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Whether you're a veteran roleplayer or a total n00b, sometimes you need to make sure that cheese-building power-gamer in your group didn't just toss an insult your way. Or maybe you just need the new group to know you grok the lingo. Look up all your dobbers and procs here on Gamer Jargon.
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Gaming that is primarily centered around killing monsters, getting loot and experience to become stronger to kill more monsters. People who play adventure games often mistake this for roleplaying and may describe the games they play as 'roleplaying games' despite the clear lack of depth, plot, and character development central to any actual roleplaying game.
Short for "alternate character." A character other than the "primary" character played by the same player in the same game world, setting, or campaign.
Any attempts at shock value on the part of an actual roleplayer will backfire due to a combination of metagaming and general apathy.
Addendum: Fallacy was first hypothesized by the eponymous player during a campaign in which the noble death wizard in a party of otherwise mundane people turned out to be the voice of morality for the party. Due to the Assumption of Party everyone else assumed she was meant to travel with them, was constrained by the same rules, and wouldn't harm them despite actually killing a PC and trapping her soul during the second chapter. Combine that with the Law of Player Alignment (so everyone else was generally morally bankrupt), the story more-or-less consisted of the rest of the group committing various heinous acts which the death wizard had to rescue them from.
Something said Out of Character by a player indicated as such
holding a thumb to their temple with the other fingers spread.
(A reference to a Monty Python sketch where a boss puts on a moose-antler hat to indicate to his secretary that he is talking to her rather than dictating something to be transcribed.)
(acronym) "Area of Effect" The volume or space, usually a circle (on a map) or a sphere (in 3D), within which the effects of a spell, explosion, fire, or other attack or effect are applied.
A stat representing a character's ability to avoid or absorb damage, usually (but not always) modified by equipment rather than skills and abilities.
Regardless of any hierarchies that might exist, whether in- or out-of-character, every player will assume their character is fundamentally equal to every other PC and will thus behave as though authority is completely absent. In the case where any one person attempts to assume authority, that person will be either torn down or ignored. This is especially problematic in systems or settings where rank is a prominent feature of the system (i.e. any military-themed setting).
An assumption made by members of a gaming group that their PC's, by virtue of being PC's, must form a
Party) that stays together throughout the story.
(This assumption, found most often in adventure games and games which de-emphasize roleplaying, often leads to a situation of Tyranny of the Stupid, since the least-intelligent member of the party can do whatever they want and the rest of the characters just have to put up with it and suffer the consequences.)
Addendum: A possible corollary to the Assumption of Party is the Assumption of Equality.
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A nerd or gamer exhibiting several of the negative stereotypical traits of gamers. Syn. Morlock
See: hex mat
Any action that is so obviously stupid that it shouldn't even have been thought of in the first place. Example: "You're planning on attacking that dragon in only your loincloth and wielding a pointy stick? Why don't you be mean to the GM's girlfriend while you're at it?"
Any foam-rubber or latex weapon used as a physrep in a LARP. Also: dobber
A player in a game group that requires a disclaimer severe enough that it ought to warrant their ejection from the group.
Player 1: "Hi, I'm new here. Anything I should know?"
Player 2: "Yeah, if George throws a temper tantrum and starts throwing dice, just try to ignore it. He'll calm down once he realizes nobody's paying attention to him."
Player 1: "So George is the broken stair. Got it."
Addendum: The connotation here is that it's the GM's fault the player is still in the game and the players just have to learn to deal with it, similar to a broken stair that people just learn to avoid because nobody will fix it.
A dungeon crawl through dark tunnels or catacombs, searching for a usually non-humanoid monster (or set of monsters); usu. but not always in a science-fiction setting.
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The place where unused or unwanted characters live.
(From a special encounter in the videogame Fallout 2, where a player with high enough Luck can randomly encounter a building that has many characters from the first game that don't appear in the sequel. Analogous to "Mandyland" of The West Wing, where the wholly unlikeable character of Mandy disappeared without explanation after the first season, and thereafter any character who was removed was said to have "gone to Mandyland.")
A list of the works pertaining to a particular setting/world/milieu/etc. that are accepted as authentic and pertinent to a story or game, forming the entirety of the background information used as reference material.
To do or have done, whether through skill or effort, the majority of the work in achieving the goal of the group or party, thus being the sole reason for the party's victory. e.x. "Even though the bard was picking his nose the entire time and the cleric couldn't roll higher than a five, we still won thanks to me carrying this party. You're welcome."
