Below is a collection of slang and jargon used at tables, conventions, and in forums.


A------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alien Eyes (noun): A roll of 3 on three six-sided dice.
Etymology: Analogous to "snake eyes" (A roll of 2 on two six-sided dice).

“All your base are belong to us!” (expression): Phrase meaning, “You cannot defeating us/me!”
Etymology: From the poor translation of the Japanese video game Zero Wing, 1989.

AoE (acronym): Area of effect.

Avatarism (noun): The act of playing a PC whose personality is no different than that of the player. This is when a player vicariously lives through his character.

Bag-o-Rats Fighter (noun): A player who uses loopholes to improve his character.
Etymology: An example of how D&D 3rd edition rules could be exploited was when a fighter who carried a bag of rats. The tactic was to dump the bag’s contents when entering melee, make a whirlwind attack against each rat, then use the great cleave feat to gain an extra attack against his opponent for each rat he killed.
See also: Lawyer, Min/max, Power Gamer, Rules Whore

Balance (noun): Short for game balance, in which the PCs are appropriately powerful for the challenges they encounter.

Band-aid Box (noun, derogatory): A character specializing in healing.

Battlemat (noun): A board with a grid pattern used for playing with minis.

BBEG (acronym): “Big Bad Evil Guy”. This is the boss that is responsible for the larger story arc. When PCs encounter the BBEG, it will either be so that the BBEG can taunt the PC’s and escape to fight another day, or it will be final showdown, the climax of the campaign.
See also: Big Bad, Boss, Miniboss

Big Bad (noun): Short for “Big Bad Evil Guy”. This is the boss that is responsible for the larger story arc. When PCs encounter the Big Bad, it will either be so that the Big Bad can taunt the PC’s and escape to fight another day, or it will be final showdown, the climax of the campaign.
See also: BBEG, Boss, Miniboss

“Beer & Pretzel” Gaming (expression): Refers to a casual, laid-back gaming style.

Bent (adjective): Refers to an edge, skill, race, spell or otherwise specific game rule that the user of the term considers somewhat unbalanced.
See also: Broken

Bit-box (noun): When a person constructs minis from kits and has extra pieces that may come in use later, they are placed inside a box. Comparable to the expression “junk drawer.”

“Bit by the bear” (expression): Having a bad luck streak, often considered contagious by superstitious players.
Etymology: The source of this expression possibly comes from the old adage, “Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.” Sometimes this is called “bear-bit.”

“Bite the curb!” (expression): An imperative declaration used as a player takes advantage of one vulnerable to a curbstomp.

Blue Bolt (verb): When the GM kills a PC for a reason outside of the purview of the game’s story. Most commonly it is used when a player leaves the game permanently and the GM needs a quick excuse to remove his/her character from the story. It is usually described as “a blue bolt from heaven smites the character”.

Bluebooking (verb): When a player keeps a journal of events from the game, but from the first-person perspective of his/her character.

Boggle (verb): To roll a ridiculously large number of six-siders.
Etymology: Taken from the game of the same name, in which players roll 16 six-sided dice with letters on them.

Boni (noun): Bonus.

Boobs Bonus (noun): The hypothetical bonus given to female characters for all social rolls made when dealing with the opposite sex.
See also: Chainmail Bikini, Chrome

Boss (noun): Tough monster at the end of a dungeon crawl.
See also: BBEG, Big Bad, Miniboss

Brick (noun): A character capable of taking lots of damage.

Broken (adjective): Refers to an edge, skill, race, spell or otherwise specific game rule that the user of the term considers somewhat unbalanced.
See also: Bent

“Buckets O’ Dice” (expression): Used to describe any event or system in which players roll large handfuls of dice. This method is sometimes praised for allowing the player to “feel” more powerful from the tactile sensation’s impression of volume. It is also criticized for being inelegant and messy.

Buff (verb): To use magic to improve the overall power of a character, usually using short-duration spells.

Burnout (noun): A common condition in which a GM becomes tired and frustrated with his role, usually after a long campaign or when the game becomes unbalanced.


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Caltrop (noun): A four-sided die.
Etymology: Compared to the weapon of the same name and the unpleasant effect of standing on them, which they share in common.

Camp (verb): To take a period of rest solely to heal or recover other game resources.

Canned (adjective): A published adventure, not tailored to a specific gaming group.
See also: Module, Prefabbed

Canon (adjective): Anything considered “official”.

Cardboard Cut-out (noun): When a player is absent from a game, one method of resolving the problem of what the character does is to make him/her a cardboard cut-out. In this case, the PC is in the background of the game, participating as an NPC only when it is absolutely necessary for the game to move forward.
Example: Steve couldn’t make it to the game this week. Since the plot for this game centered on his character meeting with a local noble, he will be played as an NPC for that social encounter, and essentially ignored for the rest of the game. At the next game, when Steve returns, the character will be played as normal.

