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;Meat shield: Derogatory term for a fighter or NPC which is notionally used to protect the more vulnerable spellcasters in a party from harm, as a metal or wooden shield protects a fighter from harm.  Compare "tank" or "brick," more neutral/affectionate terms.
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;Meat shield: Derogatory term for a fighter or NPC which is notionally used to protect the more vulnerable spellcasters in a party from harm, as a metal or wooden shield protects a fighter from harm.
  
  
 
;Mecha:In anime, a term for mechanical powersuits or robots (often humanoid).  A popular feature of anime-styled role-playing games, such as [[Votoms]] or [[Bubblegum Crisis]], which are based on their respective anime series.  Usually large and powerful enough to wipe out most conventional combatants (even tanks) by themselves.  Also, used specifically to refer to games where mecha play a major part, such as [[BattleTech]].
 
;Mecha:In anime, a term for mechanical powersuits or robots (often humanoid).  A popular feature of anime-styled role-playing games, such as [[Votoms]] or [[Bubblegum Crisis]], which are based on their respective anime series.  Usually large and powerful enough to wipe out most conventional combatants (even tanks) by themselves.  Also, used specifically to refer to games where mecha play a major part, such as [[BattleTech]].
 
:It's worth noting that, in anime, where the term comes from, "mecha" is simply short for "mechanical" and the term is used for all mechanical devices.  So, a bicycle is a "mecha" by that definition.  However, the westernized version of the term is almost universally used to describe a futuristic or otherwise non-standard vehicle which usually has a semi-humanoid form, like a giant pilotable humanoid robot.
 
:It's worth noting that, in anime, where the term comes from, "mecha" is simply short for "mechanical" and the term is used for all mechanical devices.  So, a bicycle is a "mecha" by that definition.  However, the westernized version of the term is almost universally used to describe a futuristic or otherwise non-standard vehicle which usually has a semi-humanoid form, like a giant pilotable humanoid robot.
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;Mega-damage: Generically, enough damage to kill a human being instantly, see also [[fine red mist]] and [[chunky salsa]].  Specifically, a (dubious) trademark of Palladium Books indicating vehicle-scaled damage; because of the lack of rigorous design rules in Palladium there are such things as mega-damage personal weapons and body armor.  Most egregiously visible in [[Rifts]].
 
;Mega-damage: Generically, enough damage to kill a human being instantly, see also [[fine red mist]] and [[chunky salsa]].  Specifically, a (dubious) trademark of Palladium Books indicating vehicle-scaled damage; because of the lack of rigorous design rules in Palladium there are such things as mega-damage personal weapons and body armor.  Most egregiously visible in [[Rifts]].
  
;Metagaming: Basing decisions in the game upon information only available outside the game. The archetypal example is a player who memorizes the weaknesses of the various enemies in the game, and always chooses the most effective form of attack, even against enemies the character has never before encountered. As another example, many groups base their combat strategies at least to some extent on the tacit assumption that in a game run by a "fair" GM all encounters will be appropriately scaled to the party's experience and skill (as opposed to, more sensibly, fleeing when attacked by opponents of unknown strength).
 
  
;Metaplot: This concept exists on two levels. On the smaller, local level, it refers to the greater narrative the GM is using to connect the group's individual adventures and make them relevant to the campaign world. On the larger, commercial level it describes the tendency of professional game companies to alter their published settings over time via events described in published supplements.
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;Metaplot: The part of the plot of a campaign setting which is written by the authors and not under the control of the players and DMs. Frequently, the metaplot is known to contradict players' and DMs' assumptions about the setting and is often considered to be of poor quality. Whether this is true or not is an open topic of debate.
 
 
:Commercial metaplots are generally perceived as a mixed blessing. Though they can offer gaming groups an easy source of narrative drive and adventure ideas, they also  represent changes not under the control of the players or GM. A commercial metaplot may contradict earlier assumptions about the setting or, at worst, run roughshod over the character's initiative by introducing grand, sweeping events under the direction of powerful NPC's which the player characters have no hope of influencing, leaving them essentially spectators to someone else's story. Several World of Darkness games from White Wolf are in particular infamous for this latter transgression. It is arguable that such metaplots exist mainly to sell books, as fans try to keep abreast, rather than to in any way enhance play.
 
