Role playing games tend to have a lot of jargon that can be confusing to the uninitiated. It varies a lot from system to system, but there is a number of commonalities that aren’t too difficult to simplify.
Alignment: A general representation of a characters behavior… Lawful, Principled, Diabolic, etc. Varies a lot from gaming system to system, but generally present in some form or another.
Critical Hit: A rare hit (5% of the time on average) that does added damage due to hitting a sensitive area on the target.
Dice: The type and number of dice in a game system vary dramatically, but they’re rarely just your standard 6 sided dice. The number of sides on them is often following a d, in nomenclature. The number leading it, is the number of dice to be used.
d4 – 1 4 sided die
d20 – 1 20 sided die
2d8 – 2 8 sided dice
And so on and so forth
DM: Dungeon Master – The Original D&D Term for the storyteller
GM: Game Master – See Storyteller
HP: Hit (Health) Points – A general representation of health, the amount of punishment a character can take before expiring.
Initiative: How quickly a character responded to a given situation. The order in which actions take place in combat.
PBEM: Play by Email. A good method of gaming when you can’t meet in a specific time or place.
PC: Player Character – A character that is controlled by a player in the game. Typically, there is only one PC per player.
NPC: Non Player Character – Any character that exists in the game and is controlled by the storyteller. These characters can be friends, foes or indifferent to the players.
Referee: See Storyteller
Round: A unit of time measure, typically 6-10 seconds. Most frequently used in combat or pursuit.
Storyteller: One player typically runs the game world and the vast majority of the characters within it. It is this persons job to provide and interesting and overall fun environment, interaction as well as plot, drama and the like.
THAC0: To Hit Armor Class 0. A system in the older D&D editions that denoted how hard something was to hit. While nostalgic, most gamers don’t miss the calculations and time it involved.
Turn: A larger unit of time measurement, typically used outside of combat.
This is page will be a work in progress, as I get to thinking of and adding common terms.