Wondrous Item auto-reject advice #12: Item is a Joke


RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion

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Andrew Christian wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:


Also, though less directly punny but still playing on words: Eyes of the Eagle (they make you eagle-eyed), and Bracelet of Friends (a magic friendship bracelet). These are but few items however, to be fair. Oh, and of course Goggles of Night.

There's also a number of core rulebook items that violate other auto-reject rules as well, but understandably, I get the sense that the auto-reject criterion are to help designers avoid certain anti-innovation pitfalls.

Um, if I'm not mistaken, those aren't puns. The eagle eye thing is more animistic or shamanistic in nature, while the others are descriptive of what they do.

DeathQuaker already pointed out they were less than full-on puns, but I think they are examples of plays on words that, if presented to someone who was sensitive to puns, would register as them as such. In terms of eagle eye, you are very much correct in the original usage of the term, but after years of usage(perhaps some mangling along the way), it's become a pun in and of itself. Bracelet of Friends and Goggles of Night are good examples of fads that might turn something that was not originally a pun into a groan-worthy one.

Perhaps your definition and my definition of what a Pun or a "play-on-words" is different.

If you name something so that the name references what it is or does (similar to eponymous or metonymy) it isn't a pun. It simply has a name that references what it is or what it does. There isn't a play on words or an attempt at word play humor going on here. There is no pun.

The first sentence in the Wikipedia entry for Pun...

"The pun, or paronomasia, is a form of word play which exploits numerous meanings of a statement, allowing it to be understood in multiple ways for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect."

...and none of the examples given above do this. They are what they are. There aren't multiple meanings or understanding...

I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree here. I can see how Bracelet of Friends and Eyes of the Eagle could be considered puns, even if they aren't laugh-out-loud funny ones.


Jim Groves wrote:

My brief advice again, and actually in before Neil!

Look at funny monsters from over the years. Their coolness did not endure. In some cases, like the Nilbog (who only died when you force-fed it healing potions or healing spells), they were never cool. It got to the point that Paizo wrote a book to redeem some of these "funny" monsters. Even so, you'll note that Paizo strives to design interesting monsters that don't have to be 'redeemed' by future generations.

Can we make another rule, "no 'clever' backwards spellings?"

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Freehold DM wrote:

I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree here. I can see how Bracelet of Friends and Eyes of the Eagle could be considered puns, even if they aren't laugh-out-loud funny ones.

That's just it. They aren't puns based on the definition of what constitutes a pun. You can try to define it or understand it anyway that you wish to. But it doesn't make it correct.

And for your information, a great pun is not a laugh-out-loud one, but rather a groaner.

It is literally a play on words where they could be taken one of two or more ways depending on how you want to hear them or how the speaker intended them. In many cases, two or more meanings can be correct at the same time.

In this case, neither of those wondrous items meet the "two or more concepts at the same time" criteria.

Are they a type of play on words? I suppose, as much as the Native American naming philosophy was to use animals and actions together for names of their children. I mean do you really think that Yellow Medicine Woman and White Buffalo are puns? Eyes of the Eagle plays more on this aspect of shamanic style magic than it does as a play on words.


Andrew Christian wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree here. I can see how Bracelet of Friends and Eyes of the Eagle could be considered puns, even if they aren't laugh-out-loud funny ones.

That's just it. They aren't puns based on the definition of what constitutes a pun. You can try to define it or understand it anyway that you wish to. But it doesn't make it correct.

And for your information, a great pun is not a laugh-out-loud one, but rather a groaner.

It is literally a play on words where they could be taken one of two or more ways depending on how you want to hear them or how the speaker intended them. In many cases, two or more meanings can be correct at the same time.

In this case, neither of those wondrous items meet the "two or more concepts at the same time" criteria.

Are they a type of play on words? I suppose, as much as the Native American naming philosophy was to use animals and actions together for names of their children. I mean do you really think that Yellow Medicine Woman and White Buffalo are puns? Eyes of the Eagle plays more on this aspect of shamanic style magic than it does as a play on words.

How is a great pun a groaner? Just because something can be taken two ways at once doesn't mean it isn't funny at the same time. I would argue the sense of overall humor of the individual(as well as the situation they are in at the time) is a factor in the overall humor(some people can be boorish).