Also: character generation. See also: roll up.
The process native to each dice system in which a character's stats and abilities are laid out and recorded upon a character sheet before the game begins.
To roll the dice and compare them to a stat or target in order to determine success or failure. Synonymous with 'roll.'
A thing constructed for a game which takes advantage of the current metagame to consist entirely of OP components. Generally considered to be a sign of poor sportsmanship.
The particular combination of body odor, mildew, sweat, and filth that permeates the air wherever you pack hundreds of unwashed geeks, nerds, and gamers into hotel conference rooms for a long weekend.
Any failed combat or skill resolution that produces catastrophic results beyond the mere failure of the attempt. Also fumble, critical miss.
Describes any game which involves a great deal of number juggling, chart consulting, and calculator punching. Derived from the amount of number crunching involved in playing any such game.
"You cannot write science-fiction for non sci-fi fans." An immutable law often ignored by Hollywood in their mad graspings for money. See also: Star Trek (2009 film)
Addendum: A spinoff of Babylon 5, Crusade was killed in quite brutal fashion by the network after their market research told them fans of the show weren't watching their other programming, and their usual viewers weren't watching the show. When the network insisted on massive shifts in tone to try and grab a wider audience (such as having the series premiere with a bar fight), the sci-fi fans stopped watching.
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A way of referring to polyhedral dice by the number of faces. A twenty-sided die would be a d20 [pronounced "dee twenty"]. A one hundred-sided die can be either d100 or d% [dee percent]. Note: in written form, the 'd' is almost always lower-case. See also: n-sider, xdn, dice notation
Anything which, by virtue of going against previously-established rules or boundaries of a setting, violently yanks players out of immersion. The plot equivalent of a full stop. Ex. "When we went to talk to the shopkeep again, his shop suddenly had two quad vulcan cannon mounts, a SAM battery, and a full brigade of marines. It was dancing pink bunnies, I tell you!"
Addendum: The term comes from a misquote from a line in Stargate: Atlantis. In the episode "Home", Dr. McKay figures out his reality is a simulation and explains it by saying it's like "looking though a microscope and seeing a thousand dancing hamsters."
A roleplaying or adventure game which does not advertise and does not accept new players, usually conducted exclusively among a group of friends.
Addendum: Dark games can be quite a problem for a roleplaying community, as they downplay the amount of activity taking place in the community while separating people from said community.
Unpainted figurines (which may be either lead or plastic)
A general name for non-human humanoid races such as elves and dwarves. Rarely, if ever, used outside of D&D.
to interrupt a game in progress with something not game-related that catches the attention of the other players. A GM's spine can be measured in the minutes it takes to return attention to the game.
Derived from the word 'desperate', this term refers to roleplayers (usually female) who are desperate for love or attention, and thus ignore general roleplaying etiquette to try and gain this love or attention. Most players of Mary Sue characters, godmoders, and powergamers fall under this category. Often describing their characters as perfect or near enough (especially physically), despies expect those qualities to get the attention they crave, and my become violent and vindictive if the people around them don't behave as desired.
Standard gamer notation for representing dice rolls, taking the form of [xdn+a] where x is the number of dice to be rolled, n is the number of faces on each die, and a is any subsequent modifier. Normal mathematical orders of operation apply, with random numbers generated first. Example: 2d10+5 means the player should roll two ten-sided dice, add together the numbers shown, and then add five to the result. Some systems maintain the notation even though dice rolled are not added together. Instead, the number of dice are rolled with each one compared against a target number. See also: n-sider, xdn, d*
See: freeform roleplaying
See: level up.
Addendum: From EverQuest, and the noise accompanied by a flash of light that would happen upon gaining a level.
Addendum: While nearly every roleplaying game system in existence lays out quite clearly how combat and killing works (indeed, this is usually the central feature of the system), what skills a person needs to steal and remain undetected, and what a character needs to roll to beat information out of a captive person, almost none of them ever explore the consequences of these actions. Even Warhammer Fantasy, a system that tracks how insane each character is due to mental and physical trauma, places ZERO penalties on characters for murder, theft, and torture.
