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DM of the Rings CXV:
Misunderstandings Compound

By Shamus
on Wednesday Jun 20, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


No, you mean…
Corsirs. Are. Sailing. Ships. Okay?

By their very nature, fantasy worlds are rich in fantastic visuals. This is hampered somewhat by the fact that there is no visual component to the classic tabletop game, which leads to odd conversations like the one above.

Comments (118)

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  1. Tola says:

    where did you get that screenie? Battlestar Galactica

    …You mean you don’t KNOW?

    Blizzard have finally released info on Starcraft 2, including a long cut-scene with various units-including the Protoss Corsairs. That’s where he likely pulled it from. Do a search on ‘Starcraft 2’ and you should find it.

  2. Alan says:

    Dan Says:
    June 20th, 2007 at 9:50 pm
    “Regarding those who thought Gimli was speaking in frame 8…notice that the text is in the same yellow boxes used by the DM. Gimli thought a corsair is a dinosaur; he's sure not going to come up with the right answer two seconds later. The DM is the one that set them straight.”

    It’s actually frame 9 and definitely Gimli. A top gag.

  3. Zippy Wonderdog says:

    Hmmm I notice Shamus is the first to comment on his own strip is this an attempt to combat the scourge of “FIRST!”?

  4. solemndragon says:

    Shamus… any chance I can give you money for an, “I hate this campaign,” t-shirt? Cause, you know, I’d like to.

  5. Mitey Heroes says:

    Panel 8 is the GM, Panel 9 is Gimli. It’s pretty obvious, and also a nice little joke (Gimli being too short to be in the same shot as Aragormless & Prettyelf).

    A map would definitely improve things for the poor players. I dread to think how they’ll cope when someone mentions The White City as well…

  6. Fickle says:

    OMG. I hate to say it, but the gazebo joke actually made me laugh harder than this strip did. XD And here I thought that nothing beat DM of the Rings for amusement value.

  7. Dune says:

    Its always a proud moment as a player when you get a dm to say they hate the campaign

  8. Salen says:

    This campaign has turned in to Rails & Shooters: LotR Edition. I guess on the plus side, Legolas gets to shoot the director in the head in a bit.

  9. -Chipper says:

    Knew a guy playing his first PC who, on the first enemy presented said, “I charge him with my lance!” It was only then that the rest of them realized he bought himself a lance but had no horse! Guess what his nickname was for several years… Lance, of course!

  10. Telas says:

    68 solemndragon Says:
    Shamus… any chance I can give you money for an, “I hate this campaign,” t-shirt? Cause, you know, I'd like to.

    I see it as pretty simple… The title runs across the chest, and a series of speech balloons are randomly spread below it, with some of the funnier quotes.

    Of course, “I hate this campaign.” tops the list.


  11. Cenobite says:


    Why is there so much debate in here over what is coarse hair?

  12. Raved Thrad says:

    If the DM hates the campaign, does that mean we get to see an actual “Rocks Fall And Everyone Dies” scene?

    Or maybe a “More Skulls Fall And Everyone Dies” scene?

    One of the lowest points in my DMing career happened when I was running a commercial module and one of my PCs was sneaking peaks at the story, having bought himself a copy of the module. I’d happened to have changed some parts of the module and storyline to better fit the rest of my campaign, and when one of the encounters didn’t go the way he expected, he blurted out, “Hey, that’s not how the encounter was supposed to go, there weren’t supposed to be that many enemies.” I asked him how he knew that, and he admitted sheepishly to having a copy of the module. I picked up all the dice, rolled them, totaled the result and said, “Oh, look, a Bolt From The Blue hits you. Take 235 damage. You can save for half if you can roll a natural 30 on the d20.”

    Considering this was 1st ed, it was highly improbable for a non-type V character to have 118 hp, even if you were playing a barbarian. And that’s only if you can *find* a way to roll a natural 30 on a d20 :)) Needless to say he was reduced to a greasy stain in the grass.

    I never quite got to the “I Hate This Campaign” part as a DM, but I did lose my cool and kill a player by DM fiat.

  13. Roxysteve says:

    Corsair = dog fur.



  14. ChristianTheDane says:

    Great as always. And the Gazebo joke is epic :)

  15. hellknight says:

    Great comic Shamus!

