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DM of the Rings CXXXVIII:
Another Cunning Gambit

By Shamus
on Wednesday Aug 22, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


Aragorn employs his own unique brand of strategy.

Comments (166)

1 2 3

  1. Aries says:

    the previous post was typed in boath humiliation and anger ans is thus misspelled, i do not regret this however i would likr to point out that my normal lexicon & punciaution is normaly significantly better…but for gods sake he stuffed my PC down his freaking undercrackers!…ruddy DM’s with a sense of humour, i cast doubt on all your parentages.

  2. Lev Lafayette says:

    There’s many reasons why I think “Return of the King” is the worst film of the trilogy. This scene is one of them.

  3. From the standpoint of the Tolkien plot, given that the goal of the warriors is not to win, but to distract/delay as much as possible, their little huddle is a rather sound strategy.

    First of all, with no other chokepoints to work with, it ensures that they are always engaging the minimum number of infantry (perimeter of outer circle times linear density of orcs) and the orcs are engaging a minimum number of them.

    It also is more conducive to relieving infantry at the front with less weary infantry from the inside ranks.

    If the band lasts long enough, the dead orcs may provide a demoralizing and even a defensively useful perimeter.

    And, obviously, the initiation of the battle is delayed by, amazingly, not initiating battle.

    You of course sacrifice your ability to maneuver, to escape, and give your enemy free tactical reign, including simply entrenching around you until archers, siege, etc., can be movied into place, but with survival a foregone conclusion, I don’t think maintaining the tactical ability to flank/divide/retreat from/etc. division X of orcs is all that important… or even helpful.

  4. comicshorse says:

    And its still more tactically sound than Faramir at Osgilliath. I swear he could not have handled repelling the Orcs crossingthe river worse if he’d tried to. No wonder his dad prefered Boromir.
    Sorry, pet peeve.

  5. ArchU says:

    Aragorn was a decorated general in another life, he swears it.

  6. Mejo says:

    First post to this great comic.

    One of the things that really annoyed me about the films was that Aragorn, Gandalf, Faramir all turned into suicidal idiots with all the battle sense of seriously depressed lemmings.

    Like at Helm’s Deep: when dramatically outnumbered, hole up in a good defensive position until reinforcements arrive. Good plan. Aragorn’s response: let’s ride out into the open and fight! Yeah, right…

    In the book, outside the Black Gate, the army formed up into defensive huddles on top of two hills, as I recall. Fairly good defensive move, under the circumstances. A position they held until the end.

    It worked for King Harold against the Normans at Hastings: it was only when the Normans managed to goad the Saxons into breaking ranks and chasing them down the hill, the Normans suddenly turned around, and hey presto: lot’s of dead Saxons.

    So: if you’re in a good defensive position surrounded by a large force, what’s the worst possible move you can make? That’s right: chaaaarge!!!!

  7. ruleant says:

    Very funny. :-)

    I believe Braveheart used similar lines, but his plan seemed to have more succes. ;-)

    (English horsemen approaching)
    (English horsemen getting closer)
    (English horsemen nearly there )
    (English horsemen right in front of them)
    (Scots pick up wooden poles and spike the English horses)

  8. trigear says:

    Hmm, I wonder what the CR is on this encounter… if the orcs are low enough level, and the PCs are high enough level, they might get through this in one piece and then end up with very little by way of experience. That would be funny.

  9. dtb says:

    Ah, Reepicheep…

    Aren’t the characters all level 2 now? They haven’t complained about XP since Helm’s Deep, but they haven’t done anything either. Those green guys did all the fighting.

    Excellent work of course, but “and they keep falling for it” is one of my most favorite lines, right behind “hi”.

  10. Althanis says:

    Honest to God quote from a D&D game I played in:

    DM: “You’re surrounded by giants. What do you do?”
    Player: “I surprise them”

    • WJS says:

      “Surprise them with what? A surprise rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan? Or were you just planning to drop your pants? That would certainly be a surprise for them. A surprise attack? Not happening.”

  11. waaaaaaaait indeed!
    I will say this, Aragon is a ‘unique’ “leader” :D

  12. Nik the Pirate says:

    I was really hoping for the scene where the Mouth of Sauron chucks Frodo’s uber-expensive mithril shirt at the party. Gimli’s player should have known the worth of that, at least. I was expecting that.

