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In Name Only · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
On the Classification of Giant Winged Lizards
Rohan sat against the counter in the tavern, thinking about the predicament she and her apprentice—Ewan—had found themselves in. Before she had taken the job, she had entrusted Ewan with confirming that the little township was indeed being victimized by a dragon.

Dust drifted towards the ground as the ceiling shook.

Dragons were, on the whole, no real problem for her. She had quite a bit of experience hunting them and had collected an excellent set of tools for it. The problem was—

A scaled tail as thick as her torso crashed through the roof, showering the two of them in splinters. The spike at the end scythed through the air, passing just over their heads.

She slapped a gauntleted hand across Ewan’s mouth, stopping the scream just before it became sound.

There were a few more thumps as the tail pulled back up, a sound like tarps being shaken out, a roar that shook the woodwork all around, and then a distant crash as, presumably, it decided to try its luck with another building.

Rhona released his face and sighed. This was going to be more difficult than she had wanted. Her armor rustled like a soft rain as she stood, the crimson red dragon-scales that covered it rustling with the movement. “Ewan. What was that?”

“The dragon we’re s’posed to be hunting!” he whispered, peeking up over the counter.

“The dragon,” Rhona repeated, leaning back against the shelves of liquor bottles and feeling quite satisfied as a sudden look of panic ran across his face. He was getting better at picking up on hints too. When he’d started with her she’d had to metaphorically – and occasionally literally – bludgeon him to get a clue through.

“Um, yes?”

“What am I going to do with you, Ewan?” she asked no one. “Right now I’m thinking about using you as live bait, then, if you survive, having you spend the next month polishing every item in my armory until they shine brighter than sun-steel.”

He blanched, pressing himself back against the counter. “Come on now, Rhona, no need for that! What’s the matter?”

In the distance, there was another crash and screams.

“You are supposed to be handling my bookings, Ewan. And part of that is is making sure you properly scout the job.” She drew her sword and pointed it at him. “What is this?”

He swallowed. “Your dragon bone blade.”

“The proper weapon for killing dragons, yes.” She patted the quiver on her side. “And these?”

“Dragon killer bolts,” he said. With barely a moment passing, he added, “Enchanted with magic to weaken dragons.”

“Correct.” At least he was learning some things. This time she patted her chest. “And this?”

“Your dragon scale armor. Highly flame resistant.”

“Yes.” She had really hoped he would figure it out with that one, but apparently she once again had made the mistake in putting any sort of faith in the young man. Instead, she put a hand on his head and marched him towards one of the tavern’s windows. “What do you see out there?”

“The dragon, uh, tearing up the town hall?”

“This is why I hate you guild kids,” Rhona said. “You think monster slaying is all stalking and stabbing and trapping when it is mostly reading and learning taxonomy.” She squeezed his head, letting just a little bit of her annoyance shine through. “That is not a dragon. That’s a wyvern.”

He tried to look back at her, but she held him in place. “But… wyverns are dragons, aren’t they? Great big scaly, flying lizards. Exactly what the mayor told me.”

“Except they are venomous, which I did not bring supplies to deal with. And don’t breathe fire, rendering this armor rather suboptimal for the situation. And my bolts will do nothing because enchantments that afflict proper dragons don’t work on things that are not proper dragons.”

“But… they are dragons. A wyvern is a type of dragon.”

She sighed. “Much like you, Ewan, are a type of monkey.”
« Prev   11   Next »
#1 ·
· · >>Anon Y Mous >>Miller Minus
Ahem. This one is about calling a spade a spade, right?

Or is it?

Well, it’s a scene. To be honest, I found the girl pretty (s)callous here: a monster is destroying the town, and she just sits here, taking her time to make her assistant realise he was wrong, while the wyvern keeps rampagning around. Not really what you’d expect from a full-fledged, good natured hero.

Other than that, it’s difficult to care for both protagonists, as we get so few things about them. Make the girl actually fight the whatever it is she has to fight, and let her assistant discover he made an error. Here, what you do is pretty much all telling and no showing, which detracts a lot from the story.
#2 · 2
· · >>Monokeras
a monster is destroying the town, and she just sits here, taking her time to make her assistant realise he was wrong, while the wyvern keeps rampagning around. Not really what you’d expect from a full-fledged, good natured hero.

Uh, Mono, I think you might be missing the point. She is literally explaining why she can’t fight the wyvern in the last big paragraph. If she did then she wouldn’t be much of a hero anymore, at least not a live one.
#3 ·
· · >>Anon Y Mous
>>Anon Y Mous
No, because she doesn’t state she can’t fight it. Alright, she says some weapons won’t work, but she says also some others will, albeit with a reduced efficiency. That’s enough for a hero, no?

I mean look at the last Star Wars when they make contact with that bar tender – she cares to explain things in the middle of a fight. Now that’s what a true hero should be like.
#4 ·
I don't think that >>Monokeras has whiffed on the explanation of why Rhona can't fight the beast so much as he's whiffed on what the story is trying to be. Because his comment would be fair if the story were trying to be an action/adventure, but it's much moreso a comedy, which means the larger issue is that he didn't find it funny. And if I'm being honest, I understand why. insert joke that includes the word 'senioritis'.

Your last line is great. It did me a good chuckle. It was, to me, the only joke, though. I like the Brienne-to-Podrick dynamic these two have going on, but it has not been used for much comedy; they're mostly just establishing the scene.

Apart from this the story plays off of an argument the more fantasy-inclined have heard before (WYVERNS DON'T HAVE FORELEGS REEEE), which is fine, but then it becomes unfortunately a little one note. I feel this joke would be a lot better suited as a quick throwaway bit in a longer piece with bigger jokes.

