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DM of the Rings CXVII:
I Didn’t Know I Knew That

By Shamus
on Monday Jun 25, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


Aragorn can sail a ship? Who knew?

Comments (124)

1 2

  1. Mattingly says:

    L-o-t-Arrrrr, matey!

  2. Jindra34 says:

    And wow thats a lame DM cop-out… definitely on a railroad.

  3. NeedsToHeal says:

    I can’t see the comic, is anyone else having this issue?

  4. Darkenna says:

    Rawwwk! Pieces ‘o eight!

    “Wait… isn’t this supposed to be a pirate ship? Where’s the booty?”

  5. Jindra34 says:

    not this again…

  6. Fefe says:

    Unfortunately neither me nor my dictionary know the word ‘Hoosegow’. Think it’s the main deck though, isn’t it?

  7. MOM says:

    good to be on our way again.

  8. h0ll0wone says:

    are there rocks ahead?

  9. Myxx says:

    This is the first time I’ve been afflicted with the ‘can’t see the comic’ condition…

  10. Da Rogue says:

    That poor parrot…

  11. Jochi says:

    Hoosegow is b-western for jail.
    Oh, the comic just finally loaded.
    (Grin and groan.) I laughed over about six separate things in that last panel.

  12. Annikai says:

    I can’t see the comic either

  13. Myxx says:

    Ok, there it is. Enough refreshing will fix anything, apparently.

    But man, that third pane just about killed me. Kudos.

  14. Jindra34 says:

    the nice try line was quite funny…

  15. Bugsysservant says:

    Despite multiple refreshes, I still can’t see the comic as well.

  16. NeedsToHeal says:

    I am finally able to see the comic. Whoo hoo!!!

    When I got to the third panel, I could hear crickets, which cracked me up!!!

  17. Finally got to see the comic on the third refresh, using mozilla under windows XP. First time I’ve had this problem.

  18. ShadoStahker says:

    Yay for refreshing! Sorry about the bandwidth.

    And Hoosegow means prison/jail.

  19. NeedsToHeal says:

    I just thought I’d provide to y’all something I found from Google:

    Hoosegaw: Prison of jail (archaic)

    And here’s the link:


  20. Ninja Raven says:

    Just call me Arrragorrn. :P

  21. Jindra34 says:

    NeedstoHeal: Look at the site title. its really funny in context.

  22. Yarell says:

    Ok, i absolutely cracked up on the parrot line. Bravo!

    oh, and i also had to refresh the page a few times to see the comic. it’s never been a problem before. i wonder what’s different?

  23. Clyde says:

    He needs to trade that landlubber sword in for a cutlass! Arrrrr!

  24. Turms says:

    Railroading, but the DM is right:

    In Aragorn’s background there is a note about Thorongil, a mercenary captain of Gondor’s fleet, who burned a corsair fleet in Umbar. :)

    You can read more for example in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aragorn

  25. roxysteve says:

    I just hope that now they are under weigh they don’t run into that wily buch of scallywags, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.


    Who has never been to Boston in the fall either.

  26. Doug Sundseth says:

    Everybody knows that the hoosegow is under the gazebo.

  27. Zack says:

    I think the image serving server is having some issues today. As far as can tell it is a separate server and there may be server or network issues separate from the site itself.

    I was able to see the page eventually, it just took longer to load. The image I got was served from http://shamusyoung.mu.nu/images/comic_lotr117.jpg and rather than refresh the page repeatedly I just opened that link in a separate tab and let it take it’s sweet time.

    Hope this helps and doesn’t serve to kill the image hosting server. But I felt less full page refreshes were probably good for the site.

  28. hotsauce says:

    “wow thats a lame DM cop-out…”
    I’m not so sure. I mean, if a DM can say “your character is lawful-good. He wouldn’t do that”, can’t he also say “your character is smarter than you are. He wouldn’t do that”? But that touches on the problem I have with role-playing. I mean, if it’s fun for you, go for it, but a chracter’s success at negotiations shouldn’t depend on the players ability to sweet-talk any more than the outcome of a round of combat should depend on the player’s actual physical skill with a sword.

    • WJS says:

      Yeah, but just saying “I roll a 12. Is he convinced?” Is just lame. I think the best solution is for the player to roleplay what he wants to say, then roll to see how well his character says it (with the DC dependant on exactly what the player is trying to convince the NPC of). After all, while you roll to see if a character succeeds on hitting an NPC in combat, the player still has to choose who to hit, and even how to hit them (which combat action or feat to use). Likewise, the player has to choose what to say, even if his character is able to say it more eloquently.

