• Agora

The Correlation Between Role-Playing Games and Character Voice.

by Alex C. S. Morgan

As far as role-playing games (RPG) go, I believe most of you know at least Dungeons and Dragons, right? If not, let me ring a bell to you: it’s the fantasy game the boys from Stranger Things play. The basic idea is you construct a character and role-play their actions inside an adventure created by a Dungeon Master. It’s fairly easy to see how that would be beneficial to fantasy writers, but I’m here to tell you it can be used within all genres, because guess what, we can turn everything into an RPG. Let’s take a look at how RPGs can help with your novel.

Character Sheets

This is a famous asset in every RPG. By filling a sheet, you have an idea of how that character is, both physically and mentally, and it serves as a guideline for what actions your character could or could not do. There are tons of character sheets online customized for writers, but if you want to try an actual RPG sheet, my favorite is the one from the World of Darkness games (Vampire: The Masquerade, etc), which is simple to fill out and can be used for both human and supernatural beings. The one from D&D is quite good as well, but harder to fill if you never played the game.

Live Roleplay

Acting a character’s actions is one of the best ways of getting into their head. After a while of acting like that person, their way of thinking, responses and mannerisms will come to you much more organically. You can find an RPG group in your city, or propose a game night with your friends. It’s very fun, and I highly recommend it!

Written Roleplay

If finding a Dungeon Master to narrate an adventure is difficult in your area, or if you’re an introvert who’s too shy to perform (we all know that option is quite common), there are tons of ways you can still roleplay in writing. There are a lot of RPG forums with the most various themes, from fantasy, fandoms, historical to even real-life, which are wonderful for contemporary writers. That’s a useful asset because it gives you a chance to experiment with their voice. The most known platform for RPG forums is Jcink.

Another useful and fun idea is to write letters or emails to your friends as if you were your character. They can respond as either themselves or create a character of their own. Interacting with another person brings the unknown factor to your writing and is a great way to flesh out new ideas.

Writing Prompts

If you’re not a fan of interaction or you're terrified to show your writing to another person at such an early stage, you can do it by yourself using writing prompts. Pick a prompt and write your character navigating that situation. I highly recommend you use first person narrative here, even if your novel will be in third person, because that way you can be closer to your character and their way of thinking. The more time you spend with that person you created, the more you flesh out how they would speak and see what works better for your novel.

Most of my main characters were once part of an RPG, and it helped me so much with getting to know how their minds work and how they would react in any given scenario. Give it a try! Role-playing is not only a great writing asset for character development, but a lot of fun as well!