If I used the word "Toon" rather than PC... (A discussion of terms)


Gamer Life General Discussion

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Manimal wrote:
But why can't "toon" be part of the appropriate terminology? Why "murderhobo," but not "toon"?
Dr Deth wrote:
I don;t accept "murderhobo" either...

In addition to Dr Deth's reasons, I'd also point out that "murderhobo" is frequently used either as a joke or a derision of how someone else plays their character. Unless it's a comical or satirical campaign, most folks wouldn't refer to their own characters as murderhobos, and probably wouldn't appreciate other people making that implication either.

Silver Crusade

Thinking about it a bit more, wasn't "toon" primarily a term amongst UK gamers?

It seems much, much more common across the pond than it does amongst American gamers.


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In defense of the "murderhobo,....."

In a lot of ways, "murderhoboing" is actually a more historically honest way to game.

The place names of England that have "caster" in them were named by being on or near a "castrum," or "fortress" of the powerful Roman Murderhobo Empire.

Additionally, the ones that have "wich" in them were named for the Norse Murderhobo word "Vik." Lindisfarne was attacked famously by these Norse murderhobos, and afterwards the English would pray, "From the fury of the Norsmurderhobos, good Lord, deliver us."

Richard the Lionhearted, at the Siege of Acre, was a highly successful paladin murderhobo, and if you see Timeline, the armored murderhobos known as knights......unlike the highly idealized and mostly fictitious Knights of the Round Table, would chop down peasants on the road if they were in a surly mood.

Samurai murderhobos were known to do the same thing if a peasant didn't bow good enough.

The Mongol Murderhobohorde,......they were the greatest assemblage of murderhobos ever assembled. Most history back then was about this bunch of murderhobos sticking it to that bunch of murderhobos and taking their gold/land/what-have-you. Or,.....cooperating with another group of murderhobos to fend off yet another group of murderhobos that threatens the first two groups of murderhobos.

I don't think any other way of living ever occurred to anybody until the Renaissance.

Musashi? Murderhobo.


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Matt Thomason wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:

I always thought 'mob' was a collective noun for fightable entities.

"There's a mob of monsters over there."

As someone that used to tinker with MUD programming, it only really made sense back then because it defined something that was coded to be mobile as opposed to a statically placed object, with the only real differences between objects and actual living creatures being that the latter had health and the means to hit you.

In RPGs, it... just doesn't make sense (other than as the aforementioned collective noun), any more than I'd call the rules for a magic item their "script" or "procedure call".

It makes sense when you fight constructs!


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Oh, and even when I played Toon, I haven't played a toon - my character was guest starring putty folk from old Eastern German (or maybe Czechoslovakian) animated series.


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German Gumby?


Lamontius wrote:

dm gm

Meh. The only difference there is that people running PFS scenarios can't call themselves DMs. I, being a disorganized player, can.

Now if, rather than calling me "DM" or "GM," a player insisted on calling me the "monster generator," then we might have a problem.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I use Murderhobo almost exclusively with tongue-in-cheek, where I'm trying to illustrate a certain playstyle and the emptiness of said playstyle.

Silver Crusade

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I use Murderhobo almost exclusively with tongue-in-cheek, where I'm trying to illustrate a certain playstyle and the emptiness of said playstyle.

I appreciate it as an early warning sign. ;)

Shadow Lodge

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It's a bit like if you tried calling a PC a "horse".

You can call a PC whatever you want, really, especially in your group, but in real terms, it's wrong. Your PC isn't a horse, it's a PC.

For it to start becoming acceptable to a group of people - even a minority - that a horse should be a fine, completely interchangable name for a PC, is even more annoying. It just doesn't make sense.


Avatar-1 wrote:
It's a bit like if you tried calling a PC a "horse".

Not really. Actually it's a bit like calling your automobile a "car", and yet millions of people do so every day and nobody flips out about it.


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Funny; "horse" is what they call the person who is possessed by a loa in voodoo......

Scarab Sages

Mikaze wrote:

Thinking about it a bit more, wasn't "toon" primarily a term amongst UK gamers?

It seems much, much more common across the pond than it does amongst American gamers.

Erm nope. I can honestly say I've only ever heard it spoken by American gamers. I don't think I can recall any of my fellow Brits using such a term in my presence. It might have happened once. Definitely seems to be an American trend to me so perhaps it's a case of the grass always being greener on the other side.


