abandonware

Atari Gamesn., out-of-print video and computer games, as collected and played by “classic” games enthusiasts, on refurbished systems or on emulators.

Addendum: MAME, the “Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator,” and Stella, an Atari 2600 emulator are two of the larger examples of fan-made, fan-supported emulators for playing classic games.

Submitted by:

Mark Whitley

ability

The character ability screen in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.pl. n. abilities
1. n., in general usage, the physical or mental power to perform; from Latin habilis “skillful.”
2. in role-playing games, generally syn. with stat or skill; also ability score. Ex: I want to use my Strength ability to lift the car.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

above game

phrase, in role-playing games, syn. for OOC. Ex: Hey, if you’re mad at me, let’s deal with it above game, instead of your Ahroun going Crinos and ripping my Ragabash to pieces with his razor claws!

Submitted by:

Brian Curtis

abstract game

n., a type of game, usu. a board game, where the mechanics have little or nothing to do with the theme. Examples: Lost Cities, Ra, chess.

Submitted by:

Paul Ang

action point allowance game

n., a type of board game in which each player can perform so many game actions based on points allocated. Examples: Through the Ages, Pandemic.

Submitted by:

Paul Ang

AD&D

abbrev. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.”

Submitted by:

Kunochan

adamantium

Marvel's Wolverine, with his adamantium claws.D&D-ism
n., in fantasy RPGs, esp. D&D, an imaginary metal that is harder than diamond; from adamantine, an archaic description of diamond or any hard stone, metal or gem. Ex: GM: “The fireball kills you.” Player: “But I’m wearing adamantium plate armor!” GM: “Okay, you’re roasted alive, but your armor’s intact. Roll up a new character!” See adamantium hero.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

adamantium hero

n., a role-playing character so tough and resistant to injury that s/he is able to shrug off normally fatal wounds with little or no effect. See adamantium.

Addendum: This isn’t a bad thing in superhero games, but in genres where combat is supposed to sometimes end in death, it gets ridiculous. TSR and Palladium are notorious for game systems that encourage this, but it can be observed in some of the more over-the-top anime and Hollywood action movies.

Most gaming systems are structured so one character can face several opponents at one time in a grand heroic tradition. Unfortunately, most rules set this up by allowing a character to absorb damage from all these opponents rather than by allowing them to avoid it. This results in a character immune to environmental hazards and who cannot be laid out in a single blow from a normal weapon, but must be beaten into unconsciousness by repeated blows or by emptying several clips of bullets into them.

This is also why most RPG characters can’t be assassinated — a surreptitious dagger to the neck only does a few points of damage, unless special rules are allowed.

Submitted by:

Kunochan, Matthew Cary

adventure

1. n., in general usage, an undertaking involving travel, danger and unknown risks; often an exciting or remarkable experience; Middle English aventure, from Latin adventus, past part. of advenire “to arrive.”
2. in role-playing games, a single storyline within an ongoing game; syn. with module (def. 4) and scenario. Ex: When we’re done with this adventure, Melissa’s going to let Robert take over the game.

Submitted by:

Kunochan, Eric Lestrade

adventure game

n., sometime syn. for role-playing game.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

aggravated damage

also n. agg damage, agg, v. going agg
n., in many RPGs, physical damage to a character’s body that can not be healed by normal means, such as bed rest; or damage that can only be healed by normal means (magical healing will not help). Ex: The dagger was made of iron, so the Elf Princess takes aggravated damage. See lethal damage.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

aggravating damage

n., in a role-playing game, the results of a weak or ineffectual attack. Ex: GM: “The changeling’s looking really mad now; he seems to be preparing a cantrip.” Player (not impressed): “Ooh, I’m in big trouble! I sure hope my werewolf can withstand a few levels of aggravating damage.”

Addendum: spoof of aggravated damage.

Submitted by:

Brian Curtis

aggro

v. to aggro, aggroing, aggroed
v., in MMORPGs, when a mob becomes aggressive and attacks a PC or (less often) another mob. Ex: I was kiting two bandits and ran too close to three others. They aggroed on me and I got kacked.

Addendum: The term is from the word “aggressive”, originating on MUDs. A mob that had been attacked would turn aggressive-mode on the attacker, and remain thus even if the character died; if someone bit off more than he could chew and was killed or chased away, he would usually ask for help in dealing with the now-aggroed mob.

