sing. n. table breaker
pl. n., extra large dice (fist sized or bigger).
Also table chatter.
n., discussion during a game-playing session that doesn’t pertain to the game itself. Ex: Darn it! We would have finished that scenario tonight if it wasn’t for all of the table talk that was going on.
Addendum: It’s difficult to avoid table talk since the game day is the only time that some gamers get to see each other. In our group, whenever table talk gets out of hand one of us slams our hand on the table while saying “GAME!”
Kunochan, Frank Steven Gimenez
Addendum: This term developed specifically to differentiate classic RPGs from LARPs.
sing. tactics, tactic, pl. tactics; adj. tactical; also n. tactician, countertactics
1. in general usage, in military and naval maneuvers, plans and procedures for the deployment and actions of individual units and troops; also, any plan or procedure for gaining small-scale success; from Latin tacticus, Greek taktikós; c. 1560. Compare with strategy. See micro.
2. tactical game, a game that simulates or highlights individual unit or troop movements in a military milieu; often computer games and turn-based.
pl. n. tanks
1. a large armored vehicle with lots of firepower, used in modern warfare.
2. in gamerese, syn. for brick.
3. in MMOs, a character in a party who is given a special place in the party order; this character is usually the toughest and always attacks and is attacked first, so that s/he takes all the damage. See also cargo, sword sponge.
pl. n. tanuki (never “tanukis”)
n., the Japanese raccoon dog, Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus; in Japanese Shinto folklore, the tanuki has powerful shapeshifting abilities, esp. taking human form; they are traditionally represented with giant testicles (“golden jewels”); nominally evil, they are considered to be more humorous than harmful, and are depicted as absent-minded and fun-loving; also bake-danuki; Japanese (狸 or たぬき) tanuki. See kitsune.
Addendum: Tanuki make appearances in games, usu. Japanese ones; examples include Super Mario Bros. 3, the Animal Crossing games, and Ragnarok Online. But this entry is really an excuse to pimp one of my favorite anime films of all time, 1994’s Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko — it’s from Studio Ghibli, and if you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing right now and watch it. You should definitely show it to children, so you can explain to them what the giant things between the male characters’ legs are. I can also recommend 2005’s Princess Raccoon.
pl. n. tech levels; also technology level; abbrev. TL
n., a measure of the degree of technological advancement, and therefore of the available equipment and weapons, in a game world; sometimes a stat.
Addendum: These can be named, i.e. Bronze Age, medieval, Renaissance, Steam Age, modern, spacefaring, etc.; or numbered, where lower numbers denote more primitive technology and higher numbers denote more advanced technology. Typically, role-playing characters must stick to the tech level of their game world, but the GM will usually allow more primitive tech, and on rare occasions allow miraculously-created higher-tech inventions to come into play. In a campaign where time travel is allowed, the characters can readily jump from one tech level to another.
v. to teleport, teleporting, teleported
1. n. in general usage, the hypothetical ability to cause matter, usu. people and objects, to disappear from one location and reappear instantly in another; both supernatural and scientific explanations for such a phenomenon or technology have been proposed; except for a special use of the term in quantum mechanics, teleportation has never been accomplished; from Greek tele– “distant” + Latin portare “to carry”; coined by Charles Fort in 1931.
2. in science fiction, fantasy, occult, and comic book media and gaming milieux, the ability of a character or vehicle to move from one place to another without crossing the intervening space or encountering intervening objects, usu. instantaneously; in fantasy and occult media, this is usu. accomplished through a spell or thaumaturgic ability, although it may also be an inborn superpower (see psionics), and spirit entities, angels, and demons are often portrayed as appearing and disappearing from some other realm; in science fiction media, teleporting is accomplished in a number of ways, the most common being the breaking down of the object or person into pure energy or information with a teleportation device, beaming that energy or information at the speed of light to a second device, and reconstructing or duplicating the original object or person; the object may also be teleported by pushing the matter through an extradimensional rift, and other scenarios have been devised; teleportation is often closely related to time travel, and time travelers are often imagined as teleporting to their destination. See also phasing.
Addendum: In popular media, teleportation is a common technology used in everyday life in the Star Trek universe (and of course the transporter can split you into good and evil halves, create an exact copy of you, send you to an evil mirror universe, or combine two people into one, amongst many, many other transporter mishaps); the witches in both Bewitched and Charmed pretty much teleported everywhere, never even bothering to walk across a room; and the Marvel Comics character Nightcrawler is a famous example of a teleporting superhero. The best teleportation movie ever made is David Cronenberg’s 1986 The Fly.
