RPG Terms
Adventure: A pre-planned series of encounters prepared by the Game Master, or, what actually happens despite the Game Master's planning.

Alien: A catch-all name in a science fiction setting for any living and intelligent creature that is not human.

Alignment: A system of measuring morality and ethics so as to justify killing "evil" in the name of "good", or vice versa.

AoE: Area of effect attacks damage more than one monster; e.g.,. a fireball which has a 20 foot radius.

Arcane magic: Magic which appears to be triggered through manipulation of non-intelligent forces of the universe.

Armor: Very important, as this affects how hard it is for monsters to hit you, or alternatively, how much damage is removed after you are hit.

Armor class: A measure of how hard it is to deal damage to a player character or monster, may be enhanced through better armor or increased dexterity.

Backpack: Where you put all your gear. In some game systems, you actually can carry more than your normal encumberence if you get one.

Bard: A player character class that combines skills and magic, often thought relatively useless, but wrongfully so.

Bar brawl: The usual beginning of a role playing campaign, the Game Master is giving you something easy so you can learn the combat rules.

Boots: Obsolete -- modern role playing systems don't require you to buy them, unless they are magical boots, then definitely they're important.

Buff: A spell or ability that helps player characters, either by increasing their ability scores, improving their saving throws, or improving their chance of a successful attack or skill roll.

Campaign: A series of sessions that advance through a story planned by the Game Master, or, what actually happens despite the Game Master's plans.

Cleric: A player character class that solves problems in the game primarily by seeking the intervention of his god.

Credit: A credit (cr.) is the equivalent to a gold piece in science fiction settings. I have yet to see a more original name for money in any science fiction setting. A credit is probably worth about $1. It's hard to know because sometimes small items cost about what you'd think you'd pay in our world, but then starships can be had for what you'd pay for a luxury SUV. It makes no sense.

Crunch: How detailed and complex the rules are. From low crunch games like our own Easy D20 to high crunch, like Pathfinder.

Cyborg: A creature, often a player character, that is a lifeform enhanced with mechanical parts, i.e. a robotic arm, or an eye capable of x-ray vision.

d4, d6, d8, etc.: A die of that many sides should be rolled. 3d6 means roll 3 six-sided and add the results.

Debuff: A spell or ability that harms monsters in the same ways that a buff helps player characters.

Demi-human: A catch-all name in a fantasy setting for any creature that is not human, but is not a monster either, i.e. elves and dwarves.

Divine magic: Magic that is granted to a person through intervention with a god or supernatural forces.

Dragon: A very powerful monster, known for collecting a large horde of treasure, thus the enthusiasm to kill them.

Droid/Robot: A creature, sometimes a player character, that is entirely mechanical in nature.

Dungeon: A place for Player Characters to explore, isn't necessarily a dungeon, may be a castle, a crypt, a cathedral, a space station, or an urban street setting.

Dungeon Master (DM): The name for the Game Master in Dungeons & Dragons game franchise only.

Dungeons & Dragons: The original role playing game, but so many editions have come out that the player base is fragmented.

Empire: The default form of government seen in science fiction settings, could be good, neutral, or evil.

Exploding Dice: A dice mechanic in which you keep rolling when the highest value of a die is rolled. For example, for a d6, if you roll a '6', you roll again and add it to the previous roll. If a '6' is rolled again, you roll a 3rd time. Example: 6, 6, 3 gives a total of 15. Savage Worlds uses this mechanic.

Face: A character who acts as the voice of the party in non-combat social interaction, usually has high skill levels in persuasion, deception, and sense motive skills.

Federation: Another default form of government seen in science fiction settings, usually of good alignment, but if so, tends to be divided by politics.

Fighter: A player character class that solves problems in the game primarily by striking things with weapons.

Freeballing: Playing when the Game Master is unprepared.

FTL Travel: "Faster than Light Travel" -- Your science fiction setting will determine how this is achieved.

Game Master (GM): The person who runs the game in the role of storyteller, controller of non-player characters and monsters, and referee of the rules.

Gate: An artificial constructed gate is the method by which FTL travel is achieved, in fantasy, gates are used to travel between universes.

Glass cannon: The character who may be fragile, but who deals out lots of damage.

Gold Piece: In real life, a gold piece (g.p.) is a lot of money, but in the inflated currency of Dungeons & Dragons, a gold piece is probably equivalent to about $10. You will need thousands of them to buy anything really valuable, like a warship or a castle.

Healing: A spell or ability that increases the hit points of allies in battle.

Helmet: -- see Boots.

Hit points: A measure of how many hits a player character or monster can take before succumbing to his injuries.

Horse: Transportation for Player Characters, don't worry about feeding or watering it, such things are rarely a concern.

Humanocentric: All role playing games, with only a few exceptions, consider humans to be the standard race and the most common race.

Hyperspace: Hopping to an alternate dimension where time and space are folded is the means by which FTL travel is achieved.

