1. n., in general usage, an alternate spelling of cairn, a pile of stones or simple stone structure built as a memorial, landmark, or grave; from Middle English carne, Old Irish carn.
2. in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, a garou holy place or center of spiritual power.
Addendum: Some Werewolf players mistakenly pronounce this word with two syllables, like “Karen.” It has one syllable, and rhymes with “care.” Just add an “n” to the end.
pl. n. callers; v. to call, calling, called; D&D-ism
1. in tabletop RPGs, a player given the task of determining what actions the other players wish the character party to make, and then presenting this information (“calling the turns”) to the GM; often, the caller is the player whose character is the leader of the party.
2. the player whose character is the leader of the character party. Also party leader.
Addendum: Assigning a caller is particularly useful to a GM who is running a large game, one with seven or more players. The caller takes on the task of focusing the group’s attention and quizzing players for clarification, leaving the GM free to pursue recordkeeping chores and resolve individual problems. Some GMs give the caller a great deal of authority over the other players, taking turns only from the caller and siding with the caller in disputes with players.
pl. n. caltrops
1. n., a device with four metal points so arranged that when any three are on the ground the fourth projects upward as a hazard to the hooves of horses or to pneumatic tires.
2. n., slang term for a four-sided die.
pl. p. n. Cammies
1. p.n., nickname for The Camarilla; in White Wolf’s World of Darkness, a global society or sect of vampires. Ex: Whaddya mean I can’t kill humans? Don’t give me any of that Cammie bullshit! See Cammie Lawyer.
2. a member of the Camarilla Fan Club, White Wolf’s official fan club.
n., in White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade, any player or character obsessed with strict adherence to the myriad of rules and traditions established in White Wolf supplements regarding the The Camarilla, a global society or sect of vampires. See Cammie; see also rules lawyer.
pl. n. campaigns
1. n., in general usage, a connected series of military operations forming a distinct phase of a war; from French campagne, Italian campagna “level country,” “campaign,” from Late Latin campania “level country,” from Latin Campania, the level country around Naples; c. 1656.
2. in role-playing games, a connected series of game adventures or modules, involving the same set of characters, that form an overall story or plotline.
3. a long-running RPG, involving many sessions of game play, usu. conducted on a regular basis. Ex: I can’t go meet this nice girl you want to introduce me to, Gerald is running his ElfQuest campaign this weekend.
also v. to camp, n. camper
1. gerund, in general usage, the act of living temporarily outdoors, in a place usually away from urban areas where tents or simple buildings (as cabins) are erected for shelter or for temporary residence; Middle French, from Latin campus “plain, field.”
2. in first-person shooters, the act of finding a place to hide and/or shoot targets from, and staying there for quite some time, if not the whole damn game. Ex: When playing Counter-Strike, Michelle is a notorious camper. She’ll sit under a table with an MP5 all game if you don’t go in and get her.
3. v., in EverQuest, a command that will save your position when you quit, so you will pop up at that place instead of your normal start point when you log back on.
4. in EverQuest, to use the camp command at a place where you know a particular monster or NPCspawns so you can log off, go do something else (like go to work), and get back on right when you know it will repop. Ex: Everybody was camping Bubba Bo Bob Brain! It took me three days until I got to kill him! 5. gerund, in other MMORPGs, remaining in a particular area, repeatedly waiting for a mob to respawn and killing it; see grinding.
phrase, movie quote, used by gamers to offer facetious and unhelpful advice.
Addendum: from Dean Parisot’s hilarious 1999 Star Trek parody Galaxy Quest. Spoken by Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell) to Cpt. Jason Taggart (Tim Allen), when offering unhelpful advice (and parodying the Star Trek episode “Arena”).
Alexander: “Fred’s no good, Jason. You’re going to have to kill it.” Jason: “Kill it!?” Tommy: “Go for the eyes. Like in Episode 22 with–“ Jason: “It doesn’t have eyes!” Tommy: “The throat, the mouth… its vulnerable spots.” Jason: “It’s a ROCK. It doesn’t HAVE vulnerable spots!” Guy: “I know… you construct a weapon. Look around, can you form some sort of rudimentary lathe…?” Jason: “A lathe!!?? Get off the line, Guy!”
pl. n. canons; adj. canonical; also non-canonical, noncanonical
1. in general usage, in the Roman Catholic Church, an ecclesiastical law approved by the Pope.
2. the body of standards accepted as universal in a field of study or an art; from Greek kanṓn “measuring rod, rule”; predates 9th c.
3. in fiction, that body of work concerning an certain author or intellectual property that is considered by critics or fans to be official. Ex: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is part of Shakespeare’s canon;The London Prodigalis not. 4. in fandom, that material regarding a science-fiction, fantasy, horror, or other genre property that is considered by fans to be genuine or official, as opposed to ancillary and fan-derived works. Ex: Rob and Bill spent the whole car trip arguing whether Star Trek: the Animated Series was canonical or not.
