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164

"It's what my guy would do!" "My Guy" syndrome is when — often unwittingly — you disclaim decision-making power and responsibility by acting like "what my character would do" is inevitable and inviolable, even if it gets in the way of actually having fun in the game or being able to play the game at all. JD Corley wrote up a story that covers it pretty ...


81

It began with "Dungeon Crawl" during the development of the game Dungeons and Dragons. According to Gary Gygax (in an interview with Dungeon #112), the first dungeon crawl1 was part of a wargame in which the invading force entered the enemy's castle through a former escape tunnel dug from the fortress's dungeon. The group had so much fun with this ...


66

It came from the fans of White Wolf's World of Darkness games. "Splat" is another name for the asterisk character ('*'), which is often used as a placeholder or "wild card" in a name by technical types of people. Someone somewhere starting referring to all of WW's various Clanbook/Tribebook/Guildbook/Kithbook supplements for their various games as "*books", ...


58

As with anything, usage varies, but usually when people say "sandbox" today they mean a campaign that does not have a specific prescribed storyline, but one where the GM sets up a world (or at least a small section of one) and the PCs are free to wander where they will and find adventure where they will. It's about freedom of player choice. Pure sandbox ...


57

The Oberoni Fallacy is an informal fallacy, occasionally seen in discussions of role-playing and other games, in which an arguer puts forth that if a problematic rule can be fixed by the figure running the game, the problematic rule is not, in fact, problematic. The user Oberoni originally posted the idea in 2002 on the Wizards of the Coast forums: This ...


53

Railroading is forcing the characters into the prewritten story that the master created. It's generally frowned upon, because it disrupts the free-will oriented nature of roleplaying. In some cases however, some railroading is required. A typical example is the following. Suppose the characters enter a city, and find a riot or similar event. The most ...


48

What is Agency? I personally define agency by three criteria: The player has control over their own character's decisions. Those decisions have consequences within the game world. The player has enough information to anticipate what those consequences might be before making them. What does that mean? To elaborate on those conditions, I'll give examples ...


47

That's interesting, as being a non-native English speaker I always assumed it was one of the accepted meanings. So as every time I realize one of these things, let's check the wiktionary: Verb soak (third-person singular simple present soaks, present participle soaking, simple past and past participle soaked) (transitive) 4- To allow ...


44

Tobias, I am glad you asked, as this question is near and dear to my heart (as I am writing a game called Steampunk Crescendo). To me, 'punk is about the following: There needs to be a dystopia (power concentrated into a central hub and denied to the outlying segments of society). There needs to be a status quo that sucks compared to the current ...


43

Definitions We all have our limits and boundaries. Lines and veils are different ways to handle those boundaries in play. A line is, well, a line — a hard limit, something we do not want to cross. Lines represent places we don't want to go in roleplaying. "There is no torture in the events in our game. We don't do it, NPCs don't do it to us or ...


43

There is no name for the full set other than "a set of polyhedral dice." If I need to distinguish it from another set of polyhedral dice: I would say a Set of polyhedral dice suitable for playing DnD, as compared to a Set of dice for playing L5R (10d10) or a Set of dice suitable for playing Dilettante (10 d8s and 10 d4s) History The d4, d6, d8, d12, ...


42

Minimization and Maximization for Optimization Min-max (minmax) comes from using mathematics to solve optimization problems. An example is finding the maximum area for a given perimeter. As applied to RPG's (the example will be D&D) min-max addresses how to best assign ability points, equipment, and skills to get the most power or effectiveness ...


42

That would be the Dungeon Master's Screen. Sometimes referred to as a DM Shield, or Game Master's Screen (especially in non-D&D games), they are designed to give the Dungeon Master quick access to frequently referenced rules, and to obscure dice rolls the DM doesn't want to players to see. They are usually filled cheat sheets to status conditions, more ...


39

Originally coined for Bruce Bethke's unpublished book of the same name, cyberpunk was used to describe a high tech setting full of low lives. The punk suffix is therefore used to describe the seedy or criminal element which has become associated with the "gritty" feel in a lot of games in this genre. The other subgenres, like steampunk and biopunk, simply ...


