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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. “Expecto Healum or Somesuch!” I will never say “Cure Moderate Wounds” again.

  2. Nik the Pirate says:

    If you look closely, Gimli says that TWO NPCs need healing, but shamus says that Faramir, Eowyn AND Merry need healing. Is this a subtle joke? Or…Dum Dum DUMMMMMM. A continuity error?!?

  3. Charles says:

    Well, Faramir is pretty forgettable…

  4. Isoyami says:

    As I recall, Faramir wasn’t really mentioned in the strip, besides the obligatory secondary fighter character for Frank (Boromir’s player) that’s actually Boromir’s brother. Really.

    I don’t seem to recall Faramir really appearing in this strip. (maybe its because my attention span is worse than Leggy-lass’s)

    But I think Gimli saying two NPC’s need a heal and the DM’s naming three is a continuity goof. Unless the DM is just correcting Gimli, which is quite possible.

    But still: the joke stands, and is supremely funny:

    “Hey, you STILL didn’t heal those guys.”

    “Oh CRAP”

    xD xD

    And “Expecto Healum” indeed. Sheer brilliance.

    Also, the two screencaps of Aragorn going “OH CRAP” and Eomer sitting there twiddling his thumbs are hilarious.

    I can just see Eomer thinking: “Doo-dee-doo. I’m just a random NPC, so I’ll just sit here and wait for six or seven odd days until a player character remembers me and comes back to finish this side quest.” ;D

  5. veloxyll says:

    Just to nitpick, shouldn’t it be npcs, not npc’s?

  6. Nathan says:


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

    I quite agree. I liked the ones in Dr Who, Season 3, The episode with Shakespeare in it. Though i suppose you lot havent seen it…

  7. Doug Williams says:

    This is one of the most artistic panels you’ve done! It reminds me of the kind of stuff Frank Miller used to do!

  8. Raved Thrad says:

    LMAO. Expecto Healum FTW.

  9. w00hoo says:

    Awe, my ‘pimple’ remark got viewed as too frivalous and was deleted. I note we have no ‘pimp’ either, I hope that doesn’t mean Colin is sick. Get well soon Colin.

    Anyway, that aside, more great stuff. Really enjoyed it just can’t believe it’s ticking down to game over now :-(

    Hope you’ve not decided to take a break or anything, Shamus, before your next masterpiece starts up!

    Thanks for all the hard work, we are not worthy.

  10. w00hoo says:

    Argh, I lie. It is there, I just didn’t think I’d got in quite that soon! In the words of the great prophet, D’oh!

  11. Phil says:

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

    Think of them as having been poisoned so they’re losing d3 CON per day – so leave them in bed for a week and they’ll be dead!

    (Of course if the DM were feeling mean he’d make Aragorn roll to see if either had died due to the 6 day delay – then again, since this Aragorn would only care insofar as he’d want to search the bodies for valuables I guess there wouldn’t be much point!)

  12. Zaxares says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else think that the DM has stopped trying? :P Aragorn said he went back to Minas Tirith alone, right? Personally, I’d have rolled for at least 6 random encounters along the way. With at least one involving one of the surviving Ringwraiths on those… um… dragon-beasts they’ve got.

    Although I’m glad to see that Gimli is back on his “roleplaying” wagon again, and the Expecto Healum line is a crack-up. Keep the humor coming, Shamus!

  13. John says:

    shame these guys are going to miss the chance to convert their characters to 4th edition in mid-campaign.


  14. David J Prokopetz says:

    Heh… I find thia far funnier than I should, but only because I’m a huge geek and I’m reading way too much into it.

    Y’see, “Return of the King” came out in late 2003. However, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” didn’t hit theatres until mid-2004. Assuming that “DM of the Rings” is being played around the same time the relevant movies came out (and there’s absolutely no reason to make this assumption), the only way Aragorn’s player could have known to make that reference is if *he reads Harry Potter*.

    The incongruity of that notion is downright hilarious.

  15. Margaret says:

    Let’s see….there’s been Princess Bride, Star Wars, Harry Potter and of course the dreadedMonty Python reference. Are the any more up your sleeve Shamus? Will we see an Airplane and Ghostbusters reference worked in there before this ends?

  16. elda says:

    70 Nathan Says:

    August 16th, 2007 at 1:25 am

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

    I quite agree. I liked the ones in Dr Who, Season 3, The episode with Shakespeare in it. Though i suppose you lot havent seen it…

    that was a good episode. i can’t say i like martha however. i kinda wanna stab her.

  17. Ronald says:


    OMG… “Prayer pimples for hairy fishnuts?”

    Thanks for making me remember that one.. :)

  18. Browncoat says:

    Gandalf: They’re dying! We’ve got to get these NPCs to the Houses of Healing!
    Aragorn: The Houses of Healing! What is it?
    Gandalf: It’s the Gondorian equivalent of a hospital, but that’s not important right now.

  19. Browncoat says:

    Gimli (upon entering the Paths of the Dead): Listen! Do you smell something?