Catpiss Man (noun): Stereotypical, unwashed, unmarried gamer. Invariably lives in a basement and engages in flame wars on forums. Usually works at a video rental store.

“Chainmail Bikini” (expression): Referring to the often hyper-sexualized role of women in fantasy literature. While the chainmail bikini is not effective protection in battle, it does look good on an attractive elf girl.
See also: Boobs Bonus, Chrome

Chair, The (noun): The GM’s position, not a literally chair.
Example: “Who’s in the chair in your game group?”

Character Engineer (noun): A player who Min/maxes their character.

Chargen (verb): Short for character generation.

CharOp (noun): contraction for “character optimization.
See also: Min/max

Christmas Tree (Noun): A character that is powerful because of the equipment he or she carries, but not especially so when deprived of it.
See also: Powergamer, Tinking

Chrome (noun): Anything that favors style over function.
See also: Chainmail Bikini

Chunky Salsa (noun): The remains of a character who has taken damage well in excess of that needed to kill it, implying that the corpse has been destroyed beyond identification.
See also: Fine Red Mist

Clean (adjective): A dungeon or room that’s free of monsters and enemies.

Clippy (noun, derogatory): A player who reminds the GM of a rule that is harmful to the PCs.
Etymology: Named after the annoying paper clip from Microsoft Office which constantly offered unwanted advice.
See also: Rule Zero

Coaster (noun): A useless book/supplement.
See also: Doily

Cocked (adjective): When a die lands on its edge, giving no clear numeric value. Often it is resolved by a re-roll.

Come-out (verb): To reveal to someone that you are a role-player.
Etymology: Borrowed from the common expression “come out of the closet” used with regard to homosexuals.
See also: Gamer Shame

Con (noun): A convention.

Connect-the-dots Adventure (noun, derogatory): An adventure that allows little personal freedom for the PCs to influence the plot or story. This is often a criticism of canned adventures.

Crawl (verb): Used in context of fantasy gaming, it is to go on a simple dungeon adventure.
See also: Dungeon, Dungeon Crawl, Pick-up Dungeon

Critical Mass (expression): The minimum number of players necessary to run a game.

“Crits happen” (expression): Used to declare that bad luck can happen to anyone at anytime.
Etymology: A play on words, sounding similar to “shit happens.”

Crossplay (verb): To play a character of the opposite gender, often considered deviant. The practice is more common among male gamers than female.
See also: Gender Bending

CRPG (acronym): Computer (or Console) Role Playing Game.

Crunchy (adjective): Material that deals with actual rules and game mechanics. The opposite of fluffy.

Curb Stomp (verb): A euphemism for an attack against a helpless character.
Etymology: From the practice of forcing a person to put their jaw on street curb and then stomping on it. Popularized by the film American History X
See also: “Bite The Curb!”

Custom Dice (noun): Dice printed with anything other than traditional numbers, usually images.


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D&Dmo (noun, derogatory): Contraction of D&D and Emo, a player who is also a ‘goth’ or ‘emo’. Often it refers to a person who plays Vampire or Ravenloft.

Debuff (verb): Opposite of buff. Effects that weaken others.
Examples: Mind Fog, Ray of Enfeeblement, and Slow.

Deus-Ex-GMing: When the players find themselves suffering the consequences for ignoring some arbitrary element the players "forgot to consider".

Dice Cleansing (verb): A superstitious practice by which a player rolls all of his or her dice until they all roll as high as possible in order to “cleanse’ the dice of bad mojo.

Dice Jockey (noun): A gamer.
See also: Dice Monkey, Screen Monkey

Dice Monkey (noun, derogatory): A gamer.
See also: Dice Jockey, Screen Monkey

Ding! (verb): To gain a level.

Ding-Dong Battle (noun): A fight in which both parties are unlikely to hit or injure the other making the fight a long, boring sequence of misses by both sides.

Doily (noun): A useless book/supplement.
See also: Coaster.

DOTS (acronym): Damage Over Time Spell. Any effect that continues to cause harm over a length of time.

Downtime (noun): The period of game-time that players spend doing time-consuming tasks, such as making magical items and training.

Drift (verb): To take elements of one game an integrate them into another.
Example: Taking the critical hits table from Hackmaster and using it in Savage Worlds.

Drizzt Clone (noun): Any character that is a dark elf ranger, with skills specializing in w/ 2 weapon fighting.
Etymology: From R.A. Salvatores’ popular novel character, Drizzt

Dump Stat (noun): An ability score that is left very weak to free up points for other abilities.
See also: Min/max

Dungeon (noun): In the context of fantasy gaming, a dungeon is any maze-like complex filled with traps, monsters, and loot. Encounters in dungeons limit the players’ options and paths, making the GM’s job easier. It does not necessarily contain prisoners.
See also: Crawl, Pickup Dungeon

Dungeon Crawl (noun): Simple dungeon adventure.
See also: Crawl, Dungeon


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EDO (acronym): "Elf Dwarf Orc” Any game that borrows heavily from Tolkien fantasy.
Examples: Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer

Enemy, The (noun, derogatory): The GM.

