"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."
Aggressive Negotiations: The unnamed DM becomes rather upset at the heroes for killing Saruman, Wormtongue, 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.
Théoden: Aragorn, we are in no position to turn away friends, no matter how disturbingly attractive you find them.
Aragorn: They're (dryads) like sexy tree ladies. Legolas: Sexy? I thought they had leaves for hair. And bark skin. Aragorn: Yeah, but they're all chicks. Naked chicks. Leafy, naked tree chicks. Gimli: Ye need help lad. Ye really do. Keep this up and you'll end up with Dutch elm disease.
Anti-Climax Boss: In-Universe. The party views Saruman as this, before the DM has to tell them that the campaign doesn't end with them killing him.
Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Subverted. Gandalf states that the main characters have to go on the offensive against Sauron to keep his eye fixed on the West so the halflings can do their stuff. Aragorn, who's sick of Gandalf and isn't listening, overrules him out of hand and reveals his own plan... Which is to go on the offensive and "beat on [Sauron] until he cries like a little girl".
The Rant: The best sort of player revolt is when they refuse to listen to your advice, but end up doing what you wanted them to do anyway.
But Thou Must: A warped example. Aragorn is fine with Éowyn coming along with him leaving her people behind, which is clearly not what he's supposed to do. The DM is not prepared for this so she ends up having both sides of the argument about her duty vs her desire and Aragorn loses patience and leaves.
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 and therefore he can't fall off, which means he rides it over the cliff 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 Théoden (which we do not see here due to the focus shifting to Aragorn trying to get laid with Éowyn - only Gimli mentions it later).
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).
Death of a Thousand Cuts: Not shown, but it's implied that this is how they get rid of the Mûmak, as everyone keeps stabbing its toes instead of going with Legolas' idea of climbing up the creature and stab it in the eyes.
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. Players tend to stay on the rails better when you place obvious landmines on either side of the tracks.
Shamus Young: Give a player a fish, and he’ll probably try to sell it to an NPC fisherman... Teach a player to fish, and next week he’ll show up with the book, “The Complete Adventuring Fisherman”. He’ll start hunting for some monstrous leviathan to catch and enslave, and he’ll be dual-wielding two fishing poles.
In Spite of a Nail: Despite Legolas killing Gollum during the events of Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and Sam still make it through Mordor and into Mount Doom though it's partially because their players quit and the DM turned them into NPCs.
Jerkass: Everyone is this in one way or another, but the DM takes the cake. Everyone else's tendencies can essentially be blamed on him anyway, as most of their own jerkass moments are provoked by his railroading.
Mistaken Identity: The players frequently confuse the two pairs of hobbits, the two wizards, and almost anything else.
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 Théoden 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 Théogan. I am Gimli and these are my companions Aragorn and Legolas. DM: And Gandalf. Gimli: Right. And Gandalf.
Mythology Gag: The DM asks why Aragorn isn't using Andúril (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 Andúril at Rivendell) and the movie (where they had to have Elrond visit him at the camp).
In general, the comic follows the idea that the book represents the DM's original script for the campaign, and movie changes represent instances where the players go Off the Rails.
Legolas: Anytime they want you to disarm before meeting the King, it means somebody's going to start something once you get inside. Gimli: I wouldn't worry about it. He already agreed to let Gandalf in with his staff, so it doesn't matter if we're armed or not.
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.
Off the Rails: Defied by the DM most of the time, save for when the players get the drop on him. Like when Legolas gets a critical/max damage and ends up OHKO-ing Gollum.
Perpetual Poverty: The party is really unlucky when it comes to looting. And really frustrated about it.
Legolas: How's the looting going? Gimli: I've searched all the bodies (read: a pile of scorched orcs), and we got just enough gold to buy an ale. (beat) Legolas: You mean one for each of— Gimli: To share.
Railroading: A really blatant case. Justified in that (according to the first strip) the DM has read Tolkien, the players haven't, and the DM is trying to introduce it to them through the medium of an RPG. A good idea in theory.
