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Section II: Folkspeech Items

The following specific items of roleplayer folkspeech include all of those cited in the paper body or footnotes, as well as further examples. In each case, the actual item is listed, followed by my interpretations and then others' explanations and interpretations. If several terms are synonymous or near-synonymous they are grouped together, and I explain any differences in meaning. The folkspeech items themselves are bulleted to separate them, and in italics. Quotes are italicized in a smaller typeface and blockquoted. All direct quotes are unedited except for formatting (linebreaks and the like), and most were directly copied from the original written response. Since the vast majority of these were relayed to me in written form, I saw no point in trying to use Tedlock's methods in presenting them.

I gathered all of the quotes, both terms and contexts, from a personal interview with two of my roommates, followed by responses to a survey posted to the UseNet newsgroups rec.games.frp.misc and rec.games.frp.advocacy, and subsequent discussions in those forums and via private email. To the best of my ability, all informants are identified with a real name and a location, but in some cases I was forced to settle for as little as an email address. I chose not to print email addresses unless I had no other identifier. Luckily, a full email address is unique. Unluckily, it is not static, and may prove little use in even the near future. I chose to include location (to the degree that it was provided by the informants) to help illustrate the degree to which these folkspeech items are widespread among a subculture that is only loosely connected.

Response to something particularly terrible/improbable. It stems from the game mechanic in D&D for making a die roll to recognize a magical illusion as false. Since you had to have a reason for believing something was an illusion before you'd try this, anything out of the ordinary might trigger such a response.

I disbelieve: Hearkens back to AD&D, when the illusionist class could create imaginary dangers that wouldn't actually kill PCs, but merely put them in a bad way. It was great, because GMs could present the illusion of real danger. The only way to resist was to utter, "I disbelieve." In non-AD&D games, uttered when something utterly impossible occurs.
--Lee Garvin

This also shows up in games as "Can I roll to disbelieve?" after something horrendous happens. GM: "The last shot toasted your drive. the Zhodani battlecruiser is calling for your surrender." Player (weakly) "Can I roll to disbelieve?"
--Douglas E. Berry

All of these indicate that an outcome is unavoidable. The first two are specific to a fatal situation, while the last can be used in just about any context. They are all variations on the concept of the "Saving Throw," a mechanic found in D&D. Saving Throws are statistics of the characters against which a die roll is often made to determine how well the character resists some sort of attack or difficulty. So to "save vs. Death or die" means to roll against the Characters "Death" Saving Throw, and the consequence of failing the roll is death. This is implicit in the second example, while the third doesn't specify the consequences, but makes it clear that they are unavoidable. The last is a reference to the fact that an RPG is never really over, if the players don't want it to be. The players can always create ("roll up"45) new characters and continue the same or a different story line.

"I disbelieve" is used in real life around here, as are "Save vs [whatever]", "ring of [whatever]", and "burn XP to get another roll."
--Carrie Schutrick, Carnegie-Mellon University

"Want to play this out, or just roll up new characters immediately?"
--Lance Berg

'No saving throw' - inevitable and unwelcome.
--Dr. Jim Davies

These are all variations on indicators for disposable, faceless NPCs. There is no point in naming them because they have no (or almost no) personality, but are just statistics, the equivalent of extras in an action movie. Moreover, they are not expected to last very long, generally being the first to be killed when the game gets violent. By far the most common of these, "redshirt" comes from the original Star Trek, in which almost every episode the main characters and a security officer or two that we had never seen before would go into some dangerous situation. Inevitably, the (often nameless) security officer(s) would be killed, while the main characters were left untouched. The security branch uniforms consisted of black pants and a red shirt, as opposed to the green and gold and blue shirts of the main characters, and thus the term.

Any series of NPCs named alphabetically, eg Alex, Brian, Chuck, Dave...Zack. - Cannon fodder. Redshirts.
--Dr. Jim Davies

"Send in Able and Baker.": send in nameless trooper (or whatever) #1 and #2 (from the M*A*S*H television show, which always had references to 'Nurse Able' and 'Nurse Baker')
--Zoran Bekric

Dunno about you guys, but the term I've ALWAYS heard used was "Redshirts", from the poor original series Star Trek security guards. One red shirt, one dead shirt.
--seawasp@wizvax.net

Redshirt, obviously from Star Trek, for nameless henchmen or NPCs. Similarly, Rufus and Dufus.
--Stephen B. Mann, Albany, NY