  20. Mirage says:

    HEY! A Bloom County reference! (Am I showing my age for knowing that one?)

  21. Al Shiney says:

    Our group’s standard “Oh yeah, I did that already and forgot to tell the GM about it” is the ever popular (drum roll please) … Continual Light on a Stick.

    Usually the question only arises when the largely human party finds themselves in the dark. When I point out they can’t see, they actually get offended that I haven’t just automatically assumed this exists. I do have a nasty habit of bringing up the glowing light source when they’re trying to sneak around, but that’s usually covered by someone saying it’s wrapped in a “piece of cloth that totally obscures the bright light”. :sigh: It’s not worth arguing over, really.

  22. roxysteve says:

    Ronald Says:
    OMG… “Prayer pimples for hairy fishnuts?”

    Loved that one, but the band changing its name was a totaly stupid plot move.

    Steve. (Second best e.t. player in the world.)

  23. roxysteve says:

    Mirage Says:
    (Am I showing my age for knowing that one?)

    No, only by blowing the gag with a direct reference.


    Steve Shuttle Chair Navigator (Backup Team)

  24. Tsetut says:

    I think most groups standard is continual light on a stick. Of course, in this case it just has a tendency to get broken. And by broken I mean sundered. Everyone knows that 30% of magic weapons glow, so if you see someone with a glowing thing in their hand it is probably dangerous. Although this is one of those situations where the reinforced DM screen comes in handy.

  25. Jochi says:

    IIRC, Aragorn has already searched (at least) one of those bodies for valuables.

    And come away with a load.

    I read the DM listing the NPCs in need of healing as subtly correcting Gimli, whose player would be smarting for having to be corrected, but too serious a player to whine about it.

  26. Steve says:

    I reckon Sauron will be really pissed if he gets killed by these guys. I’m betting on the DM winning with a TPK.

  27. Tim says:

    Anyone else notice Lego-Lass is giving Aragorn that “WTF” look in the last frame? Great screen caps!

  28. brassbaboon says:

    Great one again Shamus…

    After six days Eowyn is still wearing her chain mail armor. That’s got to put some serious chafing, but I suppose Eomer refused to let them take it off until Aragorn’s “lay on hands” was complete…

    Most of the host appear to be foot soldiers, so three days afoot should equal no more than a day or so on horseback.

    “Expecto Healum…” is just about the best role playing Aragorn has done so far. It’s actually pretty good, and much better than “OK, I throw a cure moderate on the NPC.” Give the guy some credit, he’s learning. AND in the last panel, he’s got his game face on. No wonder Legolass is giving him the eye.

    Poster #56, trigear says “my first *real* campaign, yay!”

    Ummm… nope. I don’t know what you’re playing, but it doesn’t resemble any game I’ve ever heard of. Perhaps you should box it up and market it.

  29. Scarlet Knight says:

    Aragorn: “So, Legolas, have you ever been in an Orcish prison?”

  30. Serafina says:

    “Prayer pimples for hairy fishnuts*

    There are others out there who still know Bloom County – my life is complete! *swoons*

    Oh, and great comic Shamus! :)

  31. Rob says:

    Oh no! Don’t get Bloom County into this. Next thing ya know:

    Lego-lass: Hey kids! Can you say Mr. Legolas is the coolest?
    Audience: Leolth ‘s ooli.
    Lego-lass: I knew that you could. Now…can you say Mr. Legolas needs to get more loot?
    Audience: Leol””
    Lego-lass: Can you put it in an e-mail?

    THis is the funniest take on D&D I’ve seen. Sure, Goblins taks a shot at the rules and Order Of the Stick shows how silly characters can be, but the real fun is the eternal struggle depicted here””between the DM and his players.

    How many times have I heard ‘Oh, I’ll just zip back (two weeks travel) and take care of that.”

    And when I dare to make some of the npcs (merchants, mind you) a fraction as greedy and self-intersted as my players, I’m making them ‘unrealistic.’

    I once spent a week working an old C.L. Moore story into a really cool campaign. One session in: “I don’t like grandious.’ Translation: “Not nearly enough loot, dude!”

    Bless you, Shamus, for letting me know I am (or at least was) not alone.

  32. Doug Williams says:

    BTW, did Aragorn actually heal Eowyn and Faramir in the book/movie? I got the clear impression that they were dead, and watching from heaven or some such afterworld…

    I realize that this posting clearly outs the facts that I A) have never read LOTR, and B) am too freaking stupid even to understand a movie, but in all fairness I saw the movie in Japanese…

  33. Scarlet Knight says:

    Aragorn: “Oh look, Shadowfax is a boy horse…”

  34. Scarlet Knight says:

    Ah yes, The Wet Blanket Prestige Class. Designed as the anti-bard. Must be lawful, immune to fun based spells such as Tasha’s Uncontrollable Laughter & Otto’s Irresistable dance.

