As we roleplayers and gamers go about our hobby, we are naturally exposed to any number of terms that become second nature both in gaming and our daily life. We often forget that to an outside observer we sound as though we're spouting innane gibberish, or co-opting ordinary words and imbuing them with incomprehensible meaning. For the gamers among you, this is a hilarious take on why we say what we do. For the rest of you, a peek inside the experience of the gamer. This is Gamer Jargon.
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above gameSee: OOC.
adventure gamingGaming 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.
Allen's ruleSee: Law of Conservation of Stupidity, The
altShort for "alternate character." A character other than the "primary" character played by the same player in the same game world, setting, or campaign.
antler commentSomething said Out of Character by a player indicated as such by 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.)
AOE, A.O.E.,(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.
armor classA stat representing a character's ability to avoid or absorb damage, usually (but not always) modified by equipment rather than skills and abilities.
Assumption of Party, TheAn assumption made by members of a gaming group that their PC's, by virtue of being PC's, must form a group (The 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.)
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basement dwellerA nerd or gamer exhibiting several of the negative stereotypical traits of gamers. Syn. Morlock
battlematSee: hex mat
beer and pretzels game
being mean to the GM's girlfriendAny 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?"
bofferAny foam-rubber or latex weapon used as a physrep in a LARP. Also: dobber
buff; buff, to
bug huntA 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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Cafe of Broken Dreams, TheThe 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.")
camp, camp, to
canonA 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.
character creationAlso: 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.
CharlieAn NPC responsible for issuing orders to the party and detailing missions, especially one whom the characters never meet and only communicate with at his leisure.
(From the eponymous, never-seen character in Charlie's Angels.)
check, dice checkTo roll the dice and compare them to a stat or target in order to determine success or failure. Synonymous with 'roll.'
class, character class
con funkThe 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.
critical hit (noun)
critical failureAny failed combat or skill resolution that produces catastrophic results beyond the mere failure of the attempt. Also fumble, critical miss.
crunchyDescribes 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.
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d*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
D-tardShort form of "D&D retard". A breed of gamer who has learned everything about roleplaying from adventure gaming especially D&D. See also: basement dweller, morlock.
dead leadUnpainted figurines (which may be either lead or plastic)
demi-humanA general name for non-human humanoid races such as elves and dwarves. Rarely, if ever, used outside of D&D.
derailto 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.
despieDerived 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.
diceless roleplayingSee: freeform roleplaying
dice notationStandard 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*
dice superstitionAny superstition, tradition, or other belief about how dice should be handled during the game. All gamers will exhibit at least one superstition regarding their dice. Common dice superstitions include:
dingSee: 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.
dumbullshitsauce, dumb bullshit sauceWhen a game forces you to fail during a cutscene or any other time when you are not in direct control of your character.
Addendum: The New Gamer Dictionary Part 2 - Hey Ash Watcha Playin'?
Dungeon CrawlAny 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.
Dungeon Master, D.M., DMThe gamemaster of a D&D game.
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