We call 'em Test Hobbits. Not sure if the room is trapped? Throw in a Hobbit, and see if it explodes. Works like a charm. In Traveller, we called 'em Thuds. It started out as Thugs, but Thud is more accurate, as that's the sound they made as they got their one chance at return fire.
--Terry Austin

Redshirt: An expendable NPC (usually). Also used to describe being point-man "I'm not going to be a/the Red Shirt."
--R. Boleyn, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Mr. Standard / Mr. Bearer; Mr. Spear / Mr. Carrier; <several similar patterns ad nauseum> Similar in concept to Star Trek's "red shirts" (which I believe someone already mentioned), these are the two quintessential disposable henchmen. My first time encountering this concept was, in fact, in a Star Trek game where Mr. Standard and Mr. Bearer were two redshirt security ensigns. The use has spread, however, to other games.
--Michael T. Richter

Red Shirt: already mentioned in another post, but I thought I'd mention that it is also used as a verb, meaning - to assign a person duties that will almost certainly get them killed. usage: "I can't believe you Red-Shirted me!"
--Lee Garvin

Generic NPC so unimportant that figuring a name for him is not worth it. Closely related terms to Redshirt, et al, above. However, Bobs aren't necessarily slated for quick death.

I have run across this as well. Sometimes, when encountering a Bob, someone will say, "Oh, it's you,... Bob." from the Toyota commercials of a few years ago.
--Lee Garvin

Extra: From Aftermath! and Bushido in which they were NPCs of little or no importance with 1 Hit Point each. We use it for any NPC who obviously has only a walk-on part.
--R. Boleyn, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Ensign Enpic - NPC who needed a quick name when the GM wasn't ready for it; comes from pronouncing NPC as a word.
--Scott Delahunt

Closely related to Bob, et al, a Fighter #1 is an equally faceless PC.

a generic pre-rolled character that you get when you play tournaments. "fighter #1," "thief #2," "mage #3," and there are no names, it's just like a sheet of stats, and that's it. no personalization. occasionally used as a derisive term like "DM#1" [to indicate that the DM has no personality/just rolls the dice]
--Peter Keller, University of Wisconsin

Weak faceless enemies, unrealistically easy to kill, often found in large groups. Feng Shui is a new RPG46 that aims to simulate the genre of Hong Kong action films, and a requisite trait is the hero defeating literal hordes of lesser badguys. Thus the mechanics make this an explicit possibility, assigning characters into two categories: "mooks" and "named characters," and applying different rules to the two. Since this is the first RPG to do so explicitly, and thus have a special term for it, the term has rapidly gained popular currency, even among people who've never even heard of the game. In D&D, orcs are a common opponent, and relatively weak, while goblins (whence "gobbo") and kobolds are progressively weaker. Thus these specific creature types became catch-alls for any weak massed opponent that was effortless to slay. Similar "faceless minions of Evil" are found in much fantasy fiction, and to some degree in its oral literature antecedents. The most well-known examples of this would probably be The Lord of the Rings, in which the heroes routinely vanquish unreasonably huge hordes of evil monsters, of which orcs are the most memorable, and Chanson de Roland, in which Roland defeats huge numbers of unnamed warriors identified only as "pagans."

Usually "orcs" in my early gaming carreer (regardless of genre) later replaced by "Goblins" and "kobolds" when more detail about orcs changed them from easy kills into another fully developed race. It took some time for this alternate terminology to seep through, though, given that few of the people involved actually played D&D, where the archetypical terminology was rooted, by the time the sea change overtook the orcs.
--Lance Berg

Orcs - cannon fodder monsters of any genera, usually unrealistically easy to kill. Kobolds - as orcs, but trivially easy to annihilate.
--Dr. Jim Davies

Gobbo: From 'Goblin', any monster of little power or frightfulness, especially if it's humanoid and tends to attack in large numbers.
--R. Boleyn, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Closely related to mooks, et al. Cannon fodder is of course a conventional world, which retains the same meaning in the game: people who are sent in just to be killed, so as to keep the enemy busy. Catapult fodder and wizard fodder are just fantasy-appropriate variations.

