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Archive-name: games/dnd/part5
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Last-modified: June 2002

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                           REC.GAMES.FRP.DND FAQ
                                  Part 5

* designates topics which have been updated.
+ designates topics which have been added.

  G1: What do those weird abbreviations mean?
  G2: How do you pronounce...?
  G3: How do you spell...?
  G4: What is a "newbie"?
  G5: What is a "Spoiler"? 
  G6: What is bandwidth?  How does one waste it?
  G7: What is "fluff?"
  G8: Who's this "Monty Haul" character I keep hearing about?
  G9: What is "munchkinism"?  What does the Wizard of Oz have to do with 
  G10: What is "Spam"?
  G11: When is a troll not green, rubbery, or regenerative?
  G12: Are there any other terms I should be aware of?

G1:  What do those weird abbreviations mean?

A:  Here is a guide to the most common abbreviations and acronyms found 
    on  The first list is those terms which are 
    found almost exclusively in posts to and/or the
    entire* hierarchy.  The second list is those terms 
    which are in general use on Usenet and the rest of the Internet.
    *D&D        Any version of the D&D game
    AD&D, ADnD  Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, any edition
    AD&D1       Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 1st edition
    AD&D2       Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd edition
    AD&D2R      Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, revised 2nd edition
    AD&D2.5     Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, revised 2nd edition
    ADND-L      AD&D discussion mailing list
    AoE         Area of Effect
    AoO         Attack of Opportunity
    BD&D, BDnD  Basic Dungeons & Dragons, as opposed to Advanced D&D
    BoA         Book of Artifacts
    BR          Birthright
    C*HB        Complete <class> Handbook series
                  Fighter's, Priest's, Thief's, Wizard's, Psionics, 
                  Ranger's, Bard's, Druid's, Paladin's, Barbarian's, 
                  Necromancer's, Ninja's
    CB*         Complete Book of <race> series
                  Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes & Halflings, Humanoids
    CT, C&T     Player's Option: Combat & Tactics
    D&D, DnD    Dungeons & Dragons, any version except Advanced
    D&D3        Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd edition (the successor of
                  Advanced Dungeons & Dragons)
    DDG         Deities and Demigods    
    DL          DragonLance
    DMG         Dungeon Masters Guide, any edition
    DMG1        Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st edition
    DMG2        Dungeon Masters Guide, 2nd edition
    DMG2R       Dungeon Masters Guide, Revised 2nd edition
    DMG3        Dungeon Masters Guide, 3rd edition
    DMO         Dungeon Master's Option book(s)
    DotF        Defenders of the Faith
    DS          Dark Sun
    FR          Forgotten Realms
    FRCS        Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3rd ed.)
    GAMA        GAme Manufacturers Association
    GH          Greyhawk
    GM          Game Master
    HLC         Dungeon Master's Option: High-Level Campaigns
    HW          Hollow World
    IC          In Character
    IMC         In My Campaign
    IYC         In Your Campaign
    L&L, LL     Legends & Lore
    LC          Living Campaign (RPGA campaign usually found at cons)
    LD, LDU     Level-Drain, Level-Draining Undead
    LG          Living Greyhawk (RPGA campaign usually found at cons)
    LK          Lankhmar
    MC          Monstrous Compendium (usually followed by the appendix 
    MM          Monster Manual/Monstrous Manual
    MMII        Monster Manual II
    MoP         Manual of the Planes
    MotW        Masters of the Wild
    MPGN, the Multi-Player Gaming Network site
    MUD         Multiple-User Dungeon
    OA          Oriental Adventures
    OD&D, ODnD  Old/Original D&D, as opposed to the later Advanced D&D
    OOC         Out Of Character
    PBeM        Play By E-Mail
    PBWWW       Play By World Wide Web
    PH          Player's Handbook, any edition
    PH1         Player's Handbook, 1st edition
    PH2         Player's Handbook, 2nd edition
    PH2R        Player's Handbook, Revised 2nd edition
    PH3         Player's Handbook, 3rd edition
    PO          Player's Option books
    PrC         Prestige Class
    PS          Planescape
    rgf.** hierarchy
    RL          Ravenloft
    RPGA        Role-Playing Gamers' Association
    S&F         Sword & Fist
    S&S         Song & Silence
    SP, S&P     Player's Option: Skills & Powers
    Sp&M, SPaM  Player's Option: Spells & Magic
    SRD         System Reference Document, the rules of d20/3rd ed. D&D
    3e          Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd edition
    T&B         Tome & Blood
    ToM         Tome of Magic
    ToVK        Tome of Vast Knolwedge (computer program)
    UA          Unearthed Arcana
    WoG, WG     World of Greyhawk
    WotC        Wizards of the Coast

