Roleplay Terms

Here is a list of several common place terms for Roleplaying. Please bear in mind that this is not a perfect list and that there may be other terms that have yet to be added.

APC (Account Per Character)

Sites that use Account Per Character expect that each new character that is created will have it's own account. These accounts may be linked to a master/parent account (especially on forums) for quick switching but is not necessarily guaranteed (depending on host/software).

Accounts set up this way often allow characters to have their own inbox for messages, avatar and signature space. Plus it lets them use the character name to make posts.

This is the most common style of account systems for forum based roleplaying.

APP (Account Per Person)

In contrast to APC, Account Per Person sites have one account for each player. So that all the characters a person wants to play are all tied to one account and they don't have to register further accounts.

This has the advantage of allowing players to quickly and more easily get into the game (not having to go through the registration process to get extra accounts to play characters). But it also means that the player cannot set unique avatars/signatures for each of their characters.

Endless Fight is an Account Per Person type site.

App (Application)

An app is the form a person fills out to create a new character. This form may also be called a Character Sheet.

Some games may not have applications at all. Others may have very small forms to fill out (like basically the character's name and maybe a few small details like their age) while others have a much more in depth form to fill out (including things like a history, personality, physical appearance section and more).

AU (Alternate Universe)

AU is separate timeline where the author makes changes to a canon story resulting in a different outcome. Because these are non-canon the rules often applied to the canon story may not apply entirely, they may be changed or altered by that story creator to fit the needs of their new work. For example, they may alter one event so that a major character lived when they should have died to see how things changed. Or many small things could have changed.

Most roleplays that are made in canon settings are to some degree AU. (This is because the game creators often make changes to make the world more interesting/suitable for them to play in.)


The official works created by an author/company that a roleplay may be based on. This is not to be confused with the artillery piece “Cannon”.

Canon character

A character from the official works that is present in the new roleplay. (Canon characters may or may not be available for use depending on the whim of the roleplay creator.)

Canon roleplay

A canon roleplay takes place in an existing universe. (EX- Megaman X, Fallout 3, Resident Evil.) It may use characters from that universe or it may not… If the Game Maker elects to allow it, players in this type of roleplay can become the characters from the existing universe or become original characters that are acting in the official universe (depending on the maker's whim).

You may also hear the term Fandom Roleplay applied instead of Canon Roleplay. They are both the same thing though.


Crack is a term used to describe a roleplay (or topic in a roleplay) that does not actually happen within the boundaries of the game. It's often a situation set up that is just for fun and has no bearing on the story.

For example if two characters could never meet because one died before the other was around, the players could have a crack roleplay just so these two characters could meet and interact.

The term “Crack” could have come from:

  1. the fact the particular set up is broken (or impossible) and does not fit within the world.
  2. the fact it's often very addictive (like the drug crack).

ERP (Erotic Roleplay)

A specific type of roleplay that focuses predominantly on (but is not solely limited to) characters partaking in sexual activity. Often written for the purpose of amusement, arousal or to explore different orientations and facets of the Human sexuality.

Often gets confused with traditional roleplay by those who aren't very familiar with the term 'roleplay'.

You may also hear the term “smut” or “porn without plot” used to refer to refer to Erotic Roleplay. Though they tend to refer specifically to erotic roleplay that is for excitement rather than to move a plot along. (This does not mean a plot can't be moved along while the writers enjoy the scene though.)

FTB (Fade to Black)

Fade to Black is a term used to describe when a roleplay is approaching a sexual scene, but instead of playing out the scene (and writing everything out) the players skip to after the act has occurred and pick up there.

Fade to Black was a film term used to describe these situations in a movie setting that got applied to roleplay.

Fade to Black is sometimes used because:

  1. the rating of the site requires it. (Often due to Terms of Service of the host.)
  2. one player in that thread may not be comfortable playing out sex threads.
  3. one player is bored with typing everything out and is more interested in dealing with aftereffects.
  4. one player is underage (under 18).


Fanon is a contraction of “fan canon”. It basically means when a writer fills in the gaps of a canon work with their own material. Generally this work is classed not officially canon, but it may make sense to help explain aspects of the world in question.


Fluff is extraneous content added to a post to increase length, often to meet word count minimums, that didn't really contribute anything of value. Players often can't reply to the fluff (since many times it's a character's internal monologue). Fluff may use purple prose to help increase length through descriptions.