Always referred to masses of such, used to draw fire, or hold a line briefly against overwhelming opposition. As GM, I have several times used "_canon_ fodder" to refer to non clerical followers of a religion used in similar means by the church, or contradictorily any group going up against high level clerics (doomed to failure, it would seem, even if not being sent to die on purpose) including the party itself. Since the word sounds just like cannon, and is less well know, the pun usually goes over everyone's head, but at least it amuses me...
--Lance Berg

A maze or structure designed to provide a challenge to the PCs, who explore it for some reason. It is typically full of monsters and treasure, rarely with any sensible explanation. A dungeon crawl is an adventure in such a place. A feature of early RPGs, the dungeon crawl is now much less common. The terms have now expanded to include any place/adventure that shares many of the features: monsters that stay in one location until encountered, traps with no logical purpose, magical treasure that isn't utilized by the creature guarding it, no ecologically sensible explanation for what all the monsters do when there aren't adventurers trying to kill them, etc.

a bunch of friends get together and say, 'Hey, I want to run a dungeon crawl tomorrow,' and all you do is start out with a fighter #1 and a mage #2...and throw them into this wild dungeon out of some Dungeon Magazine.
--Peter Keller, University of Wisconsin

Dungeon Crawl: An adventure set in a dungeon, cave or other traditional dank underground setting. Also any adventure that has the features of old-style dungeon adventures - monsters that stay one location until encountered, traps with no logical purpose, etc. Can be used as a verb "We're going dungeon crawling".
--R. Boleyn, Palmerston North, New Zealand

"The big truck comes up to the door": in a dungeon crawl, there's this huge warren of caves filled with monsters, most of them in sealed rooms. What do they eat? When one PC party goes through it, another will probably follow and fight the same foes. Where did they come from? The obvious answer: the Dungeon Catering and Supply Company, which drove up after each group of PCs left the dungeon with a huge truck, backed up to the entrance, and unloaded a fresh batch of monsters, plus food. As the PCs walk into the sunset on the way out of a dungeon crawl, they invariably pass the truck heading for the dungeon entrance, look over their shoulders, and see the big truck come up to the door.
--Frank J. Perricone

A Monty Haul game is unreasonably easy or overly rewarding. The term comes from Monty Hall, the host of the old game show "Let's Make a Deal," because the contestants' winnings depended on luck and Monty's mood, rather than any skill on their part. Grimtooth game and Monty Hell are responses to just such a gaming style, the latter making a deliberate pun in the process.

Nobody mentioned "Monty Haul Campaign" . . . I first encountered this term in Dragon Magazine,47 so that's why it's such a widespread term . . . essentially, an unbalanced game (this term tends to fault the GM rather than players, though implies players' complicity). It of course refers to Let's Make a Deal, a tv game show hosted by Monty Haul. It is specifically a reference to "I'll take whatever's behind door number three Monty!" - a convention of the television program where people were awarded prizes by choosing the door behind which the prize was located. The reference is to dungeon crawl games, basically (A)D&D and the like, implying that in a "monty haul" campaign players can gain treasure simply by going about dungeons and opening doors (glossing over combat, roleplaying, to treasure and especially magic items). It is also often spoken of (fondly, like the way one speaks of old crushes and the like) as a stage which all GM's pass through in their development as a GM.
--Gord Sellar, Saskatoon

"Circus games" are like Monty Haul ones, but even worse, such as D&D characters repairing and operating the spaceship from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.48
--David Crowe

Regarding "Monty Haul" campaigns and "gilded holes": for some reason, I am under the impression that the connotation of the former is that it is something that other lesser players do, while the latter is something that one played in in one's own misguided youth. I note that I first saw these terms about twenty years ago in essays written by the late Glenn Blacow in the gaming fanzine The Wild Hunt.
--Warren Dew

A friend of mine used to run what he called "Monty Hell" campaigns. You got lots of stuff... *if*, and only if, you manage to survive the [sic] get the stuff.
--Mark Kinney

[a grimtooth game is] a game either that uses one of the Grimtooth's Traps books,49 or just one that is unreasonably deadly.
--Peter Keller, University of Wisconsin

A reference to the clichéd introduction found in so many poor fantasy games (and movies and books). Now, it is not so often used literally, but as a shorthand for saying "we're not concerned with how it happened; you're all together now so we can get started right away." A slightly more sophisticated example of this convention can be seen in Star Wars.

