The Unofficial Dungeons & Dragons Forum Glossary

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The Unofficial Dungeons & Dragons Forum Glossary
Once upon time, an industrious forum member named trollbill created a Dictionary of Terminology. Then Sylvaroth produced Part II to that dictionary, updating it. With the new edition, I felt that a new edition of that thread should be started here. I have shamelessly plagiarized it, and will add new terms as they evolve here. If you have a suggestion for an edit or addition, please reply to the thread.

Hyperlinked Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations
Common Acronyms for Fourth Edition Releases
Guide to Forum Badges
Guide to Color Coding

Definitions used in the Glossary are based on their common usage on this message board and thus may vary in meaning from other boards, sites or even common dictionary usage. Definitions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WotC, its employees, associates, immediate family members or household pets.

The following criteria is used in determining the selection of entries for the Glossary:

  • The entry should have a common use on these boards, i.e. terms used by local gaming groups that do not appear regularly on these boards do not qualify.

  • The entry should have appeared on multiple threads and have been used by multiple users in a consistent fashion. Objective evidence of this, such as links to the pertinent posts, is preferable over subjective commentary.

  • A term entry should have a meaning on the D&D message boards that does not match its common dictionary definition or its definition in the Core Rules.

  • The terms should be specific to the D&D community in general, but not the community at large. Netlingo and lingo used in computer games are not to be included, unless it has a specific application to D&D.

  • The entry should not violate the CoC.

  • Terms that appear repeatedly with the comment “What does this mean?” are excellent candidates for the Glossary.

  • Links should be relevant to the definition and should be to locations that are relatively static so as to prevent the need to constantly update the links. Also remember that links to a commercial web site are a violation of the CoC.

If you don't see an acronym or word, it might be because it is a general internet term, not a term specific to the game or these boards. You can find many common internet terms and abbreviations here.

A Class (phrase): A class with one primary Ability score and two secondary Ability scores.  Etymology: The shape of the letter "A", which has one point on top and two at the bottom.  Compare "I Class", "V Class" and "X Class".  Link

Action economy (noun): The classification of actions in one character's turn into standard, move, minor, and free actions. (First reference found)

-aladin (suffix): A paladin build based on a strategy or theme  preceding the suffix. Etymology: A play on the term "paladin".

Arrow through the Neck [AttN] (phrase): The means by which a Dungeon Master arbitrarily kills a player character because the player has that character do something that the Dungeon Master disapproves.

Avenger (noun): A person who vigorously defends their position. Most often used derogatorily to reference zealous defenders of Fourth Edition, as in "4th Avenger" (sometimes shortened to "4venger").
Back Loaded (adjective): Refers to a class, spell, ability or other graduated rule whose benefit(s) at it’s later stages are greater than those of its initial ones. See also Rear Loaded. Contrast Front Loaded.

Beardy (adjective): Of or resembling a munchkin. See munchkin.

Beer & pretzel gaming (expression): Refers to gaming in a casual, laid-back style.

Bent (adjective): Describes a specific and unbalanced game mechanic.

Big Bad Evil Guy [BBEG] (term): An arch-villain, -nemesis, or -foil used by the Dungeon Master, often in a recurring role, as the climax to an adventure, story arc or campaign. Etymology: Message Boards, term first used in the thread Honesty vs. Story.

Broken (adjective): Describes a rule or game mechanic so unbalanced or difficult to implement that it prevents the game from operating as intended. (Often confused with "Bent.")

Buff: 1. (noun) A power or ritual that grants a benefit to oneself and/or allies. 2. (verb) to apply a buff to oneself and/or allies.

Build (noun): A specific combination of powers, feats and abilities.

Bump (verb): To reply to a post for the express purpose of moving that post to the top of the queue or forum.
Called Shot (noun): A house rule in which a player declares the character may aim for a specific body part of an enemy.

Canon (noun): 1. Official material not published by third-parties; 2. Official material not published by third-parties and not part of a campaign setting; 3. Official material found only in the core rulebooks and not supplements. Etymology: Religion, refers to a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council.

Canonical (adjective): Describes material that is part of the "canon". See canon.

Castle of Fun [CoF] (noun): A forum dedicated to light-hearted, online role-playing; also known as the Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Corporation.

Chainmail bikini (noun): Flexible armor, usually of decorative use only, consisting of interlinked metal rings that are shaped in the form of a bikini; commonly cited as an archetype of sexism in an androcentric gaming community.

ChaLord (noun): A warlord that specializes in healing and buffing allies.

Character Builder Classic [CBC] (noun): The downloadable Character Builder application that was part of the D&D Insider suite of programs prior to the on-line version of the Character Builder.

Cheese (noun): 1. (derogatory) Character, spell, feat or other game overpowered element or combination of games elements. 2. Use of rules elements that violates the spirit of the rules without violating the technical wording. Etymology: English slang, taken from the term cheesy, meaning shabby or cheap.

Cheese (verb): (considered derogatory) To make use of a cheap (cheesy) game element or tactic.

-cheese (suffix): A name of a commonly used series of features used together to optimize a character.  (Link)

Cheese monkey (noun): (considered derogatory) Player or Dungeon Master who excessively makes use of cheese.

Chick, Jack (biographical name, possibly pseudonym): Christian fundamentalist known for, amongst other things, publishing the anti D&D comic book, Dark Dungeons, through his company Chick Publishing, Inc. [wiki link]

CoDzilla (noun): A description of how an optimized cleric or druid in Third Edition was so unbalanced that it could easily defeat a slew of creatures appropriate to its level. Etymology: Abbreviation of "Cleric or Druid", plus a "-zilla" suffix derived from the popular Japanese cinematic monster Godzilla.

Community Management [CM] (noun). The arm of Wizards of the Coast -- including the Community Manager, Forum Guides, Forum Leads, Gamemasters, Scribes, and Volunteer Community Leads -- responsible for organizing and editing the forums, but not for enforcing the Code of Conduct. Compare Customer Service.