But that's all from me. At the end of the day, this story is very competently written and didn't leave me confused at all. I'd say it's a solid start to something bigger, but as it is, it doesn't have much of a grab-factor.

Thanks for writing!

P. S. Your first line! I was about to complain that you gave the main girl a guy's name when I saw it change to Rhona later. Always check it before submitting!
#5 ·
· · >>Miller Minus >>Cassius
Alternate Title: Wyvern Search

Ladies and gentlemen, the second best comedy entry of this round.

Yeah, I prefer "Male-Order Magic," and I'm gonna have to explain that one. But for now, let's talk about this nifty little story, about hapless characters trying and failing to deal with a wyvern as it terrorizes the town.

First of all, I like this scenario. It reminds me of something out of Konosuba, where the party will presumably defeat the enemy just barely, in spite of their collective incompetence and stupidity. And as with that show, there is a joke here about the mechanics of high fantasy worlds.

I low-key lol'd the first time I read it, so I can say this worked somewhat as a comedy.

Unfortunately, this entry has only one joke, and it's not too funny a second time around.

Now, I consider that to be a very light criticism, for two reasons:

1. This is a minific, and the minific format doesn't allow for a lot of jokes to be made, unless you're not concerned about story and characters. You only have so much time, and common sense might say you best save your one good joke for last.

2. The "one big joke" method is highly subjective, as is all comedy, and personally I'm more of a rapid-fire absurdity kind of guy. I mean, I grew up loving Airplane! and The Naked Gun, so of course I'm biased towards the joke-a-second school of comedy. Course, that was back when that school of comedy even existed...

Anyway, this entry is nice in that it rewards the reader for being savvy about the high fantasy genre. Granted, that's assuming the reader is a massive nerd, but we all are, so it's okay. You can probably predict what the joke will be if you're savvy enough, but it's more about the character's reactions to the situation than the reveal itself, I think.

The author took a big L for changing a character's name midway through the story, though, so that's worth a spanking.

Upper third of my slate for sure. Not in my top 3, because I'd prefer to have only one comedy in my top 3, and that spot goes to another story.

Good luck, though!
#6 · 4

Not in my top 3, because I'd prefer to have only one comedy in my top 3

#7 ·
I’m sorry mono Im a loser bc I’ve never watched Star Wars so I have no fucking clue what that metaphor is getting at.

I do, however, understand the first part of your comment. Reduced efficiency doesn’t mean nulled. ;)
#8 ·
That was a great punchline.
#9 · 3
· · >>horizon
I don't have much to say about this entry if I'm being honest. That's not a bad thing by any means, just that there's really not much advice I can give you.

In terms of scene construction, this is probably the most solid of the entries that could be labelled as "comedy" in this competition. Might be a bit too much word-space with main character Ronah yelling at her assistant in gobblygook, but I get that's sort of necessary for the flavor to come across. Although I do think Rohna's attitude can be a little off-putting, and I'm not sure if that joke would be better or worse if Rohan is actually the "guild kid" who shows up completely mis-geared for the encounter and is told off by a more experienced Goblin Dragon Slayer.

But anyways, outside that change to Rhnoa's character, I don't have much to say. It's a story that whose punchline I explicitly expected right from the title, and while the last line is a nice quip, it still sort of feels a little too on the rails and dependent on that one joke hitting. As with >>No_Raisin, I'm inclined to adopt the perspective that a big joke is best supplemented with smatterings of smaller jokes within it or elements that can ratchet up the absurdity. One thing that may have been a good idea was to give Ewan some firepower to banter back with Rnhoa that plays up those MMORPG/anime/fantasy tropes you clearly like so much.

Gag I just came up with when Ewan asks about armor:

"What's the difference?" Ewan asks. "They're just the same chain-mail bikini!"

"The other one is blue!" Rhano yelled.

I think what stops this story from being a dud to me is just the enthusiasm the writer brings to the subject. The author clearly is a fan of this sort of stuff, and isn't trying to inflate the story as something more significant than it is. It's an honest piece, which means I respect it.
#10 ·
· · >>Miller Minus
So the first time you use her name, you misspell it? Not the best foot to put forward.

There's a lot of earnestness here, drawing the reader along for the joke, and it is a bit infectious. I had fun reading it. But like I said for "Patrimony," this one's structured rather like a feghoot with a long build-up to a punchline. How well that punchline lands will of course depend on the reader. I liked it, but I was a little uncertain whether Rohan was saying she just needed to be equipped to fight a wyvern or whether they're outside her bailiwick. Even a little hint that she was going to have to return home to swap out her weapon set would clear that up. The fact that she alludes ot even having such equipment tends to lean that way, but she never sounds like she intends to go get it.

You've set this up to be an adventure story only to have it turn out not to be, so I can see some readers suffering from genre bait and switch. Plus you're betting everything on the one joke landing, whereas comedy typically works better by escalating.

I don't really have much to say. It's a straightforward entry, and I found it funny, but its success rides entirely on the reader liking a single joke.
#11 · 4
· · >>Pascoite
The fact that she alludes ot even having such equipment

Pasco why you do this
#12 · 5
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
>>Miller Minus
We are nothing if not creatures of tradition, doomed ot repeat the past.
#13 · 3
…doomed ot repeat the past.

We’ll never see the end of that prompt, either.
#14 ·
Not a whole lot I can add here beyond piling on with previous commenters' "whole story depends on the single joke" analysis. For me, by the time you reach it, you've long since beat the horse wyvernequus to death. Agreed with >>Cassius that this would be vastly improved by layering in other jokes along the way. To me, the monkey comment is good but too little, too late.

Obviously, YMMV. Thanks for writing!
#15 ·
Funny last line, but takes too long to get there. Cut some of the chaff. This would be better served at the minimum word count (or as close as you can to get there).

Prompt relevance... dragon/wyvern joke. Yup.