    :-)         Smiley (tilt your head 90 degrees); with endless 
    AFAIK       As Far As I Know
    BTW         By The Way
    CFV         Call For Votes
    F2F         Face-to-Face
    FTR         For The Record
    FWIW        For What It's Worth
    FYI         For Your Information
    HAND        Have A Nice Day
    HTH         Hope That Helps
    IDH(T)*IFOM I Don't Have (The) <product> In Front Of Me
    IIRC        If I Remember Correctly
    IME         In My Experience
    IMHO        In My Humble/Honest Opinion (but rarely actually is)
    IMNSHO      In My Not-So-Humble Opinion
    IOW         In Other Words
    IRC         Internet Relay Chat (realtime text-based conferencing 
    LOL         Laughing Out Loud
    Ob...       Obligatory reference to... (e.g. ObD&D, ObCthulhu, in a 
                post otherwise about something else)
    REQ         Request
    RFC         Request For Comments
    RFD         Request For Discussion
    ROTFL       Rolling On The Floor Laughing
    RTFM        Read The F***ing Manual!
    SO          Significant Other (i.e. date/fiance(e)/spouse)
    STFW        Search the F***ing Web!
    TANSTAAFL   There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
    TPTB        The Powers That Be
    WRT         With Regard/Respect To
    YHBT        You Have Been Trolled
    YMMV        Your Mileage May Vary

G2:  How do you pronounce...?

A:  Here are some commonly mispronounced words, with their dictionary
    pronunciations, where available, and common practice/TSR rulings where
    not.  For more general pronunciation help, see the article "Ay 
    pronunseeAYshun gyd" by Frank Mentzer in Dragon #93 (Jan. 1985); for 
    help pronouncing Forgotten Realms-specific words and names, see the 
    Forgotten Realms box set; for help pronouncing the names of the 
    various Tanar'ri and Baatezu types, see MC8 Outer Planes Appendix
    or the Planescape MC appendices.
      Note: the "correct" pronunciation of Drow is taken from Page 9 of 
    _A Grand Tour of the Realms_ (2nd edition Forgotten Realms boxed set) 
    where it states, "Dark elves, also called Drow (pronounced to rhyme 
    with now or how)..."

    Aarakocra = a-rah-KO-krah
    Arquebus = AR-keh-bus (like "Masque of the Red Death")
    Baatezu = bay-AH-teh-zu
    Bardiche = bar-DEESH
    Bulette = boo-LAY
    Catoblepus = kuht-OH-bleh-puhs, also kah-TA-ble-pus
    Chatkcha = CHAT-k-cha [Thri-keen throwing weapon]
    Chimaera = ky-MAEE-ruh, or ky-MAI-ruh (rhymes with "care of")
    Chimera = ky-MIER-uh, or kuh-MIER-uh ("MIER" rhymes with pier)
    Chitin = KITE-in
    Cuirass = KWEE-rass
    Drow = DROU (as in drowsy), (however, DROH is often heard anyway)
    Dweomer = DWEH-mer (rhymes with "hem her"), or DWIH-mer
    Falchion = FAL-shee-on
    FAQ = FACK, eff-ay-cue, or, as sometimes heard on
      rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks, fuh-cue
    Geas = GEE-ass, or GYASS (both with a hard "g")
    Gygax = GY-gaks
    Halberd = HAL-berd, (not HAL-bread)
    Herb = ERB
    Ioun = EYE-oon
    Iuz = YOOZ, or EE-uz
    Ixitxachitl = iks-it-ZATCH-i-til, or ik-zit-zah-chih-tull
    Lich = LITCH (as in ditch), *not* LIKE or LICK
    Lycanthrope = LY-kun-throhp, LY-kan-throhp (like lichen rope/my tan 
    Lycanthropy = ly-KAN-thruh-pee
    Mage = MAGE (as in age), *not* MADGE (as in badger)
    Mana = MA-nah (MA = as in cat), MAH-nah
    Melee = Either MAY-lay (preferred), may-LAY, or meh-LAY
    Otyugh = AHT-yuhg
    Palladium = puh-LAY-dee-um
    Sahuagin = sah-HWAH-ghin
    Scythe = SYTH (rhymes with tithe)
    Svirfneblin = svirf-NEB-lin
    Tanar'ri = tah-NAHR-ree
    Tarrasque = tar-RASK (like "Masque of the Red Death")
    THAC0 = Either THAK-oh (preferred), or THAKE-oh
    Wyvern = WIH-vern (as in did), or WHY-vern
    Vargouille = var-GWEEL
    Vrock = vrahk
    Zaknafein = zack-NAY-fee-in

