DM of the Rings: Unused (Unusable) Strip

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jan 28, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 51 comments

This DM of the Rings gig has some unusual restrictions. I don’t need any real artistic talent, and I can produce a comic for a lot less effort than someone who has to draw everything. The downside is that I can’t make just anything I want. Once in a while I have to scrap a joke or gag because I can’t screencap or photoshop what I need from the movies.

Here is one strip I would make if I were producing my own art. Obviously it would only work if I was drawing what I needed, as it requires stuff I couldn’t get any other way.

Note that I don’t expect this to be funny. This is a visual joke. I’m sure you can picture it in your head, but the real humor would come from the outragous and unexpected images.

Gimli, Aragorn, and Legolas stand by while NPC Gandalf introduces Shadowfax in his typical long-winded manner. The players are obviously irritated and bored. There are a couple of throwaway lines from Aragorn and Legolas, which overlap Gandalf’s yammering.

GIMLI: This Shadowfax thing is cool and all, but you’re thinking too small.

DM: What do you mean?

GIMLI: Instead of giving him the greatest horse who ever lived, he should ride around on twin dragons. Ancient golden dragons of splendor, named Dionysus and Demeter!

We see Gandalf riding through the clouds on two dragons, with one foot on the head of each. He’s holding the reins in one hand while pumping his fist in the air.


GIMLI: (Narrating) He also needs a sidekick. No, better than a sidekick: He should have an elven maiden with hair the color the sunrise. Clad only in leaves, she follows him around and sings his praises in a high, clear voice that makes common men hide their faces in shame and weep for their own wickedness.

We don’t see the girl, but instead we see a bunch of awed peasants looking upwards, presumably at this elven maiden. A golden light falls on their faces. The foremost looks like he’s on the verge of tears.

PEASANT: Only now do I truly understand beauty.

GIMLI: (Narrating)And his staff! It should be like a bolt of lightning in his hand; a radiant spear of power which is hewn from the world’s first tree.

We see Gandalf holding this shaft of brilliant light, adressing some foe “off-screen”.

IMAGINARY GANDALF: You still shall not pass!

We cut back to the players, standing just as they were in panel 1. Gimli looks pleased with himself. Gandalf looks vacant.


Same panel again. The players are waiting for the DM to Get On With It.


Same panel again, but players look grumpy.

DM: What did you say the dragons should be named again?

ARAGORN: Just give us the next quest, railroad-boy.

I find it amusing to toy with ideas like this one and imagine what I’d do if I could produce worthy artwork.


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51 thoughts on “DM of the Rings: Unused (Unusable) Strip

  1. kat says:

    … trust me. This is funny even without the visuals.

  2. Hah, you can’t fool us. You were just too lazy to photoshop a strip together today.

    (Just kidding. It is indeed quite funny–and you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone took it as a challenge and banged out some art to spec for it.)

  3. Tirgaya says:

    Well, uh you COULD grab stuff from OTHER movies… or something. I think you could find at least one movie in the fantasy/medieval setting with an awed crowd… or with dragons that clearly need riders, then you could PS G onto the dragons. The bolt of lightning in G’s hand is a PS job though using the bridge sequence footage. Just paint a real Shazam style lightning bolt over his actual staff.

    It’d be funnier if the stuff clearly looked photoshopped/fake.

  4. Cineris says:

    Straddling two dragons would be pretty tough given the wingspan any self-respecting dragon would need. It’d be pretty easy to yoink some images of, say, dragons from that horrid D&D movie —

    Come to think of it, this strip would probably work best if you had all of Gimli’s fantasies of how to run a D&D game being represented by screencaps from the D&D movie.

  5. Ishmael says:

    I can see this so clearly in my head… and it is awesome.

  6. LafinJack says:

    The first panel after the “elven maiden” description should have Legolas in leaves, looking angry and shouting “Hey!”

  7. AngiePen says:

    Cineris and LafinJack collectively win the internets. [giggling facepalm]


  8. Da Penguin says:

    I hate to be a cliched male in this comment, but i do like the idea of wearing leaves… i’m sure we’ve all pictured that.. with different kinds of leaves right…

    without being a complete nerd here, i wonder if people from different parts of the world picture different leaves…


  9. Wonderduck says:

    GIMI: (Narrating)And his staff! It should be like a bolt of lightning in his hand; a radiant spear of power which is hewn from the world's first tree.

