Content of the article: "Tips for nervous players new to roleplay."
Hey everyone, I am about to start a D&D game with some new friends. Everyone has played before, but a couple of our members have only really done hack n' slash games with little to no roleplay.
We've decided that everyone is going to try to embrace the roleplay aspect of the game. We have gotten pretty deep into character backstories and most of us plan on doing voices and taking part in in-character interaction.
I know that our less roleplay-experienced members are nervous about this aspect, so I wrote down some tips that I've come up with as I've become more comfortable with in-character play. I've listed them here. Does r/DnD have any feedback or additions?
Use descriptive language when describing your actions in combat.
Don't say: "I'm going to move 20 feet to get next to the bugbear and attack with my longsword.
Do Say: I sprint forward to engage the Bugbear. I swing my sword in a wide arc at the Bugbear's neck. They accomplish the same thing, but paint the picture so much better, and make the combat more immersive and entertaining. It doesn't have to be a novel, but a few descriptive word choices go a long way.
Try to do some sort of voice, but keep it simple. Trying to do an accent can be very anxiety-inducing. But your character doesn't need to have some difficult accent. Even something so simple as very slightly lowering or raising your voice, or speaking in a whisper, will tell the others at the table that it's your character, not you, that is talking.
Tip #1: Come up with a "Key Phrase" for your character that you can easily say in their voice, and say it at the beginning of the session, or whenever you have a hard time getting into character.
Someone doing a british accent might choose "I shan't tell my Aunt" to get themselves in "The Zone."
Tip #2: If a voice is too difficult, an expression or movement could help – Maybe your character is perpetually frowning or smiling, or strokes his beard often.
Expressions, posture, or actions can show the other players that it is your character talking.
Give your character a habit or tick. Something you can always fall back on when you're not sure exactly what they would be doing in a situation.
Don't: Have your character stand there like a post when the Bard is negotiating for his room, or just "go to bed" at a long rest.
Do: Have your character pull out a whetstone and sharpen his dagger while waiting, or puff on his pipe while deliberating his next course of action.
Think of a pop culture character that is inspiration for how your character behaves. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide how your character would react in a situation. If you take inspiration from a book or movie character you know well it may help you decide what to do.
Your rogue might think: WWHSD – or What would Han Solo do?
Don't take yourself TOO seriously. Some people want to be serious with their roleplay, and really get into their character development and the story they are telling. But for most of us, it's difficult. Face it, sitting around doing funny voices is a little bit silly. It's okay to laugh at yourself if your character voice sounds ridiculous. It's OK to laugh at the dumb stuff your character might do because they aren't as informed as you, the player. Roleplaying can feel silly. That's ok. If we all laugh together, no one needs to be embarrassed.
While in game, refer to the other players directly, by their character names.
Don't: Say, "Hey, Bill, what's your character gonna do?"
Do: Say, "Tanis, what are your plans?"
This can help both you and your fellow players stay in character.
- List of Roleplaying Guidelines (how to avoid the most common roleplaying problems, become a better player, have more fun, and not be “that guy”)
- Good ways to explain things to old/experienced players?
- We had an online character funeral
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