  35. Tsetut says:

    The wet blanket prestige class could actually be useful. It would be funny. Also Colin, will you stop with Pimp!Its an insult, and Shamus is awesome. Also, I got the d100.

  36. Dafydd says:

    When DM of the Rings is complete, why not do Harry Potter and the DungeonMaster of Doom?

  37. Doug Williams says:

    I also suspect that some of the DM’s willingness to let Aragorn complete a 6-day round trip in 12 seconds is due to the DM getting caught in the paradox of his own railroad: Aragorn is returning to heal 3 NPCs. He’s too dumb to have any clue that saving those NPCs lives may or may not lead to the ultimate success or failure of the campaign, and in fact would probably be more happy with a nice suit of magical armor than with being king.

    If you tell a player “You have won renoun as the ultimate master of the Blaytok system of dagger-fighting,” the PC will want to know what kind of cash prize comes with that, or how many points it adds to his knife attacks.

    Aragorn’s player figures (rightly) that if the DM wants Mary and Eileen and Fagley alive, they’ll stay alive whether he heals them or not. He figures he’s going above and beyond just by pretending he gives a crap about them for the DM’s sake!

  38. Jack says:

    The other characters should have asked to role-play the three days of waiting. Who knows what they would have done while they waited, and it’s always a good way to teach the players who just happened to think he could run off and leave the rest of the world waiting.

  39. jabbers says:

    “I can only hope that Baby McBathwater is joking.”

    sombody with a name like that is probably amune to seriousness.

    ps love the title of this one.

  40. Infobot says:

    This is hilarious. Great job.

    And now I must demonstrate my nerdity…

    Sauron’s empire extends far east of Mordor. There are huge slave-driven farming operations around a lake, the name of which escapes me… but the answer to Gimli’s objection is that Sauron has amazingly huge farms behind his Gate. Way back there. Can’t remember if that’s in the LOTR supplement or the Silmarillion, but Tolkien did actually think of that.

  41. Ask the Infohut! says:

    Several years later, this reader finally gets the Potter reference. I’ve been linking Aragorn’s line to “expecto resurrectionem mortuorum”, which was pretty funny in itself.

  42. Robin says:

    Mirage: No, you doesn’t show yo’ age by reckonizin’ a Bloom County reference. That mere shows your youth.

    You kin show yo’ age by reckonizin’ a Pogo reference. Horribobble!

  43. Warwolf says:

    Yeah, well, technicly he could do that “run there and back again”…
    -No he couldn’t!
    Oh yes he could. Now see, we are talking about an army that has marched for three days to one direction, right?
    Now, how large an army is? I don’t know if I’d call a group of twenty or so armed thugs an army. But hundreds or thousands of thugs? Yeah, that’s n army. What comes with that large group of people? Long lines, “what the heck are we going here?”, annoying officers etc, but more importantly, logistics. How to get food for all that group, new arrows for archers, water for horses, and all sorts of tinkers and tailors and whatnot. Also, horses can go on for only a certain ammount after wich they need to stop to eat and drink, and same goes for the men who carry dozens of pounds of equipment. Each.
    So, compared to one man on horseback (with a decent horse), he can make the six day trip, depending on the size of the army, in less then half the time. Now, ofcourse, how long it would take to heal two badly wounded NPCs is anybodys guess.
    Its so easy to have an NPC army that can march for years around the clock, as long as the DM remembers you have it, and the same goes for the horses…*sigh*

  44. Michael says:

    ” 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.”

    So tough guys — fighters, high-cons — need longer time to heal than a weak, unfit mage?

    And you heal fully in just a few days, about a week. Hmm.

    Maybe we need something like:
    D4’s heal 1/4 level per day
    D6’s heal 2/3 level per day
    D8’s heal level per day
    D10’s heal 1 1/2th level per day
    Con bonus adds bonus/3 per day.

    Minumum 1 per day.

  45. The Beerslayer says:

    Obviously, for Aragorn to make that trip and not have the rest of the army go on without him, he has to have stolen Gandalf’s rocket horse. On Shadowfax, Aragorn makes the trip there and back in two hours, tops.

  46. Amake says:

    Eleventy-first post!

    (It had to be done.)

    So yeah, real smooth there, Stoned King. That’s one job he really should have been able to delegate. Why do they need him anyway, is Aragorn the best healer in the kingdom too? Even in the original story where he doesn’t take a week long detour to work his herbs and spices mojo, one imagines he should have more important things to do.

  47. Daniel B says:

    I love how Gimli is actually trying to roleplay and nobody else cares. It would been too easy to just make all the players dumbasses. Making one of them actually care was a much better choice – it’s like the “straight man” role in a comedic duo.

  48. Daniel B says:

    Oh, and also, “Expecto Healum … somesuch” reminded me of Evil Dead: Army of Darkness where Bruce Campbell’s character is supposed to say “Klaatu Barada Nikto” to create a spell but can’t remember, so he tries to bluff the magic and says “Klaatu Barada Ni[coughhackcough]”

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