Gamer Jargon

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.


L-N

L

LARP

(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.

Law of Enemy Dice

  1. Any dice created for an "enemy" game (such as Werewolf dice in Vampire) will intentionally roll poorly.
  2. Any dice primarily used by a system hated by the current GM (such as rolling a d20 in a game where the GM is a vehement D&D-hater) will be cursed by the force of the GM's hatred.
  3. Any dice mistakenly left inside a GM's gaming room by players who have left the game under questionable circumstances will attempt to kill remaining players.

    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.

Law of Player Alignment, The

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.

Law of Character Personalities, The

All characters, regardless of backstory or current situation, will behave as a less-mature version of the person playing them.

Law of Conservation of Stupidity, The

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.

Law of Inverse Character Friendship, The

The closer the relationship between two players out of game, the more abusive the relationship between their characters in-game.

Law of Token Female Attraction, The

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.

Law of the Roleplayer Exception, The

Any player not adhering to the above laws may be a member of the Chosen Tribe (true roleplayers).

Lawful Good Rules Lawyer

A rules lawyer who will bring up obscure rule points at any moment, regardless of whether they help or hurt the players.

Leeroy Jenkins

  1. (verb) To cause the death of your entire party due to extreme stupidity, usu. despite the party's attempts at strategy.
  2. (noun) A pejorative name for a character who refuses to listen to planning and acts without any of the knowledge he could have gained from listening to party members.

level up, level-up

  1. (verb) To accumulate enough experience points to increase in level, thus gaining any of the benefits thereof. Example: "Killing the goblin gives me the last 3 exp I need. Time to level up and get Furious Strike."
  2. (verb) To increase the rank of any stat, skill, or ability. Example: "I've got enough exp saved to level up my engineering to five."

loot, lewt, l00t

  1. (noun) In general usage, a collection of valued objects, often taken as plunder or spoils of war.
  2. (verb) The act of carrying or taking objects as loot.
  3. (gamerese, noun) Any objects which a character believes will be of some use to them at some point in time, thus deemed important enough to keep track of.
  4. (gamerese, verb) To search a room, a corpse, or a collection of either with an eye toward separating off anything valuable and then taking it.

loot whore, lewt whore

A player concerned with items and treasure above all else.

loot goggles

Refers to times when a player is so blinded by the promise of getting stuff that they cannot see anything else.
Example: 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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M

mage envy

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.

Martinizing, martinized

  1. A dry-cleaning process developed by Henry Martin in 1949 that used a non-flammable solvent, thus allowing garments to be processed at the same location they were dropped off.
  2. (gamerese) A process whereby a public figure adopts a one-dimensional persona based on the public's perception of them. Essentially a form of self-induced Flanderization. Named after author George R. R. Martin, who went from being a successful fantasy author to the gleeful murderer of all your favorite characters.

max-out

  1. (verb, adj: maxed-out) To raise an ability or score to its maximum possible rating.

macguffin

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.

meat shield

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.

Mary Sue

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.

module

Any pre-written and published roleplaying scenario.

Morlock

  1. A race of subterranean people described in the 1895 novel The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.
  2. A particular breed of gamer characterized by lack of hygiene and general immaturity. Most Morlocks are invariably D-tards. See also: Basement Dweller

metagame

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.

metaplot

The over-arching (and usually canon) storyline of a setting.

min/max

Also: 'minmax'
(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.

muggle

  1. In the Harry Potter milieu, a non-magical person who is unaware of the existence of magic and the magical world.
  2. In general gamer usage, a "normal" person, i.e. a person who is not a gamer.

munchkin

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.)

murderhobo

  1. a pejorative term for a player character who has no connections to any person, place, or thing and solves all problems with killing. Basically, the average Player Character.
  2. the punchline to the joke "What do you get when you cross the Law of Player Alignment with Widow/Orphan Syndrome?"

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N

natural

The value of a die roll, unmodified by bonuses or penalties.

natural 20, nat20

See: Critical Hit

nerf

  1. (verb) To reduce the effectiveness of a rule, item, ability, etc. usually in the name of game balance. Antonym: buff.

nextgen, to: Next Gen, to

(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.

ninjaloot

(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").

NPC

(acronym) "Non Player Character"
A character in a story controlled by the GM as opposed to one of the players.

n-sider, n-sided die

(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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