Many newcomers or individuals who do not game themselves may come across many words, acronyms, or other often-used terms that they are not familiar with. This page explains a lot of the commonly used terms, phrases, and the same in reference to Role-playing Games and the hobby in general.
Much of the content on this page was taken from The Escapist, a gaming advocacy site.
Basic Role-playing and Gaming TermsEdit
These are some of the most commonly heard terms and acronyms about role-playing games or in reference to them.
In a game, the character is the fictional entity that the gamer takes the role of and plays. Each system allows for widely imaginative and vivid characters, and characters may be specialized in a myriad of areas.
A character sheet is a piece or pieces of paper that contain all of the game mechanic information, and possibly flavorful information, on the character being played. The character sheet may be vastly different from game to game, or could be a custom made work of the player.
Dungeon Master or Game MasterEdit
These terms refer to the individual who creates, runs, and "referees" or manages the game sessions. These gamers facilitate the ability for the other gamers to play, and imaginatively create all the world, people, and obstacles that the party will meet. These are often abbreviated as DM or GM, and is the term from which the O.G.R.E.s Officer positions of Senior Dungeon Master and Supreme Dungeon Master come from.
Homebrew is a term that means something has been either created from scratched or altered in some why by those playing it. It usually implies that either a game is something the gaming group created, such as the O.G.R.E.s game West Canaan Wizards, or that rules or a system are altered from their originally released version, such as Super or Sinister.
An acronym standing for Live Action Role-Playing, where individuals visually and verbally act out the game and take on the role of their characters, as opposed to the common playing of rpgs around a table. The most widely-known version of LARPing is Civil War Reenactments, though it is also common among White Wolf game enthusiasts and wargamers.
An acronym standing for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game, which may be heard from time to time. MMORPGs are online-only games played by many individuals, such as the popular World of Warcraft or Champions Online. These games play extremely differently than, and have very different styles and feels, than classic tabletop pen-and-paper role-playing games.
A acronym for Non-Player Character, which means that it is a fictional character in the game that is portrayed by the dungeon master and not one of the players.
The collective group of players during a particular game and/or session is referred to as the party. Additionally, the gamers who are portraying these characters may also be considered the party in some context.
A party game is a game that doesn't really fit into other categories such as tabletop, live action, or digital gaming. The most defining game in this category is Twister, though many adult drinking games, and games such as Truth or Dare would also be considered party games.
A shortening of Player Character, which is just a reference to a character that is controlled by a player, as opposed to an NPC.
A simple shortening of Role-playing Games used for brevity's sake quite commonly among the gamer demographic. It is used in context of a sentence or conversation, and may imply a particular game or be used to discuss the industry as a whole.
Types of RPGsEdit
These are some of the widely used terms for types and/or styles of games or game sessions.
These are games and/or sessions where players get enjoyment and fun from facing and overcoming challenges. Another term widely used and nearly interchangeable is Gamist style, which imply fast paced action with challenge after challenge being placed upon the party.
These are games and/or sessions where players get enjoyment and fun from creating and participating in good stories and plots.
Most popular in war gaming rpgs, these are games and/or sessions where the players enjoy reenacting famous or historical battles and wars or other events through the use of the game.
Simulationish games are sessions or specific games where the players enjoy immersing themselves in new creative worlds and exploring.
Many times a reader or listener may come across the usage of the term "d" followed by a number, such as "d6". These are types of dice used in game play, and are labeled in such a way as to convey how many sides, and thus numbers, they have. For instance, a "d12" is a 12 sided dice, and a "d8" is a 8 sided dice.
Some times during game plays or with some rpg systems, a player or game master must make a "percentage check." This means that a player has a certain chance of success or failure based on a scale of 100 percent. In these cases, the player or game master roll either two d10s (see above), the rare d100, or specially made percentage dice.
Many members of O.G.R.E.s wear a patch that says "d%er", which is a reference to percentage die as well as a parody of the popular biker patch for one-percenter gangs.
Game Mechanic TermsEdit
These are some of the common terms you'll hear gamers use, typically regardless of which specific game they are playing as many games share concepts in their structure and workings.