When you combine this with The Law of Player Alignment, this often leads to situations like having to listen to one of your players go on for a half hour about how they can't eat the cake you made, because the frosting has gelatin in it, gelatin comes from pigs, and pigs are smart enough to pass the mirror test and should be treated like people; that is then followed immediately by the same player sitting down and laying out in graphic detail how his character will torture the prisoner to get the information he wants.
When a game forces you to fail during a cutscene or any other time when you are not in direct control
Addendum: The New Gamer Dictionary Part 2 - Hey Ash Watcha Playin'?
Any game scenario confined to a series of connected rooms, populated by hostile monsters, traps, puzzles and other obstacles which the characters must overcome to gain treasure and experience.
The gamemaster of a D&D game.
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A common form of quest which involves moving with an NPC from one point to another, protecting them from
along the way. Typically preceded by the word 'fucking', as in "We're going to kill our GM if he
gives us one
more fucking escort mission."
(The NPC in an escort mission is usually dumb as a brick, has no appreciable skills to protect themselves, and the escorting characters have no control over their movements.)
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The most basic and common task assigned to players in any form of roleplaying or adventure game, consisting solely of "go somewhere else, collect X number of a particular item, then return here for your reward."
To make something suitable for distribution (fan fiction of copyrighted material, the rules for a LARP based off a popular TV show, etc) by removing any specific references to canon.
A strategic mistake made when a group of characters is standing close enough together that they all may be targeted by one single attack (usually a fireball).
Friendly Local Game Store. A locally-owned (as opposed to big-box or franchise) game store. Usually serves as the local hub for all manner of gamer-related activity.
Containing large amounts of, or primarily concerned with, fluff and lore. The opposite of crunchy.
Any action that can be performed during a combat round in addition to any combat actions without taking any extra time or incurring any additional penalties to the combat action.
Any system of roleplaying that determines outcomes either by consensus or a designated referee as opposed to having stats and dice rolls.
See: Critical Failure
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(acronym) "gamer significant other"
The boyfriend or girlfriend of a gamer who shows up to games just to hang out with their significant other; usually pretends to be interested in playing the game, and ends up being a negative or distracting influence.
The collected jargon and vocabulary specific to gamers used to describe game-related situations or re-applied from those situations to describe mundane situations so as to relate them to other gamers.
A fantasy movie in which a Powergamer, a Shell Script, and a Munchkin learn the real meaning of roleplaying after being exposed to a Token Female Gamer.
To ambush someone in such a way as to take something from them or gain the advantages of having completed their chosen objective before they have an opportunity to.
The story "The Tale of Eric and the Dread Gazebo," widely known and retold often among gamers. Recounted in its entirety here: http://www.duke.edu/web/DRAGO/humor/gazebo.html
A particularly nasty affliction affecting gamemasters after weeks/months/years of ungrateful players coming into their home, eating their food, and playing their game whilst making the GM do the work of a part-time job without pay or the entertainment that comes from being a player. Symptoms include irritability, increased sadism, a desire to kill player characters, and general not-giving-a-fuck. The only known treatment for GM burnout is for the GM to participate in a game as entertaining or more entertaining than the game which caused the burnout.
(acronym) "Game Master's Player Character," an oxymoron. An NPC that follows the characters around with whom the GM has developed a certain attachment. Such characters are invariably overpowered Mary Sue types that will show off their awesomeness at every opportunity.
The blank and unfocused look that comes over your GM's face as he tries desperately to calculate out all the consequences your question or action will have upon his plot.
A meta-rule often printed in the sidebar of roleplaying manuals which takes various forms but essentially boils down to "THE GM'S WORD IS LAW."
Any encounter or detriment that shows up spontaneously as an avatar of the GM's frustration or ire.
The mythical crunchiest breakfast cereal in the world, used to mock players who are more interested in point juggling than roleplaying. Example: "Go crunch your bowl of GURPSios somewhere else, poindexter. We're trying to roleplay here."
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A game that focuses almost entirely on combat, lacking even the token attempts at roleplaying and plot present in other adventure games.
Addendum: In any fantasy setting where half-elves are not already a distinct race, expect to see plenty of characters with one human parent and one elven parent claiming to have all the archery/magic/sexiness bonuses of the elf with all the varied (and often random) bonuses from the human. In science fiction settings, expect to see the Proud Warrior Race paired off with the frail race with mental powers to produce psychic berserker characters.
To fanboy about your own character.