Community Manager [CM] (noun): An employee of Wizards of the Coast responsible for management of the forums and supervising the Volunteer Community Leads, Forum Guides, Forum Leads and Scribes, though not responsible for enforcing the Code of Conduct.

Consigliere (noun): A player who uses a mastery of the rules to help smooth play and otherwise assist the Dungeon Master. Often used as a compliment. Etymology: Godfather novels and movies, to refer to someone who is not a boss, but is a close advisor to the boss. Contrast Rules Lawyer.

CraPPer (noun): A derogatory term for the Third Edition skills that allowed characters to make money between adventures. Etymology: D&D Boards, coined by wrecan. Portmanteau of Craft, Profession, and Performance.

Crunch (noun): Game mechanics. See Crunchy.

Crunchy (adjective): Related to, resembling or dominated by game mechanics. Contrast Fluffy. Etymology: Gaming industry, term made popular by Sean K. Reynold’s euphemistic essay on the gaming industry entitled, Forgotten Rums. [Link]

Customer Service [CS] (noun). The arm of Wizards of the Coast known as On-Line Response Crew (ORCs) who enforce the Code of Conduct and handle customer complaints about company products. Compare Community Management.

Darklock (noun): A warlock with the Dark Pact from the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting

Death Spiral (noun): A mechanic in which a wounded character incurs progressively more debilitating penalties the more it is hit. (Cite)

Debuff: 1. (verb) To use a power that imposes a penalty on opponents. 2. (noun) a power or ability that imposes such a penalty.

Dragon Slayer: A custom title given to individuals who contribute to a Dragon Magazine-specific thread on the Dragon/Dungeon Magazine forum that gets the most attention each month.  Compare Dungeon Delver.

Drama sink (noun): A player character whose personality and background is so overloaded with angst that it detracts from the game and uses up a disproportionate amount of game time at the table.

Draxen's Corollary (noun): This corollary to the Stormwind Fallacy (see below) states that a player is not necessarily avoiding roleplay by using social Skills. Etymology, D&D message boards, a fallacy first formalized by member theotherdraxen

Dread Gazebo (noun): See Tale of Eric and the Dread Gazebo.

Drizzt clone (noun): A much overused character concept that is modeled after iconic Forgotten Realms character Drizzt Do’Urden.

Dump (verb): To keep an attribute low because it isn't relevant to the character's abilities.

Dump Stat (noun): An attribute that is often dumped for a specific class or build.

Dungeon crawl (noun): A type of adventure characterized by lots of combat -- often occurring within a subterranean dungeon complex -- and little story or characterization.  See Hexcrawl.

Dungeon Delver: A custom title given to individuals who contribute to a Dungeon Magazine-specific thread on the Dragon/Dungeon Magazine forum that gets the most attention each month.  Compare Dragon Slayer. 

Dungeon Master Player Character [DMPC] (noun): A non-player character that joins the party, often as a full member of the adventuring party. Often used disparagingly.

Dungeons & Dragons [D&D] (noun): A heroic fantasy role-playing game.

Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Corporation [DDVC] (noun): See Castle of Fun
e- (prefix): Used to distinguish a class, subclass or build found in Essentials material from a similarly named mechanic found in supplments released before Essentials.  Compare o-.

Edition Wars (noun): The bitterness, attacks and lamenting associated with any change in editions of D&D. Most commonly referencing the thread wars that erupted when Fourth Edition was released

ENT attack (noun): An attack whose effects last until the end of the target's next turn.  Etymology: Acronym for "end of next turn".

Eric and the Dread Gazebo (phrase): See Tale of Eric and the Dread Gazebo.

Exploding Die (phrase): A mechanic by which an additional die is rolled if the original die rolls a certain value (usually maximum value), which itself can result in another die roll, and so on ad infinitum, as long as the necessary condition is met. Example: the property of a vorpal weapon.
Face (noun): A character built to be the primary character responsible for in-character social interactions, in a party otherwise devoid of social characters. Also called "Party Face."

Fanboy (noun): (often considered derogatory) In gaming, sci-fi or fantasy circles, a serious, often overly obsessed fan of a game, author, designer, series, or other genre element. (Var: fanboi.)

Faurope (noun): A campaign setting designed to resemble medieval or Renaissance Europe with fantastical elements.  Some examples include Birthright, Blackmoor, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms (not including Kara Tur or Maztica), Greyhawk, Middle Earth, and 4e's default setting.  Non-Faurope settings include Dark Sun, Eberron, Planescape, and Spelljammer.  Etymology: portmanteaux of "faux" and "Europe".

Feat Tax (noun): A feat considered necessary for a character to be effective at a given level. History: In Third Edition, a feat tax referred to a sub-optimal feat that was included as a prerequisite to a more powerful feat simply to balance that feat. (Link)

Feycharger (build): An eladrin build developed in the optimization boards that uses the Fey Charge feat in combination with other powers to create a character that inflicts a lot of damage.  (Link)

Feylock (noun): A warlock with the Fey Pact.

Fluffy (adjective): Euphemism referring to a published material or portion of a published material that contains flavor text, see also Crunchy. Etymology: Gaming industry, term made popular by Sean K. Reynold’s euphemistic essay on the gaming industry entitled, Forgotten Rums.

Forum Guide [FG] (noun): A volunteer who assists a specific Volunteer Community Leader with discrete or ongoing task or area.

Forum Lead [FL] (noun): A volunteer, often assigned to one or more forums, who serves as an intermediary between Community Management and the forum members.

Fourgnard (noun): A person who likes Fourth Edition, but does not like newer Fourth Edition releases.  Etymology: coined by AlexandraErin (link); portmanteau of "fourth" and "grognard".

Fourthify (verb): To convert something from a prior edition of D&D to 4e.

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

Game System Licence [GSL] (noun): a license that allows third parties to use certain intellectual property owned by Wizards of the Coast with the company’s permission in order to create products compatible with the 4th Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game. [Link]

Gamemaster [GM] (noun): 1. A Dungeon Master (or similar role in role-playing games other than Dungeons & Dragons); 2. A volunteer supervised by the Community Manager responsible for running a specific on-line event on the forums.

