text rpg glossary

Common text-based gaming and RPG terms explained.

Entries are currently being transferred from this blog post. Please forgive the glossary’s incompleteness during this process.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

AFK

Stands for “away from keyboard.” It lets others know that you’ll be unresponsive for a time.

alt

Short for “alternate character.” A secondary character, different from one’s main.

antag

Refers to a style of antagonistic roleplay focused on creating conflict.

app

Short for “application.” Required to play some roleplaying games.

ASCII art

Visual elements, such as maps and objects, created using text only.

B

ban

When a player’s account is suspended, preventing them from playing the game.

Bartle Test

Refers to the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, a system for grouping players into types.

blackballing

When one player secretly damages the reputation of another.

builder

Someone who creates the rooms, areas, objects, and/or NPCs in a game.

C

camping

The practice of staying in one spot to wait for players, monsters, or loot to spawn.

canon

Refers to material accepted as officially part of a game’s universe or storyline.

CC

Stands for “canon character.” An established character in a game’s universe.

CCC

Stands for “computer-controlled character.” More commonly known as an NPC.

character

A fictional persona that exists within the game.

chargen

Short for “character generation.” The process of creating a new character in an RPG.

CNC RP

Stands for “consensual non-consent roleplay.” A type of RP where players agree beforehand to act out non-consensual scenes.

codebase

The underlying software that runs a multi-user dungeon (MUD).

coder

A programmer responsible for creating and modifying the software that operates a game.

collusion

When players work together in secret outside of the game (e.g. in Discord DMs) to gain an advantage within it.

consent

An agreement by players as to what can and cannot happen to their characters within the game.

crossover RP

When you take a character designed for one genre or universe and integrate them into another.

CYOA

Stands for “choose your own adventure,” a type of interactive fiction where you decide how the story progresses.

IC/OOC crossover

The inappropriate mixing of IC and OOC information, emotions, or actions in RP games.

D

DM

Stands for “Dungeon Master,” the person who organizes, runs, and referees a roleplaying game.

doxxing

The weaponization of personal and private information to harass or shame someone.

E

emote

A way for players to describe their characters’ actions during roleplay.

ERP

ERP stands for “erotic roleplay,” a form of RP that focuses on physical intimacy between characters.

F

FC

Stands for “faceclaim.” An image used to represent a character in a roleplaying game.

FOIC

Stands for “find out in character.” A phrase used in RP games to encourage IC discovery of information.

freeform

A style of roleplay that emphasizes narrative freedom and creative expression.

FTB

Stands for “fade to black.” The act of backgrounding scenes that are uncomfortable or unnecessary to play out.

G

GM

Stands for “Game Master,” a person in charge of a roleplaying game.

god-modding

When one player controls another player’s character without their permission.

griefer

Someone who deliberately harasses other players within the game to ruin their enjoyment.

H

hack and slash

A style of game focused on combat against numerous non-player character (NPC) enemies.

Head Builder

A staff member on a MUD who manages other builders and projects.

helpfile

A document designed to provide players with guidance on some aspect of a game.

I

IAW

Stands for “in another window.” When the player is present at their computer but unable to pay attention to the game.

IC

Stands for “in character.” Any writing or roleplay that occurs as part of the game and within the game’s setting.

IC =/= OOC

Stands for “in character does not equal out of character.”

ICA=ICC

Stands for “in-character actions equal in-character consequences.”

idle

When a player is connected to a game but inactive, possibly due to being AFK.

imm

Short for “immortal.” A staff member in a multi-user game.

IRL

Stands for “in real life.” Refers to things that happen in the physical world, as opposed to the game world.

L

L&L

Stands for “Lords and Ladies,” a genre of roleplaying games that focus on social interaction among the nobility.

Limbo

An OOC area where players are placed during a temporary ban or while awaiting a policy decision.

linkdead

When a player has lost their connection (link) to the game but their character is still present in the game world.

literate

A term denoting that a game prefers players who are literate and fluent in the game’s primary language.

M

main

A player’s main character in a roleplaying game. Typically the one they play the most or most seriously.

Marty Stu

A male character that is unrealistically perfect or excessively ideal, to the point of undermining the story.

Mary Sue

A pejorative term used to describe a character who is unrealistically perfect.

min-maxing

The practice of minimizing some attributes or skills and maximizing others in order to achieve one’s in-game objectives.

mob

Short for “mobile.” A type of computer-controlled NPC in multi-user dungeon (MUD) games.

mobprog

Short for “mobile program.” A script attached to an NPC in a multi-user dungeon (MUD).

moderator

Someone who manages a game’s community, greets new players, and helps enforce the rules.

MOTD

Stands for “message of the day.” An announcement or information shown to users upon login.

MUD client

A software program used to connect to and play a multi-user dungeon (MUD).

multiplaying

Playing more than one character at a time.

mun

Short for “mundane.” The player behind the character.

munchkin

A player who prioritizes their own character’s success at the expense of other players’ enjoyment.

N

nerf

To make a skill, spell, or ability less powerful.

newbie

A new player in a game or gaming community.

NPC

Stands for “non-player character.” A character that is not controlled by a player.

