DM of the Rings LXVIII:
Deeds of Legend

By Shamus Posted Monday Feb 26, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 78 comments

Legolas brags about nearly fighting the Balrog. Escorting people to Helms Deep is lame.


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78 thoughts on “DM of the Rings LXVIII:
Deeds of Legend

  1. Plaid_Knight says:

    I love how the players keep interrupting and/or ignoring the GM. That takes me back to the days I used to run before giving up the screen entirely.

    1. Old Gumphrey says:

      That sucks, nothing kills a game faster than disrespectful players. Have you ever gone back?

  2. Huckleberry says:

    He was near a Balrog. For several seconds.
    And he didn’t even get any XP for it.

    You know, I think you should at least grant them their song.

    How about:
    We are the heroes, my friend.
    We’ll keep on running till the end…

  3. Rufus Polson says:

    They could give the job to Sir Robin’s minstrel.

    1. smiley dude says:


  4. Carl the Bold says:

    C’mon now. Even being near a Balrog is impressive. How many unfriendlies do you have to get through to get to a creature like a Balrog? I’ve only done it twice myself.

    And they didn’t “run away” from it. They allowed their beloved friend and guide to be a diversion so’s they could “run toward” the goal of destroying the ring. Unfortunately, some in the group decided that, instead of destroying the ring and bringing an end to the greatest evil in all the land, they’d rather play Jedis.

  5. Steve says:

    … and Lego-less the elf, who had bravely whined in Rivendell, who screamed like a girl at Balin’s Tomb and who had personally wet himself at the Bridge of Kazhad Dumb …

    Sorry. I forgot. No Python references.


    1. smiley dude says:


  6. Lego-lass says:

    I didn’t!

  7. Oh no, the Monty Python cat is out of the bag. We’re doomed.

  8. Susano says:

    Stop that! Stop that! It’s getting very silly!

  9. beckyzoole says:

    The people responsible for the preceeding comments have been sacked.

  10. vonKreedon says:

    Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue over who killed who.

  11. Skeeve the Impossible says:


  12. John says:

    What, behind the Balrog?

  13. vonKreedon says:

    Oh shut up and go and change your armour.

  14. Daniel The Great says:

    What behind the rabbit?
    It is the rabbit!
    You silly sod i soiled my armour.
    Love this comic strip i must have been told off at work at least 3 times this month for viewing it and it was worth every single telling off keep it coming

  15. xargon says:

    Perhaps the DM suffered a fatal heart attack, causing the Balrog peril to be no more.

  16. Cascadian says:

    Ah, the Balrog. In the Middle Earth Role Playing Game I ran in high school way back when, my players not only got near the Balrog of Moria, they managed to successfully cast a possession spell on it, and sent it off to fight Gandalf and return with his magic items. So, the Balrog emerges and tracks down Gandalf, hundreds of years before the events of the Lord of the Rings. The Balrog won initiative and rolled an open-ended attack roll. In Rolemaster/MERP, the extensive combat charts allowed for direct kills on rolls like this, and that’s exactly what happened. The Balrog returned to the elf mage and handed him Gandalf’s ring Narya. This completely transformed history and within several game months led to a triumph by the forces of evil, who basically destroyed Middle Earth before the characters had time to track down Gollum and the One Ring. Ah, the sacrilege.

    Oh, and I’m delurking for the first time to thank Shamus for this comic. Great stuff.

  17. Cory says:

    I love how, earlier on, they were complaining that the DM only gave them encounters above their level, but now they complain about an easy quest. I wonder what they will say about the Wargs.

    I have been looking forward to this for a while. From here pretty much to the end, the movies start to look more like a typical campaign, with lots of chances to hit things with swords and less emphasis on character development. I wonder how the characters will deal with it.

  18. Jurrubin says:

    All together now!

    “..When danger reared its ugly head,
    he bravely turned his tail and fled.

    Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
    And gallantly, he chickened out…”

    1. smiley dude says:


      or at least the last reference i shall comment on.


  19. -Chipper says:

    Legolass is complaining so much, he’s going to miss his spot-check and the warg riders are going to be in among those peasants before he notices!