Rynjin wrote:
Avatar-1 wrote:
It's a bit like if you tried calling a PC a "horse".
Not really. Actually it's a bit like calling your automobile a "car", and yet millions of people do so every day and nobody flips out about it.

If your particular automobile were a tractor-trailer and you called it a car, I might flip out just a touch.

On topic, as far as the whole toon/character thing... I agree with others that my immediate thought is cartoons (never heard the term in MMOs during my various exposures). As such, it tends to give the word a negative connotation for me.

However, that's not going to make me knee-jerk upset with the term.

Its biggest detraction, for me, is the lack of familiarity the term has. Talk about "toons", and maybe a subset of people (predominantly under 30, but with exceptions) are going to know you mean "characters in an RPG". Call them "characters", "PCs", or "NPCs", and absolutely everyone involved will know what you mean.

The purpose of language is to communicate ideas. If people don't understand you, you wasted everyone's time.

tl;dr, the term "toon" has sufficiently varied meanings as to be effectively useless or offensive in conversation. Everyone knows "character", "PC", and "NPC", so using those makes a lot more sense.

Also, I don't do "short".

Also, tractor-trailers aren't cars.

Scarab Sages

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Car is an abbreviation of horseless carriage and therefore still technically quite correct. In fact car was a recognised abbreviation of carriage back around the turn of the 17th century so it's hardly a newfangled fabrication.


i don't personally like the Term "Toon", but i will instead, call the character by their name, or if not their name, than a nickname i associate with the character.

for Example, i don't know the name of Matthew's Furian Assassin, so i will probably call him "Riddick" until i learn enough about his character for my fey countess to make up a cute nickname to refer him by.

i don't know the name of Javier's "Nordic Wizard" but i plan to call him "Ziggy" which is short for "Sieghart" and inspired by the German story of "Brunhilda" "Sieghart" is the German Equivalent to "Sigfried" and a relatively uncommon name i see a lot in Japanese Video Games as a means to make a character sound more "Medieval European"

thing is, i can't always come up with such a name, so i will refer to the character based on their description as well.

"Aran" the Reptilian Cyborg, i plan to call "Armani" because it's cute, and references a brand of fine woman's formal clothing and accessories in reference to my plans with his robotic corpse, should he die, turn him into a Valet Droid designed to hold the party's extra bags.


Balgin wrote:
Car is an abbreviation of horseless carriage and therefore still technically quite correct. In fact car was a recognised abbreviation of carriage back around the turn of the 17th century so it's hardly a newfangled fabrication.

Fair point. Current recognized definition is synonymous to an automobile.

However, I still reserve the right to flip out if you call a tractor-trailer a car.

You don't have to care, and may even point & laugh at me for being an idiot. But, the connotation of the term "car" no longer applies.

Liberty's Edge

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they're actually "tractor semi-trailers."
Trailers have front axles.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Shadowborn wrote:
Now if, rather than calling me "DM" or "GM," a player insisted on calling me the "monster generator," then we might have a problem.

What if they skip straight to shooting the food?


Balgin wrote:
Car is an abbreviation of horseless carriage and therefore still technically quite correct.

And toon is a recognized abbreviation for your character in an RPG.

But if people would rather wig out over the usage of an innocuous term, by all means have at it. I can chuckle from the sidelines.


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Laithoron wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
Now if, rather than calling me "DM" or "GM," a player insisted on calling me the "monster generator," then we might have a problem.
What if they skip straight to shooting the food?

It happens. What I don't understand is why they keep trying to kill everything with potions.

Sovereign Court

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Rynjin wrote:
Balgin wrote:
Car is an abbreviation of horseless carriage and therefore still technically quite correct.

And toon is a recognized abbreviation for your character in an RPG.

But if people would rather wig out over the usage of an innocuous term, by all means have at it. I can chuckle from the sidelines.

Sort of. I think a better analogy would be calling a baseball bat a racket. Both are used in sports, both hit balls though they are used in different ways despite similarities. Close enough but not really.


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Rynjin wrote:
And toon is a recognized abbreviation for your character in an RPG.

Obviously not, or else you wouldn't see so many people mention that they'd never heard the term used before outside of these boards.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I suppose it is a matter of preference. If toon is a term you prefer to use in your group, great.

