RPG terms used on Dungeons and Dave, a 5E Glossary

# 0e Original Dungeons & Dragons
1e or AD&D Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
2e 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
3.5e 3.5 Edition Dungeons & Dragons
3e 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons
4e 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons
5e 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons
A AC Armor Class
AC  Armor Class.
Aggro  The predilection toward violence, most often used to describe NPCs and monsters, but is also used to describe players.
AL Adventurer’s League (organized play)
AoE Area of Effect
ASI Ability Score Improvement
AT Arcane Trickster (Rogue)
AtG Against the Giants
Atk Attack
B BBEG  Big Bad Evil Guy (or Gal). The central villain in a plotline. Also sometimes call MainEvilBadGuy, or just the Big Bad.
BM Beast Master (Ranger) or Battle Master (Fighter)
Buff  A temporary boost, usually from a spell or depletable resource, like a potion.
C CBE or XBE Crossbow Expert
CHA Charisma
Challenge Rating (CR)  A measure of how much of a challenge a creature should represent to a party of characters. CR 1 should be roughly equivalent to a party of 4 1st level characters. A lot of variables go into this calculation and it might be a science but art and opinion are the secret sauce that make it work.
CON Constitution
CoS Curse of Strahd
CP Copper Pieces (currency)
CR Challenge Rating (monster difficulty)
Crawl  Short for dungeon crawl.
Crit  Either the best thing in the world, or the worst. In D&D you can have critical successes and critical failures, the meaning of which can depend on house rules as much as core rules.
D DC Difficulty Class
DDB D&D Beyond (digital toolset)
DEX Dexterity
DH Death House
Disbelieve  An attempt to see past an illusory effect, often also called out to no avail when the players are faced with terrible peril.
DiT Dead in Thay
DM  Dungeon Master, also known as GM (Game Master), referee or storyteller. This is the person that hosts and facilitates the world the players play in.
DMG  Dungeon Master’s Guide, the primary resource for DMs.
DMPC Dungeon Master’s Player Character
DotMM Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
DPR Damage/Round
Dump Stat  The stat (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha) where you choose to put your lowest roll when making a character.
DW Dual Wielder
E EA Elven Accuracy
EE  Elemental Evil, a Forgotten Realms storyline built around apocalyptic cults.
EEPC  Elemental Evil Players Companion, a supplement to the Elemental Evil storyline. This supplement is available for free from Wizards of the Coast.
EK Eldritch Knight (Fighter)
F FG Fantasy Grounds (online digital tabletop)
FLGS Friendly Local Gaming Store
FoF Forge of Fury
FR Forgotten Realms (main D&D setting)
G Gish  A fighter (usually melee fighter) with access to magic. The name comes from the name of a Githyanki soldier that does just that
GM Game Master
GMG or GGtR Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica
GP Gold Pieces (currency)
GWM Great Weapon Master
H HODQ  Hoard of the Dragon Queen
Homebrew  Rules, settings or accessories created by DMs rather than official Dungeons & Dragons products.
HotDQ Hoard of the Dragon Queen
House Rules  Alterations to the core rules in the books to be used in games with a particular DM.
HP Hit Points
HSoT Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
I IC In-Character
INT Intelligence
L Level  This can refer to a few different things in D&D.Character Level – The levels attained by your character gaining experience and used as milestone markers that determine when your character has learned new skills and abilities.
Dungeon Level – Often “dungeons” are set up in “levels” with the first level being easiest and the last level having the BBEG.
Spell Level – Spells are categorized into levels that have very little to do with character levels. Oh sure, your character has to be a certain level to be able to access higher spell levels but it’s seemingly arbitrary. You would think a 5th-level spellcaster would be able to use 5th level spells, but no, that is really never the case.
Effective Character Level (ECL) – This is used to describe Monsters and NPCs. The calculation was “Racial hit dice + character level + Level adjustment” with the idea being that a creature with an ECL of 10 would be roughly equivalent to a 10th level character. ECL has been dropped in 5th Edition.