Gamer (noun): A person who plays games; most commonly, but not limited to; war games, role-playing games, collectible card games, and computer or console games. Gaming (verb): The act of playing a game, usually with others. See also Gamer.

Gazebo (noun): See Tale of Eric and the Dread Gazebo.

Gish (noun): Character who combines elements of an arcane caster and melee combatant. Etymology: Dungeons & Dragons, refers to a title original given to Githyanki fighter/magic-users.

Glass Cannon (noun): Character that can inflict more damage than expected for a character of that level, but cannot sustain the damage expected of a character of that level. (I.e. a character concept that has traded an inordinate amount of offense for an excessive amount of defense.)

Greyhawk (verb): To loot the bodies of fallen enemies. Etymology: Dungeons & Dragons, term first used by players of the Living Greyhawk campaign as a sarcastic response to adventures that gave less treasure if it was not specifically stated that the bodies were being looted.

Grind (noun): A fight that lasts many boring rounds, even though the outcome is evident.

Grognard (noun): A gamer, especially war gamer, who has considerable experience with a particular game or genre of games, has seen that game or genre of games go through many iterations, and who may often complain about new versions of, or newbies to, that game; also known as Old Guard. 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 synonymous with their tendency to grumble about all things new.

Gygaxian (adjective): A campaign with a high mortality rate for player characters, and often characterized with dungeon crawls and death effects for which there is no (or little) defense or save. Etymology: a mischaracterization of the campaigns run by E. Gary Gygax, one of the founders of Dungeons & Dragons, often based on the S1: Tomb of Horrors tournament module he wrote, which was published for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (First Edition).

Gygaxian Naturalism (noun): A term coined by James Maliszewski, to describe a tendency to give game mechanics for monsters that serve little purpose other than to ground them in the campaign world. (Link)


Hack’n Slasher (noun): A player whose primary focus in a RPG is to roll dice, kill things and take their treasure; also known as a Roll-player.

Hammergun (noun): A mythical implement that can shoot hammers, and to be used exclusively by players dealing with an unreasonable Dungeon Master.

Hater (noun): A person who attacks an edition of D&D, usually with irrational or emotional arguments. Considered derogatory. Most often associated with people who hate 4th edition (i.e., "4th Hater", which is sometimes shortened to "H4ter").

Head of Vecna (legend): A hoax that one adventuring party played on another in a campaign run by game Mark Steuer. (Link.)

Hellock (noun): A warlock with the Infernal Pact. (Also, "Hell Lock.") 

Hexcrawl (noun): A type of adventure characterized by lots of combat -- often occurring within an outdoor wilderness -- and little story or characterization.  See Dungeon crawl.

High Gaming (noun): A particular genre of gaming, usually that preferred by the user of the term, viewed as superior to other genres of gaming.

House Flavor: 1. (noun) An official variant of unofficial customized description of an object, creature or power in a game that does not alter its mechanics; 2. (verb) to create house flavor.  Compare House Rule.  Etymology: Coined by wrecan.  (Link.)

House Rule: 1. (noun) An official variant or unofficial customized rule used within the confines of an individual play group; 2. (verb) to create a house rule. (Var. Houserule.)  Compare House Flavor.  

Hundred Dollar Bill Principle (noun): A principle that states that if WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded.

Huzzah! (interjection): An expression or shout of acclaim. Etymology: Unknown, earliest known uses stem from the late medieval/early renaissance period ca. 1500's.


I Class (phrase): A class with one primary Ability score and one secondary Ability score.  Etymology: The shape of the letter "I", which has one point on top and one at the bottom.  Compare "A Class", "V Class" and "X Class".  Link

I got a rock! (expression): A declaration used to indicate that one has been cheated within a RPG, usually in regards to treasure division. Etymology: Modern American, derived from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! [youtube link]

In-Depth Role-Player [IDRP] (noun): A player whose primary focus in a RPG is to strive for the realistic portrayal of her character, especially in terms of emotion and personality, by making all decisions based solely from the character’s viewpoint.

-izard (suffix): A suffix used to describe various wizard builds. I.e., orbizard, staffizard, and wandizard.


Jack of all Trades [JoaT] (noun): A character that is proficient in multiple roles, but excels at none.

Jell_Moo Principle (noun): "Do not tell other people how to play the game."


Killer DM (term): A Dungeon Master 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 DM; also sometimes Player Killer.

Kit (noun): A game mechanic in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2d edition.  A kit could be chosen for a character at character creation.  If selected, it offered a suite of features and abilities whose power varied greatly depending on the specific kit.  Kits also often had alignment, racial, class, or other prerequisites and ongoing requirements.


Laser Cleric (noun): A cleric built for ranged attacks. (Earliest reference found)

(adjective): Related to an attack power that has no attack line.  For example, a lazy power is an attack power with no attack line.  A lazy build is a character build that concentrates on the use of lazy powers.  A lazylord is a warlord who uses mainly lazy powers.

Linear Fighters, Quadratic Wizards
(phrase): A phrase that describes the power progression of martial and spellcasting characters in prior editions, in which the martilal characters progressed at a slow but steady rate, while spellcasters tended to begin with less power but increased power much more quickly. [Earliest reference found]

Live Action Role-Playing [LARP] (noun): A style of gaming that emphasizes live, often immersive, character interaction over, and sometimes to the exclusion of, dice rolling.

-lock (suffix): A warlock build based on a strategy or theme preceding the suffix. Etymology: A play on the term "warlock."

-lord (suffix): A warlord build based on a strategy or theme preceding the suffix. Etymology: A play on the term "warlord."

Low Gaming (noun): A genre or genres of gaming the user of the term finds inferior to those genres she views as High Gaming. See High Gaming.


Meat shield (noun): Character or creature whose primary combat role in the party is to absorb large amounts of damage in order to protect other, more vulnerable, party members.

Message board paladin (noun) A member who attempts to assist the moderators in their policing duties.

Metagame (noun): Any element of gaming found outside of actual game play.

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

Metagamer (noun), 1: A player who uses out-of-character knowledge to benefit his in-game character. 2: Someone who metagames.

