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DM of the Rings CXXXV:
There and Back Again

By Shamus
on Wednesday Aug 15, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings




Comments (115)

1 2

  1. Caitlin says:

    I’m always a fan of a random Harry Potter reference.

  2. Browncoat says:


    You know, I think one day, we’re going to open DMotR and read it and learn only at the bottom of the comic that it’s the end. With today’s title (mad props, BTW), I half expected it to be the last.

    Well, quarter-expected.

  3. Kyle says:

    Love the strip.
    Thanks Shamus

  4. Roy says:

    Hee. That last panel is great.

    What prompted Lego Lass to be a wet blanket, though? I feel like I’m missing a connection. *doh*

  5. Browncoat says:

    The “wet blanket” line, if you look close, is uttered by Gimli behind Leggy. That threw me too on the first read.

  6. AndiN says:

    I loved the line, “Isn’t that your character class?”

    Would that be a prestige class? What kind of bonuses do you get with that? :-)

  7. M&a says:

    6 days in the middle of nowhere with no beer! That’s Gimli’s tragedy.

    If you look real closely you can barely see Gimli’s helm on the horse behind Legolas. That’s where the “wet blanket” is coming from.

  8. Dzurlady says:

    Wow, this is one fine comic, I really love your Work. I stumbled into DMotR only yesterday and not only did I laugh so hard my sides hurt – badly, but I nearly missed meeting my friends for Transformers. Well, I guess a girl can jump up shut down her computer, change clothes, grab her handbag and book and runn down to the bus in under four minits.
    It was totaly worth it (DMotR AND the movie…)

    Thanks a lot

  9. baldbeasty says:


    I, too, have only recently discovered this comic. AWESOME.

    It wouldn’t be as funny if similar things hadn’t happened in my campaigns…

    …aww who am I kidding, of course they would be.

    Nice work!

  10. The Gneech says:

    Expecto healum or somesuch! :D

    -The Gneech

  11. Maverick says:

    Ah yes, the sit arounf for 6 days and do nothing trick, a clasic. Great strip Shamus.

  12. Scarlet Knight says:

    Heh heh , heh heh! Aragorn would ride much further to “lay hands” on Eowyn!

  13. Arthur says:

    To be fair, a lone rider can go a hell of a lot faster than a whole army on the march – the army’s got to go at the pace of the slowest people in it (probably the mules and things lugging the supplies), otherwise it gets thinned out and vulnerable.

  14. Backburner says:

    Proving once again that, as DM, sometimes it’s just easier to say “yeah fine, you do it” then to discuss the logistics. Well done.

  15. Madjack says:

    Man it seems like the DM has just given up at this point.

  16. Miles Tormani says:

    But wouldn’t they all heal to full strength again from the full week of rest or are they too high level?

  17. Chowdah says:

    Oh, I don’t know that the DM’s given up… He got through three frames of exposition without being interrupted…

  18. Roy says:

    Oooh, That makes much more sense now! Thanks!

  19. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Theres always something you forget to do,and than its always “I turn back time and do what I forgot to do”,or “I run back,do the thing,and come back with the speed of light”,or something similar.Hillarious!

  20. Zomgoose says:

    Silly Aragorn. That trip could have shortened to something more like 4 or even 3 days if he’d only said ‘ride’ instead of ‘run’. :P

  21. Thastygliax says:

    “But wouldn't they all heal to full strength again from the full week of rest or are they too high level?”

    Natural healing in 3E is (level) hp per full night of rest, double that per full day of bedrest. So everyone heals up in approximately the same length of time, regardless of level, except that, through an odd mechanical fluke, high-Con characters will need a couple extra days.

    Of course, it’s probable that Merry and Eowyn, at least, took more than mere hp damage while fighting the Witch-King (much as Frodo would have on Weathertop). That might require a magical healer’s touch before they could heal normally–which would preserve the plot requirement that Aragorn to tend to them at some point.

  22. roxysteve says:

    How come while Aragormless was gone the other two didn’t try and go shopping? That is what would happen in any game I’ve been in lately, unless of course the absentee left anything behind, in which case a flurry of suspicious notes would usually pass between DM and the players cooling their heels in the Ash Wastes.


  23. Thastygliax says:

    Oops, that should have read, “characters with large HD types and/or high Con”.

  24. Proteus says:

    This and the last one… autobiographical!


  25. txknight says:

    “Browncoat Says:

    August 15th, 2007 at 11:06 am
    The “wet blanket” line, if you look close, is uttered by Gimli behind Leggy. That threw me too on the first read.”

    Ahhh… Thanks for explaining that. I couldn’t quite figure out that panel until you pointed that out.

  26. Christian Groff says:

    “I'm always a fan of a random Harry Potter reference”

    Here here! ^_^

  27. Baby McBathwater says:

    Wait a second, are those screen captures from the Lord of the Rings movies arranged like a comic book?

    They never said that stuff in the movies, why are you making up your own dialogue?

