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Roleplaying Tips Weekly E-Zine Issue #3

How To Develop A Compelling Voice


How To Develop A Compelling Voice

I learned a new habit recently that has had a surprising and positive impact in my life: speaking from the diaphragm. Breathing and speaking from the diaphragm will give you a more compelling and powerful voice--a definite plus when roleplaying--and it also gives you self-confidence and greater control. Try it and you'll know what I mean.

Practice these instructions before going to the game table.

First, take several deep breaths. Breath in deeply through your nose and push out your stomach/mid-section as you inhale. Don't stick your upper chest out as you intake air-- that's not your diaphragm. And don't stick out your tummy either. The diaphragm is in between your stomach and lungs and that's what should "take in the air." The first several times I did this I was not used to it and there was a little discomfort, so I did not breathe as deeply. Keep at it and the area will relax/strengthen up over time.

Next, speak out loud while putting a little pressure on your diaphragm. I picture it as tensing my stomach for an incoming punch and you will need to try it a few times before getting it 100% right. Use a book or magazine article to practice.

Make it a habit to always speak from your diaphragm. Your muscles will build in that area and it will get much easier over time.

What are the benefits?

The tone of your voice drops and becomes more compelling. Your voice will not rise in pitch, as it does under stress. I call this "talking from your head instead of your gut."

The way you breathe will change. Shallow breathing, which is typical when "talking through your head" reduces oxygen flow to the brain--and game masters need all the brain power they can get to keep on top of things.

I also noticed, as my abdomen toned up a bit after awhile, and just from the feeling I got by breathing that way, an increase in self-confidence and a greater sense of self- control.

Try speaking from your diaphragm at game sessions and let me know your experiences:

Have more fun at every game!

Johnn Four

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The Gamemaster's Hall Of Shame: Monty Haul's Top Ten Cousins

A Guest Article Written by Peter Maranci, Copyright 1999

10. Minnie Haul (Also known as That Cheap Bastard)
Quote: "Okay. After twenty-seven sessions you have finally slain the Three Giant Dragons of Chaos. In the treasure vault you find--12 copper pieces and a rusty fork. Who gets the fork?"
Good Points: You'll never be over-encumbered.
Bad Points: Majority of characters killed by starvation, plus risk of lockjaw from rusty fork.
 9. Mr. Softee (Also known as Pathetic Guy & The Amazing Mushman)
Quote: "You're down 3 hit points? Uh...suddenly the troll falls over and spontaneously combusts! Magically, the smoke heals you."
Good Points: Characters never die. Ever. No matter what.
Bad Points: Who cares?
 8. Anger Man (Also known as The Master & It Wasn't Me)
Quote: "What? You don't bow to the King? Your limbs fall off."
Good Points: Order and discipline.
Bad Points: Discipline und Order!
 7. Das KillMeister (Also known as Dr. Death & Why Do I Keep Playing?)
Quote: "Better roll up six characters each. That should last the first session. Maybe. [chortle]."
Good Points: The thrill of danger
Bad Points: The boredom of constant defeat.
 6. The Sexist Pig (Also known as The Sleazeball & L'il Friskies)
Quote: "They rape you and you love it, like all women. Ha ha ha! Now you're pregnant!"
Good Points: Not boring.
Bad Points: Extremely irritating. Will emotionally scar any player under the age of sixteen. Knows no shame. Will probably serve in the Senate.
 5. Das PunMeister (Also known as Stop & Please, I Beg of You, Kill Him)
Quote: "A killer Tree-man! Woodn't you know. I'd leaf him alone. Bet his bark is worse than his bite!"
Good Points: A wacky, funny, laugh-a-minute guy.
Bad Points: Will not stop.
 4. Monotone Man (Also known as ZZZZzzzzzzzz....)
Quote: "Hi. I'm the King." "Hi. I'm the peasant." "Hi. I'm the wizard." "Hi. I'm the knight." "Hi. I'm the Dragon."
Good Points: Will never cancel due to laryngitis.
Bad Points: Save vs. Paralyzation or die.
 3. The Drunk (Also known as What's That Smell? & Not Again!)
Quote: "H'lo. BLEUUEUERGGHH!!! G'bye..."
Good Points: Vivid descriptions of strange, bizarre creatures.
Bad Points: Rarely coherent. Will probably die soon.
 2. The Insane Plotter (Also known as Machiavelli & Mr. Myxylplyxx)
Quote: "But the twelfth arbitrary conundrum signifies nascent ursinoids rising. Any idiot can see that!"
Good Points: Dazzling, intricate plots, sub-plots, and sub-sub-plots.
Bad Points: Makes you feel really stupid.

 1. The Great Actor
Quote: "Alas, poor Baldrick; I knew him well. 'Twas but the bare bodkin of our discontent that ravelled his sleeve of care! And now all is lost, forever lost!" (sobs loudly) Player: "Uhhhhh...does that mean I can order a drink now, Mr. Innkeeper?"
Good Points: Deep drama, and colorful NPCs.
Bad Points: You may die of embarrassment--and when he's on a roll, you'll wish that you could.

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