    When dealing with Tolkien, there’s only 1 dictionary that matters: the OED (Oxford English Dictionary). Tolkien himself contributed to that dictionary, and it were the meanings in this dictionary that he used in LotR, and his other books.
    And according to the OED:


    “¢ noun 1 archaic a pirate. 2 historical a privateer, especially one operating along the southern shore of the Mediterranean.

  16. Manwe says:

    Sorry Legless, Galleons are square-rigged:


    Those ships are clearly Lateen-rigged:


    and those are probably Galleass’s:


  17. Roxysteve says:

    [hellknight] So you are saying that the only references you will accept as canonical are those written by the user of the words of phrases himself/herself?

    How carabatuphillic* of you.

    Since the various people who defined this word (seriously) agreed with you, was that just a dictionary snob jab at non-OED citations?

    I gotta tell you, for all its much-vaunted (by UK dictionary fans) superiority, the OED adds transient neologisms far too readily these days for it to be bandied about as some sort of lexical bedrock. I accept no definitions as definitive when they come from a book that lists “ho” (in the modern street slang sense) as a legitimate word.


    * I’ll define this word later, when I’ve got a job with the OED :o)

  18. Roxysteve says:

    [shamus] Will PJ still get his cameo in DMotR? I didn’t catch his last two and this is the final chance for him to “do a Hitchcock” in the strip.


  19. Susan says:

    I want to see Aragorn’s expression if the DM ever says that they enter a room with several braziers on the wall. My husband (and DM) always mispronounces it as brassiere, which makes every one snicker.

    Thanks for capturing our gaming sessions perfectly. I recently spent half a day reading all the back panels. Thanks.

  20. Olwe says:

    Manwe: They have more guns than oars that I can see, therefore I doubt they’re galleases (or galleys for that matter).

    My best guess would be a fantasy jabeque or other form of lateen-only xebec.

  21. Scarlet Knight says:

    Shamus, I never thought you could make “I hate this campaign” even funnier, but you did!

  22. Bugsysservant says:

    QED=Quantum Electrodynamics?!?!?!?

    Or am I an even bigger nerd than I had previously thought?

  23. Alasseo says:

    [Bugsysservant] Quite possibly. QED is the abbreviation of the latin phrase quod eres demonstratum, which roughly means “See? I’m right, aren’t I?” provided, of course, that one plays fast and loose with the translation.
    Usually you see it at the bottom of a particularly long equation or a syllogistic argument of some kind.

    Personally I’m surprised that there are people surprised that they can breathe… think about it…

  24. Bugsysservant says:

    Alasseo: Thanks for the clarification. I probably should have seen that coming, especially since I know a good bit of latin. Sigh, all those wated class periods. Ah well.

    (Although I don’t think being fluent in latin abbreviations is much of a step above having a competent knowlege of quantum mechanics.)

  25. Roxysteve says:

    [buggyservant] I usually use QED to throw the fact that I am missing the point into harsh relief and invite retributive responses from the cheap seats. I was told it meant “Quite Easily Done” by a vindictive teacher when I was about nine. This abuse has warped me forever and is directly to blame for my fond

    Sometimes I am posting in my grumpy knowitall old sod persona. You can tell when I do this by the fact I’m wearing a pig’s bladder hat. When I’m being serious I wear a pig’s bladder hat and carry a machine gun.

    Appologies for the confusion.


  26. Roxysteve says:

    My fond nothing it would seem. Dunno what happened there. Shame really. There were about six lines of truly beautiful explanitory prose that deconstructed my so-called sense of humour for all to see, a Rosetta Stone to my psyche if you will.

    Oh well, never mind.


  27. Vinchenze says:

    i’ve never player starcraft but i’ve played Warcraft, which is close enough.

  28. Vinchenze says:


  29. Vinchenze says:

    can we hit 100 comments? once plzplzplz.

  30. Quintus Posnaniensis says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster.


    With all due respect, Alasseo, but I’m afraid it would be Quod Erat Demonstrandum — “what was to be proved”. And, as far as i can trust my Latin, there’s even no verb form “eres”.

    And the comic – great as ever!

  31. Dave says:

    Nope.. 100 is right out.