  
  
 
;Min-max, min-maxing: To carefully tweak a '''[[character]]''' during '''chargen''' so as to optimize the character for one thing, usually combat, often at the expense of other aspects of the character; or, to tweak a character to take advantage of quirks in the rules to do the same thing.
 
;Min-max, min-maxing: To carefully tweak a '''[[character]]''' during '''chargen''' so as to optimize the character for one thing, usually combat, often at the expense of other aspects of the character; or, to tweak a character to take advantage of quirks in the rules to do the same thing.
 
 
;Min-min:  To badly tweak a character during ''chargen'' so that they are incompetent and/or unplayable in the situations that arise in the course of an adventure.  A parody of ''min-max''.  See also ''gimp'' (q.v.)
 
  
  
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;Mob: An [[NPC]], in particular one who performs limited ranges of simplistic behavior.  Used in online [[RPG]]s to identify NPCs who are automatically controlled by the game program, rather than those who are played by human [[GM]]s.   
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;Mob: An [[NPC]], in particular one who performs limited ranges of simplistic behaviour.  Used in online [[RPG]]s to identify NPCs who are automatically controlled by the game program, rather than those who are played by human [[GM]]s.   
 
:Origin:  Short form of ''mobile'', the term coined by Richard Bartle for these characters in early computer RPGs.  On reading the research paper which coined the term, one of the reviewers is said to have thought this a "beautiful analogy to those hanging toys used in baby's cribs, which move around seemingly as if alive, in spite of being constructed of mechanical parts".  Bartle replied that this was indeed a beautiful analogy, and he would have been delighted if he had thought of it; he used the term "mobile" simply to indicate that they could move, which other computer-controlled objects couldn't.
 
:Origin:  Short form of ''mobile'', the term coined by Richard Bartle for these characters in early computer RPGs.  On reading the research paper which coined the term, one of the reviewers is said to have thought this a "beautiful analogy to those hanging toys used in baby's cribs, which move around seemingly as if alive, in spite of being constructed of mechanical parts".  Bartle replied that this was indeed a beautiful analogy, and he would have been delighted if he had thought of it; he used the term "mobile" simply to indicate that they could move, which other computer-controlled objects couldn't.
  
  
;(blank)-monkey:In RPG terms, a character who is so centered around (blank) that that basically defines their character, often but not always at the expense of everything else.  Examples: "skill-monkey", someone who has learned a lot about many things; "dex(terity)-monkey", a character who has sharpened their reflexes and/or hand-eye coordination to ridiculous levels; and "combat-monkey", a character who seems to do nothing but fight, and is therefore very good at it, seemingly to the exception of everything else.
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;Mook: An adversary whose power is significantly beneath that of any single player character and has no real chance of inflicting serious harm. Not so much a full antagonist as an obstacle or dramatic device, whose only purpose is to make the heros look good by being easy to defeat. Often a faceless member of a horde. Two classic non-rpg examples of mooks can be found in cinema: the gangs of masked ninja rushing at the heroes of countless old kung-fu movies, and the stormtroopers of [[Star Wars]]. As a gaming term, the word originates in [[Feng Shui]], which has rules for simulating the disposable nature of "mooks" as opposed to more competent "named characters". More and more games are making a distinction between mooks and more substantial opponents.
 
 
 
 
;Monty Haul: The term monty haul is a play on the name Monty Hall, a co-creator and emcee of television's [http://www.letsmakeadeal.com/ Let's Make A Deal], where contestants bought, sold, and traded goods. The contestants could choose one of several doors, and get the random prize behind it, similar to a poorly designed dungeon crawl.
 