GM (Game Master)

GM stands for Gamer Master. (Though you may also see “Game Creator” or “Game Maker” used instead though they all mean the same thing.) This is the person who made that roleplay. As such they are the authority on that game, they made and enforce the rules. If something is to happen, they are typically the ones who will decide what happens. They may be lax or strict, it all depends on the individual.

When it comes to roleplays that use an entire forum (rather than one topic, one board or one category), typically the root admin (or the person who registered/created the site) is the GM.

IC (In Character)

This is used inside a post to show when a person has gone from talking to another player to controlling their character. (Contrast with Out Of Character)

You may also see “IN” used to denote this as well. EX

Captain America threw his shield quickly. His shield clanged off the Chitauri's metal breastplate and knocked the alien down before returning to the hand of Captain America.

Hawkeye stood on top of the building and watched as Captain America dispatched another Chitauri. He turned and raised his bow at the same time. His fingers nimbly grasped the feather of an arrow and deftly he pulled the arrow out of the quiver. In short order the arrow was loaded and the bowstring was extended. He paused only a second before the arrow flew and hit it's mark.

NPC (Non Playing Character)

Non Playing Character (NPCs) are any character that appears within a roleplay but may not be up for use by players other than the one who created that NPC. Though some NPCs (depending on the game and player) may be designated open for use so any player can include them in their writing. They may not have their own character sheet filled out simply because they don't play a large enough part in the story to warrant it (or they have no one interested enough to play that character).

Typically NPCs are only mentioned to further other character's stories (which may include being killed off later if necessary). NPCs are often created and employed by the game creators to help drive the story forward.

Though NPCs can be turned into player characters if there is enough interest in playing that character. (Some may start out as NPCs until someone willing to play them can be found.) Similarly, player characters can become NPCs also if that player leaves the game or decides to give that character up. (Though this depends on the game in question.)

OC (Original Character)

This is a character that a person creates for a roleplay. The character belongs to them (and not the roleplay creator or the roleplay they are acting in).

Original characters may be inspired by other characters, though they may not be exact replicas of existing characters. Copying an existing character from one franchise to another under the guise of it being an original character is generally frowned upon (and is often grounds for a character to be rejected). For example, copying the Hulk entirely is not acceptable. However creating a new character who transforms when angry is. (Provided they don't also turn into a 10 foot talk green rage monster.)

OOC (Out Of Character)

This is used inside a post to show when a person is no longer speaking or representing their character but rather talking to another player. This is often used to give other players details or information to help them write posts that the characters may not know or may not need to be referenced in character.

For example:

I'm going to have Iron Man shoot his repulsors at Captain America's shield. 

Iron Man landed directly in front of Captain America. 
He raised his hands and unleashed a powerful stream of repulsor energy at Captain America.

Original roleplay

A roleplay that is set in a world that has been entirely made by the game maker. The rules and laws of this universe are entirely made up and determined by the GM so they are the complete authority on it. (This is unlike Canon roleplays in that this type of roleplay is entirely made up and uses limited to no aspects of existing series.)

PB (Playby)

Playbys are graphical representations of characters. Typically they are placed as the avatar on forums. (Though typically only for forums that use Account Per Character style.) They may be drawn, computer generated or manipulated images of real life famous people (depending on the game/GM's wishes).

They may also have various other rules attached to them like:

  • Size restrictions/regulations (like they have to be 200x300px).
  • No use of images from facebook or other social networks (even if you have permission).
  • No use of your own picture/likeness.
  • No images of people under 13 (even if they are a child actor and are in the spotlight).
  • The age of the person in the photo (when it was taken) must be within X years of your character.
  • Only one person may use a playby at a time. (So if someone uses Chris Hemsworth, no one else can use any of his images.)

PSL (Private Story Line)

PSL's are threads where only two players participate. They are typically agreed on beforehand that it's private. Then when the topic/thread is made it is tagged with the other character's name to show it's private.

It is considered poor form to join a PSL thread without asking permission from both participants.

You may also see 1×1 or [P] (followed by a name) used to indicate a private thread.

Posting Order

Posting order is used, typically for forums, to show when it's each participants turn to write.

Typically post order is decided by whomever starts the topic is first, then whomever replies next goes second and so on until it loops back to the topic creator. Though in some cases players may opt to create a post order before starting the topic.