Ex-pee (noun): Experience points.

Exploding Dice (noun): A game mechanic, whereby, if a target number on a die (in SW, the highest number on the die), is rolled, then that die can be rolled again and the result is added to the previous roll(s). So, if a player rolls an "8" on a d8, that die "explodes" and the player gets a bonus reroll, which, if it comes up an 8, will explode again, etc.


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Face, The (noun): The “face” of the PC party, the character with the best social skills.

Fanboy (noun, derogatory): An obsessively devoted fan of a game, author, designer, series, or other genre element.

Fanon (noun): A contraction of the words “fan” and “canon” that refers to commonly accepted assumptions by fanboys about their hobby. Any misunderstanding of fanon by anyone is an offense to a fanboy, and they will eagerly correct you.
Example: It is fanon to accept that Boba Fett didn’t actually die in Return of the Jedi.

Fig (noun): A miniature.
See also: Mini

“File off the serial numbers” (expression): This is a common tactic when dealing with players who are old veterans and have memorized most of the foes abilities in a campaign. When the GM “files off the serial numbers” of an NPC or monster, they are describing a monster as something completely different from the monster’s stat block.
Example: Using a dire lion’s stat block, but describing it to the players as a three-headed alligator.
Etymology: Filing off the serial number of a car makes it untraceable, a common practice in automobile theft.

“Fill your hand with dice!” (expression): Used as an in-game challenge from one player to another, implying that a fight is about to begin.
See also: PvP

Fine Red Mist (noun): The hypothetical remains of a character who has taken damage well in excess of that needed to kill it, implying that the corpse has been destroyed beyond identification.
See also: Chunky Salsa

Firewalling (verb): When a GM forbids a PC from taking a particular action because it relies on player knowledge, not character knowledge.
See also: Metagaming

Flat dice (noun): Any form of dice roll on which any result is equally likely.
Etymology: The probability falls on a flat distribution.

Flavor Text (noun): Any description of the scene or environment that is not pertinent to combat, usually considered unnecessary by hack-n-slashers. When a lot of flavor text is used, it is often considered a signal to metagamers that something important or dangerous is about to happen.
See also: Fluffy

FLGS (noun): Acronym of “Friendly Local Game Store”, referring to game retail stores often used as community hang-out gathering point for tournaments.

Fluffy (adjective): A game or published material that contains an excessive amount of flavor text and/or art.

“Four-Point Hanger” (expression): A positive phrase referring to a close call that ended up working out perfectly.
Example: “Wow, those two mutant super-Nazis accidentally killing each other instead of us was a real four-point hanger!”
Etymology: Taken from the barroom game of shuffle puck, in which a puck hanging off the edge of the board is worth a coveted 4 points. While on the board, the puck is worth 3 points; had the puck fallen completely off, it would have been worth no points.

Frag-steal (verb): When one player does most of the damage to a monster, but another player finishes it off.

Freakshow (noun, derogatory): A character that is almost entirely defined by an unusual trait they possess, such as being an unusual race or having an unusual ability or weakness. In the context of this word, it refers to a unique character that is without any real substance.
For example: A Half-Drow Wererat assassin.
See Also: Snowflake

Freight Train (noun): A roll of 18 on three six-sided dice.
Etymology: Analogous to "boxcars" (A roll of 12 on two six-sided dice).

Front-Loaded (adjective): Refers to a spell, ability or other graduated rule whose benefit(s) at its initial stages are greater than those of later on.

Fudge (verb): For a GM to clandestinely modify aspects of the game known to him and not the players. Usually fudging is used to describe a GM pushing things in the players' advantage, in the cause of improving the game experience for all involved, often to save a character from dying.
See also: Monty Hauler



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Gamer Shame (noun): The tendency of gamers to be embarrassed of gaming and keep it a secret, especially when dating is concerned.
See also: Come-out

Gametime (noun): Time within the confines of the story, as opposed to real time.

Gank (verb): A contraction of “gang kill”, in which the PCs mercilessly murders a much weaker character.

Gazebo (noun): Anything the players encounter which they are intimidated by without knowing anything about it.
Etymology: Taken from a strip of the popular comic Knights of the Dinner Table.

Gee-pee (noun): Gold.

Gender Bending (verb): To play a character of the opposite gender, often considered deviant. The practice is more common among male gamers than female.
See also: Crossplay.

Get Medieval (verb): To use excessive violence.
Etymology: Popularized by the film Pulp Fiction.

G.I. Joe (noun): A seemingly unkillable character.