  32. Victor says:


  33. Thandruin says:

    Don’t you guys get it? It’s all an afflictive addiction!
    They love and hate the campaign, as they love and hate each other (especially the hot chick) and the script and the dialogues and the DM, and ditto… etc.
    – no wonder the characters are desperate

  34. Fifth Business says:

    First post and all that, but damn – the strip is fantastic (I only found out about it because of Lore’s “Slumbering Lungfish” blog) and the link to the old Gazebo joke killed me.

    Seriously, this is great stuff. I may have to hunt down this comic book maker program and see if I can’t make it part of the curriculum for English…

  35. Crazy Bob says:

    Couple points to the discussion…
    Given the emphasis in the comic, it could be argued that the GM meant sailing as a verb rather than an adjective- that is, not that they are ships for sailing, but that a bunch of pirates are sailing ships (right at you).
    Secondly… weren’t the corsairs in Starcraft anti-air only? Well, I suppose they had that ability to stun installations, but nothing for attacking ground units. So they really had nothing to worry about there.

  36. mjstancil says:

    Wait, isn’t a Corsair a rear-engine Chevy?

  37. Vayne Nomin says:

    Pure beauty. I was waiting and waiting for this moment – a moment every DM has had during a campaign when the players drive him to the comment, “I hate this campaign.” – so many times haha, so true.

    Of course that’s when I usually go grab the chainsaw from the garage.

  38. “Corsairs are flying units” is going to keep me giggling all day. (I’m a Tolkien fan, not a gamer, so StarCraft is the only one of all the games thus far mentioned (including D&D) that I’ve actually played).

  39. Tengokujin says:

    As a Johnny-come-lately, I wonder if Shamus knew the Coeurl is from Final Fantasy XI?

    I keep recommending this comic to other people. I just need to somehow convince my DM to also read it…

  40. Cynder says:

    Way, I’m beginning to think that Aragorn and the DM are thinking along the same lines. This campaign must be pretty damn tough to be hated by so many. XD

  41. Mina says:

    This comic gives me whiplash

    I LOVE how the DM responded, that was PERFECT!!! XD Super well done!

  42. Wil says:

    I realize that this was published over a year ago, but i just can’t get over Frame 5. Legolas’ face is just perfect for what he’s “saying”, and the way Aragorn is looking at Legolas in the 9th fram is beyond priceless. This is by far my fav comic :)

    Great job with the trilogy, i hope something else is next :)

  43. […] and when they (frequently) offer absurd definitions for words they don’t know (reminiscent of this scene in the aforementioned saga). So, check it […]

  44. Burny says:

    I read the story of the Dread Gazebo a few years back in Dragon Magazine and i’m prety sure the who;e party felt for it,attack and raided every gazebo in the kingdom(something to do with a falling gazebo roof on a PC)Angering the DM so mutch that he summoned a great Gazebo god to smithe them…
    or it just stoped short of that,i have an enourmous stack of Dragon mags to short trough’sigh’

  45. Robin says:

    First of all, the OED does not define the word “ho”; the OED2 does. While might seem like a trivial distinction, precision of usage is basic to my point.

    You need to understand that the OED / OED2 is primarily a research work — possibly the largest research project on the English language ever undertaken. While it gives definitions, the crucial part of the work is the citations — showing examples of how each word in English is used, in every definition, in every century. Since “ho” is used in that way in the 21st century, it should and will be listed in the OED2.

    The citations will show you what kind of use and what kind of user, but since it is in common use in the English language, somebody sees it in print and doesn’t know what it means should have a way to find out.

  46. Leyomi the Parodier says:

    That was so epic.

  47. Damien says:

    Do you play FFXI? (panel 2)

  48. Kunou says:

    I learned to draw mainly for that exact reason. I still can’t do it over well but I can at least make people understand what the monster they’re fighting looks like.

  49. […] sem fins lucrativos, todos os direitos reservados a Shamus Young. Navegar pela […]

  50. […] sem fins lucrativos, todos os direitos reservados a Shamus Young. Series […]

  51. Sharnuo says:

    I love the fact that Legolas, for all his airheadedness, is the only one in the group that plays RTS. Also I’ve totally known guys like that, and Legolas is ESPECIALLY the kind to only build Carriers in starcraft 1. lol

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  2. By DM dos Anéis #115: Componente confusão on Thursday Jun 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    […] sem fins lucrativos, todos os direitos reservados a Shamus Young. Navegar pela […]

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