5. in gaming, those materials or concepts regarding a game system that are considered to be genuine or official, as opposed to ancillary and player-created works. Ex: I don’t care of you saw something in a magazine about Beholders with legs — it’s not canon and it’s not in my game.
p.n., nickname for a role-playing character, usually fighter-classed, who can deal very large amounts of hack-n-slashdamage in a single combat round; those using two-weapon combat are especially appropriate; from Cuisinart™, a brand of small kitchen appliances famous for it’s blade-whirling food processor.
n., adj., describes a role-playing player, character or scenario that eschews violence; originally a video game term, coined by MMOPvP players as a slam at role-players; references the popular 1980s greeting card and animated television characters.
1. n., in general usage, freight carried on a ship, aircraft, or motor vehicle; from Spanish cargar “to load,” Late Latin carricāre; c. 1650.
2. in gamerese, a role-playing character who is so big, so heavy, and so strong, that the party must arrange for special reinforced transportation for him/her/it. See also brick, tank.
Addendum: From a GURPS Supers game I played in once. There was this one PC who had been surgically altered to a huge size. He weighed tons and didn’t know his own strength, which was considerable. While forming our group and deciding on how we should get around we had to figure out what to do with “Billy.” As we figured out the cost for a reinforced semi-truck we started jokingly referring to Billy as The Cargo. The name stuck.
v. to castle, castling, castled; adj. castled
1. in chess, a special move that allows the king, if it has never been moved, to shift two empty squares to one side, and then the rook on that side to shift to the square immediately past the king’s new position; from castle, a large fortified building, from Middle English castel, Latin castellum, Indo-European kes “to cut.”
2. in miniatureswargames, esp. Games Workshop’sWarhammer and Warhammer 40K, to group one’s units into an immobile defense position, with ranged attackers and siege engines in the middle, surrounded by tightly-packed hand-to-hand units; units are better able to support one another; often the “castle” is placed in one corner of the play area (if allowed by the rules), in a metagame attempt to protect two sides.
p. pl. n. Cat Piss Men
p.n., common name for a variety of comic shop or game store patron, usu. an obese man with poor hygiene and no social skills; so-called because of his aroma.
Addendum: While the original article that coined the term “Cat Piss Man” appears to have disappeared from the Internet, you can find a copy of it here. It seems every comic shop has its own Cat Piss Man, whose role is to drive off other customers and generally make the store as unpleasant as possible, all while purchasing next to nothing.
pl. catoblepae (D&D uses catoblepi)
1. n. (“kat oh blee puss”), in Roman mythology, an animal with the body of a buffalo, the head of a boar, and a scaly armored back; said to live in Ethiopia, its gaze will turn prey to stone, if it can lift its heavy and oversize head; from Latin catoblepas, Greek katobleps, kato “downward” + blepein “to look”; c. 14th century.
2. in Dungeons & Dragons, an early monster inspired by the Roman catoblepas; it has a bison’s body, a long snaky neck, and a warthog’s head; its long tail ends in spikes; c. 1976.
pl. Celts, adj. Celtic
1. p.n., (“kelt”) a member of a division of the early Indo-European peoples, distributed from the British Isles and Spain to Asia Minor; from Latin Celtae, Greek Keltoi “barbarian”; c. 1550. See Druid.
2. a modern Gael, Highland Scot, Irishman, Welshman, Cornishman, or Breton.
Addendum: Since gamers are often fascinated with all things Celtic, let’s take a quick look at who the Celts were and are. The Greek word “keltoi” referred to anyone who lived north of Greece (also Greek galatai and Roman galli, the origin of Gaul); so if you want to talk about the “Ancient Celts,” you might mean any of the pre-Christian peoples of Europe. But as time has progressed, the word has come to specifically mean members of ethnic groups that speak one of the so-called “Celtic” branch of related Indo-European languages; Gaulish, Welsh, Breton, and Irish. In this sense, “Ancient Celts” means the ancestors of these non-Germanic Northern European peoples.
To dispel two common myths: first, by any reasonable definition of the word “Celt,” the Celts did not build Stonehenge. The monolithic structure was built way too early to be assigned to any later ethnic group that inhabited the same area. Second, the only “Seltics” play basketball in Boston. It is never appropriate to pronounce Celtic with an “s” sound.
pl. n. centaurs; f.n. centaurid, pl.f.n. centaurides; adj. centaurial, centaurian, centauric; also hippocentaur
1. in Greek mythology, a race of half-human, half-horse creatures; in early myths they had the front legs of a human and the back limbs of a horse, but later stories presented the more familiar centaur known today, a horse with a human’s torso, arms and head sprouting from where the horse’s neck and head would be; also onocentaur (half-human, half-donkey); from Latin centaurus, Greek kentauros (etymology unknown); c. 14th century.
2. in fantasy media and gamingmilieux, a creature or character based upon the centaurs of mythology; examples in media include the centaurs of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia novels and the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; examples in games include the centaur race in the Dungeons & Dragons and PathfinderRPGs, the Warcraftand Final Fantasycomputer games, and the centaurs, centigors (goat-headed centaurs), zoats (reptillian centaurs), and bull centaurs of the Warhammer tabletop wargame universe.
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