Glossary of Terms

Dark Revelations uses a number of terms, abbreviations, and definitions in presenting the rules of the game. The following are among the most common.

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Dark Revelations uses a number of terms, abbreviations, and definitions in presenting the rules of the game. The following are among the most common.

Ability Score

Each character has six ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. These scores represent a character's most basic attributes. The higher the score, the more raw potential and talent your character possesses.


An action is a discrete measurement of time during a round of combat. Using abilities, casting spells, and making attacks all require actions to perform. There are a number of different kinds of actions, such as a standard action, move action, swift action, free action, and full-round action (see Combat).


Alignment represents a character's basic moral and ethical attitude. Alignment has two components: one describing whether a character is lawful, neutral, or chaotic, followed by another that describes whether a character is good, neutral, or evil. Alignments are usually abbreviated using the first letter of each alignment component, such as LN for lawful neutral or CE for chaotic evil. Characters that are neutral in both components are denoted by a single “N.”

Average Party Level (APL)

Total level of all party members / number of party members.  Used as a gauge to help determine encounters.

Armor Class (AC)

All characters in the game have an Armor Class. This score represents how hard it is to hit a character in combat. As with other scores, higher is better.

Attacks of Opportunity

Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you. It's the attack roll result that an opponent needs to achieve to hit you.


This is a monster, character or object that sets the theme for a particular area or scenario that the characters are not expected to interact it.

Base Attack Bonus (BAB)

Each character has a base attack bonus and it represents its skill in combat. As each character gains levels or Hit Dice, his base attack bonus improves. When a character's base attack bonus reaches +6, +11, or +16, he receives an additional attack in combat when he takes a full-attack action (which is one type of full-round action—see Combat).


Bonuses are numerical values that are added to checks and statistical scores. Most bonuses have a type, and as a general rule, bonuses of the same type are not cumulative (do not “stack”)—only the greater bonus granted applies.


A sample prebuilt character form from level 1 to 20.  They include feats and talents at these levels.  It will also includes spells if applicable.

Caster Level (CL)

Caster level represents a character's power and ability when casting spells. When a character casts a spell, it often contains a number of variables, such as range or damage, that are based on the caster's level.

Caster Level Check

This is used to penetrate spell resistance. It requires a (1d20 + caster level) at least equal to the creature's spell resistance for the spell to affect that creature. The defender's spell resistance is like an Armor Class against magical attacks. Include any adjustments to your caster level to this caster level check.


Classes represent chosen professions taken by characters. Classes give a host of bonuses and allow characters to take actions that they otherwise could not, such as casting spells or using unusual powers. As a character gains levels in a given class, they gains new, more powerful abilities.


The fictional being created by a player to act as their avatar within the game.

Character Build 

A pre-built character design that that fills in the talents, feats, spells and equipment for ease of use. Can be easily adapted by a player and is there strictly as a building tool.


A check is a d20 roll which may or may not be modified by another value. The most common types are attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws.

Challenge Rating (CR) 

The average comparable level of situation the party will face, and determines their reward.   Instead of encounter level, an encounter will be referred to as encounter CR.

Combat Maneuver

This is an action taken in combat that does not directly cause harm to your opponent, such as attempting to trip him, disarm him, or grapple with him (see Combat).

Combat Maneuver Bonus (CMB)

This value represents how skilled a character is at performing a combat maneuver. When attempting to perform a combat maneuver, this value is added to the character's d20 roll.

Combat Maneuver Defense (CMD)

This score represents how hard it is to perform a combat maneuver against this character. A character's CMD is used as the difficulty class when performing a maneuver against that character.


Includes Pet, mounts and familiars from the Dark Revelations Monster Manual.

Critical Threat Range

The die range on a d20  that determines a weapon’s ability to do additional damage.


This term refers to all the mechanical parts of a game.  For example, the combat rules.


A character is an active participant in the story or world. This includes PCs, NPCs, and monsters.


An effect (usually negative) that has been inflicted on a target.  Examples include Bleed, Confused, and Dazzled.  The full list is in the Dark Revelations Player’s Guide.

Corruptive Energy

The dark metaphysical energy that is the life force energy of Desecrators, undead and creatures from the Hallowed World.