  20. tk210 says:

    We had a PC bard who actually wrote verse to describe our adventures. It made for a great memento of what we did and wouldn’t you know? We sounded pretty cool in verse. Anyways, two idiots in our group tried looting furniture from a dungeon for spare cash. It was ridiculous, but the cavalier insisted on it. Later he was puzzled to hear tales of the ‘boudoir cavalier’ being sung at a tavern. The player had no clue the tale of “the sleepy knight who carries his bed with him” was about HIM! And the tale preceded him everywhere he went. What a schmuck. But it was good for a laugh…

  21. mneme says:

    The correct song, of course, would be Lee Gold’s “You Bash the Balrog, I’ll Climb a Tree”.

    Once a jolly cleric, and a magic-using Elf
    And a mighty Dwarf with a sword plus three
    Left their native village, out to get their share of pelf.
    You bash the Balrog, and I’ll climb a tree.
    Chorus: You bash the Balrog, you bash the Balrog,
    You bash the Balrog, and I’ll climb a tree.
    Left their native village out to get their share of pelf.
    You bash the Balrog, and I’ll climb the tree.

    They ran through the forest, seeking for a place to hide,
    Pursued by the Balrog so fierce to see.
    “Wait, cried the Elf-mage. “I have got a plan,” he lied.
    “You bash the Balrog, and I’ll climb the tree.”

    1. Lee Gold says:

      original last verse

      Once a mighty Balrog slew a cleric and an elf
      and a smallish wolf who had teeth plus three.
      Skinned them and tanned their eyes and kept them on a closet shelf.
      You bash the Balrog, and I’ll climb the tree.

  22. Stella says:

    Refering to scene w/Aragorn getting his STD :)

    In the D&D games I play, my boyfriend is the DM. I love to tease him by flirting with one of his NPC's infront of the group 'cause he blushes like MAD and tries to change the subject. But, in another game with the same group, my character likes the character of another woman's husband. I don't roleplay her crush that much 'cause I don't want to annoy the guy's wife OR my bf. It's soooo fun though.

    Another time, another wife in the group I mensioned played a guy who was….well…like Aragorn and tried to flirt with my character almost everyday! It made for some absolute fun, but boy was it weird!

    You did well S. I look forward to more! X)

  23. Golgothus says:

    FREEBIRD!!! Uh, I mean, God Be Praised! ;-)

    Thank you for this, Shamus and please keep up the excellent work!!

    He who lives by the skull will die by the skull…

  24. Browncoat says:

    Ah, to be immortalized in song. How odd that must be to hear a song about yourself. One of the best moments of Firefly, and there were many, was the first 10 seconds of “The Hero of Canton”…

    Ah, the man they call me.

  25. Freefall says:

    They could say that after encountering the balrog, IT was dead and THEY still lived. Also, they fought the balrog’s stare, faced him bravely enough (with a mighty wizard and a giant pit between them), and, as said before, they were still aleve. They were so brave in fact that…

    “The Balrog came from the deep deep depths
    To fight their punny force,
    For he thought, his fat it brought
    He could beat them of cource.

    When they saw him, they gasped in awe
    And flew to the exit in fear
    One at a time, they sped in a line
    With the bridge edges so near

    One powerful wizard, weilder of flame
    Stepped on the bridge last
    To stop the beast, or at least
    Let all his friends go past

    The Balrog roared and burst into light
    The wizard fought back
    He broke the bridge’s shell, and it fell
    Down to endless black

    The wizard’s friends, while they flew
    Were both strong and proud
    But they heard a crack, and looking back
    Saw all choked in a shroud

    The wizard fell, by Balrog’s wip
    But not quite defeated
    And they will fight, through endless night
    Until their strenths’ depleated.”

    I am not saying any of this is true, just a song to make them sound… heroic.

  26. Freefall says:

    oops, it is fate, not fat

  27. Freefall says:

    and forgot g in strengths’

  28. They didn’t run away. They successfully employed an effective tactic of staging a strategic retreat, lulling the Balrog into a false sense of security, only to be pwnd by the wizard. Just because they didn’t land any actual blows doesn’t mean they weren’t fully involved in the devising and execution of the plan.

