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DM of the Rings LXXX:
Strange Bedfellows

By Shamus
on Monday Mar 26, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


The Elves arrive at Helms Deep
Aragorn calls Haldir a spy.
Legolas and Gimli comment.

Comments (138)

1 2

  1. Finajk says:

    Long time lurker – great reading!!!!

    “Here's my character portrait.”
    “She's got bracers of armor and a ring of warmth. She's a wizard.”

    I actually had a character that did this – my mage got her hands on a chain mail bikini, that was deamed to be of such little practical armor usage that it did not hinder her spell casting at all, but was enchanted for warmth & armor. Wore it with a nice white fur cloak and boots. Loved it!!! (& the player is also female)

  2. Medium Dave says:

    And we thought the dwarven females were hard to spot…

  3. Andi says:

    I dunno… I think Aragorn must be a leg man, otherwise I think he’d have realized by now that Legolas and Haldir don’t have breasts.

    Then again, he ain’t too bright…

  4. Browncoat says:

    “bwa-ha-ha! You've gotta admit that Haldir does look an awful lot like Jan Brady.”

    My gosh, you’re right! I can’t wait to go watch it again just so I can imagine him saying, “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!”

  5. Scarlet Knight says:

    I would just like to take this moment, on behalf of all men everywhere, to thank the chain mail bikini wearing women out there for the joy you’ve given us. Just don’t forget the power you weld. Just imagine the conversations overheard in Troy, Camelot , & countless other places throughout history that sounded like this: “Look ’round you,man, at all the dead. All because you had to lie with a beautiful woman. Well? Was it worth it?” “Yes; yes it was…”

  6. George says:

    Yeah power to women in chainmail bikini’s

    Its not sexism, its just the way it has to be. The men do all the fighting while the women wait in thier beds for when the men need to relax.

    Why argue? The chainmail bikini is the way it has to be.

  7. VermontGal says:

    As a female fighter (SCA and Dark Ages reenactment groups) myself, with my own set of riveted chain mail, thank you very much, let me state that unless you’ve been HIT in chain mail, with a weapon, you ain’t a woman in armor.

  8. Steve says:

    Scarlet Knight Says:

    Despite all the chain mail bikinis seen at the Ren Faire & in spite of all my encouragement (ie pleading), my wife still won't wear one…unless (she claims) I develop the body that allows me to wear the barbarian loin-cloth…

    I say I have the body of a god, and my wife agrees. Of course, I am talking “mighty-thewed, pointy-helmeted Norse” type and she has “Squamous Nightmare from Beyond The Veil Of Time” in mind.

    [Armour, clothing etc] Why on earth would any female adventurer wear a skirt of any length? Scotsmen notwithstanding, if your civilization has mastered the secret of the trouser leg, tough pants would seem to be a better choice all-round. Nothing spells embarrasment like a snake up the kilt in mid-combat.

    Cutaway armour of any type looks sensational on a woman, especially a young woman in good physical shape, but is hardly practical when mixing it up with non-humans (who probably won’t get distratced by the real-estate) in snake-infested grasslands or scorpion-riddled caves.

    However, at SCA events, Renfaires and so forth, if you are young enough to carry it off, the rule to live by is “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”. You’re only young once and it wears off really fast.

    [Corsets and Rib Extraction Surgery] I’ve been hearing this story since I was a kid, and I have begun to question it of late. Rib removal is nowhere near as simple as it sounds, and there are enough places on the web that one can see radical body mods using a corset sans the need for chloroform and the knife that I now view this story with extreme skepicism.

    It is far more likely that someone once saw a picture of a radically reduced Victorian waist or two and assumed it couldn’t be done any other way. Once that person had suggested the rib removal scenario to someone else the story would take off. It sounds reasonable on the face of it. Think “McDonalds Wormburger Legend”. But I haven’t found a reliable account of it being done or of anyone dying from such surgery in Victorian times – when they did have anaestheics but surgeons didn’t follow rigorous hygene at all times.

    I am ready to be shown evidence though. I am a man of science and trained to view young women wearing squeaky-tight corsets with medical detachment. Grunt grunt.