We call this "you arrive at the capital." after a particularly difficult to start game.
--Terry Austin

A derisive term for a game that is all combat, and/or for players that are only concerned about combat. Looked down upon by most gamers, because it is seen to go against the spirit of RPGs: 'why play a roleplaying game if you're not going to pay any attention to the role? That's what wargames, computer games, and other tactical games are for.'

These are all terms that relate closely to hack & slash. Like it, they are used derisively to refer to people who aren't playing RPGs the "right" way. In this case, the "sin" is following the letter of the rules over their spirit. The various terms differ both in degree of offense and degree of judgmentalism. Minmaxing is seen as perhaps acceptable, depending on group and context, and is the least judgmental term, sometimes being applied in a positive manner. Point-shaver and mathematician are more self-designations, and thus intended to be positive, emphasizing the skill with which the player utilizes the mechanics of a game. Power gamers and munchkins are seen as more misguided, while rules lawyers and rules rapists are seen as maliciously misinterpreting the spirit of the rules in favor of the the letter. Dice bouncing and roll-playing are synonyms, referring to the tendency to rely on mechanical interpretations instead of narrative ones. The latter is most often seen in writing, as the visual pun tends to be lost in spoken communication.

Maybe it's nitpicking, but I think "munchkin" is more attitude than action. Minmaxing, etc is a *symptom* of munchkinism, not the definition of it.
And I think the term probably originated with older gamers referring to younger, less "enlightened" (a relative term) gamers... because they're short (like Baum's50 munchkins) and annoying (like Baum's munchkins).
There's probably the core of the definition... a munchkin is a childishly annoying powergamer, etc.
--Carl D. Cravens

Regarding the term 'munchkin'...
Also enthusiastic and noisy, and perhaps not characterized very deeply.
The meaning may have shifted, though. In my day, a 'munchkin' would be expected to try to exploit the rules, but no to have the capability to actually do it effectively.
--Warren Dew

A reference to experience points, a concept found in nearly all RPGs. Experience Points (XPs, EPs, exp, "eeps") are the primary game-like reward in an RPG. They are given out by the GM as a reward for accomplishing goals and/or roleplaying well, and can be spent to improve the character.

expression of resignation used in RL to indicate that whilst an event has not gone according to plan, useful experience has been gained.
--Dr. Jim Davies

One of the problems with creating a fantasy world and then giving a group of players free reign within it is that no fantasy world can ever be complete. And, inevitably, it is precisely the incomplete areas, where the GM hasn't had a chance to fill in the details (or sometimes even the broad strokes) that the players get interested in. As a result, groups tend to come up with some sort of short hand that minimizes the intrusion of reality into the game world, while letting the players know that they should politely come up with something else to do. Here There Be Dragons is, of course, a slightly less jarring euphemism, drawing on old maps which used phrases and illustrations to that affect to fill in spaces the cartographer was ignorant of.

"Grey mists" - the parts "off the map" that the GM hasn't designed yet but into which the players inevitably blunder.
--Giles Williams

"Reality Ends 50ft." and "Construction Area-Keep Out!" Signs found on the edge of the campaign map and in dungeons to indicate we were about to wander off the GM's map.
--Douglas E. Berry

"Ancient Ruins Under Construction" (generally encountered on a large billboard in the party's path. Used to indicate that the party is reaching the edge of the area mapped by the GM and that they should advanced no further. Actually occurred many years ago in game; these days is used metaphorically: GM: 'You can't go there.' Player: 'Ah, it's Ancient Ruins Under Construction.' GM: 'Yeah...')
--Zoran Bekric

"Here there be dragons" used to mean this, often misunderstood by players; sometimes literal and meant to be misinterpreted.
--Lance Berg

In most RPGs, the players are explicitly the center of the game, and so their characters tend to be more or less the center of the fantasy universe. However, this isn't always seen as desirable, as many gamers prefer the "realism" of their characters being no more important to the world than their status and/or power would indicate. Therefore, a whole slew of terms have arisen, all of which essentially point out that a character is being treated specially in the game world, for no reason except that she is a PC.

