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DM of the Rings CII:
A Minor Omission

By Shamus
on Friday May 18, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


The DM forgot to bestow Aragorn’s sword.
Elrond drops by.

There are ways to correct mistakes made in the delivery of the plot. Some are better than others.

Comments (154)

1 2 3

  1. Cenobite says:

    Snakes on a Palantir!

  2. Habenath says:

    Honestly, these guys are lucky Lord Elrond turned up to deliver the goods.

    In my last GMed game we went through at least one major battle that might have cost the lives of one of the characters, but for the calculations against AC I was making for one character wearing a fallen companion’s armour.

    Trouble is, it turned out that two characters were wearing the same suit at the time…

  3. Fickle says:

    “Suddenly Lord Elrond shows up at your camp. “˜Hi.' “

    I think that I have to chime in and agree with everyone who’s calling that line the best one so far XD This strip rivals Legolas-killing-Gollum as my favorite so far! XD

  4. Chuck says:

    “Sweet smokin' Conan!” is one of the best lines you’ve had is this strip. I almost fell out of my chair. Damn funny!

  5. SongCoyote says:

    Je suis le soixante-neuf!

    “Keep your hands off my daughter, Mr. Aragorn, or I’ll make you take the Blue Pill.”

    I think that’s exactly the expression I’ve had on my face when I’ve been playing Diablo and found a really cool item. Just staring at the screen, absoribing the impact of my new loot… as The Council ate my head :D

    Light and laughter,

  6. Bad Jaspero says:

    Awesome sequence! Loved it!

  7. HA! Loved it.

    Yeah, Jackson was trying to tell a fundamentally different Aragorn story from the books– he’s afraid that he’s tainted by Elendil’s mistakes, doesn’t want to be king, has to grow into accepting it, yadda yadda. I found it a silly change, and I love that Shamus can get humor out of the discrepancy.

    I agree– there’s something disturbing about the palantir’s appearance in frame 1…

  8. melchar says:

    Best one ever! I was laughing so hard that tears leaked out. So very, very good! [best Elrond line ever!]

  9. James says:

    That was truely beautiful. The perfect combination of the books, films and D&D.

    Best strip yet?

    So… What did he see in the planter?

  10. wolfblade says:

    Ah, nice thing to come home from work to. But sadly after learning about these comics yesterday I managed to get caught up in only an hour or so… no w I have to wait for new material!

  11. Morrinn says:

    Its like… each comic tops the last…
    This comic = The Wins

  12. Arson55 says:

    Elrond is now my favorite character in the campaign. That was great.

    Okay, suddenly, Lord Elrond shows up at your camp.
    He gives you the sword.
    Here is the sword.

  13. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Roxysteve Says: The palantir in frame one looks too rude for Aragormless to pass up making a comment.”

    Why?, it just looks like a …wait,…naw, it couldn’t be! For Aragorn’s sake I sure HOPE that’s not Arwen!

  14. brashieel says:

    Most of your strips are funny, but the ones where you explain the movie/book divergences are generally the best. Well, that and the Gollum strip, of course.

    Awesome strip, Shamus. Keep it up.

  15. Jane says:

    Not bad. You gaze in the plantir and get a great sword!
    What happens if he looks again…

  16. Lynx says:


    Hope Aragorn's learned his lesson from Eowyn.

    Speaking of Eowyn and Aragorn’s wedding.. sigh, Faramir deserves better than what Eowyn is about to give him. I suppose Faramir will have a close relationship with the clerics after his marriage…


  17. Cineris says:

    I love that “Hi” and Hugo Weaving’s facial expression so much. Perfect, it says it all.

  18. Saichen says:

    yeah i’m currently involved in an Eastern-inspired RP where i’ve been instructed to collec tthese 7 swords that were part of some guy’s final masterpiece and then go speak with the emporer and maybe even finally retire this character… anyway, they all have names and personalities. it’s freaking confusing.

    like Chishio, the sword of blood. The sword thirsts for blood and can posess me to accomplish the craziest tasks possible in order to get blood.