  29. Koor says:

    You know, I’m wondering if the DM won’t allow the two hobbit characters to bring their jedis over later in the story. Afterall, they’re both D20 systems..

  30. Sartorius says:

    You know, I'm wondering if the DM won't allow the two hobbit characters to bring their jedis over later in the story. Afterall, they're both D20 systems..

    Boromir glanced at Aragorn and snorted. “Hokey genealogy and ancient broken weapons are no match for a good horn at your side, kid.”

  31. Itzchy says:

    That’s also known as taking the credit. :D

    Great comic Shamus.

  32. Sureshot05 says:

    “The players always take credit for every achievement, even the ones that they were not directly responsible for”.

    Today’s strip hit a real resonance with me. Every time I’ve run a campaign I’ve had similar things happen.

    Player: “You know we were responsible for driving out the criminal elements on Bespin”

    Myself (DM): “You just happened to be there when the Empire invaded!”

    Player: “Yeah, but they don’t know that”

    Genius Shamus, genius

  33. Carl the Bold says:

    Boromir glanced at Aragorn and snorted. “Hokey genealogy and ancient broken weapons are no match for a good horn at your side, kid.”


    I hope that PJ doesn’t go back in 20 years and redo it all or we’ll have to wear T-shirts that say, “The old man on the wall at Helm’s Deep shot first!”

  34. Medium Dave says:

    I hope that PJ doesn't go back in 20 years and redo it all or we'll have to wear T-shirts that say, “The old man on the wall at Helm's Deep shot first!”


    Uruk-hai don’t kill keeps.Gunpowder kills keeps.

  35. ChristianTheDane says:

    Are you suggesting peasants migrate?

  36. vonKreedon says:

    Not at all. They could be carried.

  37. Woerlan says:

    They should get some XP. It wasn’t running away. It was tactical repositioning. As far away from the Balrog as possible.


    Okay, fine. At least they didn’t scream like little girls. ^_^

  38. Tola says:

    Hmm. We’re getting close to Helm’s Deep.

    Now, both the book version and movie version have potential for hilarity.

    Book version: The wall gets blasted because the heroes are too busy talking to each other to notice.

    Movie Version: Olympic Uruk-Hai. Enough said.

    Which will be used, I wonder?

  39. Woerlan says:

    I vote for the awesome Olympic Uruk-hai. If you’re gonna be a suicide bomber, go out in STYLE.

  40. Proteus says:

    And what is the land-speed velocity of a laden Olympic Uruk-hai?

  41. Jperk says:

    African or European?

  42. Jenome says:

    I don’t know…wha..WAIT!!! Noooo!!!!!

  43. RollD20 says:


    (organ music plays…)

  44. Mom says:

    WHAT are you guys talking about?

  45. Shamus says:

    Almost all of this thread is Monty Python quotes.

    Really, I don’t know what else I can do about this. I’ve made my policy clear. I’m going to have to start docking these guys XP…

  46. Medium Dave says:

    Shamus is totally right.

    This sketch is silly.

    signed the Colonel, in a white wine sauce.

  47. Joey the Lemur says:

    Dear sir, I object very strongly to that last scene, and to the next letter.

  48. Stella says:

    We will, we will Rock You!

    We were near a BULROG!! :)

  49. Steve says:

    Shamus, all you can do is accuse them of one count of heresy: Heresy by parrot sketch and heresy by lumberjack song.

    Two counts. Heresy by parrot sketch, heresy by lumberjack song and heresy by cheeseshop dialog.

    Aaaaaaaaamongst the counts of heresy you may accuse them of are I’ll come in again.

    I never said I couldn’t quote (or paraphrase) Python, I just said I didn’t as a rule.

    Cardinal Steve.

    p.s. Nee-wom peng!

  50. Proteus says:

    And now, post number 93… the larch. The ‘larch’.

  51. Golgothus says:

    Loss of XP?? I hardly think this is good enough! It would be more appropriate if these posts bore a big red label. “Warning: Larks’ Vomit!”

