During our recording sessions we throw a lot of typical Roleplaying terms around; LARP, NPC, Sheet, etc. For some of our listeners, this can get confusing, quick, especially if we forget to explain what we’re actually talking about.
Therefore, consider this page a small lexicon that will be constantly updated to explain words we’re using that might not always be completely obvious in their meaning.
Botch: See Critical failure.
Critical failure: If the player fails spectacularly (how differs depending on system), the GM might impose an addition penalty besides failure. This can range from attacking an ally to accidentally ripping the ballgown off of your dance partner (yes, this has happened).
DM: See GM.
Dungeons & Dragons: Pretty much the grandpappy of RPGs and it’s been around forever. It’s been presented in a lot of different iterations and there are countless pre-made settings to explore. The different editions of the game are oftentimes radically different and you can often find people who have very different opinions as to which version is better.
GM: Game Master; the person who runs the game for the others. Generally the GM is a combination of a storyteller, judge and antagonist for the players to defeat. The role of a GM is very loosely defined and it usually differs wildly between groups.
High Fantasy: A setting that puts an emphasis on the fantasy aspect. There are usually many mythical creatures, classic fantasy races (elves, dwarves, orcs, etc.) and the time period is usually, but not always, medieval times. High fantasy magic usually isn’t very ‘rational’, at least not the parts presented in the work.
LARP: Live Action Role Playing. Essentially more theater than dice-rolling, this is roleplaying face to face, often with a lot of attention spent on props and costumes. LARPs can be very small (less than a dozen players), very big (several thousand players) and anywhere in between. LARPs were traditionally very fantasy-oriented, but there’s been an upswing in a lot of different genres lately.
Low Fantasy: In difference to High Fantasy, Low Fantasy is generally more “rational” than High Fantasy. Magic may or may not exist, but if it does there’s some form of logical rules that the magic has to adhere to. Fantasy races may exist in low fantasy, but generally they will be presented in a “realistic” fashion.
NPC: Non-Player Character; generally any appearing character in a game that isn’t directly played by the player. In computer games, the computer controls them, in Tabletop RPGs, it’s usually the GM who’s in charge.
PC: Player Character. The term used to describe the “main characters” of a game. Played by, surprisingly, the player!
RPG: Role Playing Game. A very broad term and hard to define, but generally the explanation’s in the name; it’s a game where you play a role. It’s kind of like theater, except there’s no audience, no script and no telling what might happen.
Sheet: The paper(s) that serve as a player’s reference to their character. They can be very detailed or very “light”, depending on what kind of game you’re playing.
Stats: Your “points”, i.e. your values in things like strength, dexterity, intelligence, charisma, and so forth. Stats are used to represent differences in characters and to give an indication as to what a character is capable of doing.
Storyteller: See GM.
Wargaming: Wargaming, at least the form usually referred to on our podcast, is a game of war between two or more opposing armies on a tabletop (more advanced versions have terrain of varying degrees of quality). Warhammer is one of the most popular and both Toby and Chris have spent countless hours modelling, painting and subsequently losing in this heartless and cruel hobby. FUN!
World of Darkness (WoD): A setting created by the company White Wolf. The general premise of any WoD game is that there are werewolves, vampires, mummies and fairies, and you can play them.