Min/Maxer (noun), 1: A player who designs her character, usually within the basic parameters of the rules, to maximize that character’s advantages and minimize its disadvantages. 2: A power gamer.

Mini (noun): A figurine used to represent a character on a battle map. Etymology: Abbreviated version of "miniature."

Monsterbate (verb): To roll combat (or other dice-based interactions) between two sets of NPCs during a game session.  Etymology: Coined by SYB in this threadVariation: Monsterbation.

Monty Hauler (noun), 1: A person who runs or plays in a campaign where everything is 'given away', i.e., monsters are easy to kill and treasure and experience easy to find. Etymology: Modern American, refers to Monty Hall, the host of the game show "Let's Make a Deal" from 1963-1976. 2: A Munchkin.

Multiple Attribute Dependency [MAD] (expression): Phrase referring to character classes whose abilities require good scores in multiple attributes rather than just one. (Compare Single Attribute Dependency.)

Multiple Implement Dependency [MID] (expression): Phrase referring to character classes or builds whose abilities require multiple implements or weapons to function effectively. (Compare Single Implement Dependency.)

Multiple-user Personality [MuP] (noun): Any one of several persona adopted by a single user and represented by a separate user-name, no longer allowed on the forums. See Sock Puppet.

Munch (verb): To min/max a character. Etymology: See munchkin.

Munchkin (noun), 1: (derogatory) A player who creates an extremely unbalanced and over-powered character by using ludicrous loopholes in the rules or by outright breaking them. 2: (derogatory) A player whose gaming style the user of the term disapproves of; often including, but not limited to, power gamers, min/maxers, Monty Haulers, hack’n slashers, metagamers, rules lawyers and/or twinks. 3: A young gamer. Etymology: Modern American, refers to a race of midgets in The Wizard of Oz.

Munchkin Fallacy (noun): The fallacy of stating that an action is permitted if the rules do not specifically forbid it. Etymology, D&D message boards, a fallacy first formalized by member AlphatheGreat


Non-Armor Class Defense [NAD] (noun): Fortitude, Reflex and Will Defenses. Etymology: D&D Boards, term coined by hynter

Nerf (verb): To weaken a specific game rule, or specific character or item within a game, usually for purposes of game balance. Etymology: Modern toys, refers to the Nerf brand name that uses a soft, compressible material to make non-hazardous toys. 

Nerf the Bar (verb): 1. To preserve game balance for one class by removing popular options from another class.  2. To lower expectations.  Etymology: Coined in May 2011 in the General Discussion forum after developers justified some errata to some cleric prayers in order to prevent the cleric from outshining the wizard in some areas.

Newbie (noun): A new player to the game and/or new member to the message board.

Non-player character [NPC] (noun): A character in a role-playing game whose actions are not controlled by a player; specifically, a character whose actions are controlled by the Game Master.

Noob (noun): 1. A player who cannot grasp the basic concepts of a game, no matter how much playing experience and no matter how often explained. Often used disparagingly.

Nova: 1. (noun) A character built to expend all of its powers immediately to devastating effect, but leaving it severely weakened afterwards. 2. (verb) To expend all ones powers immediately, often "to go nova".


o- (prefix): used to distinguish mechanics that existed before the release of Essentials from similarly named mechanics released in Essentials.  Compare e-.

Oberoni Fallacy (noun): The fallacy that the existence of a rule stating that, ‘the rules can be changed,’ can be used to excuse design flaws in the actual rules. Etymology, D&D message boards, a fallacy first formalized by member Oberoni on July 23, 2002.  (Link)

Old Guard (noun): See Grognard.

On-line Response Crew [ORC] (noun): The moderators responsible for Customer Service on the forums.

Optimize (verb): To seek every possible mechanical benefit for a character's effectiveness in its chosen field (combat, thieving, diplomacy, etc.)

Otaku (noun): (often considered derogatory) a Fanboy; especially one fixated on Anime, Ecchi, Hentai, Manga or other form of Japanese comic or cartoon art. Etymology: Japanese, literally 'house,' slang for an overly obsessed fan and implying said fans obsession interfering with his or her ability to socialize and thus remaining mostly confined to the house rather than experiencing social situations.


Padded Sumo (adjective): Of or relating to melee combat in which both combatants' defenses are so high that they exhaust all their encounter and daily powers and are reduced to standing in place hitting each other with basic attacks. Padded Sumo often leads to grind. Etymology: Recreational activity in which partygoers dress in inflatable "sumo suits" and bounce around trying to push one another out of a fake sumo wrestling ring. Contrast Rocket Launcher Tag.

Page 42 (term): Refers to the ability of the DM to invent new rules to accommodate improvised actions by characters. Etymology: page 42 in the Dungeon Masters Guide (4th edition), which contains tables for improvising difficulty checks for actions not otherwise contained in the rules.

Page 55 (term): Refers to the ability of the player to reflavor powers, as long as the power does not mechanically change. Etymology: page 55 in the Player's Handbook (4th edition), which contains the rule for reflavoring powers. See Reflavor.

Pally (noun): Paladin.

Piñata (noun): An enemy that either naturally, or due to a power being used against it, grants benefits to the PCs when it is struck or killed.  Var. "Pinata".

Paragon Multiclassing (phrase): Using the multiclass feats to take a base class as a character's paragon path.

Player (noun): A person who plays a game; usually used to differentiate a person who plays in a role-playing game versus a person who controls one.

Player Character (noun): A character in a role-playing game whose actions are controlled by a player.

Player Kill (noun): An encounter or adventurer in which a player character is killed.

Player Killer (noun): 1: A Killer DM. 2: A player who frequently kills other player characters.

Points of Light (phrase): A type of campaign setting characterized by sparse centers of goodness (usually, but not always, civilization) surrounded by deadly dangers.  (Link)

PoLand (noun): A term for the default campaign setting for Fourth Edition, where the Nentir Vale is located.  Etymology: portmanteau of "Points of Light" as an acronym and "land".

Power Creep (noun): The tendency of RPGs to increase the PCs' power level as more supplements are released.

