Glossary

The world of roleplaying games is rife with jargon and, as a direct result, so is this blog. If you find yourself wandering confused among the acronyms, hopefully this page can help.

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  • 2E - Second Edition Dungeons and Dragons
  • 3E - Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons
  • 3.5E - 3.5 Edition Dungeons and Dragons
  • 4E - Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons

A
  • AC - See Armor Class
  • AD&D - Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: A more in-depth and complex rule set for Dungeons and Dragons. This designation ended with Third Edition D&D.
  • Adventure: A series of interconnected encounters in an RPG typically leading towards a primary goal.
  • Armor Class - A number representing a characters defensive capabilities. In order to hit and damage the character, you have to roll a number higher than the armor class. If you are playing 2nd Edition D&D, this is reversed. lower AC numbers are harder to hit.
B
  • BBEG - Big Bad End Guy: The toughest monster in an adventure, which typically must be defeated at the climax of that adventure. The antagonist.
C
  • Campaign - A long-term series of adventures which take place in a given setting and involves a common cast of characters.

  • D&D - Dungeons and Dragons 
  • D4: A four-sided die
  • D6: A six-sided die (The common cube-shaped die used in most board games)
  • D8: An eight-sided die
  • D10: A ten-sided die
  • D12: A twelve sided die
  • D20: A twenty-sided die (The most commonly rolled die in D&D. This is why D&D is often referred to as a D20 game system.)
  • D100 or D%: Either a hundred sided die or more commonly, a method of rolling two ten-sided dice with one representing the single digits and the other representing the tens place.
  • DM - Dungeon Master: The facilitator in a game of Dungeons and Dragons, the DM drafts the adventure plotlines and plays all of the monsters and the cast of supporting characters not played by the players.
  • Dungeon: A location, typically enclosed, through which a party adventures. A dungeon usually features limited choice of movement (eg. go left or right) and modular areas (rooms) containing challenges to be overcome. A dungeon can, but does not necessarily need to equate with a medieval jail or crypt. Dungeons can be labyrinths, towers, dense forests, abandoned mines, desert canyons or even the digestive tract of some great beast.
  • Dungeon Tiles: A set of pre-printed tiles, often made of cardstock or chipboard which are laid out to depict an overhead view of the PCs' surroundings. (like a customizable game board)
E
  • Encounter: An event in a game of D&D which presents a challenge to be solved.  
  • Experience Points: The metric by which player characters increase in level and power in a game of D&D.
F
G
  • GM - Game Master: (Same as Dungeon Master)
  • Grognard: Someone who has been playing D&D since the early days of the game (1970s or 1980s)
H
  • HP - Hit Points: The measure of how much life a character has in a tabletop RPG.
I


  • Initiative: The turn-order for an encounter. Initiative is determined by rolling a d20 and adding any relevant initiative modifiers. High numbers go first.


J
K
L
M
N
  • NPC - Non-Player Character: Supporting characters and antagonists in a game of D&D.
O
P
  • Party: A group of PCs in the D&D game
  • PC - Player Character: The protagonists in a game of D&D played by members of a gaming group other than the DM.
Q
R
  • RPG - Roleplaying Game
S
T


  • THAC0 - Short for "To Hit Armor Class 0" A game mechanic that went away after 2nd Edition. In 2E, the lower the armor class, the tougher a character was to hit. THAC0 represented the number a player had to roll to hit a character with an AC of 0. The numbers for hitting other ACs were adjusted off of the THAC0.


U
V
W
X
  • XP: see Experience Points
Y
Z

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