Damage Reduction (DR)

Characters that are resistant to harm typically have damage reduction. This amount is subtracted from any damage dealt to them from a physical source. Most types of DR can be bypassed by certain types of weapons. This is denoted by a “/” followed by the type, such as “10/cold iron.” Some types of DR apply to all physical attacks. Such DR is denoted by the “—” symbol. See Special Abilities for more information.

Difficulty Class (DC)

Whenever a character attempts to perform an action whose success is not guaranteed, he must make some sort of check (usually a skill check). The result of that check must meet or exceed the Difficulty Class of the action that the character is attempting to perform in order for the action to be successful.


The Shorthand for Dark Revelations.

Exceptional Abilities (Ex)

Exceptional abilities are unusual abilities that do not rely on magic to function.


Estimating bonuses, penalties and other rules associated with role playing.  If the GM comes across a situation not covered by the rules, they can eyeball it on a case by case basis.

Experience Points (Xp)

As a character overcomes challenges, defeats monsters, and completes quests, he gains experience points. These points accumulate over time, and when they reach or surpass a specific value, the character gains a level.

Faustian Mechanical Item

Items that are Technology that use magic as a power source.  These are believed to be introduced to North America by the Desecrators.


A feat is an ability a character has mastered. Feats often allow characters to circumvent rules or restrictions. Characters receive a number of feats based off their class, race and level.


Referring to the narrative parts of a game.  For example, the history of a city.

Game Master (GM)

A Game Master is the person who adjudicates the rules and controls all of the elements of the story and world that the players explore. A GM's duty is to provide a fair and fun game.

G-Bill (GB)

G-bills (GB for short) were a composite credit that was originally setup by the DPP, but has recently has been adopted by the major human powers of North America.

Gaming Group 

The group of players and a Games Master.


This is the abuse of killing monsters for Xp without advancing a story.  Only you can prevent grinding.

Hi Yield (HY)

This is a damage bonus for modern weapons based on equipment modifications.

Hit Dice (HD)

Hit Dice represent a character's general level of power and skill. As a character gains levels, it gains additional Hit Dice.   Hit Dice are represented by the number the character possesses followed by a type of die, such as “3d8.” This value is used to determine a character's total hit points. In this example, the character has 3 Hit Dice. When rolling for this character's hit points, you would roll a d8 three times and add the results together, along with other modifiers.

Hit Points (hp)

Hit points are an abstraction signifying how robust and healthy a character is at the current moment. To determine a character's hit points, roll the dice indicated by its Hit Dice.  Wounds subtract hit points, while healing (both natural and magical) restores hit points. Some abilities and spells grant temporary hit points that disappear after a specific duration. When a character's hit points drop below 0, it becomes unconscious. When a character's hit points reach -11, it dies.


Whenever combat begins, all characters involved in the battle must make an initiative check to determine the order in which characters act during combat. The higher the result of the check, the earlier a character gets to act.


A bonus to hit points that all characters get at first level.  On top of maximum hit points, they get a bonus 10 hit points.


A character's level represents his overall ability and power. There are two types of levels. Class level is the number of levels of a specific class possessed by a character.  In addition, spells have a level associated with them numbered from 0 to 9. This level indicates the general power of the spell. As a spellcaster gains levels, he learns to cast spells of a higher level.


The light metaphysical energy of the Dreamtime.  It is the healing energy of most living creatures and the bane of those powered by corrupted energy.


This is a specialized equipment enhancement for traditional weapons and armor.

Master Tooled

This is an attack bonus for modern weapons based on equipment modifications.

Metaphysical Energy  

Energy tied to Dreamtime and the Hallowed World.  This includes corruptive and luminescent energy.


Magic that changes the nature of magic.  The best example is metamagic feats that affect magical spells.

Modern Weapon

Weapons that are built with complex parts.  These include firearms.  They cannot be magical, but can be made into faustian items.


Monsters are NPCs from the Monster Manual.  Monsters use a slightly different rule set for their design and are not   directly allowed to be played as Player Characters.  See Dark Revelations Monster Manual for more details.


When you are asked to apply more than one multiplier to a roll, the multipliers are not multiplied by one another. Instead, you combine them into a single multiplier, with each extra multiple adding 1 less than its value to the first multiple. For example, if you are asked to apply a ×2 multiplier twice, the result would be ×3, not ×4.