    So my DM made up a new skill for me to use to talk with the swords. so now, i have to use my diplomacy and ranks in “aura of command” to talk to these frikking swords. *sigh*

    i feel for ya aragorn, really, i do.

  19. Scarlet Knight says:

    Lynx Says:”Hope Aragorn's learned his lesson from Eowyn….”

    I can imagine that the reason Aragorn gave Faramir land as a wedding present was to get Eowyn out of Gondor.

    Arwen:”Who is that blonde who keeps smiling at you?”
    Aragorn: “Her? Oh, nobody, nobody at all. In fact, I thinks she’s going marry Faramir. Yes, that’s right! His fiance! And they’re moving soon! Capital fellow that Faramir!”

  20. George says:


    You know sometimes i think Peter Jackson forgotto give it to him in Rivendell….

  21. Dannerman says:

    Great return to form, Shamus!

  22. Scatty says:

    Reading the comments, its amazing how many people who read this not only play D&D (in fact, that’s almost a given), but also DM.

    I’ve never had a plot element as powerful or important as said sword to forget to give the players, so I can’t empathyze, however this type of DM mistake is a classic.

  23. davwalp says:

    Sweet smokin’ Conan it right! You’ve definitely outdone yourself in this one Shamus.

    Long live DMotR!!!!

  24. MarkB says:

    Yeah, it’s Jackson’s obsession with giving each human character a spiritual journey from a flawed beginning towards becoming the character they are in the books that’s responsible for the rather clumsy re-ordering of events as far as Anduril’s concerned.

    Sometimes it works, more often it doesn’t (mostly because we don’t get to see some of the characters for long enough, so only their first impressions last – thus, Theoden and Faramir, in particular, come out of it looking like complete chumps).

    Anyway, just to echo the other comments, excellent comic, and yes I’ve been there as a DM.

  25. Ishmael says:

    “Scarlet Knight Says:

    “Roxysteve Says: The palantir in frame one looks too rude for Aragormless to pass up making a comment.”

    Why?, it just looks like a …wait,…naw, it couldn't be! For Aragorn's sake I sure HOPE that's not Arwen!”

    Aaaauugh! You’ve ruined *everything*!

  26. Paul says:

    Very Funny, keep up the good work.

    Love how the DM makes up for forgetting to give Aragorn the sword, especially how he keeps refering to the sword by a different name each time and just confusing Aragorn further :p

  27. !n00b says:

    I admire the skill with which, in the space of five comics (97-102), you’ve explained away two of the movie-book differences with things that are perfectly believable D&D table events.

  28. Sedda says:

    This one was very good ^^

  29. Tracia says:

    I absolutely love this comic (I have it in my bookmarks bar!) but this is my first time posting.

    What I love about this particular strip that no one has mentioned yet is the very subtle comment of what happens to the DM-speak here. Usually so eloquent and verbose, the DM resorts to ‘Hi. Here’s the sword!’ because he’s improvising a solution to an oversight he just realized he made.

    Makes me think of my own DM, who will do such a great job speaking in character when he’s planned it, but when you ask him a question he didn’t anticipate, he falls right back into 21st century slang, like ‘…well, i was pissed off that…’

    That, combined with the brilliance of alluding the the very forced nature of how Elrond knows where their camp is and why he shows up in the first place, makes this probably one of my favorite strips of the whole comic! SUPER JOB!

  30. Keltik says:

    My word, a friend just told me about this site and I spent a morning reading it all. Great stuff.

  31. Woerlan says:

    At least the DM was straightforward with admitting his mistake. Had this been me, I would’ve hashed about “Artifact level weapons take a very long time to forge, let alone REFORGE. Just melting the blade back into mystical slag takes days… WEEKS even… (cough, cough). Anyway, here it is…”

  32. orcbane says:

    It would be so much easier just to have asked “So, you’re saying you don’t WANT Elrond to have given you a really powerful sword?” But 1 DM’s style differs from the next!

  33. Buck Flicks says:

    Man… there are a lot of Chris Farleys here…

    Hey… remember when you said “keep your hands off my daugther?” … you remember that?


    That was awesome.

  34. Dez says:


    aren3 #12 “Hilarious, as usual. And probably makes about as much sense as that part of the movie. Yeah, yeah, dramatic pacing and all that.”