In terms of agreeing to disagree, keep in mind I DID say that meanings of words have been mangled, or perhaps misused, over the years. I think puns and wordplay based on puns have expanded beyond the strict wikipedia definition.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Freehold DM wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree here. I can see how Bracelet of Friends and Eyes of the Eagle could be considered puns, even if they aren't laugh-out-loud funny ones.

That's just it. They aren't puns based on the definition of what constitutes a pun. You can try to define it or understand it anyway that you wish to. But it doesn't make it correct.

And for your information, a great pun is not a laugh-out-loud one, but rather a groaner.

It is literally a play on words where they could be taken one of two or more ways depending on how you want to hear them or how the speaker intended them. In many cases, two or more meanings can be correct at the same time.

In this case, neither of those wondrous items meet the "two or more concepts at the same time" criteria.

Are they a type of play on words? I suppose, as much as the Native American naming philosophy was to use animals and actions together for names of their children. I mean do you really think that Yellow Medicine Woman and White Buffalo are puns? Eyes of the Eagle plays more on this aspect of shamanic style magic than it does as a play on words.

How is a great pun a groaner? Just because something can be taken two ways at once doesn't mean it isn't funny at the same time. I would argue the sense of overall humor of the individual(as well as the situation they are in at the time) is a factor in the overall humor(some people can be boorish).

In terms of agreeing to disagree, keep in mind I DID say that meanings of words have been mangled, or perhaps misused, over the years. I think puns and wordplay based on puns have expanded beyond the strict wikipedia definition.

You are completely missing the definition of what a Pun is. A pun is not just word play, as you said. It also is not just a joke. A pun is a type of word play. If there is no word play or twisting of meaning, then it isn’t a pun. What is, and is not a pun, has not evolved. Perhaps what is and is not a “good” pun has evolved or is extremely and highly subjective. But the core definition of a pun has not changed.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

I removed some...unnecessary comments. That said, discussing the exact definition of a pun is only muddying the waters here.

The point isn't that puns are evil, its that your Wondrous Item submission, taken as a whole, shouldn't be a joke.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Thanks, Ross! I'd also add that everyone's conduct here on the messageboards is well within the public eye. And, though that won't influence the judges in any way whatsoever (we'll be reviewing all the items anonymously, after all), it could influence the public perception of those debating, arguing, or responding with vitriolic commentary here. So, conduct yourself accordingly if you want to earn their votes...not simply with your design-fu, but also your like-ability/fanbase-generating aura.

Golden rule: Treat as others as you wish to be treated.

Others will take note of your conduct and respect you for it, if you do.

My two-cents,
--Neil

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Neil Spicer wrote:

Thanks, Ross! I'd also add that everyone's conduct here on the messageboards is well within the public eye. And, though that won't influence the judges in any way whatsoever (we'll be reviewing all the items anonymously, after all), it could influence the public perception of those debating, arguing, or responding with vitriolic commentary here. So, conduct yourself accordingly if you want to earn their votes...not simply with your design-fu, but also your like-ability/fanbase-generating aura.

Golden rule: Treat as others as you wish to be treated.

Others will take note of your conduct and respect you for it, if you do.

My two-cents,
--Neil

I agree. So if anyone felt I was taking the argument about what is and is not a pun, too far. I apologize.

I sometimes get a bur in my bonnet and can’t let something go.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

As the inappropriate commenter in question, I apologize for saying a hurtful thing and bringing the tone of the conversation down. I am beyond old enough to know better.

I've decided not to enter the competition. If I allow myself to be a jerk just in participating in these discussions, then I think it's a bad idea to get involved any further.

Good luck, everyone.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

DeathQuaker wrote:
I've decided not to enter the competition.

I think you should submit anyway. Let it be water under the bridge and move on. Most everyone here is old enough to let that kind of thing go anyway. And besides, this really is a tremendous opportunity. Even if your item doesn't make the Top 32, the very process of working on a new design and putting it out there is NOT to be missed. And certainly not for a reason like that. So, give it a go. You'll regret it if you don't...

My two-cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

I removed a post I'm pretty sure was meant for another thread.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

DeathQuaker wrote:

As the inappropriate commenter in question, I apologize for saying a hurtful thing and bringing the tone of the conversation down. I am beyond old enough to know better.

I've decided not to enter the competition. If I allow myself to be a jerk just in participating in these discussions, then I think it's a bad idea to get involved any further.

I have to agree with Neil (as usual). Take a deep breath and give it a couple days before you make a hard fast decision.