  13. Nik the Pirate says:

    and, where I am at the moment, it is only 1:48pm, not 10:48. Just so you know.

  14. brassbaboon says:

    There should be plenty of XP for the group at Helms Deep. Gimli himself killed nearly two dozen orcs. Legalos was right with him. Aragorn didn’t keep count, but he felled his share. Gandalf’s charge killed hundreds.

    From there they should have gotten good XP from the Paths of the Dead (remember Aragorn’s great role-playing there?).

    And don’t forget the fighting outside of Gondor. That’s three good solid encounters with lots of dead orcs.

    I’d guess they are pushing level six by now.

  15. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    This reminds me of a guy I played with a few times.We were battling in some war against the orcs,and had the advantage of fighting from the top of the hills.One of us (the fighter) was down there leading one of the companies,while the rest of us PC’s (mages and archers) were up with the armies range support.It was quite an easy fight,even though the orcs outnumbered us,since we had better equipment and better position.

    So,the first round orcs charge,and we shower them with arrows and spells.Yet this guy just waits for it.The second round,orcs clash in melee,and the fighter down there manages to command his company to kill half of the company attacking them.We kill quite a few more orcs from the above,yet the guy still waits.GM warns him that everyone starts to eye him suspiciously and he should do something,so next round he throws his crossbow,takes his sword and yells:”Brethren!Lets charge for our kingdom!!”,and charges down to the orcs all by himself!Sure,some followed him,but all they managed to do was trample his corpse that died quite a few times in a single round.

  16. Samir says:

    I was in a rolemaster game playing a halfling archer, came late to the game and found we were surrounding in a keep by 17,000 orcs. I was rolling unbelievable success’es on my attack rolls until I realized I was the only character still fighting the orcs. Everyone else was hiding in the underground portion of the castle waiting for me to die and were getting frustrated that the halfling was playing errol flynn and not dying. THEN I found out that the keep was rigged to blow up once all the orcs were inside the keep. The other players would not let me join them underground so I had to escape on my own. Which I did with I think about 4-7 hit points left. I never had a game as fulfilling as that one.
    My best roll was 2 open ended rolls against shooting a flaming tar ball shot from a catapult. (like d20 if you roll a natural high end you roll again, unlike d20 you add the two numbers plus your skill to determine the quality of the hit)
    those were the days, a 2 ft halfling that had to carry his own ladder to be able to shoot his longbow.

  17. rosignol says:

    BYW, why is it that some 90% of all PC halflings are evil b*stards?

    The surprise value, of course.

  18. Fickle says:

    Totally had to be Legolas saying it because it sounded like his vocab. XD Gimli’s too good a roleplayer to have his char say something so anachronistic.

    …Even though I think it would be justified in this case. XDDDD

  19. Laithoron says:


    Your Star Blazers/Yamato tale put me in my happy place and for that I thank You. *goes to break out the DVDs*

  20. Phil says:

    “Anyone who remembers the books know if Aragorn was actually this clueless with tactics? Did his army really just stand in a huddle and let themselves be surrounded?”

    Yes and no. Remember they went as a distraction, not with *any* hope of being able to win – indeed they left behind many troops they could otherwise have taken were the attack actually meant to win.

    What they actually did was to retire and form “in what order could be contrived” on two nearby hillocks where, as you say, they let themselves be surrounded.

    I suppose one could argue that once the gate opened they should have made a fighting retreat, skirmishing and delaying, but frankly that’s a tactic which is hard to pull off with a veteran professional force – and remember most of what Aragorn had was a rag-tag collection of multinational militia. ‘Stand and defend’ was the right order. (But ‘charge’ was a bloody stupid one!)

  21. Hmm, looking at that I remembered some facts about compression.

    Generally, spear hedge formations aside, a force that gets compressed (i.e. they end up all together like the P.C.s without space on the inside), gets slaughtered. That formation should have maintained space (so that it looked like a donut, rather than a donut hole).

    On the other hand, if the orcs are mostly first and second level and the men are 5th level and up, then the odds are not as bad as they look. Your goal is to get them where they have to come at you face to face rather than being able to gang up on you.

    So that being encircled isn’t so bad (though classically a commander in that situation would have let himself be pushed back in a half circle formation against the mountains nearby, establishing room for his troops to cycle the reserves in and out, put the crippled and the wounded in the interior, etc.

  22. Zanfib says:

    Given that Aragorn is about level five himself, I doubt that the avarage soldiers in his army are any higher then level two.

  23. Medium Dave says:

    “Generally, spear hedge formations aside, a force that gets compressed (i.e. they end up all together like the P.C.s without space on the inside), gets slaughtered. That formation should have maintained space (so that it looked like a donut, rather than a donut hole).”

    Yah, put your archers and cav in the center with the spears facing outwards, it is called a schiltron, and the Scots used it. Works great as long as you aren’t outranged by the foe. The Scots kicked buttocks muchly with them until the English brought along some Welsh longbows and just massacred the schiltrons.

  24. Scarlet Knight says:

    brassbaboon Says:”I'd guess they are pushing level six by now.”

    Nah, they must be name level (9th?) Isn’t that the level where you can get followers & a keep? Can’t become the King before reaching that.

  25. Zanfib says:

    Nah, they must be name level (9th?) Isn't that the level where you can get followers & a keep? Can't become the King before reaching that.

    Aragorn is about 5th level.

  26. Jochi says:

    Glad you liked it. I always have.
    FWIW, the miniature they were using was a same-scale mini of the historic Yamato with a black circle painted on the front for the WMG port and a few other minor mods.

    They did have a choke point, if they had rushed it immediately. The gate itself. Barring that, and lacking any natural formations to give them a safe back, a (thick) ring formation lined with pikes is probably the best they could have done.
    Except, they DID have this high level wizard who could have covered their actions or slowed/thinned the enemy or created some UNnatural back protection or…

  27. dtb says:

    @Zanfib Aragorn’s Level…
    Interesting article, read some, then skipped to Aragorn part. I don’t play, so don’t know what to think. Skill-wise, perhaps, it is on track.

    Aragorn, though, is much more then he seems. Like his ability to sail and ride horses. Both of these come from experience (back story) not related to the Fellowship.

    Aragorn is a mighty captain of Gondor and Rohan, plus probably a hundred other things I can’t remember (the sailing, Umbar, etc.). I mean, doesn’t he have to be better then lvl. 5 to marry Arwen?

    But, in DMotR, he totally sucks. I don’t know how it can be denied.

    • WJS says:

      Yes, if you were statting up Aragorn you would need to give him ranks in Sailor and Ride, but would he need an exceptional level in them? He certainly knows how to ride, but is he really a world class horseman? The same for Sailor. Does he do anything that would require more than a couple of ranks and an ability bonus? If we accept the Rgr1/Ftr1/Pal3 and let him have above average Int(12), that’s 34 skill points, easily enough to max out Survival and Heal and have plenty left over for the various other skills he displays throughout the books. And, I’m pretty sure level 1 commoners are allowed to get married…

  28. Casper says:

    I doubt than most of the soldiers had any levels. Most of them where inexperienced recruits.

    And who has an army of orc miniatures, you ask? David Morgan-Mar has!
    See here:

  29. Cenobite says:

    Remember kids…

    “Charge!” is just another word for “Banzai!”

  30. Scarlet Knight says:

    Jochi Says:”… they DID have this high level wizard who could have covered their actions …”

    Bah! What was HE gonna’ do? Cast “Sunbeam”? Chuck burning pinecones? Where’s the “cloudkill” when you need it?

  31. Wraithshadow says:

    Sun Tzu = Master of Cryptic Waffle and Stating the Bleeding Obvious.

    Oh, sure, it’s obvious now. But that’s akin to complaining how all the characters in LotR are so cliche..

  32. roxysteve says:

    Casper Says:
    And who has an army of orc miniatures, you ask? David Morgan-Mar has!

    Oh BWFD*. Anyone caught up in the Wonkhammer thing can claim much the same thing. (Speaking from experience here: I had well over a thousand figs in my collection before I managed to break the GW habit and I was regarded as a “part-time” painter in my gaming group). Wonkhammer is like pewter crack. I credit D&D and Reaver Minis for letting me see that I didn’t hate painting minis. I had just come to hate painting truckloads of minis every time a new release of the rules came out.

    Now if we consider the plassy D&D “collectables”, that’s a different kettle of Nazgul. Everyone knows that with them you never have enough of any one race to conduct the most important battle of the game. I think it’s even written on the side of the boxes they come in.


    *Big Wonkhammer Fantasy Deal

  33. Caius says:

    Obviously Aragorn never played the original diablo game. Just stand in the doorway and engage them one at a time.

  34. roxysteve says:

    Wraithshadow Says:
    Sun Tzu = Master of Cryptic Waffle and Stating the Bleeding Obvious.

    Oh, sure, it's obvious now. But that's akin to complaining how all the characters in LotR are so cliche..

    Ah grasshopper, but have read Sun Tzu’s tedious tretease for myself and am speaking from personal experience of the great one’s “strategies”:

    Sun Tzu (paraphrased): Don’t forget to bring food to the battle or your soldiers will get hungry and dessert.

    Sun Tzu (paraphrased): If you deny your opponent food and shelter, he will become demoralised.

    Sun Tzu (Paraphrased): It’s cheaper to talk than fight.

    Sun Tzu (Paraphrased): If you must go to war, make sure you study the opponent’s homeland, then invade them there before they invade you. That way, it’s their farms and transportation infrastructure that get kicked to matchwood, not yours.

    Sun Tzu (Paraphrased): Make sure you get a look at your opponent’s homeland, make maps and so forth, *before* you invade.

    Pop quiz: How many of these didn’t make you say “Well duuuuh!” when you read ’em?

    I’ll sell you my annotated copy of “The Art of War” if you like, at cost. Right now it stands as the second most useless book on my shelves, right up there with “5 Rings”.

    Just because it is cryptic and comes out of Far Cathay doesn’t mean it isn’t twaddle (for the most part). Nor do I feel that a general who formulated his working philosophy at a time before most of the people he wanted to talk to were able (or indeed, allowed) to read has much to teach the tactician who must deal with literate troops, GPS guided artillery and orbital observation platforms.

    Next up – von Clausewitz: Genius with astute perspectives on the challenges facing a modern commander or outdated windbag mired firmly in the days before telegraphy, internal combustion and the telescopic sight?

    Sample Wisdom de von Clausewitz (paraphrased): People make war on you because they want something they don’t have that you do. The trick is to make them not want it so badly, such as by kicking them in the nuts ASAP, then they’ll stop and go home. Unless it’s you that is doing the invading, of course, in which case kick ’em in the nuts hard from the get-go so they’ll give you what you want quickly. Either way, a good plum-kicking is the path to a speedy resoloution of hostilities.

    Actually, that sort of works.


  35. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    The thing is, Sun Tzu’s stuff looks like common sense to us now, but at the time it wasn’t.

    Lots of “armies” tended to be the equivalent of small roving gangs of bandits that often only consisted of warriors carrying whatever food they thought they could get away with.

    Sun Tzu was a great strategist because he ESTABLISHED common sense.

    Before him and similar peers in other regions, the “Common Sense” probably would have looked like the following:

    “Bring as many weapons as possible.”

    “Carry only what won’t weigh you down.”

    “Loot when you have the opportunity.”

    Armies before Sun Tzu would have scoffed at the idea of bringing a large number of slow moving wagons that had to be guarded by a decent-sized percentage of your warriors.

    They would have insisted on raiding and returning to home in, perhaps, a week.

    etc. etc. etc.

    please don’t judge Sun Tzu’s genius on today’s standards.

    Every house needs a foundation and Sun Tzu is the foundation that took us from roving bandit gangs into professional armies

  36. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Oh, haven’t read through 5 Rings much, but still…

    In most cases the sort of mistakes that are made are of the common sense variety.

  37. brassbaboon says:


    Of course you can cherry pick portions of the book to make Tzu seem a simpleton. But the proof of his wisdom is in the application of his advice. Even the simple advice.

    I was able to almost completely wipe out a superior party of adventurers simply by following two of Tzu’s most simple aphorisms:

    1. “If the enemy is superior, you must fight on your terms.”
    2. “If the enemy is unable to rest, they will become weak.”

