Dancing Lights Press

Glossary

When I first started tabletop roleplaying, one of the great joys was learning new words. 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was full of them. It opened me up to new ideas, new cultures, and all sorts of new reading material from history to pulp adventure fiction.

A lot of games have glossaries that explain game terms. Those are useful. I’ve been accused of using some big words and unfamiliar terms, so I thought I’d throw those in here as well.

This is a work in progress.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Ability Rating: A score that represents the character’s degree of talent or training in a given ability.

Adventure:
Adventure Goal: The objective that the player characters need to achieve in order to complete the adventure.
Agency: The ability to act autonomously.
Attributes: (characteristics) A descriptor that represents a character’s raw talent and prowess in a given area. The legacy attributes most roleplayers are familiar with include Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, although many others are possible and found in different games.

Attribute Score: See Ability Rating.

B

Baseline: What is normative within the context of the situation or setting.
Black Box: In theater, an empty space usually painted black that is used as the stage. There is minimal set design, placing the focus on the actors and their performances.

C

Campaign: An ongoing series of adventures featuring the same player characters.
Character: The player’s interface with the adventure.
Character Rank: A relative measure of the character’s status, based on their abilities.
Check: (roll, test)
Concept Drift: Moving too far from the pursuit of the adventure goal and original theme.
Context:
Core Mechanic: The heart of a roleplaying system, usually the die roll used to determine the success or failure of a character’s actions.

D

DIY: Do it yourself. It’s not a command or a brush-off, it’s an ethos.
dX: Dice notation. d6 is a six-sided die, d10 is a ten-sided die, and so on.

E

Element:

G

Genre:
Guide: (game master)

H

Health Points:
Hero Points:
Homage:

I

Initiative:

L

Lo-Fi:
Logline:

M

Mechanics:
Metaplot:
Modifier: (Ease Factor)

O

Outcome: (Quality Rating) General, Complication, Damage, Resources, Information, Reaction, Time

P

Pastiche:
Percentile:
Player:
Player Character:
Premise Statement:
Profession:

R

Relevant:
Remix Culture:

S

Session:
Session Zero:
Side Quest:
Setting:
Spotlight Moment:
Success Chance:
Supporting Character: (NPC)
System:
System-Agnostic:

T

Theme:

W

Weakness: