127 votes
Accepted

What exactly is a "murder hobo"?

"Murderhobo", apparently a contraction of the slightly older term "murderous hobo", is a usually pejorative (but infrequently neutral or affectionate) term used to describe certain kinds of ...
Carcer's user avatar
  • 65.9k
118 votes
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What is the origin of the phrase ‘orc and pie’?

Presenting Monte Cook’s "The Orc and the Pie", ©2001 The World's Shortest (Yet Technically Complete) Adventure: A Parody "The Orc and the Pie" Adventure Background: An orc has a ...
Tuorg's user avatar
  • 2,220
117 votes
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What RPG concepts does "rules as written" encompass?

Rules as written is first-and-foremost an approach to understanding the rules text of a system. As an interpretation of the text, it has the following goals: Accessibility. A rules-as-written ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 352k
103 votes
Accepted

What is a session 0?

Session 0 is a planning session where the gaming group collaboratively lays the groundwork for a new campaign. Often, this session involves the group deciding the game/campaign they want to play, ...
Cyrad's user avatar
  • 4,189
100 votes
Accepted

What does "DMG" mean?

DMG is most commonly a reference to the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Link: Dungeon Master's Guide It is most often used like this as a reference to a page, e.g. You can use the rules in the Player's ...
Ifusaso's user avatar
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99 votes
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What is a "bag of rats"?

Origins The original "bag of rats" trick was a thought experiment in third edition Dungeons and Dragons involving the feats Great Cleave and Whirlwind Attack, which proceeded about as follows: ...
Glazius's user avatar
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90 votes
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What's the name of the role of characters who buff teammates?

The term I have heard the most would be Support, as it is their role to assist the other party members. While in a lot of system Healers double as Supports, or Supports double as Healers, they're not ...
Nyakouai's user avatar
  • 4,801
69 votes
Accepted

What is the source for defaulting to plain English readings of non-game terms?

Jeremy Crawford1 has affirmed that this is indeed the way the rules are supposed to be read in this tweet: Unless the rules explicitly expand, narrow, or completely redefine a word, that word ...
Sdjz's user avatar
  • 36.4k
67 votes
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What do MAD and SAD mean?

MAD Multiple Ability (score) Dependent means that a class needs high numbers in multiple different ability scores to function well. The archetypal MAD class (in my mind) is the Monk from Pathfinder. ...
GreySage's user avatar
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66 votes
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What defines a "West Marches" campaign?

You're right, these three things are key to a true West Marches campaign: 1) There was no regular time: every session was scheduled by the players on the fly. 2) There was no regular party: ...
Tiggerous's user avatar
  • 25.1k
65 votes
Accepted

Is there a word for a non-DM who calls out everyone for lorebreaking/rulebreaking?

Rules lawyer/Back-seat DM are pretty close Rules lawyer is the term for someone who constantly enforces the precise letter of the rules in games even going so far as to correct and try to argue with ...
Rubiksmoose's user avatar
  • 94.8k
59 votes

How do I pronounce numbers in game editions?

There isn't a singular correct answer to this. For D&D, I've heard 3.5e verbalized as "three point five e", "three point five edition", and very rarely (and awkardly for a ...
JRodge01's user avatar
  • 4,696
58 votes

What does "DMG" mean?

There are three rulebooks associated with the core rules of various editions of D&D. The Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. Their shorthand is as follows. PHB - ...
RS Conley's user avatar
  • 39.8k
58 votes

Why is Armor Class called that way?

It derives from the wargames which inspired D&D. The 1971 Chainmail miniatures game which inspired D&D included a table for one-on-one combat, which determined hit or miss based on the ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
58 votes

Is there an alternative word to be used in place of Humanoid?

People In each of your examples the term "humanoid" could be replaced with "people". A more common-language approach may be easier to work in-game than trying to shoehorn a more ...
indigochild's user avatar
  • 19.1k
56 votes
Accepted

Is there a name for this 20 sided die with two 1s, two 2s, etc?