    We see Gandalf holding this shaft of brilliant light, adressing some foe “off-screen”.

    IMAGINARY GANDALF: You still shall not pass!

    Just for grins, I tried photoshopped this scene… it turned out too well, not funny at all.

  10. SteveDJ says:

    Since it is Gimli that is presenting this scenario, his ideas should mostly NOT come from any LOTR screencaps, but almost entirely from other sources – with just perhaps the heads photoshopped in.

    This is funny stuff – I don’t see why it isn’t just the next episode of DM of the Rings.

    Psst – Typo in Gimli’s name (GIMI) last time he speaks.

  11. Dave says:

    so ya grab a screen shot of a dragon in NWN.. or no.. DragonHeart.. photoshop it gold.. duplicate it.. overlap em and toss on said wizard.. ta dah..

    … sorry.. my hands were vacant…

  12. Tom Zunder says:

    It was funny, the pictures are always better on radio anyway..

  13. Richard Dragonbane says:

    Wonderduck, you need to NOT make it look like a real lightning bolt, but rather a comic-book lightning bolt with big jagged edges and a squared-off back. It should work for you then. :)

  14. Roy says:

    Straddling two dragons would be pretty tough given the wingspan any self-respecting dragon would need. It'd be pretty easy to yoink some images of, say, dragons from that horrid D&D movie

    You’re thinking too small!
    What if they were, say… conjoined twin dragons?!


  15. Michael says:

    What program does one use in getting these screen captures? I’ve worked with photoshop for years and would love to try and put this idea together, could do both a serious type one, with real looking lighting and whatnot, and a more comic one with a goofy bolt staff (An obligitory ‘ow’ would come from the balrog one way or the other).

  16. Mrs T says:

    Another vote for the execrable D&D movie. Bonus points if you can work in a screen cap of Jeremy Irons overacting.

  17. Shamus says:

    Another vote for the execrable D&D movie. Bonus points if you can work in a screen cap of Jeremy Irons overacting.

    It seems like bonus points should be awarded if you can find one of him NOT overacting. :)

  18. Clyde says:

    It might work if the dragons were conjoined twin dragons, joined at the head. Then Gandalf wouldn’t split like a wishbone trying to straddle their heads.

  19. freefall says:

    or just a dragon with 2 heads like some snakes, cats and turtles.

  20. John says:

    the willow movie had a “terrible” two headed dragon you could use?

  21. Marie says:

    Well, there’s always what the Nazgûl ride…

  22. Caitlin says:

    Here’s a (not so great) pic I just made:

    Dragon was from Eragon till I made her 2 headed.

    No more excuses, we want to see this strip!

  23. WizWom says:

    er, fantasies like this should be done in comic style, the crappier the better. Think 3-year-old with the fat crayons.

  24. Steve says:

    Well, one way you could use two dragons would be if they were very small, shoe-sized dragons. It neededn’t be apparent until the end of the strip if a panel depicting Gandalf landing triumphantly and squashing them were inserted. The staff could turn out to be a cheesy battery-operated trick-or-treeat affair from close-up too.

    Too MPFC?


  25. Karaden says:

    So noone is going to tell me what to use to screen-capture stuff? (I posted as Michael earlier). Whenever I just try and copy and paste or do a print screen while I’m watching the movie it always comes out as a black square.

  26. Shamus says:

    Karaden: It is a royal pain trying to get screencaps using Windows Media Player or Quicktime.

    I play DVDs on my computer using Power DVD. It has a screencapture function built right in, along with buttons for stepping through the movie a frame at a time, which is often what I need to do if I want the right facial expression.

  27. Karaden says:

    Ok, I’ll have to try that out this weekend and see if I can come up with anything decent.

  28. Karaden says:

    After having said that, I realised I don’t have my copy of LotR at my dorm, so I’m really not likely to actualy be able to do anything this weekend unless it magicly appears in my bag of stuff I never sorted.

  29. ToxicFrog says:

    You might also want to look into VLC[1]; it plays almost everything (including DVDs), has a built in screencap function (Video->Snapshot), and doesn’t require unreliable system-wide codec installs like WMP or MPC.
    Doesn’t play IV50 yet, though.

  30. Drakkenmensch says:

    This is funny beyond words.