Addendum: In Dragon Age: Origins, you can create your own character. In Dragon Age 2, you are forced to play the creator's stock character, Hawke. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, you are allowed to create your own character once again, but all of the background NPC's spend the entire game gushing about how great Hawke is. It gets to the point where as you are saving all the Grey Wardens, your entire army is cheering Hawke for rescuing people from the walls.
Addendum 2: Johnny fuckin' Gat, especially for anybody who started playing Saint's Row when it started getting good (i.e. having skipped 1 and 2). Even after his ninety seconds of screen time at the beginning of SR3 are over, characters constantly gush about how great Johnny Gat was and their deep emotional bonds with a character who had all the depth of a postcard. The Hawkeing reaches a breaking point in Saint's Row 4, where the sheer overpowering awesomeness of Johnny Gat is a major plot point despite the character having absolutely no effect on the story whatsoever.
(oxymoron) Facts about a setting which exist only in a specific person's head. Sometimes directly contradictory to established canon, but most often involving parts of the canon that were never properly explored. Example: "Those two background characters who each got a minute of screen time obviously fell in love and had three children named Margaret, Donald, and Gort. This is now headcanon!"
See: hit points
A plastic, rubber, or silicone sheet with a pre-printed hexagonal grid on one side and usually a square grid printed on the other, designed to be written on with erasable marker, used to draw maps and other reference material during RPGs. See also: battlemat.
A geek, nerd, or gamer who can still blend appropriately with non-gamer society through the understanding of fashion, hygiene, and normal social customs and practices. Antonym: basement-dweller
A statistic representing how much damage a character can withstand before dying. Also: health, life points. The term 'HP' may be used as a genericised term regardless of how the system tracks damage and healing.
A combat system which is "Nasty, Brutish, and Short." Favored by players more interested in
than spending three and a half hours figuring out attack of opportunity rolls or, gods forbid, grapple
(From Thomas Hobbes' description of the state of man without government in The Leviathian.)
An original system and/or setting created by a GM for a specific game. Quality varies wildly depending on the creator, but the general reputation of homebrew games is for being rough, unpolished, and less fleshed out than established systems and settings.
Any rule created by the GM that applies within their domain or to any of the groups they run. Applies to both rules created to address shortcomings in the dice system being used (e.g. "I've house-ruled Perception into a stat instead of a skill for my games and updated all the careers accordingly.") and to general codes of behavior for being inside another person's home (e.g. "House rules are no smoking, no shoes on the carpet, and keep your feet off the table.")
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Also: turn order
The order, as determined by initiative, in which characters may take their actions during a single combat round.
A phrase used and as a combination of an apology and an explanation for a player making a comment
information the character wouldn't know, usually a real world reference.
(From the popular "Atkins Switcher" WoW video)
Phrase spoken (usually in a deep, gruff voice) when witnessing something incredibly sexy. Translates
"[That] has given me a powerful and irresistible urge to masturbate."
(Spoken by Jayne Cobb in Firefly, War Stories)
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A painful and out-of-control swelling of a series of novels characterized by high amounts of filler once the author is either no longer sure what to do with the story or realizes that more money can be made churning out books describing in great detail what the characters are wearing.
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(verb, noun: killstealer, KSer) To deal the final killing blow to an enemy or mob such that you are the sole recipient of any rewards, loot, or experience. Usually after someone else has done the majority of the work to kill the target, but may also be applied in situations where someone else has claimed the right to kill the target, usually through camping.
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(acronym) "Live-Action Role-Playing." a role-playing game in which players dress in costume and represent their characters themselves, physically acting out their character interactions, often in a suitable setting or environment such as a building, park, or forested area.
All characters, regardless of backstory or current situation, will behave as a less-mature version of the person playing them.
Also: Allen's Rule
Within any gaming group, there will be a minimum of one player who unhinges from reality and acts in a chaotically destructive manner. If this person leaves or is removed from the group, another player will go crazy to take their place.
Addendum: This law demonstrates that gaming groups act as a closed system under the second law of thermodynamics, such that if a player has gone crazy to replace a previously crazy person and a new person is introduced who is more insane, the first player will revert to their previous sanity.
Addendum to #3: This refers to the tale of the Sparkly Pink d10, which was discovered at least a year after any player who could have abandoned it left the game. When it was rolled for a player who happened to be absent for the day's task of driving a wagon over relatively normal terrain, it caused that character to careen wildly off into the forest and break its axles with the force of impacting multiple trees. The kicker? The player whose character was so afflicted was brought in as the replacement for the most likely person to have left the die.