    This comment about hits the nail on the head.

    “Look at the stats on this sword…i was meant to have this from the beginning?!?” – LOL



  35. Old Man Matt says:

    You really outdid yourself with this one Shamus.

    Since I haven’t seen those movies or read the books, just what kind of stats would that sword have if it was dndified.

  36. Sarah says:

    Ahhh, catching up after a couple weeks of being flat out in RL, this is my new favorite strip! This scene in the movie is the worst train wreck, I so hoped the extended cut would fix it somehow, but there was no way. Finally you have achieved what PJ couldn’t, you made sense out of this scene! The most grating part for me always was, that in the midst of this absolute nonsense (how did Elrond get there, just then, fly? what is he talking about?), there is about the juiciest reveal of a sword in a movie, ever, period. I’m not a guy, I’m not into blades, but this scene… whew!
    Thank you so much for this, it’s all been great, but this one is pure magic!

  37. Phil says:

    I’m looking forward to the strip after Aragorn’s coronation where Elrond offers Arwen to Aragorn but he first insists on having her checked out as “I remember what happened last time I got laid in this lousy campaign”. Elrond’s face after that should be a picture… :)

  38. Harlequin says:

    “And keep your hands off my daughter.”

    Tolkien by way of Harper Lee. The only thing Lord Elrond’s missing is a 12-gauge double barrel and a washtub of moonshine in Imladris…

  39. Scarlet Knight says:

    “okay! Says:Can't wait for other players' reaction when they hear Aragorn got a sweet blade for doing nothing. Where's Gimli's enchanted hammer, or Legolas' enchanted bow, or the halflings' enchanted toe hair trimmers?”

    I can picture Gimli now:
    Gimli:”Why does he get the good stuff?”
    DM:”Well, he’s the leader & needs these…”
    Gimli: “Why can’t a dwarf lead? I once played the leader in a game of Boot Hill as an old prospector named ‘Old Chasm’ who lead the group! ‘Course he was a dwarf teleported by an evil wizard across time & had a nose for gold…”

  40. Browncoat says:

    Hey Buck – Remember when you asked Shamus if he remembered when Elrond said, “Keep your hands off my daughter?” That was awesome.

    It occurred to me that I need to alter how I read these. I’m so excited when noon MWF comes around that I scarf the strip down like a handful of butter-flavored popcorn, rather than reading slowly and absorbing it, like letting a piece of fine chocolate melt in my mouth. I completely missed the “Sweet Smoking Conan” comment the first time I read it. I was confused by the comments about it until I went back and reread. I laughed louder the second time.

    Hey Browncoat, remember when you asked Buck if he remembered when he asked Shamus if he remembered when Elrond said, um, “Keep your hands off my daughter”? Remember that? That was awesome. (Oh, man that was STUPID! I’m such an IDIOT!)

  41. -Chipper says:

    Browncoat- I read the comic fast, check out what comments are there, then go back & look at the comic panels because the first time I always miss the facial expressions that Shamus has so expertly chosen. Except this time I caught Elrond’s expression when he warns Aragorn to keep away from Arwen. Perfect. Just flawless.

  42. Tonko says:

    Everytime I look at Elrond again I start to laugh. Oh my god. Great choice of panels for this, I love it.

  43. anachronist says:

    About panel 7, where the DM says “He gives you the sword” and Elrond says “Here is the sword”:

    I am reminded of this excellent article, in particular, these two Garfield cartoons, illustrating the “less is more” concept:

    With dialog: http://www.wondermark.com/tcsd/recontext8a.gif
    Without dialog: http://www.wondermark.com/tcsd/recontext8b.gif

    The second one is clearly funnier. So it kinda bothered me to see the redundant words in panel 7. Otherwise, Shamus, this is one your best strips yet.

  44. anachronist says:

    Hm, the link I tried to include above got removed. The article is at

  45. Yahzi says:

    What makes “Keep your hands off my daughter” so funny is it’s not a line the DM said; it’s a line the NPC said. So even while Elrond is being used like a puppet to fix the DM’s mistake, he still acts like a real person.

