MacGuffin

John Travolta opening the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.n., an object in a film or story that serves to set the plot in motion, despite lacking intrinsic importance; games with plots, such as role-playing games, may feature a MacGuffin. Ex: “Somebody remind me why we’re looking for the Shield of Ragnos again?” “It’s just a MacGuffin, now kill some orcs.”

Addendum: A cinematic term coined by Alfred Hitchcock. A famous modern example is the briefcase from Pulp Fiction — it never matters to the story what’s in the briefcase, or why anyone wants it. It is just a MacGuffin to keep the story moving.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

macro

v. to macro, macroingmacro’d or macroed
1. n., in computers, a single user-defined command that is part of an application and executes a series of commands; e.g. “/macro P /pet attack” would cause “/pet attack” to be executed whenever you pressed “P.”
2. in video, computer, and online games, a third party application (or leaving a book resting on the keyboard) used to perform an action continuously with a view to increasing your skill through use. Ex: I macro’d my way to GM Archery in 3 hours – I just love Ultima Online!
3.  n., in real-time strategy computer games, syn. of strategy; as opposed to micro, syn. of tactics.

Submitted by:

Dave Shepherd

mage

A mage in World of Warcraft.pl. n. mages; also magecraft
1. n., in general usage, syn. with magus, a member of a hereditary priestly class among the ancient Medes and Persians; Latin, from Greek magos, “sorcerer,” of Iranian origin; c. 17th century.
2. in fantasy and occult gaming milieux, one who uses magic, usu. one who uses occult knowledge to cast spells. Also magic-user, wizard, spellcaster; also conjurer, enchanter, magician, magus, necromancer, shaman, sorcerer, thaumaturge, warlock, witch.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

Mage: The Ascension

p.n., occult “gothic-punk” tabletop role-playing game published by White Wolf Games; also Mage: The Sorcerer’s Crusade; part of the World of Darkness series. On Amazon.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

magic

Magic in Magic (: The Gathering).pl. n. magics; adj. magical, magic; adv. magically; also magick
1. n., in general usage, an extraordinary power or influence, seemingly from a supernatural source; from Middle English magique, from Middle French, from Latin magice, from Greek magike, feminine of magikos “magical,” from magos “magus, sorcerer,” of Iranian origin; akin to Old Persian magus “sorcerer.”
2. in anthropological terms, any system of behavior intended to understand or influence the environment through supernatural means, such as spells, sacrifices, and prayers; also religion. See thaumaturgy.
3. in fantasy and occult gaming milieux, a system of knowledge intended to control the supernatural; see magemagic-userillusionist, wizard. Also magecraft, wizardry, sorcerynecromancy, runecraft, witchcraft.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

magic item

Magic items.pl. n. magic items; D&D-ism
1. n., in Dungeons & Dragons, any portable item that conveys to the bearer magical powers or the ability to cast spells, such as magic swords, wands, amulets, etc.
2. in a fantasy game milieu, an item with magical properties; also artifact.

Addendum: Some role-playing systems allow mage characters to create magic items by “anchoring” or “tying” a spell to a mundane object. The “anchored” spell can then be activated whenever the object is touched, or whenever the person holding it says a magic word or simply “wills” that the spell be activated.

Addendum #2: The term magic weapon is used to describe the ‘weapon’ sub-class of magic items. The term magic object is used to describe the non-weapon sub-class of magic items. Focus, fetish, powerstone, wand, wizard’s staff and others are terms used to describe magic items that have no inherent magical properties of their own, but which aid mages in casting spells.

Submitted by:

Mark Whitley

magic missile

Magic Missile in Diablo 3.pl. n. magic missile; v. to magic-missile, magic-missiling, magic-missiled; p.n. Magic Missile; D&D-ism
1. p.n. in Dungeons & Dragons, a first level magic-user spell that causes a bolt of energy to fly from the spellcaster’s fingertips, usu. causing around 1d4 damage; sometimes employed as a verb. Ex: The kobold came right at me, so I magic-missiled him for three points damage.
2. in derivative fantasy role-playing games, any spell similar to the Magic Missile of D&D.