Gimp (noun, derogatory): A character who is weak early in his/her because the player has committed to taking traits which are initially weak but become very powerful once the character has advanced to higher levels. A player running a gimp is often accused of leeching off the accomplishments of fellow party members for personal gain.

Gish (noun): A wizard/warrior combo.

Glass Cannon (noun): Any character that can deal a lot of damage, but can’t take much in return.
Example: Ninja, Wizard

The G&M Railroad (noun): To, as a GM, force the players along a linear storyline that often does not allow for deviations created by player input.
See also: Railroad

Gobby (noun, derogatory): A goblin.

God-out (verb): To make an extremely powerful character.
See also: Powergamer, Tink

“Golden Rule”, The (expression): The understood rule that any rule may be changed if agreed upon by the players, or mandated by the GM. This rule trumps all other rules.

Griefing (verb): To play a game entirely for the enjoyment ruining it for everyone else. No amount of in-game penalty can discourage this behavior because the perpetrator has no interest in anything game-related excepting that it irritates others.

Gritty (adjective): Realistic, often used in terms of lethality.

Grognard (noun): A gamer, especially war gamer, which has considerable experience with a particular game or genre of games, has seen that game or genre of games go through much iteration, and who may often complain about new versions of, or newbies to, that game.
Etymology: French, nickname for a member of the French Old Guard during the Napoleonic era, referring to said members’ frequent imbibing of grog, an alcoholic beverage consisting of watered down rum, and their tendency to grumble about all things new.
See also: Old Guard.

Grudge Monster (noun): When a GM places a very challenging foe in the path of the PCs as payback for the players doing something to anger him.
See also: Killer GM

“Guarding the horses” (expression): The accepted "default" activity of any character who’s the player is temporarily absent, though it need not literally be performing the task. The expression is sometimes extended even to genres without horses.
Example: "What’s our cyborg buddy doing while we're assaulting this space station?"
"Um… guarding the cyber-horses?."

Gygaxian (adjective): Anything that is in the style of Gary Gygax. These qualities include the following:
  1. Dungeons designed blatantly for adventurers to adventure in, rather than for any practical purpose.
  2. The presence of monsters that, logically, have no logical reason for being where they are and should have starved to death excepting that adventurers constantly stumbled into them to be killed.
  3. A monster which seem to have no other place in any ecosystem but to kill wandering adventurers,
  4. A profusion of remarkably deadly traps, particularly ones serving as punishment for seemingly random, innocent, and even logical actions; for example, a throne which automatically kills any character who sits in it without wearing the crown and holding the scepter, then proceeds to destroy said character's soul to prevent his resurrection.
  5. Traps which would tend to kill any residents who made a minor mistake such as stepping on the wrong tile or forgetting one's key.
  6. Cursed magic items which automatically kill or permanently harm a character attempting to use them, whose effect is completely undetectable until activated.
  7. A presumptively over-indulgent style of writing that suggests excessive utilization of a thesaurus.


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Hack (verb): To kill.

Hackfactor (noun): The degree by which an adventure or dungeon has lots of enemies or is dangerous.

Hack-n-Slash (verb or adjective): The condition by which a player or game focuses on killing and acquiring treasure, rather than story.

“Hack-n-Stack” (expression): To kill so many enemies that they could be stacked in a large heap.

Handwave (verb): To dismiss tedious, day-to-day events to get back to the action. Typically this practice is used to “fast-forward” through long travel periods.

Hobbo (noun, derogatory): A hobgoblin.

Home-brewed (adjective): Made by players, unofficial. This usually refers to monsters and magic items.
Etymology: Most likely a reference to bootlegging of alcohol.

Home GM (noun): The GM a player most commonly plays with, as opposed to those played with in tournaments or other temporary games.

“Hoody-hoo!” (expression): Shouted after a victory.
Etymology: A common victory shout from the popular comic book Knights of the Dinner Table.

Hook (noun): The plot device used to bring the PCs into the adventure.

Horse Bombing (verb): To use a spell or effect in a devastating way, in which it was never intended.
Etymology: From the practice of summoning heavy creatures at a great heights above a foe in the hopes of crushing and doing damage to it.

House Rule (noun): An unofficial rule that all players in one gaming group have agreed upon.


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“_, I choose you!” (expression): Declared before summoning a creature. The underlined portion represents the place where the monster’s name would be as the summon spell is cast.
Etymology: Taken from the Japanese kids’ show, Pokémon, in which the main character constantly summons monsters to fight.


IC (acronym): In Character. This is speech done playing as the character as though acting, not as the player.


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Jock (noun): A character focusing on physical attributes, usually a fighter.

“John Crichton Effect”, The (expression): When a new PC enters the party spontaneously in the middle of a story with no explanation. This is usually done to save time and get back to the game as soon as possible.
Etymology: Named after the lead character from the TV show, Farscape, in which said character was accidentally teleported into a crew of fleeing space fugitives on a stolen ship.