Gamescience, a dice manufacturer, calls such a die simply a d20 0–9 Twice. Yours appears to be this one, and, as of this writing, it appears you can buy more. However, you may not need to. The owner ...
Hey I Can Chan's user avatar
55 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between 1/3, 1/2, and full casters?

"1/X Caster" is shorthand for how quickly a character gains "spellcaster levels" (and with them, more spell slots) The progression for each of these spellcaster types looks like ...
Xirema's user avatar
  • 52.6k
54 votes

What is homebrew? Should I use it in normal games?

Homebrew is beer or other alcoholic beverages brewed at home as opposed to those brewed commercially and bought at a shop. By analogy, homebrew is any major addition to or omission from the official ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
53 votes
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In what paradigm is +1 to hit the same as improving your chance to hit by 5%?

It's not just in extreme cases that this doesn't add up, though. Let's say that you hit a target on a 16+. If you get a +1, you now hit them on a 17+, which is a 6.25% increase in your chance of ...
mattdm's user avatar
  • 29.9k
53 votes
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Difference between a GM and a DM?

Game Master (GM) is a generic term for the person who's running the game. Some games have their own name for that role — Dungeon Master is the term Dungeons & Dragons uses. It's even a ...
doppelgreener's user avatar
53 votes
Accepted

Why does D&D Beyond use 'GM' in magic item descriptions but the print DMG uses 'DM'?

DM is a trademark. GM is not. Wizards of the Coast has a trademark on the term Dungeon Master (DM). It is considered product identity, and no other game than Dungeons & Dragons can legally use ...
Bloodcinder's user avatar
  • 30.1k
53 votes

What is the origin of the phrase ‘orc and pie’?

It was an example adventure by Monte Cook It seems to have been made as an example adventure that is as short as possible while still being an actual adventure hook, but it is no longer available on ...
Theik's user avatar
  • 36.4k
52 votes
Accepted

What is the "+1 rule" for Adventurers League?

Version 1.1 Player's Guides The “+1 rule” is shorthand for the restriction on being able to use the Player's Handbook plus one extra source to build your characters for the Forgotten Realms campaign. ...
52 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the term fizzled?

Fizzle isn't RPG jargon, it's just an ordinary English word that has been in common use since long before D&D. The relevant definition of fizzle at Merriam-Webster is: to fail or end ...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
49 votes
Accepted

What is a plot hook, exactly?

This blog defines a plot hook as: an in-game element that inspires a strong motivation to pursue a course of action that furthers the plot or enriches a narrative in a game. Which sounds about ...
Adeptus's user avatar
  • 28.5k
49 votes

What is a "bag of rats"?

Glazius’s answer defines the bag of rats, and describes its origins, reasonably well in my opinion. In brief, a bag of rats is a tool for abusing “on kill” mechanics by having a large number of easily-...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 352k
48 votes

What's the name of style where GM assumes idiotic behaviour unless stated otherwise?

The root cause here appears that the GM is taking player agency away. Either no information or obfuscation of information in one case and die roll only when convenient for the GM in the other. I ...
Sardathrion - against SE abuse's user avatar
48 votes

What's the difference between an NPC and a GMPC?

This is a very good question that ties in to both the mechanics of different types of characters and their narrative role, and in addition to those, their role in the group. There is no clear boundary ...
kviiri's user avatar
  • 54k
48 votes
Accepted

What is the distinction between Monstrosities and Beasts?

Your question is looking for a definition beyond the definitions provided in the rules. There isn't one. Creatures are the types they are because that's how they've been defined in the rules. The ...
Jack's user avatar
  • 32.1k
47 votes
Accepted

Where and when did "the GM is always right" get codified first?

Using loaded expressions to start (or try to end) a disagreement The problem with using a loaded expression like "the GM is always right" is that it is often too broad in terms of how the social ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar

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