DM of the Rings LXIX:
New Dimensions in Storage

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Feb 28, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 146 comments

Aragorn uses his pack.

Aragorn uses his pack.

Aragorn uses his pack.

Observing that the “pack” in D&D is a much-abused simplification is not going to result in forehead-slapping revelations on the part of anyone who has played the game. We know this, already.

Still, it is amusing to see how eagerly these compromises are embraced. Even “hardcore” gamers are happy to treat the average knapsack as a soundproof bag which will distribute the weight of the contents evenly over the body of the wearer. I guess it’s good that geeks don’t go outside very often, or someone would notice this and come up with a set of complex knapsack simulation rules that would make GURPS look like checkers.

 


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146 thoughts on “DM of the Rings LXIX:
New Dimensions in Storage

  1. Colfox says:

    Oh, funny! Keep ’em coming, Shamus.

  2. Carl the Bold says:

    I love Aragorn’s face in the fourth frame. It’s the first time we’ve seen him smile since I don’t remember when.

  3. some kid says:

    Is that Dr. Who’s police box time machine?

  4. Susano says:

    That would be correct.

    TARDIS: Time And Relative Dimension (or Dimensions) In Space

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARDIS

    1. Siera says:

      Dimension is singular not plural. Di imortales, I can’t believe I know this stuff.

      Wait… Isn’t that a screen shot from the werewolf episode?

  5. Proteus says:

    *Perfect* use of the screenshot from “Tooth and Claw”!

    As for the backpack problem, I always fixed that by “inheriting” a backpack that always weighed 1# no matter how much I stuffed into its nonfinite volume. Just imagine Mary Poppins as a mercenary and you get the idea.

    And I never wanted a TARDIS during a game so much as a ‘plot device’ in order to skip to the part where we figured out what was going on in order to avoid the ‘wandering around aimlessly’ phase.

  6. WereRogue says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter, but the setup and delivery of this episode was amazing. Watching the changing expressions of Aragorn was incredible!!

    Keep up the good work, man!

  7. AlbinoDrow says:

    Ah yes, the reasons “bags of holding” were invented.

  8. GreyDuck says:

    I’m a much bigger Doctor Who fan than I am a LotR fan, and this comic made me howl with laughter. “Invisible leather TARDIS,” indeed. And, agreed: Perfect screenshot selection for the blue police box with the S.E.P. Field.

    This is going to make me smile all day.

  9. Nogard Codesmith says:

    I’ve been reading this since #XIX, but i’ve finally got to chime in and tell you that i can’t stop laughing now and am probably going to get fired for it. Thanx a lot! (no really, thats not sarcasm… thank you for brightening my day) Keep em coming.

    Back in the day we had a player.. we’ll call him “Randy”. At one point we we’re trying to create a net over a pit so that our theif wouldnt fall to his death as he shimmied out along side it to inspect something odd on the wall. So as I’m describing my elaborate method of hammering spikes into the ground and stringing rope around them to make the net, Randy asks, “why dont you just use a net?” “you have a net?” “sure i have 2 of them”.

    Upon further examination of Randy’s character sheet we discovered an almost complete list of ordinary equipment, all with encumbrance values tallied and (barely) under the unencumbered maximum. Randy’s backpack became of thing of legend in subsequent games, and even turned up as an artifact years later.

  10. Rolld20 says:

    IRL I fill my backpack with dozens of random things I might need if I wind up on the ‘Lost’ island or another planet. Matches, pocket knife, mirror, etc (and dice, of course). It never seems too heavy, and I can usually find what I need within about 10 seconds.
    I love my Handy Haversack. :)

    In most of the long-running campaigns I’ve been in, the party picked up a portable hole-type storage device pretty quickly, because GM & players both hate it when every item found becomes a debate on the weight/worth ratio, and whether the party will be too vulnerable if the fighter moves up into ‘heavily encumbered’. With magic, we just just grab ‘n go!

  11. Nazgul says:

    Ahhhh… A TARDIS joke. I am at peace with the geek world today…

    The D&D Encumbrance rules are still as poorly constructed in v3.5 as they ever were. The rules have made great progress in some areas, but that is most definitely not one of them. Don’t get me started.

  12. Alasseo says:

    Possibly my favourite strip so far.

    It could be worse- they could use the almighty pack to sneak the hobbits in past the Black Gate. I mean, Frodo isn’t even that heavily set for his height, so the odds are he only weighs 90lb-odd. So when you consider that Aragorn has to have a fair few points in sneak (or its equivalent), and the “nargazoid things” are really only looking for a hobbit…

  13. xargon says:

    Gimli’s expression in the 6th frame is priceless.

  14. Nogard Codesmith says:

    Rebecca… Hammerspace is great and all… but its usage is generally limited to girls and children, and even then its only accessable when its funny. I’ll take a TARDIS any day. ^_~

  15. Mike says:

    Nice comic. Not to nitpick but I found two typos you may want to fix:

    Panel 1: optimisim => optimism
    Panel 5: caracter => character

  16. Breklor says:

    Oh, my DM is not so kind as many; he’s particular about our encumbrance and (to a lesser degree) how we carry stuff.

    So I nearly peed myself when we found a Handy Haversack. I started bouncing up and down reciting the properties of the item, and the rest of the players (who are relative n00bs) said, “Uh, you know what it does; I guess you can have it.”

    I’m planning to keep it full of the party’s healing potions and alchemists’ fire, and turn myself into a human apothecary/arsenal.

    Under the right circumstances even the simplest magic item can be incredibly useful…

  17. Browncoat says:

    xargon –

    I liked Gimli in the 6th frame too, and wondered what he’s actually saying IRL–er…in the movie. Should someone pull out the DVD and tell us all, or should we wait for Shamus to tell us?

    1. WJS says:

      I believe that’s where he’s explaining to the others where baby Dwarves come from.

  18. Steve says:

    Thanks for another strip with an insightful message Shamus.

    When I first began gaming in the D20 version, having departed D&D for about 20 years in disgust at the complex AD&D rules, I roleplayed the pack thing (it doesn’t need GURPS-level rules, just a clear inner picture of what it all looks like, a reasonable attitude and a desire to achieve some sort of realism on the part of the players).

    I would say as the team were gathering yet another armful of kobold spears (worth a staggering 4 gp each when new): “Lads, don’t you think this will be sort of not worth the effort when it comes to moving silently, getting through narrow spaces and the like?”. I got told “We can sell ’em and we can carry x GP in weight. What’s your problem?”

    Since my insistence on having a realistic inner picture of what was going on was threatening to get me kicked out of the game, I stopped.

    But.

    I have to say that this kind of nonsense is entirely in the hands of the DM. Fiercely cutting down the amount anyone will pay for used ordinary weapons of the wrong racial type would be a giant leap for roleplayingkind: “4gp for a used spear? A used Kobold spear? After I know for a fact you sold ten of these very same items to Roger the Blacksmith an hour ago and flooded the market? Two weeks after The Great Kobold Bounty stripped the countryside of all Kobolds for two leagues in any direction you care to point to? You’re pulling my war-wound! I’ll give you two coppers for the lot. The shafts will make kindling and I can flog the iron points for the scrap value. Take it or leave it”.

