Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Narrative Character Roleplaying

This is in response to Trey's recent post.

The accent thing never worked well for my group, we would end up talking like pirates and it would really bring us out of the game rather than contribute to immersion. Talking in character even without accents was a real challenge for us, it was hard to think of what the character would need to say. In the end we decided to try talking about our characters in a narrative voice rather than an active voice.  The emphasis is on intention and specific talking points. Stuff like -

Jozen boldly explains what just happened at the dark tower to the king, specifically highlighting the danger the heroes were in, he leaves out the discovery of the magic staff however. He is hoping the King will reward him and not ask about the staff.

Florent recites a ballad he knows to the maiden, staring into her eyes when describing the romantic part. He is really trying to impress her.

The Myrish dock workers tell you that you in no uncertain terms that they want you to leave, their speech heavy with foul curses and the deep Myr accent.

We find its a faster a more direct way than trying to act out the scenes in person, and it lets you play a cool or eloquent character even if your improv character acting skills arent that great.

(L.A Noire, Fallout New Vegas, Clash of Kings, and my Skaven army are the reasons I haven't been posting lately.)


  1. Interesting. So you never have any direct interaction with an NPC. but rather sort of give "play by play" commentary? Certainly we do that some (for actions, or to sort of gloss or montage over bits) but I would have never considered abandoning direct interation entirely. I guess it just comes down to the culture of the group you started playing with.

  2. Yeah, well we try to be very descriptive. The idea is get the job done without character to character dialogue. We let our imaginations do the heavy lifting and not our acting skills(or lack thereof). With our method Florent the Bard can be much more eloquent and flowery then Adam the student. Miley Cyrus the Barbarian can be much more gruff and intimidating then Sarah would be able to pull off. It's not perfect and I think fully roleplayed interactions would be fantastic, but it never really worked for my crew.

  3. my skaven army > your skaven army