Juice (noun): Anything that heals.

Juicer Problem (noun): A common game-design problem that occurs when a PC’s is given an option for an ability with drawbacks that would be repellent
to a real person, but it is considered irrelevant by a player.
Example: “So, if I take drink this potion my strength permanently goes up four points… but my penis falls off? Of course I drink it!“
Etymology: The term is a reference to Juicers in the role-playing game Rifts who were endowed with exceptional combat abilities, but a very short lifespan. Although a real person might not accept this trade-off, a player would accept it without hesitation.

“Jumping on the cleric grenade” (expression): To play the healer of the party, as this is often considered an undesirable role.

“Just playing my character” (expression): A common excuse used by players who screw over their fellow party members, claiming they were just role-playing their character honestly.


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Kibbitz (verb): To use out-of-game discussion to influence in-game events. Generally the practice is frowned upon.
Example: “Dude, if you heal me I’ll give you a can of Mountain Dew.

Kick-in-the-Door Style (noun): See Hack-n-slash.

Killer GM (term): A GM whose campaign has a high mortality rate amongst the player characters; often, but not necessarily, due to deliberate and sometimes malicious actions on the part of the GM; also sometimes called a Player Killer.
See also: Grudge Monster

Kite (verb): To fly or run away from a foe that relies on melee combat and is slower than yourself while harassing it with ranged attacks until it dies or gives up.

Kludge (noun): An unintuitive rule that stands out from an otherwise good design. Pronounced to rhyme with “stooge”.
Etymology: Borrowed from hacker slang, meaning something ugly but functional.



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Lackey (noun, derogatory): A sidekick or hireling.
See also: Protégé, Lackey, XP Leech

LARP (acronym): Live Action Role Play. This is a practice in which players dress up as their characters and “act” out the actions, usually without use of dice, but instead using props. Usually harmless fake weapons, armor, and spells are employed to simulate combat safely. This practice is often criticized by tabletop gamers for giving a bad reputation to gaming in general, and practitioners are often considered a fringe minority.

Lasersharking (verb): To combine two powerful items, spells, or creatures into something far more powerful than the sum of the parts.
Etymology: From the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, in which the arch-villain attempts to employ the service of "sharks.. with frickin' lasers on their heads".
See also: MacGuyver

Lawyer (noun, derogatory): A person who bends and exploits the rules to his own favor, often at the expense of realism.
See also: Bag-o-Rats Fighter, Min/max, Munchkin, Powergamer

LAK (acronym): List of Asses to Kick. This is essentially a list comprised of grudges held and scores to be settled by the party against NPCs
Etymology: First appeared in the popular comic book Knights of the Dinner Table.

Level-up (verb): To gain a level.
See also: Ding!

LGS (acronym): Local game store.
See also: FLGS

“Loot the Bodies!” (expression): A traditional method of acquiring wealth in RPGs.


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MacGuffin (noun): An object that serves as the main hook of the adventure, but is not intrinsically valuable.
Etymology: Alfred Hitchcock coined the term and explained it in a 1939 lecture at Columbia University as “… the mechanical element that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it is most always the necklace and in spy stories it is most always the papers."

MacGuyver (verb): To combine two or more items or spells to solve a problem, usually using them in a way that was originally unintended by the game designers.
Examples: Placing caltrops on a Carpet of Flying, and then flying it in the path of running foes.
Etymology: From the television show of the same name, in which the main character would constantly solve crises by using normal, mundane items in his possession in clever ways.
See also: Lasersharking

Malkor (proper noun): Vin Diesel's old barbarian character. Malkor is considered iconic in gaming circles as proof that a cool, macho guy like Vin Diesel slings dice.
Etymology: Vin Diesal came-out about roleplaying on the Conan O’Brien Show on February 3, 2004
See also: Come-out, Gamer Shame, Nerdcore, Sling Dice

Marching Order (noun): The formation by which the PCs are positioned as they travel. Marching orders are especially important in the event of a surprise attack or random encounter.

Meat Grinder (noun): An especially difficult and dangerous encounter.

Meat Shield (noun, derogatory): A character with good armor and/or very tough, usually used as a buffer between enemies and ranged fighters.

Medevac (noun): A healer.
Etymology: An abbreviation for “medical evacuation” referring to ambulances and rescue helicopters.
See also: Band-aid Box

Metagame (verb): To make character decisions in an RPG based upon game knowledge rather than character knowledge.

Min/max (verb): To devote all character development resources into one area at the expense of all others.
See also: Lawyer, Munchkin, Power Gamer

Minmei (noun, derogatory): A character who is useless.
Etymology: The word is originates from the character of the same name from the popular Japanese TV series, Robotech. Minmei was a pop singer who was mostly useless and irritating.
See also: Gimp, Tweener

Minesweeper (noun, derogatory): See redshirt.

