Friday, August 23, 2013

Chicken-Bone Nunchucks and other Mysterious Phrases

When I was a history major, some few of my professors would proudly assert that history was the only profession without jargon. This wasn't precisely true, but came fairly close.* RPGs have a wide and varied lexicon made all the more complex by a lack of standardization. This array of new terms can be a bit bewildering  to new players**, but that's not really the point of this article. (Hah! Wasted your time.)

Every gaming group sort of develops their own language over time. I wanted to share with you a couple of weird phrases that get used frequently in my gaming group: "Chicken-Bone Nunchucks" and "Dropping the Wooden Nickle".

"Chicken-Bone Nunchucks" - 

Meaning: Let's quit dicking around and get back to the game.

Origin: It's a damn weird thing to say. It's meaning makes it that much more strange. It all started with a Kender (of course). Several years ago, my wife was playing a gypsy Kender who'd been busily crafting nunchucks out of twine and roasted chicken bones while everyone else strategized. The game derailed into a bunch joking and general bullshit so I declared something to the effect of, "Lets get back to it; I believe you were making chicken-bone nunchucks..." The legend was born.

"Dropping the Wooden Nickle" -


Meaning: To pull one over on somebody.


Origin: This is a pretty recent addition. A running gag in my buddy's Lamentations of the Flame Princess game was that of wooden nickles. This mysterious currency was ostensibly minted by an obscure orcish tribe, which no one had ever actually seen. Nevertheless, wooden nickles kept cropping up in change from vendors and occasionally in treasure hordes. My character kept track of them. After amassing a few, he began to leave them as tips during an information-gathering spree in a foreign city. He'd give his harried victims the worthless chits with overwhelming ceremony and pomp, leaving a line of confused shop-keeps and bar-tenders in his wake.

How's about you? Any good stories and strange phrases to share?

*The only jargon I can think of concerning history centers upon types of history (Intellectual History, Social History, etc.) and microfilm ("twisting" microfilm, etc.).

** Never assume somebody knows what you mean when you say something like "Basic-Attack-Bonus" or "Dex. Check, e'rybody" before you know for certain. It's always a good idea to make sure everyone's on the same page.