Power Gamer (noun), 1: A player whose primary focus in a RPG is the increase of his character’s power, usually defined in combat terms. 2: A Min/Maxer.

Prune (verb): To delete old and/or excess threads from a message board in order to improve performance of that board.

Pun Pun (fictional name): Character concept from 3rd edition, created by forum member Khan the Destroyer, to demonstrate and epitomize extreme character optimization.


Quadratic Wizards: See "Linear Fighter, Quadratic Wizard".


Radiant mafia (term): A character optimization team build in which characters give one another bonuses for inflicting radiant damage. (Link)

(verb): To, as a DM, force the players along a linear storyline that often does not allow for deviations created by player input.

RAW-Compatible (adjective): A homebrewed creature, trap, or other mechanic created using the guidelines written in the rules, so as to be compatible with a game that doesn't otherwise use house rules.  Etymology: Coined by wrecan and Maxperson.  See RAW (Acronyms and Abbreviations, below.)

Read-aloud Text
(noun): Text written by the designer of a published adventure to be read by the Dungeon Master to the players.

Rear Loaded
(adjective): See Back Loaded.

(verb): Changing the narrative description of a class, race, monster or power so as to make it appear completely different, even though it remains the same, mechanically, as contemplated on page 55 of the 4e Player's Handbook. See Refluff and Reskin.

(verb): See Reflavor.

(verb): See Reflavor.

(verb): Changing the damage type (and any corresponding keyword) of an attack, usually in conjunction with reflavoring.

Rider Effect
(phrase): Any effect of an attack other than damage.

Rocket Launcher Tag
(noun): Of or relating to combat in which both combatants' offensive capabilities are so deadly that the first combatant to succeed on an attack will defeat the other. Contrast Padded Sumo.

(noun), 1: A person who plays role-playing games. 2: An In-Depth Role-Player.

Role-playing Game
(noun): A game that allows the player(s) to assume the role of a character or personality involved in the development of a story-line.

Roll-player (noun): See Hack'n Slasher.

(noun), 1: Any of various cosmetics for coloring the cheeks or lips red. 2: A very common misspelling of the word "rogue."

Rule 0 (verb): To, as a house rule, modify or eliminate an official rule, or create an original house rule. Etymology: D&D 3E, refers to Rule 0 of character creation in the PHB which states that a player should check with the DM for house rules before generating a character.

Rules Lawyer (noun), 1: A player who is knowledgeable of the rules and uses them to his advantage; sometimes even to the extreme of using one rule to argue a point to his advantage, then using another rule to argue against that point when it becomes a disadvantage. 2: A gamer knowledgeable of the rules. Contrast Consigliere.


Sage, the (noun): Title, originally held by Skip Williams and then by Andy Collins, as the official rules clarifier for D&D in Dragon Magazine.  There is currently no offical "Sage".

(noun): A style of campaign where the party may take the initiative as to where to adventure, rather than a more linear campaign.

Save or Die [SoD] (phrase): An effect that can remove a character from combat in one round regardless of hit points. Etymology: prior editions of D&D, which had many spells that killed a player character if he failed a saving throw.

Save or Suck [SoS]: See Save or Die.

Scribe: A forum volunteer responsible for producing editorial content for specific forums.

Single Attribute Dependency [SAD] (expression): Phrase referring to character classes whose abilities require good scores in one attribute rather than just several. Compare Multiple Attribute Dependency.

Single Implement Dependency [SID] (expression: Phrase referring to character classes or builds whose abilities require only one implement or weapon to operate efficiently. Compare Multiple Implement Dependency.

Snarf (fictional name), 1: The comical antihero of the Larry Elmore comic series Snarf Quest. 2: The comical sidekick in the Rankin Bass cartoon Thundercats.

Society for Creative Anachronism [SCA] (noun): An international, non-profit, medieval re-creation and recreation organization. [Link]

Sock Puppet (noun): A multiple-user personality, often one used by the poster to conduct activities that she does not want associated with a more well-known screen name or to create fictitious support for her other screen name(s). Etymology: Common crafts, refers to the practice of making a simple hand puppet out of a sock and using it to speak for the puppeteer. See multiple-user personality.

Splatbook, 1: Any published, non-core, supplementary game book, especially one dedicated to a specific class, race or campaign location. 2: (considered derogatory) Any unnecessary, excessive and/or poorly designed published game supplement. Etymology: Game industry, refers to the asterisk (*), also known as a splat, sometimes used by game publishers to designate supplementary material in catalogues.

Starlock (noun): A warlock with the Star Pact.

Steve (noun): A player who enjoys being disruptive at the table.

Stormwind Fallacy (noun): The fallacy that roleplaying and optimization are mutually inconsistent. Etymology, D&D message boards, a fallacy first formalized by member Tempest Stormwind on May 15, 2006. [Link; link; link; link]

Sword and Board (term): A style of melee involving a one-handed weapon and a shield. Also, "Sword 'n Board".

System Reference Document [SRD] (noun): A reference document detailing Terms, Tables and Templates that are available for license under the Game System License. [Link]


TacLord: A warlord built to specialize in coordinating party tactics.

Tactical Studies Rules [TSR]: The company founded by Gary Gygax and Don Kaye to publish the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The company went defunct in 1997 when its intellectual properties were purchased by Wizards of the Coast.

Tale of Eric and the Dread Gazebo (title): Humorous gaming story now part of popular gaming folklore. Link

Tank (noun): A heavily armored character that excels in melee combat. Etymology: Military, refers to a heavily armored combat vehicle.

Third-Party Publisher [3PP; TPP] (noun): A publisher of Dungeons & Dragons products other than Wizards of the Coast.

To Hit Armor Class 0 [THAC0] (term): 2E D&D term similar in purpose to the attack bonus.

Total Party Death [TPD] (expression): See Total Party Kill.

Total Party Kill [TPK] (expression): An encounter or adventure that results in the entire party being killed; also sometimes Total Party Death.

Trap Option (noun): An mechanical option for character building that looks attractive but is mathematically inferior to other options at the same level.

