Babel Fish

The Babel Fish, from the HHGG movie. 1. p.n., in the Hitchhiker’s novels of Douglas Adams, a tiny fish that, when placed in one’s ear, gives one the ability to understand any spoken language.
2. in gamerese, any cheat that allows players to understand foreign languages. Ex: GM: “The dragon demands all of your gold, ‘ere you may leave.” Player: “How can I understand it? I don’t speak Dragon.” GM: “You have a frickin’ Babel Fish in your ear. Now, you gonna pay up or not?”

Addendum:

“‘The Babel fish,’said The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quietly, ‘is small, yellow and leechlike, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centers of the brain which had supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which had been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.’

‘Now it is such a bizarrely impossible coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof on the nonexistence of God.

‘The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

‘”But,” says Man, “the Babel fish proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments you don’t. QED.”

‘”Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t though of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

‘”Oh that was easy,’ says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

‘Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo’s kidneys, but that didn’t stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book, Well That about Wraps It Up for God.

‘Meanwhile, the poor Babel Bish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.’”

– Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”

Submitted by:

Kunochan

bad pull

n. in MMORPGs, the act of pulling the wrong mob, or pulling more mobs than your party/group can expect to handle without casualties.

Submitted by:

Dave Shepherd

Bag of Holding

ThinkGeek's Bag of Holding.D&D-ism
p.n., from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide, a magical pouch or bag that is much larger on the inside than on the outside, and therefore useful for carrying things.

Addendum: Very popular among fantasy gamers as a way to skirt encumbrance rules. See Gygax Slices.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

baka desu

Darling no baka!1. (“bah’ kah dess”) (Japanese) excl. “It’s/that’s/you’re stupid!”; baka “foolishness” desu “to be.”
2. in gamerese, “It’s/that’s/you’re stupid!” From anime. Also baka, darling no baka.

Addendum: For full effect, the word “baka” should be pronounced with an extremely long first “a,” in imitation of anime characters; “baaaaAAAAAaaaaka desu!”

Submitted by:

Kunochan

balance

adj. balanced; v. to balance, balancing (a game)
1. n., in game design, the effort to equalize the interaction between game elements or mechanics, so that one player does not enjoy an arbitrary advantage over another.
2. the property of a game system in which equally skilled players have a roughly equal chance of winning.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

balrog

A balrog in Lord of the Rings Online. It has wings, but at least they're vestigial.pl n. balrogs (Anglicization – see addendum)
1. in the writings of JRR Tolkien, a giant demonic being shrouded in fire and darkness; maiar corrupted by Morgoth, they are amongst the most powerful enemies in his legendarium; they definitely don’t have wings; Sindarin balrog, calque of Quenya valarauko “demon of might.”
2. in fantasy gaming milieux, monsters based on the balrogs of Tolkien.

Addendum: Tolkien often used the plural “balrogs,” but this is an Anglicization. The coll. pl. as given by Tolkien is balrogath; and Tolkien scholars have conjectured that the regular Sindarin plural, never given by Tolkien, would be balroeg or belryg. The plural of valarauko is valaraukar.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

bamf

Bamf!v. to bamf, bamfing; also BAMF
1. onomatopoeia, n., the sound made by someone teleporting; from the Marvel Comics character Nightcrawler.
2. v., in gamerese, to teleport. Ex: The combat got nasty, so Rufus bamfed out of there.
3. BAMF, in World of Warcraft online chat, abbrev. “bad-ass mother fucker.”

Submitted by:

Michelle Elbert

band aid

1. p.n., Band-Aid™ trademark; used for a small adhesive strip with a gauze pad for covering minor wounds.
2. in gamerese, a cleric; so-called because in many fantasy RPGs, clerics are called upon primarily for their healing abilities.

Submitted by:

Andrew Maher

banshee

A banshee miniature.pl. n. banshees; also bean sí, bean sìth, bean-nighebean chaointeHag of the Mist, Gwrach-y-Rhibyn, the Cyoeraeth
1. in Irish folklore, a fairy woman that appears as an apparition, bearing a comb and screaming or wailing, when someone is about to die; similar beings appear in Scottish, Welsh, and Norse folklore; sometimes associated with the Irish goddess The Morrígan; from Irish bean “woman” + sīdhe (“shee”) “fairy mound”; c. 18th century.
2. in Dungeons & Dragons, an undead monster inspired by the mythological banshee, which causes damage or drains its victim’s Charisma stat with its piercing wail; usu. incorporeal, it can only be harmed by magic.
3. in fantasy and occult gaming milieux, a spectral creature, usu. but not always female, usu. but not always with a sonic attack.
4. in the Halo video game series, the human nickname for the alien Covenant Type-26 Ground Support Aircraft, a single-occupant flyer armed with two light plasma cannons.

Addendum: Did you keep a watch for the dead man’s wind / Did you see the woman with the comb in her hand / Wailing away on the wall on the strand / As you danced to the Turkish Song of the Damned?

Submitted by:

Kunochan

bar gamer

n., one who games for fun, and does not take gaming too seriously; so called because they’re the ones at conventions who have the most booze on the table.

Submitted by:

Mike Fortey

barbarian

A barbarian.pl. n. barbarians; adj. barbarian, barbaric
1. n., adj., in general usage, a member of a culture considered to be inferior by the speaker, or lacking advanced material culture (literature, written law, architecture, etc.); from Greek barbaros “foreign.”
2. in gamerese, a warrior of a culture more primitive than average for the (usu. fantasy) milieu, usu. inspired by the historical vikings or by the Conan novels of Robert E. Howard.
3. in D&D, a fighter class prone to frenzy and hatred of magic.

