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Lord of the Rings is more or less the foundation of modern D&D. The latter rose from the former, although the two are now so estranged that to reunite them would be an act of savage madness. Imagine a gaggle of modern hack-n-slash roleplayers who had somehow never been exposed to the original Tolkien mythos, and then imagine taking those players and trying to introduce them to Tolkien via a D&D campaign.
The Blurb for the first strip

According to this comic, The Lord of the Rings wouldn't make a good Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

Think about it. Loads of Backstory, few battles, limited treasure (even if you aren't expecting a Monty Haul campaign), and lots and lots of talking (since many events are told to others after the fact).

This would make for a frustrating game. But it makes a great comic.

DM of the Rings uses screen captures of the films and places them in the format of a comic book. The comic never shows the faces of the players (although the short-lived original follow up, Chainmail Bikini did). Instead, we see shots of the films as actions the players are taking.

The comic doesn't really satirize The Lord of the Rings as much as it makes fun of the the way roleplaying sessions tend to go, especially the struggle between the Game Master and players. It's been described as an overall example of how not to conduct a campaign in general.

Other works by the author include Chainmail Bikini, Stolen Pixels, Spoiler Warning and the column "Experienced Points" at The Escapist.

This comic has inspired a few Follow the Leader comics applying the formula to other works, notably TV Tropes semi-favorite Darths and Droids.

DM of the Rings provides examples of:

  • Aggressive Negotiations: The unnamed DM becomes rather upset at the heroes for killing Saruman, Grima, and the Mouth of Sauron in parley.

 Aragorn: Yeah, let's speed this up. (kills the Mouth of Sauron)

DM: What? You attack him? During parlay? What is wrong with you guys? This is the third time you've killed someone during negotiations!

Legolas: And yet they keep falling for it! It's hilarious!

DM: You're supposed to be a king! Can't you at least pretend to be one for a few seconds?

Aragorn: If I hadn't shot him Legolas would have.

Legolas: He's right, too. I was just about to announce my attack.

  • All There in the Manual: The DM has most of the important story points in notes he wants the players to read, but of course they refuse.
  • Anything That Moves: Sometimes, Aragorn's tendency to mistake elves for women is taken as this.

 Theoden: Aragorn, we are in no position to turn away friends, no matter how disturbingly attractive you find them.

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Aragorn wants to sleep with Eowyn. So the DM lets him... and then tells him to make a fortitude saving throw vs disease.
  • Canon Sue: In-universe, that's how the players view Gandalf.
  • Cliché Storm: In-Universe. Even the tropes that weren't made by the books become RPG clichés in the hands of the DM.
  • Critical Failure
    • When they first meet the riders of Rohan, Gimli rolls a 1 on diplomacy and addresses them with "tell me your name, horse f--" "GIMLI!". What makes it even funnier is that Gimli's player said that on his own accord. He was role-playing his own critical failure.
    • Then there's the time Aragorn rolls a 1 on falling off a Warg, even though he was trying to. Although that was just the DM trying to kill him off after he was particularly annoying.
    • Also when Legolas tries to shoot Saruman. Subverted in that the DM ends up raving about how he killed Saruman before realizing Legolas scored a 1, so he changed it into killing Grima instead.
  • Cutscene: This is basically how the DM wanted to run the game, and actually did it in a couple scenes, like when Gandalf freed Theoden.
  • Cutting the Knot: The players come up with increasingly ludicrous (and hilarious) ways to do this to the entrance of the Mines Of Moria rather than come up with the password (which the DM ends up screaming at them in frustration).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming
  • Did Not Do the Research: The dungeon master is convinced that corsairs means sailing ship when it actually means pirate or privateer --- here.
  • Discredited Meme: In-Universe, here.

 "My own suggestion for the 4.0 edition rules: Anyone who quotes Holy Grail during a session should be made to eat their own character sheet."

 Frodo: Oh no. Who let The Roleplayer into the group?

  • "Faux To" Guide: A lot of the blurbs present bad roleplaying as the proper thing to do.

 Remember, nothing will spice up your campaign quicker than long descriptions of NPCs doing spectacular stuff while the players sit around and watch.

The best way to keep players on the railroads is to place large obvious landmines on either side of the tracks.

 Gimli: You don't have a backpack. What you have there is an invisible leather TARDIS.

 Aragorn: Good one, Gimli. Nice to get a fair ruling once in a while.

Gimli: Fair? Ha! Back when I was a DM I never would have let my players get away with something like this.

  • I Die Free: Boromir, because Frank refuses to roll a new character on the grounds that he's finally not being railroaded any more.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: Discussed when Gimli is searching the dead orcs for loot. Author's comment for the same strip provides one of the page's quotes, even.

 Gimli: Because our little halfling buddies are in here somewhere, and I know they had some good stuff.

Legolas: Dibs on their cloaks!


Aragorn: That's the Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard.

 Legolas: Side? Man, I'll follow whoever can score us some loot and a fair fight.

  • My Friends and Zoidberg: Gimli's introduction of the party to Theoden has this. This is as much because Gimli just doesn't care enough to remember Gandalf (as he is an NPC).

 Gimli: Greetings, wise King Theogan. I am Gimli and these are my companions Aragorn and Legolas.

DM: And Gandalf.

Gimli: Right. And Gandalf.

 Gimli: My name is Gimli, son of Groin.

    • Done on purpose when they first meet Legolass.. Leggo of my ass... Legolas.

 "He should have been named Leggo of my ass, because you're going to be saying that a lot."

    • And then getting the names right, but referring to them wrong.

 Aragorn: Hail to the king, baby! Aragorn, son of Anduril, is back!

DM: Anduril is the name of your sword, dumbass.

    • Frodo would like to remind you that his name is not Dave.
  • Mythology Gag: The DM asks why Aragorn isn't using Anduril (the reforged sword of his ancestor). Aragorn asks when he got that and the DM realizes he forgot to give it to him at Rivendell leading to a hasty visit from Elrond at the Rohirrim camp. This is a reference to the differences between the books where Aragorn got Anduril at Rivendell and the movie where they had to have Elrond visit him at the camp.
    • The "parley" with Saruman can also be seen as this, seeing as in the books Saruman doesn't die until the very end of the story.
  • Nothing but Skulls: Skewered a scene from the movie showing the Paths of the Dead.

 DM: The walls crack open, and thousands of skulls are released!

Legolas: Oh Crap.

DM: They tumble down from above, forming a great avalanche of death. The horrid sight is-

Aragorn: Skulls? Like, only skulls?

DM: Yeah.

Aragorn: But that makes no sense! [...]

Gimli: I'll bet this was a robust culture. Imagine their funerals... "Oops, Granny's dead, let's lop off her head and chuck it into the big bin to be dropped on adventurers."[...]

DM: The skulls continue to pour in, filling the room and threatening to crush your nitpicking, over-analyzing characters.

Aragorn: No problem, I'll just roll my saving throw vs. ridiculous contrivances.

 Legolas: How's the looting going?

Gimli: I've searched all the bodies, and we got just enough gold to buy an ale.


Legolas: You mean one for each of--

Gimli: To share.

 Legolas: Oh no. It looks like we've entered a non-interactive cutscene.

Aragon: Entered? We've been in one since Rivendell.

 Aragorn: Know what I'm thinking?

Boromir: Only you can promote forest fires?

Aragorn: Exactly.

  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: In regards to The Lord of the Rings influencing D & D, as Aragorn comments that the party has been fighting nothing but orcs (also, the blind pond squid being called Watcher):

 "Whoever wrote this story has no imagination at all!"

 Frodo: Please, please don't say we meet in a tavern.

DM: In a tavern called the Prancing Pony, an age-old meeting place...

Frodo: Arg!

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