Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Roleplayer's Dictionary

A list of RP Terms and Definitions:

Note that this is not an extensive list, I will continue to add to it as I think of more. This list covers terms you will generally hear in relation to RP, as well as terms that don’t necessarily have to do directly with RP, but are likely to come up. This list includes terms used in both ‘In Game RP’, ‘Forum RP’ and possibly ‘Live Action RP.’ Also includes some genre specific terms as well.

Alignment: Reveals your characters ethical or moral standing, showing how they are likely to act toward people, society, animals or the world at large. There are 9 main alignments, those these can be combined and changed to come up with more.

Avatar: A small picture representing your character.

Avi: Another term for Avatar

Backstory: A short story that reveals some or all of your characters background. Usually explains why your character currently acts the way they do, how they got to where they are or learned their skills, etc.

Bio: Detailed information regarding your character. Generally includes alignment, physical features/traits, backstory, attitude, etc. Bio’s are often developed from Character Sheets.

Character Sheet: A sheet containing various fill in the blank character attributes, used in developing a character, as well as background information. This is often used as a reference when RPing that character, or as a stepping stone when creating your character.

Closed: A term used in Forum or Play by Post games. The term is usually listed after the name of a Roleplay thread such as ‘The Adventures of Fenrick ((Closed)). This mean’s that the person who created the thread is only allowing certain people to join. Often they post a ‘sign up thread’ before the game begins, and only the players accepted from the Sign Up Thread are included in the Closed RP.

D# (Often seen as d4, d10 or X dX) These numbers refer to dice, often used in Dungeons and Dragons type RP, and when any random rolling in RP needs to take place. D4 would mean 1 four sided dice, d10 = one, ten sided dice, while X dX such as 2d6 would mean 2 six sided die.

D&D: Dungeons and Dragons, a popular RP game.

Deus Ex Machina: Latin for “God from the machine,” a deus ex machina is a plot device that dramatically alters the outcome of a situation without regard to suspension of disbelief or the actions of the PCs. Generally frowned upon by players.

Emote: Refers to a command in many RPGs that allow you to create a free form action for your character, rather than selecting from a pre-defined list, such as ‘laughs’ or ‘screams.’ With the emote command, you can create more realistic, compelling emotes that describe your characters actions. Emotes generally replace your name with emote once you send it, so you don’t need to include your name. Example – typing something like “/emote reaches over and plucks a flower from the vase” would show up as “Sally reaches over and plucks a flower from the vase.”

eRP: Stands for Erotic Role-Play and refers to roleplaying out a sexual encounter with another person. This could mean making out, or going “all the way” with another character through RP. This is a hotly debated topic within RP communities.

Fade to Black or (F2B/FtB): Some players use “fade to black” to signify that something steamy will occur off scene, but either do not wish to Roleplay this publicly, or do not with to get involved with erotic roleplay at all.

Fanfic: Fiction stories written by fans of a genre.

FFRP: Free Form Roleplay, also called freeforms. This is where the direction of the story is driven by the players rather than a GM. Often a basic story idea will be decided upon as well as roles (sometimes players are given specific roles). This generally takes place in the form of Live Action Roleplay (Larp) as well as forum-based and e-mail based roleplaying games. Some forum-based FFRP end up closely resembling a work of collaborative fiction.

First Person: A story, or post that is written as the first-person singular by using phrases involving “I” as well as the first-person plural, which uses phrases such as “we”. The narrator basically tells the story from their perspective, allowing readers to see the point of view of the narrator.

Gary Stu: The male equivalent of a Mary Sue, a cliché character that includes overly idealized traits, lacks any flaws, and is basically perfect. This also includes unusually tragic pasts, generally their whole family was killed by a group of leaving to fend for themselves and somehow develop uncommon almost super powers. They also seem to have very good luck (after that tragic event) especially in romance where they tend to always win in the end.

GM: Game Moderator, or Game Master – A person who creates a storyline and moderates a Roleplay game, often leading characters down certain paths and weaving player character’s stories together, while leaving a large amount of the actions to the character themselves. The GM also acts as an arbitrator and ensures all rules are being followed.

Godmoding or Godmodding: Playing a game in a way where you give your character the ability to perform any type of action without limits or boundaries, often imposing your actions on other roleplayers against their wishes or without previously consulting them


Magically finding his way straight to the enemies secret underground base camp, Tyrion managed to stealthy evade notice from any guard on duty, arriving just in time to see Princess Butterpea thrown into molten lava by the malicious Lucifron. Rushing forward, Tyrion snaps Lucifron’s neck without gaining so much as a scratch and dives into the lava to pull Princess Butterpea to safety.