    So to combat an invading party of adventurers, I had a group of three goblins simply wear them down, make them use up their spells, and then, when they attempted to rest, pestered them just enough to keep them from resting. Eventually they realized that they would never get the rest they needed and managed to force the goblins into a stand-up fight, but by then they were so depleted themselves that it was a very close fight. In the end a single party member was still standing, and he barely managed to save the others from dying.

    So simple they may be, but effective too.

  38. Aries says:

    Luke (Thrythlind) Says: The thing is, Sun Tzu's stuff looks like common sense to us now, but at the time it wasn't,
    Sun Tzu was a great strategist because he ESTABLISHED common sense.

    i had what i believed was the perfect Sun Tzu comment typed out and was about to copy and paste when i spotted this…

    …sadly i cant think of a better way of putting it, well played sir…well played

  39. roxysteve says:

    Luke (Thrythlind) Says:
    The thing is, Sun Tzu's stuff looks like common sense to us now, but at the time it wasn't.

    Fair enough. What about the approximately 3/5ths of his writing that are unintelligible pap to this day? Is there an explaination for that or was he just, you know, totally barking?

    Even the annotating team of my copy couldn’t make any sense of it, and they were trying hard.


  40. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Every house needs a foundation and Sun Tzu is the foundation that took us from roving bandit gangs into professional armies”

    Hmmm, I wonder if the world would have been a better place without Sun Tzu?

    Anyway, will someone send a copy to the White House, please?
    *For anyone in the government who’s listening, I’m joking. No,really, I’m loyal! I’ll even send a donation!*

  41. Lukelightning says:

    Within a couple of generations they might have smoked off all the “pipe weed” and turned to other forms of “weed.”

    Nah, they’d turn to smoking crystal meth.

  42. roxysteve says:

    Luke (Thrythlind) Says:
    Every house needs a foundation and Sun Tzu is the foundation that took us from roving bandit gangs into professional armies

    Can’t agree with this. If anyone showed Europeans how to make and keep standing armies in business, it was Gaius Marius. I’m not sure when Sun Tzu’s writings actually got translated and became available to my ancestors, but I’d lay real money it was after that.

    I doubt Aragormless has even heard of Sun Tzu, let alone tried to read his book.


  43. Within my circle of friends it’s known as “I wait for range zero”. Stems from a Star Fleet Battles game where one player wanted MAXIMUM effect from his weaponry by being at absolute minimum range. Unfortunately the player in question miscalculated his own ships speed and rather than firing at minimum range instead performed an unintended ramming maneuver. Needless to say both ships were destroyed in the ensuing carnage initiated by Captain Obtuse.

  44. roxysteve says:

    Back to the comic for a bit:

    I wish the trolls on the gate in the last frame had had something pithy to say, but then again, they would have blocked the magnificent view of the tactical situation our genius King Aragormless has engendered with his “plan”.

    Time for a quick switch to “Zulu” for the Fight Against Stageringly Overwhelming Odds While Singing “Men of Harlech” scene.

    “Men of Gondor, stop your dreaming
    Can’t you see our king’s pants steaming?
    Seems we’re in for a good reaming
    On this battle field!”

    Notice also how the last few frames are a viral product placement for Target.

    I think Shamus is selling out, lads.


  45. Jochi says:

    It DOES look like a Target bullseye. I was thinking it looked like an eye…

    Since we’re talking Sun Tsu to death (sorry I got THAT started) I should point out Aragorn still has an option, to emulate ANOTHER master tactician:

    Whips out Palantir and chants into it:

    “To all Gondorian forces still advancing on Mordor. We are surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered. We have infused all our armor and shields with the substance known as Corbomite. At the first contact with the enemy a chain reaction will render this field and all land with in 200 kilometers unsuitable for any organic life for the next 200 years. Avoid this area in your assault.”

    Problem is, of course, that Sauron would order the attack even if he bought it.

  46. txknight says:

    I’m not a tactician, but it doesn’t seem as though Aragorn’s forces had much alternative anyways. They chose to pick a fight on open ground with an enemy that outnumbers them AT LEAST 10 to 1.

