pl. n. implicit settings
n., while some role-playing games do not specify a particular milieux or fictional setting, they nonetheless must make specific decisions about monsters, technologies, magics, and other milieux-based factors; these games are said to have an implicit setting. The most famous example is the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons — while it was meant to be suitable for any medieval fantasy milieux, it was filled with monsters and other concepts from TSR’s World of Greyhawk setting.
pl. n. initiatives
1. adj., in general usage, of or relating to that which causes or facilitates the beginning of; c. 1795.
2. n., in RPGs and other turn-based games, a stat or system to determine which character acts first, or the order in which players take turns; the player with the highest iniative acts first; sometimes the player with the lowest initiative must declare their action first.
pl. n., inns; p.n. Inn, The
1. in general usage, an establishment for the lodging and entertaining of travelers; syn. with tavern; Middle English, akin to Old Norse inni “dwelling, inn,” Old English in; from 12th c.
2. in medieval fantasy gaming milieux, an establishment offering food, drink, lodging, supplies, and information to bands of roving, multi-racial adventurers.
Addendum: The Inn featured in fantasy RPGs bears little resemblance to anything that actually existed in the medieval European world. The idea of a single establishment where character parties can get everything they need, including information and clues about scenarios, and that also serves as the center of social life in a town or metropolitan area, was inspired by the Inn of the Prancing Pony from The Lord of the Rings; but arose mostly as a deus ex machina for lazy gamemasters.
p. n., the effect in many tabletop and computer role-playing games that arises from one night at the inn being able to heal any wound or ailment. Ex: “Dave, your character has been infected with herpes, AIDS, descolada, ebola, hemophilia, Down’s Syndrome, Kleinfelter’s syndrome, Von Willedorf’s disease, impotence, bedwetting and chronic dandruff. What do you do?” Dave: “I go to the inn.”
pl. n. instances; v. to instance, instancing, instanced
in an MMORPG, a closed-off or private gameplay area, such as a dungeon or other quest area; each individual player or player group interacts with a separate, identical “instance” of the dungeon or area; this allows many different players to experience the the game content, or one player or group to experience it multiple times.
Addendum: The instance was developed early in the history of MMOs, to solve the problem of how multiple players or groups could experience the same quest (say, to kill a particular dragon) after the first person to ever to complete the quest had fulfilled it. Unfortunately, instances break the “shared-world” feel that many MMOs strive for; yes, you defeated the Klingon usurpers and retrieved the one-of-a-kind Sword of Kahless, but so did everyone else. My understanding was that EverQuest introduced instancing; but according to Wikipedia, it was a game called The Realm Online in 1996.
pl. n. inventories; v. to inventory, inventorying, inventoried; adj. inventorial, inventoriable; adv. inventorially
1. in general usage, a complete list of items on hand; usu. refers to items produced or owned by a business, such as a factory or store; from Middle French inventaire “list of goods,” Latin inventorium “list of what is found”; c. 1600.
2. in role-playing games, including both tabletop and computer games, a detailed list of what items the player’s character is currently carrying on their person; may also include stored items not carried. See encumbrance.
Addendum: In tabletop RPGs, a character’s inventory size is limited by encumbrance rules. In computer RPGs, a character is usually allotted a limited number of inventory “slots”; any item the character wishes to carry will take up a given number of slots. In LARPs, inventory is often handled using individual item cards that are signed and approved by the storytellers; I have yet to encounter a LARP that worried about encumbrance rules.
also cold iron
1. n., a chemical element with the symbol Fe (from Latin ferrum) and atomic number 26; it is a metal in the first transition series; from Old English īren, Old Norse īsarn; before 900 CE.
2. in fantasy gaming milieux, iron often has magical properties, esp. in harming and dispelling fae (and sometimes elven) creatures.
Addendum: “Cold iron is a poetic and archaic term for iron, referring to the fact that it feels cold to the touch. In modern usage the term has been most associated with folkloric beliefs that iron could ward off ghosts, fairies, witches, and/or other malevolent supernatural creatures.”
sing. iron ration, D&D-ism
1. pl. n., in military jargon, an emergency food ration ; c. 1870s.
2. in Dungeons & Dragons, foodstuffs designed to withstand the rigorous hazards of dungeon exploration without spoiling. Ex: We’re out of iron rations — I guess we’ll have to eat the halfling.