Important terms

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The RPG community has an appalling tendency to misuse hugely important words, either applying them too broadly (referring to all canines as dogs), or too narrowly (calling all dogs canines), or simply incorrectly (referring to all felines as canines), so here are the correct definitions of these crucial terms, seven in all, used throughout this wiki and also in all other Sagatafl documents:



Any entity that lives within the reality of the game world. A typical realistic game world contains many millions of characters, including rodents, farmers, Orcs, Trolls, adventurers, Dragons, Minotaurs, rulers, religious people (some of whom are fanatics), prostitutes, and so forth.

The Sagatafl rules almost always talks about characters, and this is because with very, very, very, very, very few exceptions, the rules for creating PCs and creating NPCs, and the rules for how they function in play, are exactly the same.


(Colloquially "math"). The solving of equations and trigonometric problems, and differential and integral calculus.


(Short for Non-Player Character). A subset of characters, all those not played by players. All but a handful of the characters in the game world world are NPCs, and they are all played by the GM, almost all of them in always in an extremely implicit and indirect way (Farmer Maggot is probably still back there in the Shire, tilling his fields, or bitching about veggie-thieves).


(Short for Player Character). A subset of characters, namely those that are played by players. A typical Sagatafl campaign will have 2 to 4 PCs.


A metagame entity (=someone not existing within the reality of the game world) that sits at a table playing a roleplaying game, which consists of first creating a character, and then after that continually performing the intellectual work of answering the question of what that character would realistically choose to attempt to do; how he attempts to reach his personal goals and how he reacts to changing circumstances, based solely on in-game-world factors, such as the character's (often less than perfect) understanding of his current situation.


A subset of a species, with the best examples being dogs and Humans. The dog species (canis lupus familairis) come in many different races (sometimes called breeds, in dog-owner jargon), such as blood hounds, collies, golden retrievers, poodles and puffin dogs. The Human species (homo sapiens sapiens) also come in a variety of races, such as white ("Caucasian"), black, yellow and red, but this distinction is somewhat arbitrarily based almost exclusively on skin pigmentation, and does not reflect significant biological differences (really, it mostlyn boils down to how transparent the skin is to UV radiation, and the shape of the nose being adaptated to an arid or a humid climate), unlike with dogs (where, it must be emphasized, each race is the result of many hundreds of generations of selective breeding, i.e. artificial selection, to make each breed useful for one or for a few functions).

In some fantasy or science fiction settings, racial differences may be significant, such as between various brands of Elves (Sea Elves, Sky Elves, Wood Elves, High Elves, Bunny Ear Elves), or sub-species of Humanity that are the result of thousands of generations of evolutionary adaptation (or tens of thousands of generations of genetic drift) on different planets (possibly initiated by deliberate genetic engineering, e.g. by creating a Human race that has gills so that it can better live on an aquatic planet), or selective breeding.


A distinct family of biological entities, which pedantically must be interfertile with itself and only with itself, thus if two beings can mate to produce fertile offspring, they are the same species. Examples of species are Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, dogs, Dolphins, Elephants, Sirians, mice and chameleons.

Note that the interbreeding distinction does not hold true in real life; for instance dogs and wolves can interbreed, and only a fluke of evolution, two chromosomes randomly fusing into one, seems to prevent Humans from being able to interbreed with Chimpanzees and Bonobos.

Fantasy genre worlds can be even stranger, with seemingly distinct species such as Humans and Elves, or Humans and Orcs, being able to interbreed. One should probably also consider the likelihood of various pairings, including rape pairings. In many settings, Orcs are extremely crude, culturally, and sometimes also intellectually, and so any kind of pairing between a female Orc and a male Human or male Elf would be extremely unlikely to ever occur. And so forth.

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