One of the most obvious examples. The DM clearly has a big conversation planned between Gandalf and Wormtongue. After Wormtongue's first line, Gimli's player steps forward, interrupts Gandalf's response, and introduces the party. The DM repeats Wormtongue's line and continues with Gandalf's response as if that simply didn't happen.
Legolas: Oh no. It looks like we've entered a non-interactive cutscene. Aragon: Entered? We've been in one since Rivendell. Gimli: I don't suppose we can hit X to skip? (Gandalf keeps talking to Théoden) I guess not.
One amusing version comes at the scene where Éowyn asks to join the group. Aragorn is totally okay with it, but the GM keeps on acting like he followed the novel and said no. After a few attempts at straightening things out, he eventually just writes her off as a nut and leaves.
Reading Ahead in the Script: Turned into a pretzel in strip XXIX when the DM reads the "Gandalf Returns" script instead of Galadriel's. Upon realizing his mistake, he tells the players to forget what they heard, but they weren't listening anyway.
Players Gone: Boromir (because he's dead and wants to stay that way; see I Die Free), Frodo (because Dave wanted to play a Star Wars campaign, with him DM'ing), Sam, Merry, and Pippin (who went with Dave).
The hobbits eventually return late in the game, but this time, they are NPCs.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: invoked 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):
Aragorn: Whoever wrote this story has no imagination at all!
Shaggy Dog Story: After everything the players have gone through, nothing they do in the end matters and the story is determined by Frodo (who at that point is an NPC) succeeding at a will save. Aragorn and Gimli are not amused, but Legolas thinks it's hardcore.
Shall I Repeat That?: Actually defied once. When none of the players were paying attention when Elrond was giving them the backstory at the Council of Elrond. When they're asked what to do with the One Ring, no-one even has a clue where the conversation went, and Aragorn makes the mistake of asking the DM to repeat...
Elrond: As you wish. I shall repeat my tale. Gimli:NO! I mean... Heh.
Suddenly Always Knew That: The solution to the corsair problem? Aragorn knows how to sail ships, despite being nominally a ranger. Not that he cared to know it in the first place.
DM: If you ever read your backstory you'd see it makes perfect sense. Aragorn: Nice try, but I'm not quite desperate enough to read that thing just yet.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: Éomer says he hasn't seen the two hobbits... right after reciting their names, which even the players have forgotten, and which he couldn't possibly know except if the PCs told him. Of course, this is an unintended example, speaking more of the DM's ineptude than anything, because he lets the players assume they told him rather than giving them the names and telling them to ask again.
Take Your Time: Three days after the armies left Minas Tirith for Mordor, the DM reminds Aragorn that he forgot to heal Éowyn and the hobbits that were wounded in the previous battle. So, instead of leaving them to their fate, he decides to go all the way back, heal them and come back, leaving the army waiting on the road for six in-game days without any consequences.
Wall of Blather: Whenever the DM engages in narrative. Much of it is obscured by the players' ranting, because they don't give a damn. Including in the very first page, which (tries to) establish the setting.
Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: When Éowyn asks to join the Fellowship, the DM obviously expected the players to follow his script and say no, but Aragorn's player says "Sure, as long as you can fight." Obviously unable to deal with this, the DM continues to read Éowyn's scripted dialog, causing her to act like they rejected her despite Aragorn's increasingly frustrated attempts to say otherwise. Eventually the players have had enough and just walk away, muttering about her being a lunatic.
Éomer:(played by the DM) My company are those loyal to Rohan, and for that we were banished. Legolas: Oh man, sucks to be you. DM: Oh, come on. You're not even trying [to stay in character]. I know you can do better than that. Legolas: Hark, thy fate sucketh? DM: That is... much worse.
Also when Aragorn lifts the curse upon the King of the Dead and his legion:
Aragorn: Pleasure doing business with you. DM: Ahem. Aragorn: I mean... I cancel your curse. DM: Come on! You're a king! Roleplaying! Middle Ages! Aragorn: I hereby... proclaimate... thy curse? DM: Oh forget it. Aragorn: I excommunicate your curse? DM: I really need you to stop trying now.
You All Meet in an Inn: One of the major divergences from the book is that this campaign starts out at the Prancing Pony.
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!