An oldie (but a classic) created back in 2006, DM of the Rings is a webcomic created on the premise that a dungeon master is taking a group of typical Dungeons & Dragons players through the Lord of the Rings campaign, with the twist that none of the players know anything about Tolkien’s books. Each comic is a series of screen captures from the movies with in- and out-of-character speech bubbles added.
“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.” Shamus Young, author of ‘DM of the Rings.’
After each comic, the creator, Shamus Young, provides more insight into the workings of the roleplaying group I remember from my youth. I read the entire series to my kids for night-time reading years ago and we all found it quite hilarious. It was after my children’s introduction to Dungeons & Dragons, and we had already read and watched Lord of the Rings, so they were in on most of the jokes. There are some jokes throughout that were not really age-appropriate and a few recurring gags I just didn’t care for. While reading, I would either modify on the fly, skip, or just discuss when we reached them. It’s nothing worse than you’d expect at a table of 15- to 25-year-old D&D players, though. Overall and for the majority of the pages the writing was funny, poking fun at what many of us have experienced at the roleplaying table as both a DM as well as a player.
Shamus Young sort of fell into the role of creating a webcomic. He made the first page of the comic to try out some new computer software he had, then on day two when he posted he commented, “A couple of people were foolish enough to encourage me yesterday, so now I’m inflicting another one on you.” From this, DM of the Rings was born!
In checking out Shamus Young’s website, Twenty Sided, I see he’s been involved in two more comics. Chainmail Bikini, created with Shawn Gaston “focused on a group of players running through a horrible, railroading, stupid, contrived, and painfully ill-conceived roleplaying campaign.” Stolen Pixels, written for The Escapist is a comic based around video game screenshots. Shamus, was a software engineer when this all started, but has since become a novelist and has written two books, The Witch Watch and How I Learned. I have not read any of these works yet, but, given my enjoyment of DM of the Rings, I’m going to give them all a look-see, starting with the webcomics. Now, you should hop on over and start with DM of the Rings.