The closer the relationship between two players out of game, the more abusive the relationship between their characters in-game.
All players, regardless of their characters, act under the Chaotic Neutral alignment, where every action is explained by "I just felt like it." or "It seemed like a good idea at the time." See Also: Path of Whatever-I-Was-Going-To-Do-Anyway.
Any player not adhering to the above laws may be a member of the Chosen Tribe (true roleplayers).
Upon entering the gaming group, the Token Female Gamer will select the "best" male of the group (using whatever standards the player would normally use to gauge such) and any characters of that player will be the sole focus of any romantic attentions from characters played by the Token Female Gamer. This will happen regardless of the relationship status of any of the players involved unless the Token Female Gamer's significant other is actively part of the group, in which case the relationship will be subject to the Law of Inverse Character Friendship.
A rules lawyer who will bring up obscure rule points at any moment, regardless of whether they help or hurt the players.
A player concerned with items and treasure above all else.
Refers to times when a player is so blinded by the promise of getting stuff that they cannot see anything
Ex: We were going to try and take the guard for questioning but Grey had his loot goggles on that day and so he ended up killing him, taking his sword and running screaming into the night.
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An object which exists for the sole purpose of driving the plot, the major defining aspect of which is that the characters will do anything to obtain it. Its properties and powers may or may not be defined but are unimportant to the plot regardless. The quintessential example of a macguffin is The One Ring.
The jealously felt by mundane or martial characters for their fellows possessed of special abilities once it becomes apparent the lengths to which those abilities may be abused.
Often found in game systems where a strictly martial character's combat prowess increases linearly while the combat prowess of a character with special abilities (such as magic, psionics, superpowers, etc.) increases exponentially.
Also: male version, Gary Stu
A self-insert character created to represent the author for the purpose of wish fulfillment. Almost universally loathed due to a tendency toward being so perfect as to stretch credibility and otherwise being too poorly-developed to be interesting.
Any character, usually lacking in magical, divine, or otherwise supernatural skills, whose purpose in the party is to stand between the easier-to-kill characters and any impending danger, usually while said characters are slinging spells, shooting arrows, or otherwise dealing out the lion's share of the damage.
To use knowledge obtained out of game for benefit within the game. Such knowledge can be due to having previously played a module, extensive knowledge of the system (such as memorizing the entire monster manual), or even just being aware of the GM's/other players normal habits. As such, metagaming can be very hard to avoid but the better roleplayers are the ones who make a constant effort to do so.
A prominent example of metagaming can be found in the 2002 cult film The Gamers. Early in the game, Rogar reveals his character has a Sword of Ogre Slaying. The party's mage, Ambrose, is killed mid-session and his player is directed to roll up a new character: another mage named Magellan. During the climactic fight with The Shadow, Magellan uses a polymorph spell to turn the villain into an ogre, thus allowing Rogar to defeat him with his Sword of Ogre Slaying... which Magellan couldn't have known Rogar had since he was only with the party for a very short time.
The over-arching (and usually canon) storyline of a setting.
(verb) A form of powergaming in which the player overspecializes by creating a character with the maximum allowable focus in a single area by minimizing all other skills and abilities.
Any pre-written and published roleplaying scenario.
A character created by abusing loopholes in a system during character creation, typically within a merit/flaw or ad/disad system. Usually created by powergamers, often also min/maxed, the defining characteristic of a munchkin is the abuse of the system to create a character that has more power than a starting level character should.
(In most roleplaying systems, there is a system of ads/disads or merits/flaws which allow you to make little tweaks to your character. Merits/ads are helpful things that cost points while flaws/disads are things that count against you and will typically give you extra points to spend. One common flaw/disad is "Short" which has little to no bearing on actual gameplay but allows a few extra points to spend. Characters which are shorter than normal have a good chance of being munchkins. Characters who have stacked this flaw so many times that they are technically dwarves but have ability scores far beyond what any dwarf would be capable of (such as jumping several times their own body height) are certainly munchkins.)
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The value of a die roll, unmodified by bonuses or penalties.
See: Critical Hit
(verb) To use up large amounts of game time discussing the problem at hand, usually in a committee of player characters, long past the point where Kirk would have just punched an alien in the face.