TSRchivists: A self-identified group of people who have played most editions of D&D and try to remain neutral in the Edition Wars.

Tucker's Kobolds (noun): A group of kobolds, referenced in a famous editorial of Roger E. Moore found in Dragon Magazine 127, notorious for being so sneaky, devious and vicious that they could easily handle (and terrorize) parties many levels above what monsters with these stats could typically handle. [Link].

Twink (noun), 1: (considered derogatory) A player whose play-style or behavior ruins or disrupts a game. 2: A Munchkin.

Twink (verb): To give a character an item or ability that increases that character’s power substantially beyond that normally expected for a character of that level and race.


Unconventional Convention (noun): An quasi-official online convention once held each year on these forums that has contests, interviews, and prizes.  Abbrev. Uncon.  [Link]

Vancian Magic (noun): A magic system that requires the preparation or memorization of a spell prior to its casting, especially the magic system used in D&D prior to 4th edition. Etymology: Fantasy literature, refers to a magic system used by fantasy author Jack Vance in a series of novels.

vBulletin [vBB] (noun): Bulletin board software published by Jelsoft Enterprises; and once used by WotC to manage its message boards.

V Class (phrase): A class with two primary Ability scores and one secondary Ability score. Etymology: The shape of the letter "V", which has two points on top and one at the bottom. Compare "A Class", "I Class", and "X Class".  Link

Vecna's Head (noun): See Head of Vecna.

Virtual Pen & Paper [VP&P or VPP] (noun): A pen & paper game played online.

Volunteer Community Leader [VCL]: A volunteer supervised by the Community Manager, who helps to manage the content of the forums.

War Game (noun): A game that duplicates or recreates the tactical and/or strategic aspects of war.

War Gamer (noun), 1: A player whose primary focus in a RPG is the tactical or strategic aspects of combat. 2: A person who plays war games.

Weapliment (noun): A weapon that is used as an implement.  (Link)

Whiff (verb): To miss by a large margin.

(verb), 1: the weapon or implement used in an attack.  2: a weapon or implement that is in hand and ready to be used to attack. (Link)

Wizards of the Coast (noun): The corporation that owns and develops the Dungeons & Dragons game.

WizO (noun): What ORCs were called before they were called ORCs. Etymology:, refers to the WizO prefix that began all WizO user names.

WotC- (prefix): A prefix found at the beginning of forum names of employees of Wizards of the Coast.

X Class (phrase): A class with one primary Ability score and four possible secondary Ability scores.  Etymology: The shape of the letter "X", which has one central juncture and four exterior points.  Compare "A Class", "I Class", and "V Class".  Link
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Acronyms and Abbreviations

1E: 1st Edition AD&D rules.
2E: 2nd Edition AD&D rules.
3E: 3rd Edition D&D rules.
3PP: Third-party publisher.
3.5E: Version 3.5 of the 3rd Edition D&D rules.
3.75: The Pathfinder Game System published by Paizo.
3.P: The Pathfinder Game System published by Paizo.
3.x: Both 3rd Edition D&D and Version 3.5 D&D rules
4E: 4th Edition D&D rules.
5E: 5th Edition D&D.
$100 dollar bill principle: Hundred Dollar Bill Principle.
$th: A derogatory abbreviation for Fourth Edition D&D rules.

AC: Armor Class.
AD&D: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.
AEDU: At-will/encounter/daily/utility powers.  Also used to refer to pre-Essentials class design.
AFB: Away from books.
AL: Alignment.
AoE: Area of effect.
AP: Action point.
Art: Artificer
Asn: Assassin
Atk: Attacks.
Avn: Avenger
AttN: Arrow through the Neck.

BBEG: Big bad evil guy (see Terms above).
BD&D: Basic Dungeons & Dragons.
BECMI: Basic/Expert/Champion/Masters/Immortal. The progression of boxed set D&D games beginning with Basic.
BM: 1. Beastmaster, a ranger build. 2. Battlemind, the psionic class.
Brb: Barbarian
Brd: Bard
BRV: Battlerager Vigor, a fighter talent that appears for the Battlerager Fighter build in Martial Power.

CA: 1. Combat Advantage. 2. Custom Avatar (occasionally given out as a prize for forum contests).
CB: Character Builder.
CBC: Character Builder Classic.
CCG : Collectible card game.
CdG: Coup de Grâce.
CE: Chaotic Evil alignment.
Cha: Charisma ability score.
CL: Class level.
Clr: Cleric
CM: Community Management; also, Community Manager.
CoC: Code of Conduct.
CoF: Castle of Fun (see Terms above).
Con: Constitution ability score.
CoPR: Character of playable race.
Crit: Critical Hit.
CRPG: Computer role-playing game.
CS: 1. Customer Service. 2. Campaign Setting.
CT: Custom Title (occasionally given out as a prize for forum contests).

d#: Daily power (and level)
d%: Percentile dice.
D&D: Dungeons & Dragons
d4: A 4-sided die.
d6: A 6-sided die.
d8: An 8-sided die.
d10: A 10-sided die.
d12: A 12-sided die.
d20: A 20-sided die.
d100: Percentile dice.
DC: Difficulty Class.
DDI: Dungeons & Dragons Initiative or Dungeons & Dragons Insider.
DDVC: Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Corporation (See above).
Dex: Dexterity ability score.
Dm: Damage.
Dmg: Damage.
DMPC: Dungeon Master Player Character (see above).
DMXP: The weekly Dungeon Master Experience series of articles (Link)
DPR: Damage Per Round.
Drd: Druid

e#: Encounter power (and level)
EGG: Ernest Gary Gygax
ENT: End of Next Turn (also, eont).

FG: Forum Guide.
FL: Forum Lead.
FLGS: Favorite Local Gaming Store or Friendly Local Gaming Store.
Fort: Fortitude Defense
FR: Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
FRCS: Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
FSBNNR: Feats should be nice, not required (see Terms above).
Ftr: Fighter

GM: Game master (see Terms above).
GSL: The Game System License.
GW: Gamma World game system.

