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DM of the Rings XCVII:
Gets Me Right Here

By Shamus
on Monday May 7, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


Just like that one Bon Jovi song.
Saruman falls to his death.

The only way to keep players from doing something stupid is to Just Keep Talking.

Sadly, there is no way to keep the DM from doing something stupid, although offing one of his favorite NPCs might shut him up for a couple of minutes.

Comments (115)

1 2

  1. Jeff says:


    It’s also worth noting that technically they’re not allowed to fight each other, and would not have faced off with magic. Yet that doesn’t ‘show’ well in a movie.

    (This relates to one real annoyance of mine in the movie HHGttG where, rather than dialog talking the foreman into laying down instead of Arthur, Ford just bribes people with beer. Good dialog is rare and should be preserved, dang it!)

  2. Thomas says:

    “”Around here we use “Three points!” as “Nice shot!”, as it happens. I'm in the UK, but it's a baskteball term – the three-pointers are the tricky long-distance ones, right?”

    True enough – it's just that “Two Points” as a generic expression predates the change in the rules of basketball that introduced the three point shot. “Two points” was being used in that manner at least as far back as the 60s and probably earlier. The NBA added the 3-pointer around 1980. (Though the ABA and a few college experiments predated that, that's when it became generally accepted.)

    I heard “two points” moderately regularly on the east coast of the US, but upon reflection it isn't used much on the west coast (at least around here).”

    Most common around here is “Shot Tex”. Think it came from how in most old cowboy films the really good shots came from Texas.

    @Matt 47
    Most humourous typo in a while (I think you mean “Shire” not “Shite”)

  3. Shamus says:

    “Nice Shootin’ Tex” is another one I use from time to time, but it’s employed as a movie quote. (Ghostbusters) It’s usually used when someone is an exceptionally BAD shot.

  4. empty_other says:

    If it had been my players: “We got ourself a Stronghold! :) ” To much Baldurs Gate 2 i guess (which is evident in their playing style too).

  5. luagha says:

    I will mention something a friend of mine pointed out to me from the books:

    If you look at Frodo’s conversations, especially his conversations with various powerful people (Elrond, Galadriel, Faramir, Saruman) Frodo is actually really good at sussing people out. At getting them to give up to him serious clues as to their real motivations. And quite specifically this comes in when he meets Saruman as Sharkey. Frodo realizes that Saruman is specifically trying to taunt Frodo into killing him, and resolves not to give Saruman what he wants – he realizes there’s a trick.

    And indeed there is. Saruman has some kind of retributive strike thing going on. Any mortal being who dares to kill him is smitten with a curse (it is not given for mortal creatures to kill the bodies of archangels, even fallen ones) and soon dies. Which is why Wormtongue is the one lured into it, and you get the whole evil-feeding-on-itself theme.

  6. Deathblade_Penguin/aka Minion of Darkness says:

    Hey I’m back (i’ve been writing school reports) so i will combine my four comments into one handy nifty comment today..

    1) Shamus – Great Great Great!!! Although i think that Gandalf should change sides at this point (maybe influenced by the ring he wears .. it could do that right.. i never got mine in the mail STEVE!)…

    2) I’ve always in the path saved my favourite NPCs by making them vampires. Yes it was a cop out at the beginning and then it becamee so expected… it was

    GM “your arrow hits, he falls from the tower and to his death”
    PLAYERS ” we rush over and remove his head from his body”

    3) I’ve never heared the 2 points expression.. I’m in Australia though..

    4) I definately think Shamus should run an online DnD game… I definately play and i’m very honest with my dice rolls…

  7. Psalm of Chaos says:


    This is my first post, but I’ve been reading DM of the rings for a while. Shamus, you are an absolute gun, it’s amazing some how you’ve come up with some of these lines and this strip is no exception. Go Shamus!^^

    As in regards to an online dnd campaign, we would be missing out on DM of the Rings!^^ Also, look how many people would want to play, he’d have to have about 5 mini DMs running his pre-written campaign, each with a group of about 6 players and that would be before things really take off.

