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.
Disclaimer 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.
Criteria 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. [Link]
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.