    He who lives by the skull, dies by the skull…

  52. anachronist says:

    To Freefall: I sincerely hope your gaming group has the benefit of you playing a bard. Great song. -A

  53. SketchSepahi says:

    “I never said I couldn't quote (or paraphrase) Python, I just said I didn't as a rule.”

    Only a true Monty Python paraphraser would deny that he was one.

  54. ubu roi says:

    “So, aside from building roads, growing crops, building houses, raising our horses (that we don’t have), providing public sanitation*, and brewing ale, what have peasants done for us anyway?”

    *Emptying the chamber pots. It counts, unless it’s onto the King’s head, in which case you can no longer tell he’s the King, because he’s got…

  55. SongCoyote says:

    I am suddenly reminded of one Cazorp, a half-elf swashbuckler, who early in his career earned the title Distracter of Snakes.

    That one stuck for a long time….

    Light and laughter,

  56. “Do they still sing songs of the great tribble hunt?”

    (Odo, to Warf – the SINGLE GREATEST LINE ever spoken in ANY Trek episode, ever.)

  57. Lily Frost says:

    Ah, but is it a European swallow?

  58. Lily Frost says:

    And I loved this comic. It’s always fun trying to squeeze XP out of your GM.
    Actually, my first GM was very smart and rewarded role playing with XP; that got us in character very quickly.

  59. TheDeepDark says:

    “my first GM was very smart and rewarded role playing with XP” You mean to tell me this is a novelty? Man, I need to find a GM that is easier to exploit then… ;)

  60. Toil3T says:

    Mneme, great work with the Waltzing Matilda reference. For anyone that doesn’t know Waltzing Matilda, ask ANY Aussie. We may not know our national anthem (What is it, anyway?), but we do know Waltzing Matilda. It’s our nation’s theme song.

  61. Cynder says:

    “Maybe you guys can find a bard and have your story of heroic Balrog proximity put into verse.”

    That’s most likely something i would do *hangs head in shame*

  62. FlameKiller says:

    my bard could write the song. he’d give a discount if he could add himself to the song.

  63. Mina says:

    LOL!!! THAT is going into my favorite quotes panel in Facebook. If that seems dorky, so be it. *so worth it*

  64. Dangermike says:

    “Heroic Balrog Proximity” is either a great name for a metal band or the latest anime to come out of Japan.

  65. SlytherinSarah says:

    name of a metal band. definetely.

  66. Trick says:

    Alright. When Legolas is talking about how they defeated a balrog… It sounded SO much (to me) like he was trying to woo Eowyn.

    I can think of two resulting scenarios:

    Legolas: We defeated a balrog, you know.
    Aragorn: She’s a woman, you realize.
    Legolas: Yeah, so?
    Aragorn: *raised eyebrow*
    Legolas: Okay, enOUGH of that already!

    Legolas: We defeated a balrog, you know.
    Aragorn: I… wouldn’t try, if I were you.
    Legolas: Why not?
    Aragorn: Just… bad idea. Take my word for it.
    Legolas: *raised eyebrow* Alright…

  67. Joe says:

    As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, it’s been really, really hard for me to not play bards just to the dramatic musical recap.

  68. Joe says:

    to DO the dramatic musical recap. The verb “do” is important. Grargh.

  69. Old Woman #35 says:

    Is it sad that I found a Monty Python reference in that strip?
    Probably about as sad as the fact I find this funny even though I never played a D&D kind of game….
    I’m just ridiculously obsessed with LotR.

  70. joesolo says:

    yea, apperntally running in fear while a npc gets slughtered is still supposed to get you loot, xp and a reputation as a brave warrior.

    1. WJS says:

      Well, if you’re the one who survives the encounter, you get to tell the tale. So that’s one out of three…

  71. Spiritbx says:

    the bard song… like in the holy grail? those were the best bards ever… too bad they died the way they did…

  72. k9feline says:

    “Our brave heroes bravely ran away!
    Bravely ran away, away!
    When the Balrog reared it’s ugly head
    They bravely left their NPC for dead!”

    Yeah, that’s all I got.

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