HBO: Heavy Blade Opportunity.
HDBP: Hundred-Dollar Bill Principle.
hp: hit points.
HtH: Hand-to-hand.

IC: In character.
IDRP: In-Depth Role-Player (see Terms above).
IMC: In my campaign.
Init: Initiative bonus.
Int: Intelligence ability score.
IRL: In real life.
Ivk: Invoker

JoaT: Jack of all Trades

KoDT: Knights of the Dinner Table D&D comic strip.

L&L: The weekly Legends & Lore articles (link)
: Language(s).
LARP: Live action role-playing (see Terms above).
LFR: Living Forgotten Realms.
LG: Lawful Good alignment.
LGS: Local Gaming Store.
LoE: Line of effect.
LoS: Line of sight.
LotR: Lord of the Rings.

MAD: Multiple attribute dependency (see Terms above).
MBA: Melee basic attack.
MC: Multi-class
MDMC: The Master DM Competition, a 3.5 edition competition on the What's a DM to Do? forum.
MEA: Move equivalent action.
MID: Multiple Implement Dependency (see Terms above).
MMORG: Massive Multi-player Online Role-playing Game.
Mnk: Monk
MoB: Monster or Boss.  (Sometimes written "mob")
Mod, 1: Modifier. 2: Moderator.
MUD: Multi-user Dungeon (see Terms above).
MuP: Multiple user Personality (see Terms above).

NAD: Non-Armor Class Defense (see Terms above).
NIMH: Not in my house.
NPC: Non-player character (see Terms above).
NWN: Never Winter Nights computer game.

OA: Opportunity Attack.
OD&D: Original, or old, Dungeons & Dragons.
OOC: Out of character.
OoI: Orb of Imposition.
OoP: Out of Print.
OOTS: Order of the Stick webcomic.
ORC: On-line Response Crew (see above).
OSR: Old school reference or old school rules.  Etymology: An abbreviation of OSRIC.

Pal: Paladin
PBeM: Play by e-mail.
PBM: Play by mail.
PC, 1: Player character (see Terms above). 2: (rarely) Politically Correct.
PEACH: Please Examine And Critique Honestly
PK, 1: Player kill (see Terms above). 2: Player killer (see Terms above).
PMC: Paragon Multiclass(ing) (see Terms above).
PnP: Pen ’n Paper.
PoL: Points of Light (see Terms above). 
PP: 1: Paragon Path.  2: Power Point(s).
Psn: Psion


RAI: 1. Rules as Intended; 2. less commonly referenced as "Rules as Interpreted."
RAW: Rules as Written.
RBA: Ranged basic attack.
Ref: Reflex Defense
Rgr: Ranger
Ro3: The weekly Rule of Three series of articles. (Link)
Rog: Rogue
RPG: Role-playing game (see Terms above).
RPGA: Role-Playing Gamers Association.
RRoT: Righteous Rage of Tempus, a feat from the Forgotten Realms Players Guide.
RSE: Realms Shaking Event (an event, like the Spellplague, that causes a fundamental change in the Forgotten Realms).

SAD: Single Attribute Dependency (see Terms above).
SCA: Society for Creative Anachronism (see Terms above).
Shm: Shaman
SID: Single Implement Dependency (see Terms above).
Skr: Seeker
SoD: Save or Die (see Terms above).
Sor: Sorcerer
SoS: Save or Suck (see Terms above).
Spd: Speed.
SRD: System Reference Document.
Str: Strength ability score.
Swm: Swordmage

THAC0: To Hit Armor Class 0 [zero] (see Terms above).
TPD: Total Party Death (see Terms above).
TPK: Total Party Kill (see Terms above).
TPP: Third-Party Publisher.
TPP'n: Third-Party Publication.
TRPG: Table-top role-playing game.
TSR: Tactical Studies Rules (see Terms above).
TWD: Two-Weapon Defense.
TWF: Two-Weapon Fighting.
TWFer: Two-Weapon Fighter.

u#: Utility power (and level)
Uncon: Unconventional Convention (see Terms above).

vBB: vBulletin (see Terms above).
VCL: Volunteer Community Leader.
VTT: Virtual Tabletop (also, VT)

[w]: Weapon die -- the dice rolled to determine a weapon's damage when used in a basic attack.
WaDMtD?: The What's a DM to Do? forum.
WaPtD?: The What's a Player to Do? forum.
Wdn: Warden
Will: Will Defense.
Wis: Wisdom ability score.
Wld: Warlord
Wlk: Warlock
Wiz: Wizard
WoC: Wizards of the Coast; also sometimes WotC.
WotC: Wizards of the Coast; also sometimes WoC.
WotST: Wizards of the Spiral Tower paragon path.
WoW: World of Warcraft.

XDMC: Expert DM Competition, found on the What's a DM to Do? forum
XP: Experience points.



Common Acronyms for Fourth Edition Releases

Note that modules are often simply identified by their letter-number combination (H3, P1, etc.) "Sequels" such as Players Handbook 2 and Dungeon Masters Guide 3 simply add the appropriate number to the first book's abbreviation (i.e., PHB2 and DMG3, respectively).