O

OC

Stands for “original character.” A character that is not part of a universe’s official story or setting.

offscreen

Events or actions that happen in the background rather than being actively roleplayed or written about.

oldbie

An experienced player who has been playing for a significant amount of time.

on-grid

Actions and events that occur in character on the game map, in areas accessible by other players.

OOC

Stands for “out-of-character.” Any thoughts, actions, or speech that are from the player and not the character.

OP

Stands for “overpowered.” When a skill, item, or strategy is so strong as to disrupt the game’s balance.

P

P2P

Stands for “pay-to-play.” Pay-to-play games typically require a monthly subscription in order to play.

P2W

Stands for “pay-to-win.” In pay-to-win games, players pay real-life money for key advantages in game.

P4P

Stands for “pay-for-perks.” In P4P games, players use real-life money to purchase cosmetic perks or conveniences.

PB

Stands for “playby.” An image of a celebrity used to represent a character in a roleplaying game.

pbase

Short for “playerbase.” A group of engaged players actively playing a game.

PbP

Stands for “play-by-post,” a type of roleplaying game where players take turns writing out their characters’ actions.

PC

Stands for “player character.” A character controlled by a player instead of a computer or game master.

permaban

Short for “permanent ban.” When a player’s account is suspended indefinitely.

permadeath

Short for “permanent death.” In permadeath games, a character who dies cannot come back to life.

player

A person who controls a character in a roleplaying game.

plot

The sequence of GM-guided events and player-driven storylines that provide direction for the game.

power-posing

The practice of inappropriately dictating another character’s actions in an RPG. Synonymous with god-modding.

powergaming

When a player prioritizes their character’s power and success over collaborative storytelling or realistic character development.

pseudolanguage

Refers to strings of text that appear as unintelligible words and letters to represent a language unknown to the listener.

puppet

To take control of an NPC. An NPC being actively controlled by a game master.

PvE

Stands for “player versus environment.” A type of gameplay where players face challenges that come from the game itself.

PvP

Stands for “player versus player.” A type of gameplay where players combat or are in conflict with each other.

pwipe

Short for “player wipe.” When all player files and data are deleted.

R

railroading

When the game master constraints players’ choices, forcing them to follow a specific, predetermined path in the story.

remort

When a maxed-out character restarts the game with enhanced abilities or additional options.

rent

An obsolete game mechanic that required players to pay rent in order to save their items and gear.

RL

Stands for “real life.” The everyday, non-digital world players live in, separate from their online games and game environments.

rollplaying

A style of play where the focus is more on game mechanics than on the story.

room

Any discrete space that player characters can occupy in a MUD.

RP

Stands for “roleplay” or “roleplaying.” When you perform actions on behalf of a character as that character and not as yourself.

RP culture

The norms, values, practices, and etiquette shared by a roleplaying community.

RP hook

A device used to draw players into roleplay or motivate them to continue roleplaying.

S

scene

A roleplay session. When characters come together and do things.

screen reader

Software that translates written text into speech, making it accessible to those with blindness or low vision.

T

tavern RP

Roleplay for the purpose of socializing, typically in a tavern or equivalent setting.

toxic gamer

A player who engages in behavior that negatively impacts the experience of other players.

TPB

Stands for “the player behind.” Often used as part of a signature or sign-off in OOC messages.

trigger (psychological)

A topic or action that could cause a player distress in a roleplaying game.

trolling

When a player engages in behavior intended to disrupt gameplay, provoke other players, or undermine the story.

twinking

When a player uses unfair methods to artificially gain an advantage in a game.

V

VNPC

Stands for “virtual non-player character.” An NPC that exists in the backdrop.

W

wizard

A player with elevated privileges in a multi-user dungeon (MUD) or similar text-based game.


Text RPG Glossary FAQs

What is the Text RPG Glossary?

This glossary is a handy reference tool designed to help you understand the terms and jargon commonly used in text-based roleplaying games, such as MUDs, MUSHes, play-by-posts, and similar games.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned player, this glossary will help clarify terms that might be confusing or unfamiliar.

How is the Text RPG Glossary organized?

The glossary is arranged alphabetically to make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for. Each term is listed with a brief definition, and clicking on a term will take you to its full definition, which includes FAQs, examples, and related terms. This structure is intended to provide quick and easy access to information, helping you better understand game mechanics and community language.

Can I contribute to the glossary?

Absolutely! Community contributions are welcome. If you know a term that isn’t listed, or if you have a clearer definition for an existing term, feel free to send your suggestions to Andruid. Your knowledge could help out other members of the text game community.

How do I use this glossary to improve my gaming experience?

The glossary is useful for clearing up confusion by allowing you to quickly look up unfamiliar terms and understand their meanings. This understanding helps enhance communication with other players, as you’ll be more familiar with the specific lingo used in games.

By becoming familiar with the language of text RPGs, navigating these virtual worlds becomes a smoother and more enjoyable journey.

What words aren’t in the glossary?

This glossary primarily focuses on terms specific to text-based roleplaying games, such as MUDs, which are the forerunners of modern MMOs. As such, it might not cover the broader range of terms used in contemporary video games.

The aim is to provide a resource for players and enthusiasts of text-based RPGs, helping them understand and navigate the unique terminology of these games. If you’re looking for definitions related to the latest video game technology or slang, check out the Video Game Terms page on Wikipedia.

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