would more or less sound like “grow in”; it wouldn’t rhyme with “coin”.

        Given that Gimli really has a close family member named Groin, I’d have to agree that it’s weird for him to make a mistake about the name of his father.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      I’d agree…if Gimli’s player had chosen his backstory. Which – given the DM in this comic – I think is unlikely. I mean, the stoner guy gets to be a ranger who’s also secretly a king and poor old Dave has to be a hobbit with terrible stats?

      Mocking the name could be deliberate…

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Could also be an uncaught auto-correct (Glóin -> Groin) in the material the DM sent him (assuming it was electronic).

        1. Gresman says:

          Or the DM’s handwriting is atrocious, where about 25% of the letters look the same.

        2. djw says:

          Or… a reference to “Bored of the Rings”, which might be a fair satirical ancestor to DM of the Rings!

          Of course that would be “Gimlet son of Groin”

        3. Michael says:

          Autocorrect from Glóin to Groin isn’t really possible. The problem is that the ó doesn’t occur in any English word and so if the DM wants to use it he’ll be well aware that spellcheckers hate it. It takes special effort just to get it into the document at all; he’s not going to let it be overwritten.

    3. PPX14 says:

      True, though it’s a pretty funny notion that the somewhat self-serious attentive player should get the name wrong in a comical way – even if just a tip of the slongue.

  2. Sniffnoy says:

    Hm, this seems to have gotten marked as a second IX, instead of X.

  3. Philadelphus says:

    Is that the same frame of Gandalf speaking in both places? Because I find that hilarious if so.

    1. MrGuy says:

      I find it hilarious for different reasons if it’s two different frames.

  4. Sartharina says:

    I just noticed the start of this strip is almost identical to the start of the last.

  5. Doug says:

    For added Tolkien geekery, “Groin” (as well as being Gimlet’s father in Bored of the Rings) is genuinely the name of Gimli’s grandad, although I believe the o and the i are meant to be pronounced separately.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Oh, as in gro-in, similar pronounciation to ‘growing’?

  6. Sleeping Dragon says:

    My problem with roleplaying is that I do not necessarily feel comfortable speaking in character, and having players of both kinds at the table creates an unpleasant dichotomy when someone goes into a five minute conversation in character and then it’s my turn and I declare that I “introduce myself”. A big part of this is probably that I can’t really do smalltalk and generally am awkward in conversations IRL unless I’m going off on a topic. To be clear, I realise this is more a me problem, not a problem with people who are more into roleplaying, and I think it’s gotten better over the years though part of it is probably that I’ve found a few archetypes with which I feel relatively comfortable.

    1. smosh says:

      This is not so much a you problem as it is a systemic problem. If you need to introduce yourself in character, the game is already in bad shape: In-character small talk accomplishes nothing, because that’s literally the point of small talk, to say nothing, in a way that accomplishes nothing. If it happens in character, that just means that people at the table don’t know why they are even talking.

      If you don’t know why you’re saying words while roleplaying, something is terribly wrong, since saying words to create a story is the whole point (at least for most people, though some groups have a story-free dungeon crawl style. That’s fine too, but it also doesn’t need small talk).

      No need to do improv voices and give an acting performance either. You can state something about your character in third person. “My character shouts [angrily/insulting/thankfully] to the [innkeeper/barmaid] before [grumpily/drunkenly] sitting down and introducing themself as [name]”. Character! Not stat block.

      Personally, I blame D&D. It’s the game most people play and it has zero rules about how to be a fictional person, how to come up with an arc, or how to become an interesting character. Instead, it has ten books worth of combat simulation rules, which don’t contribute anything to the story, ever. Better games have stats that create characters, such as beliefs or relationships.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Oh I do a lot of “stating in third person”, and in case it’s not clear the issue is not a dealbreaker, just I had situations where another player launched a fully acted line at me and I was like “hepl! I do not roleplay in this way!”. And actually I’d say it’s been more of an issue with games where we were more focused on non-combat because it involved more social interactions, which to be clear is a game style I overall prefer to typical D&D dungeoncrawling.

      2. Jonathan E says:

        I think you ended up on the money about D&D’s rules not concerning the play many/most of its players are interested in, but I want to push back a little against this idea that in character small talk accomplishes nothing. I do this not for the sake of arguing with you a week after you posted, smosh – just so that if someone does come along and read the comments, someone has said what I believe about this and they can make up their own mind. This one goes out to the folx at home.

        For a performative style of play, in character small talk allows people some brain-buffering space and time to put their real self on the shelf and get into character before it really matters. For a personal, character-focused drama-type game, it’s important exactly *because* nothing happens – it’s a breath taken between horrible things and the fallout from horrible things, a chance for the players at the table to reset, ground and reassert without fully dropping out of the play at hand.

        The comparison I always draw is to genre TV – Buffy, what I still think of as “new” Doctor Who and so on – where you’ll have a little bit of banter near the start of the story that might be only tangentially relevant to anything else, certainly won’t be relevant line by line, but reminds you who these people are and how they relate. Players are their own audience, and need a gentle nod as to the status quo every once in a while.

        To be fair, that isn’t the tone of a cinematic epic fantasy of the sort our imaginary DM is trying to pull off here, and it isn’t the tone of the overwrought gothic-punk shtick my native VtM strives for either, but I think that’s a problem common to RPGs as a whole – aspiring to a tone that is more appropriate to professional work than a pastime activity. Players want to play, to be playful, and that often ends up undermining the games-as-art goals of the designer and the frustrated-novelist style of Host (ref/DM/ST/Keeper/whateveryoursystemcallsit).

        All that said, I wouldn’t have players introducing their characters in character in the very first session. “How we first met” is an important story beat and I don’t like covering it in the early sessions before we’ve worked out who the characters even are as people. Very prone to – pardon my Troperese – Early Instalment Weirdness that you end up regretting three months down the line when you’ve got these people figured out.

    2. PPX14 says:

      I agree, for the most part I don’t like speaking in character unless I’ve thought of something in particular, so I mix it up. Although with time I’ve found it a little humorous to play that up in my character therefore resulting in her being blunt dimwitted and capricious, all because I’m not much of a roleplayer. And thus my character has taken on a character for the others who engage with such stuff, and I just do the minimum. I see the game as an opportunity to engage in adventure, not an opportunity to pretend to be a character. I think the term role-playing game is a bit misleading, as really it’s an adventure game with roleplay opportunities. One can play it 100% adventure and off-the-cuff decisions and in-the-moment problem solving (yay!) but I’m not sure one can play it 100% roleplay – that would just be conversations. I find large quantities of overt character roleplaying a bit weird and exhibitionist tbh, and want to get back to the group puzzle-solving.

  7. Aaron B Wayman says:

    I am currently listening to the audio book of Fellowship, and just hit this portion of the book. As Andy Serkis is reading these passages, I am also hearing Shamus’ Characters dialogue. I may never be able to Lord of the Rings again.

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