  29. Dee says:

    I continue to be amazed at the way the actors’ expressions match the dialog. Aragorn’s face in panel two is perfect for ‘Hands up, everyone who can sail a ship!”

    I won’t say ‘I’ll never again see the LOTR movies the same way again’, but it’ll be more of a stretch.

    Still want to see Frodo and Sam bumbling toward the Mountain of Doom. Maybe Gollum has a white-hat twin brother (Slinker and Stinker, remember…)

    I’ve DM’ed too–a little wite-out on the original scenario works wonders!

  30. Scarlet Knight says:

    No parrots; but you find several rats looking for the midnight buffet and singing “We sailed from the port of indecision…”

  31. Deoxy says:


    I’ve never flung my mashed potatoes up against the wall, either.

    Oh, and I don’t look good in leggings.

    (For those of you missing the joke, google “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything”. At least as funny as DMotR, actually, which is about the highest compliment I know how to give.)

    “You just don’t get it.”

  32. -Chipper says:

    ! But! But! But we never got to see Logolas shoot Peter Jackson – the equivalent of the DM! And Leggylass would have done it too, if just for Xtra XP.

  33. Cat Skyfire says:

    …Makes me wonder what would happen if DMOTR met Pirate of the Caribbean…

  34. John Thompson says:

    Hi Jefe;

    “Hoosegow” is an old slang term for a jail — usually of the Saturday night ‘let’s-sling-the-drunks-in-here” variety.

  35. Vinchenze says:

    Yes, it’s too late yo get your animal “pet”, you pick that at lvl 1.

  36. Marmot says:

    Nice try but I’m not quite desperate enough… one of the best so far. He’s gotten the hang of it though!

  37. Cineris says:

    GMing Protip: Subtly remind the players that these ships are no doubt filled to the brim with provisions, weapons, armor, and miscellaneous other loot.

  38. Bugsysservant says:

    Yes! Can finally read the comic, was definitely worth the wait. Am I the only one who now has Pirates of Pinzance music stuck in my head?

  39. The Gneech says:

    What he really needs is an undead monkey named Jack.

    -The Gneech

  40. Flexstyle says:

    Aragorn: Alright then mateys, let’s get this thing cleaned up. Who wants to swab the poop deck?

    (others): Ewwww, gross!

    DM: Groan….

    Yeah, kinda lame, but since nobody else put it there…!

    I’m loving these latest strips….clueless-ness (sp?) is always funny, especially when someone (the DM) is trying to help and continues to fail.

  41. LaZorra says:

    pffffffBWAHAHAHA! As someone who has taught clueless people how to sail, I can say that that last panel is not too far off. Nice!

  42. Bilge Rat says:

    On the off-chance that there are readers here not familiar with the finer points of piraty celebrations. . .

    Start preparing now for September 19th: International Talk Like a Pirate Day. (www.talklikeapirate.com (“Ask Cap’n Slappy” is particularly amusing.))

    An mp3 of the anthem can be found here:

    The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything is hi-larious and best heard rather than read, so look for an mp3 of it.

    Another good pirate song is The Last Saskatchewan Pirate which can be downloaded here:

    Not that I’m obsessed or anything

  43. Jindra34 says:

    Bilge Rat: You most definitely are obsessed.

  44. Scarlet Knight says:

    So, if Earendil was a mariner, does that make Aragorn the son of a son of the son of a son of the son of a son of a sailor?

  45. DB says:

    Who want’s the parrot? I would initially believe that it is Aragorn, but wouldn’t that be a perfect line for Legolas, as well?

  46. Rigel says:

    #44 – Scarlet Knight, that was well done, well done indeed! *applause*

  47. Jophiel says:

    I may be nitpicking, but I believe that Corsairs are the population of Umbar (and the crews of the ships), not the ships themselves. English is not my native, but I don’t think you can empty the crew :P

    Anyways, I absolutely LOVE your strip. The way you get those faces to match every time is priceless, and the fact that you update so often… :D

  48. Jindra34 says:

    Jophiel: see strip comments 2 back

  49. Thenodrin says:

    You’d think that the DM would have given him some ranks in Profession: Sailor if his character knew how to sail a ship. That way, he wouldn’t have had to read his cumbersome backstory, and just look at the character sheet.

