This is a list of terms that are commonly used in
roleplaying. While it's not necessary to memorize all of these, generally its
useful to have a resource similar to this for new players to reference, should
they not understand something mentioned. I'll add more as I think of them, but
the vast majority of commonly misunderstood terms lay below...
- 1D6. A six sided die -- as in "roll
1d6". 2D6 would mean two six sided dice (adding their values together).
Likewise, 2D10 would mean rolling two ten sided dice, and adding.
- Block. A response that forces a player
to backtrack, without developing the story.
- Buddy. A player who comes to be with
friends, but is indifferent to the game.
- Campaign. A series of connected
roleplaying stories, typically featuring the same main characters. (Derives
from military simulations).
- Character sheet. A summary of the
important details of a character according to the game mechanics (qv).
- Critical. A critical success or
failure is an extreme result for good or ill, determined randomly by dice or
other means. Usually, describing skill rolls (qv).
- DM. Dungeon Master (from the
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game). The game coordinator in
charge of the "dungeon" -- an underground area of traps, monsters and puzzles
which the characters would explore.
- Freeform. A roleplaying game in which
little to no rules are used, and often times has no game coordinator. Also a
game more based on story and plot development rather than levels and character
- Fumble. A badly failed skill roll,
often with disastrous effects.
- Game Mechanics. A system of rules for
determining contested outcomes in a reliable, predictable fashion.
- Game System. See Game Mechanics.
- GM. The coordinator of the game.
Usually the narrator and arbiter of the story. Sometimes called the DM.
- Hack and Slash. A roleplaying game
with a lot of violence, and not much else.
- IC. In Character -- Used to
denote that a character, not their player is saying or doing something in
- Moderator. A person moderating the
game, in an instance where there is not a GM, there may be several
moderators. Normally someone who helps define the game settings and story
- Module. A pre-written story skeleton,
complete with background, plot and supporting characters. Typically, bought
- Monty Haul. Named after a Canadian
game show host, a Monty Haul game is one where characters are showered with
power and wealth, beyond taste or credibility.
- MUD. Multi User Directory
(sometimes called Dungeon instead) -- These are online, text-based
games in which multiple users play through a game world created by programmers
while interacting with other players. numbers are normally in the hundreds.
- Munchkin. A young player who exploits
the game for his own personal ends, to the cost of the rest of the group.
- NPC. Non Player Character -- a
supporting character, typically played by the Game Master (qv).
- OOC. Out Of Character -- Most
commonly used in club or message based games to denote that the player, not
the character, is speaking, normally about things out of game.
- PBEM. Play By E-Mail --
A game run through the exchange of emails between characters, most often
freeform or through a GM
- Percentiles. Rolling a random number
between 1 and 100. Usually, using two ten sided dice, calculating ten times
the first roll, then add the second in.
- PC. Player Character -- a main
character in the story, controlled by a player.
- Play by Post. A type of game, normally
freeform, run through a message board or group where a player posts their
character's actions for others to respond to.
- PNPC. Personal Non Player Character
-- An NPC that's used specifically by a certain player and no one else.
Normally an animal companion or relative of the character, but could
potentially be anyone.
- Roll-playing. A style of roleplay that
adheres blindly to rules, without regard for the quality of story or
- RPG. Abbreviation for roleplaying
- Save. A required Saving Throw, a roll
to determine whether or not a character is spared some sort of negative effect
- Scenario. A single roleplaying story.
- Skill check. A die roll used to
determine if some character skill was successful.
- SO. Site Owner -- The owner of
a particular website
- Source Book. A game book providing
source material for a series of stories in the same setting or genre.
- ST. Storyteller -- The
coordinator of the game, also called a narrator, GM, or DM
- Stats. A character's physical
characteristics and/or attributes, described numerically. For instance,
strength, intelligence or dexterity are often recorded as stats.
- Supplement. A game book
published as supplementary material to a roleplaying source book.