  47. SUN-TZU says:


  48. Mejo says:

    roxysteve Says:
    >Ah grasshopper, but have read Sun Tzu's tedious tretease >for myself and am speaking from personal experience of the >great one's “strategies”

    I hate to be a grouch, but one might feel compelled to reply:

    You didn’t read Sun Tzu.

    You read a translation of Sun Tzu.

    A translation into a modern European language of a 2,500 year old Chinese text, written at a time when China didn’t even exist as a unified entity.

    Have you tried to read an untranslated 1,000+ year old English text? Like Beowulf? You need a master’s degree in middle english to even understand Chaucer in the original. Plus a master’s degree in medieval European history to understand the context, metaphors, allusions.

    You think you read Sun Tzu? You may as well have read a 12-year-old’s book report on the subject.

    • James Harrison will taste Manflesh says:

      I have a regular Bachelor’s in regular English and I can understand Chaucer just fine, although you could make the argument that this is a coincidence of geography rather than a point against you or a point in favor of my reading ability. If Chaucer had come from the north of England, he’d be harder to read.

      I can’t read Beowulf in the original Anglo-Saxon/Old English, but when I was in college, I could. And if someone was reading Chaucer to me aloud, I’d be SOL, what with Middle English being on the wrong side of the great vowel shift.

  49. Mejo says:

    ps. to be fair, roxysteve, you are completely correct that Sun Tzu had about 0% influence on the development of European military strategy. It was first translated into a European language in 1722.

  50. Mejo says:

    pps. and the fact that the Chinese still treated Sun Tzu as state of the art military strategy over 2000 years after it was written may have had something to do with how easy the Europeans rolled over them in 1860 (and in this case you can’t even claim it’s because the Europeans had gunpowder, cast iron or professional standing armies as the Chinese had all of them first)

  51. Mejo says:

    > 116? OVER A HUNDRED COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?

    erm… Sun Tzu? Sorry.

  52. Mejo says:

    OK, so this isn’t about Sun Tzu, promise!

    It’s about that other tactical genius, Gandalf. Now, we know Gandalf’s plan was to march a very small force against Mordor, that was so clearly insanely outnumbered that Sauron could only believe that it was lead by someone wielding the Ring, and so would concentrate all his forces and attention on them, thus clearing the way for Frodo (assuming he wasn’t already dead/insane/captured/ran away). And having committed to that plan, pretty much the only tactic available at the Black Gate was: find a good defensive position and hold out until you’re all dead.

    Now unless you get really lucky with the timing (like they were) it’s pretty much a suicide mission. Which brings up two questions:

    1) Why send *all* your important kings/generals that aren’t actually incapacitated (Gandalf, Aragorn, Eomer, Imrahil) on a suicide mission?

    2) Just how many people did they bring into the whole “we sent a couple of halflings to sneak into Mordor with the most powerful weapon in existence” plan? I mean without that knowledge, just how did they persuade Eomer and Imrahil to join the suicide pact?

    • James Harrison will taste Manflesh says:

      Regarding point #1, it was presumably so that Sauron would have to wonder which important guy had the ring instead of just focusing all of his forces on one important guy and exposing the ruse too quickly. Probably the same reason that they assembled on two hillocks instead of just one. Then not only do you force the orcs to kill several important guys and search them all thoroughly, but you force them to divide their forces in half and then take the time to communicate that neither half has recovered the ring.

      Also, if everyone important stays home, it looks more like a ruse. If you assume you’re going to win (which is what an army wielding the ring would likely have assumed), you show up. The only reason to stay home is if you know it’s a suicide mission.

      Regarding point two, Eomer is the type of guy to make a cavalry charge into two rows of pikemen while shouting “DEATH” at the top of his lungs, so likely the kind of guy who is up for suicide missions. Although my recollection of the books is fuzzy, and he probably only did that in the movie.

  53. Cresenne says:


    1) If Sauron gets the Ring, they all die anyways.

    2) Eomer and Imrahil do know, considering that Gandalf says this to them “Considering [the Ring], my lords, you all know enough for the understanding of our plight, and of Sauron’s.”

  54. Mark says:

    Sun Tzu may have been ahead of his time: but so was Archimedes. Maths has moved on since then, and so has military theory.