Inn: See Tavern.

Innkeeper: He knows the next Adventure you're supposed to do.

Iron Rations: You will find that you never run out of these, because the Game Master doesn't keep track.

King: He may be the only good Non-Player Character you meet, but he will always be accompanied by evil advisors.

Magic: Anything in the game which cannot be explained by physical laws.

Magic-user: A player character class that solves problems in the game primarily through use of magic.

Monster: A creature that it is morally permissible to break into its home, kill it, and loot its dead body.

Murder hobo: A player character who forgets the difference between monsters and shopkeepers. Annoying the Game Master enough with this behavior may lead to a TPK.

Non-Player Character: A character controlled by the Game Master.

Orcs: All-purpose monsters that are relatively easy to kill and provide no moral ambiguity to kill because they are "evil." In town, you will meet "half-orcs" instead, and these can also be killed without an attack of conscience.

Paladin: A holy warrior, in some game systems must be Lawful Good Alignment usually on a Quest of some sort.

Pathfinder: Paizo has done well in improving on Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition rules, but now that there is D&D 5th edition, many people have moved on.

Player: The controller of a single Player Character.

Player Character: A character controlled by a player, i.e. a main character in the story.

Princess: A character type that has been much revised in the past few decades - used to be a person you rescued, now she is more likely to rescue you.

Queen: She is almost always evil, but there's no point telling the King, he won't listen.

Quest: Something the Game Master is forcing you to do, like saving the world, rather than something you'd rather do, like killing boss monsters and taking their loot. Giving players a "Quest" may be considered a form of "Railroading" if done improperly.

Railroading: A description of a GM technique to keep players "on track" to the adventure he had planned. It is universally hated by all players. My article, Just-in-Time Campaign Building talks about how to keep one step ahead of what the players do, without railroading them.

Rebellion: Almost always of good alignment, though it is often not explained what makes them better than the Evil Empire they fight.

Rogue: A player character class that solves problems in the game primarily through trickery or guile.

Sandbox Play: The antithesis of railroading, the GM makes up an area, and the players are free to explore as they will, making their own adventures. Some players, especially new ones, find this hard to do, and need more guidance from the GM in the form of a ready-made adventure. The City of Freeport is an example setting you can buy for sandbox play.

Savage Worlds: A very fun role playing game that has books for multiple genres, the problem is relative lack of support compared to the bigger role playing games.

Session: What happens during one evening's play.

Shopkeeper: A creature who a Player Character is supposed to exchange money for valuable loot instead of killing them outright, because to kill them would be "evil". This is carefully explained in the Dungeon Master's Guide, and I am afraid your Dungeon Master will insist on you remembering this distinction.

Sorcerer: A magic-user who has power to cast spells through something intrinsic to his nature, i.e. dragon blood or some other inherent characteristic.

Space station: A type of Dungeon seen in science fiction settings, often abandoned and haunted by the people who were killed there.

Spell: A magical effect triggered by a character or a monster, could be an attack, a buff, a debuff, or a utility spell.

Starfleet: The entity that gives you the spaceship, and gives you annoying rules to follow, like the Prime Directive, and more generalized rules against committing genocide against helpless alien civilizations, spoils the fun in other words.

Star Wars: The latest role playing game features funky dice and "theater of the mind" rules and is very good. The problem is you're restricted to the Star Wars universe, which is getting tired and lame.

Support: A character whose role is to support the other characters, through buffs, debuffs, healing, or utility spells or abilities.

Tank: The character whose role it is to take a lot of damage to protect the other characters.

Tavern: The place where Player Characters meet, get in a bar brawl, and find out what their next adventure is. See also, Inn.

Torches: Kind of useless in a world where most Player Characters have a light spell or dark vision. But go ahead bring them, you never know.

TPK: "Total Party Kill" -- an event that a Game Master and the Players should try to avoid.

Traveler: A game where it is more fun to make up Player Characters than to actually play. You will notice quickly the lack of character advancement, the only point is to make lots of money.

Village: A place where player characters buy weapons, armor, equipment, and magic items instead of acquiring it through killing and looting.

Warlock: A magic-user who acquires spells through a powerful entity that is not a god.

Warp: Pressing on the gas pedal very hard is the way FTL travel is achieved.

Weapon: This is your most important item of gear and can range from a simple knife to a quad-barrel supersonic slug propeller with a tri-vision sighting scope. It is always best to get the most expensive and lethal weapon you can afford and are proficient in. There is usually a rule preventing you from having the best weapons, but as your character advances, he will have access to better weapons.

Wizard: A magic-user who acquires spells through study of spell books and scrolls.

World: The setting of a Campaign.

Wormhole: Traveling through naturally occurring holes between folded fabrics of space/time is the way to achieve FTL travel, wormhole travel is often dangerous and difficult, and travelling may be a Dungeon itself.

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