Dictionary of Terminology

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For the benefit of newcomers to this message board, I have compiled a list of commonly used terms found here. If you have any suggestions, or have an addition you think should be made, please let me know. Criteria for additions to the Dictionary of Terminology are included at the end of this post.


Disclaimer: Definitions used in this list 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 on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WotC, its employees, associates, immediate family members or household pets.


All your base are belong to us! (expression): You have no hope of defeating us. Etymology: Computer gaming, refers to a line from a poorly translated computer game that is frequently quoted by computer gamers as a declaration of their gaming interest. <link>

Bag-o-Rats Fighter (expression): A fighter who carries a bag of rats, dumps the bag when entering melee, uses the whirlwind feat to attack each rat, then uses the great cleave feat to gain an extra attack against his opponent for each rat he kills; often used as a prime example of how the 3E rules can be abused.

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

Bent (adjective): Refers to a class, feat, skill, race, spell or otherwise specific game rule that the user of the term considers somewhat unbalanced.

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

Broken (adjective): Refers to a class, feat, skill, race, spell or otherwise specific game rule that the user of the term considers very unbalanced.

Bump (verb): To reply to a post for the express purpose of moving that post to the top of the queue or thread.

Castle of Fun [CoF] (noun): A recurring D&D message board thread, now given its own channel, that is dedicated to light-hearted, online, role-playing; also known as the Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Corporation. <link>

Chainmail Bikini (noun), 1: Flexible armor, usually of decorative use only, consisting of interlinked metal rings and shaped in the form of a bikini. 2: A form of apparel often cited as the archetype of sexism in a male biased gaming community. <link>

Crunchy (adjective): Euphemism referring to a published material or portion of a published material that contains game mechanics, see also Fluffy. Etymology: Gaming, term taken from Sean K. Reynold's euphemistic essay on the gaming industry entitled, Forgotten Rums.

d20 (noun),1: RPG system published by WotC under an open gaming license, using D&D as it's flagship product. 2: A 20-sided die. <Link>

Drizzt Do'Urden (noun): Famous, often emulated, two scimitar wielding, good-aligned, drow ranger from the Forgotten Realms. <Link>

Drizzt Clone (noun): A much overused character concept that is modeled after Drizzt Do'Urden.

Dungeon Master [DM] (noun): A Dungeons & Dragons specific term for a Game Master.

Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Corporation [DDVC] (noun): See Castle of Fun.

Elminster (noun): Archetypal arch mage, meddler and font of wisdom from the Forgotten Realms; analogous to Tolkein's Gandalf, or Merlin, from Arthurian legend. <Link>

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.

Feats should be nice, not required [FSBNNR] (expression): Phrase used to express the belief that 3E psionics needs to be re-vamped rather than patched with feats that fix weaknesses.

Flame (verb): To reply to a post in a highly critical, derogatory and/or inflammatory manner.

Flame War (noun): A thread that has degenerated into mostly pointless flames and counter-flames; sometimes also flamefest.

Flame Warrior (noun): A participant in a flame war. <Link>

Flamefest (noun): See Flame War.

Flood (verb), 1: To overwhelm a network channel with mechanically-generated traffic. 2: To inundate a thread by posting repeatedly over a short period of time.

Flood Control (noun): Software designed to prevent network channel flooding.

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

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.

Game Master [GM] (noun): A generic, non-game specific term for the controller/referee of a role-playing game.

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.

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.

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.

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 Rule (noun): An official variant or unofficial customized rule used within the confines of an individual play group.

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

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! <Link>

Jack Chick (biographical name): Christian fundamentalist known for, amongst other things, publishing the anti D&D comic book, Dark Dungeons, through his company Chick Publishing, Inc. <Link>

Kender (noun): A diminutive race in the Dragon Lance campaign setting that is similar to and replaces the halfling race in that setting. <Link>

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.

Leet Speak (adjective): Internet 'code' language originated by online gamers and considered a CoC violation. <link>

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.

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 also High Gaming.

Lurker (noun): A person who frequently visits a message board, but seldom, if ever, posts to it.

Meta-board Pigeon (noun): A member who often Spams the Wizards.com Meta-board with repeated, mostly innocuous comments. Etymology: D&D Message Boards, term first coined by WotC_Mel in the thread Shoo!

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

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.

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, an MC for many television game shows. 2: A Munchkin.

Multi-user Dungeon [MUD] (noun): Any of various online, multi-player adventuring environments.

Multiple Attribute Dependency [MAD] (expression): Phrase referring to character classes whose abilities require good scores in multiple attributes rather than just one, and commonly used to refer to what is often considered the primary weakness of the psion character class.

Multiple user Personality [MuP] (noun): Any one of several persona adopted by a single user and represented by a separate user-name; see also Sock Puppet.

Munch (verb): To min/max a character. Etymology: RPGing, derived from the term Munchkin.

Munchkin (noun), 1: (considered 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: (considered 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.

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.

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.

Old Guard (noun): See Grognard.

Open Gaming Foundation [OGF] (noun): Organization dedicated to the publication and production of game systems that use the Open Gaming License such as WotC's d20 System, or an open license similar to the OGL. <Link>

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.

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 [PC] (noun): A character in a role-playing game whose actions are controlled by a player.

Player Kill [PK] (noun): An encounter or adventurer in which a PC is killed.

Player Killer [PK] (noun): See Killer DM.

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.

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

Role-player (noun), 1: A player whose primary focus in a RPG is the realistic portrayal of her character in terms of emotion and personality. 2: A person who plays role-playing games.

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.

Rouge (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): A player who has committed the rules to memory 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.

Sage, the (noun): see The Sage.

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

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

Sock Puppet (noun): A MuP, 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.

Spam (verb), 1: To post repeated, off-topic, usually innocuous comments to a thread that overwhelm and eventually derail that thread. 2: To send unsolicited usually commercial E-mail to a large number of addresses. Etymology: British television, from a skit on the series Monty Python's Flying Circus in which chanting of the word Spam (trademark for a canned meat product) overrides the other dialogue.

Spell-point Using Mage [SPUM] (expression): Term often used to characterize 3E Psionics.

System Reference Document [SRD] (noun): Online documentation posted on the OGL web site containing an abbreviated version of the 3E D&D rules. <Link>

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

The Sage (noun): Skip Williams; author of the Sage Advice column in Dragon Magazine and widely held as the foremost authority on the technical aspects of the D&D rules. [email]thesage@wizards.com[/email]

Thread (noun): A continuous chain of postings on a single topic.

"tj" (phrase): Letters sometimes used in place of "ch" in posts by non-English speaking members and occasionally used by English speaking members as a form of support for those non-English speaking members who have been harassed for bad grammar and spelling.

To Hit Armor Class 0 [THAC0] (term): 2E D&D term similar in purpose to the 3E term 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.

Troll (noun), 1: (considered derogatory) A person who engages in the act of trolling. 2: In game terms, a large, vicious green humanoid with regenerative capabilities. <Link>

Trolling (verb): To post a controversial or inflammatory statement on a message board for the express purpose of generating outraged replies. Etymology: Fishing, derived as a pun from the fishing practice of trailing a lure or baited hook from a moving boat.

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.