Game EducationHow to Play

Roleplaying Your D&D Character

A core part of Dungeons and Dragons is roleplaying your character. It is called a roleplaying game, after all.

Are you nervous to roleplay and use a fake voice in front of all the other players? Or do you just need help understanding how to roleplay? Whatever it is, I’m here to help. I’m going to break it down by topic:

Speaking in Roleplay

How does your character speak? Imagine you are a half-deaf, high-elf wizard know-it-all. Maybe they speak really loud, because they are hard-of-hearing. High elves are known to think they are better than anyone else, so maybe your character keeps talking about themselves. Wizards are very smart, so we could connect the know-it-all to the Wizard to make them talk like they know anything. What does “pompous” sound like? Is there an accent you could use or even an over-enunciation of words to make them sound different than, say, a gentle and meek character? Some people roleplay using special voices while others prefer to simply use their own voice. There is nothing wrong with either option. If you are sticking to a special voice, though, make sure to drink lots of water and make sure to choose something sustainable that won’t hurt your throat or give you a headache.

Appearance in Roleplay

Sometimes speaking in a character voice is too much to deal with. That’s totally understandable. A really cool trick is to simple change your body posture. Sitting upright taller than normal or even slouching during role play if you regularly have great siting posture. That one small change signals that it’s character time and can really help you feel the moment.

Cosplaying is also a blast, though completely unnecessary for tabletop roleplaying. Let’s go back to our loud high-elf wizard know-it-all. Because they are a wizard, they would probably wear robes of some kind. Elves wear elaborate clothes, so maybe it would be fancy robe. Elves have pointed ears, so try and get your hands on some fake pointed ears. And maybe if you want to go all extra, bring a book! It’s hard not to feel like you’re in character when you’re dressed as them.

Backstory Helps

How does a backstory relate to roleplaying? Imagine that our high elf wizard had a bad experience with cows. If your character’s Dungeon Master created a monster cow encounter for your adventure party, would you run away screaming? Or would you try to get revenge? If you hated spiders, and a Druid turned into a spider, would you faint with terror? Or would you stand your ground to calm yourself? Back story adds personality to roleplay!

Personality Traits Are Critical

Another personality add-in is your character’s personality. Say your character is a thief. When they meet King Snuffle-Feet and see the beautiful golden ring on his pinky, your character may try to steal it. Or perhaps it adds struggle because your character wants to do better and therefor focuses a lot on self-restraint? Either option will add character dimension.  I would obviously try to nab the ring because I love rolling for sleight of hand…

Bonds Create Depth

Let’s pretend your character’s Grandma is their only family. Your adventure party is traveling in the kingdom where she lives. Do you want to go see your grandma, or continue on your adventure? Word now has it that your grandma is in danger. Do you rush to save her, or continue on your path because the party has other intentions? Perhaps the fate of the whole kingdom depends on sticking with your party instead. Moral predicaments come up a lot in D&D and it’s a good idea to know what kinds of decisions your character might make during these predicaments.

Flaws Are Fun

Pretend your character is a known liar. So when asked what they are doing in the library, do they answer doing homework, or whatever the truth is? Well, they would lie, of course. Try doing an activity. You’ll need two people. Pretend you are your character. Then have the other person be a king or a guard, depending on what your flaw is.

Tropes Are Boring

You don’t have to follow what is typical for your character’s race or class. In fact, it can add a lot of exciting and interesting story to a campaign when a character acts, well, out of traditional character. What if your elf, instead of being elegant and lithe, was a bumbling buffoon with little dexterity. That’d be hilarious.

Now you know the elements of roleplaying! So impress the other players, impress your GM, impress something that wants to kill you, and impress yourself!

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