:In gaming, monty haul refers to role-playing for the purpose of attaining rewards, particularly treasure.  The term monty haul has been applied to campaigns, players ('''munchkin'''), and referees ([[RPG_Lexica:ABC|candy man]]).  Monty haul playing has been cited as a good way to introduce children to gaming, as it has a high excitement factor, large rewards and low risks for continued involvement - so long as the GM knows other styles to move on to when the kids get bored of Monty Hauling (which they will).
 
 
 
 
 
;Mook: An adversary whose power is significantly beneath that of any single player character and has no real chance of inflicting serious harm. Not so much a full antagonist as an obstacle or dramatic device, whose only purpose is to make the heroes look good by being easy to defeat. Often a faceless member of a horde. Two classic non-rpg examples of mooks can be found in cinema: the gangs of masked ninja rushing at the heroes of countless old kung-fu movies, and the stormtroopers of [[Star Wars]]. As a gaming term, the word originates in [[Feng Shui]], which has rules for simulating the disposable nature of "mooks" as opposed to more competent "named characters". More and more games are making a distinction between mooks and more substantial opponents.
 
  
  
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* Relating to the last one: approaching all problems, obstacles, and frustrations with violence as a ''first'' resort
 
* Relating to the last one: approaching all problems, obstacles, and frustrations with violence as a ''first'' resort
 
* Attempting to "win" the game, even at the expense of the other players, in situations where it would be inappropriate.
 
* Attempting to "win" the game, even at the expense of the other players, in situations where it would be inappropriate.
 
 
;Mundane:also '''Norm''' (short for "Normal"); specific games or settings may have their own term (such as "baseline" in the [[Aberrant]] world)
 
#''In'' games, someone of merely human ability, in contrast to those with super abilities or enhancements (i.e., the [[PC]]s, usually).
 
#By extension, ''Outside of'' games, refers to some one outside the "fandom", i.e., one who does not game, and isn't interested in the things gamers are (such as sci-fi, anime, et cetera; see '''Geek''').  LARPers and other strangely dressed (or acting) gamers are often warned to "stop scaring the mundanes".
 
 
 
;Murder Hobos: Pejorative term for characters who have no real reason or motive for performing their actions; they simply show up, having walked down a road, and murder whatever non-humanoid thing is causing the problem. Such characters are rarely given backstory enough to give them things like homes or families, giving them an impression of homelessness.
 
  
  
 
;Murphy's Law:"Anything that can go wrong, will."  The premier law of the universe.
 
;Murphy's Law:"Anything that can go wrong, will."  The premier law of the universe.
:Notes: What most people call Murphy's Law (above) is actually Finagle's Law (or, in the UK, Sod's Law).  Murphy's Law is more specific: "If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways will result in disaster, someone will do it."  It was originally "If that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will"--referring to the technician who had just placed a series of sensors the wrong way around on the test subject of an acceleration experiment.  Edward Murphy - then a Major in the United States Air Force - was the lead scientist.
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:Notes: What most people call Murphy's Law (above) is actually Finagle's Law (or, in the UK, Sod's Law).  Murphy's Law is more specific: "If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways will result in disaster, someone will do it."  It was originally "If that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will"--referring to the technician who had just placed a series of sensors the wrong way around on the test subject of an accelleration experiment.  Edward Murphy - then a Major in the United States Air Force - was the lead scientist.
 
:Murphy's Law is in this lexicon because, since RPGs are simulations of important (fake) events in people's (fake) lives, it crops up a ''lot.''  In particular, when making an elaborate plan, it is often necessary to include contingency plans in case of a [[RPG_Lexica:DEF|fumble]] at a critical moment. (See [[RPG_Lexica:VWX|Whiff]] for further details)
 
:Murphy's Law is in this lexicon because, since RPGs are simulations of important (fake) events in people's (fake) lives, it crops up a ''lot.''  In particular, when making an elaborate plan, it is often necessary to include contingency plans in case of a [[RPG_Lexica:DEF|fumble]] at a critical moment. (See [[RPG_Lexica:VWX|Whiff]] for further details)
 
:See also: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy%27s_Law WikiPedia's entry on "Murphy's Law"]
 