Personally when I think of Toon, I think of my "toons" or characters on World of Warcraft.

When I think of Player Character, I think of a character i have created for a role playing game like Savage worlds, West End D6 Starwars, Pathfinder Etc.

Personally I dislike the term Toon. I prefer player character, but when playing World of Warcraft, I guess i just use their terms.

While playing Pathfinder, personally, I would use the term Player Character, or Character. If someone sat down at a table I was running and began to use the term Toon that tells me that this player is is coming from a computer game background. Perhaps a now what do you call it? a MMORPG? If I am teaching Pathfinder to this player, the I would try to explain things and relate them to World of Warcraft to help the player learn about the Pathfinder game.

I wouldn't correct someone for using the term "Toon" to describe their character, but I myself, while running a role playing game, wouldn't use the term "Toon". I would use Player Character.

Well that is just my opinion.


Shadowborn wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
And toon is a recognized abbreviation for your character in an RPG.
Obviously not, or else you wouldn't see so many people mention that they'd never heard the term used before outside of these boards.

So because some people have never heard of it, it's not a valid term?

What kind of logic is that?


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"Toon" is what the inhabitants of Toontown in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" are called.

I am unsure how it came to be used as a gaming term, but I don't really care. I just want it to stop.


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I would assume "toon" comes from the appearance of WoW characters looking cartoonish? If that's the case, why on earth would you use the term in reference to an imaginary character with no cartoonish avatar in a tabletop game?

Player Character, character, "my guy," "my dude," "my (insert character class here)" all have worked for decades before the advent of that most troublesome, noisome, pushy, all-encroaching and very unworthy slugfest.

I suppose if we came up with a term that was more in line with the format of a tabletop game, like say...

Imaginality (imagination + personality)

...I would be more open to the suggestion of a change.

But as it stands, it just seems like some here have a bit of salt and are enjoying rubbing it in the eyes of those who have a stronger preference for traditional terminology in their traditional games.


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"GM" is a damn car company!!!


Am I The Only One? wrote:


But as it stands, it just seems like some here have a bit of salt and are enjoying rubbing it in the eyes of those who have a stronger preference for traditional terminology in their traditional games.

It's posts like this that imply that the word is somehow causing them actual physical discomfort that makes this thread a comedy goldmine.


I'm gonna start a "Dinner for Schmucks" game night, and bring somebody who calls their murderhobo a "toon." I'll win for sure.


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I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What's the matter? Oh, you were finished! Well, allow me to retort. Does Marsellus Wallace look like a gish to you?

Brett: Gish?

Jules: What country are you from?

Brett: Gish?

Jules: "Gish" ain't no country I've ever heard of. They speak English in Gish?

Brett: Gish?

Jules: English, m#*~!@~&~+#@, do you speak it?

Brett: Yes! Yes!

Jules: Then you know what I'm sayin'!

Brett: Yes!

Jules: Does Marsellus Wallace look like a gish to you!

Brett: Gish?

Jules: Say 'gish' again. Say 'gish' again, I dare you, I double dare you m~@&+%+@&!~@, say 'gish' one more G#%$%*n time!


I think it originated in ToonTown Online, but I'm not 100% certain.

Anyway, some people find it irritating for various reasons, some don't, and all you're going to get are opinions, not some absolute right/wrong statement of fact. If it doesn't irritate the people you talk to, who cares? If it does and you're the kind of person who goes ahead anyway, then there you are.


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Mikaze wrote:
Personally, "toon" bugs me in MMO's too.

So much this.

But to answer the OP's question, I'd probably just grind my teeth and not say anything. I know what you mean.

Also, I only see 'murderhobo' used as an ironic statement on the nature of adventuring. I've never seen anyone seriously refer to their character as a 'murderhobo' instead of 'character', so I don't think that comparison is particular apt.


Rynjin wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
And toon is a recognized abbreviation for your character in an RPG.
Obviously not, or else you wouldn't see so many people mention that they'd never heard the term used before outside of these boards.

So because some people have never heard of it, it's not a valid term?

What kind of logic is that?

I think the logic they're going for is that this board represents a collection of highly knowledgeable persons in TTRPGs (let's call them amateur "subject matter experts"). Of these amateur SMEs, the argument runs, a sufficient percentage of them either haven't heard the term, heard it in context of TTRPGs, or consider the term inappropriate to the subject.

