For some people, digging into the personality of a character during a D&D session comes easily. For everyone else, though, it can be a nerve-wracking and even embarrassing experience. If you’re in that second group, then don’t worry: you’re definitely not alone. Everyone goes through that stage, and there are some simple ways to help get yourself in the right mindset to not only roleplay your character, but have fun while doing it.
Always speak in first person
It might feel a little bit weird at first, but talking in first person is an easy way to help immediately become more immersed in the game, and it will help immensely. This means when you’re talking to NPCs or even other players, take the time to think of wording and what you might say if you were there. The more everyone talks in character, the more easy it will become.
Be a little odd
Playing a cheerfully odd character with some unusual character quirk can be a lot of fun. Maybe your character is ridiculously fascinated with a specific world element. Maybe they just really like rabbits. Maybe they are terrified of shopkeepers. Maybe they obsessed with finding the perfect feather for a big feathered hat because it sounds cool. Whatever quirk you choose, stick to it and make the most out of it. Just make sure it’s something you’ll get to use frequently as motivation and always clear it with the DM beforehand!
Get invested in the story
If you’ve built in a reason for your character to care about the world or the plot, then you’ll automatically have stronger opinions and therefore motivations. This makes roleplay much simpler as the question of “what am I going to do” suddenly becomes immediately clear. If possible, try and write it in your backstory. If not, then build relationships or interests in game that give you a reason to care.
Make a character you want to play
It probably goes without saying, but if you love your character concept, then you’ll have more fun roleplaying it and more motivation to actually roleplay. After all, you’re going to spend a lot of time working with this character, so you might as well make sure it’s a concept you personally find interesting. Whether it’s a unique backstory, an interesting quirk, or simply a fun class, make sure you create a character that you want to see interact with the world.
Don’t be afraid to be dumb
It’s tempting to always play it safe, but trust me: you’ll regret it. The most memorable moments in a D&D game always involve actions that seem not only improbable but sometimes just plain dumb. But that’s the beauty of roleplay–because sometimes it will work. And if it doesn’t, well, the stories that come out of such misadventures are worth it. So in short: embrace those dumb character impulses because that’s where the fun is made.
Interact with other players
If you’re nervous about roleplaying and about talking in character, then interacting with the other players in character can be the easiest way to get over that initial stage fright. In character, ask them a question about their backstory or something they said or did. Ask what they think about the most recent adventure, or tell a joke. Whatever it is, just get it out there. Don’t forget to talk in first person! After all, the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become.
Have strong opinions or uncommon beliefs
As mentioned above, opinions and beliefs are a great way to stumble onto roleplay opportunities. Find something in the world that your character believes strongly and then roll with it.
You can choose something serious, like a prejudice for or against something, or something more fun, like an unusual or unpopular belief. Perhaps the character is wholly convinced that their gloves are possessed by the ghost (despite showing no evidence of possession). Or maybe they refuse to accept magic is a thing and instead insist it’s all explainable by science (then attempt to do so). They could even be convinced of the existence of something like Atlantis and are constantly looking for clues on it.
Whatever you pick, make sure you talk to your DM about the world and work together to find something that your character can disagree with or believe in. You’ll stumble into plenty of roleplay opportunities as you express your unusual beliefs. Just make sure if your beliefs alienate a member of your party, you discuss it with both the player and the DM ahead of time and make sure it’s okay!
The key trick to getting into your character and getting over the initial nerves of speaking in character and knowing what to do is… practice! Just remember that you’re not the only one–there is a whole group of people sitting at the table with you who ALSO are roleplaying so there’s nothing to be nervous about. We all start somewhere!
Now that you’ve got a character and have some ideas on how to roleplay said character, it’s time to dig into the basics of the game! Already know how to play? Then why not check out our Class Overviews for more tips and tricks on your class, take a trip to the Archives, or head back to the D&D Basics to learn more!
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