:See also: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy%27s_Law WikiPedia's entry on "Murphy's Law"]
  
  
;Murphy's Rule: (or just "Murphy").  A game rule which has bizarre or humorous consequences when applied to certain situations - typically those which would logically exist in the game world but are not those which the game was designed to model.  A "murphy" can also be a description of the consequences of applying a rule to an outlandish situation, stated not as a criticism of the rules but purely for the comedy value.  Originally coined as the name of a cartoon appearing in ''Pyramid Magazine''.  A few examples of the typical format:
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;Murphy's Rule: (or just "Murphy").  A game rule which has bizarre or humourous consequences when applied to certain situations - typically those which would logically exist in the game world but are not those which the game was designed to model.  A "murphy" can also be a description of the consequences of applying a rule to an outlandish situation, stated not as a criticism of the rules but purely for the comedy value.  Originally coined as the name of a cartoon appearing in ''Pyramid Magazine''.  A few examples of the typical format:
 
* In ''[[Dungeons & Dragons]]'', [[character]]s have a "Dexterity" stat, which is in fact used to represent agility as well as actual dexterity.  Thus, every talented clockmaker is also a talented gymnast, and vice versa;  
 
* In ''[[Dungeons & Dragons]]'', [[character]]s have a "Dexterity" stat, which is in fact used to represent agility as well as actual dexterity.  Thus, every talented clockmaker is also a talented gymnast, and vice versa;  
 
* In ''[[The Riddle of Steel]]'', in character generation the [[player]] must rank several properties of their character in order of importance.  Ranking "social standing" last results in the [[PC]] being a slave.  If the player has done this, all other aspects (such as combat skill, magical ability, etc) will have been rated higher than they otherwise could have been, thus meaning that slaves are the most talented and skilled people in the setting;
 
* In ''[[The Riddle of Steel]]'', in character generation the [[player]] must rank several properties of their character in order of importance.  Ranking "social standing" last results in the [[PC]] being a slave.  If the player has done this, all other aspects (such as combat skill, magical ability, etc) will have been rated higher than they otherwise could have been, thus meaning that slaves are the most talented and skilled people in the setting;
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==N==
 
==N==
  
;Naked Dwarf Syndrome: A [[Murphy's Rule]]  from [[Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay]] First Edition. It arose from the fact that armor and the Toughness stat were both subtracted from damage. Since Toughness differences were higher than the maximum armor value, a naked Dwarf was less likely to take damage from an attack than a human in full armorSee also the '''Bulletproof Nudity''' rule in GURPS 3e.
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;Negative critical: A case where a ''critical'' result on a dice roll, which is normally the best possible, can have a negative effect on a player. An example is a PC attempting to deliberately lightly wound another PC who accidentally rolls a critical hit and kills themAlthough in line with the original intent of a critical hit, some groups instead play that a critical is always successful by whatever standard of success the player wishes, so in this case a critical would actually do only a small amount of damage.
  
  
;Negative critical: A case where a ''critical'' result on a dice roll, which is normally the best possible, can have a negative effect on a playerAn example is a PC attempting to deliberately lightly wound another PC who accidentally rolls a critical hit and kills them (for an example of this, see the film ''[[The Gamers]]'').  Although in line with the original intent of a critical hit, some groups instead play that a critical is always successful by whatever standard of success the player wishes, so in this case a critical would actually do only a small amount of damage.
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;Nerf: When something is reduced in power or effectiveness, it is said to be nerfed.  "The Super Fist power got nerfedIt used to do 4d6 damage and now only does 1d6 damage."  The term originates from the padded nerf toys which are ineffectual at causing real harm as true toys of their nature would be.  The term came into it's present gaming applicable usage by way of computer MMORPGs, because the moderators of those games are constantly reducing the effectiveness of powers to make players feel as incapable of harming enemies as possible.
  