In games; there are a number of spells and magic items in the Dungeons & Dragons implicit setting that allow characters to teleport, and a number of creatures have the teleport ability; teleporting is always in option in supers games like Champions; and for an interesting take on teleportation, check out the computer game Portal.
Addendum #2: It’s always fun to speculate what happens when someone or something teleports into a solid object. BOOM!!! Check out the teleportation disaster in Star Trek: The Motionless Picture, and the parody of that scene in Galaxy Quest.
v. to test, testing; n. test
1. v., in general usage, to check the quality, performance, or reliability of; Latin testū, testum “earthen pot”; c. 1350.
2. n., in gamerese, a die roll (or in a LARP, throw) used to determine success or failure. Ex: “Okay, the methuselah has blood bound you.” “I’d like to test to resist.” “I said, the METHUSELAH has blood bound you.”
pl. n. text adventures; also text-based adventure, interactive fiction, Infocom game
n., a variety of early computer game, with a completely text-based interface; usu. a non-linear adventure game or role-playing game, with environments and events described by blocks of pre-written text; players respond with short, imperative commands using a limited vocabulary (“get sword,” “go east,” “fight manticore”); c. 1970s. See MUD, computer role-playing game.
Addendum: While the first text adventure game was Will Crowther’s 1975 Adventure, it was the Infocom games published between 1979 and 1989 that really made text adventures a thing. I especially recommend Lost Treasures of Infocom for iOS — playing Zork is a great way to pass the time in line at the bank. Also, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is free as an online browser game here — you can even save your place.
Today, there is a good-sized hobbyist community of people who produce new text adventure games.
Addendum #2: Infocom games often came with collectible props, called feelies.
also. n. thaumaturge, thaumaturgist; adj. thaumaturgical
1. n., in Christian mythology, the ability of a saint to work miracles through the power of the Christian god; by the 16th century, the term was also used to describe a wizard’s non-theistic magical powers; also wonder-working, miracle-working; from Greek thaûma “miracle” + érgon “work”; c. 18th century.
2. in fantasy and occult media and gaming milieux, the ability of a cleric to cast spells; syn. with clerical magic; differentiated from “ordinary” wizard/magic-user/mage “Hermetic” magic in that it requires the intervention of a deity, and the thaumaturge may lose his or her powers if they displease the deity. See theurge.
pl. n. theurges; n. theurgy; adj. theurgical
1. n. (“thay urj”), in general usage, one who performs miracles, or persuades a god or other supernatural power to perform them; from Greek theourgia “sorcery,” from theos “god” + -ergos “working”; c. 16th century. See thaumaturgy.
2. in the role-playing game series Werewolf: The Apocalypse and related media, one of the five Auspices of the Garou, those who speak with spirits and explore the Umbra; c. 1992.
3. in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 ed., a prestige class that allows the player character to cast both cleric and magic-user spells.
pl. n. thieves; v. to thieve, thieving, theft; n. thievery; D&D-ism
1. in general usage, one that steals, esp. stealthily or secretly; one who commits theft or larceny; Middle English theef, from Old English theof; akin to Old High German diob “thief”; predates 12th c.
2. in D&D, a character class, emphasizing stealth, dodge and trap detection abilities over combat abilities.
3. in a fantasy milieu, the profession of an individual who, sometimes in concert with a guild of thieves, seeks fortune through theft, espionage, assassination, chicanery, and cleverness. See assassin. Also rogue, rake, skofflaw, roustabout, burglar, hijacker, robber, pickpocket, highwayman.
Addendum: The original D&D “thief” class was inspired by Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit; indeed, the creators of D&D pretty much assumed any halfling character would be a thief. The archetype of the thief in modern fantasy literature is based more closely upon the Gray Mouser from the novels of Fritz Leiber.
pl. n. thralls; adj. enthralled
1. n., in prehistoric Norse society, the lowest of three social castes, comprised of hereditary bondsmen; Old Norse thræll; also carl “freeman” and jarl “chieftain.”
2. a servant slave; from Middle English thral, from Old English thræl.
3. in fantasy milieux, and old-timey way to say “slave.”