Submitted by:

Kunochan, Karal

alien

Thankfully, the aliens are sexy.pl. n. aliens; adj. alien
1. adj., in general usage, characteristic of a different place, society, or nation; strange, bizarre or unaccustomed; from Latin alinus “that which belongs to another person, place, or object,” Proto-Indo-European al “to wander”; c. 14th century.
2. n., in science fiction media and gaming milieux, an extraterrestrial life form, generally from another planet, often intelligent, often humanoid, often intent on invading our world and stealing our women. See xenomorph, grey. See also race.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

alien eyes

Alien eyes.n., a result of three ones on a 3d6 roll; spoof of snake eyes. See alien. Also mutant snake eyes, freight train.

Submitted by:

James Vargas, Landon Schurtz

alignment

D&D alignment chart.D&Dism
1. n., a description of a role-playing character’s general moral, ethical, and social tendencies, usu. quantified as a stat; designed to enforce consistent behavior in player characters. Ex: You can’t help the injured elf-maiden — your alignment is Chaotic Evil! See also lawful goodneutral goodchaotic goodlawful neutraltrue neutral, chaotic neutrallawful evilneutral evilchaotic evil.
2. n., in some game systems, such as D&D, a character’s place in a cosmological/spiritual/magical continuum based on a struggle between good and evil, chaos and law, the supernatural and the mundane. In this case, the character’s alignment stat has specific consequences in the resolution of magical and clerical effects. Ex: The blast only affects Evil creatures, so Sir Goodalot is unharmed.

Addendum: The use of the term “alignment” originated in D&D. In recent years, authors of RPGs have turned away from simplistic systems like alignment stats to describe characters behavioral tendencies, instead providing personality archetypes, or basing games around membership in social groups with extensive descriptions of acceptable behavior.

Addendum #2: This same idea is used in the “paths” in Vampire: The Masquerade. Many of the disadvantages in the GURPS system (e.g. Sense of Duty, Code of Honor, Pacifism, Vow, etc.) can be taken to create a more custom-made set of personal guidelines that an individual character lives by.

Addendum #3: D&D 4.0 streamlined the alignment system, creating a single continuum: Lawful GoodGoodUnaligned, Evil, and Chaotic Evil.

Submitted by:

Kunochan, Mark Whitley

alignment tongue

D&Dism
n., in D&D and derivative fantasy RPGs, a language shared by creatures of a particular alignment. Ex: Sure I can interrogate the orc — my character speaks Neutral Evil.

Addendum: A pretty dumbass concept; the idea was probably derived from the “Black Speech” used by the minions of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. More advanced D&D players tend to abandon the whole idea.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

All your base are belong to us!

All your base are belong to us.phrase, Engrish, see addendum.

Addendum: In 1991, Taito released a side-scrolling sci-fi spaceship combat game for the Sega Genesis called Zero Wing (the arcade version came out in 1989). Besides being sucky overall, the English-language version of Zero Wing contained dialogue from the Japanese version, the translation of which was unusually bad, even for the video game genre. Here’s the script from the opening animation:

Titles:
In A.D. 2101, war was beginning.
Captain:
What happen?
Mechanic:
Somebody set us up the bomb.
Operator: We get signal!
Captain: What!
Operator: Main screen turn on!
Captain: It’s you!!
Cats: How are you gentlemen!! All your base are belong
to us. You are on the way to destruction.
Captain: What you say!!
Cats: You have no chance to survive make your time.
Ha ha ha ha….
Operator: Captain!!
Captain: Take off every ‘ZIG’!! You know what you doing.
Move ‘ZIG.” For great justice.

Anyway, in the 90s this text started circulating around video gaming sites on the Internet as an in-joke. Gamers used a variety of quotes in a variety of contexts, particularly variations of “all your base are belong to us,” “somebody set us up the bomb,” and “you have no chance to survive make your time.”

Addendum: The full tale on Wikipedia.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

allowed/denied

v., to allow, to deny
in a role-playing game, used by a GM to indicate approval or disapproval of an action/merit/flaw/character concept.

Jimmy: “Will you allow me to take a flaw and a merit to balance my points?”
GM: “Allowed. Which ones?”
Jimmy: “Ambidextrous and One-handed. That’s all the points I need.”
GM: “Denied.” (whacks Jimmy)

Submitted by:

Nathan Espino

alpha strike

pl. n. alpha strikes; also p.n. Alpha Strike
1. in wargames, esp. BattleTech, an all-out assault in the hopes of gaining a decisive advantage; describes an attack utilizing all available forces; from military jargon.
2. syn. with “first strike”; describes the initial major attack in a game.

Submitted by:

Kunochan