DM of the Rings XX:
Temple of BOOM

By Shamus Posted Monday Oct 23, 2006

Filed under: DM of the Rings 77 comments

Tomb of Balin, Chamber of Marzubal, Loot, Gimli, Axe Dwarf, Hammer Dwarf, Laura Croft, BOOM

Ask any fighter: A hammer is just a really heavy set of lockpicks.


From The Archives:

77 thoughts on “DM of the Rings XX:
Temple of BOOM

  1. John Fiala says:

    That’s right. A poison needle lock doesn’t slow down a waraxe any, either.

  2. Sam Robb says:

    John Fiala – a familiar name. CMU student around 1988?

  3. Shamus says:

    Amusing note: My cousin went to CMU at about the same time. I know it’s a big school, but for what it’s worth: Brock Organ.

  4. Sam Robb says:

    The name doesn’t ring a bell – then again, I was a metallurgical engineering major at CMU, though I did hang out with a bunch of EE/ECE majors (mostly gaming buddies), so I might at least recognize him if I bumped into him somewhere. If he’s still in the Pittsburgh area, I may have worked with him at some point… though my education and background are a lot more like yours, Shamus (a lot of reading, a lot of hard work, and a couple of classes to fill in the gaps).

  5. Pete Zaitcev says:

    I know a Brock Organ who is running the s390 complex for Red Hat.

  6. Heather says:

    That would proably be hm. Funny, I just got an email from him in my inbox. Really. :)

  7. Heather says:

    Oh, and I think this is probably about the funniest so far, especially sinc e I have watched more than a few of our less than sneaky fighters attack a box anytime our lockpick expert was out of the room. :)

  8. Kamelion says:

    Just discovered the comic today. Brilliant stuff. Keep it up!!

  9. Shamus says:

    Pete: That’s him. We are not related by blood, but growing up people found this very hard to believe. We looked a bit alike, sounded a lot alike, and thought very much alike. He’s one of the few people in the world with whom I can speak for hours and hours.

    1. Brock Organ says:

      Hey Shamus, small world, an acquaintance of mine made a reference to you about a month ago … it was great to see your name in lights :)

      its a small world … :))

  10. MD says:


  11. Blaizewind says:

    Thank you so much for this comic. I annoyed my husband while he played WoW laughing my butt off over this…because I’m the /roleplaying/ role-player. :)

  12. Sam Robb says:

    Good gravy, I’m dense some days (OK, most days…) I’ve been reading your site for months and just realized that the dice next to the comments aren’t there just for decoration. Amazing attention to detail – you have a very nicely designed site.

  13. Sam Robb says:

    .. and as soon as I posted my last comment, the latent QA monkey in me reared it’s ugly head and said, “Ooooh, what happens when the number of comments breaks triple digits? Does he break out the 100-sider of doom?”

  14. Shamus says:

    Sadly, no 100 sider will appear. It just adds 20-siders forever. The digits 1-19 remain the same. So, 113 would look just like the 3 + 10 on your comment, plus five 20’s.

    The worst thing that could happen is that there will be so many that they will start to mess up the formatting. No thread has ever gotten that high yet. :)

  15. Shamus says:

    Now that I think about it, I don’t have a way to search for the most commented post. Hmmm. I think the highest ever was somewhere in the 20’s.

  16. Shamus says:

    Correction: That is how it is SUPPOSED to work. Looks like it broke at some point. Now it just adds more and more handfuls of low dice, which can pile up fast. The most commented post is here, with 29 comments.

  17. ubu roi says:

    Well at least Sam noticed it. More than I did until he said that…

  18. Rantinan says:

    A friend sent me. pure unadultreated genius. Has been responsible for may supressed work lolz.

  19. Soni says:

    This is hilarious. I hope you keep on making more. I want them to find something shiney soon. :3 Shiney things make me happy.

  20. Cineris says:

    Commenting to see if I get a 20.

  21. Deathblade-Penguin says:

    Great Comic (read it all today and want more)… your insights remind me so much of my own (ex) group of roleplayers (of course I was the perfect GM with no flaws of my own)…I’m just waiting for the scene where they finally get to fight each other for the one piece of loot… of course in their defence, and poor judgement I once used the description.. “You enter a large cavern with a small city in the centre”.. The Gits never let me forget it… That’s why I make dungeons that are impossible to map and then insist they map it…

  22. Deathblade-Penguin says:

    Sorry to post shortly after my own post but the more i read this the more I want to send it to my (ex) group of roleplayers (note the one who took over GMing sent it to me).. We had them all in our group, it brings back such fond memory. – It is good to see that roleplaying groups do not change the world over. Keep the good work coming.
    Stephen (aka Deathblade_Penguin) – Australia.

  23. ok, now I have to see what happens too. Can we break the dice?