    And, if his backstory said that he knew how to sail, but he had no ranks, I would expect this to mean that he once knew, but it has been so long since that part of the backstory occurred that he’s since forgotten.


  50. Melfina the Blue says:

    So, when’s the Black Pearl show up? I can just picture Aragormless and Jack complaining about the lack of rum.

  51. Ninja Raven says:

    in the same pirate-y vein…
    Legolas: You like pain? Try wearing a corset.

  52. roxysteve says:

    Deoxy Says:

    I've never flung my mashed potatoes up against the wall, either.

    Take it from me, the whole licking a sparkplug thing is overrated too.

    I theenk you look like Cap’n Crunch.


  53. roxysteve says:

    Bugsysservant Says:
    Yes! Can finally read the comic, was definitely worth the wait. Am I the only one who now has Pirates of Pinzance music stuck in my head?

    Penzance, you geography-deficient pasty-faced landlubber! See: England, Extreme South West, Cornwall, (know Cornwall very well; mother went to school there) Lizard Point and so forth.

    Have you ever known what it is to be an orphan?


  54. Chris Curran, Crazy Chainmailler says:

    h0ll0wone Says:
    June 25th, 2007 at 11:10 am

    are there rocks ahead?

    If there are, we’ll all be dead!

  55. roxysteve says:

    Bilge Rat Says:

    The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything is hi-larious and best heard rather than read, so look for an mp3 of it.

    Arrrr! Belay that mp3 searching! The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything is best seen. Google for “Larry” “Silly Songs” and “Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything”, then buy the tape/disc/what have you.

    If you get the right omnibus collection of Silly Songs you will also witness the existential angst of “Oh Where Is My Hairbrush?” and the sheer artistry of the Argentinian Sombrero Song, not to mention the now-legendary crisis engendered by “Everybody’s Got A Water Buffalo”, which caused the temporary banning of “Larry Sings A Silly Song” from Veggie Tales until a massive write-in campaign had it reinstated.

    You guys with no kids miss out on all the good stuff.


  56. h0ll0wone says:

    This DM… he certainly like to fuss

  57. Matt Goodman says:

    Have you ever known what it is to be an orphan?

    Often! But I’ve never kissed a chipmunk.

    The last panel is extremely quotable!

  58. Web Goddess says:

    Heh. Great use of the still photos in this one. The expressions are perfect!

  59. brassbaboon says:

    Heh, so now we have Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas on a ship attempting to sail it up a river. I know how such an endeavor SHOULD end, but I’m sure the DM has other plans, logic, sandbars, tides, current and sail handling be damned. He may as well have divine winds brewing.

    Would it have been too much trouble to photoshop in some tiny figures leaping from the ships into the sea Shamus? Definitely an action-deficient installment, but hilarious as usual.

  60. Rustybadger says:

    Even better than Googling the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, why not watch it on YouTube first! I myself have painted daisies on a big red rubber ball, but have only been to Boston in July.

    Of course, we can’t leave the pirate-y theme without mentioning the Gay Pirate song by Ray Stevens…

    “I want to sing and dance, I want to sing and dance
    I want to be a pirate in the Pirates of Penzance
    Wear me silver-buckled slippers and me tight shiny pants
    I want to sing and dance”

    And Roxysteve is right – the Veggie Tales are hysterical. Maybe not as funny as DMOTR, but still pretty funny.


  61. Jim says:

    Hmm, I’m using Safari to view the page, and instead of the comic all I’m seeing is Shamus’s full name, address, SSN, DOB, and bank account information.

    That can’t be right.

  62. Dryhad says:

    So, um, which was the lame DM cop out? Was it saying “Don’t burn the ships, you can use them yourselves” or saying “Your character knows how to sail a ship”? Because while the former may not be strictly legit DMing, he’s really only pointing out an option the players are ignoring and compared to some of his previous railroad attempts it doesn’t even raise the needle. The latter is apparently written in the backstory, which is at the very least SOPHISTICATED railroading, and not a lame cop-out.

  63. Jindra34 says:

    i was talking about the prior… all he had to do was mention the value of the ships…

  64. Kerry says:

    Dang. Now Everybody’s going to go look for the treasures I buried in St. Louis and St. Paul.

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