    As for those off-the-shelf bags o’lading – “A bag you say. It can hold how much? Is this a joke? Oooooh it’s magic. Why didn’t you say so before. Yes I’ve got one of those magic bags right here. It’s invisible and intangible too. Yours for 5 gp, and a bargain at that price I might add. You must think I was born yesterday! Get out of my shop before I call the watch!”

    Whatever. Eventually there came a night where only myself and a couple of other newer players showed up for the game. We covered about three times the ground that we had in any of the previous sessions because we only took the shiniest stuff and we gave the useful items there and then to the characters that could get best use out of them, rather than waiting for an official divvy-up and having to argue everything on the basis of the all-too available DM guide price lists.

    The DM was appalled, and ratted us out to the other players at the next session. The fact that we had significantly advanced the quest, played more in-game hours and had had fewer arguments all round didn’t seem to impinge on him over the heretical notion of the instant loot-allocation and leaving scrap metal swords and copper pieces where we found ’em. Needless to say the game was halted for over an hour while the other players whined about the game they didn’t play in.

    “Loopier than a DM of the Rings character” ought to be in the official D&D lexicon.

    Steve.

  19. AlbinoDrow says:

    Alasseo – if you consider that the D&D equivilent of Hobbits are Halflings, they’re about 40lbs.

  20. Shamus says:

    Browncoat: Gimli is talking to Eowyn, and at this precise moment he’s remarking on how some people think there ARE no Dwarf women, and that Dwarves just spring from the ground.

  21. hanov3r says:

    I don’t normally nitpick the comic; really, I normally don’t need to, but this one caught my eye.

    Someone already mentioned the spelling mistakes I was going to mention, so I’ll just point out panel 10: “The backpack which in which the desired item…”

  22. Steve says:

    [Nogard Codesmith] I have seen several incarnations of a lead/pewter figure (entitled “The Compleat Adventurer” on one early version I actually own) in which the figure is bowed down under a tremendous array of carried equipment including several weapons, cookware, ropes, grappling hooks, flasks and a kitchen sink perched on top of the crammed-to-bursting pack.

    This would seem a perfect fit for this “Randy”.

    Steve.

  23. “Observing that the “pack” in D&D is a much-abused simplification is not going to result in forehead-slapping revelations on the part of anyone who has played the game. We know this, already.”

    First off: Loved the strip. There have been plenty of times when, as a DM, I do a spot-check on a character sheet and discover that someone is secretly hauling around hundreds of pounds of equipment without suffering the slightest from it.

    But I followed the link, and I have a few comments:

    1. Carry-on luggage. Sounds like 3 outfits of clothing. A laptop. a Couple of books. Clothing in D&D is rated right around 4-5 pounds unless you’re wearing royal regalia. So let’s say 12 pounds total. A quick Google search turns up this page (http://compreviews.about.com/od/buyers/a/NoteSizeSpec.htm) which says that your laptop probably weighed about 7 lbs. Finally, in D&D, a blank spellbook weighs 3 lb. You’re probably talking paperbacks, so let’s halve that and call the two books together 3 lbs. The luggage itself weighs about 7 lbs. Add another 5 lbs. for any miscellaneous stuff you didn’t mention (like toiletries).

    Adding that up quickly we can see you were carrying about (12 + 7 + 3 + 7 + 5) = 34 lbs

    Now, I’m guessing that you aren’t a professional weightlifter. And, by the same token, I’d guess that you’re not a 90-lb. weakling, either. My guess is that you’d fall solidly into the D&D average: Strength 10.

    With a strength of 10, the 34 pounds you were carrying constitutes a medium load. That hits you with a check penalty on any physical actions, reduces your speed, and stops you from running full out.

    Which, if we compare it to your experience, sounds pretty accurate: “A full-out run was nearly impossible, and a light jog caused the weight to bounce all over the place, slam me in the leg, and generally make the simple task of walking a bit more tricky than it normally is.”

    And you were also carrying the weight in the worst way possible — as an off-center load. D&D doesn’t try to model how you’re carrying your load (because it would be ridiculously complicated and pointless if it did), but I’m guessing the rules are largely designed to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    2. This also tweaked me: “A longsword weighs 4lbs. Even using lightweight modern metal alloys, I think you'd have a very, very hard time getting an adult-sized longsword that weighs only 4lbs. Even if you did somehow have a sword that light, it would feel like a toy in your hand.”

    I did a quick Google search for “longsword weight”: First hit, 3 lb. 4 oz. Second hit, 4 lbs. Third hit, 2 lbs. 12 oz.

    The fourth hit is a thoughtful essay entitled “What Did Historical Swords Weigh?”, which says (in part): “Medieval Swords are neither unwieldably heavy nor all alike – the average weight of any one of normal size is between 2.5 lb. and 3.5 lbs. Even the big hand-and-a-half ‘war’ swords rarely weigh more than 4.5 lbs.”

    D&D, in its current incarnation, is actually a remarkably accurate system in its models of the real world. Unlike most roleplaying games, the numbers weren’t just thrown down on the page. They were researched. And the systems that interact with those numbers (like the encumbrance system) were analyzed and similarly compared to real world figures.

    Which isn’t to say that mid- and high-level D&D characters aren’t capable of doing ridiculous things while fully armored. But that’s because mid- and high-level D&D characters are capable of doing ridiculous things in general.

    When you run the numbers, it turns out that almost no one in the real world is higher than 3rd level, and no real-life human being has ever exceeded 5th level. And within those ranges, the D&D system replicates the limits of reality pretty well. Once you move beyond 5th level, though, you’re moving farther and farther from real human beings. Around 10th level you’re Hercules. By 20th level you’re essentially a mythological god in terms of what you’re capable of doing.

    1. WJS says:

      It’s probably worth mentioning that the D&D numbers for the weight of a sword may be a little high because they include scabbard, baldrick, etc. in their figures. I mean, as light as a real sword is, the sheath can wind up weighting almost as much again.

  24. Nogard Codesmith says:

    Steve: Thats fantastic! I’m going to look for that just in case i ever want to throw Randy in as an NPC somewhere. ^_^

    We had a situation where we came into a room with a metal floor. we knew the DM had electrical attacks in store for us so we quickly started thinking how we could insulate ourselves. A cloak? laughable… my wooden shield? *maybe*… Randy: “i pile all my non-metallic equipment on the floor and stand on that!” … yeah…he didnt take any damage. C_C

    1. WJS says:

      I would think a leather cloak would insulate you pretty nicely. Then again, so should the leather soles of your boots. People just love the “you’re touching metal/standing in a puddle so you get zapped” cliché despite the fact electricity doesn’t work that way at all.

  25. Michael says:

    My characters tend to carry around tons of crap. Any campaign that doesn’t start at lvl one I always make sure to get a bag of holding as one of my first magic items. They ALWAYS come in handy. Especially if you are doing any sort of campaign where you might be separated from your horses. Plus if the party ever gets in serious trouble, you can turn the bag inside out and hope for the best…

  26. Thad says:

    Don’t forget to have in the pack the ever useful 10 foot pole!

  27. Nogard Codesmith says:

    I always carry a 10′ pole just so i can not touch things with it.

  28. Ubermosher says:

    And of course putting a bag of holding in a portable is the D&D equivalent of “crossing the streams”.

  29. Vegedus says:

    Wow, kudos to Justin Alexander for that analysis, it seems to make sense. Hope Shamus writes a blog in response to it.

  30. Woerlan says:

    My laughing got my co-workers asking if I was alright.

    I used to be lenient with pack and encumberance rules in the spirit of fun, but lately, I’ve been more realistic, especially when using GURPS rules. My characters have to be more careful with what they lug around. When they don’t have a particular item, they IMPROVISE. And you know what? They have a lot more fun as a result.

  31. Mrs T says:

    The opposite extreme to the Randy types is the overly strict DM. I was playing a 2 game session at a con with a character I had prepared who was a specialist in the short bow. In the first combat, I fumbled and broke my bowstring. The DM decreed that my bow was useless unless I had bowstring written on my character sheet. Of course my mundane self hadn’t thought of it, but I thought it was pretty unreasonable that an archer specialist wouldn’t have spare strings. Had it been a regular game, I’d have challenged that, but in a con setting thought it best to let it go and not waste the other players time.

  32. -Chipper says:

    “When they don't have a particular item, they IMPROVISE. And you know what? They have a lot more fun as a result.”

    Like anything else in life, this is a situation that benefits from a *balanced* approach (excuse the pun). While bags of holding can be convenient, it takes away the need to make hard choices & live with the consequences. Limits like encumberance when used well, can enhance play rather than hinder it by taking away easy solutions and instead require more thoughtful solutions. Sometimes it is good to leave something behind even if you think you may find a use for it 3 campaigns from now. Please excuse me, I think I have some closets to go empty of useless junk that I haven’t found the use for in over 5 years! :-)

    (of course, on the other side of unbalance, the DM can be such a stickler for the rules that it bogs down play & makes it work instead of fun.)

  33. Kitchen Goblin says:

    LOL

    Reminds me of the best item I ever recieved, a bag of requirement

    Never had to caryy anything around ever again.

    Want Something, I’ll look in me bag, on a 15+ I had it and it took 1d6 rounds for me to dig it out.

    Remarkably I never failed to find the rubber sheep, rope, swords, rations, the spare pony….. The only thing I recall not finding was a lantern, after Six years gaming, me and my high level friends never thought to pack one……

    1. Arkanabar says:

      There’s a schtick very similar to this in Tales From the Floating Vagabond: the Trenchcoat Effect. The player, if wearing a trenchcoat, duster, mantle, cloak, or similar, can keep any Medium-sized item he owns stored in it he wishes. If another player says something along the lines of, “If only we had a wheelbarrow!” even if it’s not on the list, he can say, “Wait, let me check,” and try to make a Schtick roll to draw the particular item from his coat. If this gets abused, then he can find himself drawing forth lit bombs, pinless grenades, small vicious animals, stinging insects, etc.

  34. Thad says:

    I remember one game where one of our party got petrified by a Basilisk. We hauled him back to a city so we could get a restoration spell done, but he failed the save.

    We did, however, manage to successfully salvage his bag of holding, which my character kept. Score! :)

  35. hendrake says:

    Awesome reply, Justin Alexander. Funny, too.

    True medieval swords (rather than those “sword like objects” you can find at the mall) are amazingly light (and flexible, sharp and pointy).

    2 1/2 lbs for a 3 1/2 foot blade is about dead on.

    Here’s one that I’m particularly fond of —

    http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/nextgen/sword-viking-gaddhjalt.htm

    — an enthusiast I know says that Albion swords are essentially the same as the museum swords they replica.

    Note, however, that I fully believe that regardles of their weight (and the weight of the swordbelt, swordbelt buckle, scabbard) as sword’s “encumberance value” should be higher, as things that are 3+ feet long, sharp and pointy are not all that portable.

    Great work, Shamus – per always!

  36. Robert says:

    How to punish overly-acquisitive players: copper. Lots and lots of copper. “You open the door, and the room is filled with copper pieces – at least a million of them.”

    At the bottom of a hole.

    Past a canyon with narrow ledges and high winds.

    Through the kobold tunnels.

    Etc.

    it drives them crazy, because there’s 10,000 gp of stuff in there, if they can just figure out a way to move 20,000 pounds of metal.

  37. Attorney At Chaos says:

    People in our gaming group believe that HEWARDS HANDY HAVERSACK is one of the best bargains in magic items that exists. It tends to be the first item they seek to purchase or make or find – but they also don’t tend to abuse it. They don’t try to put in things that won’t fit or unprotected sharp things or scoop in huge piles of copper pieces. It’s our excuse to get away from the Fantasy Accounting Games aspect of D&D. Yes, OF COURSE the archer specialist carries a spare bowstring, he’s probably got a dozen or two. Standard “camping gear” is likewise no problem. This is, naturally, assuming reasonable means to re-supply. If the journey measn a several month trip through underground passages with no means to re-supply then more care is taken in what supplies are actually on hand. But the great majority of the time the players are on their honor for what they have. Less time spent on Accounting Games means more time available for Roleplaying.

  38. sithson says:

    Shamus…

    There is such a game, though its not complex as gurps, that looks at this sort of delema, you whould look it up, its called

    “Hackmaster”

    Trust me on this one, you can get a players handbook for 20 bucks, its like 2nd Edition, but totaly hard core. Hell theres a section of the bookt hats devoted to dice and how you should roll them, etc.

  39. Shamus says:

    sithson: I actually prefer the less accurate system. Because they are better fodder for jokes. :)

  40. Mom says:

    Sam eased the pack on his shoulders, and went over anxiously in his mind all the things he had stowed in it…’Rope!’ he muttered. ‘No rope! And only last [session] you said to yourself: “Sam, what about a bit of rope? You’ll want it, if you haven’t got it.” Well, I’ll want it. I can’t get it now.’

  41. Rain says:

    Ok, im a DM my self. and I cant stand Encumbrance! so they have to tell me how they are carrying all that crap. My Roge uses a Wheel barol(sp).
    :D
    Rain

  42. Maniakes says:

    it drives them crazy, because there's 10,000 gp of stuff in there, if they can just figure out a way to move 20,000 pounds of metal.

    Easy. Take copious notes, file a mining claim for the kobold tunnels, and sell the mineral rights to a local entrepeneur for a sizable cut of the proceeds. You don’t get all the cash, and you have to stick around a while so the buyer can verify the copper, but you do come out ahead on the deal without being stuck there making hundreds of round trips to ferry the coins back.

  43. Robert says:

    It’s the wilderness, the procedure for filing a mining claim is to trek back to the nearest human castle and tell the baron (who will promptly confiscate it and throw you in the tower), and you’re the only entrepreneur for a hundred miles in any direction.

    But you get 50 xp for creativity. Which is better than a kick in the nuts.

    (If you ask how a million copper pieces found their way into a cave in the wilderness, you’ll get another 50 xp for your keen sense of realism, and then a rust monster will eat all your gear.)

  44. Jeff says:

    Ah the rust monster, there’s no surer sign that you’ve messed up the DM then to have a propeller tailed lobster eat your gear.

