17 September 2014

Gaming slang

Silly is good, I find, in small doses: it breaks up the mental palate.  Some time ago, I had cause to compile some of the insider slang that's been used over the course of my campaign.  So ... for your psychic sorbet of the evening, here 'tis:

Melonballing: A combat strike which takes out the genitalia. It got to be enough of a cliche that my wife bought a melonballer to hand out to whomever scored the most devastating hit in any given session.

Goat! Goat! Goat!:  So the party was in the worst dive on Tortage, the capital of the Pirate Isles, and the crowd was getting weird during the all-too-sexualized floor show. Goat! Goat! Goat! is now used at any time there's an unruly crowd scene or, well, when a goat makes a prominent appearance.

I pity tha fool!: Delivered Mr. T-style, this was used by a player who said, at perhaps a bad time to do it, "I pity tha fool who gives us a wandering encounter now!" I determined on the spot to do exactly that, and it was quite a hair-raising one. The phrase's meaning has morphed, consequentially, to mean a player who's about to do a very dumb thing.

Quail before the might of Larindo the Witherer!: Alright, the player had a reasonable expectation that the mooks would go knock-kneed before a necromancer in full battle array. Unfortunately, they all had stout, manly results on their reaction rolls, and the mook leader shouted, "Damn, dey got a wizard, kill 'im quick!" (Or some such: it was twenty years ago.) Current meaning: your ego is getting the better of you.

Bubble of Improbability: If a player can't make a session, the character just isn't there, and I don't bother parsing the which or the why; I say that the character has entered a "bubble of improbability." Beats the hell out of me why I settled on that turn of phrase, but it's well-understood.

Nike Ninja: Mook NPC fighters. Originally the term for one particular figure in my ninja set of minis, which out of a certain level of perversity I painted in US Army jungle camo pattern.

Nath, Naghan, Larghos and Ortyg: Bunch Of Faceless NPCs. These are four of the most common male names in my gameworld.

(steepling my fingers and touching my index fingers to my lips): This action, sometimes paired with the phrase “Is that what you’re doing?” when the room falls silent, has been a code phrase for “... and what you’re planning on doing is amazingly stupid” in my campaigns for decades.  I am pitiless in dealing with those who blithely ignore the message.

Gritty!:  I strive for a gritty, realistic, middling-level fantasy campaign; not quite Harnworld, but I'm not what you call cinematic or slapstick.  But one of the crosses I bear is that I'm a lifelong insomniac (as witness me posting this at 4:30 AM).  Sometimes I'm working on three hours sleep when the run starts, and I'm punchy from fatigue.  One player would -- if things got too silly -- turn to me and say "Gritty," in a flat voice, deadpan expression.  (He may have the best deadpan I've ever known.)  I would nod, and respond "Gritty," and more often than otherwise would sober up.

Hrm.  He was in my campaign for six years, and do you know, I never did know whether his catchword was subtle admonishment, a gentle reminder for me to get back on track, a moment of humor, or some or all of the above.  I remember it fondly, nonetheless.


  1. In our group 'Shovel of Doom' is general use for any improvised weapon that is used to win a fight. We play a lot of Earthdawn where such a thing, if named and 'threaded' to can eventually become a powerful magic item.

    On a somewhat 'bitchy' note... I wonder if your wife has a similar sense of humor regarding female characters that are punched/hacked/stabbed in the genitals... or does that never happen?

    1. Oh, absolutely: foes in combat are enemies to be destroyed. Mooks have just as much chance to be women -- a rant for another time -- and the advantages of getting in a groin shot apply system-wide in GURPS.