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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


33

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 ...


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 ...


22

TVTropes has an extensive definition of min-maxing. (There is always a hyphen or slash in it for the gaming term, Wikipedia has min-max and Urban Dictionay has min/max.) To quote from TVTropes' definition: The art, much beloved of munchkins, of optimizing a character's abilities during creation by maximizing the most important skills and attributes, ...


20

The Judge's Shield (1977) predates the Dungeon Master's Screen by about two years, give or take some months. (That the Judge's Guild got to this first is not surprising, as Gygax infamously told them that nothing but rules would sell, and the Judge's Guild was fated to prove him wrong.) So the term “shield” was established before the term “screen”, and still ...


20

Initiative is both, neither and either ordinal or numeric Is the term “initiative” in D&D 5e combat the number that you roll, or your order in the combat turn? Neither; initiative is the overarching term that encompasses the whole concept. Use in context will determine which of the sub-concepts you are using. This is similar to other terms used ...


16

A natural 20 roll in D&D (which I think is the only set of games where this term is used) means that the die shows a 20 on its top face, as opposed to getting a result of 20 (or more) after adding modifiers to the result of the die.


16

The past tense is smote, as you've noted. You can also say someone's been smitten, but that just as often means "in love", so use with caution or to comedic effect. Yes, "smited" is just plain incorrect. Google Ngrams pegs its usage in books at 0%. It's just a colloquialism resulting from poor understanding of the word's tenses, not a gaming term. Gaming ...


13

The first time I recall seeing the term applied to role-playing games was in the 2nd edition AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide: Sometimes players resort to “min/maxing” when selecting weapon proficiencies. Min/maxing occurs when a player calculates all the odds and numerical advantages and disadvantages of a particular weapon. The player’s decision ...


13

They're all species. The word "race" is not actually so specific as often thought, and can be used synonymously with "species" if sentient beings are involved, so it's still an appropriate word for giants, elves, and such. The ability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring is a red herring and doesn't indicate anything about species or subspecies ...


13

Definition Agency is a term that predates RPG's. From a dictionary definition, in its less often used sense than the meaning of "an organization" (like a detective agency) agency is 2 the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power : operation From a game design perspective, Player Agency is the player’s ability to impact the story ...


11

Before computers co-opted "screen" for their monitors, it meant a folding separator made out of panels. . The DM's screen is a folding separator made out of panels—cardboard, not wood, but same purpose and general construction.


11

In a system where you spend a limited resource on features, you want to make the best use of your resource by spending it on the features that will be most useful to you. For example, if you plan to deal a lot of damage to enemies, then a feature that increases your average damage per hit will definitely be useful. A feature that lets you speak another ...


9

The first occurrence of the term "buff" in a published D&D work I can find is the Psionics Handbook (2001) for 3e, where the astral construct has abilities such as "Buff (Ex): The astral construct gains an extra 5 hit points", with "Improved Buff" and "Extra Buff," meaning the term wasn't being used purely in the sense of "strong." The Wizards forums ...


8

I think the origin is Munchkin actually. Munchkin has a Duck of Doom card, but per a question about it on Board & Card Games SE, linked in a comment by indigochild, there's no real source for the duck of doom joke, other than the legendary sadistic tendencies of certain gamemasters to turn any potential action into a player death. So what would would ...


8

There is a term for writing down a word based on how it sounds, a "vocable," when you dig into phonology. If you go back before the Endless September, that usage was conversational rather than written or typed or found on line. When you run "D and D" together in spoken form, which is short for "Dungeons and Dragons" (which abbreviation goes back to the ...


7

Webster defined bent as follows: BENT, participle passive Strained; incurvated; made crooked; inclined; subdued. (http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/bent). In this sentence, the word "bent" is used to show that half-elves are inclined to chaotic alignments. In other words, their alignment bends toward chaos rather than law.


7

Initiative is numerical Initiative determines the order of turns during combat. a Dexterity check to determine their place in the initiative order. When determining the order that characters act in combat, we look to the “initiative order” as described in these rules. Thus, “the order of turns during combat” is equal to “the initiative ...


6

Initiative is wholly ordinal Your “initiative” is your order in the turn. I didn't believe this at first, until I tried to conclusively demonstrate the opposite in an answer to Does a controlled mount share its rider's turn? and discovered that I couldn't. Here's how it went: I thought to myself, “…initiative is clearly the number, while initiative ...


6

Minmaxing is a process of optimising a character It is a process of accepting certain flaws and deficiencies to improve a few strong points of a character. It relates to another term - "dump stat", which is an attribute of a character that is deliberately set as low as possible in an attempt to relocate resources (e.g. points in a point buy system, ...


6

Dweomer This is another word for magical effect that was used a great deal in 1e AD&D. "My class imbues a dweomer on an item." Example usage. (1e DMG page 52) Carpet of flying: Carpets are the most stable of flying devices, and thus the most valuable. ...snip... While hovering or moving slowly they are ideal platforms for spell- or ...


5

Bent used in this case refers to a tendency, a leaning towards. Half-elves share the chaotic tendencies of their elven heritage.


5

Minmaxing is quite simply Minimizing your disadvantages in a game system while simultaneously Maximizing the effectiveness of your character in their specific role during a game. Minmaxing includes but is not limited to: Insuring you get the most out of character creation by selecting a dump stat that has no impact on a characters growth Taking level dips ...


5

The Load (Warning: TV Tropes) Basically they are someone that is just a 'load' that gets dragged around by the hero, but either doesn't really do anything productive most of the time and the hero has to spend time that they could use saving the world protecting this load from harm.


5

MinMax is a type of character-building practice in RPGs. Players choose options for their characters that minimize their attributes in less-desired abilities (Min) and Maximize their attributes in desired ones (Max). MinMaxing is done in an attempt to create powerful characters that are focused on specific abilities, in lieu of other abilities not ...



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