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83

"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 ...


57

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", ...


52

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 ...


52

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 ...


44

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 ...


41

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 ...


40

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, ...


36

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 ...


35

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

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 ...


31

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


31

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 ...


31

"My Guy Syndrome" is the tendency of gamers to justify anything they do in game, as "what my guy would do", even when that means the actions undertaken are contrary to genre, to game agreements, or other things the group may value. For example - if you're playing a Golden Age Superheroes game, but someone decides their "hero" is going to start killing ...


30

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.


30

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 ...


27

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 ...


23

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

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 ...


21

A milestone occurs after every two encounters (although the count is reset by taking an extended rest). Characters receive an action point and any other rewards the GM wishes to offer. I don't have a DDI subscription, but this can be found on page 22 of the Essentials Rules Compendium and page 259 of the Player's Handbook. I don't remember it ever being ...


21

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 ...


21

"Natural" means an unmodified roll. The number you see printed on the die when you just throw it. Not adding or subtracting bonuses, penalties or rerolling. Just the number you see. Terms will differ in individual games and groups, but usually the total result (natural roll plus any modifiers) is just called your "roll," or we'll say "I got a 25." In some ...


21

It is indeed a new term used to describe conventional, normal RPGs in the "traditional" tabletop RPG format as opposed to newfangled indie games. It is not pejorative in nature, though it is used a little grudgingly as it mainly exists to distinguish "games that work like most every RPG ever as opposed to whatever crazy new variation you've come up with" in ...


20

The Wikipedia entry on Role-playing game theory is rather comprehensive. It makes note of the Threefold Model, GEN Theory, The Big Model, Color Theory, Channel Theory, The Turku School, and The Meilahti School, each of which is an example of a particular theory of roleplaying games. The page leads with this definition of RPG theory: A role-playing game ...


19

To provide some further context, the phrase film theory is quite common. Film theory is an academic discipline that aims to explore the essence of the cinema and provides conceptual frameworks for understanding film's relationship to reality, the other arts, individual viewers, and society at large. Film theory is not to be confused with general film ...


19

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 ...


18

A Adventure Also known as: Story, Scenario, Story Arc, Module A single story that unfolds within a RPG. Generally consisting of a series of encounters and potentially spanning multiple sessions. Can also mean the written prep materials used by a GM to run an adventure. A commercially published adventure is often referred to as a "module" or "scenario." ...


18

The term definitely predates D&D - the term "twenty dollar gold piece" has been in use for the $20 Double Eagle and $10 Eagle coins of the late 19th century, and also the $5 gold coin, as well. "Gold Piece" In Print The term is used in the Lebanon Daily News, 1 Nov 1965, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, bottom, in an advert for old coins under the left column ...


18

TV Tropes calls this situation mean character, nice actor (and vice versa). It's quite common in the drama world but doesn't seem to have an established term beyond acting. You sometimes hear playing against type for this, although that's more about a difference from your previous roles, not your own personality. The specific case of an opposite-sex ...


18

In the githyanki language, apostrophes (which are not pronounced) separate different morphemes which have been combined into a single word. For example, gish'sarath combines the word gish, or "skilled," with sarath, or "sergeant." Githyanki who have trained with great heroes add the prefix gi' ("student of") to their trainer's name. – Githyanki, ...


17

If you check wiktionary, you'll see that it comes from the French, and it has both implications of 'old soldier' and of 'grumbling curmudgeon'. EDIT As for the actual origin, this thread has a link to this page where an explanation is given: The term 'grognard,' as applied to veteran wargamers, was first coined back in the early 1970's by John ...



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