RPG Lexica:YZ9

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Short for "I like that idea so much I'm stealing it (for my game)". Origin: from the supposed sound of something being snatched away. Think back to saturday morning cartoons and you will know the sound.

"You all meet in a tavern..."
The "classic" (read: cliched) way to bring a party together in a fantasy game; often extended to other games as well. Very nearly as cliche as the literary equivalent, "It was a dark and stormy night..."

"You notice a ceiling fan."
When a character fails an observation or perception roll it is often that they notice the most unimportant thing in the room. Ex: "GM: OK, there's a small firearm near the bad guy, roll to see if you notice it." "PC: Oh, I failed the roll and got a 1." "GM: You notice a ceiling fan."


The 26th and last letter of the Roman alphabet, derived from the Greek letter Zeta. Pronounced either "zed" (Commonwealth English) or "zee" (American English). Very seldom used as the first letter of gaming terminology.

Zerg Rush
(Sometimes just Zerg) As a verb, to defeat an enemy by using large numbers of weak units to swarm that enemy. Taken from the name of the Zerg alien race in StarCraft who typically employ this strategy. Zerg Rush always implies that an opponent is overrun by the sheer number of foes, rather than the danger inherent in the foe itself.

Numbers & Symbols[edit]

101, the
Slang for the basic information about some subject of interest. Usually used to refer to imparting this information to another: "I'll give him the 101 on the Agency while we're staying here in the safe house." From the traditional course number for introductory courses in American colleges and high schools (from "MemoryBeast", on the RPGnet Fora). It is not a reference to George Orwell's book 1984, where 101 was the room prisoners were exiled to in order to face "the most horrible thing in the world." Sometimes called "the 411" (411 in American phone systems is the three-digit "x11" code for Directory Assistance, also called "Information"; other x11 codes include 511 for traffic assistance and of course 911 for emergency services).

20-4 theory
"RPGs are twenty minutes of fun packed into four hours." A statement from prominent D&D designer Mike Mearl's blog which sparked a great deal of discussion across the online gaming community, much of it outraged, but subject to some sympathy from a surprising number of players. The sentiment expressed is that traditional tabletop role-playing has a very inefficient fun-to-work ratio, especially when compared to more modern entertainments like digital gaming.

Brain not found. A player (more rarely, a GM) caught daydreaming at an inopportune moment. Derived from the HTTP error code returned when one attempts to load a web page which is not present on a given server.

80-20 rule
The top 20% of people (by whatever measure) get 80% of the goodness. An observable trend in many real-life situations. In an RPG context the 80:20 rule is usually cited as the reason for avoiding basing anything on a player's real-life skill level in a game that is distributed across a large number of people (as in a tournament or online RPG) since it will quickly become the case that anyone outside the top 20% of skill will be completely dominated and have no motivation to continue participating.

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