Port of Entry – TTRPG Terms

Welcome Travelers to this week’s Port of Entry! Today we are focusing on some Tabletop Role Playing Game (TTRPG) terms and acronyms that you may have heard, but aren’t so sure what they mean. 

When I first started out, I was afraid to ask what a d8 was (It’s an 8 sided die). While I was fortunate enough to have wonderful people around me, I just sort of learned by osmosis for a lot of things! The purpose of this post is to bring together many of the common terms that seasoned players take for granted. While these terms are heavily focused on Dungeons and Dragons, many of these can be applied to other TTRPGs as well!

Blue dice tray with purple and gold metal dice and one large blue and silver metal dice

Term

Definition

Attributes/Stats

In Dungeons and Dragons, Player Attributes/Stats are: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma.

Advantage 

A game mechanic that allows a player to roll two dice and take the higher value

Backstory

A character’s life experiences prior to the start of a TTRPG game.

BBEG

Big Bad End Guy; typically the final boss in a game

Campaign

The story of your TTRPG, typically made up of many game sessions.

CS

Character Sheet

D10

Ten sided die

D12

Twelve sided die

D20

Twenty sided die

D4

Four sided die

D6

Six sided die

D8

Eight sided die

Disadvantage

A game mechanic that makes a player roll two dice and take the lower number

DM

Dungeon Master- typically used for the person running a Dungeons and Dragons campaign

DMG

Dungeon Master’s Guide

DND/D&D

Dungeons and Dragons

EXP/XP

Experience Points

GM

Game Master- typically used for the person running the game that is not Dungeons and Dragons

HP

Hit points or health points

Initiative 

Used to determine the order in combat. A player uses their dexterity score combined with a d20 roll to determine their initiative order.

Lines and Veils

A type of safety tool. Lines are hard lines for topics players do not wish to explore. Veils are “proceed with caution” topics players wish to be sensitive too.

Mini Campaign

A TTRPG story that typically takes place over 3 to 5 sessions

MM

Monster Manual

NPC

Non Player Character, usually played by the Dungeon or Game Master

One Shot

A TTRPG story that is intended to take place in one session.

Passive Perception

An optional, but commonly used mechanic in DND to help move the game along. If something requires a perception check and a player’s passive perception is higher than the check needed, the player automatically succeeds the check.

PbP

Play by Post, a RPG where players submit their actions in remotely

PC

Player Character

PHB

Player’s Handbook

RPG

Role Playing Game

Safety Tools

An agreed upon rule set prior to game play to help keep players emotionally safe. Examples include the TTRPG Safety Toolkit, Lines and Veils, Boundaries, and more.

Session

A single meeting of your campaign. Typically lasts a few hours.

Session 0

A session of a campaign that happens prior to the game beginning where players get to know each other, build their characters, and discuss safety tools that will be used

Stats/Attributes

In Dungeons and Dragons, Player Stats/Attributes are: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma.

TTRPG

Table Top Role Playing Game

XP/EXP

Experience Points

*Photo Credit: Variant Berry

What are some TTRPG terms you remember having to learn? Did we miss any? Please tell us in the comments! 

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