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Vitality and wounds system
A modified version of hit points, used in some later d20 games to attempt to overcome the hitpoint gain problem. Under this system, health is measured in vitality points and wound points; vitality points are lost in combat and in other situations where dramatic immunity would apply, whereas wound points are lost in situations where real physical damage is inevitable. Vitality points are gained when a character advances, but wound points are not. Unfortunately, the system assigns a penalty to a character who loses even a single wound point, leading to the intended dramatic nature of the game being disrupted: in one instance in a Star Wars game, a player refused to have their character climb out of a duct above a spaceship corridor into that corridor without a rope for fear that he would take a single point of wound damage from the fall, thus becoming subjected to the penalty for being wounded.


Walking First-Aid Kit, A
A somewhat derisive phrase used to describe a Cleric in D&D, or similar "healer" roles in other combat-heavy games. It can be argued that, whereas the other standard classes of D&D are recognizable and dynamic fantasy archetypes, the Cleric exists mainly for mechanical reasons resulting from how combat and wounding works in the game. Thus, Cleric characters rarely enjoy center stage during the dramatic moments of an adventure. They are vital afterwards to renew the party's hit points, but it can be disappointing for the player who winds up playing something little more important than a baggage handler.
Some people blame the cleric's players for this, as they are -- in terms of flavor -- often similar to a paladin, and there seems to be no powerful reason they should be relegated to an uninteresting or second-string role.

Wall of Fear and Ignorance, The
The game master's screen.
Origin: Paranoia, the RPG

Of an RPG character, to fail at a task in a game as the result of a poor dice roll. The term is usually used to express frustration that the possibility of random failure could not be entirely eliminated even though logically it should have been: "I'm a master sniper with years of experience, using the latest high-powered rifle and a fully calibrated scope, shooting someone just across the road who's standing stock-still with no cover, and I've got as much time to aim as I need and no distractions.. but then I roll a 1 and whiff." Whiffing can frustrate players, and also can harm suspension of disbelief (what exactly happened to the sniper in the previous example to cause him to fail?)
Origin: from the sound made by a sword, arm, or other item swishing past a person or object that it's just failed to hit.

Whiff factor
The continuous possibility of random failure created by a game system. The whiff factor varies between game systems; in games where it is too high, the ability for players to play in the intended style may be disrupted by the need to continuously allow for random failure. For example, if the players are planning out a commando raid on any enemy installation, they are required to plan for the failure of every action involved, even the most trivial ones.

Damage, particularly damage rendered in a very flashy style. One is said to open a can of whoop-ass for regular amounts, or to tap a keg of whoop-ass for particularly powerful actions.

Same as Total Party Kill, borrowed from online RPG terminology. The difference between a wipe and a TPK is that the wipe is generally not assumed to stem from either GM malevolence or player idiocy.

Worst RPGs Ever
Surprisingly, there is fairly good agreement on which RPGs are in this category. The list goes: FATAL (see Game That Must Not Be Named), RaHoWa, Hybrid, and now Wraeththu. More details and discussion on the Worst RPGs ever page.


Common abbreviation for experience points, which are used in RPGs to reward characters for success in combat, task-completion, and story advancement, and measure how far they've gone in their adventuring careers.

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