  
;Nerf: When something is reduced in power or effectiveness, it is said to be nerfed.  "The Super Fist power got nerfed.  It used to do 4d6 damage and now only does 1d6 damage."  The term originates from the padded nerf toys which are ineffectual at causing real harm as true toys of their nature would be.  The term came into it's present gaming applicable usage by way of computer MMORPGs, where reducing the effectiveness of powers is the standard way of resolving game balance issues (to avoid an "arms race" that could result if powers were increased in effectiveness)
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;Ninja: A term with multiple different meanings, mostly derived either from the real myths surrounding Ninjas or from the famous spoof websites, [http://www.realultimatepower.net "Real Ultimate Power"] and [http://www.ninjaburger.com "Ninja Burger"].
 
 
 
 
;Ninja: A term with multiple different meanings, mostly derived either from the real myths surrounding Ninjas or from the famous spoof websites, as well as [http://www.ninjaburger.com "Ninja Burger"].
 
 
* As a noun, used with the original meaning: the Japanese term for an assassin, particularly one making use of stealth.   
 
* As a noun, used with the original meaning: the Japanese term for an assassin, particularly one making use of stealth.   
 
* As a noun, any character designed around the concepts of stealth, hand-to-hand combat, and one-hit kills.   
 
* As a noun, any character designed around the concepts of stealth, hand-to-hand combat, and one-hit kills.   
* As a noun, a character which is sought-after for "coolness" value, and whose abilities are overestimated, even if irrelevant or ineffective in the particular situation or setting. ("Of course I can dodge the bullets of a machine-gun on full auto - I'm a ''ninja''!")
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* As a noun, a character which is sought-after for "coolness" value, and whose abilites are overestimated, even if irrelevant or ineffective in the particular situation or setting. ("Of course I can dodge the bullets of a machine-gun on full auto - I'm a ''ninja''!")
 
* As an adjective, sneaky or cunning.  
 
* As an adjective, sneaky or cunning.  
 
* As an adjective, highly skilled in general.
 
* As an adjective, highly skilled in general.
 
* As a verb, to accomplish something in a highly skillful or spectacular way.
 
* As a verb, to accomplish something in a highly skillful or spectacular way.
* As a verb, to steal something, usually from another PC.  Almost always in the phrase "He ninja'd the loot!"
 
  
;No Myth:  Play operating under a social contract in which all players and the GM acknowledge that the [[RPG_Lexica:GHI|Impossible Thing Before Breakfast]] is impossible, and also acknowledge that the GM cannot maintain every detail of the world or universe at once.  The goal is to eliminate railroading from the roleplay experience, and move the things which railroading is intended to prevent (players running amok and destroying the plot, or demanding things the GM can't know) into the social contract.
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;No Myth:  Play operating under a social contract in which all players and the GM acknowledge that the ''Impossible Thing Before Breakfast'' (q.v.) is impossible, and also acknowledge that the GM cannot maintain every detail of the world or universe at once.  The goal is to eliminate railroading from the roleplay experience, and move the things which railroading is intended to prevent (players running amok and destroying the plot, or demanding things the GM can't know) into the social contract.
  
  
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==O==
 
==O==
;OGL, Open Gaming License: A general purpose gaming license which was originally written by [[Wizards of the Coast]], which allows reuse of parts of games published under it in a similar manner as open source software.  OGL is somewhat controversial in its use of "product identity," especially when the publisher makes little or no effort to mark out what content is open and what content is closed.
 
 
 
 
;OGL Heartbreaker:  A game which, although it has an original world, uses an open-licensed gaming system or variation thereof instead of a system that is unique to that game world.  Typically called a "Heartbreaker" because either the system used proves to be a poor means for conveying the intended feel of the setting, or it has no hope of finding a niche in the market because the generic system chosen already has a market leading game in the same genre.  
 
;OGL Heartbreaker:  A game which, although it has an original world, uses an open-licensed gaming system or variation thereof instead of a system that is unique to that game world.  Typically called a "Heartbreaker" because either the system used proves to be a poor means for conveying the intended feel of the setting, or it has no hope of finding a niche in the market because the generic system chosen already has a market leading game in the same genre.  
  