Consequently, the argument follows, if the amateur SMEs predominantly disagree with the term's use, then toon is not "a recognized abbreviation for your character in an RPG".

I don't necessarily agree, given that we are a massively thin slice of the community & at least half of us (myself at the forefront) are in no way experts of all RPGs everywhere.

Rynjin wrote:
Am I The Only One? wrote:


But as it stands, it just seems like some here have a bit of salt and are enjoying rubbing it in the eyes of those who have a stronger preference for traditional terminology in their traditional games.
It's posts like this that imply that the word is somehow causing them actual physical discomfort that makes this thread a comedy goldmine.

I'm still reeling over the whole automobile == car == tractor trailer bombshell.

Off-Topic Trailer/Semi-Trailer Debate:
Heathansson wrote:

they're actually "tractor semi-trailers."

Trailers have front axles.

Where I live & work, we have tractor trailers, per your definition.

We move some really big stuff.

Also, the definition of a trailer is "an unpowered vehicle towed by another, in particular". The definition of a semi-trailer is "a trailer having wheels at the back but supported at the front by a towing vehicle".

So, huzzah, I'm not wrong about one thing relating to powered & unpowered vehicles this month. Stretch goal: be not wrong twice.


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I got in the habit of using 'mob' and 'toon' in my games. Just as verbal shorthand on occasion I use 'tank', 'healer', and 'DPS' as well. No real reason, I use it like any slang.

I do absolutely looooooove murderhobo. Just the thing to get a chuckle at the right moment.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've noticed that the people who use the word "Toon" in MMORGS like World of Warcraft are those who are the least interested in roleplaying, if they have any interest at all. (Most players quite frankly, don't.)

I generally will make that assumption of people who use it in this venue. There are after all a lot of non-roleplayers in this game as well.

The Exchange

I personally dislike the video game lingo but it could be worse.

The Exchange

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Hate the term Tune/TOon, but damn I have fallen in luv with Murderhobo


Been calling MMO characters "toons" since at least EQ1 (late 90's).
I game with others that also play MMOs, so it's common for us to refer to making a new character in a TTRPG as "rolling a new toon", however once the game gets going I don't think that term is used any more...

Sovereign Court

Toon is a very outdated term. Always sounded stupid to me.


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I find the use of 'toon' mildly disconcerting and mildly annoying.

My response (at least mentally) is "Hunh? Oh you mean PC." It slightly interferes with communication since I have to think about it.

Also, as others have said, in the context of a TTRPG I think it is slightly derogatory. Some people feel it implies a lack of 'role play' in a persons gaming style since many of the MMORPG's are perceived to not have nearly as much role playing as TTRPG's. "Yeah you have fun with your toon. We're role playing over here." I don't know that it is justified, but it seems to have that connotation.

On the other hand murderhobo, tank, healer, etc... don't bother me when they really apply. When people start misusing those terms, it bugs me just as much. Maybe more.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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As an aside, I first heard "tank" in 1994, when I'm pretty sure MMOs didn't exist yet. So I'm always puzzled why people say it's an MMO term.

Maybe one day "toon" will be as ubiquitous and we won't remember where it properly came from. But until then, it still greatly catches me off guard, because PCs in a tabletop game have absolutely nothing to do with cartoons, and there's a logic disconnect for me. I also agree it sounds derisive and derogatory (much like murderhobo, a term I dislike far more than toon for reasons mentioned upthread), and suggests to me a disinterest in roleplaying.

All that said I'm not gonna berate a player of mine for using the term, provided of course they are a polite, committed, valuable contributor to the game (same foranyone else). And as long as, of course, everyone understands what the player means.

Don't expect the phrase to catch on in the group, though, because it still, to my way of thinking, rather nonsensical. The way the synapses hook it up in my brain, it's not calling an automobile a car, it's more like calling an automobile a roller skate. They're vaguely related, but could not, at least generally, be mistaken for each other.

But it's not some great sin either.


Someone on the forums called my game toony and it made me angry. I didn't understand what he meant, and he definitely meant it as a derogatory remark. I don't like it and hope it doesn't catch on; but I like murderhobo.