Hijacking, or Thread Hijacking: When a poster manipulates the content of the original post, twisting it around in to something different which changes the story line. Other players respond to the new idea’s and the thread turns into something other than its original intent.

House Rules: Playing with a set of rules that have been modified from their original version.

IC: In Character – where an individual’s actions and words are that of the character they are roleplaying.

Immersion: Fully immersing oneself in the RP world. Often removing non RP related information through the use of scripts or add ons.

ImproviseImprovisation: Having an improvised RP encounter with another player, an encounter which was not planned out and scripted before hand.

IRL: Means ‘In Real Life’ when someone is referring to their life outside of the game or RP environment.

Lurker: Someone who watches RP encounters, and/or reads RP forums but never participates.

Mary Sue: The female equivalent of a Gary Stu, a cliché character that includes overly idealized traits, lacks any flaws, and is basically perfect. This also includes unusually tragic pasts, generally their whole family was killed by a group of leaving to fend for themselves and somehow develop uncommon almost super powers. They also seem to have very good luck (after that tragic event) especially in romance where they tend to always win in the end.

Metagaming: When your character is aware of and uses information they would not know first hand. Using out of game resources to affect one’s in game decision.

Metaplot: An overarching storyline that binds together events within a roleplaying game. Background story elements that exist throughout a campaign, often built into the setting. Metaplot elements are often peripheral to a game’s main storyline.

MUD: Multi-User Dungeon – a multiple user real time world described entirely in text. Generally RP oriented, interactive fiction and hack and slash. Traditional MUD’s implement or are based off a fantasy world. Users generally connect through Telnet but more often they use a free MUD client, such as ZMud which makes storing and entering commands, as well as reading the text manageable.

MUSH: Multi-User Shared Hack, Habit, Holodeck or Hallucination. MUSH’s have the same appearance as MUD’s in that they are based entirely off of text. These are also often used in Roleplaying games. A large difference between a MUSH and a MUD is that MUSH’s allow users to change or create their own environment by adding rooms or objects and specifying their behavior.

NSFW: Not Safe For Work – may contain violent or sexual themes

NPC: Non-player character. An NPC is often controlled by the game master. In video games or MMORpg’s an NPC is a part of the program, sometimes with scripted actions.

O/A "Open and Accepting or Open to All, often seen after the title of RP Posts, most of the time they want people, so don't be shy about the post numbers

One-Liner: One Liner: within an RP, where a character responds with a very short phrase rather than writing what would be considered a complete post.

OOC: Out of Character. Used to break RP if you need to clarify something with another player, or simply speak as yourself for a moment.

Open: Much like “O/A” an “open” RP thread means it is open to any who wish to join in the storyline and participate.

OT: Off Topic – posts/idea’s etc that have nothing to do with the current topic at hand.

PC: Player Character, a character a player creates and controls

Play by Post or PbP: An online text based roleplaying game. Usually forum roleplay. Generally a player creates a post discussing the general storyline and notifies everyone whether or not it is open or closed, based on that characters post and contribute to the storyline. PbP can also refer to play by email, which is like forum games but done through e-mail instead.

POV: Point of View from the point of view of the narrator, who expresses their feelings/thoughts to the audience or other players.

RAW: Rules as Written. Playing by an original, unaltered set of rules and not deviating from them.

RP: Roleplay, a game in which you play the part of a created character and act out their point of view, actions, etc.

Setting: The world and location in which a story takes place, can also include the general feel of the storyline.

Skills: Any special skills or abilities your character possesses.

Stats: A set of stats or attributes your character has. This system is generally used in D&D type of roleplay games and can often be seen in MUDS and MUSH’s. Stats are generally Str: (strength) Agi (Agility) or Dex (Dexterity) Wis (Wisdom) Int (Intelligence) and Con (Constitution)

Structured RP: Generally used in Forum Roleplay where the original poster, or narrator is telling the story and they attempt to steer it in the direction they wish. At times this can involve taking over your character and performing actions for you to move the story along.

Troll: An individual who visits forums, chat rooms, or blogs and posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off topic messages with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or/and to disrupt the normal on-topic discussion.

U/C: Under construction. A forum topic that the moderator does not wish to open yet.

Worldbuilding: Constructing a fictional universe. Often these universes are used in original roleplay stories/threads, etc.


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