(verb, noun: ninjalooter, ninja) To take an object of loot for one's self despite any rules or social conventions dictating the distribution of said loot, either by taking it before anyone else can or by exploiting a loophole in the loot mechanics (i.e. choosing to roll "need" after everyone else has chosen "greed").
(acronym) "Non Player Character"
A character in a story controlled by the GM as opposed to one of the players.
(where n is always replaced by a number) A common way of referring to dice by their number of faces. Example: a cube die with 6 faces would be a 'six-sider' or a "d6". See also: d*, xdn, dice notation
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(acronym) "Out-Of-Character." actions and speech made by the player to other players, not by
player's character to other characters; any thing that occurs in the real world outside of the game,
rather than in
the game world.
Player 1: "I disbelieve."
GM: [rolls] "Denied."
Player 2: "Oh my God, you are such a loser."
Player 1: "You dare profane the gods, and insult my honor? I shall slay you!"
Player 2: "Whoa! That was out-of-character!"
Also: above game.
(acronym) "Over-Powered." Used to describe anything in a game (spell, stat, ability, weapon, talent, etc.) with a far greater effectiveness-to-cost ratio compared to other things in the same category or system.
A player response that was entirely unanticipated by the GM.
(When the party comes to a junction in which the obvious courses of action are A or B, the players inevitably choose option X instead; some bizarre and ridiculous thing that the GM could never have possibly dreamed up.)
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A reference to a Vampire: The Masquerade player who ignores his or her character's Path characteristic,
abuses his or her Path.
(Instead of an alignment stat, Vampire: The Masquerade assigns characters to various "Paths," moral codes that the character can not deviate from without penalty.)
(acronym) "Player Character," a character in a story controlled by one of the players.
Short for "physical representation" an object which exists out of game and is used to represent an in-game object. For example, a foam sword is a physrep for an actual sword. Physreps usually bear a resemblance to the objects they represent, but may deviate from this for reasons of practicality, safety, and reality, such as a bean bag representing a magic spell, fireball, or shot arrow. Term is almost wholly limited to items in a LARP; any similar item used in a tabletop game would be referred to as a 'prop.'
Also: repop. See: spawn
The tendency for games to become imbalanced as more content is added. As new mechanics, skills, or abilities are added to a game, older content becomes less and less useful.
An adventure gamer who is entirely concerned with "winning" the game, and willing to abuse any loophole in the games rules to do so. See also: Munchkin
"Pre-generated character" A character created by the GM rather than the PC playing him or her. Most often found in one-shot games and modules.
To cause a mob to become aggressive and chase the pulling character to a desired location, usually away from the area where similar mobs spawn, and towards the waiting forces of the pulling character's party.
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A player in a roleplaying or adventure game that tends to drive the plot with their active approach to
and willingness to lead.
(Origin obscure...may come from sports or something.)
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To stop playing a game due to being angry over an event that happened during the game.
See: vanity roll
A character, usually an NPC, whose one notable quality is their expandability.
To take an action to make another person or group of people like you.
(From WoW, increasing reputation.)
Addendum: Ironically, one definition is attempting to try again while the other definition is giving up.
See: Spec. To re-allocate a character's set of skills or abilities in order to change proficiencies. Usually accomplished by returning all allocatable points to the player to then spend again as they please but can refer to any re-specialization.
('retcon' is short for 'retroactive continuity')
A derogatory term for an adventure gamer, d-tard, powergamer, minmaxer, or rules lawyer. Indicates that
person is more interested in numbers and dice rolling than story and character.
(Unfortunately, the insult really only works in writing.)
The most basic unit of game time, lasting between three and ten seconds in-game, during which characters are allowed to take a limited number of actions. One round is the time it takes for each character present to complete their allowed action(s) in order of initiative.
A player whose encyclopedic knowledge of the games rules and slavish adherence to a literal interpretation of the rules causes him to constantly interrupt gameplay to bring up an obscure point that just happens to benefit their character at that particular point in time.
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"An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic."
Put forth in an essay by author Brandon Sanderson, this law basically states that the more coherent a system of magic and the better it is explained, the more it can be used to solve problems without seeming like a deus ex machina. This can apply to both writing fiction and playing roleplaying games. If a player has a working knowledge of the underlying principles of how the magic works the way it does, they can adapt those rules to suit their needs. Conversely, a poorly-developed and poorly-explained system of magic is better utilized in creating problems and forcing players to utilize normal and mundane means of solving problems.