    And who is “DM”? Is that someone’s initials?

  28. DiscountNinja says:

    I can only hope that Baby McBathwater is joking.

  29. Ian says:

    Heh, I guess this is the player’s way of making up for “suddenly, Lord Elrond shows up at your camp.” :P


  30. nlhero says:

    1 yes
    2 because that’s… funny?! omg it’s for fun!!!
    3 I dont know

  31. Scarlet Knight says:

    roxysteve Says:”How come while Aragormless was gone the other two didn't try and go shopping? That is what would happen in any game”

    I think they spent their time making sure Eomer didn’t get near their horse.

  32. Gelatinous Cube says:

    I was just wondering why doesn’t Legolass or Gimli whine anything about sharing their horse…

    (I really would like to have a ‘I hate this campaign’ T-shirt or mug)

  33. Heliomance says:

    I love this comic so much.

    The Tony Hawk one at the battle of Helm’s K(D)eep had me in tears of laughter for five or ten minutes.

  34. James says:

    “Fine. Whatever.”

    Comic gold.

  35. Marmot says:

    Hahahah, at least he was WORRIED about the NPCs! Before this he more or less didn’t care, so this is a move forward, even if back again!

  36. Da Rogue says:

    No it didn’t take Aragorn the full 3 days of travel, it only took a day and a half, the rest of the time was probably spent with Eowyn; he needs to make another fortitude save by the way DM.

  37. Zudrak says:

    At this point, for the poor DM’s sake, I think the Mouth of Sauron would come out and eat the heroes. Just to end the campaign prematurely and allow the DM to go outside and get some desperately-needed fresh air. Poor guy…

  38. Jondera says:

    “Wait a second, are those screen captures from the Lord of the Rings movies arranged like a comic book?

    They never said that stuff in the movies, why are you making up your own dialogue?

    And who is “DM”? Is that someone's initials?”

    1: Yes (as mentioned above)

    2: Because it’s a spoof. Just like there were no herrings or knights of Ni in the original king Arthur story. He does it because it makes us laugh, mostly because it relates to our own real-life gaming experiences.

    3: DM is the acronym for “Dungeon Master,” which is the term used by the Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks for the person who “runs” the world – i.e. controlling all non-player action and all NPCs and such.

    In this case, “DM of the rings” stands for somebody who is running (DMing) a Dungeons and Dragons game based on the Lord of the Rings story – and the story is therefore altered to fit with the stereotypes of different kinds of players. I can say from personal experience – DMing a game like this is living hell, but it’s quite funny to read.

    Go Shamus!

  39. Agarwaen says:

    I discovered ‘DM of the Rings’ in June.

    To keep it short, you’re a genius.

    And all God’s people said….

  40. Roger the Shruberer says:

    3 days both ways and no wandering monsters!! What kind of dungeon are you narrating here Shamus!!? There’s got to be some bad guys still hiding out from the big battle. Come on!! Make him pay!! (or at least run away like a little girl)That’s not too vindictive is it?

    Some of our wandering monster encounters were much more memorable than the actual planned sections. Of course there was the time when both our thieves left guard duty to go rob a nearby camped merchant and left the paladin asleep and unprotected. He died during a wolf pack attack. Whoops.

  41. Downtym says:

    There definitely needs to be a “I hate this campaign” mug or T-shirt with the fellowship of the ring wandering around behind it.

  42. Senalishia says:

    I can’t say for DAYS spent hanging around doing nothing, but lately our party has spent quite a few afternoons killing time in town as soon as our spell-casters used all their spells…

  43. xbolt says:

    There and Back Again
    A King’s Forgetfulness

    By Aragorn

  44. eccles says:

    Ben(#46) At least Jondera was polite :-p

  45. okay! says:

    That whole party is going to be pissed that the best magic item in the campaign was destroyed by an NPC. If not for that 6-day delay, maybe they could have made it in time to take the ring off Frodo, so I say it’s Aragorn’s fault.

  46. Caius says:

    Time travel is the key to all great adventures. The “I did that already even though I clearly forgot to have my character do it,” rule is always in place

    Ya, Mike cured everyone last night before we left, so I am not down 23 hit points and I am still alive…

  47. Shamus says:

    I fixed the panel 4 & 5 confusion. It should be clearer now. Thanks for the feedback.

  48. Shell says:

    Still bringing a smile to my working morning =)

  49. Cenobite says:

    LOTR movies and books aside…

    …why was it so freekin important for Aragorn to heal these three piddly NPCs at all?

    After all, he already slept with one of them, another one is the brother of a dude they let die (so he might come after the party for revenge), and the third NPC used to belong to one of the players but was taken over by the DM after the player left…which is the most dangerous type of NPC there is. KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT!

  50. Cenobite says:

    Oh yeah, I nearly forgot one other thing.

    Six-day ride with no sweat? How many horses had to be ridden unto death, for that to happen?