"player aura" - The quality that allows characters to know that another character should be trusted. Used as "It's okay; he has player aura," or "He says nothing; his player aura is dim today" (when the player is absent).
--johnmc@opennt.com

Here, it's your "PC Badge." Flash it to get the other player characters to work with you, or to let NPCs know that you're looking for some plot.
--Ryan J Franklin, University of Arizona

We used two expressions: "Tear the N off" and "Velcro the N on" referring to a legendary "NPC T-shirt"
--Lance Berg

We call that "having PCness", or "having PC painted/tattooed on your forehead/shining brow".
--R. Boleyn, Palmerston North, New Zealand

We call this 'blue glow'. And when a character's player is absent we say that the character 'keeps bumping into things', or that its 'blue glow has gone out'.
I think that our term 'blue glow' refers to the magical quality of PC-ness, and might have roots going back to the blue glow of magic swords. It might also have something to do with the blue-glowing ghosts of Jedi masters in the 'Star Wars' films.
--Brett Evill, Australia

AH! This is the one I've been trying to remember. We call this effect the 'PC Glow', or alternatively having 'PC' stamped on his forehead. Refers to the indisputable fact that players have their characters typically trust other PCs... Often exploited by unscrupulous GMs and their conniving accomplices in crime using a 'doppleganger'.
--George Heintzelman, MIT

One of the most fascinating intrusions of the real world into the fantasy world is the issue of missing players. Since a typical game spans many sessions and breaks in play time often don't neatly coincide with breaks in the characters' activities, it is almost inevitable that sooner or later a player will be absent when there is no believable way for the character to be absent. It is common practice that one doesn't play another's character, at least as a general rule, so the player-less character will do little or nothing for the duration. As a result, the group (usually the GM, actually), has to come up with a reason why that character is suddenly less alive than before. These range from the reality-defying (Lothar is suddenly encased in an indestructible pink shell of energy, which floats along behind the group, wherever you go.) through the tongue-in-cheek, to the merely coincidental.

We have Quantum, or Shrodinger's51 PCs, for players who are absent - they're assumed to have been with the group, just in an indeterminate state for the course of the session.
--Neil Barnes, University of Bristol, England

My groups take on this - 'locked in the sanitary facilities'. One of the players was poring over the deck plans of the starship they were on, and was incredibly ticked by the fact that the WCs were labeled 'Sanitary Facilities' - I'm not sure why. In any case, he ended up the session locked in them, and he wasn't around for the next two games, so we assumed he was still locked in the SanFac. From then on, whenever someone was missing for a session, the first thing their character would do is say, 'I'm gonna go to the bathroom' (or something similar) and then wander off, and somehow get locked or stuck there.
--jeffj@io.com

Also use "the grey haze" to denote the whereabouts of PC's whose players were AWOL.
--Red <red_army_blues@hotmail.com>

You mean PC with PMS : Player missing syndrome.
-- Peter P. Toth

From Call of Cthulhu, where this is an actual mechanic, invoked in response to horrifying events. Now used not only in other games, but also in real life. Most often refers to horrifying events, but sometimes is sarcastically applied to inane or illogical events.

from Call of Cthulhu: Burning (or Blowing) SAN.52 Used in reference to any mind boggling event, or particularly twisted chain of logic; ie "That burned SAN, but I followed it!" Most often used out of game.
--Jeff MacDonald

SAN check; Not just a term used in our cthulhu games, something that has spread throughout all the RPGers i know where i live. USed whenever we see something scary. We even use it for non game purposes.
--marsthrel@aol.com, Yorkshire, UK

All of these, and many more, are references to the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Moreso than any other film or book, perhaps, this film is common currency among gamers. I have yet to meet or even hear of a gamer who hadn't seen the film-usually several times. While there are many pop-cultural references found in the gaming community, this one is near-unique in its universality-only Star Wars even comes close. This probably stems from the similarity of both subject and treatment. RPGs started out in the pseudo-Medieval fantasy vein, and even today swords & sorcery fantasy is probably the most popular genre. Moreover, most gamers recognize the inherent disconnection of gaming from reality, and readily poke fun at themselves. Very few games are as self-referential or silly as Monty Python is on a regular basis, but almost every gamer has recognized the tendency on occasion, and most have had at least an evening's worth of such gaming in a nominally serious setting. And the synergy works both ways. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is at its heart a parody of the entire heroic quest tradition, which is of course the basis for much of roleplaying, especially in the high fantasy genre. Therefore, the very traits that the movie is poking fun at in stories are as or even more common in roleplaying games: the knight errant who undertakes a quest or task because someone tells him to, heedless of the source or alternatives; the assumption of monarchy; the "hero" who responds to most situations with violence first and foremost; and so on.