Non-player Character (NPC)

These are characters controlled by the GM.


Also known as an attack of opportunity.


A term coined to represent everybody involved in a battle.  This includes both heroes and villains/monsters.


A group of characters.  It is also known as an adventuring party.


Each class has several paths that show a specialization and background.   Each path provides specific bonuses and talents and can help a player flesh out their character within the party.


Penalties are numerical values that are subtracted from a check or statistical score. Penalties do not have a type and most penalties stack with one another.

Player Character (Character, PC)

These are the characters portrayed by the players.

Precision Based Attack

It is an attack (typically an extraordinary power) that does extra damage based on particular set of circumstances, and usually requires a target of the attack to be susceptible to critical strikes and/or have a constitution score.  Precision attacks do not do multiple damage on a critical.


The specific species of creature that the player is controlling.


Read the Fine Manual. The Fine can be substituted with other words.

Role Playing Games (RPG) 

A game of imagination put to rules.  An example of this would be Dark Revelations – the Role Playing Game.


Combat is measured in rounds. During an individual round, all characters have a chance to take a turn to act, in order of initiative. A round represents 6 seconds in the game world.


Occasionally the rules ask you to round a result or value. Unless otherwise stated, always round down. For example, if you are asked to take half of 7, the result would be 3.

Saving Throw

When a character is the subject of a dangerous spell or effect, it often receives a saving throw to mitigate the damage or result. Saving throws are passive, meaning that a character does not need to take an action to make a saving throw—they are made automatically. There are three types of saving throws: Fortitude (used to resist poisons, diseases, and other bodily ailments), Reflex (used to avoid effects that target an entire area, such as fireball), and Will (used to resist mental attacks and spells).


A skill represents a character's ability to perform an ordinary task, such as climb a wall, sneak down a hallway, or spot an intruder. The number of ranks possessed by a character in a given skill represents its proficiency in that skill. As a character gains Hit Dice, it also gains additional skill ranks that can be added to its skills.


Spells can perform a wide variety of tasks, from harming enemies to bringing the dead back to life. Spells specify what they can target, what their effects are, and how they can be resisted or negated.  See Dark Revelations: Book of Magic for full details.

Spell-Like Abilities (Sp)

Spell-like abilities function just like spells, but are granted through a special racial ability or by a specific class ability (as opposed to spells, which are gained by spellcasting classes as a character gains levels).

Spell Resistance (SR)

Some characters are resistant to magic and gain spell resistance. When a character with spell resistance is targeted by a spell, the caster of the spell must make a caster level check to see if the spell affects the target. The DC of this check is equal to the target character's SR (some spells do not allow SR checks).


Stacking refers to the act of adding together bonuses or penalties that apply to one particular check or statistic. Generally speaking, most bonuses of the same type do not stack. Instead, only the highest bonus applies. Most penalties do stack, meaning that their values are added together. Penalties and bonuses generally stack with one another, meaning that the penalties might negate or exceed part or all of the bonuses, and vice versa.

Subdual damage

This is non-lethal damage.

Supernatural Abilities (Su)

Supernatural abilities are magical attacks, defenses, and qualities. These abilities can be always active or they can require a specific action to utilize. The supernatural ability's description includes information on how it is used and its effects.


Talents are special abilities.  They may be, extraordinary, spell-like or supernatural.  Talents are obtained by gaining levels.  The choices available to a character are determined by their class and race.


The TIER system, or Total Item Enhancement Rating, is a system for putting all major magical items on the gauge.  TIER allows for a common assessment of the cost of major magical items, and the level at which characters are expected to come across them and when you are able to use them.

Traditional Weapon

These are relatively simple weapons that have minimal moving parts and usually rely solely on the strength or dexterity of it’s wielder.  This includes traditional melee weapons such as knives, clubs, swords, and the like.  These can be enchanted using the TIER system.


In a round, a character receives one turn, during which it can perform a wide variety of actions. Generally in the course of one turn, a character can perform one standard action, one move action, one swift action, and a number of free actions. Less-common combinations of actions are permissible as well.  See Combat for more details.

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