Addendum: Newbies love to play barbarians because the concept gives them free license to smash everything in sight and harass spellcasters. Barbarians usually run around without a shirt on and without armor, although I have no recollection of any viking, or Conan, ever being so stupid.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

bard

Sir Robin's minstrel, from Monty Python & the Holy Grail.pl. n. bards; adj. bardic; n. bardship; p.n. Bard
1. in medieval Ireland and Britain, a professional poet employed by an aristocrat to compose poems and songs commemorating the patron and his family & ancestors; also skald (Scandinavian), minstreltroubadour; from Irish, Scots Gaelic bard, Welsh bardd, Breton barz, Proto-Indo-European gwrs-do-s “singer”; c. 15th century.
2. in Dungeons & Dragons, a character class combining aspects of the fighter and magic-user classes; the bard employs musical performance to cast spells; in 2nd ed. AD&D, the bard was a type of rogue.
3. in medieval fantasy games, a type of character based on the bards of D&D.
4. p.n. Bard the Bowman, in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the archer of Esgaroth who slays the dragon Smaug and becomes King of Dale.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

barrel

The dwarves in the barrels, from the upcoming The Hobbit films.pl. n. barrels
1. n., in general usage, a round bulging vessel of greater length than breadth that is usually made of staves bound with hoops and has flat ends of equal diameter, usu. employed to store fluids or foodstuffs; from Middle English barel, c. 14th c.
2. in role-playing games, a device used to indicate that a character’s player is not present, and therefore the character is traveling with the party but is unable to interact. Ex: Player: “I borrow Dracovich’s Staff of the Magi to use in this combat.” GM: “Sorry, he’s there, but he’s in his barrel until Joe gets back from Bali.”
3. used to refer to any stupid or unnecessarily difficult or uncomfortable escape plan; refers to Bilbo and the dwarves’ escape from the elves of Mirkwood in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Ex: Now you want us to crawl down the privy drain? Why don’t you just pack us in barrels and send us to Dale?
4. any monster, danger or difficulty that is better avoided than confronted; inspired by Mario jumping over the barrels in Donkey Kong. Ex: Um, yeah, I could fight the kobolds, or I could just jump the barrels and close the freakin’ door!

Submitted by:

Kunochan, Gerald Croll

basic blacks

pl. n., in a LARP, the basic black attire worn when a player is acting as an NPC; serves as a generic costume. Source.

 

Submitted by:

Kunochan

basilisk

The basilisk in the film version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).pl. n. basilisks; also basaliskbasilicokbasiliscu
1. in Roman mythology, a small snake that drips venom, and is so poisonous that its mere gaze can kill; from Greek basil “king” + ískos “little”: c. 13th century CE.
2. in medieval European mythology, a monster inspired by the Roman basilisk; a giant reptile, with the ability to kill with its gaze, and sometimes with poison or fire breath; it can only be killed by the scent of a weasel, or sometimes a rooster’s crow, or by causing it to see itself in a mirror; in some sources, the basilisk has alchemical abilities, and can turn base metals into gold; often confused in the original sources with the cockatrice.
3. in Dungeons & Dragons, one of the original monsters, a large six- or eight-legged reptile that can turn its prey to stone by glance or by touch; appears in all editions and in Pathfinder; also greater basiliskdracolisk (dragon/basilisk hybrid), boalisk (boa constrictor/basilisk hybrid), venom-eye basilisk , stone-eye basilisk, salt basilisk (gaze turns prey to salt), crimson basilisk, glassilisk (gaze turns prey to glass), ice basilisk (gaze freezes prey), rhaumbusun.
4. in the MMORPG World of Warcraft, two different mobs are called “basilisk” — Azeroth basilisks are six-legged reptiles based on the D&D basilisk, with a paralyzing gaze they gain by eating magical crystals; Outland basilisks feature three glowing eyes; hunter characters can tame either type as a pet.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

bastard sword

There can be only one. Followed by two crappy sequels.pl. n. bastard swords
n., an English name for a particularly large longsword, as differentiated from a broadsword or two-handed sword; also French épée bâtarde and Scottish claymore (Gaelic claidheamh mòr, “great sword”); “bastard sword” originally meant “sword of uncertain origin,” but came to mean “large sword”; c. 15th-16th century. See sword.

Addendum: The bastard sword is very popular in fantasy role-playing games, especially amongst pre-teen newbies, who like having the opportunity to say “bastard” without getting in trouble.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

bathroom break

n., in a role-playing game, when the players have gone as far in the adventure as the GM has read, it is now time for the GM to take a “bathroom break” and read further into the module while on the can.

Submitted by:

Brian Wade

battle card driven game

n., a type of strategy board game in which tactical maneuvers are represented on cards. Examples: Battle Cry, Memoir ’44, Command & Colors: Ancients.

Submitted by:

Paul Ang

battlemat

Le battlemat.pl. n. battlemats; also battle-mat, battle-mats
n., a vinyl sheet ruled with lines forming a grid, and designed to be written on with erasable ink pen; commonly used in RPGs and wargames for drawing maps; see also hex mat.

Submitted by:

Roland Volz

BattleTech

BattleTech.p.n., a science fiction mecha wargaming franchise created by FASA Corporation in 1984; acquired by WizKids in 2000; acquired in 2003 by Topps; originally a board game by Jordan Weisman and L. Ross Babcock III; includes game expansions, computer and video games, the Virtual World immersive entertainment centers, a collectible card game, over 100 novels, comic books, and an eponymous1995 animated television series. Also Mechwarrior. On Amazon.

Submitted by:

Kunochan