Developing Your Roleplaying

2009 July 14
by Stupid Ranger

Dante & I received this tweet Monday from @jaredmcfarland:

@stupidranger @dalcher Hi [= @geeksgreamgirl says you can help hack’n’slash PCs into a bit more of a story driven RP game. Suggestions?

Dante will be sharing ideas to help DMs encourage more roleplaying from their players.  Me, I’m taking a look from the player perspective.  If you’re a player who is mostly hack-n-slash and you want to develop your roleplaying, here’s are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

Develop Your Quirky Side

A great way to ease into roleplaying is to develop a character quirk that you can exercise periodically.  Think of something a little off-the-wall for your character.  Maybe you’ve developed an intense fear of spiders.  If you’re an archer, maybe you like to check the fletching on your arrows before you turn in for the night.  If you’re a sword-swinger, maybe you check the edge of your blade.

A small quirk can give you something small to interject into your game that a) doesn’t take a lot of effort to roleplay and b) doesn’t take a lot of in-game time.

Develop an In-Character Connection

You can roleplay with other characters, familiars or NPCs in-game with a little creativity.  This can be something you work into your backstory: you and the other fighter went through militia training together before moving on to something bigger, giving you something to chat about around the campfire.  If you have a familiar or animal companion, you can spend some in-game time chatting with it.

It’s a little easier to work your way into roleplaying conversations if you have a reason to have a conversation!

Take Your Opportunities When They Arise

When you find a chance to roleplay, take the opportunity.  Sitting around the campfire is a great time because you’re already out of the combat mode.  Or wandering around a new town, as you meet new people or interact with shopkeepers.  I know it’s a little intimidating to start speaking in-character, but remember, this is supposed to be fun.  Take small steps and easy opportunities to flex your roleplaying, and enjoy yourself!

For the DMs out there, stay tuned for Dante’s DM-focused advice on how to help your players roleplay more.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. July 14, 2009

    Awesome advice! As a player I tend to talk a lot in character, as you guys experienced in full-force at GenCon ’08. 😀

    However, I think these are great suggestions for a player to make the transition slowly and comfortably, hopefully we get to hear from some hack’n’slash players or DMs and how this advice works!

  2. July 14, 2009


    Thanks for the feedback =D

    I’m running a session this Sunday and will pass on these suggestions and let you guys know how they work out. I also pulled aside some of better RP’ers in the group and asked them to help ease the non-RP’ing players into more immersion in the story.

  3. Stupid Ranger permalink*
    July 15, 2009

    @Bartoneus – Thanks!

    @Jared – Getting your RPers to help will make this a little easier too. It’s intimidating at first for some players to really get into roleplaying in character, and I hope these suggestions can help.

  4. July 15, 2009

    Great post!

    One technique I’ve always suggested for my players who prefer the hack’n’slash is to write down a unique warcry for each “special move” they have. This works particularly well in 4e where each special attack is a different move. On my blog I built a paladin and made notes of both generic warcries and warcries for each of his individual prayers (linked the post below). Even throwing these out in battle can help a combat-heavy player start roleplaying.

  5. Stupid Ranger permalink*
    July 15, 2009

    @Storyteller – That’s awesome! I love the combination of roleplaying and hack-n-slash the battle cries create. Thanks so much for sharing!

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