  24. Me says:

    I wanna break the dice too.

  25. off-topic, but I wanted to let you know I watched your youtube rollercoaster/bowling video, and it was totally classic and I love your genius!
    I posted it to my livejournal

    I hope you become famous for you sadistic hilarity!

  26. noname says:

    I continue to search the website for more episodes. Do I find anything?

  27. Shamus says:

    Do I find anything?

    Roll the dice…

    Nope. You scour the website, but find no more comics.

    Check back tomorrow, around noon Eastern US time. I try to keep these things coming M-W-F.

  28. Rachel says:

    Here from Livejournal and oh my god, this is absolutely brilliant and hysterically funny. Am eagerly awaiting more installments.

  29. nolee says:

    This is awesome. Most entertaining. A perfect desc of my SO. At varying times, any or all members of the party. Hee. Will certainly read for more. :)

  30. Deathblade-Penguin says:

    Have we broken the dice yet? and can someone translate noon US eastern time to Australian time for me?

  31. telesilla says:

    A friend pointed me this way and I terrified the cat this evening because I as laughing so hard. The irony is that everything I know about gaming comes of being a gamer widow in more than one relationship, so it’s a testement to your skills that this is funny to someone on the edges of the culture. My current gf has complained more than once that the Fellowship lacked a cleric; so that line early on made both of us hysterical.

    In addition to the hilarious writing, you’re also doing a great visual job of matching–or photoshopping–visuals to text.

  32. Shamus says:

    Australia is about +12 hours from east coast US, discounting our ridiculous custom of messing with the clocks twice a year. So, something like midnight Thursday morning down under.

  33. Shamus says:

    Nope. Dice not broken yet. Way up at comment 14 in this endless thread I describe how the dice should work. I wrote the code about a year ago, and I’ve written miles and miles of code SINCE then, so by the time I went back to look it was more or less new to me.

    The dice that appear within the post work the way I describe: Once you hit 20, it repeats digits 1-19. It just adds as many 20-siders as it needs.

    Here in the comments, it just uses lots and lots of low dice, as you see. Looks like I made this change on purpose and forgot about it.

  34. John Fiala says:

    “John Fiala – a familiar name. CMU student around 1988?”

    Yes! Dang! You’re the guy who was running the GrimJack game for a few years, right? I think I’ve still got that one-page group pic that the guy who played the furball drew…

    1. Ron Redmond says:

      I played in that game too! With Pete Lee, I was a cyborg-ish type, with electrified wolverine claws that sometimes backfired. :)
      The furball was a dude named Otto I think… super nice guy. Everyone was! Great game, I have the rules somewhere!!

  35. haashaastaak says:

    my daughter pointed me to this. I think I know some other people who really need to know about it!

  36. Wonderduck says:

    “The worst thing that could happen is that there will be so many that they will start to mess up the formatting.”

    The Pond has only ever had eight or nine comments at most on a post. I think broken formatting wouldn’t be such a bad thing to have happen.

    Congrats, Shamus… looks like you’ve got yourself a bona-fide hit here!

  37. Shamus says:

    Thanks Duck. It is pretty funny to see all these new names in such a short time.

  38. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Yes they are “funny” but no name is nearly as impossible as mine is

  39. Combat Medic in Iraq says:

    Shamus, keep up the great work. It is a welcome relief from serious tension here in Baghdad with that whole insurgency thing and what not. A friend of mine sent me this from GASP in Pitt. Absolutely outstanding and check religiously for each new episode.

  40. Ed Dunphy says:

    Very funny, very like my gaming groups over the years. By the way, I played in/ran a Grimjack game years ago using the GURPS system. One of our players: John Ostrander! One of the best games I ever participated in.

  41. Kris says:

    Love it man, I don’t remember how I got here, but oh well!

    (Really just contributing to the breaking of the dice!)

  42. Gwen says:

    Break, dice, break! (Yes, you can *tell* us that it won’t work, but we won’t believe you until we reach, oh, one hundred comments or so.)
    By the way, I love this comic. And I’m even further on the fringes than telesilla is; I was once in a science club with a bunch of people who did D&D together, and skimmed a couple rulebooks, but that’s it.
    But I did read Lord of the Rings (and the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion…why yes, I do read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, why do you ask?) and I watched the movies and this is hi-lar-i-ous! Now I’m going to stay up late and finish them off. (Curse you! I need my sleep! And I have little to no self-control!)

  43. Paula says:

    Very funny! It reminds me of my gaming group and the crazy things we do.
    But I like the ideas being posted throughout the comic and I am definetly using a couple in any games I run in the future. (Namely the useless random magic items idea a few comics ago.)

    Keep the dice rolling!

