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Morkor, a gold scaled kobold wearing red robes waving, with his hoard of tabletop treasures.

The world of tabletop gaming is full of acroymns, terms, and vernacular that may not always be evident the first time you come across them. We aim to help by creating a handy living reference here of these acronyms and terms here. Is there something missing? Let us know so we can continue to grow this page.

Third Party Publisher, content created for a TTRPG game system not from the primary publisher, often adds content not otherwise available to tweaks existing content. Sometimes viewed as unbalanced however there are many large 3PP developing tested, balanced content.
Armor Class, represents how difficult it is to hit the character / target
A term deck type in TCGs where the deck is themed around creatures and damage to quickly take down other players.
This is also used in video games when someone gets the attention of monsters, often prematurely, "aggro-ing" the monsters, meaning they will start attacking now that they are aware of the players.
Big Bad Evil Guy, a "boss" NPC or main antagonist, generally is most powerful villain and has been behind larger problems
Collectible Card Game, see: TCG
A term deck type in TCGs where the deck is themed around cards allowing the player to take control of the game, preventing their opponent from being able to take the actions they want. This can be from a variety of means, often dependent on the game and the card mechanics.
Critical, refers to a best or worst option, generally crit is for critical hit as opposed to a critical miss, which is often called a fumble. In a d20 system a critical hit is a 20, also referred to as a "natural 20" or "nat 20" and results in the best possible outcome. in many systems this is always a hit on an attack but not always a success when it comes to skill checks as it still may not meet the DC
Computer role-playing game, also known as role-playing video game. Video game genre where a player controls a character, that grows through abilities and statistics.
d#, d6, d20
representation to denote the dice to use based on the number of sides it has, a d6 means your standard cube shaped dice with 6 sides.
d%, d100
representation to denote a percentile dice, can be a 100 side dice but more commonly is two 10 sided dice (d10s) to represent the tens and ones place, often one dice is expressed in tens (00, 10... 90) while the other is 0 through 9
Difficulty Class, value to measure how hard something is to achieve, generally, it is the number needed to meet or exceed when rolling dice + modifiers
Dungeon Crawl Classics, TTRPG game system by Goodman Games, also a label of earlier series of RPG modules for d20 based systems.
Dungeon Master, see: GM
Dungeons & Dragons, also D&D, fantasy TTRPG system, originally created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, currently published by Wizards of the Coast (WotC).
A type of play in TCGs where players open a pack, choose one card, then pass the rest around the table, each player taking one. This continues with a certain number of packs and at the end, you create a deck out of those cards chose to play against each other.
Friendly Local Game Store, sometimes also LGS, or LFGS, swapping the local and friendly. Shop dedicated to games in many forms: board games, TTRPGs, wargamming, TCGs, as well as often comics. They often specialize more in one area of tabletop than others. They sometimes offer game nights, demos, and tournaments.
also known as a critical failure, the worst possible result. In a d20 system a fumble is a 1 on the dice, or "natural 1" or "nat 1" and results in the best possible outcome. in many systems this is always a miss on an attack for failure of an action and sometimes results in addition negative effect.
Game Master, in TTRPG the person who runs the adventure for the other players, presents story, describes scenes, controls monsters and NPCs
generalized term for content created during a homegame at their table, changing or adding to primary game system. sometimes applied to 3PP content as well.
Live action role-playing, a form of role-playing game where people physically act out their characters and interact physically with each other.
players using knowledge of things they know vs things their characters would not know
using rules of game to get every advantage possible, often looking to maximize a single area leaving others to be minimized. usually results in characters that are very powerful with large gaps in other areas and may overshadow other characters
Nat #
Natural number, used to refer to the actual value rolled, not the number after modifiers. Usually used for 1 or 20, representing a fumble or crit respectively. This is different from an "unnatural 20" or "dirty 20" where the value is 20 only after modifiers, which would not have the same great effect as rolling a 20 (i.e. 18 on dice +2 modifier).
Non-Player Character, any creature or character not controlled by the players, often controlled by the GM
see Wipe
Open Game License, public copyright license by Wizards of the Coast (WotC), grants permissions to modify, copy, and reuse certain content from their games, used largely for game mechanics.
Out of Character, concept of player talking at a table not as their character in the game, things said out of character would not be heard by NPCs and is meant for other players and the GM only.
Open RPG Creative License, replacement to OGL after proposal for controversial changes. "The license is a system-agnostic, perpetual, and irrevocable open gaming license that provides a legal 'safe harbor' for sharing rules mechanics so as to encourage collaboration and innovation in the tabletop-gaming space". Lead by Paizo working together with Chaosium, Monte Cook Games, and additional publishers.
Old School Renaissance or Old School Revival, RPGs inspired by eariler iterations from the 1970s and '80s, especially Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).
Powered by the Apocalypse, a TTRPG design framework, used as basis to create TTRPG systems. Centers around "moves" and resolves by rolling two six-sided dice with modifiers.
Pathfinder Second Edition, specifically 2e refers the version, can also be seen similarly as PF1e to denote Pathfinder First Edition. Fantasy TTRPG system published by Paizo. PF1e is extends D&D 3.5 under the OGL and SRD. PF2e continued under the OGL however is moving to the ORC license.
Player vs Player, combat between two player characters where often it is not allowed as commonly in TTRPGs it is designed for players vs NPCs
Term used to describe forcing a story down a particular path or direction, usually by a GM, with no agency to the players' choices. Generally considered bad in a TTRPG setting, but is separate from things occuring in world that are simply unconnected and therefore not effected by player choices.
Role-Playing Game, a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a given setting.
A type of play in TCGs where you are given a particular amount of un-opened packs and make a deck for play out of just those cards against other players doing the same.
System Reference Document, reference for a role-playing game's mechanics licensed under an open license to allow other creators and publishers to make materials that are compatible with the game.
Trading Card Game, also known as collectible card game (CCG), card game that mixes strategic deck building and elements of trading cards. Usually involves starter decks as well as booster packs to add cards and modify decks.
Total Party Kill, occurance in RPG where entire group of player characters are killed, leaving no one from party left behind to be joined by new characters in the story
Tabletop Role-playing game, aka pen-and-paper role-playing game, players assume characters and succeed or fail based on a system of rules.
A term in TCGs where you destroy all played creatures / cards at the same time. Also referred to as a nuke.
Wizards of the Coast, subsidiary of Hasbro, publisher of D&D
Experience Points, awarded to players for completing objectives, such as defeating a monster or overcoming obstacle, with enough experience points a player will level up.