G3:  How do you spell...?

A:  Some tricky spellings from the world of fantasy roleplaying:

    aarakocra       dispel          medieval        rogue
    Baatezu         dweomer         mythoi          Tanar'ri
    Cthulhu         falchion        paladin         tarrasque
    deity/deities   ixitxachitl     rakshasa        thief

G4:  What is a "newbie"?

A:  A newbie is person who is new to the Internet, to Usenet, or just to 
    the newsgroup in question, and makes all of the silly mistakes many 
    people make when they first began using the Internet.  Its use on the 
    Internet originated in the MUDs, and has spread from there.  One can 
    avoid many of these mistakes by reading through the files listed in 
    the Note to New Users at the beginning of this FAQ and taking their 
    advice to heart, and by reading this group for several weeks before 
    making your first post, in order to get a feel for the atmosphere of 
    the group as well as for what is and is not allowed here.  The
    opposite of "newbie" is "dino" (as in "dinosaur," not as in the
    Flintstone's pet).

G5:  What is a "Spoiler"?

A:  When someone tells you how a movie you haven't seen before is going to 
    end, he has "spoiled" it for you; your ability to enjoy a good 
    surprise has been severely impaired.  The same idea works in the 
    gaming world.  If you wish to post any details about any TSR products, 
    please include the word SPOILER in the subject, and leave a full page 
    of blank space, either by inserting a form feed character (which does
    not display correctly on most machines) or by hitting Return about 20 
    times.  This is especially appropriate for descriptions of modules 
    ("We just finished S4; had a dickens of a time opening those pesky 
    doors, but here's how we did it..."), because there will always be 
    people on Usenet who have not played that module, or who are currently 
    running through that module.  Most DM's do not enjoy it when someone 
    else gives their groups all the details of their next few adventures.  
    So no matter how old a module is, always include spoiler warnings if 
    you are divulging any vital details.
      Including spoiler warnings is also appropriate when discussing 
    novels, movies, some sourcebooks, and such.  In general, use your best 
    judgement; if there is a detail that could affect others' games ("Iuz
    gets killed by Rary in the latest GH box set, _Good Triumphs At 
    Last_!"), then be sure to include spoiler warning, whether or not you 
    think that everyone must have already read the item you are 

G6:  What is bandwidth?  How does one waste it?

A:  Bandwidth is the amount of information that can be moved over a cable.
    The transfer of information over the Internet is limited by the
    physical limitations of the cables the information is transmitted 
    through; thus, a post to Usenet which, for example, merely quotes back 
    the entire 300 lines of a previous post and adds "I agree" to the 
    bottom takes up space in the cables which could better be used by 
    other posts.  If enough bandwidth is wasted, no other posts can get 
    through, as the cables would already be transmitting their maximum 
    amount of data.  New technology in cable manufacture has made it a 
    challenge to even come close to using up all the bandwidth in most 
    areas, but that still doesn't make it a good idea to take up lots of 
    space with frivolous posts.  In fact, the ever-increasing number of
    posts to Usenet has resulted in some systems reducing the expiration
    times on posts to only a couple days; thus it is not all that
    difficult for an increase of "worthless" posts to push "worthwhile"
    posts out the end of many servers before people on those sites have a
    chance to read the good posts.

G7:  What is "fluff?"