  44. Macros the Black says:

    Excellent work here Shamus!!!! Definately keep up the good work :)
    I think I will use some of these ideas in my campaigns as well :))

  45. luxangelus says:

    In the end the dice did not break.

  46. cmullenweg says:

    Personally, I think that the dice are the coolest thing that I’ve seen in a loooooong time, and I have to look @ WP sites all the time! Do you have the theme up somewhere for download? I don’t talk about TTRPG’s on my site a lot (I almost never post to begin with), but I would love to have something like that on there.
    …and I’m curious what will happen for #47…
    Love the comic, BTW, and I’m hoping that I don’t get fired for randomly guffawing in the middle of a cubicle farm. My boss is a little high strung, and this might push her over the edge. Thanks for the laughs!!! – Charleen

  47. Shamus says:

    cmullenweg: Thanks, I’m glad you like the dice. I do note you’re Matt Mullenweg (author of awesome WP) sister so I’m glad you like the little touches on the site.

    The comment dice are a plugin, although I don’t think I’ve ever released it. I didn’t expect anyone to care. :)

    Later in the comic you’ll see comment threads over 100, so you’ll see what the dice do then.

  48. cmullenweg says:

    AAAUUUGGGHHH!!! I typed this beautiful and witty reply, and the server crapped out…
    Busted. Yes, I’m Matt’s sister. In fact there was much speculation at SxSW as to whether I could make it to the #1 “Matt’s Sister” on Google, since I couldn’t make #1 “Charleen”. Thus far, I’m not. =)
    I sent this blog to him yesterday, as an apology for making him play an RPGA module waaaaaay back in the day (we needed to make a table). Thus far, I haven’t gotten a reply, but, if he’s anything like me, he may need to replace his keyboard after spraying DP all over it.
    If you ever decide to release that plugin, look me up!!! I would love it (though I doubt that I would ever have more than one dice…until I make number one for “Matt’s sister”)!!

  49. fluchardan says:

    I roll a….

  50. fluchardan says:

    um… two 20s a 7 and a 3. did i hit it?

  51. septima says:

    Lara Croft. Lara. So she’s so famous, that they know her at middle earth too? *sigh*

  52. warren says:

    Block the door with the invincible coffin.

  53. Sewicked says:

    Ah yes, the famous fighter/barbarian lockpick; aka an adamantine weapon. In our part of Living Greyhawk we call it _any_ adamantine weapon a Gran March lockpick (9/10s of the local rogues are scout wannabes with little or no lockpick skills).

  54. Josh says:

    It always drives me nuts in Neverwinter Nights 2 when I smash a chest in and one of the contents is “Broken Item” I will go to bed wondering what that item was…

  55. Robel says:

    Yeah, Josh, I remember that never happened in Baldur’s Gate. I was a happy Fighter then. Now I`m just afraid of going anywhere without a Rogue or Wizard with the Knock spell. What if I smash a nice bigass sword? That would be tragic.
    And by the way Shamus. Pure genius. The whole site, not just this.

  56. Morambar says:

    A few notes:

    1) Awesome work; nice to know something constructive can come from years spent huddled around a card table/study lounge.

    2) Anytime you see the acronym “GURPS” you know you’re around hardcore gamers (from back when that word didn’t imply a computer…. ) Less so for those of us in Austin, but still….

    3) You people brought along more of us hardcore thieves you wouldn’t have these kinds of problems so often. Or better yet, played one; remember, thieves get 200XP every time they use a thief skill (I used to climb walls just… because…. ;-p) and DOUBLE XP for treasure. Y’know, ‘cos they don’t level fast enough already….

    Great site, great strips, even if it’s hard to believe, with all the Trilogy ripoffs in fiction and campaigns, there could actually be gamers out there who haven’t heard of the books.

  57. Trick says:

    This is sooo funny!

    And I have to say… the part about “I wish I’d been a hammer dwarf instead of an axe dwarf” just made me crack up because it was soo close to something that happened in my first campaign.
    We had a druid (I think he might even have been a halfling…) who decided to disarm a needle trap using his greataxe. He somersaulted right THROUGH the door, and we all just trooped in after him…
    “The door slams shut behind you!”
    “Oops. The door TRIES to slam shut behind you, which results in the hinges squeeking…”

  58. Andrul says:

    I once gave my players an axe of illusionary damage. The fighter claimed it without discussing it with the rest of the group and spent the next few fights trying to figure how how even the kobolds got so tough that they were being dealt huge, bone deep gashes and would just stand there and hit back. The intelligent monsters in the dungeon recognized the axe and would maneuver to be the ones to fight him.

  59. ERROR says:

    Contributing to help “break” the dice.