    • BlueCanary says:

      I’ve seen an article by a forensic archeologist which pictures of deformed ribcages of corseted-wearers of that time period. Believe it. Their ribcages didn’t flare, they formed an oval. No wonder they were prone to fainting.

  9. adam. says:

    my group uses dice to decide gender
    odds-male evens-female
    for everybody in the gaming world, unless for some reason they have to be of a perticular gender(such as a drow leader)

  10. John McFloss says:

    I allways loved Inphyy from Ninety Nine Night’s armour – a mixture of plate, over breeches (and possibly other stuff) covered her entire body. Sans head and cleavage. So it was great!
    Unless someone tried to stab her in the chest or face…

    Also, first post from me! Great stuff Shamus.

  11. Blindeye says:

    Wow, Patrick… I mean seriously… Wow.

    That has got to be the worst thing I’ve ever heard: You think that arguing against sexism in a medium is a small topic? It’s huge! In fact, it’s called ‘Feminism’. There’s something horribly misogynystic everywhere, especially in comics, video games, and other ‘geeky’ subculture.

    And even though it’s a subculture it’s still a big deal, especially because of how many girls are starting to get into said mediums (not like it was ok beforehand either).

    Patrick, the girls aren’t here to dance for you in chainmail bikinis, small leather outfits, and what have you. They want to kill dragons too.

  12. Steve R says:

    It serves Legolas’ player right for putting points in Charisma. That’s no way to power play it should be a dump stat. And NPCs with Charisma are obviously no good in a fight!

  13. Blindeye says:

    As an addendum to my previous post: This goes for George too.

    How is it NOT sexist to say what you just did?

    You should be ashamed.

  14. Perhaps being an English major, a shoe salesman and a hardcore grognard didn't earn Gary a lot of popularity with the ladies, and he was a tad bitter?

    Both of Gary’s wives were very attractive, as was his daughter. I don’t think Gary ever had any problem being popular with the ladies.

  15. I wonder how many of the authors of the vehement anti-chainmail bikini posts would be equally disparaging of the loin-cloth and capes the Spartans in 300 wore?

    Hmm, in battle the Greeks generally dropped the loin cloths to avoid soiling them, and often did not wear them otherwise (the Persians had a lot to say about the fact that the Greeks did not have tailored clothing, just short cloaks that did not cover them much). Guess 300 has to put some more clothes on them, but the actual Greeks wore less clothing, not more.

    As for the first official AD&D figures designed at TSR, all the females are covered up.

  16. adam. says:

    in battle, the Greeks wore armor. Because it protects your organs better than not wearing armor. They weren’t stupid.

  17. Alexis K says:

    This is pretty funny-as an engaged fem. gamer, my fiancee’ has helped me amass a tiny collection of 15 or so “bad-ass female minis”. I’ve got swashbuckler girls, angel girls, rangers, and rogues. As long as I don’t buy barbarians, I don’t have a difficult time finding fully (and fashionably) dressed femme fatales. I keep them in one of those “caboodle” cosmetic cases that has fold out hinge drawers. The fiancee’s thinks it’s funny that men approach D&D like little boys what with the action figures and all, and I’m approaching it like a little girl, apparently.

    As an artist, I’ve had to study the use of women as models in art, and the chain mail bikini is kind of a product of the “woman as object to look at”. I see it as irritating, but mostly harmless. I must say that I spent over a year in a game where half the party referred to my elf sorcerer with CHA 18 as a prostitute at every given opportunity. I should have left months earlier or mentioned something, because this was so pervasive that I was abjectly miserable. So sometimes there’s a dark side to the harmlessness.

  18. Rebecca says:

    So weird that this comic’s comments have devolved into a discussion of feminism and chain-mail.

    *Getting back to the comic* Actually I think it’s realistic that someone would have trouble discerning the sex of another species, even a humanoid one.

  19. Jeff says:

    adam’s right, there.
    I’ve been forced to read through a heck of a lot of (translated) the old Greek literature, and they seem to talk a heck of a lot about their weapons. (Homer, Euripides, Aeschylus… Taking a random Classics course.)

    Book 18 of the Iliad is the arming of Achilles, and while almost all of it is about his shield, it does take pains to point out the breastplate, helmet, and leg armor.

