So you have decided to start a new hobby. You want to make the most of it, but they speak an entirely different language. This is my quick and dirty guide to abbreviations, jargon, and other phrases that you may hear fly out of people’s mouths during your first RPG (roleplaying game).
1. Is this a hack and slash campaign?
Meaning is this a game where the emphasis will be the fighting rather than the story building. Do you want to defeat the big, horrible enemy without spending time looking at the political implications of such an act? Hack and slash is where you want to be.
2. Who is GMing your campaign?
DM and GM stand for Dungeon Master and Game Master respectively. They are the person running your role-playing game. They generally have more responsibilities and planning; they make your adventure come to life.
3. Time to roll some bones!
No, this is not some creepy fortune telling in modern day. This is just a phrase to mean roll the dice. The dice are part of your probability of completing a task such as running a sword through an ogre or making a delicious quiche.
4. Don’t be a min-maxer!
These are the players that only want to play certain characters of certain races to boost their power. They know all the ways to stretch out their scores, sometimes to the detriment of an interesting character. Also related to power gamers, they are the people who are only interesting in doing things that create the most damage in every situation.
5. Wow, I love that NPC!
NPC stands for non-player character. There are many of these within a game. These are the people that your characters run into in day-to-day life (eg. the grocer, the sister, or the enemy) and they are played by the GM. They can each should have their own personality or flair that adds to the game.
6. How long did that campaign run?
A campaign is a longer series of adventures. Some games are one-offs (only played one day or one adventure before creating a new world or characters) and others last longer and have multiple sessions or things your group wants to accomplish.
7. Oh no, you rolled a natural 1!
Anytime there is a natural in the description of the number, it means that that is what the die’s face (singular of dice) showed when rolled without any modifiers (bonuses or negatives) added.
8. I have played with my fair share of rules lawyers.
This player is the one who knows (or thinks that they know) the rules for the particular game inside and out. And if you happen to be making a mistake, they won’t hesitate to hound you until you fix it, even (especially?) if it isn’t that important to the story.
This is a general list of common terms you will hear while hanging out at your first game. Along with these, there are also terms that come up in specific games over and over. Feel free to ask a player why everyone shakes their head when they remember ThAC0 or how PPE has nothing to do with physical education.
Vanessa is a sarcastic, 30-something wife and mother. She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously. She thinks everyone should be roleplaying and that someone has to be the GM.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.