Miniboss (noun): Like a boss, only not as tough, usually found just before a boss.

Mini (noun): A table-top miniature.

Mob (noun, derogatory): Generic enemy posing little threat, usually one that fights in large groups.

Module (noun): A premade adventure.
See also: Prefab

Mojo (noun): Luck.

Mook (noun): Generic enemy posing little threat, mainly serving to make the players feel like badasses.

Monty Hauler (noun): A campaign where everything is 'given away', i.e., enemies are easy to kill and treasure and experience are easily earned.
Etymology: Named after the host of the popular game show, Let’s Make A Deal which had a reputation as a game with easy challenges with huge rewards.

Mr. Johnson (noun): A mysterious and anonymous figure who gives the PCs their mission. The general assumption is that these shadowy characters cannot to be trusted. Often Mr. Johnsons betray the PCs later in the campaign, revealing themselves as the BBEG.
Etymology: From the role-playing game Shadowrun, in which corporate employees commonly offer jobs to the PCs and are referred to as simply “Mr. Johnson”, to avoid any legal entanglements.

Mule (noun, derogatory): A character who carries a lot of gear, usually a hireling.

Munch (verb): To behave in a way as characterized by a munchkin.

Munchkin (noun, derogatory): A player obsessed with getting every possible +1 he can, running an extremely unbalanced/over-powered character by exploiting loopholes in the rules, or by outright breaking them.
See also: Metagame, Min/max, Powergamer, Twink.

Murphy's Rule (noun): A game rule which is unrealistic comical when applied to certain situations.
Example: A character immune to fire, who is also in darkness, would find it in his best interest to set himself on fire and walk around that way, because he could now see and wouldn’t suffer damage.

MVP Award (noun): A house rule where at the end of a gaming session, all the players vote for the “Most Valuable Player”, who earns a bonus XP award.


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Name Level (adjective): A PC of substantial power.
Etymology: The term originates from D&D first edition, when character classes had different names for each of their levels. For example, a fifth level magic-user was a Thaumaturgist. Even though progression went above 12th, this name stopped changing anywhere between 9th and 11th. The level at which the name stopped changing is commonly called name level. Name level is often understood as the level in which the character can be considered a famous, wealthy, and politically influential in the world, not just a dungeon crawler.

Nat (noun): Short for “natural” in terms of rolling dice.

Nerdcore (adjective): Something awesome and extremely nerdy.

Nerfed (adjective): To be weakened, often referring to a new edition.
Etymology: Refers to the soft, harmless kids’ toy.

Newbie (noun, derogatory): An inexperienced or new player.

“NPC Theater” (expression): When epic and powerful NPCs take over a scene, making the PC's merely spectators and unable to interfere.

“Nuke from orbit” (expression): To use a long-range, high-damage area weapons, effects, or spells repeatedly from a safe distance.


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Old Guard (noun):, Comparable to the term “old school” when referring to gaming.
See also: Grognard

One-shot (noun): An adventure that is meant to be only a single session, usually using pregen PCs.

Otaku (noun, derogatory): A fanboy fixated on Anime, Ecchi, Hentai, Manga or other cartoonish elements of Japanese pop culture. Often an Otaku has no real understanding of Japanese culture or history outside of children’s media.
Etymology: “Otaku” is Japanese for “house,” as in an Otaku never leaves his own house.
See also: Fanboy, Fanon


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Paddling (verb): When a GM stretches out the story longer than necessary, usually using excessive random encounters.

Palm Roller (noun, derogatory): A cheater, implying that the person throws dice in a peculiar way trying to get better rolls. The opposite of a finger roller.

Parlay (verb): An attempt to non-violently resolve an encounter through diplomacy or intimidation.

PbP (acronym): “Play by post”, where players play online by posting on a bulletin system.

Pet NPC: An NPC who is perceived to have favoritism by the GM, usually to the detriment of players
Example: “He’s not dead? I shot him in the head 3 times! How can he not be dead?”

Pick-up Game(noun): A game, usually from a module, that is run on short notice with little preparation.
See also: Crawl, Prefab

Pixel Bitching: A way of gamemastering where the players are forced to find very hard to spot clues or objects and are not able to move on otherwise. Generally seen as a technique that creates boredom in players and penalizes proactive behavior.
Etymology: Comes from computer Point'n'Click adventures, where you sometimes had to find incredibly small objects (literally only some pixels in size) to be able to solve a riddle.

Pixie (verb): To fight a foe by frustrating them, typically by patiently witling them down with low-damage attacks over a long period of time and avoiding any retaliation.
See also: Kiting

“Plan 'B'” (expression): To run away.

Player-driven (noun): Campaigns in which the players take the plot into their own hands, usually requiring a great deal of improvisation on the GMs part.

