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DM of the Rings XLVIII:
Dwarven Diplomacy

By Shamus
on Monday Jan 8, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


Rohan. Remembering Merry and Pippin.

I see a lot of kids with those “I Roll Twenties” t-shirts. I don’t know what game they are playing, or where they get their dice. I need one that says, “Help. The dice are trying to kill me.”

Comments (172)

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  1. Karn says:

    The dice ARE trying to kill you. Said so for years.

  2. Trae says:

    Sometimes the dice just end up going one way or another, completely varying based on the day we play. Two weeks ago we were moving through an “abandoned” fort rolling 17+ on all move silently, search, pick lock, etc. In the combat of next session, the DM apparently stole our dice because the bad guys rolled 5 different critical hits on us.

  3. silver Harloe says:

    The following story story is 100% true, even though you probably won’t believe it:

    I am 39. And I cuss like a drunken sailor… at a truck stop… with the stand-up comedian version of Tourette’s (as opposed to the actual disease which is so much more complicated than just cussing randomly)… after hitting his thumb with a hammer. Basically, I’m unapologetically foul-mouthed.

    When I read the comic the first time (a few hours ago – somehow, I always discover gems like this later than everyone else on Internet), I spent 20 minutes and the first dozen or so responses trying to figure out what a “horse-flicker” is exactly. I could see how it was probably nasty, but I just wasn’t sure what flavor of nasty (probably something to do with manual sex).

    It wasn’t until I got to the comment where Shamus explained, “I moved ‘Gimli!’ around a lot,” that I even noticed there was “bad” language to complain about.

    Incidentally, I agree with George Carlin – there are no bad words – just bad intentions.

  4. GONCOL the cleric-godling says:

    I have different charts for critical hits and fumbles, of course. The crit hit chart needs percentile dice, the fumble chart uses a d20. That way, the critical hits tend more toward the center (double-tripple damage) while there is an equal chance of any particular fumble result. In the fumble chart, a second 1 is the LEAST unfavorable result and a 20 the worst possible scenario.
    And I have a d20 with two 20s and no 1 at all, that I ONLY use as DM.
    I usually allow players to use the Unearthed Arcana methods of stat rolling a new character, but next time I have players roll stats, I might consider letting them roll 3d8 for prime requisites.

  5. Nicola says:

    Oh God – I would cut your head off dwarf! ‘but I can’t be shagged working out the ruled for mounted combat’. I died!

  6. Bwahahahaaa!!!!!!!!! says:

    ““> “I need a shirt that says, “Help! The dice are trying to kill me!””
    You can actually get those at a website: http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel
    In fact, here’s an exact match: http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/gaming/9d0b/

  7. lunjan says:

    The poor dice luck reminds me of a player in our hischool group a decade ago (a rather narcoleptic player)

    without fail, for more than 2 years, he would be asleep before the second battle, we would wake him up on his turn and he would have his dwarven cleric attack… never gave a target… didnt really matter:

    “flail plus one baby…”
    the only suspense was whether he rolled a 2 or a 3

    • johanna says:

      Much to the chagrin of my hubby, whenever he plays his character i call him “Orrin the asthmatic”. I have also conjectured whether he feels guilty about hitting bad guys. Unfortunately for him, he is a cleric of Avandra, you know, the one for luck ;)

  8. Mel says:

    Oh wow. I’ve been giggling over these all evening, but this one had me laughing until I cried. My gut hurts now.

    I will never watch that scene the same way again.

  9. Violet says:

    This [including the authorial remark] caused me physical pain from laughter.

  10. Rurikjapa says:

    Holy Mother of Christ, I laugh until I cry every time I read that.

  11. Techan says:

    The dice are fickle (expletive)s. I for example have mediocre luck with dice when it comes to DnD. My dice work how you’d expect them to work, they come up randomly, not really bad, nor really good. However, if you change the venue to Warhammer, then my dice suddenly have a grudge against me. Seriously I’ve rolled 15 d6 before and gotten majority 1’s.
    My little brother on the other hand has ridiculously good luck with dice. It’s gotten to the point where in our games I have to make sure he rolls the dice where I can see. Not that I think he’d lie or cheat, but I just need to see it myself.
    If you use the 4d6 (drop the lowest) means of rolling up characters for DnD 3.5, he frequently rolls stats like (18, 18, 17, 16, 14, 12). He rolls criticals like it’s his job and he’s employee of the month.

