Addendum: See, Obelevenebration is one better than Obtenebration. Ha ha ha.
pl. n. observers
n., at a LARP session, a non-player; usu. required to use a badge or hand symbol to denote their status.
Addendum: Observers are often people interested in joining the LARP, who want to see how it works first (or are trying to get over the initial embarrassment).
Addendum: Created after a GM told the party where the other door to a room was after the party entered it, but party wasn’t listening — so they spent twenty minutes trying to find a secret switch that would open what they supposed was an invisible door. The one party member who was listening watched this go on for a while and then said “I walk out through the door,” causing a big uproar. Obvious Door Spells are used to get details that might have been missed. See First Rule of Lockpicking.
n. occultism, occultist
1. n. or adj., in general usage, involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them; usu. the occult; also that which is secret or concealed; from Latin occultus “to cover up.”
2. in game milieux, supernatural beings, powers and events based upon horror literature, as opposed to fantasy and science fiction literature.
Addendum: to understand the distinction as used by gamers; the movie The Sixth Sense, which is about psychic powers, is occult; the movie The X-Men, which is about psychic powers, is not. Similarly, the vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade are occult; the vampires in Dungeons & Dragons are not. Doesn’t make sense? So sue me.
n. olympic turn; v. to go olympic
adj., in turn-based role-playing, describes a turn in which a character is given a large amount of in-game time to perform tasks that usually do not require detailed conflict resolution; in direct contrast with combat turns, in which characters have only a few seconds to act. Also snail action. Ex: Now that the combat’s over, let’s go olympic so everyone can get healed and prepare for the next scenario.
Addendum: Combat is at the core of most tabletop RPGs, and combat turns, or rounds, are usually imagined as only a few seconds (although it may take the players hours to resolve a single round of combat). This makes sense when characters are trading gunshots or sword blows. However, if a character wants to drive from LA to San Francisco (or walk from Rivendell to Minas Tirith), it makes little sense to break that journey up into 6-second increments. Hence, olympic turns. Usually, the players simply discuss their various actions with the GM until s/he determines that some kind of combat or conflict must be resolved. Then the game returns to combat rounds. The term “olympic” originated in TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes.
pl. n. one-sided dice
n., a die with one side, generating numbers from one to one.
Addendum: There is no such thing as a one-sided die. It’s a joke. Unless you own a small sphere with “ones” printed all over it. You could also own a “zero-sided die,” but it would attract and absorb all matter and energy within its event horizon.
pl. n. online games; n. online gaming, online gamer
n., any computer game played over a network, such as the Internet or a LAN (local area network), often for the purpose of multi-player gaming. See PvP, PvE, MMORPG.
Addendum: The first online games were text-based MUDs invented in the 1970s. Online gaming really came into its own with the FPS game Doom in the 1990s; later, RTS games and MMORPGs went online. Today, online games may be played directly over the Internet, or on dedicated services such as Xbox Live or Battle.net; some gamers host their own servers.
acronym “out-of-character”: (“oh-oh-see”, never “ook”), adj., in a role-playing game, actions and speech made by the player to other players, not by the player’s character to other characters; any thing that occurs in the real world outside of the game, rather than in the game world. Opposite of IC “in-character.” Ex: Player 1: “I disbelieve.” GM: [rolls] “Denied.” Player 2: “Oh my God, you are such a loser.” Player 1: “You dare profane the gods, and insult my honor? I shall slay you!” Player 2: “Whoa! That was out-of-character!” See metagame.
1. acronym “out-of-game action”; (“ooh-gah”) n., in a LARP, a report one turns in to the storyteller, relating what one’s character does in the time between game sessions. See chronicle.
2. in any RPG, actions one’s character takes between game sessions, if so allowed by the GM.
n., a system for rolling dice, in which an exceptionally high or low natural roll allows one to roll again and add or subtract the results, as long as one keeps rolling a high or low number; the result is that extremely high or low numbers can be achieved.
Addendum: For example, a game allows open ended rolling on a natural 16-20 on a d20. John rolls a 16 on a d20. He rolls again and gets a 17; the total is 33. He rolls again and gets a 2. The total for his roll is 35.
Addendum: When given a choice by the GM of options A, B, or C in an adventure, the players inevitably choose option X instead; some bizarre and ridiculous thing that the GM never expected in his wildest nightmares.
Dave Van Vessem
pl. n. orcs, adj. orcish; also ork, p.n. Orc, Ork, Yrch
1. a sea-monster fabled by Ariosto, Drayton, and Sylvester to devour men and women; according to Pliny, it was a huge creature armed with teeth.
2. in the Middle-earth milieu of JRR Tolkien, a race of malevolent creatures descended from Elves corrupted by Morgoth; aka Orch, Yrch, Glamhoth, Gorgûn, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Uruk.
3. in fantasy literature and RPGs, a race of malevolent creatures inspired by Tolkien’s orcs, usually dark green and stunted troll-like creatures with pointy ears, tusks, and bad attitudes. See also bugbear.
Addendum: It’s unclear why Tolkien named his goblin creatures after a mythical sea monster, except that Tolkien often borrowed mythological names and changed their meaning. For instance, in the Eddic Sagas, Gandalf is the name of a dwarf. Also, note that while Tolkien identified Orcs and Goblins as the same creature, in many fantasy games such as D&D, they are different monsters. And finally, many artists depict orcs, both Tolkien’s and others, as some kind of “pig-men.” There is no basis for this, esp. in Tolkien (who could describe and identify 50,000 types of trees, but never clearly described what orcs look like). Peter Jackson’s version, depicting orcs as something like mouldering elf-corpses, seems more appropriate.
Addendum #2: As most any gamer knows, the goblins of The Hobbit became the orcs of The Lord of the Rings. “Orc” is used in The Hobbit once, just after Bilbo escapes from Gollum; the tunnel along which he runs is described as being too big for goblins “not knowing that even the big ones, the orcs of the mountains, ….” It is clear (to me) that Tolkien was using orc to mean just a giant goblin, comparing it to the giant sea creature mentioned in Ariosto, for instance. I tend to believe that orc and Orcus (not the demon, but the whale) are from the same root, suggesting large size. Possibly when he was writing LOTR he wanted to dispense with goblin, as it suggests something more appropriate to a juvenile fantasy, rather than the vicious orcs as they were in LOTR, and seized upon a word he had already used.
Addendum #3: As for the etymology of orc, I submit this, from JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century by Tom Shippey, who, like Tolkien, is a linguist: “Tolkien preferred an Old English word (over ‘goblin’), and found it in two compounds, the plural form orc-neas found in Beowulf (which Tolkien translated early in his career), where it seems to mean “demon-corpses,” and the singular orc-thyrs, where the second half is found also in Old Norse and means something like “giant.” Demons, giants, zombies – it seems that literate Anglo-Saxons really had very little idea what orcs were at all. The word was floating freely, with ominous suggestions but no clear referent. Tolkien took the word, brought the concept into clear focus in detailed scenes and has in a way made both word and thing canonical.”
Kunochan, Collin R. Park
Addendum: inspired by an AD&D PC, an orc cleric named Bloodclot Hemorrhage. Bloodclot’s special brand of healing included urinating in wounds, pre-emptive amputations (often of healthy limbs), and indiscriminate cauterization.
pl. n. orisons
1. n., in religious mythology, particularly Christian, a prayer; specifically, an imagined communication with a divine spirit, whether liturgical or otherwise; from Old French oreison, Late Latin ōrātiō “speech”: c. 12th century.
2. in Dungeons & Dragons, the clerical spell-casting equivalent of a cantrip.
pl. n. otaku (“otakus” is not a word)
1. (“oh tah koo”) Japanese “obsessive fan,” “geek.”
2. in gamer/geek usage, an anime geek; one who is inordinately fond of Japanese animation and/or culture. See also hentai, fanboy.
Addendum: From Wikipedia: “Otaku is derived from a Japanese term for another’s house or family (お宅, otaku), which is also used as an honorific second-person pronoun. The modern slang form, which is distinguished from the older usage by being written only in hiragana (おたく) or katakana (オタク or, less frequently, ヲタク), or rarely in rōmaji, appeared in the 1980s. In the anime Macross, first aired in 1982, the term was used by Lynn Minmay as an honorific term. It appears to have been coined by the humorist and essayist Akio Nakamori in his 1983 series An Investigation of Otaku (『おたく』の研究 Otaku no Kenkyū?), printed in the lolicon magazine Manga Burikko. Animators like Haruhiko Mikimoto and Shōji Kawamori used the term among themselves as an honorific second-person pronoun since the late 1970s.”
Addendum: Unlike the bugbear, the owlbear actually is a combination of owl and bear. What they were smoking over at TSR, I have no idea.