Dark Archive

Manimal wrote:

If I used the term "Toon" rather than PC, what would you say? What arguments would you use for or against it?

Thus far, one of the more convincing arguments I've heard is that using lingo from a different type of game (in this case, MMOs) could cause confusion; however, this particular word doesn't seem all that egregious—most people, even having not played an MMO, could pick up from the surrounding context that "Toon"=PC.

Thoughts?

Honestly I have no real arguments against it. Tabletop lingo (PC, character, etc.) was used since a while ago in most digital RPGs - both single and multiplayer - and now the digital lingo is making its way back to tabletop. The same could be said about calling low level enemies "mobs".

Cross-pollination, feedback influences, whatever you want to call it.

I'm more concerned about talking about PCs/toons only as tanks, DPS, healbots and such, limiting the tabletop experience in equivalents from the digital framework and discarding or not taking in consideration anything else (social interaction, investigation) that doesn't quite compare to combat proficiency.
As in many ways pen&paper RPGs are more varied in mechanics and inner working than the most common MMO games, I find that this kind of equivalences tend to... castrate what could (and should) be a more complex and/or complete gaming experience.

But that's just me.


The purpose of language is to convey an idea. If you know, like it or not, that when a person says "toon" they mean "character", then language prevails, and it's done it's job.


I suppose I should be amused by all this nerd rage over what some people call characters. I mean really does it matter? As long as you understand their meaning and you obviously do or you would be confused rather than enraged.

Toon: as I said already, it doesn't bother me anymore. To my ear it sounds extra cute and slangy. I don't use it but that is just because it still seems a bit strange to me. I suppose if I was in a group that used it regularly I might start using it without even realizing it myself.

Murderhobo: The first and to date only place I have seen this is right here on these very forums. It also caused me a moment of confusion when first reading it; and it strikes me as rather derogatory in nature despite the frequent use here. I might have even used it myself in an effort to be extra snarky.

Mob: I always thought this term was literal; as in that mob of minor enemies you have to fight to get to the boss. It has been fun seeing other peoples ideas on where the term may have started. I do use this from time to time as it is straight forward English and fits my interpretation of the meaning perfectly. And we all want to speak clearly don't we?

Tank, Healer, Controller, DeePS, Buffer, pull, aggro, DOT, HOT, ect.: MMO terms. I use them and I think everyone does now. They are as new as MMOs I think but they are also the perfect way to describe roles in a RPG, computer or not. No better words exist for these meanings.


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AoE


Shadowborn wrote:
Lamontius wrote:

dm gm

Meh. The only difference there is that people running PFS scenarios can't call themselves DMs. I, being a disorganized player, can.

Now if, rather than calling me "DM" or "GM," a player insisted on calling me the "monster generator," then we might have a problem.

... so, no calling you "MG", then. Right. Noooooooo problem!

keepyourdyslexiaundercontrol,keepyourdyslexiaundercontrol,keepyourdyslexiau ndercontrol...

:)


Just to show I'm not a "love 'em and leave 'em" sort of OP, I throw in my two cents...

I'm with those above who have said that language has a job: communication. As long as that result is achieved—I say "toon" and you understand I mean "character in an RPG setting"—then everything is copacetic.
Other MMO terms—Tank, healer, DPS, etc.—are also all right with me; Aranna said it best, above: "They are also the perfect way to describe roles in a RPG." That includes "mob" for monster.

However, I can certainly see how that kind of language could detract from a game, and, as with every set of jargon, it has a time and place. I certainly wouldn't use the term "mob" while reading the descriptive text to my players; that would be silly.

Murderhobo is a weird one. I get that the majority of people use it tongue-in-cheek; I certainly do. And yet, while there haven't been a great many such threads, I have seen people use it semi-seriously as a replacement for PC, particularly on build threads. Now, those threads tend to be divorced from the surrounding roleplay—and that's totally fine—but they are also actual advice threads, talking about actual mechanics. In such a context, "murderhobo" (in the few cases it is used) becomes an acceptable replacement for "PC."
This discussion has been had before; I recall a particularly heated thread about the prevalence of the term and its implications from a year or so ago.


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Aranna wrote:
I suppose I should be amused by all this nerd rage over what some people call characters. I mean really does it matter? As long as you understand their meaning and you obviously do or you would be confused rather than enraged.

Your definition of nerd rage is hilarious.

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