    There is no way I’ve found to make dice like you better, you are forever a slave to their fickle whims.

  12. FGATT says:

    The shirt you mentioned exists!!!! http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/gaming/9d0b/ :D You’re welcome! :D Yeah I saw this a while ago then I read this comic, and I thought you might already have heard of this, but… :)

  13. Newo Tigra says:

    Found this site last week, been reading through it since. Funny comics + good GM advice and gaming discussion? Do want.

    Recently started up a homebrew game with a few friends. So far due to critical failures/successes;
    The Biomage has exploded his own foot trying to heal it. Twice.
    The Warrior has accidentally stabbed the Assassin through an enemy, and has gained the ability to crash through non-reinforced/armoured walls with no penalty.
    The Assassin has spent 4 turns trying to climb up a 2-story wall, and has second degree burns over most of his body.
    The Fire Wizard has knocked himself unconscious by exploding himself to kill some mooks. Although it did also cauterize the arm he lost to said mooks.

    On the other hand they have killed a cow-dragon by strangling it (after giving it dandruff), and inherited a small fort + Two minions.
    So I think it more or less evens out.

  14. John says:

    I. lold. so. hard. ty.

  15. feral says:

    I am SO glad this site is still around — when i need to *really* laugh, i come here and read a few pages. Having recently lost my job, I find the need to come here more frequently.

    Thank you so much for one of the most funny and uplifting works of art in my life=)

  16. Hattingtion says:

    The ‘TELL ME YOUR NAME, HORSE F*CKER!’ made my day :D

  17. RariowunIrskand says:

    I’ve never played D&D. However, these strips make me REALLY wanna try it out. It’s a shame that 99.9% of the people I know consider RPG videogames boring, yet alone pen-and-paper RPGs with a whole book needed to play.

  18. Nacata says:

    One time i was gonna roll diplomacy but DM (dad) wouldnt let me because my bonus trumps all checks for that that a lvl 3 could possibly need to make. I rolled a one since i just rolled on my own without showing any 1. Those d20s are ornery!

  19. Greg says:

    Let’s be fair. The dice can be quite cruel. Or quite generous.

    I watched a friend of mine pass a 20 on the bluff check for “I dropped my lockpicks.” while getting caught cracking a safe.

    I once sneaked into a party member’s bag and swapped a healing potion for a poisoned one while he was sleeping. Passed all the not poisoning yourself checks with flying colors. Then the next day, some guys left the party to pursue n alternate path. Next session, that subparty needed to heal a guy at -7 Health. The DM gave him a generous DC 15 on a d100 role to notice the correct potion. I was only observing their half of the campaign, but the looks on their faces when the DM said “He has died.” turned to me, “You leveled up!”

  20. Sheanar says:

    I let My boys (the play group i DM) get away with so much based on the fact that I hate digging through rule books mid-combat (i look it up after the game and let them know how next time we game). That being the case, the last panel KILLS me! I have said those exact words, at least to myself, if not to them. haha!

  21. Amake says:

    We train young men to drop fireballs on orcs, but we won’t let then write the word “fuck” on their horses because that would be obscene.

  22. Thornrapt says:

    That seems like the appropriate shirt for my group. In our second session we got party wiped by a lone kobold with a rock because we all rolled an impossible number of ones and twos.

    Also, this strip is just the best thing since OoTS.

  23. 4ier says:

    There are a few messed up character encodings in the comments.
    PAGE 1
    Klytus, Ava Tari:
    “Help should be “Help
    me!†should be me!”

    “My should be “My
    lava†should be lava”

    PAGE 3
    “Help should be “Help
    me!†should be me!”
    –> should be —>

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One Trackback

  1. By Parodies ruin your life … « The Verbose Stoic on Thursday Nov 4, 2010 at 11:25 am

    […] http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=850 […]

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