Getting into your character is important for game masters and players alike. It helps set the scene for the game and it’s easier for players to remember the name of the gruff dwarf that doesn’t quite know what wine is. Acting out your characters with different voices and mannerisms is much better than just stating the character has those qualities.
If you’re unsure how to act things out at the table or you’re a little bit too shy to bust out with an Ahoy!or a disgruntled Aaaarrrrgggghhh! then take heed me hearties with these acting tips to beef up your role-playing…
Gamemasters – Know your stuff!
Your acting gig at the table is perhaps the hardest to perfect. You have a lot of different characters to deal with and you certainly don’t want to mix them up. Also, you have to keep in mind that some, if not all, of the players are taking their cues from you. If your NPC’s are dull then the players have nothing to work with, so before you do anything make sure that you’ve got a good handle on what makes your NPC’s interesting. Practice their mannerisms and accents if you need to; it will make your game much more immersive. Remember, DMing is like a performance art, be ready to perform!
Alright, Mr. Demille, I’m Ready for My Close Up
Almost every gaming system talks about adding a bit of flavor to your character. Try to figure out Here are a few notes to refresh your memory:
- What are your characters motivations? – If they’re worried about retribution from a local thieves guild maybe they’re a bit skittish. Are they paranoid? Do they constantly look over their shoulder? If your character is paranoid they probably want to talk in hushed tones, afraid that someone nearby is listening.
- Are they confident? – Is your character a proud noble or a thief? It’s good to have a good grasp of how your character presents themselves and if they’re a bit pompous you can puff out your chest and look down your nose at the other people at the table. Just don’t be a jerk about it, you’re just role-playing!
- Are they from around here? – If your character is from a different area then give them a different accent. Try to decide if all people from that area have that accent or if it varies between races. Your halflings probably shouldn’t sound exactly the same as your half-orcs, and your alien from the planet Quxar shouldn’t sound like your average joe. If you’re consistent, players may be able to determine where an NPC is just by listening to you speak. If the accent you want to learn is a real one, look for books, movies or other media that feature your accent. Youtube is exceptionally good for this kind of research, there are tons of examples there for you to pull from.
If you’re a bit shy then there are a few things you can do to calm your nerves before a game. First, picture all of your gaming buddies in their underwear. OK…Not really. That might just make you more uncomfortable in close proximity. Go with this instead:
1. Be prepared – Make sure you know your character like the back of your hand. Try to get into their heads, practice their voice and mannerisms. Do it in front of a mirror if you have to, it’s a good way to build confidence.
2. Stretch – Athletes need to stretch before a big game, and actors need to as well. Take time to stretch out your neck, arms and face. Actors sometimes have to contort their faces into weird expressions so it’s good to get the muscles in your eyes, mouth, and cheeks a little bit of a stretch.
3. Have fun! – Try to enjoy your own performance and those around you. It’s not a contest to be the best. Try to relax and just have fun with it. You are your own worst critic.
While everyone at your table might like a good role-playing session, nobody likes a ham. Remember that you’re trying to have fun and nobody should be taking all of the limelight. Try to be aware of the people around you and don’t upstage anyone. It’s great that you think your characters stutter is the best thing in the world, but overplaying it can waste game time which gets frustrating for everyone.
Do you have any role-playing or acting tips yourself? Share the wealth and leave a comment below!