Power Creep (noun): The tendency for game designers to raise the power level of new material with every new publication. This eventually leads to serious imbalance in the player’s favor. This can only be resolved with a new edition to the game or GM intervention.

Power Gamer (noun): see min/max

Pre-fabbed (adjective): Short for prefabricated, usually used to refer to a module.

Pregen (noun): A PC made by the GM in advance for the players to use, usually for a one-shot. Often these are held in contempt by players.

Prep (verb): Preparation for a game.

Protégé (noun): An NPC, usually a follower, which is being groomed to be the player’s next character in the event that his current character should die. Often this tactic is coupled with tinking.

“Pulling guard duty” (expression): The responsibility of a PC to stays awake and alert while other players are camping to protect against ambushes.

Punk (adjective): A suffix attached to any other world to describe it as a gritty, realistic version.
Example: Cyberpunk is a genre that that tackles the imperfect and unromantic consequences of technology.

PbP (acronym): Play by Post. To run a game over a bulletin board.

PvP (acronym): Player versus Player. In tabletop terms it refers to in-party conflicts.


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Queen Bee (noun, derogatory): A female who uses her gender to manipulate nerds, given the scarcity of females in the gamer hobby.

Quest Item (noun): An item that is necessary to completing the goals of the party, such as a key or secret document.


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Railroad (verb): To, as a GM, force the players along a linear storyline that often does not allow for deviations created by player input.
See also: D&M Railroad

Raise (verb): To raise something from the dead.

Random Encounter (noun): A fight that usually occurs while PCs are traveling long distance from one destination to another, usually having no serious impact on the story.
See also: Grudge Monster, Wandering Monster

RAW (acronym): “Rules as written” The original, basic game rules without any supplemental publications.

Raw Roll (noun): A roll without any bonuses or penalties.

RBGM (acronym): “Rat bastard game master” A GM who plays rough, but keeps to the letter of the rules.

Red Bull (noun): Anything that makes a character fly, such as a jet pack or magic potion.
Etymology: From the energy drink, Red Bull which “gives you wings”.

Redshirt (noun, derogatory): A weak NPC that is doomed to die, usually a hireling, usually forced to walk into possibly dangerous situations before PCs.
Etymology: From the original Start Trek series. Any time a nameless officer landed on a planet with the main characters, he would surely be killed as a plot device to announce that the situation is dangerous. These characters always wore a red uniform.
See also: Minesweeper

Referee (noun): A GM whose style and approach relies on the players to craft the stories and usually restrains him/her self to moderating rules. Critics may complain that a referee caters to hack-n-slash players and lawyers, and doesn’t offer engaging stories.
See also: Storyteller

Retcon (noun): Short for “retroactive continuity”, when established game elements are later changed, always done with the GM’s permission.
Example: ‘Taking back’ an action in combat after realizing it is unwise.

Rez (verb): Resurrect.

“Roads to Rome” (expression): A form of railroading, in which players are given much leeway, but will inevitably arrive where the GM wants them to.
Etymology: From the ancient expression, “All roads lead to Rome.”
See also: D&M Railroad, Railroad, Storyteller

Roll-Off (verb): A quick contest to make a decision where both parties roll a die of the same type, whoever rolls highest wins. The practice is comparable to rock-paper-scissors. Often used to determine toppings on pizza delivery orders or other mundane matters.

Roll-Playing (verb, derogatory): To role-play a game in which rolling dice is stressed above story.

“Roll to disbelieve” (expression): Referring to illusions. Often it is shouted by players in serious predicaments as a joke, implying that the bad situation is (hopefully) just an illusion.

RP (verb): Roleplay. This usually refers specifically to story-driven gaming not of the hack-n-slash style.
Example: "I’m not into hack-n-slash, I’m more into RP."

Rules Whore (noun, derogatory): A person who exploits the rules to his own favor, often at the expense of the enjoyment of the other players.
See also: Lawyer

Rule Zero (noun): The catch-all name for the often repeated motto by players: "Don’t give the GM any ideas!" Violation of this rule may earn anger of fellow players. This especially applies to reminding the GM of a rule that works against the player’s favor.
See also: Screen Monkey, The Enemy

Run (verb): Play.
Example: “We run a game every Friday night.”

“Running on fumes” (expression): In poor health and needing healing.


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Screen Monkey (noun, derogatory): The GM.

Screen time (noun): When a player ‘takes the spotlight’ in a game.

“Scry and fry” (expression): When PCs use divination or surveillance to find a foe, teleport with whatever method is available, and surprise attack him/her.

Session (noun): One sit-down to play a game.

Shares (noun): Referring to shares of loot. One share of loot is equal to the amount of loot one player at the table is entitled to. This number is different based on the number of players at the table and amount of loot earned.

Shield, The (noun): The GM screen.

Shoot dice (verb): To roll dice.

Side Quest (noun): A small adventure, usually not important to the major plotline.

