RPG Lexica:ABC

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alien eyes
Slang for a roll of 3 (1-1-1) on three dice. So named because of the analogy to "snake eyes" (a roll of 2 on 2 dice), and the observation that Earth creatures generally don't have 3 eyes... Also known as mutant snake eyes.

all-out attack problem
A problem arising in dice pool systems, in situations where a player facing a foe (or a hazard or problem in general) is asked to choose a number of dice from the pool to roll for the success of their attack. The intent is usually that the player will ensure that some dice remain in the pool after their attack, so that if it happens that the attack fails, they will have dice left to roll in their defense. In fact, however, the best tactic is for the player to attack with all of the dice in their pool, because this gives the attack the best chance of succeeding and resolving the problem right there. If the dice roll badly, the player may lose out as a result of their lack of a defence - but, had the player left dice in the pool to defend with, the dice would still have rolled badly resulting in an ineffective defense. This dynamic can seriously damage the value of dice pool systems in some games.


bad wrong fun
Saying that a game is "bad wrong fun" indicates that the game is somehow broken, unplayable, poor quality or weak - in ignorance of the fact that many groups are playing and enjoying it regularly. As such, this is not normally something that a person will say themselves, but something they will accuse other people of having said. For example, "John said that d20 is bad wrong fun" indicates that the speaker believes John's criticism of d20 to be foolish given the large number of groups playing and enjoying it. Rifts is often cited as a "bad wrong fun" game.
"Bad wrong fun" is also often used in a more light-hearted sense to indicate the gamer equivalent of a guilty pleasure. "I know it's bad wrong fun, but I loved every minute of it!"

Bag of rats
A tactical maneuver which exploits a loophole in the rules of a tactical combat system, usually leading to ridiculous situations. Taken from a well-known loophole in the (unrevised) third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, in which a character could have the ability "whirlwind attack" enabling them to attack all foes within range in a single maneuver, and the ability "great cleave" enabling them to, having killed a foe with an attack, carry the attack forward to a second foe. A character could thus, technically, throw a bag of rats at a powerful opponent, then approach and execute a whirlwind attack. The whirlwind attack allows the character to attack all of the rats in one manuever; each time the character attacks a rat, they almost certainly kill it, and then use great cleave to carry the attack forward to the actual powerful foe, thus gaining a huge number of hits on the foe in a single manuever.

Big Bad
Short for Big Bad Evil Guy, slang for the "boss" bad guy, i.e., the person in charge of an evil plot or organization. Implies that he is much stronger, more powerful, and/or more evil than his minions, and that the PCs encounter with him will be part of the climax of the adventure or even campaign. May have originated (or been popularized) by the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.

Blue Bolt
A term used to refer to when a Gamemaster causes the death of a Player character for no apparent reason. Usually the term includes the words "from heaven" at the tail end the term to use it as a verb. The most common use is when a player leaves the game permanently and the Gamemaster can't come up with a suitable reason for the PCs' departure.

Bitter Non-Gamer. Coined by Kyle Schuant, "Jim Bob" on the forums. A facetious term describing some people who seem to dedicate large portions of their day to discussions of what is "wrong" with a roleplaying game or roleplaying games in general. The implication is that they're just griping because they can't get a game group.

To surprise or shock someone to the point where they're just standing or sitting there, not moving, just STARING at what you've done with a shocked expression. Also boggled, shocked to the point of not responding, just staring at the source of the shock.
Origin: Possibly from the RPG Toon, a game where you play cartoon characters, to describe a similar state which results in the character in question losing turns. (Often shown in cartoons by having the character's eyes bulge out toward the boggling thing or pop out of the character's head completely.)

Boobs bonus
The hypothetical bonus given to all social skill rolls made by a female character, especially when dealing with males. Derived from the assumption that a female character will automatically have better social skills than a male character, even if they behave in exactly the same way.

The ability to understand a complex, outlandish, or badly explained setting or system well enough to run a game based on it.
Origin: Taken, possibly unfairly, from the name of the RPG authoress Rebecca Borgstrom (also known as R. Sean Borgstrom) who is notorious for writing games with spectacularly original premises and intriguing supporting fiction that are however almost impossible to understand well enough to actually play.

The primary opponent in a setting or adventure; the most powerful villain, usually in charge of lesser minions, but still expected to be (eventually) encountered by the PCs, often at the climax of the adventure or campaign. Borrowed from CRPGs, where it is often used to refer to the last, most dangerous enemy to be encountered in the area, who must be defeated to "win" the area or game. See also Big Bad.