    Historically, they indeed had body armor (be it just a breastplate), a helmet, and leg armor.

    Now, while it’s entirely possible they didn’t wear clothes, I doubt quite a bit that they would have their bits hanging out in the middle of war where it may be nicked by a stray blow, or even nicked by kicked up ground.

    A simple search on ‘hoplite’ is very illuminating. Consider the description of a hoplite costume here:
    “He is bearded and dressed in hoplite costume–with a short chiton, cuirass, helmet, and greaves, holds his right hand at his side, and holds a spear upright with his upraised left hand.”
    And if you don’t know what a chiton is (I didn’t): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiton_(costume)

    Another description:
    “On the right two hoplites clasp hands in a gesture of farewell. Each wears a short chiton, a short mantle pinned on the shoulders and pushed back, and a pilos helmet.”

    You’d have to have backing, otherwise armor would chafe. And you’d have to have armor (in war), otherwise you’re an idiot, and very soon to be deceased. Consequently, there’s little reason to deliberately wear a super-short chiton to flash the enemy, unless you want to give them an extra, obvious, place to hit you.

  20. sexyskank says:

    82 Rebecca Says:

    March 27th, 2007 at 11:28 pm
    So weird that this comic's comments have devolved into a discussion of feminism and chain-mail.

    *Getting back to the comic* Actually I think it's realistic that someone would have trouble discerning the sex of another species, even a humanoid one.

    remember, his player can only hear the description which happens to be “yellow-haired and fair”. Common description for a woman. That and he’s a bit of a dummy.

    • BlueCanary says:

      *Also getting back to the comic*

      I always hated Peter Jackson’s hippie stoner elves. (I could stand Legolas because his impossible feats and competing with Gimli in battle pretty much were book-accurate.) They in no way resembled the elves that Tolkien described, who were badass and majestic.

      Thus, I am enjoying the ‘heh heh, the elf’s a girl’ ribbing that’s going on here.

      I know I’m way late to the gate on this one, and this was published six years ago, but anyway, that’s my two cents.

      And bravo, Shamus, sir. May your site stay viral forever.

  21. I must remember to read this comic more frequently! It’s always good, but I nearly woke Sam up while reading this episode.

    Someone actually emailed me to let me know that there was a post in this thread linking to an article on my site, but that the URL needed to be corrected. Well, if it was here, it’s been deleted, or maybe it’s just that I’m up way, way past my bedtime. The only articles I can imagine anyone having linked to, though, would be Confessions of a Girlfriend Gamer or Living the Dream. Both articles are WAY out of date, and contain some of the same material, as they were written for different purposes. But there they are, FWIW.

    Now that I’m not a new gamer any more, I will say that my fantasy game characters haven’t ever worn any chain mail bikinis. They don’t wear armor in general – just bracers of armor, and why not? – and they dress appropriately for whatever they’re doing. They show more or less skin depending on their intent and the situation.

    We (my partner, Sam, runs most of the games I play in) play with more women than men, partly because men frequently seem surprised by female PCs and NPCs who act like real people rather than caricatures. They’re fine with making sexual jokes, but if characters actually have sex (off-scene, thank you), they’re really uncomfortable. And if a PC uses her body to achieve a goal? (Say, she distracts a guard, or tempts a target into a private place to make it easier to kill him.) That’s all she’s good for from then on. They essentially consider her a prostitute.

    Happily, other female players seldom have those kinds of hangups – or, at least, we’ve been very fortunate in finding wonderful women with whom to game.

    Recently we’ve been playing the Serenity RPG with the After Serenity folks – even though it is a mostly male group ;-) The game sessions are recorded and put out on their podcast feed. It’s quite different from the fantasy RPGs to which I’m more accustomed, but it’s a good group, David’s a very flexible GM, and I adore Firefly.

  22. Serafina says:

    Why would you think (A)D&D is almost exclusively North-American? I’ll have you know that it is quite prevalent in the UK, in Germany and probably everywhere else in Europe as well … And from an academic point of view – writing about RPGS and subcultures is a valid academic interest, there is a multitude of topics out there that are less interesting and concern fewer people than RPGs do. Writing about (sub)cultures and communities that attract hundreds of thousands, sell for more every year (think WoW, think WotC, think LOtR) makes absolutely sense.