Addendum: Every low-level starting mage in D&D and Pathfinder starts out with Magic Missile. If they didn’t, they would be useless in combat.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

magic-abuser

pl. n. magic-abusers
1. n., pejorative term for AD&D magic-users.
2. any mage or wizard who tends to screw-up at using magic in spectacular and often party-damaging ways.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

magic-user

A magic-user from 1st ed. D&D.pl. n. magic-users, also magic user; D&D-ism
1. in Dungeons & Dragons, the character class that has the ability to cast spells.
2. generic gaming term for mage. Also wizard, spellcaster. See magic.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

Magic: The Addiction

p.n., nickname for Magic: The Gathering, a card-based strategy game, so called for the degree of obsession so many of its players have in playing it, and the amount of money they must continue to spend on supplemental cards for the game. Also Five-Color Crack. See gamer crack. See also collectible card game.

Addendum: It is this lexicographer’s theory that Wizards of the Coast, makers of this card game, put addictive mind-control chemicals on the cards to take control over the players – the rarer the card, the more potent the chemical. Eventually Wizards of the Coast will call forth their armies of mindless zombies for some nefarious purpose, but it escapes the cognitive abilities of this lexicographer what an army of Magic: The Gathering players could possibly accomplish.

Submitted by:

Brian A. LaBounty, Bryan Fagan

Magic: The Gathering

A Magic: The Gathering tournament.p.n., the original collectible card game, created by Richard Garfield at Wizards of the Coast in 1993; the game recreates battles between mages in a fantasy milieu.

Addendum: Magic is still one of the most popular hobbyist games, basically keeping the struggling independent game store sector alive. Rare Magic cards are still valuable collectibles, and official prize tournaments and constant updates and additions keep the game alive.


Submitted by:

Kunochan

mana

Sarah has 32 mana points.pl. n. mana; also manna
1. in general usage, the power of the elemental forces of nature embodied in an object or person; of Polynesian origin, akin to Hawaiian & Maori mana.
2. in fantasy and occult gaming milieux, a quantifiable amount of magical power contained within a spellcaster or an magic item; often a stat; often used in RPGs and computer games.

Addendum: Mana is expended in the casting of spells, and recovers over time or through other methods, like meditation, sleeping, recharging from a magical power source, etc.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

manga

Star Wars manga!pl. n. manga (“mangas” is not a word)
1. n., (Japanese) cartoon, comic book; manga “irresponsible picture.”
2. in English, Japanese cartoons or comic books. See anime, hentai, otaku.

Addendum:  Taiwanese and Hong Kong comics are manhua;  South Korea comics are manhwa.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

map

Detail of the original map of Greyhawk, the first D&D milieu.pl. n. maps; adj. map-like, v. to map, mapping, mapped
1. n., in general usage, a representation or diagram, usu. inscribed on a flat surface, of the layout of the relative locations of things, usu. representing the Earth’s surface or the celestial firmament as viewed from the Earth’s surface; other locations, structural interiors, objects, and even concepts can be mapped; Middle English mapemounde, Old French mapemond, Medieval Latin mappa mundi “map of the world,” Latin mappa “napkin, cloth” (on which maps were drawn); c. 14th Century CE.
2. in wargames, tabletop role-playing games, and other hobbyist games, a flat representation of the area in which exploration or combat is to take place, often drawn on graph or hex paper or a mat.
3. in computer role-playing games, first-person shooters, and other computer games, a representation of the player character’s surrounding terrain and/or enemy units, updated in realtime, often a pop-up display or permanently located in a corner of the screen. See automap. See also fog of war.