    Sheer genius!


  46. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    I giggled all through this strip on Friday, giggled all through it again today, and laughed every time I saw it quoted in the comments.

    The repetition of “He gives you the sword. ‘Here is the sword.'” is screamingly funny.

  47. Marmot says:

    Just as other said, I laughed heartily when I saw this episode, and am reading it every day to laugh again. You scored something really big here!!!

  48. rosignol says:

    Oh, crap. Now my co-workers are staring at me. Time to look busy before they wander over…

  49. Browncoat says:

    @ anachronist —

    Great Garfield comics–thanks! You’re right, of course, it’s funnier without the words. I have to disagree, however, about panel 7. It would not have been funny at all without the repitition.

  50. Dw00 says:

    This is definitely my new favourite. Well done!

  51. KnightofNEE says:

    Heh, this comic explains why they have yet to win a battle.

  52. AltarielofLothlorien says:

    I have the replica of that sword, it’s freaking awesome and about as tall as the average 7yr old.

  53. Flexstyle says:

    Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute. Didn’t Aragorn already have the sword? http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=721

  54. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Flexstyle Says:Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute. Didn't Aragorn already have the sword? ”

    No,no, common mistake…that was Narsil, This is ANDUIL. Notice the capital letters…

    (Dave Barry once wrote that “Shards of Narsil” would make a great name for a band. I have to agree.)

  55. Ancalagon says:

    I would just like to say, that in a long line of hilarious comics, this one is the best. Absolutely hilarious!

  56. Mark N. says:

    Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute. Didn't Aragorn already have the sword?

    Ah, a retracing of the “Sauron/Saruman” confusion thing!

    Perfect, as is the whole strip.

  57. person132 says:

    No, the liked strip specifically says it is “refurbished”.

    Great comic anyway.

  58. Ashley says:

    Always wondered why Elrond waited until RotK to give him the freaking sword.
    This explains a lot…

  59. AyalaofBorg says:

    Should’ve left it at ‘Hi’.

    –Hobbits are a virus–

  60. Seve says:

    The point of saying first is to be number one and thus owning(or pwning)everyone else. It’s just one side effect of modern mentality of – I want everything now.

  61. Cynder says:

    LOL at the DM!! Do DM’s really forget stuff like that?!

    Baha at Elrond…just randomly appears outta nowhere, gives Aragorn a sword and leaves saying, “And keep your hands off my daughter.” Funny as hell!

    The last couple of frames are done really well too…it really looks like Elrond DID just randomly appear outta nowhere, give Aragorn a sword and leave saying, “And keep your hands off my daughter.” Very clever!! :D

  62. Beor says:

    “The second (Garfield example) is clearly funnier. So it kinda bothered me to see the redundant words in panel 7.”

    No, the redundant words are part of the humor in this particular case. The DM, panicking, has decided to deliver the sword to his character in the clumsiest, on-the-nose manner possible… including hilariously bad redundant dialogue. (In the movie this was obscured by flowery description, but it still would have probably been better if Arwen herself had delivered the sword. For some reason the screenwriters confused this with saying Arwen didn’t belong at Helms Deep — which is true — so they excised her out completely. I think it would have actually been better if Arwen had appeared at the same point of the movie, instead of Elrond — and get rid of the “she’s dying” idea. But apparently the muster of Rohan, and the high pass leading to Paths of the Dead, was originally supposed to be at Helms Deep, so Arwen couldn’t be there. And the separate location from the books was only added late in the filming. There is a reference at the end of Two Towers about “a secret way behind Helms Deep… leading into the mountains. but they will not get far”) So the Elrond bit from the movies is a similar panicky screenwriting addition, albeit more artfully done than the way Arwen disappeared from the movie. Anyway… I love this strip!

  63. Jesska says:

    “Also, please but *please* tell me there's a Priscilla, Queen of the Desert joke coming before this is all over.”

    Oh sweet ABBA yes! I totally would rather see Elrond pull a Mitzy than the usual ‘Agent Elrond’ joke anyday.
    I have a suggestion for that joke too, how about the end scene of Priscilla? You know, the ‘sorry, my breast is falling’ part. :-P

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