    Anyway, go Legolas you star!^^ Go Gimli because he used to be a serious RPer before this campaign. Go Aragorn ’cause he’s like my old DnD character, Turin, yes a direct rip-off from the character out of the silmarillion.

    Stay Metal,
    Psalm of Chaos

  8. Aries says:

    Ah i do so love watching peter jacksons vision torn asunder, however is it just me or does our resident Elf PC seeme to be realy living up to the old joke of AD&D standing for attention defiset disorder?

    i smell a destinct lack of RP XP for this campeign

  9. required says:

    As I read it, Saruman is only released after the ring has been destroyed and he has lost almost all of his power, so Treebeard considers him now quite harmless, though Gandalf points out that he still has the power with his voice, to manipulate people. That is what he used to get his petty revenge on the shire and it shows how deep he has fallen.

    I like how the hobbits rise up, themselves, showing that they can indeed be strong and the fact that they manage to mend the Shire again only shows how resilliant they are – returning to their old merry ways quite fast (while not forgetting what happened, of course – just not beaten by it). That part, more than anything, shows that there’s more to the hobbits than you’d think just by looking at them, which is the kind of strenght that helped Frody, Sam, Merry and Pippin so well. Surely, they have much much more of it than other hobbits, but it’s the same kind of strenght, I think.

    Only Frodo has taken more damage than what can be healed, but that makes perfect sense given what he went through and it only underlines how tough an advisary they were against.

    Okay – I’ll stop ranting now ;)

  10. Carl the Bold says:

    A) The “two points” line: I didn’t think that was Aragorn saying nice shot to Leggy; I thought it was aimed at nothing in particular because Saruman fell all that way, and landed directly on the spiky thing, a perfect landing.

    B)51 Nogard_Codesmith Says: “Shamus, If you decide you want to DM again, I'll play. Ive got a great setup for voice chat, maps, minis, and dice.”

    Forget that, Shamus! I’ll commute!

  11. Destroy Gundam says:

    This is the second time Saruman’s said “?!?”. He started to “sound” like those cannon fodder units from the SRW (Super Robot Wars) video games. I’m more of an anime nerd than a D&D nerd.

    And I think the dive deserves at least 3 points.

  12. Aaron says:

    If you run a game Shamus, I’m so in! And who isn’t honest with their die rolls … ;)

  13. Gbyron says:

    As for saving uber-major NPCs there is one solution.
    The uber-major NPC sends his/her/its soul in a gem, which places on the pommel of the +5 Holy Avenger he keeps in his hoard. Then, it is up to the DM how to resurrect him.
    He can then slowly but effectively corrupt the righteous paladin who will certainly use the sword.

  14. Saichen says:

    hmm, might we maybe consider a level in “Fortune’s Friend”?

  15. Roxysteve says:

    Carl the Bold Says:
    [Even Lucas only had one set of do overs.]

    You mean “so far”.

    Sweet Azathoth’s Brain! I hadn’t thought of that!

    A third retelling of the “classic”? What would that be, like a 2D10 SAN loss?


  16. Roxysteve says:

    [re: “points” for -t-r-a-f-f-i-c- -h-a-z-a-r-d-s- pedestrians]This joke originated from the movie “Death Race 2000″³ (1975), wherein contestants in a race actually did earn a certain number of points for hitting different people.

    Nah, it’s quite a bit older than that. So much so that I’d venture to guess that tha film was born when someone said it.

    In my part of England (Coventry) the phrase was usually prefaced with “He’s in play!” too.

    I live in New York now, where the biggest hazard to driving is the “surface” of the road, which resembles that upon which Neil Armstrong trod sometime in the previous century. If this city never sleeps, how come nobody ever gets round to filling the holes in the freeway?


  17. Salen says:

    He had it coming to him. And on the dive, he only gets a 7.5, since he didn’t keep his form in mid-dive. That’s gunna cost him the gold medal, and the water.

  18. Jindra34 says:

    Steve: Its because the city never sleeps. There is always someone driving over that section of road. thus the newly poured contrete go splash and makes the road worse.

