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Developing a Character & Their Voice

A skill that is admirable and desired by most TTRPG players or GMs is to hone the craft of voice acting. It is not a quick pick-up skill, but something that takes time, practice, and consistency. Here's a brief overview of how to choose a voice for the NPC or Character you'll be running, how to make them unique, and how to practice the voice to perfection.

Who Are You Trying to Portray?

This first question is the most important first step to creating a voice for your NPC or Character. In order to create a voice that fits the person you are portraying, you must first understand who they are, what they're like, and every in-and-out. If you are not used to creating a character in full detail, or do not yet have that completed, then I recommend you start right here.

Feel free to bookmark this page so you can always come back to this list.

To avoid this conflicting with systems, this comprehensive list below of questions to consider for your character will be system agnostic but specific to a character's personality, looks, views, beliefs, and interests. This comprehensive list is developed from my past experience of literate roleplaying. You can use the drop-down arrow to the left of each heading you are interested in to collapse or expand each topic you're interested in getting more details for your character.


Physical Appearance










Once you have either answered all/most of these questions, you should have a really good idea of who they are. This can all be reflective in the voice. As indicated under Favorites you can decide on a phrase/expression they tend to say. This is their 'catchphrase' or more known as what can be used to get you into character quickly. This can also be utilized as a part of your character's quirks.

Reflecting the Character Through the Voice

To really reflect the character through the voice, there are many aspects to change a voice per character to make them unique. Here is a list of things to possibly decide on to match the voice to the character.

  • Think about how you can add weight to specific words or syllables with your voice

  • Do they speak slow, at a natural/regular speed, or fast? Does this change if they are nervous? Scared? Happy? Etc.

  • Do they have a more nasally voice?

  • Do they speak with a head voice?

  • Do they speak from the chest?

  • Are they more guttural?

  • Do they have a breathy or dry voice?

  • Are they young or old? Someone who is younger has a much different vocal range and tone than someone who is old? This can also be reflected in vocabulary.

  • Masculine or feminine leaning voice?

  • Do they have a small, medium, or large voice? This can match their physical size, or because of their personality. (Are they quiet and soft or loud and booming?)

  • Do they have an accent?

  • What tone of voice do they use?

  • Do they have an attitude?

  • Do they have a vocal disability?

  • What did the people they grew up around sound like? This can influence the overall voice.

If you'd like a detailed explanation of these along with observing it in action, here's a video from a voice actor that this list is based on along with personal experience.

Please note that you can adjust your mouth and body to represent the character better. Sometimes physically getting into how your character would be postured sets you to automatically do the voice better. This takes practice. Do research on how to get specific voice tones, increase your vocal range, and more. The best thing you can do for yourself is to watch videos, do training, and just practice. YouTube has so many amazing voice actors/actresses and vocal coaches at your fingertips to benefit from.

Recommendations for Practicing

Once you've determined the characteristics of their voice utilize the catchphrase to practice getting just that phrase sounding right. Once it sounds the way you want it to, make sure you can keep doing this over and over without fault. At this point, you'll want to make sure you really have it as a muscle memory by going back to your own voice saying the phrase like yourself, and then say it again but switch to the character voice. Once you can switch between saying a sentence in your normal voice and then go back to this catchphrase, and are still sure you like the voice, then you know you should be good to go to the next step.

Now that you have a really good idea of how to do the voice, and that it has become muscle memory (for at least that catchphrase), then you will want to start practicing reading random sentences to practice saying it in character. You can use something like a random story generator to create these random sentences. As you are practicing saying these random sentences you will find that certain words will require different weights or tones to match your character. You will say something, not like how you said it, and then try again by correcting what you didn't like. Once you've gotten to a point where you can just say random sentences and read them off like your character would, then you are golden. The character voice should be like second nature to you at this point!

To get back into character at any moment, use that catchphrase, especially before the session begins, as it will set your posture, tone, and mouth to the correct positioning of your character.

And again... don't forget to practice, practice, practice!

I hope this helps you create your character and their voice. Feel free to bookmark this page for future use, comment below if this helped you out or have other helpful resources, and have a wonderful day!


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