  23. Serafina says:

    @Patrick #2
    Okay, so it is early in the morning and I’m not fully awake … as for females in roleplaying, in both of my groups (AD&D, Cthulhu) the female players are in the majority.
    And I’d choose equipment with higher armor over equipment with higher *charisma* any day, thank you very much. *grins*

  24. Xrylk says:


    This is stuff i´d found some years ago.

    The chain mail bikini is actually a +5 armor bolstered with a powerfull protection from element enchantment

  25. Chris says:

    “Both of Gary's wives were very attractive, as was his daughter. I don't think Gary ever had any problem being popular with the ladies.”

    Are you saying he was popular with his daughter? That’s a whole new kind of creepy.

  26. adam. says:

    In Cthulhu I find my self playing a surprising number of catholic priests. I just think they fit the mood of the game. Plus I am rather insane and like having a character who can read those books that make you crazy. The last one I played tried preforming exorcism rituals on the evil things because he was convinced they were possessed. This, of course, had no effect.

  27. Laithoron says:

    The party I DM for consists of 4 female players and 3 male players, each playing their RealLifeâ„¢ gender. All of us enjoy our local ren faire and two of the ladies are *very* attractive and are quite fond of the corset look (it also brings more customers into the faerie and art shops they run respectively). I’d also like to add that one of those two is a far better shot with a bow than I and her skills in Kendo and Western fencing are not to be ignored…

    As for their characters, everyone (male and female) is garbed practically but that’s not to say the ladies object to the Valkyrie or bellydancer. In fact, they rather like the idea of being able to “flaunt it” as well as kick ass and have found various means to do so. For one, I’m kind of surprised that no one has mentioned the Glamered Armor enchantment ( http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicArmor.htm#glamered ) which allows Your protective gear to essential look like clothing. I’m not one to get fussy over what the constitutes “normal clothing” so when the female warlock’s female player says her glamered elven chain looks like bellydance attire I don’t see that any rule say it can’t.

    The pixie warmage and elven bard (also female) are quite happy with celestial chain (which can be worn without notice under clothing). Lastly, taking advantage of my regional armor rules, the cleric wears a short custom-fitted breastplate over a long mithril-chain hauberk. In general, the physical allure of the characters seems to be in direct proportion (no pun intended) to that of the lady playing them. Perhaps it’s a comfort-zone sort of thing but no-one has taken issue with it and as the ladies’ AC scores will testify, they head into battle looking good AND being well-protected. (Their ACs are actually better than the guys’ who are all melee types.)

    Side-note: The female cleric’s player was excited that I’m allowing spells from the Book of Exalted Deeds as this will give her character the freedom to wear a dress (the player studies ballet) and yet have the equivalent of full-plate armor (see Greater Luminous Armor). Shiny-good never looked so good…


    BTW, as a long-time reader, 1st-time poster, I must say that I find the comments by other veteran player just as interesting as the excellent comic Shamus puts together.

  28. Tola says:

    And I'd choose equipment with higher armor over equipment with higher *charisma* any day, thank you very much. *grins*

    Unless you’re a Paladin, where equip with Charisma serves to make you harder to hurt with those nasty, nasty special effects…That’d be an interesting scene. Paladin looking over their gear: Hmmm…do I go with the protection or the Cha boosting this time?

    Of course, if you can get both, you’re laughing.

  29. Laithoron says:

    WRT Charisma vs. Protection: In my setting Charisma not only represents force of personality but also Divine Grace/Favor (i.e. it’s not *directly* related to how pretty they are). To represent the favor of the gods, Charisma is applied as a Divine bonus to AC whenever an enemy attempts to confirm a Critical Threat.

    “Luck often enough will save a man, if his courage holds” “”Buliwyf, The 13th Warrior

    Suddenly the players don’t see Charisma as a dump stat and it leads to them taking their heroic parts (and alignment) more seriously “” they don’t want to lose their gift of Grace.

