My Personal Terminology Appendix

My Personal Terminology Appendix
First List

Last week I hit up a bunch of friends via gchat about indiegame/storygame terms that came to mind. I asked this because I’m thinking about building a glossary of terms I know I’ve used that may have confused folks.

My niche in the roleplaying essayist blogosphere is, I think, to straddle the conventional and storygame worlds and to cross-pollinate the best ideas of both. At least that’s been my back-of-my-mind goal this whole time. So as a result, I think a lot of folks who read me stumble across terminology I’ve picked up along the way.

The ultimate goal would be to write this up as an appendix to a someday Indie Game Reading Club printed collection.

A few notes:

* This is by no means an effort to be comprehensive. These are just terms I’ve used, referenced, or thought were useful. I know there are lots of terms I’ve left off. That said, if one pops into mind, post in comments and I’ll think about adding it!

* This is by no means going to be definitive or prescriptive. The best I can do is provide explanations for how I personally use these words, phrases and ideas. I know in some cases I’ve drifted them. Nobody owns language. Don’t be a dick.

* I’m not claiming authorship or ownership of any of these.

Anyway, it’s just for me, they’re just words, nobody freak out. But yeah, if I forgot any big or interesting ones, toss ’em into the list.

Author (Authorial, Authority)
Big Model
Broken Stair (see also Safety, etc.)
Character Monogamy
Creative Agenda (see also Big Model)
Cult of the GM
Decision Space
Economic Cycle/Reward Cycle
Fail forward
Fiction, The
Fiction First (follow the fiction)
Forge, The
Forged in the Dark (FitD)
Fruitful Void
GM-driven (see also Player-driven)
Holding Environment (A Magpie/Mark term, taken from a discipline of group mechanics study called Adaptive Leadership.)
Hx (also Strings, Bonds, etc.)
Immersion (?)
Indiegame (ownership and distribution vs community)
Larp (LARP)
Lines and Veils
Magic Circle
Narrative Authority (see Author(ity))
Player-driven (as opposed to GM plot/GM driven)
Positioning, Fictional
Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA)
Railroading (as a pejorative)
Roses & Thorns
Safety/Safety Tools (X Card, Flower, Script Change, etc.)
Say Yes (…or roll the dice/ Roll the Dice or Say Yes)
Session 0 (where did that start? TBZ?)
Shared Imaginary Space (SIS)
Social Contract
Social Footprint
Stance (Author, Actor, Audience, ??)
X Card (see Safety)

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28 thoughts on “My Personal Terminology Appendix”

  1. In D&D circles, “metagaming” (playing the game vs “just roleplaying”) is considered poor form. Is there an opposition term for this suggesting it’s okay to play the game you’re playing? Torchbearer uses “table chatter”

  2. Oh man, what was the term I had trouble with from about a month ago…

    Killer App. Specifically in relationship to…oh, what did I confuse it for? I can’t remember. Something to do with mechanics.

    You use killer app a fair bit.

  3. I still wish I coulda made “monoprosopony” a thing instead of “character monogamy”. I also use “monamory” as a counterpart to “polyamory”, though. I guess “-gamy” has a particular meaning to me!

  4. Aaron Griffin I’m most familiar with the term ‘metagaming’ in the context of vampire larps to mean, “using out-of-character knowledge to give yourself an in-character advantage” but was still almost always used negatively.

    I think what I’ve heard most to talk about (derisively) the thing you described might be “roll-play vs role-play”. Unfortunately, I can’t really think of a term to mean, “actually playing the game as a game and that’s ok”

  5. Derrick Kapchinsky I want to make a term for it now. Hard to not make it backhanded/pejorative tho. :-/

    Like, “um PLAYING THE GAME” is what pops into my head.

    I guess it’s because the “metagaming” or equivalent is equally fucking pejorative.

    Why gamers whyyy.

  6. David Gallo oh yeah good call.

    I think I’ve used it once. I probably got it confused with “bang.” I’m kind of post-Forge and I still trip over their/his specific terminology.

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