Definitions and Handy Terms

Campaign: A long running game broken down into a series of episodes, similar to a television series.

Character: A persona that a player is taking on for the course of a game. It is the same as a character in a book or television show, but this character is controlled by that one person.

Closed Door: A LARP which happens in a single room or set of rooms. Once game begins, the players will not be allowed to leave in character. Most troupes are kind enough to let folks leave for bathroom breaks and such.

Con: See convention.

Convention: A gathering of like minded people. Like political conventions, garden club conventions, or Elvis impersonator conventions, gaming conventions exist for the purpose of drawing together people to engage in a pastime that they enjoy, namely gaming. Gaming conventions generally have table top role-playing games, live action role-playing games, collectable card games, board games, and war games. While some conventions focus on one genre of games more than the others, generally all of those varieties can be found at any gaming convention. Conventions are often refered to as 'cons,' Dreams of Deirdre will make no statements drawing attention to the fact that 'con' also means to cheat someone. We are positive that those who run gaming conventions never would. (See our links page for a list of Bay Area Gaming Conventions.)

Game Master: A person who is running a game. They are the judges, the referees, and the final arbitrators. This is a generic term that is used in most forms of role-playing, and it has many synonyms (e.g. Dungeon Master, Story Teller). There are those who refer to those in this position as gods, but we think that's a bit egocentric.

Gamer: One who games.

Gaming: The hobby of playing games. This term is usually reserved for role-playing games, but is generally also applied to war games and collectable card games.

Gleck: An onomatopoeic slang term for killing someone. It is derived, supposedly, from the sound a sword makes as it is impaled through someone's abdomen.

LARP: An acronym for Live Action Role Playing. A LARP troupe would be a group of people who puts on one of these events for the enjoyment of the players. The main difference between a LARP and a standard roleplaying game is that the players in a LARP are usually up and moving about, much like actors in a play, while standard roleplaying games are run with the action being narrated by the game master.

NPC: Non Player Character. These are characters played by the GMing staff. Usually they are the prime motivators within the story being told.

Open-Door: An open-door LARP is a game which begins in one place, but during the course of the game, the players are allowed to leave the room and wander about.

Player: One of the people actually playing in the game.

Plink: An onomatopoeic slang term which means something does little or no damage. A common usage would be to say that a blow plinked off their armor, or that a person was "plinked for one", meaning that an attack did one point of damage.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: An old game, also sometimes known as Roshambo or Jan Ken Po. This game is generally used to determine random or semi-random outcomes in diceless situations. For more information, see this page and look for Jan Ken Po.

Referee: Another word for Game Master.

Role Playing Game :Often abbreviated to just RPG, these are games in which players take on the role of another person. In the broadest of possible interpretations, even boardgames such as Monopoly fit this description (each player is pretending to be a would-be millionaire trying to purchase real-estate), but normally a more restrictive definition is applied. Modern roleplaying games evolved from a psychiatric technique which is used to allow patients to see things from different perspective. In modern roleplaying, players take on the aspect of a new person within the game who is then beset by dangers and difficulties by a game master--much in the same way that characters in a play are beset with problems by a playwright. The main difference there being that it is the players who must find their way out of the difficulties instead of the game master. For more information about roleplaying games, see the RPG Defense League.

RPG: An acronym for Role Playing Game.

Single Shot: A game which occurs as a complete story. The opposite of a single shot game is a campaign where the game is broken down into a series of episodes, like a television series.

Story Tellers: The White Wolf term for a Game Master.

Troupe: A group of people who get together to put on LARPs, similar to the way that an acting troupe gets together to put on plays.

World of Darkness: The overlying world for all of White Wolf's games. It is a dark and dangerous place, filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and other dark forces. The games involved with it are Vampire: The Masquerade, Changeling: The Dreaming, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Wraith: The Oblivion, etc. (Collectively refered to as the Noun: The Gerund series of games. For a more detailed - by which I mean less serious - analysis of these games, visit this page from the Brunching Shuttlecocks. Be warned, there are people who are very serious about these games, but there are others who deride them entirely and mock them with names like The World of Dimness. Guess which category we fall into.