    Mind You, this has *nothing* to do with chainmail bikinis, just pointing out a more classical take on “Charisma” as opposed to the colloquialism used by most gamers. :)

  30. Steve says:

    Stephen M (Ethesis) Says:

    I don't think Gary ever had any problem being popular with the ladies.

    But as we more mature gamers know, the trick is to stay popular with them.

    Otherwise they decamp and take all your good stuff with them.


  31. superfluousk says:

    Both of Gary's wives were very attractive, as was his daughter. I don't think Gary ever had any problem being popular with the ladies.

    WHY did you mention his DAUGHTER here?

  32. Jeff says:

    Well, it’s not HIS daughter! :P

  33. Now, I wouldn’t go and say the chainmail bikini outfit is *completely* useless. What if they were fighting someone obsessively fixated on attacking their breasts and crotch?

    Maybe some *very* specific spots on their waist and back.

    • BlueCanary says:

      Why would you want to leave your highly vulnerable abdominal region uncovered? I’m thinking in practical terms. I guess you could cast some kind of magical forcefield spell around yourself and then armor wouldn’t matter.

      Why don’t the men in these things ever stride around oily and barechested as catnip for the ladies? Just askin’…as a female…

      Also, this comic has gotten me wanting to learn to play D&D. Unfortunately, my impression is that it is like bridge: unwelcoming and unforgiving of noobs.

      • WJS says:

        You have heard of Conan, right? The barechested barbarian is probably just as widespread as the chainmail bikini, it’s just that nobody whines about it. (And I get that the whiners about the bikinis are a small minority. Not trying to suggest otherwise, just noting they exist)

  34. asqwasqw says:

    Funny… but creepy. Mind if I post spam?

  35. asqwasqw says:

    Spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam…

  36. asqwasqw says:


  37. asqwasqw says:

    A hundred comments! Everybody wins!

    So that’s what it says when you reach 100…

  38. asqwasqw says:

    101? OVER A HUNDRED COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?

    Alas, curiosity has gotten the better of me.

  39. asqwasqw says:

    Okay, you can delete these posts now. Curiosity satisfied.

  40. Bill says:

    Note to self: do NOT, under any circumstances, read this at 2:00am, for fear of waking the household from outbursts of laughter. (I about DIED when I saw Haldir’s face in frame 7!)

    Didn’t I read some time ago, that there were no d100 images, that there would be an apparent endless addition of d20?

  41. Khyran Storm says:


    This one was great. I love how Shamus seems to have mastered the ‘pregnant pause’, when his NPC’s are dumbfounded by player idiocy.

    I can almost hear the crickets chirping in the background of panel 7, while Haldir stands there gaping.


    *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*

    Really, what do you say to something like that?

  42. Jasper says:

    w00t! Comment 106!

    Love this stuff. Shame you had to stop. Ever considered parodying another genre by means of an rpg campaign?

  43. DnD n00b says:

    A couple of misspellings I found (too late at comment 107, I fear): In frame 4, it is “seize”, not “sieze”. In frame 6, I believe you wanted “ourselves”, not “outselves”.

  44. Cynder says:

    Poor Aragorn…he tries so hard…and yet, unfortunately for him, he most always seems to mistake elven men for gorgeous women. I feel sorry for Haldir, too…you can almost read his mind in the 7th panel…

    Haldir: WTF???

    I was almost as confused as he was when Aragorn said “she” – and when I got it, I was also in a state of utter bewilderemnt…

    Me: WTF???

    1. “Bikini = babe. Covered = guy

    While it's a generalization, that's an unfortunate truth. You'll have to remember that a majority of RPG fandom is male. And sex sells. Female personas have to look good to be memorable. The chainmail bikini helps.

    Generally, female fantasy costumes of that nature have no true function. They don't protect against the elements. It's not comfortable – scale and chainmail can pinch the skin and snag hair unless there's cloth padding (or the female shaves certain… areas). They provide no armor value whatsoever (exposed thighs and abdomens being a favorite theme for females).

    It's there to make the male gawk and go “Yep. That's a babe.”


    Despite my preachings of course, I am a guy, and while I believe that such attire is non-functional, I will also be the first to admit that it IS nice to look at.”