    We are all richer for having visualized your hilarious ideas and poorer for the movies not providing you with the visuals for making this into an actual strip.

  31. John says:

    Of course I’m reading this waaaaaay late (just discovered the entire strip thanks to a friend’s link), but…those teary peasants with the golden light shining on their faces could definitely be capped from the end of Dragonheart. A movie I have a frightening amount of love for.

    I’m just sayin’.

    And this strip is amazing, hilarious, and all combinations thereof. Thanks for taking the time and putting the love into it.

  32. Matt C. says:

    I think a one off trip to My-First-Photoshop-ville during player suggested plot would work well. It’d be a jarring change from the previous strips but but it would also illustrate that the images shown are NOT coming from the DM.

  33. Tomoko says:

    You could always offer it up as an art plot bunny and see if someone takes the bait…

  34. Wulfric says:

    What you describe here sounds very much like a Boris Valejo painting. Or how I imagine Zeus would look thundering through the clouds… but that’s just me.

    I’m sure you can find an enterprising artist on here that would be happy to draw it out for oyu.

  35. deadmanwwalking says:

    if its gimli imagining it, why not have him picture it in stick figures, and then, when he stops, everyone is looking at him like he is a total idiot, and then start to laugh their heads off?

  36. Kiri Xaperion says:

    I think I could probably get my sister to draw a totally anime version of this… that is when she gets back for Thanksgiving, of course.

    I have a d1…’s a puzzle ball
    and completely useless in all my campaigns
    except for crit failures. ;D

    Nobody take the name Bruxy for their campaign plz, that’s my brother’s campaign.

  37. Eustace says:

    If you don’t want to draw it, there’s plenty of freebie 3D-art software on the net. has a pretty good program you can even render into Photoshop with.

  38. Mina says:


    I say, just grab some close images and crudely draw over them with a cheap paint program. I think that would be funnier, actually, and I think you could get away with it if it took place in Gimli’s memory. Or you could crudely draw some black and white shots of it and the screen shots you CAN use, you can make them black and white and faded and kind of sketchy so that it doesn’t look too much different than a typical crude drawing. And I agree, taking shots from other films would be effective, too… XD you should totally do it!

  39. grassBlade says:

    Straddling two dragons ….

    What about 2 Neverending Story dog dragons?

  40. Kraven Ergeist says:

    Why not just shop in screencaps from other movies, like you did when Dave mentioned the Star Wars game? The D and D movie was a laughing stock, but there were plenty of dragons for you to use. All it takes is a little work with photoshop to put a little Gandalf on top of some fake looking dragons.

    Just a thought.

  41. SlytherinSarah says:

    the monster at the end of heavy metal that the chick rides. looks kind of like a chicken… but you can mspaint (copy, crop, and paste for the uber crude effect) a beard and hat (and i guess a cape to hide the fact that she’s a chick) onto the chick to make her look like gandalf…?

    too much to add just to incorporate one of the best movies of all time…?

    [42! Now what is the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?]

  42. The Beerslayer says:

    Another late reply (I’m never on time for anything…):

    One possible solution for the dragon wingspan issue: have the two dragons who are carrying Gandalf around each have one wing around the other dragon while they fly, like two drunken buddies stumbling down an alley propping each other up:

    DRAGON #1: Ish it my imajjin… immago… imazhi… NAYshun, or ish thish guy gettin’ heavier ever’ day?

    DRAGON #2: *hic!*

  43. Damien says:

    So Gandalf is now a Dragoon?

  44. theSnark says:

    Mind if I try drawing it? I’ve drawn some DnD campaigns I’ve been in before, as well as other comics.
    Or maybe I can try a collage…

  45. Oskamunda says:

    This could all definitely be Photoshopped.


  46. Sydney says:

    I prefer “YOU SHAN’T PASS EITHER”, personally.


    Shamus, I have a ‘blank template’ comic made in Adobe Illustrator. Sorry it’s so crappy, the tablet I have has been working really badly lately, so I did this with the mouse. …It’s really bad, but… All you have to do Is find the pictures from the movie and add them in, probably with a frame or two above and below, to make it bigger. Here is the link:

    1. ZenjiaoSan'noIthron says:

      Hah, I like it. Nicely done on the sunlight beams and staff.

  48. Rick N says:

    This could totally be a Penny Arcade strip.

  49. gobbard says:

    “you shall not pass this saving throw”

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