  45. Sara says:

    I was waiting for a “bag of holding” joke of some kind, maybe with Eowyn somehow stuck in it or something. The TARDIS thing was unexpected, and hilarious. Thanks, Shamus!

  46. Errol says:

    Easy. Take copious notes, file a mining claim for the kobold tunnels, and sell the mineral rights to a local entrepeneur…

    Been there, done that. We found a large patch of “death dirt” (left over after necromantic rituals) in the wilderness, which we were sure alchemists would find useful. We went to the nearest city, hired a local merchant to negotiate on our behalf, and sold the knowledge of the location for a cut of profits over the next year. A nice little earner.

  47. tigerdreams says:

    I’ve vowed never to keep track of encumbrance on any D&D character I play ever since I saw that the PHB wants me to believe that a greatsword weighs 15 pounds. No. It weighs six. Tops. I disbelieve.

  48. uhyeahsure says:

    In my current campaign, the DM has a pretty relaxed attitude about encumbrance, save the absolute weight of your gear. Early on, I picked up a magically flaming spear (no enhancement, just a spear with “continual flame” cast on it) after our party defeated some skeletons. I’m a rogue, so I’m proficient with it, but someone else has been focusing on ranged attacks, while I’ve been wading into battles with my rapier. Therefore, we’ve been using it mostly as a torch and a lighted stick to poke at traps with. Well, recently we were in a gladiator battle with an ogre magi, and I found myself without any ranged weapons left. Lo and behold, after we’d spent rounds and rounds exhausting our magic and poison due to bad luck, I nailed him with the flaming spear with a crit in the chest despite his invisibility and toppled him. We laughed ourselves silly over that one…

  49. Di says:

    Oh no… I’ve just realised. Aragorn isn’t actually Dr Who, he is Mary Poppins!!

  50. Ondo says:

    Since nobody has mentioned it yet, I’d like to commend the Shamus’ choice of panel 7, showing two spears behind Aragorn, and this right after a panel where Gimli mentions “the backpack which holds spears [yet still] fits through doorways”. At a first glance, it looked to me as if Aragorn really had two small spears protruding from his backpack. :)

  51. Osric says:

    The game that had a subsystem of rules for how long it would take to root around in your backpack was FGU’s ‘AFTERMATH!’.
    It didn’t improve gameplay.

    But it did stop people from ‘magicking’ things out of their backpack as a Free Action. They made sure they were CARRYING the things they needed, and were so scared of trying to figure out the rules they never tried magicking anything out of their butts again!

  52. Shandrunn says:

    If you think these rules are absurd now, just wait until someone finds loopholes.

    For a short-lived campaign I once built a character as follows:
    1. I got my dwarven fighter a maul from Complete Warrior. It’s the warhammer equivalent of the bastard sword.
    2. I took exotic proficiency, making it a Medium one hander.
    3. I upgraded the size, making it a Large two hander.
    4. I took the Monkey Grip feat, also from CompWar, which allowed me to upgrade the weapon’s size once more while it remained a two hander. This made it a Huge two hander.

    If I’d been allowed, my 3rd level 135 lb fighter would have ended up swinging 80 lbs worth of warhammer around, doing 3d8 damage with only a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

    The DM didn’t let me =P

  53. John says:

    For some reason this reminds me of the “play example” in the AD&D Player’s Handbook:
    “I perform the last rites of my church.”

    “I take his pack to carry treasure.”

    1. WJS says:

      And then the first guy cuts him off: “No, taking his pack is part of my last rites.” :P

  54. Elucid8 says:

    I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this already, but this comic is turning out to be all the things that “Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie” completely failed to be. There were so many lost opportunities in that ultimately pathetic film to play up RPG in-jokes that I nearly wept.

    I’m weeping reading “DM of The Rings”, of course. But they are tears of joy.

  55. Browncoat says:

    The “problem” is similar to what happens in all of the first-person action video games I’ve played. You’re down to three shots left with your blaster, you walk over one on the floor from a previous kill, and instantly, you have 15 more shots. You didn’t even have to stoop down to pick it up!

    Then when you exhaust all those shots, you can instantly switch to any of a dozen different weapons which apparently hang invisibly and weightlessly off your back and hips.

    Heck, even being pinned down by a dozen stormtroopers with no shields and 15 health remaining, just roll over a health boost (while still firing, mind you), and you’ve got your health back. You didn’t even have to take the time to put on a band-aid.

    Best not to think too much about it, says me.

  56. VermontGal says:

    “Just imagine Mary Poppins as a mercenary and you get the idea.”

    Hmmmm…that’s a thought that’s gonna stay with me all day now…!

  57. superfluousk says:

    ::Mom Says:
    February 28th, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Sam eased the pack on his shoulders, and went over anxiously in his mind all the things he had stowed in it…'Rope!' he muttered. “˜No rope! And only last [session] you said to yourself: “Sam, what about a bit of rope? You'll want it, if you haven't got it.” Well, I'll want it. I can't get it now.'::

    Hah! Most relevant book quote ever!

  58. Hoyce says:

    The looks on Gimli’s face are especially amusing.

  59. damien walder says:

    As my characters (sic) tend to favour archery and pole weapons (settle down, kids), I’d like to give a shout out to the Quiver of Alhonna (now, go ahead, my notes aren’t here and I likely mispelled the name). In the real world, where physics can’t be ignored by a DM or player, I wouldn’t want to carry 60 arrows and 4 javelins.

    Another thing – you notice in D & D we rarely talk about the weather?

    I guess that will change at Helm’s Deep. Note: Bow strings need conditioner to work in rain…

    Darn you, Shamus, I failed my savings roll against gales of involuntary laughter!

  60. Flexstyle says:

    I found your LOTR/D&D comics a while ago through StumbleUpon, and I must say that they are REALLY amusing. Especially this one. This probably ranks as one of my favorites in the series.

  61. Alex says:

    “Invisible Leather TARDIS” would be a great name for a prog-rock or nerdcore band.

  62. General Ghoul says:

    ” Note: Bow strings need conditioner to work in rain…”

    I knew there was a reason I have dozens of those little hotel bottles stored but never used.

  63. Salen says:

    Oh gawds! The Tardis. Ok, that was just freakin’ awesome! And I’ll be the first to admit that when I’m playing a thief character, that backpack is as light as a feather, noiseless, doesn’t weight me down and I can still sneak and hide and jump my way to a wonderful sneak attack. ^_^

  64. Steve says:

    Some thoughts:

    Our campaign also had easy access to the bag of holding and the haversack. This was primarily so the DM didn’t have to argue with the players over encumberance.

    But.

    The BOH is a duffel-like affair that many players wear on their back (ask ’em). How many times does a dungeon garrison have to be attacked and worked over by adventurers before they learn to shoot at the bag? Take a look at the results of ripping one in the DM handbook.

    If I were playting the Goblin sergeant-at-arms, my first question to the DM when sighting adventurers would be “do any of them have a duffel about so big strapped to their back?”. Then, I would direct all archers to target them. The sight of an umpty-tump level adventurer suddenly having to come to terms with x pounds of junk exploding out of thin air against the remains of the BOH on his/her back would be worth severl thousand XPs. I might even get my gobbo archers to sing “Rocket Man” as it happens. If the French taught us anything, it is that nothing hurts more than a good taunting (except for an airborn cow of course).