Addendum: Maps are a big deal in hobbyist games. Role-playing games and wargames revolve around them; and I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the majority of board game playing boards are maps.

marching order

n., in role-playing games, the order or pattern in which members of a character party travel; used to determine who encounters traps/monsters/etc., or the positions of the characters when combat starts. See conga line; also party order. Ex: Player: “I draw my sword and help defend Father Choda from the orc ambush.” GM: “Well, I’m looking at the marching order here, and you’re in the front of the conga line — that means that Miga the Mystic, Thierry the Thief, Perry the Paladin, Minbarra the Minotaur, Heor the Half-Elf, Stumpy the Dwarf, Princess Piony, Merka the Mad Mage, Sir Goodalot, Eileina Threequarterselven, Stephan the Swordsman, Dildo Hairypalms the Halfling, all six of the henchmen and the pony are between you and Father Choda.” Player: “Shit.”

Submitted by:

Kunochan

martial arts

Martial arts! (From Alien vs. Ninja (2010))sing. n. martial art; n. martial artist
1. pl. n., in general usage, orig. refers to any codified set of practices and tactics for engaging in combat, such as boxing or fencing; in modern parlance, used to refer to any one of a number of formal hand-to-hand combat forms or schools originating primarily in East Asia; examples include kung fu (“man of achievement”) or wushu (“martial art”) from China, jujutsu or jiu-jitsu (“soft technique”) from Japan, and tang soo do (“China hand way”) from Korea; calque of Japanese bujutsu “science of war”; c. 1930.
2. in games, esp. role-playing and video games, special abilities, skills, feats or combat actions derived from the martial arts of East Asia, either designed to be realistic, or to recreate the superpowers and magical abilities ascribed to martial artists in martial arts films; while many games feature martial arts abilities, some notable examples include Feng ShuiLegend of the Five RingsJade Empire, and GURPS Martial Arts.
3. sometimes used to refer to any game or game milieu based on or inspired by pre-modern or modern East Asia (and particularly fantasy and action films about East Asia), whether martial arts are central or not.

Addendum: “Martial arts cannot win against guns…” So says Yen Shi-kwan to Jet Li at the end of Once Upon a Time in China (1991). But you wouldn’t know it from martial arts rules in games, where practitioners can dodge, deflect, and catch bullets — and even defend against science fiction weapons like lasers and blasters (see Star Wars).

Submitted by:

Kunochan

marvel

Just Spider-man marvelling.v. to marvel, marvellingmarvelled
1. v., in turn-based role-playing during combat rounds, the act of a character speaking or engaging in dialogue that would be impossible in the amount of time allotted; this may or may not be permitted by the GM. Ex: I know I only have enough time to dodge or block, but I want to marvel and explain to this guy why we should be cooperating instead of fighting!
2. the act of producing any implausibly long dialogue.

Addendum: This term is inspired by Marvel Comics, which are infamous for portraying superhero characters in impossibly long dialogues during fights.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

Marvel Super Heroes

Marvel Super Heroes RPG.p.n., tabletop superhero role-playing game published in the 1980s by TSR, Inc.; based on the universe of Marvel Comics, and licensed from Marvel Enterprises; a similar game, under the same title but with a new rules system, was published in 1998. On Amazon.

Addendum: The original MSH featured a very simplistic rules set, which was either useful or frustrating, depending upon your point of view. Most serious gamers prefer Hero Games’ Champions.

Submitted by:

Kunochan

mason

pl. n. masons
1. n., in general usage, one who constructs with brick or stone;  from Middle English machun, Old French masson, Frankish makjon “maker,” c. 1200.
2.  in gamerese, an RPG player who creates brick characters; term implies adeptness, frequency, or both.

Submitted by:

W. Travis Nixon

mass market game

Uh oh. Trouble.pl. n. mass market games
n., a game manufactured by a massive corporation (Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley, Mattel) and marketed to non-gamers; usu. for families or children. Examples: Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble.

Addendum: Whether or not games made by Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast are “mass market” is open for debate, but gamers usually do not use the term to refer to such games.

 

Submitted by:

Kunochan