Roleplaying & Fanfiction Term Definitions
Short for "alternate universe." These can range from minor alterations such as a character who died in canon being alive, or major alterations such as a team of superheroes being a team of firefighters instead.
Everything that actually happened or is actually demonstrated in the source material, or is confirmed by the creator/creators to have happened or work that way.
A plot or storyline done simply for the humor value with no real intent of it being taken seriously.
A type of player whose primary goal is to find a romantic partner for their character ASAP. You can tell a despie when the player gets upset if xe can't find someone to ship with xir character in the first five minutes of a roleplay.
An actual person (typically an actor) chosen to depict what the writer's character looks like. EG, a player may decide xir character looks like Will Smith and uses pictures of Will Smith to represent said character.
Personal notions of how things work or what may have happened within someone else's universe. EG, "It's my headcanon that Hermione Granger has a stamp collection back home."
A person who is in charge of a game and its plot. The GM reveals information as the players make discoveries, generally chooses how to interpret the dice rolls into story events if the game uses them, and plays NPCs (supporting characters in the plot). However, not all games are run by a GM - some are managed through player consensus, for example.
Choosing actions or consequences for the other player's character without the player's permission and/or having your character successfully avoid taking damage from everything, even and especially when it makes no sense. The following actions can all be considered forms of godmodding:
- Creating undodgeable/unblockable attacks - eg, "Cassandra blasted an energy beam at Johann and hit him."
- Killing another person's character without the player's permission - eg, "Damien stabbed Cassandra in the back and watched the life fade from her eyes."
- Dodging/avoiding attacks against reason - eg, "Molasses Man dodged Fleetfist's punch" or "Sally McAverageperson dodged the arrow."
The act of letting your character act on or respond to information you know, but that your character would not. For example:
- A disguised villain attends the same party as the heroes. Even though the villain behaves perfectly, the heroes still treat that character like a villain, acting like xe might do something horrible at any minute or even attacking xir outright. Sometimes players may justify this by saying that they could just 'sense' that something was off - even though the villain's player never said whether there was anything to sense in the first place.
- Amy's character Bethany hides her amulet of power in her book safe. No other characters are present to see her do this, but since Amy typed out that Bethany hid it there, all of the other players know. So as soon as Bethany leaves the room, Katie's character Riley goes straight for the book safe, even though Riley never knew that Bethany had a book safe in the first place, let alone that she hid her amulet there.
The "meta" version of a character that resides in author/player's head. If you create a character and suddenly find that said character takes on a life of xir own and starts doing things you never saw coming, then yup, you've got a muse. Of course, not everyone develops muses, and that's fine, too.
The author/player/person behind the keyboard.
A type of player who treats roleplaying as a competitive sport. Munchkins are focused on getting the most goodies and "beating" the other players - story, character development, and all else be dashed.
The term originated in the days of tabletop RPGs, where it was originally used to indicate any characters played/controlled by the GM (game master). In roleplays without an official GM, the term can refer to temporary or minor characters who are used as the plot requires them (EG, a shopkeeper in a place the characters visit) who might be played by anyone.
A character created by the writer/player, rather than by someone else.
OOC/Out Of Character and IC/In Character
Each one has two definitions, which can be summed up thus:
- OOC: Anything that the players do outside of the roleplay. EG, if the players have a conversation with each other, it may be refered to as "OOC talk." IC: Anything that happens within the game.
- OOC: A character behaving in a manner inconsistent with prior or canon characterization. EG, "Captain Kirk was really OOC when he started demanding blueberry waffles!" IC: The character acting consistently with previously-established characterization.
Characters run and operated by players in a roleplaying game. Typically also created by their players.
The state where a character has so much talent/ability/power/skill it damages the credibility of the character, or spoils the tension because it's impossible to build up suspense around the character, or unbalances the RP.
One method that usually works to keep your character from being OP is to give your character one or two things to be really good at, a few things to be sort of good at, and to make sure the scope and scale of your character's talents/abilities/powers/skills don't greatly exceed those of the other characters in the setting. Also, make sure that it's reasonably possible for the other characters to beat yours.
Deliberately creating and/or playing as powerful a character as the rules of the game will technically allow, even to the detriment of the story and other players' enjoyment - EG, the other characters have next to nothing to do or contribute because the power gamer's character can quickly and easily resolve most conflicts and problems.
The act of controlling or making decisions for another person's character without permission. For example:
- Writing actions for another person's character - eg, Katie decides that she wants Bethany to be in a relationship with Riley, so she writes that Riley kisses Bethany's hand - and also writes that Bethany blushed and her heart a-fluttered. Never mind that Bethany's player wants to have Bethany punch Riley in the face.
- Choosing reactions for the other player's character - eg, Katie declares that Riley scared Bethany, rather than letting Amy decide for herself whether Riley scared Bethany. Also, saying that someone else's character finds yours sexy, rather than describing your character in an objective manner and letting that person decide whether xir character finds your sexy, is powerplaying of this type.
- Tasha's character Amy wants to watch a movie with Gina's character, Michael. Michael says he's not interested in the movie. So Gina has Amy say, "But you love movies like this!" However, this has never been established in the roleplay, and Gina has never so much as ever hinted that Michael likes movies of this type.
The act of contriving or forcing circumstances in a roleplay so that players don't stray away from the (usually narrowly-defined and plotted) story planned out by the admin/game master/other player. The more obvious it is that railroading is going on and that the players have no real say or influence in where the story goes, the more obnoxious it typically is.
Some examples of railroading:
- The game master informs the players that their characters are standing in an open terrain with a small village ahead of them, dense forest to their right, and a lake to their left. The game master figures that the players will go to the village, where they'll encounter the plot hook planned out for them to find. However, the players instead decide that they want to go to the lake. But rather than adjust the plot hook so that the players can encounter it by the lake instead of in the village, the game master drops a swarm of flesh-eating insects into the roleplay to chase the players into the village.
- Roleplayer Judy wants to ship her character Kelly with Alesha's character Tom, but things aren't looking good - Tom is rejecting Kelly's "romantic" overtures and shows no sign of attraction. So Judy has Kelly say that Tom was giving declarations of love to Kelly just last week (even though last week was never played out in the RP), thereby attempting to railroad Tom into being attracted to Kelly. When that fails, Judy suddenly starts playing Tom's father and has him announce that an engagement between Tom and Kelly has been arranged, and they must get married or else horrible things will happen.
The world/series/franchise the story/roleplay is set in. EG, a Star Trek roleplay is set within the Star Trek universe.