Cheap Tricks for Character Voices

Hello Miscreants!

And so what can I share with you this week? We’ve set the date for the next Puppet Gameplay – which is August 12th.

Yup… I think news wise that’s actually all we can share. Self imposed all we can share and stuff but still.

Oh – spoiler – we avoided that TPK on Friday Night SPICED! I’m so proud of my miscreants, AND they put together some of the puzzle pieces.

Areet, that’s all I can actually share. Which is a bummer because we have so much incoming.

A lot of people say that having character voices makes a really good PM. And to a degree that is true – it’s another tool in the toolbox of the PM to make an immersive world. 

With the introduction of podcasts and Twitch streams, a lot of GM’s use vastly different voices to voice their characters. Anyone absorbing this form of media will now assume that that is how to do it. It’s one way certainly, but not the only way. We’re not all voice actors, and some of us just don’t feel comfortable doing that. some of us don’t have the range… yet.

Not a necessity to do this at all, whatever suits you and your group best folks. We have had plenty of games that are wholly immersive where the PM would only use their natural voice and speech patterns. It was a baller game regardless. Voices are a tool, but they aren’t essential to run a good game.

For those who want to give it a go and add a little flavor to characters but aren’t confident enough to try a completely new voice, there are a few little things without changing your voice at all that you can try.

Speech Patterns and Vocabulary – These are generalizations to help affect a character’s voice, even if it isn’t the case.

  • Are they calm, cool and in charge? This can translate into speaking slower and carefully selecting each word.
  • Are they quick to jump to conclusions, are they the masters of distraction? Something like this would speed up the way in which you speak.
  • Do they hold power – are they the big bad? A character who demands respect doesn’t say they have it, they just assume they do. Silence speaks volumes, they use words like ‘will’ and will speak softly but clearly, only raising their voice when they demand the attention, then quickly revert back to soft words.
  • Are they whiny brat? This type of character will repeat often they they have power and should be respected because of this. They’re constantly shouting and trying to grab attention.
  • Educated? the more educated a person is, the less contractions they might use and the longer the words in their vocabulary. Less educated may well use more contractions, shorter words and a lot more slang.

These are cheap little tricks that aren’t difficult to pull off, but definitely adds spice to the worlds you are creating.

A character ‘voice’ doesn’t just mean an actual voice – we communicate with our bodies too. Other methods of creating new personas can include physical ones.

  • Confident or shy? Open body language that shows a lot of chest and teeth, or closed, where they are hunched up and barely moving their face.
  • Do they have a physical quirk? Are the missing a limb or eye, you can enact his by simply covering it or keeping an eye shut.
  • Bearing. If they are military trained they may well have a straight back and be quick of precise movement. Alternately they might be chill and irreverent, with limbs moving freely and with little regard.
  • Do they have a signature move? My favorite being running a hand backwards through the hair for my constant reoccurring character of James. They could constantly be clicking their fingers or rubbing a scar.
  • Hair. If they have hair there is a million things you can do, if you also have hair.

These little physical movements can indicate a different character just as effectively as changing up your voice.

By no means am I saying you HAVE to do a voice to create a great game, but they can increase the immersion of a game and take the role playing to the next level. Your fun is right if you’re having fun without doing any of this… but give it a try and see what happens!

Drink up folks, time at the bar.
Blood – I will separate you like an egg.

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