    I laugh at how much men take notice of the female anatomy. It’s almost like our purpose in life is to satisfy the sexual cravings of men. This scares me.

    2. “Hah, there's a reason that the optional skill “elven gender identification” was such a long-running gag in our various campaigns…

    And in some cases I think even I needed it while watching LotRs, and probably failed a few checks. And I'm a girl with an eye for the pretty-boy elven type.

    Very true!! Except I was more on the lookout for hot rangers…

    Me (in Arwen’s voice): What’s this? A ranger caught off his guard?


    3. Gotta love Aragon stairing at Haldir's chest… “There once was an allianc… HEY! My eyes are up here!””

    BWAHAHAHA…I never really noticed that until you pointed it out!!

    4. “The look of open lust in Aragorn's eyes is truly disturbing… I'm never going to watch those movies in the same way.

    Thanks, Shamus! ”

    Ugh…somehow I wish you hadn’t said that…now I’m gunna be thinking along the lines of Shamus when I watch the movies! Open lust…*shakes head*

  45. SandallE says:

    Oh man, I think I just woke up my wife with laughter on this one. Thanks!

  46. Filcha says:

    Very hard to read this at work… they keep asking what I am giggling about.

  47. […] really funny webcomic based off of LOTR caps. Very well-made, and the sense of humor is hilarious. This one in particular had me laughing my ass off for several minutes XD. Especially love the traditional tabletop RPG […]

  48. Mina says:

    I’m experimenting with a character from a race like elves, but ‘more evolved’ for a story I’m writing, whom almost everyone mistakes for a woman. No, it’s not a cheesy humor fan book. But I think it can lead to some tension-relieving situations. He’s not my fall-back character relief guy or anything, but I think at least once or twice it should finally be funny. I love it when high, fair races are mistaken for women. I don’t know why.

  49. Mikkel says:

    Wow… I’m litteraly rolling on the floor laughing. Best one yet

  50. Dangermike says:

    Aragorn, it’s time to admit it… you have a problem.

  51. ERROR says:

    Honestly, to me, it seemed like Haldir was the only elf who actually looked male.

  52. Spencer says:

    HAHA this whole series is hilarious. it doesn’t get old!

  53. jmaximum says:

    dude, i laugh my @$$ off every time when its apparent that Aragorn thinks ALL elves are female.

  54. Trick says:

    Is it just me, or does Legolas look like he’s about to kiss that arrow, or something?

    Maybe it’s just me being half-asleep…
    Anyway, I’m re-rereading this, and it’s making me laugh as much as ever. Great job!

  55. dr pepper says:

    I have never accepted such stereotypes. I always roll odd/even for the sex of each npc i create and they all wear appropriate outfits based on their function, their funding, and the current conditions. And i always stop my players whenever they automatically assume the sex of a newcomer before i’ve told them.

  56. Danmako says:

    Holy crap mate, i nearly wet myself on this one….the creepy way he kept moving forward with his “eye on the prize”

    Awesome, laughed at others but this one wins….so far

  57. Lai-Lai says:

    If Aragorn was this stupid in the movies, I might not have hated him so much.

    I want to see the expression on a guy’s face when I call him a “smoldering temptress.” XD lol!

  58. joesolo says:

    rolf. though he has a point. most elves look like girls.

  59. aj26 says:

    I am stiil surprissed that they remember the bad guys name.

  60. AgProv says:

    Watching the film, I did wonder how so many Elves got past an army of ten thousand Uruks who were blocking the approach to Helm’s Deep, completely unseen and undetected. Nor did they give into the primal urge to take a pop at the Orcs there and then….

    …far better to have stayed with Tolkein’s original concept of a hundred or so Rangers led by only two half-elven princes, who in any case did not catch up with him till after Helm’s Deep… I read the book a long time before seeing the film, so my LotR is the written text, and every deviation from this made me wince – even the ones that worked better on screen….

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  1. By The Breathing Room » mini-doujin WIP + DM of the Rings on Saturday Mar 29, 2008 at 7:20 am

    […] really funny webcomic based off of LOTR caps. Very well-made, and the sense of humor is hilarious. This one in particular had me laughing my ass off for several minutes XD. Especially love the traditional tabletop RPG […]

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