DM of the Rings XXXV:
A Dubious Victory

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Nov 29, 2006

Filed under: DM of the Rings 29 comments

River Anduin, Boromir, Gimli, Rowboats, Victory

The players are there to overcome challenges and earn rewards. If you are foolish enough to deny them the desired supply of challenges and rewards they will instead amuse themselves by frustrating the goals of your campaign and thwarting your emerging plot. In this way you can view loot and XP as the candy with which you bribe your wayward players into behaving themselves.


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29 thoughts on “DM of the Rings XXXV:
A Dubious Victory

  1. Carl the Bold says:

    I’m looking forward to the introduction of Gandalf the White. Or was it Dumbledore? Thanks as always, Shamus!

  2. John Fiala says:

    Heh. Good point. You know your players are bored when you mention a cat acting strangely, and someone tries to kill it before discovering that it’s the familiar of a guy you need to meet.

  3. Lyz says:

    I’m watching with great anticipation to see how things are going to play out with Boromir. *stares at Shamus through computer screen* No pressure. ;P

  4. Rufus Polson says:

    I’m envisioning something along the lines of
    “Giving in to the lure of the ring? Oh, give me a break! I’m sick of this guy. I want to start a new character!”
    “He can’t just disappear!”
    “Fine. I’ll do something really stupid and get him killed.”
    “Plus, I can’t bring in someone new. We’re right in the middle of the adventure. You guys are supposed to be the fellowship of the ring; you can’t just draft new members!”
    “You’re the GM, you can introduce someone new if you feel like it. There’s got to be *someone*!”
    ” . . . Well, you could play Gollum . . .”

  5. Eve says:

    I know, I really like whoever’s playing Boromir. Man after my own heart…

  6. Drake the Wonder Ranger says:

    I was thinking that the guy playing Boromir would have or wife or girlfriend that told him that their relationship would end if he kept on playing and he tells the DM that, at which point the DM shoots Boromir with a volley of arrows along with continuous uterrings of profanity by Boromir.

  7. Stratim says:

    classic. Our group actually had a campaign just like that. in retaliation, the players made the DM’s plot devices completely rediculous and ridiculed the NPCs. damn time-travelling space commies…

  8. Heather says:

    I have a suspicion that Bormir is played by the guy brought his his girlfriend to the sessions and she is about to get involved then her parents find out and don’t like it, so he gets engaged to her, ends up working several jobs, and doesn’t have time for this kid stuff anymore so he never shows and finally he gets killed off so the DM can quit making up excuses for his absence. Or maybe he is the guy who keeps showing up half dead with lack of sleep then snoring his way through the session, then finally quits coming at all. Or maybe…..

  9. Steve says:

    Surely Boromir is the ‘first’ guy to decide not to follow the plot of the campaign and is willing to kill off any of the other characters, including his own just to try and get the GM to try and change the plot that I..i mean he.. have spent hours planning and thinking out…

    and then we can have a long line of ‘new’ characters which the party can systematically kill off because they are the fellowship and dont trust new people.

    Of Course, I’m looking forward to the bit in the campaign where the party deliberately splits up and then expects the GM to run 3 seperate campaigns all at the same time.. Bastards the lot of them,


  10. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Hmmm…I sense hostility! But I do have to say it should be the first choice. As long as its not one of the ones that’s not mentioned. Cause I know who Frodo is seeing as how he is the true hero. Or maybe Aragorn since he does get his rear kissed every where he goes pretty much. Oh and he’s the only one that’s not crazy or fairy like.

  11. Telas says:

    OK, so Boromir’s player gets tired of playing third string meat shield, and tries to take Frodo’s magic items (magic sword, mithral shirt, Cursed Ring of Plot-Driving). The DM gets chapped and “takes him out”.

    Boromir’s player leaves in a huff, but (being a true geek) has nothing else to do on Friday nights, so he comes back groveling. The DM relents and lets him play a series of NPCs: Treebeard, Eomer, Faramir, Gollum…

  12. Deoxy says:

    Another good one.

    Off-topic: have you noticed the comments beginning to accrue in your last entry in the “D&D Campaign” topic? I think a lot of readers are reading through your campaign and… then wanting to know what happened. Not that *I* would be so ungrateful, mind you, but, you know, SOMEbody might be…

    HINT HINT. A summary, even?

  13. Walt C says:

    Boromir’s player will obviously play Faramir.

    “Crap, my character just died!”
    “You’ll have to roll up a new one.”
    “I don’t feel like rolling up a new character. I like my background.”
    “Well, he’s dead now.”
    “Fine!” “I’ll play his brother. Now I can have the same stats and stuff!”
    “Whatever…just don’t expect Daddy to treat you the same.”

  14. Steve says:

    that makes perfect since and since the Boromor/Faramir player knows the Dm will snot him one if he tries to take the ring (aka plot device) he wont.. thus explaining how Faramir resisted temptation.

  15. haashaastaak says:

    boromir leaves the game, comes back later, groveling, prob. after breaking up w girlfriend, and gets faramir.

  16. Lev Lafayette says:

    Aw, come on. This happened in November; and nobody asked “How many experience points is Gandalf worth?”

  17. claudia says:

    AHAHA dont ever delete this site!

  18. FlameKiller says:

    if the DM i play with ever sends me with a NPC i will make him take on a room with any large amount of mobs and just have my caracture back quickly out of the room.

  19. TheDeepDark says:

    This one got me. So many sessions ended with the players lobbying for experience. We made up some interesting *justifications* heh, heh.

  20. Tria says:


    I know how the “we haven’t won a battle thing works.” The DM started giving us XP for surviving a session. Mostly because we…. Weren’t….

  21. cheesebunny says:

    yes, it is fun when you realise just how little youve done to get there by smart-alecing your way through everything

  22. ERROR says:

    There should be a comma right after “We did not fight it.”
    Sorry, being nitpicky here.

  23. gamelord says:

    ¡Sitio muy fresco, si solamente tenía un sitio tan fresco!

  24. pirate34 says:

    heh, if they were smart they would have used a single range attack on the balrog for a claim on exp.

  25. Michael says:

    I know how the “we haven't won a battle thing works.” The DM started giving us XP for surviving a session. Mostly because we…. Weren't….

    Reminds me of a RollMaster campaign. We were getting our kill points when we survived being killed. By the time it was over, one person was only getting half points because it had become routine for him.

    Oh, you said surviving a session. Does getting resurrected count?

    (Don’t ask how it ended. Oh heck, a 9th level fighter delivers a killing blow against a God, has a 9% chance of surviving, survives, and leaps up to 20th level, catching up with the party leader in one strike. Yes, this was the “Britae, you get your kill points” character :-).

  26. Wildmage says:

    I unconsciously started using Gimli’s quote up there about winning at anything if your definition is flexible enough without even realizing it. I came back and was like “Oh, that’s where I got that from…”

    Wonderful comic, by the way! Even though my total experience with D&D comes to being very confused while watching my friends play for five minutes, I can totally relate to your comic anyway. That takes talent!

  27. It’s really a great and helpful piece of info.

    I’m satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  28. 4ier says:

    There are a couple of messed up character encodings in the comments.
    “we haven't should be “we haven’t
    works.” should be works.”
    we…. Weren't…. should be we…. Weren’t….

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