    Then the look on the party’s faces as they come to terms with only being able to take what they can carry with them. Priceless.

    I would do the same to any especially swank looking haversacks too. The buggers may well walk all over my goblin brothers and steal us blind, but they will do it the hard way or not at all. :o)

    I’m a miserable DM at times. The temptation to have a cylinder of metal, welded shut with all sorts of magical symbols on it to pique interest, and a nicely rolled up portable hole tucked inside it would be overwhelming. “Yes, you do detect magic. A very powerful aura too.”

    And finally, one for the types who never seem to need a light source taken from my very first attempt to make a dungeon in 1975. Put magical torches on sconces on the walls of both corridors and rooms. A corridor torch will only burn in a corridor and will extinguish itself when moved into a room. It will spontaneously relight upon moving into a corridor. The room torches work the same way but only light in rooms. Have some unlit torches lying around some rooms. Eventually someone will pack some into a bag or haversack. Than they step into the corridor and magical fire blooms anew. It is up to you if this destroys the bag or harms the contents, but it should singe the crap out of any face poked into the bag at the very least. Even if you rule the torches burn out all the air and go out (I wouldn’t, but that’s me) I can tell you from experience what happens when you seal a vessel with fire in it, wait a bit, then pop the lid. “Say fare-thee-well to thine eyebrows at the very least if you are stupid enough to do it” is a decent summary. I was lucky to keep my sight.

    As always, the strip is delightful, and the comments mostly insightful. I enjoy reading both.

    Thanks Shamus, readers.

    Steve.

    1. lunjan says:

      we in fact regularly have custom made chaimail to fit our extradimensional containers… makes ’em weigh a bit more, but really cuts down on the explosive decompression

    2. WJS says:

      I’m not sure why anyone building a dungeon would use such convoluted torches rather than regular Continual Flame ones (smells a bit like metagaming to me).

      I would, however, argue that there’s no reason why magical fire should use up any oxygen. It sure doesn’t use up fuel, right?

  65. -Chipper says:

    OK, Steve, you get all the cleverness points for today. I had to stop reading at one point because I was laughing about the exploding bag-of-holding. :-D

  66. Thad says:

    I’m reminded of a comment I read somewhere (don’t ask me where) about how a paladin can be in full plate armour and have tons of penalties, but if he took the armour off and carried it, bing, no problems!

  67. Dave H. says:

    >>Thad Says:
    >>
    >>February 28th, 2007 at 3:24 pm
    >>Don't forget to have in the pack the ever useful 10 foot pole!

    Our cleric always carried a bag of live mice. Tie one to the end of the pole, walk with pole stretched out ahead: Instant “life force” to set off any unseen glyphs or other nasty surprises… In fact, our standard way of telling the DM “we’re going to go this way until something causes us to change our minds” was “Ok, Frank, mousemousemouse over to here…”

  68. Robert says:

    That will work well, Dave…until Mustif, the protector god of mice, decides to wreak his terrible revenge upon you…

    Is there anything more fun than punishing players for their creativity? (Well, other than pushing old people down on icy sidewalks. That’s always #1.)

  69. Justin – Just saw your post, and I agree 100%. It always tweaks me when I see people over-estimate the weights of medieval weapons. I think all D&D players should be required to read the ARMA website (www.thearma.com). John Clements and George Turner have done yoeman’s work debunking stuff like this, and they really should get more credit about it.

  70. Shard says:

    Classic!! In our games, backpacks never get in the way. We never leave them in inns or anything. They’re almost grafted onto our backs – our players carry them when they go shopping and the only way to separate us is by knocking us out and stealing them or dropping us into water. Then you’ll see the fastest record in discarding eq.

    One of my DMs in 2nd Ed. gave me a portable hole once. No other DM has ever made the same mistake again.

    We were agonizing how to defeat a dragon when I suddenly produced my character sheet and point to the 2 20 lb-barrels of smokepowder in my portable hole and suggested blowing it to bits.

    40 lbs of smokepowder makes for a LOT of damage but at that time the sentiments were like…. Great Idea!! but Umm.. who’s lighting the fuse? Makes for a LOT of damage in a PRETTY LARGE radius.

  71. Uri says:

    In a recent Underdark campaign I’m playing, normally I hate Underdark type campaigns, every one is drow and everyone is just so asinine, but I convinced the DM that he should let me play an Orog… well suffice it to say weight means nothing now, rolled 18 for base str then add the racial and the girdle I got asap for +6 str and I no longer care for encumberance or bags that hold magical things, when my big guy leaves town he takes 1 weeks rations and 1 waterskin, cause flat out enuf ppl I take down have more food and water on them the rest of my back pack is rope and large sacks. Just keep roping the sacks together as I fill’em up. Don’t need any other equipment cause Have a 30 str or better makes up for no equips and bads ranks in a skill. besides I’m a warrior all my important stuff is strength based.

  72. Kax says:

    Note on the GURPS reference: D&D 3.5 is actually more complex than GURPS unless you are using the optional Martial Arts rules, and even they don’t add much…
    I run both, and prefer to GURPS combat system to the D&D one–less exceptions to handle, often quicker to run..

  73. Wonderduck says:

    Rebecca Says:
    Stop! Hammerspace!

    Considering we’re talking about a TARDIS here, wouldn’t that be better as:

    “Stop! Hammerspace/time!”?

    /I feel geekier just having typed that…

  74. Dave says:

    GURPS like checkers.. priceless… though.. like Kax says, GURPS combat is like a streamlined game.. D&D is like.. well a cross between an algebra lesson and a horoscope reading.

  75. Nogard Codesmith says:

    [Thad] That particular conversation about the full plate armor being less of a restriction when carried than worn was on the Order of the Stick forums. I was just reading that yesterday ^_^

  76. anachronist says:

    Attorney At Chaos Says: “People in our gaming group believe that HEWARDS HANDY HAVERSACK is one of the best bargains in magic items that exists. It tends to be the first item they seek to purchase or make or find – but they also don't tend to abuse it.”

    Same here. When you have a DM who’s strict about encumbrance, Heward’s Handy Haversack is the best value for the money of ANY wondrous item. Of course, nobody in our group considered Steve’s suggestion above that enemies would target the Haversacks or Bag of Holding. A DM who does that would be cruel, sort of like letting the party find 50,000 gp worth of scrap iron, and when the party goes to get a caravan of wagons to collect and sell it, they return to find the pile has been eaten by rust monsters…. -A

  77. Tonko says:

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA the TARDIS!

    I remember in my last game, though, we didn’t keep exact track of stuff but we did try to make some slight sense. I couldn’t for example grab a million paper scrolls without damaging them, and we gave some throwaway moments to gettings sacks or chests or pack mules.

    Though on the other hand there was that on time my BF’s old game had a blackguard running around desecrating stuff left and right… then someone bothered to look up the material components and realized he was supposed to have had like a pound or ten of powdered silver each time. Heh.