    I don’t mind accepting that Sun Tzu was relevant in his day, but I baulk when people tell me that his aphorisms are STILL state of the art.

    Then again, it might have helped Aragorn (comic version) to have read and thought about him.

  55. mac says:

    “They're all dead.”

    oh that brings back so glorious memories……
    i once ran an all evil campaign that went pretty much like shamus’s strip, the evil PC’s had an army of countless forces under thier control, didnt utilize them, the goal was to kill the big powerful goodguy, and the PC’s found out where the good guy’s base was took about 500 guys with them, all the commanders under thier control, no troops, just leaders,they got to the good guys base, broke the gates down not relizing that they wernt being attacked by archers, found out after 3 gaming sessions not a soul was in the good guys base, rode back to thier own base only to find an army of about 2,000,000 good guys rode right into the evil base killed all the evil leaderless troops, and subsequntly surrounded the bad guys on thier return.
    now the whole time they were in the good guys abandoned base, i had them rolling percentile dice, they called low bad, and kept rolling between 10-49% except for like 4 rolls each which were above 50%
    only reason the goodguys had 2,000,000 troops was in the first few games, they acctually acted evil and sent troops to good kingdoms and slaughtered all, then around the 5th game the PC’s decided to stop playing seriously, they stopped all raiding and decided to just sit in thier base.
    all the while all the kingdoms of the world united and sent troops to end the bad guys before they got too big.

    the PC’s decided to enter the threat range of the good army…..

    they died after 7 rounds of combat, then just for shits and grins i rolled attacks against the evil npc leaders.
    not one evil soul made it out alive.
    the players were pissed off to the point where they yelled and threw stuff. then i explained what was going on.
    when they had found out how badly they fucked up they sat down and went quiet. they left all their dumb as dirt troops without a leader so the troops never fought back.
    the 50% and higher rolls were the beholders and various other inteligent monsters attacking the goodguys.yes, i gave PC’s control of beholders, and they never used them once.

    2 weeks later i was voted out of the D&D group lol and it was my house we gamed at. and they wanted me to leave the group. the next day they begged me for use of my house to game at but didnt want me to game with them anymore lol.
    i havnt seen or heard from that group sence and am glad about it.

  56. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    agreed Steve, I should have said “Sun Tzu and the peers he had in Europe.” And actually, I’d probably say Alexander was the start off of European Strategy and Tactics.

  57. Prio says:

    Cunning solution, “sire.”

  58. Doug Williams says:

    Damn, that is freakin’ funny. I always wondered about this part in the movie… I mean, they’re off of their horses, standing there, waiting for the orcs to surround them. The comic is really almost exactly like the movie, except in the film no one points out what a douchebag Aragorn is!

  59. RobbieRob says:

    But seriously Mac (post 121), maybe you shouldn’t just snicker at how stupid your PC’s were, not doing anything with the great army you had provided them with.
    If the PC’s systematically ignore the campaign hooks you are providing, it might be time to think about if your type of campaign is what they want. Like if you provided them with a great army and expected them to conduct grand campaigns against the forces of goodness, and all they they wanted was to go out adventuring with a small gang of fellas, killing princesses and saving dragons, it’s no wonder if their gaming became a bit lame after a while. After all you usually play for fun, not for result.
    At that point it’s time to think about what’s most important for you – your way of gaming or your player group.

  60. Aries says:

    In reply to Mac’s post (121) i say: ZOMGWTFLOLOWNED! but what were you thinkinh giving them control of beholders? and on that note what the hell were they thinking not using them? and to further there idiocy they voted out the bloke who’s house they played at! what the hell were they thinking? did they expect you to bring them milk and cookies while they played at your place and refused to let you play the game?…OH I DONT THINK SO!..the world is full of morons you sir should feel privilaged that you found a group quite so retarded.

  61. DistractoGirl says:

    Ok, I can’t be the first person to make this comment. I really can’t. However, in light that I just can’t see it anywhere, and that there was a “Rocks fall” joke just a couple of strips ago…

    Orcs fall… everyone dies.

  62. Scarlet Knight says:

    Roxysteve, is it my imagination, or do you get more British in direct proportion to the number of posts?

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