36

You've identified an opponent as your guy: you're paying extra attention to where he is and what he's doing, so that you can mess him up at a critical time. In melee combat, it's like man-to-man defense in sports. You're always on him, always in the way. You're a major distraction because you're hard to ignore; on top of that, ignoring you usually means ...


36

The githyanki have been a fixture in Dungeons & Dragons ever since they showed up in the original Fiend Folio in 1981. (Look! Right there on the cover!) Like drow, githyanki had mixed parties of different characters, featuring both front-line warriors and support casters. One of the specialized githyanki types was the gish, who was essentially a ...


35

This is an important part of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, and by extension, Pathfinder, history and community, and this site should include a copy of it. The fallacy, in short, is that optimizing prevents roleplaying, or that roleplaying prevents optimization. It is called the Stormwind Fallacy after Tempest Stormwind, the WotC forum poster who first wrote ...


34

Rules As Written, sometimes contrasted with Rules As Intended or Rules As Interpreted (both entirely separate concepts, unfortunately ambiguously abbreviated to RAI)


34

Well the thing is it's not a gaming specific term; there's plenty of definitions outside Ron's Big Model specific one. Social Contract Definition The term "Social Contract" (or "social compact") got its start from Rousseau and those types who defined it as "An agreement among the members of an organized society or between the governed and the government ...


34

In a large number of RPGs, the GM is positioned as the controller of the world, its NPC inhabitants, the items in the world, and their essential natures. They are also often positioned as the final arbiter of rules, and thus hold considerable authority. Hopefully, a GM imbued with such power will remember: with great power comes great responsibility. That ...


32

1991. "Soaking damage" first became common after Vampire: The Masquerade used the terms "soak roll" and "soak dice" in regard to the dice pool used to reduce incoming damage. As an opposed roll, the dice would "soak up" the incoming damage, and the character would take what was left.


31

First Person Shooters are the origin of Rocket Tag. John Romero and John Carmack, gaming developers, helped create Doom and Quake. Quake was the first widely popular "Deathmatch" concept in a first person shooter1 in the early 90's. Quake, specifically in the Player vs. Player gameplay, featured the often one-hit kill weapon: the rocket launcher. The ...


30

A "funnel" is an adventure designed to take in a large number of 1st- or 0th-level characters and spit out just the survivors, if any. The metaphor is the shape of the PC pool: large at the entrance, small at the exit. The term was coined by, and comes from the way character creation works in, Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG: each player creates and plays four ...


25

'Minmax' or 'minmaxing' is the process of optimizing a character for performance in a certain way - often this means to be as efficient in combat as possible. It is also called "powergaming" by some. This generally involves: minimizing disadvantages and handicaps of your character and/or the system (in the area you're optimizing) and maximizing the ...


25

The official abbreviation is D&D; DnD is a fan invention. It has gained currency today with the help of the Internet, where it's both easier to type and less likely to be mangled by badly-designed website software. (In any case, the conventional rendition of the verbally-abbreviated and is ’n’, so an official spelling of the verbal "Dee uhn ...


24

A "Death Spiral" is something that can happen in games where your combat skill is affected by your health (or similar attribute). If you take a hit, your combat skill decreases slightly (making it harder for you to hit the opponent and/or easier for the opponent to hit you). While there is a certain realism to this, it can often quickly lead to the "death ...


23

What it actually means to mark someone is open to player and DM interpretation and can easily vary from character to character and situation to situation. It could be a Swordmage magically distracting his mark target. It could be a Warden banging his shield with his axe and shouting "YOU WILL FIGHT ME" It could be a Fighter keeping her sword pointed at her ...


23

History The reason for the set mix as it exists is that, originally, the dice available were a set of platonic solids, sold by an educational company and repurposed by TSR. Namely, a tetrahedron (d4), cube (square hexahedron, d6), equilateral octohedron (d8), dodecahedron (d12), icosahedron (d20). This was a "platonic solids" set. D20's were routinely read ...


22

Class level is your level in whatever specific class is being referenced. If you see "[class name] level", that also refers to class level, though that usage isn't very common. Character level is the sum of all your class levels in each class. Plain old "level" is, unfortunately, ambiguous. It usually means character level, but if you see it as part of a ...



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