  60. Keybounce says:

    4 dice

  61. middle_earth_muggle says:

    Let’ see. . . 20, 20, 20, 2.
    Great comics! Really really funny! :D

  62. Maladjester says:

    One of my rookie players couldn’t understand how a wereboar kept coming after he’d chopped and chopped it. I described him “dealing” it roughly double its hit points in damage, but he was without a magic weapon, so it just kept coming at him with pieces of hacked flesh hanging off it.

    Oh, and 63. Cha-ching.

  63. Spit Fyre says:

    Break the dice!

  64. Taran says:

    Hi, i just stumbled upon this by thanks of one of my friends, TOTALLY EPIC!!!!

    I just recently got into roleplaying, but i have always been a Tolkien and misc fantasy fan and i just have to say that this really strikes a place right in my hearth!!

    Keep up the good work,
    from the swedish newbie

    Break the dice! Let´s see it go……OVER 9,000!!!!

  65. Trae says:

    That would require 450 d20s.

  66. whitney says:

    our dm sent us this link, sweet Jesus I cried

  67. mistercoffee says:

    I’ve been reading your stolen pixels comics over at the escapist and hopped over here when i noticed the new links at the end of your comments there.

    I have to say, this REALLY depicts my gaming group. I just keep shaking my head and picking out who’s who among my own group with the comments being made by these players here.

    Looks like I’ll be rolling max on my 4 dice … 3 20’s and an 8, too bad I can’t roll that well when I’m at the table lol.

  68. Cal Sailor says:

    And I roll a Crit, Crit and 17! I must have killed some Big baddy! :-)

    Anyway, stumbled upon this site and have been reading it from the first! It’s funny and true in so many ways!

    I sure miss gaming. It’s been years. Keep up the good work wherever you’re applying yourself now and thanks!

  69. Cal Sailor says:

    Oops! That was strange! But I rolled a 69 instead! How awesome is that? I hope its a good omen ;-)

    “And I roll a Crit, Crit and 17! I must have killed some Big baddy! :-)” = Fail…

  70. Jake says:

    I gotta say, that in fantasy roleplays it’s a lot more fun in the way it makes you think of how you can use your tools and weapons in ways that you’d normally not use them. I mean here’s a random comparison…

    (Note, We’ve had both Sci-Fi and Fantasy go through this exact same problem. Our DM kinda lacks imagination when it comes to legendary item vaults.)

    (Other Note, everyone had to go to their own “Key” vault in this particular campaign.)

    DM: You walk into a great, empty cavern, echoing with the sounds of time and decay. In front of the party rest a massive door, easily thirty feet high. Behind the door rest the legendary “Key” which has the power to unlock a massive cache of powerful weapons. Nearby is a complex puzzle of pulleys, levers, and other objects. This mechanism seems to be connected to the door.

    (Sci-Fi Responses)

    Dreg: -gives the DM a bored stare-
    Dreg: I level my T-502 Plasma Cannon at the door and fire at it, blowing a molten hole in door.

    Kyle: I aim my H-64 Pulse Rifle at the “lock” and blow it to bits.

    Reaver: I use my android brain to examine the lock and figure it out. (Yeah. Ted’s kinda blunt like that.)

    Omega: I quickly scour the room for any kind of valuables. (DM: You find several scraps of steel, but nothing else.) Then use my laser blade to cut a hole in the door. (That’s me. I’m like these guys in the comic. Always looking for loot.)

    (Fantasy Response)

    Eric(Dreg): I use my ax as a tool to beat a hole through the door.

    Tristen(Omega): I examine and activate the lock. (I’m blunt sometimes too)

    DM: Your attempts to unlock the door result in several pendulum blades desending from the celing.

    Omega/Tristen(same answer): I jam a piece of metal into the “lock” and stop the trap.

    Not the best thing, but you can see that Sci-fi tends to have players using their weapons as their own personal door makers the Fantasy.

    (Also, adding to dice break!)

  71. Jeremy says:

    Errr… It’s actually “Lara Croft”, not “Laura Croft”.

  72. Will says:

    Yeah, Larry Craft! Give it a rest, already!

  73. Tanor Dracon Hearthfyre says:

    How can I possibly be the most recent comment on this wholly brilliant work lest the comments be shut down? I'm laughing,crying and tripping down lanes I haven't travelled with hilarious companions I haven't seen in decades save for fb birthday reminders. I miss my gaming crew . the valkyries and rogues the rehashed plots from Highlander, Dragonlance,Tolkien, Conan and more… I have 3 cases of Dragon magazines and a killer sketchbook and I have thoroughly enjoyed this having found you tonight and p,an perilously to binge it and hope it doesn't fall off a cliff before the tpk or the players nuke a volcano with an indestructible magical device and raise pints at the prancing pony…wondering where the halfling whores were hiding..thanks
    Ps great site design.

    1. Andy says:

      Here in 2018, using Chrome browser and no dice, I’m devastated.

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