Four-sided dice, so named for their pyramidal shape which ensures that one point will face up no matter which side hits the floor. Especially noted for their tendency to get underfoot when one is heading to the bathroom, half-awake, at five in the morning after going to bed at three-thirty and suddenly remembering that one had drunk a full gallon of soda during the previous night's gaming run.

To remain stationary, or take no action, as a tactical choice. For example, waiting for enemies to attack you to ensure that the battle takes place on your choice of terrain would be considered camping. Camping in an RPG is usually an acceptable tactic, but in many competitive board or war games it is considered unfair, because if all players camp, then the game deadlocks (if everyone waits to be attacked, then nobody will ever attack), and any person who breaks the deadlock is penalised by not having the tactical advantage conveyed by camping.

Cat-Piss Man
Sometimes CPM, or BDCPM (for Basement-Dwelling CPM). First referred to here: The Wrath of Cat Piss Man
The CPM is a legendary figure, whether he exists or not is unknown; like Bigfoot, many claim to have seen him, but there's little proof. CPM is usually depicted as a large, hairy, sweaty guy in a trenchcoat (on the hottest of days) who stinks of cat piss, and lurks about game stores, drooling over the anime magazines and leering suggestively at any unfortunate female gamers who come into the store. Will frequently distract the store clerk with hours-long tales of his 25th level Drow Lesbian Stripper Ninja. usually assumed to be living in his parents' basement amongst empty pizza boxes and porn mags when he's 35 years old and unemployed.

Chainmail Bikini
An utterly ridiculous and useless form of armor which is worn by female characters, even those who are supposedly experienced warriors, in a large proportion of classic fantasy art. Usually deemed to demonstrate that the inclusion of female characters is not to show the involvement of both sexes but simply to include cheesecake for male viewers and players. By extension, used as a metaphor for any stereotypical treatment of women in roleplayers or roleplaying products. This has declined substantially in recent years. This artwork trend was also the inspiration for the Reverse Armor Theorem.

Character Build System
Term for a chargen system in which the player starts with a "default" character (often a "blank slate", with no skills, advantages, or anything else) and a pool of points with which he or she can "buy" parts of the character until it approximates the character he or she wants to play. GURPS and Hero are the two most well known RPGs that work this way.

short for character generation, the process of creating a player character for use in a RPG. Usually one of two methods: character build or random-roll, depending on the RPG being used.

Chunky Salsa
What is said to be left of a character that has taken a massive amount of damage, far more than is needed to kill them (though not quite as much as needed to turn them into a fine red mist). The implication is they've taken enough damage to turn them into small chunks in a red "sauce", like chunky salsa. Classically used to describe the results of (often multiple) grenades in small enclosed spaces; the blast tends to bounce off the walls and hit whoever's in there more than once. This rule explicitly appears in Shadowrun among other games.

Class and Level
A method of chargen and character definition in which characters are primarily defined as members of specific pre-defined professions or archetypes, their “class”, and their degree of advancement along a predetermined course of improvement determined by that profession, their “level”. Class and Level was used in the original RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, and thus was a standard aspect of RPG design for years before other methods were attempted.

Any book containing information fundamental to a particular game system. Typically any person wishing to purchase books for a particular RPG will need to buy the corebooks first in order to establish the context needed to make sense of the other books. For example, the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual are the corebooks for Dungeons & Dragons; the World of Darkness book and the Vampire book are the corebooks for Vampire: The Requiem.

Common abbreviation for Character Point, the most common term used to describe the 'points' used in games where the character creation system is freeform based on character points.

A rare dice result indicating that an action has been spectacularly successful. Typically a critical will grant an additional bonus beyond simple success, or represent a major success, or indicate success no matter how difficult the task was.
Origin: Originally critical hit, used in tactical combat systems to model the remote possibility of any single hit taking an enemy down if it happens to hit a critical area. This system was then adopted by RPG combat systems and then further applied to resolution of all tasks rather than just combat, creating the term critical success, normally abbreviated to just critical, sometimes to crit hit or just crit.

1) Slang term for the sections of a RPG's rulebook that deal with the actual rules, as opposed to Fluff (q.v.), which is everything else. Also called Crunchy bits.
2) Slang for the relative complexity of a particular ruleset. A crunchy ruleset is more complex.

Custom dice
Dice printed with symbols other than the traditional numbers. Used in certain games to simplify task resolution. For example, DC Universe uses dice printed with images of different DC characters; hero images indicate success and villain images indicate failure.

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