  78. Chaon says:

    Not D & D, but I’ve always wanted to attend a Con dressed as a generic fighter, carrying a backpack-sized quiver of 350 arrows. When asked about it, I’d reply that I was a character from Diablo.

  79. Snake says:

    I cripple myself in D&D games because I cannot bring myself to ignore the mental image of my character with a huge rucksack front and back like some Antipodean tourist stuck in the Tube doors at Paddington station. I much prefer urban adventures for that reason. The others, more sensibly, gloss over it and don’t let it bother them. So my character carries nothing that she can’t either wear or fit in a pocket or belt pouch, while everyone else has one of each type of weapon, five of each type of arrow, 200′ rope, a four-man tent etc etc.

    Interestingly, it’s the DM who is always trying to force extra stuff on me and telling me not to worry about it! It’s killing him trying to balance the fights so that the monsters who challenge my not-so-hardcore comrades don’t finish me off in one swipe. So be careful what you wish for…

  80. Andi says:

    I played with someone years ago who liked to take everything and the kitchen sink. The DM broke him of the habit by including a rather nastily cursed, but otherwise useless item, in among a bunch of loot one time. The rest of us didn’t give it a second glance, but that one player quickly grabbed it.

    It stuck to his hand. His WEAPON hand. Permanently. :-)

    (He did get pretty good with it as a weapon, though…)

    I play Call of Cthulhu now more than D&D, and this problem of “grab everything in sight” doesn’t really exist there. Instead, it’s usually the opposite:

    GM: On the table you see a book bound in what appears to be leather.

    Players: (Look at each other uncomfortably)

    GM: Do any of you want to take the book?

    Player 1: Uh, are you sure it’s leather? Can I do any kind of check to make sure it’s not really human skin?

    Player 2: I’m not reading another book. Not after the last time.

    Player 3: But you’re the only one who knows Latin.

    Player 2: I don’t care. I’ve got 5 SAN points left. If I even _touch_ that thing, I’m done.

    Player 1: You know what, on second thought, I don’t want to know if it isn’t leather.

    GM: Okay, well, what about the small, obsidian statue next to it?

    Players: (Look at each other uncomfortably…)

    We spend more time in CoC debating who’s going to get stuck with the item. Kind of like my old D&D DM slipping in that cursed item — only you expect curses on EVERYTHING! :-)

    On the plus side, it makes us think long and hard about whether we really want an item in any RPG we play.

  81. -Chipper says:

    So how often do DMs think about the encumbrance of the players’ opponents? Obviously animals won’t have that concern, but what about roving orcs and kobolds and such? If they are carrying stuff worth plundering, does it affect their fighting?

  82. Attorney At Chaos says:

    Damien Walder said “Another thing – you notice in D&D we rarely talk about the weather?”

    I’m generally the exception to this – I frequently make weather extremes part of my game. The last campaign involved a trek on the Great Glacier during blizzard conditions, the previous one involved widespread continuous storms and major flooding over half a continent.

  83. Namfoodle says:

    I had a friend who didn’t want to be too specific about equipment. He would scrawl things like “much rope” on his character sheet. (How much rope? As much as we need, I guess) It also came to pass during a game that he needed a ruling from the DM about which was bigger: a “bu**-load” or a “f***-load”

    Definately more of a Beer & Pretzels thing when he was playing.

    Good Times, though, good times.

  84. Dave H. says:

    I’m not a shill for these guys, but I just saw this and thought I’d share it. Shamus, feel free to moderate this post into oblivion if you think it’s inappropriate, with my apologies.

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/bags/88b9/

  85. SketchSepahi says:

    Connor: [picking out weapons and gear] Do ya know what we need, man? Some rope.
    Murphy: Absolutely. What are you, insane?
    Mom says: “Sam eased the pack on his shoulders, and went over anxiously in his mind all the things he had stowed in it…'Rope!' he muttered. “˜No rope! And only last [session] you said to yourself: “Sam, what about a bit of rope? You'll want it, if you haven't got it.” Well, I'll want it. I can't get it now.'”

    I says:

    Connor: No I ain’t. Charlie Bronson’s always got rope.
    Murphy: What?
    Connor: Yeah. He’s got a lot of rope strapped around him in the movies, and they always end up using it.
    Murphy: You’ve lost it, haven’t ya?
    Connor: No, I’m serious.
    Murphy: That’s stupid. Name one thing you’d need a rope for.
    Connor: You don’t fuckin’ know what you’re gonna need it for. They just always need it.
    Murphy: What’s this ‘they’ shit? This isn’t a movie.
    Connor: Oh, right.

  86. Sarah says:

    Is anyone else old enough to have read “Divine Right’s Trip” in the Last Whole Earth Catalog, back in the 70’s? this reminds me of the Lone Outdoorsman and all his equipment, “jingling like a hardware store”.

    That bag of holding too, that reminds me of a traditional native story told by Joe Bruchac, about (if I recall correctly) Gluskabi and his magic bag woven out of hair by his Grandmother Woodchuck. He hid all the animals in the world in it. Interesting to see its descendant in RPGs!

  87. Tom says:

    Heh, very good. Back when I use to attend GenCon *cough* 20 years ago there was a couple of guys who would do a panel about this that was a lot of fun. They’d get one volunteer from the audience and then load him up with the typical 1st level D&D fighter crap; chain shirt, helmet, shield, sword, 10 ft pole, 10 iron spikes, grapple hook, 2 weeks of iron rations, etc… Then yell, “the orcs are attacking over there! Go to it!” such fun. On the other hand I know a couple of guys in the SCA who would easily toss the sack aside draw the sword and have at it.

  88. TX Knight says:

    Lol! As a backpacker enthusiast I’ve always marveled at the incredible engineering of D&D backpacks. Good one. :-)

  89. Ben Finkel says:

    Tooth and Claw was indeed a good episode. Viva la TARDIS! Le Docor es superior!

    I love DMotR, Shamus. Amazing job.

    Ben

  90. Marijana says:

    what he has is a LUGGAGE!!!! following him everywhere

  91. Nice depiction, sir. Bring us more!

    ~Adaen

  92. Perlandria says:

    “I guess it's good that geeks don't go outside very often, or someone would notice this and come up with a set of complex knapsack simulation rules that would make GURPS look like checkers.”

    HA! My stupid ROTC Twilight 2000 DM did exactly that.
    We learned to dread any hits to the vehicles that were near any arms stores. We lost more vehicles to our own grenades accidentally going off than anything else.

  93. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I love using custom rules for encubarance.One player tried to fool them by dressing two chains(I didnt allow them all in backpacks)so he can carry them to the shop.Oh the funny penalties he got for that mwahahaha!

  94. Aileen says:

    I just had a nerd attack with the TARDIS reference. Awesome connection, a trifecta really. D&D, Doctor Who, LOTR.

  95. Atanamir says:

    In the Middle-earth game I ran, we instituted this thing called the “Party Pocket”. Whenever a player was absent, his character and all his stuff went into the Pocket so that he’d be with the party when the player showed up, but couldn’t interact with anything or anyone while inside. Probably a fairly common technique. Kept me or the other players from abusing the character as an NPC.

    One time, the party had just ridden across Rohan, no longer needed the mounts and sent them back riderless. I was feeling vindictive, and since nobody mentioned that they had unladen the horses, I ruled that they hadn’t. And that the Party Pocket was with the luggage. Next week when one of the Pocketed players shows up he appears on the back of a horse galloping across the grasslands with no idea where he is. Also, this guy was a dwarf, so his “Ride” skill was less than stellar. At least he was well provisioned.

  96. Relo says:

    great one as usual…

    WooT 100 i want some xp for that :P

  97. Psychochild says:

    Love the comic. :) Too bad I got work to do tonight.

    Oh, well, too bad for the work! :)

  98. EezaK says:

    oh, dang. i always thought the pack was kinda realistic.
    all rpg games have em.

  99. mocking bird says:

    A friend of mine was doing character portraits at GenCon many years ago. The kid dropped off his character sheet and left for a while. My friend looked at the sheet and for the sketc just put a big pile of weapons with the top of a helf sticking out. While the kid didn’t pay for the sketch, his look was apparently well worth the effort.

  100. Syreene says:

    Lol…it could always be Heward’s Handy Haversack!

    The punchline with the TARDIS is just priceless…I was laughing out loud in my cubicle and found myself having to explain Doctor Who to my co-workers.

  101. geo says:

    Many years ago I took a barbarian. I decided that packs didn’t really fit how he looked in my mind so I gave him 2 bandoleers with small pouches spread about and a large pouch hanging off the bottom of one. The DM demanded that every time he hit the barbarian, he got to break the contents of one pouch – he chose which one. I told him to get stuffed and took a pack. Net gain or loss for either party (except for an enduring grudge I developed against this dm) through this micromanaging stupidity! ZERO!

  102. Sewicked says:

    I actually do pay at least some attention to the encumbrance. My puny little str 10 sorceress doesn’t carry much beyond her spell pouches (no armor, only a dagger, etc). OTOH, my bard has a mule. She carries lots of spare gear but can’t physically carry it all. BTW, how a load is distributed makes a huge difference in how encumbering it really is. Just compare a well-packed duffle vs one that’s just had stuff tossed into it willy-nilly.

  103. Davros says:

    just a point I’d like to make, only the doctor’s tardis is stuck in that form. Another one could just be regular.

  104. TheDeepDark says:

    Okay, with all this encumberance talk, I have to put in a comment.

    I could not help but think of the “Armoire of Invincibility,” the encumberance of which nearly destroyed Fighter (8-bit theater #180-something). “My invincibility is killing me.” Heh heh.

  105. Toil3T says:

    “I guess it's good that geeks don't go outside very often, or someone would notice this and come up with a set of complex knapsack simulation rules that would make GURPS look like checkers.”

    I hike.

    We ignore encumberance because of our (multiple) Bags of Holding (and similar) and our large strength scores. And we don’t get many polearms. On the other hand, we try to keep track of our rations.

  106. Toil3T says:

    And by hike, I mean take everything for several days with you. Except water, which you can normally get at camping sites. A full pack generally weighs 10-25 kilos, and you should be able to carry a third of your bodyweight, regardless of how strong you are.
    Mind you, this is minus weapons etc.
    Daypacking? That’s for Cub Scouts. I should know, I get my leader’s comission at the beginning of next year.

  107. Cynder says:

    You people are all very helpful…

    1. “TARDIS: Time And Relative Dimension (or Dimensions) In Space”

    When I saw the word ‘tardis’, I immeadiately picked up my MASSIVE Maquarie Dictionary and searched the word (it wasn’t there). Then, giving up, I scrolled through the posts and, whadoya know! TARDIS! Thankee very muchly.

    2. “Is that Dr. Who's police box time machine?”

    I was wondering what the hell that phone box thing was…what the hell is it doing there? (Well, quite frankly, I was expecting somehow that something random like that was gunna pop up sooner or later. And I thought the Monty Python quotes were random…)

    3. “I love Aragorn's face in the fourth frame. It's the first time we've seen him smile since I don't remember when.”

    Am I the only one here who cherishes the accasional smile of Aragorn? I mean, come on, how often does he? That is one hot pic! Besides the one with the pipe when Boromir’s being tackled by Merry and Pippin (in the movie)…

    BTW, loving the change of exxpressions between Aragorn and Gimli…priceless. It’s almost like that’s EXACTLY what he’s saying.
    Oh, and the “lawn ornament” joke was a fabulous line for Aragorn. Was also wondering if anyone was gunna refer to him as a garden gnome or insult him in a similar way sometime through this comic.

  108. xKiv says:

    Wasn’t the “lawn ornament” joke a reference to Terry Pratchett (namely, the Wyrd Systers book (the one that references The Scottish Play (do all of you like parenthesis as much as I do?)))?

  109. Doug says:

    D&D packs are relatively blameless compared to the ones they have in, say, Might & Magic VI. One of those suckers can hold…
    Four or five suits of plate armour, or
    A dozen spears, or six halberds or poleaxes or longbows, or
    About six dozen potions, or
    About twenty big spellbooks (tho’ each contains only one spell).
    And as for food, ammunition and money, you don’t even bother to keep track of where that is.
    They’re sturdy things too, and very portable, ‘cos you can still tramp around with your possessions intact even if three out of four characters are unconscious, petrified, dead or disintegrated. :D

  110. SandallE says:

    Ahh, that T.A.R.D.I.S. is perfect! I was not expecting that and I am still laughing halfway down the comments. :)

    @Elucid8:
    Too true. :( D&D: The Movie was horrible and only surpassed in unfulfillment by D&D 2: The Dragon God.

  111. humanist says:

    Oh my god that was hysterical. That joke just about blows away all your previous successes, and I say that with the qualification that many of the previous comics were downright hilarious.

    I don’t often literally laugh out loud, but the gratuitous insertion of the TARDIS into DM of the Rings completely cracked me up. I want to thank you for combining Doctor Who (which I love), Lord of the Rings (ditto), Roleplaying (which I don’t love as such, but can be incredibly funny), humor (which I love) and even slipping in a Terry Pratchett reference (which is just awesome).

    In the fantasy parody I’m writing, all the buildings are manufactured by Tardis co. inc. (I got the idea from the Grand List of Video Game cliches, which practically spelled it out as such. That’s why I made the joke about buildings rather than travel bags.)

    Having not read all 114 previous comments, I don’t know if anybody’s done this before (and it’s extremely geeky of me to do it now) but …

    Invisible Leather Tardis:
    Never worn: Check (I suppose)
    Never mentioned: Could be
    Not depicted in a character portrait: Guess the chameleon circuit can do that, too
    Always with the character: Again, could be
    Holds spears and swords: Easily
    Fits through doorways: This I’m less sure about, but maybe the outside can be manipulated as well as the inside?
    Never throws the character off-balance or prevents them from jumping: Well apparently they can hover, so … yes?
    Doesn’t knock people over when the character turns around: *shifty look* Hey, it could happen.
    The desired item is always available right on top, without needing to dig around inside for it: Now that I don’t remember being a qualifier for a TARDIS, even an invisible leather one.
    Food never seems to age or spoil inside: Don’t remember that feature either.
    The items inside never clank together or make any kind of noise: Well, though do, but not so that you could hear them from the outside.