A "check" is something done in game that requires a player to role a dice and has a chance of failure and success, instead of something that a player could roleplay through without needing to use his fictional skills or abilities.
Crit or CriticalEdit
A shortening of the word Critical. This means that a player rolled a dice and the die landed on it's largest number, resulting in a good effect. Most commonly used for the rolling a natural 20 (see below) during an attack role in a combat situation. Conversely, a critical can also imply a Critical Miss or Critical Failure, when the die lands on the lowest possible number.
Natural 20 or Nat 20Edit
A common reference to the action of rolling a 20 sided dice (d20) and having it land on the number 20, resulting in the best possible outcome the player could hope for.
Stats, or Statistics, can refer to any of the myriad of components that make up the fictional character a player portrays. Typically, each stat refers to a specific number relating to a character's ability in a certain field or current status at a particular thing. The term is usually used alongside a identifying term, for instance "dex stat" would refer to a character's statistic in dexterity, and would usually be heard as a question (i.e. a game master asking a game "What is your character's dex stat?).
Abilities vary greatly from game to game, but are usually the very basic few mathematical statistics that the entire character is built around. Normally, these abilities will include physical prowess (i.e. Dungeons & Dragons' "Strength" or Str and "Constitution" or Con abilities), movement (i.e. Dexterity or Dex), mental abilities (i.e. Intelligence or Int and Wisdom or Wis), and personality (i.e. Charisma or Cha).
A shortening of Armor Class, which is a mathematical game mechanic that defines how easy or hard it is to successfully attack a character or foe.
A shortening of Base Attack Bonus, which is the simple mathematics that a game mechanic uses to describe how effective a character is at attacking a foe before any additional granted bonuses.
Experience points, or in some games known as power points, are a game mechanic awarded to players by the game master for completing tasks, defeating adversaries, or good roleplaying. Typically, these allow the player to eventually gain levels so that the character may take on new and more powerful mechanics.
Another mechanic used in many games, feats are typically specific abilities that a character may choose to take as he or she gains levels or grows in power. Whereas skills usually provide commonly learned items, feats are more defined and elusive, and usually are structured to fit the style of character that takes them. There are a near-infinite number of feats across many games that can be for a myriad of situations.
Many games utilize a system that allows a character to gain levels that then grant other mechanic "goodies" and generally increase the power of the character and showcase the character's history. Typically, a character must meet a prerequesite number of experience points to be allowed to gain the next level. Alternately, some games may use a power point system with no defined level.
Skills are a mechanic used in many different Role-playing Games that provides a traceable way for a gamer to know or decide how good or bad his character is at particular activities or actions. Specific skills may differ from game to game, but often include knowledge of particular fields of study, ability to charm or intimidate a person, affinity with animals or beasts, or the skill to perceive and hear things.
A system is a reference to a game system, or in context may be in reference to a specific game systems. Systems are the foundation and framework that provide the rules, workings, and functions of the game itself and allow the player to actually play the game. Much of the system may be convoluted but never really affect the player's awareness of the game or perception, as much of it is made just to facilitate the simple playing of the game (i.e. the Nintendo system allowed players to fall in love with Mario, and the computer system allows players to love/hate Myst, though most people playing either could note code the games or build the systems they ran on).
The Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts have many terms and phrases that are used amongst members and may be confusing to newcomers. Some of the more commonly used O.G.R.E.s-slang terms are seen below.
Badge is a very context-based term in O.G.R.E.s, as it could refer to one of several awards like the cleric, LARP, advocacy, or GM Badges; actual event badges (whether online or physical) that designate participation or attendance at a particular convention or event; used as another term for the User Boxes here on the member wiki; or any one of the patches and ranks that some members elect to wear on clothing.
The term chapter references the many different groupings of members who form the base structure of O.G.R.E.s.
SDM is an abbreviated form of Senior Dungeon Master, and sometimes, though not as often, Supreme Dungeon Master. Senior Dungeon Masters are chapter-level officers while the Supreme Dungeon Master sits on the Board of Directors.