AiNF: P3 Assault in Nightwyrm Fortress.
AP: Arcane Power.
AV: Adventurer's Vault.
BoVD: Book of Vile Darkness. 
DD: Dungeon Delve.
DMA: Dragon Magazine Annual.
DMG: Dungeon Master’s Guide.
DMK: Dungeon Master's Kit.
DP: Divine Power.
DR: E1 Death's Reach.
DQE: P2 Demon Queen’s Enclave.
DSCC: Dark Sun Creature Catalog
DSCS: Dark Sun Campaign Setting
ECG: Eberron Campaign Guide.
EPG: Eberron Player's Guide.
FRCG: Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide.
FRPG: Forgotten Realms Player's Guide.
HF: Hammerfast.
HotFK: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, also, HFK
HotFL: Heroes of the Fallen Lands, also, HFL
: Heroes of the Feywild, also HFW 
HoS: Heroes of Shadow
KotG: E2 Kingdom of the Ghouls.
KotS: H1 Keep on the Shadowfell.
KoTW: P1 King of the Trollhaunt Warrens.
LoM: Lords of Madness.
MaGA: Madness at Gardmore Abbey, also MGA
MotDS: Marauders of the Dune Sea
MM: Monster Manual
MME: Mordenkainen's Magical Emporium
MoP: Manual of Planes.
MV: Monster Vault.
MV:TNV: Monster Vault: Threats to Nentir Vale, also TNV
MP: Martial Power. 
NWCS: Neverwinter Campaign Setting.
OG: Open Grave.
OoSP: HS2 Orcs of Stonefang Pass
PB: The Plane Below; also, tPB
PH: Player’s Handbook; also sometimes PHB.
PHB: Player’s Handbook; also sometimes PH.
PHR: Player's Handbook Races (often followed by the name of the race).
PoS: H3 Pyramid of Shadows.
PoU: E3 Prince of Undeath.
PriP: Primal Power.
PSG: Players Strategy Guide.
PsiP: Psionic Power.
RC: Rules Compendium.
RotG: Revenge of the Giants.
SotAC: Seeker of the Ashen Crown.
SotAS: The Plane Above: Secrets of the Astral Sea
SotEC: The Plane Below: Secrets of the Elemental Chaos
SToS: Scepter Tower of Spellguard.
TL: H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth.
ToH: Tomb of Horrors (often followed by a "(4e)")
TSS: HS1 The Slaying Stone
UD: Underdark.
VR: Vor Rukoth
Guide to Forum Badges

1086_26.png: This individual is an employee of Wizards of the Coast.

1176_26.png: This individual is a member of the On-line Response Crew ("ORC").

1196_26.png: This individual is a Volunteer Community Leader.

: This individual is a Forum Guide.

1146_26.png: This individual is a Global Administrator for Living Forgotten Realms.

1116_26.png: This individual is a Game Master.

: This individual is a VT Sage.

1206_26.png: This individual is a Scribe.

DDi Subscriber: This individual subscribes to the Dungeons & Dragons Insider.

1186_26.png: This individual won a contest in the Uncon Convention.

: This individual is a Dungeons & Dragons playtester.

: This individual has obtained an award badge for the Lair Assault game (Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Copper, respectively.)

Wow! Nicely done!

Note: although Trollbill's dictionary did not contain a definition of RAI, it was addressed by Sylvaroth's (newer) Dictionary of Terminology (Part II), which was referenced by the 3x board's FAQ sticky and previously by the 4e Player advice board's FAQ sticky.

Per that dictionary, RAI meant "Rules as Intended" (and that was the only published definition prior to this thread). Your definition is certainly more complete (as there have indeed been some posters that thought it meant "Rules as Interpreted" before), but having multiple, disparate definitions can cause confusion, possibly defeating the utility of the acronym.

Doing a Google search for RAI + "Rules As Intended" I get 535 hits.
Doing a Google search for RAI + "Rules As Interpreted" I get 9 hits.
Guide to Color Coding
In many areas of the forums, but mainly in the Character Optimzation forum, forum members use a system of color coding when recommending options for character building, such as races, classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers, feats, skills, and items.  The color coding used by most members is as follows:
  • Red - This option is not worth taking, and may even be a trap.

  • Purple - This option is worth taking only for very limited circumstances.

  • Black - This option is neither unattractive nor desirable.

  • Blue - This option is good and recommended.

  • Sky Blue - This option is one of the best options for this character and should be taken.

  • Gold - This option is so good it should be deemed non-optional.

Glass Cannon (Noun): A character that can deal large amounts of damage, but cannot take it.

I've seen Padded Sumo used, but never got a good defintion.
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Orc in the House of Trolls
Tanks, calronmoonflower!

"padded sumo" refers to when combatants' defenses are so high that in combat they exhaust all of their powers and are reduced to beating each other senseless with basic attacks (a tactic considered unexciting).
You misspelled "chaacter" [sic] is the glass cannon entry.

Whiff: A complete miss.
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Orc in the House of Trolls
Fixed... and added! Gracias!
NADs: (noun) Non armor class defenses.
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Can you give me a link to a thread where that's used. I haven't seen that one before.
Can you give me a link to a thread where that's used. I haven't seen that one before.

You know you could try using google to search, but I guess I should have provided a link.

[thread=1076231]The best NADs?[/thread]


Your Mileage My Vary (YMMV): A statement that different people have different expenses with the same thing.
1,490 results


I think I have a few more.

From: [thread=1062422]4E Poster Groups Discussion and Related DnD Talk[/thread]

Basically these are discussion groups that some board members are a part of. Generally confused with 4th Avengers.
Justice League: Balance Homebrew
Outsiders: Rules Questions
X-Men: Conceptual Issues
Illuminati: DM Assistance
Titans: Campaign Building
The Support Alliance: General Support

Members are general recognizable bu "4th [whatever]" in their sig.

TSR Activist: A forum group opposed to the edition wars. Formerly known as 2E Avengers, [thread=1070077]found here[/thread]

4th Avenger: A poster that adamantly defends 4th edition. Also written as 4th Ed. Avenger and 4venger. Frequently they also have a "4th [whatever]" in their sig. Used in the TSR Activist thread above.

4th Hater: A derogatory term for a poster that is strongly and vocally anti-4th. Also spelled h4ter. Again is used in the TSR Activist thread linked above.

$th: A term used to say that 4th edition was made for money. Considered an insult.

Edition War: A thread in which the posters fight over which is the best edition. A currently banned topic. This search has quite a few references to it. [post=17177686]Here's a reference[/post] to Webster threatening to close a thread if it become an edition war.

DM's Toolkit: A free program to aid in the creation of certain homebrew material. [thread=1038972]Found Here[/thread]
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I'm not going to advertise the various guilds and clubs that come and go on these boards. At least not yet. That would be way too much work. I'm also not including generic net lingo like YMMV. Nor am I including the names of third-party material.

But I will, sadly, include the Edition Wars lingo.
Damage Per Round (DPR): The average damage that a character can expect.
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