    The above is an example of what terrible results can come from letting nitpickers loose on a perfectly good joke.

    … On the other hand, since a TARDIS can also travel in time, maybe the bag just jumps ahead from whenever you last put something in until the next time you want to put something in/take something out. This explains everything apart from the point about the item you need always being right at the top.

    It’s too bad our heroes don’t think of stuffing themselves inside the bag, and then having it take them into Mount Dum. They open the door, throw out the ring, problem solved.

    Of course, they would have to find Frodo to get the ring first, and if the bag is anything like the Doctor’s TARDIS it would probably strand them on the Paths of the Dead or some such godawful place …

    1. WJS says:

      Of course what you want isn’t really always on the top; what you do is enter the TARDIS and kick it into reverse x1, so it’s traveling backwards just enough to match the normal flow of time forwards. Then you spend however long it takes digging through all the crap you’ve got stored in it (some of the Doctor’s incarnations went through their old stuff, showing just how much cargo capacity the thing has) and when you step out again, you’ve got what you wanted with no time elapsed for observers!

  112. Child of Gallifrey says:

    Hey. I’ve been lurking for a while, but I just HAD to comment on this. I laughed so hard I cried when I saw that good old TARDIS, I really did.
    Anyone interested in Doctor Who should really check out Rich’s Comixblog, “The Ten Doctors”.

    ~CoG

  113. Trae says:

    The only time I actually pay attention to encumbrance is when I’m using an online character sheet because the good ones auto-fill in the right places, and all weight is kept tallied and will turn red when you’re encumbered.

    I have a kobold sorcerer with a strength of 8. Can only lift 19.5 lbs. My BoH and spell component pouch alone put me at 17 lbs…

  114. dadman says:

    @ comment 88 (Sarah””March 3rd, 2007, Two-and-a-half years ago!)

    Is anyone else old enough to have read “Divine Right's Trip” in the Last Whole Earth Catalog, back in the 70's? this reminds me of the Lone Outdoorsman and all his equipment, “jingling like a hardware store”.

    ::raises hand::

    That was the Last Updated Whole Earth Catalog; I even named my Corvair Van “Urge” in honor of that story. ::blushes::

    Let me say that blushes don’t look healthy on white-bearded geezers like me, but thanks for reminding me of my high school days. Now, if I can just work in some “Trout Fishing in America” references…

  115. Michael says:

    Where do we keep our ten foot poles, anyways?

    XCOM actually had a decent backpack system. Each object has a shape, and your pack has a shape. You can re-arrange stuff, but you have to make it all fit.

    Predates tetris, and the shapes are simple (1×1, 1×2, 2×2, 2×3) blocks.

  116. Kourtney says:

    hahaha the tardis bit had me laughing. i just stumbled across this thing and its had me rolling on the floor. this is exactly what my friends and i say when we commentary movies lol

  117. Veklim says:

    I had a fighter/war smith once by the name of Lokos, he was ludicrously strong (about 24 I think) and had decided it was only fair to go get himself a belt of giant’s strength to ‘even out the modifier’. At one particularly drawn out and boring part of the campaign, we came across an enchated grotto with several large mithral statues around the perimeter. Upon asking the reason for their continued stay in this place, being made of exceptionally rare and expensive metal, the DM replied ‘Because they are far too heavy to move for almost all creatures and adventurers who have stumbled into the area.’
    I couldn’t help but grin when I asked how much, precisely, did they weigh.
    My DM never left ANYTHING like that lying around without gaurdians after that session, and the group never wanted for mithral equipment either!

  118. Rose says:

    I have never ever laughed harder than I did about that final panel! Excellent Excellent work. {I was laughing for an inordinate amount of time about it and now I’m coughing terribly.}

  119. Old Woman #35 says:

    LotR, Monty Python references, and now the TARDIS?
    This comic has it all!

  120. joesolo says:

    same thing about packs goes for literally every rpg iv ever seen. one perfect example, in runescape you can cary about a half dozen massive dwarven cannons wihch are all many times larger than you, as well as infinate ammunition. whats it do to you? you cant run as long…

  121. Lord_Guan says:

    I’ve got to say, I’ve been following these comics off and on for a while now, and the Dr. Who reference just made my night. …which I don’t know what that says about my night, but nonetheless, well done.

  122. The Heart Surgeon says:

    Doctor Who!
    I love Doctor Who!

  123. K says:

    YES YES YES A DOCTOR WHO JOKE!!!!! This just became my favourite episode purely for the TARDIS. =D

  124. Mackenzie says:

    OH MY GOD!!! The TARDIS!!! That is genius man!! Pure genius!

  125. ComicallyMacabre says:

    Being a total Whovian as well as a Tolkien nerd, this fills me with so much happiness. . . Seriously. ; w;

  126. Owen says:

    If you want complicated knapsack rules, have a look at Aftermath – or as I call it, how to find bandages in four hundred and seventeen easy steps.

    Yusof of the previous example is in Detailed
    Action Time and finds that he needs some of his
    medical supplies. With his Deftness Group of 2, he
    will have two Actions per Combat Turn. He will
    spend the first turn taking off his pack, since it
    requires two Actions to do so. The backpack is held
    closed by two buckles so it will take Yusof another
    turn to open the pack. Because all the items in the
    pack are in separate bags, the Gamesmaster rules
    that there are 4 “things” in the pack. The
    Gamesmaster rolls 104 (Roll 1 D6 and ignore results
    over 4 ) and the result is 3. Since Yusof's Deftness
    Group is 3. he willget the right bag on the first action
    of sorting. Because there are two bandages to each
    unit of supplies. there is a 1 in 3 chance that each
    “thing” gone through in the small bag will be a unit
    of supplies. Yusof can check up to 3 “things” per
    Action. The Gamesmaster starts rolling lD3 for
    each item sorted. The second die roll is a 1 so the
    “thing” is a unit of supplies. The total number of
    Actions would be six. Yusof is in a hurry so the
    player elects to attempt a Saving Throw to cut the
    time. The Gamesmaster rolls 1020. The die result
    falls in Yusof's Ability Saving Throw range. This
    means that the time in terms of numbers of Actions
    will be cut in half, to three. The Gamesmaster will
    announce that Yusof has a unit of supplies in his
    hands at the end of the third Action from the time
    that the player announced that Yusof was beginning
    the attempt. If interrupted, Yusof would have to pick
    up the process again from where he left off. A new
    calculation of the time reauired should be made. (apologies for the bad OCR’ing)

  127. Jennifer says:

    I love this! Doctor Who references are very appreciated and make this even funnier-who new that was possible?

    I’m also being slowly convinced to play D&D, but I have no one to play with me.

  128. Pingback: D&D - Page 82
  129. WickedPrince says:

    OMG: you made a GURPS reference, had to laugh at that one especially hard. I loved that system when it came out because finally I could craft my fantasy races the way I wanted them and be able to craft new ones that would all be reasonably balanced and have their own unique traits. Then I got bogged down in all the minutia. All the books you buy mostly because they have a rework of how some silly rule works that you almost never use, but seems cooler than the clunky rule in the core book – and which you can NEVER find when you need it. :D

  130. always bigger on the inside…………

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