SLF (verb, derogatory): When favoritism is shown by the GM to a player who is also his/her significant other.
Etymology: From the German Spielleiterficken, meaning “Game Master Fucking”.

Sling Dice (verb): To roleplay.

Snowflake (noun): A character whose abilities are deliberately unique or rare in the setting, usually writing a convoluted character background to justify it. Often the character is a good version of a typically evil race.
Etymology: From the commonly repeated belief that all snowflakes are unique.
See also: Freakshow

Social contract (noun): The understood, but never spoken house rules and codes of conduct used.
Example: At some tables, touching another players dice is a serious taboo, and therefore a violation of the social contract.

Solo (noun): A game in which the GM runs a game with only one player.

“Spacebar!” (expression): Shouted when a player wants to skip any flavor text.
Etymology: From videogames, in which pressing the spacebar usually skips any story videos and gets right back to the action.

Speed Bump (noun, derogatory): An easily defeated enemy or encounter that takes only a few turns to defeat and doesn’t cost the party much, if any, resources.

“Spin the wheel, Raggedy-man!” (expression): A command to roll dice.
Etymology: Quoted from the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, in which the protagonist’s fate is determined by the spin of a wheel.

"Spiral of death" (expression): Any combat system where injuries cause cumulatively negative effects, making characters weaker as they suffer injury.

Splatbook (noun): One of a series of books, usually going into excessive detail on a specific group, race, class, or other character feature. Usually the title of any one of these books is interchangeable with any other except for one or two words.
Etymology: From "splat" as a name for the asterisk character (because it looks like a squashed-bug) and is used to mean “Match with anything" when used in searches in computer documents or on the command-line.

Spotlight (noun): The focus of a scene, usually in reference to a PC.
Example: “Tom’s rockstar character is constantly taking the spotlight in social encounters.”

Spell Lobber (noun): A spellcaster.

Squishy (adjective): Any character that is vulnerable to attacks; not especially tough or well armored..

Stats (noun): The numerical values assigned to a character to define their strengths and weaknesses.

Storyteller (noun): A GM whose style and approach involves epic plots, detailed descriptions, and complex characters. Critics may complain that a storyteller is too fluffy or railroads players.
See also: Referee

Swag (noun): Treasure, loot, and gear.

“Sword-n-Board” (expression): Refers to a character wielding a one-handed weapon and a shield.


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“Table chatter” (expression): Speech occurring during a game, but not related to the game itself.


Tactical Redeployment (noun): See Plan "B".

Tank (noun): A warrior class character with a lot of armor.

“The Game must go on” (expression): Commonly used to rally players in times of crisis.

TLP (acronym): “Traps, Listen, Pick”, the three things a thief does before opening a door.

Third-party (noun): A publisher that isn’t “official”.

Thread (noun): A subplot.

Tourney (noun): A tournament.

TPK (acronym): Total Party Kill, when the entire PC party is wiped out, often implies the effects of a killer GM.

TRPG (acronym): Tabletop Role Playing Game.

Turtle (verb): A player who avoids taking any action during the game that might compromise his character’s safety, often out of a fear of Killer GM’s. This behavior is usually prompts the GM to railroad the party, so it is often frowned upon.

Tweener (noun): A character that is too well-rounded and cannot fight well, cast magic well, or use ranged attacks well.

Twink (verb): To give powerful gear to otherwise weak characters.


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Uber (adjective): Powerful.
Etymology: German for “over.”

“Union card” (expression): Used as an excuse to add a new PC to the party without any detailed explanation how the characters meet.


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Wandering Monster (noun): A hostile creature that usually appears to pick a fight when PCs spend excessive amount of time lollygagging, typically having no serious impact on the story.
See also: Grudge Monster, Random Encounter

War Room (noun): Any area where players have the chance to plan for the game without the GM hearing.
Example: “Guys, let’s just pause the game and take a moment to step into the war room to plan our next move…”

Whiff (verb): To fail very badly.

Wipe (noun): When the entire PC party is wiped out, but not because of a killer GM.
See also: TPK


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XP Leech (noun, derogatory): Any NPC accompanying the party who gets a share of experience and/or treasure.

XP Sponge (noun, derogatory): Any NPC accompanying the party who gets a share of experience and/or treasure.


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Yoink! (verb): To steal.
Etymology: From the sound of something being snatched away in a Hanna Barbara cartoon.


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Zerg (verb): To kill an enemy by using large numbers of weak units.
Etymology: Taken from the name of the Zerg alien race, from the popular video game StarCraft, who typically employ this strategy.
See also: Mob


#-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


404 (noun): A player caught daydreaming at an inopportune moment.
Example: “Huh? What? Oh, sorry… I was having a 404.”
Etymology: From the HTML 1.0-1.1 code returned when an attempt to load a web page fails.



-Originally compiled and written by Tony Felony