A:  Fluff is a term used for stories written and distributed on the 
    Internet.  In the case of, it takes the form of 
    stories based on the results of role-playing sessions.  Some people 
    like reading fluff, some don't mind it, and some rabidly detest it.  
    If you feel you must post your fluff, please put STORY: at the 
    beginning of the subject line so that is can be easily found or 
    avoided, as the case may be.  This is ok for one-shot short stories, 
    but if you are writing longer works, such as stories based on entire
    campaigns, then please do not post the chapters to rgfd.  Instead, 
    if you feel you must post them to Usenet, post them in, wait for the moderator to post them, and then
    post a note in rgfd stating that anyone who wishes to read your story
    may find it in  A much better solution these
    days is to get yourself a web page (<> is
    one place that provides free web space), put your chapters there, then
    add a line containing the URL of your web page to your Usenet signature

G8:  Who's this "Monty Haul" character I keep hearing about?

A:  Monty Hall was the host of the 60's & 70's, and 90's American game 
    show _Let's Make a Deal_.  People would dress up in silly costumes, 
    then be chosen out of the crowd to play the game.  Monty would give 
    the lucky contestant a handful of money, then talk them into trading 
    the money for whatever was behind door number one, door number two, 
    door number three, or what was in the box, or they could just keep the 
    money.  Each time they traded, he would give them another choice.  
    After they decided to stick with a choice, Monty revealed what had 
    been won.  Prizes could be anything, good or bad, such as money, cars, 
    jewelry, a years supply of auto wax, goats, inner tubes, exotic 
    vacations, a pound of confetti, etc.  Gary Gygax named the style of 
    play where game masters hid treasures behind some doors, monsters 
    behind others and then let the players choose their fate "Monty Haul" 
    gaming, making a pun on the game show host's name.
      The term has come to be used to refer to sessions where game masters 
    encourage munchkin players; basically any game can be considered a 
    Monty Haul game where the game master sets up unfathomable amounts of 
    treasure and earth-shattering magic items guarded by weak and wimpy 
    monsters, thus giving enormous amounts of power to beginning-level 

G9:  What is "munchkinism?"  What does the Wizard of Oz have to do with 

A:  Munchkinism is often confused with Monty Haul gaming in that both 
    involve incredibly high power levels with a minimum of risk.  However, 
    where Monty Haul is usually the fault of the GM, munchkinism is 
    usually the demesne of players, although one can encourage the other.  
    Munchkin players often view the game as a contest which can be won, 
    and done with a minimum of struggle and uncertainty.  The player is 
    winning when he defeats everything the DM throws at the character and 
    does so without breaking a sweat.  Thus, having a character who can 
    deal out large amounts of damage every round is more pleasurable, as 
    it gives the player a better chance of "winning."  Some DM's foster 
    this "them vs. me" type of atmosphere (especially Monty Haul DM's), 
    but it is usually not the DM's fault.  Well, it somewhat is, as the DM 
    has to allow the character in the first place, but it is the player 
    who has the real problem here.
      Munchkin characters are created by "min/maxing," or rather, "rules 
    rape," wherein the player finds any and all advantages the rules (and 
    especially any loopholes contained therein) allow the character, with 
    few, if any drawbacks.  They are also outfitted with the equivalent 
    magic items of an entire party of many, many more levels of 
    experience.  Such characters tend to be ultra-powerful, and can 
    destroy whole armies in one round.  Any such character choices are 
    made solely from a power-level standpoint, and not from a role-playing 
    point of view.
      This is not to say that all "power gaming" is munchkin and bad, as 
    it is possible and common for a group to decide to run a campaign with
    incredibly high amounts of power, yet have it contain just as much
    challenge and roleplaying as any other campaign.  The enemies are 
    usually as well equipped as the players, and are played extremely 
    intelligently, to boot.  With this kind of game, there is actually 
    some question as to whether or not any or all of the characters could 
    survive a given encounter, but the point is not basic survival, but a 
    balance of power and role-playing.  Characters also tend to have 
    character flaws of some sort which balance out the power level in some 
    meaningful role-playing-based way.  In addition, most of the 
    characters in a "power game" environment actually have to work (and 
    role-play) for each and every powerful item they gain, instead of 
    turning into a walking magic shop when "my two rich uncles just willed 
    all of their magic items to me," or some such.  A stress is put on 
    role-playing, so that the game isn't just all "power" and no "game."
    However, it is easy to fall into the trap of treating such a game like 
    an arcade game--blast all the baddies into oblivion and you win!  It 
    is at that point, when the power, and not role-playing, is all that 
    matters that a power game becomes munchkinism.  
      Munchkin characters usually come to light when a player wishes to 
    bring in a favorite character who was "allowed" in a previous GM's 
    campaign, one with the maximum ability scores, proficiencies, 
    abilities, and enough magic and special items to take out both Death 
    Stars simultaneously from across the galaxy.
      No one seems to know exactly how such characters have come to be 
    identified with the tiny folk from L. Frank Baum's books, but it
    probably has something to do with the sheer annoyance factor such
    characters exude.  Another theory is that, since it seems that most
    munchkin players are the younger set of players, say pre-teens and 
    down, that someone's term for people younger than themselves morphed 
    into a term for the type of players described above, and has since 
    changed meaning to also include the characters created by such 