A gamer who abuses the system in order to disrupt, destroy, or bypass a linear scenario as either a form
protest for a railroad plot or just to stroke his e-peen.
Example: When Bob decided to use his maxed-out charm ability to seduce the queen instead of going on her fetch quest, the GM called him a scenario breaker and left.
(Gamerese) A folded cardboard piece stood up lengthwise, to prevent players from seeing the gamemaster's notes; either officially published by a game manufacturer or created with printouts and 3-ring binders, with illustrations on the player's side, and combat tables or other useful information on the gamemaster's side.
Time during a roleplaying session in which a character is the focus of any events currently
(Whether Screen Time or Experience Points is the most sought-after reward by players in a roleplaying game is a subject of much debate.)
When multiple writers all contribute to characters in the same world, or characters from one story have made enough cameo or crossover appearances in another, they are assumed to co-inhabit the same universe simultaneously.
See: Stat talk
A player who contributes almost nothing to the roleplaying or characterization elements of a game, yet also does nothing to detract from either.
(Every roleplaying group has encountered this type of player at one time or another. Our most prominent example was a fellow named Doug. Given a list of options, Doug would invariably choose the most logical course of action given his character's skillset and another character's willingness to lead. His characters had no personality beyond the character sheet, but did nothing to interfere with the other players so he was essentially a player-run NPC. This led to the phrase "Doug is Doug," after a very long and detailed explanation of the player characters and their respective personalities finally came around to his character and ended abruptly with "...and Doug is Doug".)
A game or story whose entire purpose is to showcase the abilities of the GM and the GM's characters with little or no input from the players, so named because the GM spends the entire time playing with himself.
A weapon which accelerates a solid projectile or projectiles by means of chemical reaction, i.e. what most normal people would simply refer to as a 'gun'. Used in science fiction to differentiate such weapons from energy projectors (lasers, plasma guns, etc.) and other usually more advanced technology.
Also respawn, pop, repop
To be created within the game world, usually referring to characters. Spawn and Pop are used synonymously when referring to NPC's or objects; when referring to PC's, only 'spawn' is used.
As per "So, anyway...", while referencing the last topic of table talk to connect it to the current happenings of the game.
In a dungeon crawl scenario, a monster that offers absolutely no challenge to the PC's and is there solely as filler or to force a combat scene to slow progression through the dungeon.
A predefined subset of a larger list of things (such as abilities, equipment, spells, etc) usually but not always with a specific theme or use that is gained by a character all at once, as opposed to being earned or purchased separately.
For example, upon creating a character and choosing the Warrior class, you might gain a 'splat' of 5-6 warrior-specific abilities to start with, then pick and choose further abilities during the course of play.
Addendum: When Games Workshop decided to take their popular Warhammer franchise into space, the various fantasy elements were translated over. Humans fighters became space marines, elves became eldar, and so forth. The dwarven race became the Squats, a dwarf-like species of human that made big guns and tanks and generally did dwarf things in space. Then, sometime after the 2nd edition of Warhammer 40K, the entire faction was dropped with the excuse their homeworld was eaten by bugs. From then on, whenever GW took too long to update any particular army, the players would claim "they'll be squatted!" to express their fear that GW had removed the faction entirely.
In RPGs, the quantified variables which are chosen or randomized to represent the physical and mental characteristics of a character. Derived from the word 'statistic', but the two are not interchangeable. Also: Attribute, Characteristic, Score.
Referring directly to a character's stats or abilities, especially when it would be inappropriate to do so such as any in-character speech.
Any ongoing condition that detracts from a character's abilities during combat, usually applied as the result of a debuff or damage over time spell.
A player in a LARP who only cares about hitting people with boffers instead of roleplaying. The LARP version of an adventure gamer.
Another term for a GM, usually used for GMs of White Wolf games.
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Discussion during a role-playing session unrelated to the game. Generally considered acceptable before or after the game session, but frowned upon during the actual game.
A roleplaying game played in-person in a sedentary social situation, usually around a table of some sort, that does not usually focus upon costuming and acting. The term was developed specifically to differentiate this style of play from LARPs and games played online.
Phrase used as an exclamation of approval for something done particularly well. Gryffindor is the most common, neutral expression, but often another of the Harry Potter houses is substituted in reference to either the person or the actions being praised. For example, if the person was the intelligent bookish sort, or the action involved heavy library research, someone might say "Ten points for Ravenclaw!" instead.