    A perfect example of the DM forgetting the tools of his trade. (He used it against the players in the previous comic strip but not in this one.)

  51. Dave says:

    The DM probably didn’t forget the horse rules.. he just is sick of this pidly crap from the players that care nothing for the story.. it’s a DMs.. “yeah.. whatever” moment.. that players abuse to get stuff.. like.. “oh, I bought that at the last town..”.. “yeah.. whatever.”

  52. trigear says:

    Cenobite: for Aragorn’s horse, that’s actually a NINE day ride with no sweat. :)

  53. trigear says:

    I’m in a campaign right now (my first *real* campaign, yay!) where upon character creation we discovered that, through a fluke of calculations, my halfling swashbuckler can only carry his gear and nothing else… and this after the DM told us that he doesn’t consider backpacks to have weight.

    So my fellow players decided to roll up fake PCs, give me their starting gold, and the buy me a portable hole. The DM’s house rule is “If it has potential for lots of funny, I’m much more likely to allow it,” so the idea worked. This was fine until…

    Then out of a sense of fairness, I convinced the DM to create a new house rule: Each PC is allowed to “inherit” one ridiculously overpowered magic item from a dead uncle, pending majority approval from all players present. This was fine until…

    Then in true US Senate spirit, the remaining players waited until the DM and myself were out of the room, and then “majority” approved themselves some really really game imbalancing items. One decided to give himself the Glove of Utter Death (see Complete Warrior), which allows him, up to three times a day, to touch an enemy and cause it to spontaneously combust into a pile of ashes. The save DC is ridiculously high, and if it is successful the enemy avoids being immolated… but instead takes something like 8d6 fire damage. And we were starting at lvl 5. This was fine (for that player) until…

    Upon returning, the DM and I “majority” voted ourselves a fix: we gimped the glove, adjusting all related numbers to be more appropriate for level 5. This was fine until…

    The player in question was a little unhappy, and threatened to leave the game (he didn’t want to play in the first place, and it was his house). So we agreed to level the gloves with him. Problem solved.

    Sort of. It’s still a whacked out game. My halfling swashbuckler is toting around the naked, rotting bodies of his two dead benefactors (the fake PCs). Our human hexblade (the guy with the glove) has severe antisocial personality disorder. We have a gnome wizard who’s played by a rules lawyer, and his character prefers street buskering with cheap parlor magic over real arcane power. And lastly, our (female) human rogue wears black pleather armor (kinky!) and spends more time flirting with the hexblade (the two players are dating) than actually sneaking around.

    Our first actual playing session (and so far our last) involved all of us on a ship looking for a mysterious, nondescript artifact. After a few hours (days in game) of searching the hold and the passenger cabins, we all switched alignments to evil, and killed the first mate accidentally while attempting to torture him for information. (oops) Then we found a secret compartment in his armoire. (double oops) Then we realized that we had a rogue, and could have snuck in and found the compartment without killing or even alerting the guy. (triple oops)

    All in all, this a pretty interesting (read: insane) group of gamers. The DM and I are working on a real campaign for when this one “ends”, with an actual storyline and roleplaying and everything, and we’re slightly scared of what’s going to happen to our beloved setting.

  54. trigear says:

    Forgot the point of that long essay:

    Our DM’s favorite line? “Fine. Whatever.”

  55. oldschoolGM says:

    Thastygliax Said:”But wouldn't they all heal to full strength again from the full week of rest or are they too high level?”

    Easy, The Witchking was undoubtedly doing Vile damage. (see Book of Vile Darkness)


  56. Nob the Hobbit says:

    Expecto Healum or somesuch. Cracked me up.

    Keep them coming!

  57. Angel says:

    Oh man, I love this comic – I worked on these movies, and I roleplay, so this frequently has me snorting my morning’s chocolate milk out my nose.

  58. Mirage says:

    DING … 60!!!

    Another great one Shamus. Going to miss this when you wrap it up. As far as character traveling goes, if Aragone had been in my group, he would simply have used his personal teleportation device to zip back and forth in no time. Our DM ran such a Monty Hall campaign it was a joke.

    “wow … a +5 Holy Avenger for my level 4 paladin … greeeaaat.”

    Speaking of Harry Potter, I sure most of you have seen the SNL skit with Lindsey Lohan as Hermione, but in case you haven’t you got check this out. (YouTube had this pulled because it was such a popular dowload, they got in trouble with NBC.)


    Favorite line:

    Hermione: Aprentium medesin, aprentium medesin, apretium medesin … The magic isn’t happening!
    Ron: I’mmm going to disagree with you!

  59. Myxx says:

    As always, very good! I really look forward to getting the alert that a new one’s ready. Thanks Shamus.

  60. ArchU says:

    “Ah yes. Another chance for suspense and drama…averted.”

    A narrow escape indeed! Should be a load off for Lego Lass, anyway.

  61. Sarah says:

    #59, Angel: wow! We’ve been found out! :) So, I wonder how many other folks who worked on the films have found this comic…

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