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.




A roleplaying game intended to be concluded in a single session. One-shots are often used to playtest new systems or to introduce new players to the concept of roleplaying.


(acronym) "Out-Of-Character." actions and speech made by the player to other players, not by the 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.

OP, O.P.

(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.

option X

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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  1. (noun) A group of Player Characters.
  2. (verb) to form a group of Player Characters, usually for a specific purpose.

Path of Whatever-I-Was-Going-To-Do-Anyway, The

A reference to a Vampire: The Masquerade player who ignores his or her character's Path characteristic, or who 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

power creep

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


  1. to rapidly gain experience (or something else that advances a character's effectiveness) due to a more advanced character's presence.
  2. to assist a less advanced character by doing things for them which they would otherwise find difficult so they may more quickly advance to your level.

pregen, pre-gen

"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.


  1. (noun) A special event such as a spell or buff that activates (usually randomly) in conjunction with some other action. The typical example would be a sword that has a small chance to cast a fire spell each time it hits something; in this case the fire spell would be the 'proc.'
  2. (verb) For a proc to be successfully triggered.


  1. A preface or introductory part of a story
  2. (gamerese) A short session or series of scenes, usually done one-on-one between player and GM, to establish a new PC within a game world, functioning both as a primer on the game world and a tutorial for the rules system. Used by GMs who are not so lazy as to fall back upon "You all meet in a tavern."

pull, to

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 problems and willingness to lead.
(Origin obscure...may come from sports or something.)


  1. A search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something (from Middle English queste < Old French < Latin quaesīta, feminine past participle of quaerere to seek)
  2. (gamerese) Any task undertaken by the party with a clearly-outlined set of objectives, given to them by an NPC who promises a specific reward usually relative to the difficulty of the assigned task.

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  1. In common usage, a group of people related by common descent
  2. In a roleplaying setting (usually but not limited to fantasy settings) a group of persons constituting a single sentient species or a subdivision of a species with distinct characteristics. The common examples include Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Halflings, and Humans.

racial, racial trait

  1. A bonus or penalty assigned to all characters of a specific race. Example: "Since you started as a wood elf, your character has +5 to Climb as a racial."
  2. A character trait so ingrained or so outrageous that it must have been assigned at birth. Example: "Geez, you're claiming both weapons and the magic ring? You must have 'greedy' as a racial trait."

rage quit, rage-quit, ragequit

To stop playing a game due to being angry over an event that happened during the game.


  1. (noun) A plot that follows a strictly linear storyline where little deviation is possible.
  2. (verb) To punish players who attempt to deviate from a railroad plot in such a way that the plot returns to its predetermined course.

random encounter

  1. A hazardous situation or group of enemies encountered randomly in a roleplaying game, ostensibly to represent the difficulties in traversing unfriendly terrain, but more often used by the GM as a way to force the players to expend resources and use other consumables or just to wear them down.
  2. To encounter someone whom you are trying to avoid. Example: "I had to deal with a random Doug encounter the other day after successfully dodging him the whole week."

random roll

See: vanity roll


A character, usually an NPC, whose one notable quality is their expandability.


  1. A generic term for a gamemaster.
  2. A derogatory term for a gamemaster who adds nothing to the game, instead just reading from a module and calling for skill checks at the appropriate points.

rep up

To take an action to make another person or group of people like you.
(From WoW, increasing reputation.)

reroll, re-roll

  1. (noun, verb) To roll one or more dice already rolled during a check, with the second result being final. Some game systems will allow a limited number of rerolls per game session or with the expenditure of some resource. Example: "Ugh, I rolled a 97. I'm going to spend a fortune point for the reroll."
  2. To generate a new character to play in the same setting or campaign, usually after the current character has become unplayable. See: roll up. Example: "Your character has broken both legs and is now permanently blind. You may want to ask the GM for a reroll."
Addendum: Ironically, one definition is attempting to try again while the other definition is giving up.

respec, re-spec, respecialize

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.


  1. (noun) An alteration of previously established facts in a fictional work, usually in the name of having something make sense in light of new developments.
  2. (verb) To retroactively change the events during a roleplaying game in order to fix a mistake.
('retcon' is short for 'retroactive continuity')


  1. (abbreviation) Range, when used as a stat.
  2. (acronym) Random Number Generator. The system which generates quasi-random values within a game.
  3. The inherent randomness in a dice system used for an RPG. Ex: "Wow, three botches in a row? The RNG hates you tonight."

roleplaying XP

  1. (noun) Extra experience points awarded for good roleplaying.
  2. (verb) To go to the bathroom
    (The elimination of bodily waste being an act that is not necessarily dealt with in-character, players may sometimes use that as a way to seem more in-character with an eye toward earning extra experience. So a player taking a bathroom break may refer to it as an attempt to earn extra experience.)


A derogatory term for an adventure gamer, d-tard, powergamer, minmaxer, or rules lawyer. Indicates that the person is more interested in numbers and dice rolling than story and character.
(Unfortunately, the insult really only works in writing.)

roll up, to

  1. To generate stats for a character using dice.
  2. To create a new character, whether or not dice are used.

round, combat round

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.

rules lawyer

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.

run, to

  1. In general usage, to go quickly by moving the legs.
  2. (gamerese) To preside as gamemaster during some or all of a roleplaying game, adventure game, or module.

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