When someone new joins (if they join in late) then the post order is often reworked to include them wherever they joined. For example, the post order may have been:

  • Player 1
  • Player 2
  • player 3

And a new player joins before player 3 the order will become:

  • Player 1
  • Player 2
  • Player 4
  • Player 3

Purple Prose

Purple Prose is any writing that is features exceptionally lengthy descriptions. They are often very ornate descriptions and may be very poetic sounding. Purple Prose typically features many similies (comparing one thing to another using like or as). Often to exemplify beauty or characteristics of the character. May also be done to help pad length of replies if there is a word count.

Though Purple Prose may not help to actually accurately describe a person at all. (In some cases they may confuse the readers rather than add clarity.) They may add length and the idea of detail without actually telling others anything about the character.

For example: “Her cheeks were like the finest porcelain, her lips were like roses and her eyes were like the ocean, deep and vast with the power to consume all while still offering gentle caress.”


Many roleplays include a rating to let other players know roughly what level of content they can expect to encounter.

Roleplays often use the Motion Picture Arts & Association rating or the Electronic Software Rating Board (for games) guide which has the following levels:

MPAA ESRB Description Examples
G E This is the lowest level of rating. It means there is no violent or sexual imagery at all. Death can still occur here but can't be shown graphically. Drugs shouldn't be shown or mentioned here. Cursing should also be limited to none or series specific ones here Disney Epic Mickey
Lion King
PG E10+ Allows for some violence/sexuality.
Violence is limited to cartoon violence where no lasting injuries occur and no blood or severe injuries are shown.
Sexuality is limited to kissing and hand holding predominately.
Drugs shouldn't be depicted being used at all, but some (like alcohol) can have their side effects mentioned/shown.
Cursing is allowed but should be very infrequent.
Portal 2
Star Wars
PG-13 T This is the middle rating and it offers a modest amount of room for violence and sexuality.
Death/violence can be written about, but shouldn't be focused on for very long or in tremendous detail. Basically no fountains of blood or intense torture/surgeries.
Sexual situations are permitted up until the clothes start coming off. But once the clothes are coming off then it's time to fade to black.
Hard Drug use (like cocaine or heroine) is not permitted to be depicted, but the effects can be mentioned/shown. Other drugs like alcohol can be shown in use though.
Cursing is permitted more frequently.
This is the maximum level allowed for free forum hosts or forums running ads.
Uncharted (series)
The Dark Knight
R M Allows for more room to display violence and sexual situations. Though it does not mean unlimited.
Violence can occur frequently and fairly graphically.
Sexual acts are still not allowed to be written out in full detail, though they are allowed to continue past clothes coming off.
Hard drug use is allowed to be shown, but should be shown infrequently.
Cursing is allowed with very few, if any, limits.
This is the rating most roleplays actually want/use.
Bioshock: Infinite
NC-17 AO This is the highest rating and it means basically anything goes. Very few games will actually rate themselves this however. Most will opt for an R/M rating. GTA: San Andreas (temporarily)
Blue is the warmest color

RP (Roleplay)

Roleplay refers to the activity of collaborative/group writing where each players take turns writing actions for their own characters (or canon characters they may be writing for). RP can happen on many different platforms (from social network sites to forums and blogs).

Roleplay can sometimes take on a negative connotation (especially when spoken to about people who don't know what it refers to and think it means strictly sexual activity in the bedroom) and is therefore sometimes referred to as 'Collaborative Writing' rather than roleplay.

RPer (Roleplayer)

When a person makes up a character and controls that character’s actions, they are called a Roleplayer.


These are the guidelines that every player consents to when they start the game. (If you don’t agree to the rules… Don’t join the game.)

Different games may have different rules depending on that game's creator.

WC (Word Count)

Word counts are when an Game Master imposes a minimum number of words for each reply in the roleplay. Each player in the game is then expected to make sure each of their posts has at least that number of words in it.

The game's runner may check the number of words occasionally to see if the writer is meeting the standard. If a writer does not meet the standard they may be asked to either improve to meet the standard, give up a character or even to leave the roleplay. (The outcome often depends upon the number of times that writer has had issues, how important the character is to the story and etc… )

This is often done in the guise of increasing quality of the roleplay, however it fails to address the issue that length and quality are not the same thing.