Roleplaying and Other Games
Like any activity that lasts as many decades as roleplaying games have, the hobby has some developed some standard terminology that may sound like a foreign language to those unfamiliar with it.
Gamemaster (GM) – The player who organizes and runs a campaign. The other players are simply “Players”. Many games have another name for the GM, but “Gamemaster” seems to be the most common one.
Player Character (PC) – Characters created by players at the table. They are generally the heroes of the story.
Non-Player Characters (NPC) – Characters that are most often controlled by the GM, and with whom the PCs interact.
XdY – Standard dice notation. X = the number of dice to roll. Y = the size of die to roll.
HP – Most commonly “Hit Points”, but called lots of other names as well. HP is basically a measure of how much damage your character can take. In most games, when you are reduced to 0 HP you are unconscious or dying. If you play a lot of video games, you are probably well-acquainted with HP.
Encounter, Session, Campaign – An encounter is like a single scene in a movie or book. A session is the time from when the group sits down to play until everyone goes home. You can think of it like an episode of a TV show or chapter of a book. A campaign is a series of sessions featuring the same PCs as they go on adventures, like a TV series or novel. Like GM, some games use different terms, but they all mean the same thing.
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Planprovise – is a word I made up that refers to the ultimate GM skill: the ability to plan ahead but remain flexible enough to adapt to any surprises your players throw at you. I have played under GMs who lacked that ability and as a player it is more than a little frustrating constantly being told that you can’t do something simply because the GM didn’t think of it while planning the session.