You know "that guy." Do not be "that guy."
The maximum number of female players that any adventure game can support is one. Said player will be the primary object of attention for the rest of the players and will guard her position jealously. Token female gamers can be either 'open' or 'closed'. Open token females will brazenly flirt, in- and out-of-character, with all the other male players in the group and often enter into short-lived relationships with various members in turn. Closed token females present an attitude of annoyance with any overt attempts by the group to flirt with her while still benefiting from the attention given to her by the group.
Roleplaying games may be able to support more female players in the group as the increased depth of story allows them to carve out niches for themselves to exist in, but they will be constantly at odds as they vie for attention except in rare cases where clear hierarchical relationships are laid out between certain characters.
To knowingly take actions that will cause a game to fail with the possibility of breaking up the group,
for out of game reasons. Contrast: scenario breaker.
Example: Joan was pissed at Kristy for hitting on her boyfriend so she torpedoed the game by having her character take a shit on the throne during the king's speech.
(noun/verb) An incidence of all the Player Characters dying in a single encounter which (rightfully or not) is blamed on the gamemaster.
(noun/verb) An incidence of all the Player Characters dying in a single encounter which is blamed on the actions of the players themselves.
See: initiative order
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The PC combination of Tank, Healer, and DPS upon which most roleplaying games (and all computer
games) are built. The idea behind this strategy is the tank is heavily armored and can hold the
attention, the healer keeps the tank from dying, and the DPS causes damage to the opponents.
(Good roleplaying games and GMs will set it up so this tactic is difficult if not impossible, forcing players to use strategy and creativity rather than falling back into this pattern.)
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Also: Smile-Friendly RP
Roleplaying situations where no inter-player conflict is tolerated.
Also: random roll. A roll called for by the GM (or sometimes another player) with no real consequences on the game, used either for humor value or to determine something the GM or player doesn't want to decide on such as a character's current mood or whether a character notices something trivial.
GM: "Okay, give me a random Charisma roll."
Token Female Gamer: (rolls) "Uch, a 3."
GM: "So nothing happens. Anyway, you were just about to..."
TFG: "Wait, can I spend one of my re-rolls on it?"
GM: "Don't worry, it was just a vanity roll to see if that group of guys was checking you out."
TFG: (pause) "Can I spend all of my rerolls on that?"
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To initiate something for which one is not prepared and should instead be avoided.
(From the behavior of the Witch in Left 4 Dead)
A gamemaster's screen. Also Screen
(From the name of the GM screen in the Paranoia RPG.)
Addendum: Comes from an Aeon Trinity game where the principal PCs included a teenage shapeshifter, an electrokinetic scientist, and a British historian-slash-psychokinetic. Tasked with obtaining information from another electrokinetic individual, they track him to his hangout in a particular nightclub. Instead of entering, the historian tells the other two to lure the target into the back alley and disappears.
The remaining PCs enter the club and find the target maintaining a full-body hologram about his person, indicating that he was a photokinetic specialist (commanding lights, lasers, holograms, etc) rather than being an electricity specialist like the PC.
They do manage to lure the target into the alley, at which point the historian returns, having run to the corner store to purchase condoms and bottled water to make water balloons. He rains water balloons on the target then stands inches from his face taunting him about not being able to use his lightning powers anymore... at which point the GM informed the player that the person he was taunting was seconds from using his laser powers to blow a basketball-sized hole in the PC's torso. The game ended upon the following exchange.
PC (OOC): Okay then fine. How much damage can his laser do, anyway?
GM (OOC): About fifteen, give or take.
PC (OOC): How many hit points do I have?
GM (OOC): ... eight.
A particular type of fairweather friend that can only ever attend games on weekday nights because they want to save their weekends for their real friends. Often the same type of people that use phrases like "real life comes first," and "closet gamer."
The propensity for characters in roleplaying games to conveniently lack emotional and familial attachments to other people, whether out of fear of sadistic GMs using said ties against their characters or simply out of sheer laziness in creating the character's backstory.
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(abbreviation) Experience Points
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Refers to the most clichéd way to start an adventure, skipping over character history and even introducing them to the other players in lieu of just getting to the good parts of the adventure.
The non-fantasy version of "You all meet in a tavern."
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