I don't want to contradict the advice that you will develop a reputation based upon your posting habits. That's very true.

But you know..? People can be forgiving too. Especially if you get it under control and remain positive. I speak from experience here, having shot my mouth off a few times.

Round One is anonymous. If you make it to Round Two and you've been cool for the last month, all you can say is "I regret what I did in the past and I'm trying to approach this competition with the seriousness it deserves." I think most people will respect that and cut you a break.

So again, take a deep breath and think about it for a day or two.

Very seldom is it too late to start again. Give yourself a chance.

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 7

Especially as the post seems to have been deleted and most of us will have no idea what you said. :-)

Besides which, people are forgiving so long as you are humble enough to say I should have known better, which you did.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
First, Freehold DM wrote:
I don't know. This one worries me. I thought the contest was supposed to be fun. Steel Horse voiced my fears a lot more eloquently than I ever could.

...and I was really flattered and stuff.

Then, Sean K Reynolds flattered me some more when he wrote:


It is supposed to be fun.

And for the judges, it's a lot of work.

So when I'm home on a Saturday night evaluating wondrous item submissions, and some jokester thinks he'll be funny and submit the purple monkey statue of explosive monkeybutt butter, he's wasting my time with something he knows isn't going to make it into the Top 32. He's wasting my time just as if he had prank called me. I appreciate humor. I'm a pretty funny guy. But this is RPG Superstar, not Comedy Superstar. I'm involved in this competition because I want to find new, talented game designers, so I can give them work--with the expectation that I can trust them to take their assignments seriously.

There's a place for humor in the game, but as a judge I need to know if you can get the job done. The job in R1 is to design a wondrous item (that we could in theory publish) to show me that you have the chops to be a professional game designer.

I want the contestants to respect that the time I spend judging RPG Superstar comes out of my free time with my new gamer bride. I love being involved in RPG Superstar. I don't treat it like it's a joke. You shouldn't treat it like a joke, either--but that doesn't mean it can't still be fun for you and for me.

...and I have to admit, I'm a convert.

I'm serious. You've convinced me, Sean. And, incidentally, provided further evidence of the thoughtfulness you, the other judges, and Paizo have poured into this project. Just when I think you guys can't get any more reasonable and articulate, you surprise me.

But I stand by my statement that you should consider cutting your judges some slack in some way. The time table seems unnecessarily grueling to me. I like you guys. I don't want to hear about one of you "going postal" some January morning, tromping into the office, and yelling "I'll show YOU some explosive monkeybutt butter! Eat this!"

Cause that would be messy.

Plus, I don't really like butter.


DeathQuaker wrote:

As the inappropriate commenter in question, I apologize for saying a hurtful thing and bringing the tone of the conversation down. I am beyond old enough to know better.

I've decided not to enter the competition. If I allow myself to be a jerk just in participating in these discussions, then I think it's a bad idea to get involved any further.

Good luck, everyone.

I understand how you must feel--having said plenty of things in my life I regret later--but I have to agree with Neil, Wicht, and Jim: you should still enter.

Us human beings do things we regret pretty much constantly. We're petty, vindictive, and belligerent, but we can also be thoughtful, compassionate, and downright brilliant sometimes. If you can perceive and own up to the negative things you do, that's a good thing. We're not perfect.

Not that my perception matters much, but . . . in my fairly short time on these boards, I've generally seen you as a pretty cool sort, quick to help the new guy (or girl) with any questions they might have, and just as quick to play devil's advocate with a minimum of snarkiness. In my opinion, that means quite a bit.

So--now that I've monologued enough about this--I urge you to enter a wondrous item into this contest! If not for yourself, do it for the little guy, the underdog, who sees hope in the moniker "DeathQuaker"!

Man, that was lame. 9_9

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

DeathQuaker wrote:

As the inappropriate commenter in question, I apologize for saying a hurtful thing and bringing the tone of the conversation down. I am beyond old enough to know better.

I've decided not to enter the competition. If I allow myself to be a jerk just in participating in these discussions, then I think it's a bad idea to get involved any further.

Good luck, everyone.

No worries dude. We all say things that are uncalled for from time to time. If I was really hurt or offended, I would have probably responded in kind.

Join the competition, and enjoy!

Liberty's Edge

Wicht wrote:

Especially as the post seems to have been deleted and most of us will have no idea what you said. :-)

For the record, I lol'ed.