Interestingly, only two of the quotes commonly reported by gamers (the newt quote and the reference to the "vorpal bunny") show up in those highlighted by the Internet Movie Database,53 which implies that the gamers are not just parroting the most popular quotes, but those that are most relevant to gaming.

Any Monty Python & the Holy Grail Reference: While not an individual term, I thought it deserved mention. Any line from the movie is a valid piece of roleplaying jargon, given that everyone will know what you mean when you mention it. Some specific ones I have heard: Vorpal Bunny: Any critter that looks harmless and cute that turns out to be fearsome and terrifying in action. Build a bridge out of her: (or any similar reference to a line from the witch trial scene) Any sort of utterly silly test to find out information, or intensely complicated utterly illogical line of reasoning. shrubbery quest: Any silly quest to get something that makes no sense at all other than the fact that someone asked for it in exchange for a favor. Very prevalent in computer adventures. A 'castle arrrg' note: Any message that was presumably recorded by the author just as the author was killed.
--Steve Mading, University of Wisconsin

Robin-the-not-so-Brave: A tough fighter whose player keeps trying to avoid going into danger.
--R. Boleyn, Palmerston North, New Zealand

"Run Away!": alternative call for retreat, usually after a particularly bad fiasco.
--Michael T. Richter

Tim: any wizard character who's sole function is to lob fireballs or cause explosions. Also used to refer to various cards in CCGs. Derived from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
--Lee Garvin

"Tim" : Tim the Enchanter. Mentioned earlier by someone else as a mage who uses lots of fireballs, but we always used it to refer to any old sage in a remote location that gave us the next clue on a quest, especially when his appearance felt sudden and contrived, like the GM just put him there as a way to get us back on track.
--Steve Mading, University of Wisconsin

"Look! It's the old man from Scene 32!" (or 24, or whatever). Again, a character who appears bearing a clue, for no apparent reason.
--Tom Scudder, University of Michigan

to turn [something] into a newt: a spell which appears to work but wears off too quickly. "Quick, charm him!" "OK, but I'm almost out of power, it might just turn him into a newt for a round or so."
--Carrie Schutrick, Carnegie Mellon University

And of course, we can't forget "And there was much rejoicing, yeeaaah", said after a particularly annoying character has just died.
--Steve Mading, University of Wisconsin

A little old man is related to the Monty Python "Old man from Scene X" and "Tim", above, but independently arisen. This serves to emphasize the fact that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is not by any means uniquely a source, but also parallels RPGs as an outgrowth of traditional heroic quest fiction and epics.

Little old man - an NPC whose only job is to give out rumours.
--Dr. Jim Davies

One of the few things that most roleplayers can agree on is that railroading is a bad thing. Railroading is the practice of forcing the players to follow a single, predetermined plot, most frequently because the GM isn't prepared to deal with the consequences of anything else. Since most roleplayers, whatever their motives for gaming, value the ability to control their character, something that so blatantly limits how they can play their character is seen as a frustration at best, and blasphemy at worst. There are a whole host of terms that go along with this, and GM's Hammer is a good example of them. Normally, the GM is expected to provide plot hooks, which the players then have the freedom to act on or not.54 A GM's Hammer, however, is a plot hook that is provided over and over again, until the players take it thus hammering them into that position-a frequent tool of railroading.

'Railroading': as GM, forcing the PCs to follow a course of action you have chosen.
--Brett Evill

'Tunnel-of-fun': an adventure with heavy railroading, in which the alternatives to the GM's chosen course of action are cut off by clumsy plot devices.
--Brett Evill

"The Railroad": A game in which the players have no control over the route, and only get to look at the scenery as they are hustled through the predetermined story (often by forcible and stupid plot devices). Players are often exposed to great danger only to be rescued at the last second, sometimes by a Rubber Dinosaur. Glove Puppets also live on the Railroad. Usages: "We've been Railroaded". "This is a Railroad". "It's a bit Railroady".
--Kevin Lowe, Brisbane, Australia

From one particular recent session where the GM used a really obvious railroad device (Hey, Bob, are you out there listening?), we now have the jargon "Okay, you've all been poisoned (and you'll die in 3 days if you don't get the antidote)." as a metaphor for 'railroading'.
--Steve Mading, University of Wisconsin

GM's Hammer: Any plot hook repeatedly offered by the GM, giving an image of preference for a particular choice. Also any deus ex machina used that points in a particular direction.
--Mark Kinney