G10:  What is "Spam"?

A:  Spam is a meat-like product (the word is an abbreviation of "SPiced
    hAM"), rumored to contain a mixture of ham and pork, made popular
    when it was distributed to soldiers on the fronts during World War
    II.  It was also the focus of a sketch on _Monty Python's Flying
    Circus_ involving a diner which featured meals such as "spam, egg,
    spam, spam, bacon and spam" and "spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam,
    baked beans, spam, spam, spam, and spam".  Also in the diner were
    several Vikings, who would break into "The Spam Song" whenever
    someone mentioned "Spam".  Trying to find anything in that diner
    which was not Spam quickly became quite difficult.
      This idea has been carried over onto Usenet, so that when someone
    posts the same thing in thousands of newsgroups, or when one person 
    (or a group of people) fill up a newsgroup with off-topic posts or 
    many copies of the same off-topic post, it is called "spamming the 
    net"; the individual posts are called "spam".

G11:  When is a troll not green, rubbery, or regenerative?

A:  When someone is posts a message to a Usenet newsgroup with the sole
    intention of inciting anger.  This comes from a fishing term;
    a fishermen who pulls a hook through the water is said to be trolling
    for bites.  Usenet trolls are usually messages which contain no
    content except for crass insults and flames of the topic of a
    particular newsgroup and the people who frequent that group, or which
    intentionally raise touchy topics in insensitive ways.
      Some trolls are more insidious, especially when the person behind
    them actually puts some thought into his actions.  These trolls aren't
    as blatant, and tend to take the form of someone who appears on a
    group, posts a few on-topic messages, then begins posting things which
    the group has made known are not tolerated there.  Eventually the
    person starts throwing in little jibes and insults at the people who
    try to inform him that such posts are inappropriate, trying to see if
    he can really make people mad, then leaving to do the same to other
    newsgroups just as the entire group explodes into a flamewar.
      Trolls will not be tolerated in  If you see a
    post which appears to be a troll, ignore it.  If you see a poster who 
    consistently seems to do little else but try to get on people's 
    nerves, ignore him.  Don't bother wasting your breath, sanity, and 
    connect time on such drivel.  These people are often just looking for
    attention, and will usually eventually move on to other groups if
    they don't get it.

G12:  Are there any other terms I should be aware of?

A:  Here are a few quick looks at some other potentially mystifying terms:
    kill file: A file usable in several popular newsreaders which allows 
      one to filter out disliked topics or posters.  Also, "to killfile"

    lurker: someone who reads a newsgroup but does not post.  Also, "to 

    Real Soon Now(TM): Anytime between right now and a decade from now.
      Came into use because products which are running late are always
      mentioned as being ready to ship "real[ly] soon now"

    September:  This is the time of year when the net experiences a large 
      influx of newbies due to college freshmen getting internet accounts.
      The term is also used whenever a large access provider, such as AOL, 
      Compuserve, or Delphi, first allows Usenet access for its users.

    signal-to-noise ratio: On Usenet, this is the proportion of useful 
      articles to useless ones.  In order that the most people might 
      enjoy reading this group, please try to keep the signal as high as 
      possible and the noise as low as possible.

      If you've gotten this far and still haven't found an explanation
    for a particular word, phrase, or acronym that you just can't figure
    out, try the Jargon File (of hacker slang and net.speak), at
    <>, or see the NetLingo
    Internet dictionary at <>; chances are good
    that one of those pages lead to the answer you are looking for.

***End Part 5***

Aardy R. DeVarque
Feudalism: Serf & Turf FAQ:

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