  19. Scarlet Knight says:

    Before we continue to rip Peter Jackson, remember that this is hindsight, and how many things he could have screwed up to please Hollywood. Before the movies came out, I was terrified! We could have had an hour of Robin Williams as Tom Bombadil! Kevin Costner as Boromir! ( “He was that Robin Hood guy,right? Good, he knows swordplay…) He could have had Arwen kill the Lord of the Nazgul! (“Look , Liv Tyler’s making a mint, make he do something…she can still say ‘I am no man!'”) All in all, he still made 3 great movies… not many people can do that.

  20. Morits says:

    PCs kill BBEG.
    I was DMing Sunless Citadel, Belak was such a nifty BBEG that I decided he would escape “The World shall hear from me again. Mwah ha ha!”
    PCs encounter BBEG. Belak explains his cunning plan, but before he can even show off his Big red self-destruct Button, PCs attack him. He escpaes, PCs kill his minions and then whinge that it had been an anti-climax.

  21. Isoyami says:

    @Salen (81) Good point.

    I can just imagine Leggy, Aragormless and Gimli holding up little signs to rate Sharky’s dive “9” … “9” … “8” “The half twist in midair was good, and the landing impaled on the big spiky thing was a _NICE_ touch, but you didn’t hit the water, laddy, so I had to dock you”.

    On the other had, Saruman IS the only competitor, so he should get the gold medal anyways. ;)

  22. Scarlet Knight says:

    The spikes add a whole new meaning to the phrase: “He sticks the dismount!”


  23. Ellie says:

    “If you run a game Shamus, I'm so in! And who isn't honest with their die rolls”

    me too!!

  24. Roxysteve says:

    Deathblade_Penguin/aka Minion of Darkness Says:
    1) Shamus – Great Great Great!!! Although i think that Gandalf should change sides at this point (maybe influenced by the ring he wears .. it could do that right.. i never got mine in the mail STEVE!)…

    That’s Dark Lord Steve, Soul Reaver and Guardian of the Twelve Forbidden Precepts to you, Deathblade_Penguin.

    Apparently your ring arrived with import duty due (a paperwork error on the part of UPS), to the tune of Aus $1.5, which you declined to pay. The ring was then auctioned off and is currently being worn by a member of the Gundagai Touring Theatre Company, currently presenting “Brigadoon” to the public five times a week. The tour takes in a number of small towns in country otherwise defined (according to my Phillips School Atlas (1963)) as “scrub, steppe and semi-desert” and as a result I have had a raging thirst for the last seven days and all my food tastes of Witchety Grubs. Not only that, I can’t think straight because I have “Almost Like Being In Love” playing in Mr Brain 24×7.

    Next time I go in for interpersonal domination and will subjugation, I’ll do it the conventional way with a 1-800 number, a Myspace page and some leather lingerie.


  25. Scarlet Knight says:

    Well, Deathblade_Penguin, I got MY ring & it’s beautiful & shiny & round with a hole in the center & … suddenly I have the urge to buy donuts again…

  26. Peterus says:

    Legolas just saved Shire from unpleasant encounter with Saruman…

  27. Dar says:

    Damn this campaign is HILARIOUS. I’ve just read the whole comic today for the first time and have been laughing my ass off for the most of it. Just waiting for the next episode :).

  28. Tominator2 says:

    From what I’ve read, the Scouring of the Shire was Tolkien’s favorite chapter. He saw all that had gone before as a prelude to it. The “purpose” of all the dragons and orcs and danger was to toughen up the hobbits for their real mission: defeating the industrialists. The structure of the story as a whole reflects his ideas about the meaning of “fairy stories”, and what he meant his reader to take from LoTR.

    Tolkein was extremely old school. He was unapologetically racist and sexist. His politics were monarchist (he hated our freedoms! *gasp*), his world-view was strictly hierarchical (with the Pope and the King at top). He did not see any of his views as “political” – they were as natural to him as the air he breathed – so it may have never occurred to him that others would view his writings as barely-concealed political works.