LFG Looking for Group (for players trying to find a game)
LMoP Lost Mines of Phandelver (Starter Set)
M MAD Multiple Ability Score Dependent (character builds whose features rely on multiple ability scores)
MM Monster Manual
MTF or MToF or Mordy’s Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Murder Hobos  A pretty good description of most parties in D&D and other RPGs who tend to be essentially homeless people running around murdering other people and races and looting their corpses.
N NPC Non-Player Character
O OA or AoO Opportunity Attack or Attack of Opportunity
OGL Open Game License (publication guidelines)
OOC Out-of-Character
OotA Out of the Abyss
OP  Overpowered, or Original Poster in threaded online discussions.
OSR Old School Revival
P PAM Polearm Master
Passive Perception  Things you notice without trying. This is mostly used in checking a skill versus an unaware target. For example, as a rogue, you might be trying to sneak up to a bored guard. The guard isn’t actively looking for you but has a chance of notice you anyway. Some creatures have a much higher passive perception due to natural or keen senses. For example, a dragon might have a chance to smell or hear you even if it isn’t actively looking for you.
PbP Play by Post
PC Player Character
Perception  A skill modified by wisdom score that represents how aware a character is of the surrounding. Often, the DM will have players roll a perception check to see if they notice something, like a rogue hiding in the shadows, a slip of paper on the ground or a wyvern circling above.
PF Pathfinder
PH or PHB Player’s Handbook
PotA Princes of the Apocalypse
PP Passive Perception
PvE Player vs. Environment
PvM Player vs. Monster
PvP Player vs. Player
R RAI/ROI  Rules As Intended, as in the intent of the rule, even though the literal written rule may not convey it.
RAW  Rules As Written, as in the specific way the rules were written, as opposed to RAI.
Roll20 Roll 20 (online digital tabletop)
RoT Rise of Tiamat
RP Role Play
Rule of Cool  Originally a TV Trope, this was stated as “The limit of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to its awesomeness.” In game terms, it is usually applied to a DM allowing a player to bend the rules or use them creatively in a way that isn’t RAI to have something cool happen. Often, it’s just for adding cinematic effect to a scene, sometimes it has to do with rewarding creativity, other times it’s just because something is hilarious.
S SAD Single Ability Score Dependent (character builds whose features rely on one ability score)
SC Sunless Citadel
SCAG Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
SCAG  Sword Coast Adventures Guide
SKT Storm King’s Thunder
SM Shield Master
SP Silver Pieces (currency)
Squishy  A description of players who are fragile in some way, usually lacking armor and having low Hitpoints.
SRD Systems Reference Document (includes the Basic Rules)
SS Sharpshooter
STR Strength
T ToA Tomb of Annihilation
ToH Tomb of Horrors
Toon  A term from some MMORPGs, referring to their character/avatar/whatever. Often discouraged at many tables.
TPK Total Party Kill
TPK  Total Party Kill
TWF Two-Weapon Fighting (fighting style for Fighters and Rangers)
TYP Tales from the Yawning Portal
U UA Unearthed Arcana (playtest material)
UA  Unearthed Arcana
V VGM or VGtM or Volo’s Volo’s Guide to Monsters
W WC War Caster
WDH Waterdeep: Dragon Heist
WGE or WGtE Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron
WIS Wisdom
WoTC  Wizards of the Coast, the game company that owns and releases Dungeon & Dragons materials.
WPM White Plume Mountain
XGE or XGtE or Xan’s Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
X XP  Short for experience

🤞 Don’t miss out

We don’t spam! This is just for post notifications.


  1. ravean on July 21, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    You could add the 4? different meanings of “level”!

    • daveg on July 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Let’s see… are you talking about Character level vs Spell level vs Effective Character level vs Dungeon level… or something else? 🙂

      • ravean on July 22, 2016 at 9:43 pm

        That’s what I was talking about 🙂

Leave a comment or journal entry...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.