  
 
;One Roll Engine:  A unique [[dice]] system designed by Greg Stolze and used in the game ''[[Godlike]]''.  Rather than trying to match a particular target number, the player rolls a number of dice based on their [[character]]'s competence and are deemed to have succeeded if two or more of those dice roll the same value.  The unique property of this system is that a single roll delivers ''two'' results: the number of dice that matched, and the value they matched on.   
 
;One Roll Engine:  A unique [[dice]] system designed by Greg Stolze and used in the game ''[[Godlike]]''.  Rather than trying to match a particular target number, the player rolls a number of dice based on their [[character]]'s competence and are deemed to have succeeded if two or more of those dice roll the same value.  The unique property of this system is that a single roll delivers ''two'' results: the number of dice that matched, and the value they matched on.   
:Note: the author claims this system is copyrighted, but U.S. law explicitly states that the rules and methods of playing a game are not copyrightable (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html).
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:Note: this system is copyrighted, so you must seek the author's permission to use it in any game you are designing.
  
  
;One True:  A sarcastic term used to imply that a particular system, rule, or principle is being advocated above all others, as in "the One True System" or "the One True Way". A great example of this can be found on ENWorld with the user named Diaglo who regularly asserts that OD&D is the "One true game, and all others are pale imitations."
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;One True:  A sarcastic term used to imply that a particular system, rule, or principle is being advocated above all others, as in "the One True System" or "the One True Way".
  
  
 
;Open-ended roll:  Any [[dice]] rolling system which includes the rule that any dice which rolls its maximum result should be rolled again, with the new roll added to the previous one to determine the final result.  For example, if a 5 is rolled on an open-ended d6, the result is 5; but if a 6 is rolled, the dice is rolled again, and if a 4 is rolled on the second roll the overall result is 10 (the 4 just rolled plus the 6 rolled previously).   
 
;Open-ended roll:  Any [[dice]] rolling system which includes the rule that any dice which rolls its maximum result should be rolled again, with the new roll added to the previous one to determine the final result.  For example, if a 5 is rolled on an open-ended d6, the result is 5; but if a 6 is rolled, the dice is rolled again, and if a 4 is rolled on the second roll the overall result is 10 (the 4 just rolled plus the 6 rolled previously).   
:Open-ended rolling has the unusual effect that certain die results are impossible to attain -- in the above example, a result of 6 on a single die can't happen.
 
 
:See also: '''Exploding Dice'''
 
:See also: '''Exploding Dice'''
  
  
;Ouija board gaming:  Any form of gaming in which the players have a strong expectation and desire for what they want out of the game, but refuse to take direct action to obtain it in the belief that it should "arise naturally" from other play.  A classic example is players who want engaging and heroic stories but actually play highly gamist systems, many of which actually penalize heroic play, in the hope that a engaging or heroic plot points will arise by chance as a result of the operation of the standard gamist rules (for example, a PC attempting a valuable task they have little chance of succeeding on and getting a lucky roll - the problem being that most of the time, the PC will not get a lucky roll and the valuable task will fail, hurting the developing plot).  The term was coined by Ron Edwards as an analogy to the boards supposedly used by mediums to contact spirits, where all participants in a session want the glass to move (so that there's a point to the session) but none want to move it (because doing so would confound the idea that the glass is being moved by supernatural forces).
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;Ouija board gaming:  Any form of gaming in which the players have a strong expectation and desire for what they want out of the game, but refuse to take direct action to obtain it in the belief that it should "arise naturally" from other play.  A classic example is players who want engaging and heroic stories but actually play highly gamist systems, many of which actually penalise heroic play, in the hope that a engaging or heroic plot points will arise by chance as a result of the operation of the standard gamist rules (for example, a PC attempting a valuable task they have little chance of succeeding on and getting a lucky roll).  The term was coined by Ron Edwards at the Forge as an analogy to the boards supposedly used by mediums to contact spirits, where all participants in a session want the glass to move (so that there's a point to the session) but none want to move it (because doing so would confound the idea that the glass is being moved by supernatural forces).
 
 
  
 
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