    To make a long post short, the Scouring would appear to most modern eyes as a blatant political rant, completely ruining the movie. It was a good thing it was left out.

  29. Keldin says:

    Tominator, I see your point, but I’d have to opine that Tolkien did not see his book as anti-industrial. He certainly saw tyranny and evil in the industrial war machine that had ravaged and still threatened the world at the time, but he did not intend his book to be strictly allegorical — he wanted a feeling if universality to pervade the book. I’ve read some of his letters / essays on the topic and he didn’t like allegories that railroaded the reader.

    As for criticism of Peter Jackson’s films, there’s a lot to be made – but I’ve been thinking that perhaps Jackson had other issues on his mind than 100% fidelity to the text. We all know that stuff had to be cut (I mean, The Fellowship could easily be expanded into 2 or even three movies depending on how detailed you wanted to be) but I’m betting there were logistical reasons that one would have to be a professional filmmaker to fully grasp “we’ve only got Wyatt the stuntman for 5 days, and he’s the only one who can do that horse trick!” Or conversely, “well, if we do the whole Shire sequence it’ll mean we have to extend Christopher Lee’s contract and that’ll put us over budget. But I still have 25 hours of time I HAVE to use him for. I guess I’d better just wax him at the tower.” Probably other things that like I say, I couldn’t imagine never having made a film.

  30. Scott King Crandall says:

    I love this one. I had a group of younger players at one point, and while camping I told them they spotted a large creature flying across the sky at least a mile away. Nothing I tried convinced them they should not fire a magic arrow at it. Then they all got upset when I had the Black Dragon turn and come after them, since they were only level 6 players….. sigh….

  31. David says:

    I just found this from Steve Jackson’s site. It’s all been funny but this one had me laughing too hard to breathe.

    Longer than six seconds? – just brilliant.

  • Cynder says:

    It sucks cuz I have only seen RotK once. That was a few weeks ago :P

    Umm…okay, I will admit that I totally forgot Legolas hit Saruman with an arrow and he fell to his death. Total shamejob *hangs head in shame*

  • Cynder says:

    I think I’ll post twice more just for the sake of making 100 posts.

  • Cynder says:

    100 posts. Everyone wins!!

    :) :) :)

  • nitefly says:

    “Writing dialogue”

    Hilarious. I don’t think any roleplayer has prewritten dialogue since the brown box back in 74! Perfect, Shamus!

    I always hated that scripted crap, detoriated roleplaying into a glorified Sword & Sorcery book with polyhedral dice. We don’t need to return to that crap :oD

  • Lisa says:

    Hey- so do you have a life, or is this it??? lol. You’re crazy, & shame on people for wasting their time reading this. You make me sick…~~Lisa

  • *cough* The person responsible for the previous comment has been sacked.

    And had a really bad magician with non-fake swords perform the “pincushion” trick on aforementioned sack.

    We now return you to your regular programming.

  • Helix says:

    Bwaaahahahahaha. “Thwunk”.

    I laughed until a little bit of wee came out.

  • Steven says:

    Heh, great comic. We did this to our DM playing WFRP….his big end-boss monologued & the elf archer killed him with one shot.

  • Jeremy says:

    I love how Legolas completely raped the design, completely utterly. “Longer than six seconds?”
    Complete genius.

  • ERROR says:

    Wait, why is the DM accusing them of murder just now? Throughout the campaign, during the fight scenes, they did nothing but chop off orc heads and the like.

    • WJS says:

      Because those orcs were trying to kill them? Is that really hard to understand?
      If you shoot someone who’s trying to kill you, it’s self defense. If you shoot someone who’s trying to talk to you, it’s first degree murder.

  • Clinto says:

    Writing dialog? Does anyone still do this? Doesn’t anyone simply character act? The game is always fresh and interesting if even the DM has no idea how any of it will turn out; refraining from scripting almost automatically provides this.

  • joesolo says:

    there gonna try and loot the whole tower now.

  • Nami says:


    Anyway, when I read it what made it the funniest was that Legolas didn’t even seem to be trying to screw up the campaign, he just LOVES shooting people.

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