YGM, DQ.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Good Luck to DeathQuaker (cause you really should enter :) and everyone else. For what it is worth DQ, you are reading an advice thread. Many entrants will not bother with even that much. The fact that you got two pieces of advice out of a single thread means you also have pretty good chance over those others. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Wow, well, that was not what I expected. :) Thank you, all of you, for your kind words. I'd thank you individually but that'd take more time than I unfortunately have at the moment (although Rhys Grey damn near made me blush). Freehold, I got your message.

I will consider carefully my situation, and that's all I'll say for now. Thanks again, and again good luck to all of you in the competition.

Dark Archive

Kajehase wrote:
Jodi Lane wrote:
Sexy Derro armor ;o)
Planning next year's GenCon costume? ;)

Mayyy beeee. Hah, no! ;o) This is a funny thing going on in James Jacobs' campaign. We killed lots of Derro and then Rob's character Balazar (Gnome) grabbed up some of the armor that we got from them--and it was from a female Derro. So, naturally, for the rest of the time we play this campaign he'll be reminded he is still wearing the, "sexy Derro armor." HAHA! So great.

Rob McCreary wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Sexy derro armor is more horrifying than funny.

"Not if you're wearing it!" says Balazar.

You need to post Balazar's list of nicknames for the group, hilarious!

Dark Archive

Vic Wertz wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
In that case, I would suggest putting the distinction in the title, to make it seem more of a contest and less of a competition.
If I were looking at RPG Superstar as a participant, I'd look at it not as a contest or a competition (whatever that distinction may be) but as a job interview. And I wouldn't show up at my interview wearing fuzzy bunny slippers and then expect to be taken seriously.

I TOTALLY agree with this. I mean, what is the point of submitting to this contest if you're not going to take it seriously? Why bother? Do you think your "funny" item is going to get noticed by the judge and they'll reward you for how much it made them laugh? Umm no. They're going through tons of submissions...I'm sure "funny" gets old real quick. Most of the items or other things in the books are not "funny."

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

Vic Wertz wrote:
If I were looking at RPG Superstar as a participant, I'd look at it not as a contest or a competition (whatever that distinction may be) but as a job interview. And I wouldn't show up at my interview wearing fuzzy bunny slippers and then expect to be taken seriously.

If you do want to fit a measure of cleverness in your item, there's a world of difference between the guy who wears fuzzy bunny slippers to the interview and the guy who wears a somewhat odd tie to the interview to make an impression.

You can get away with the latter.


Jared Goodwin wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
If I were looking at RPG Superstar as a participant, I'd look at it not as a contest or a competition (whatever that distinction may be) but as a job interview. And I wouldn't show up at my interview wearing fuzzy bunny slippers and then expect to be taken seriously.

If you do want to fit a measure of cleverness in your item, there's a world of difference between the guy who wears fuzzy bunny slippers to the interview and the guy who wears a somewhat odd tie to the interview to make an impression.

You can get away with the latter.

You took the words right out of my mouth.

DQ, I think YGM again.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

If a name rhymes, but is also descriptive of the item and a pretty cool name, would it be best to change the name to avoid it being confused with a pun or a joke? I've got an item I'm considering that is certainly not a joke and the name just kinda came together with alliteration. I like the way it's said and rolls off the tongue, but I wouldn't want to have the whole thing knocked out because it rhymes...

I think what I wrote makes sense?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Scipion del Ferro wrote:

If a name rhymes, but is also descriptive of the item and a pretty cool name, would it be best to change the name to avoid it being confused with a pun or a joke? I've got an item I'm considering that is certainly not a joke and the name just kinda came together with alliteration. I like the way it's said and rolls off the tongue, but I wouldn't want to have the whole thing knocked out because it rhymes...

I think what I wrote makes sense?

it depends, in Torchwood, Ianto had the quirk of making rhyming names LifeKnife and the resurrection glove was jokingly called the Risen Mitten Both of which made them sound cute.

So if you think your rhyming name is 'cute' it's likely not what you want. The 'Barf Scarf' (used by Varsian dancers to nauseate their marks, making them easier to rob) is right out ;-)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

Ha, nothing quite like that fortunately. I think it's probably safe, it's really not a cute name, just rhymes and fits the item well. Reading this thread made me fear the rhyming part though...

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Now I feel dirty.

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