Let's talk about accents!

Hi, I’m Al, I’ll be part of the new player boom at the next event.
I’ve been really enjoying reading through all your shared thoughts and musings on this forum over the past few months on all sorts of topics, It seems like there’s some great people in this community, both new and old.

Onto the topic: I just noticed some friendly brummies on the Discord, and it made me realise that there’s people who travel from all over to Empire LRP, bringing with them all sorts of accents. Here’s a question for those with notable OOC accents (like myself, I’m from Liverpool): If you’re new to EmpireLRP, have you yet decided whether or not you’re going to use a different accent for your character during time-in? can you share your reasons/thoughts? Same question for experienced players with established characters. Could you also kindly share some advice and thoughts on accent-protocol during time-in? How challenging can it be to maintain continuity in your pretend accent throughout? any advice/tips?

I’m aware that there are no strict rules on accents for each region, I’m more curious about how players have individually interpreted the brief in regards to defining your own characters dialect (assuming they apply one at all), or even your characters manner of speaking, such as ticks or speech impediments.
I think accents play an interesting part in language and communication, as well as displaying your characters culture, or even their station in life. How would you explain to new players like myself, the “typical” accents you might hear within every faction? Are there sometimes different accents within the same nation? How many people even use pretend accents?

I’m going to be playing as a noble Knight of Dawn, so I reckon it’s more appropriate for me to adopt a well-spoken ‘Received Pronunciation’ accent when ic. I’m aware that in shows such as Game of Thrones, many lords had proper northern accents (even King Robert) and it worked fine, but I feel that my natural accent would be more suited for a Nation like the marches (those commonfolk scallywags). Can you outline the consensus on the accents of the Empire? for those who recognise the use of accents, is there a typical accent used by Varushkans? Freeborn? Highborn? Navarr? Citizens of Urizen, or the League? Winterfolk? Imperial Orcs? How would you describe each?

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Welcome Augustus, to the game and these forums! (and to Dawn!)

A good question, and not one asked before, I think :smiley:

As a rule, peoples OOC regional accents tend to get ignored.

(An exception a while back was a group of Italian players who were playing immigrant to the Empire. They therefore used their Italian accents as the “strong foriegn accent” of recent immigrants learning the language… great guys, hope to see them again)

(just on my observations, this is not official guidance)
Dawn, yes, goes for Received Pronunciation. As, to a certain extent, does Urizen and Highguard.
Varushkans use a fake Russian/East European accent… it’s highly contagious.
The Marchers use a variety of regional English accents, tending towards Somerset or Yorkshire. Also quite contagious.
The Brass Coast, given half a chance, slip into a slight Spanish or Arabic cadence if not accent.

The League, Navarr and Wintermark don’t really have much of an accent.
The Imperial Orcs tend to be rather brusque and forceful in their manner of speech, but (as long as their mask isn’t impeding things) have minimal accent.

If you pick an accent or a mode of speech or even a verbal tick for your character, make it easy to do. While it might help you drop into character and establish your character, you don’t want to have to drop it halfway through a weekend because it’s proving a strain.
I am on my third character in Empire, and…
The first one was a bit grouchy and inclined to detailed physiological threats (Physick)
The second had a lazy confidence, a lecherous eye, and a habit of breaking into stories (Pirate)
The third has a rhythmic manner of speaking, with a touch of Daddy-voice (Healer-mage)
…but these are more things that have evolved in play than pre-defined traits.

I have, in other systems, maintained a distinct accent throughout a character. It can be tiring, it can be annoying to you, it can be distinctive fun. As long as you’ve tested it to yourself, and are happy that you can keep it up for hours at a time, you’ll be fine.

Breaking pattern/accent during game may get a grin, but people will likely not remark on it.

Hope this helps, happy to discuss further!

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All but one member of my Urizen group are from Essex, and we speak with South Essex/Estuary accents, we sometimes OC jokingly refer to ourselves as the Urizenders. IC we account for it by being from a Citadel that was isolationist for long periods of its history, in a remote part of Redoubt. I don’t think there’s any specific Urizen accent, I put more emphasis on my character’s Naga sibilance than trying to adopt another real world accent or dialect.

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Awesome response Geoffrey, really clarified the “flavours” of the accents for me- and your characters sound so creatively well put together.
I know exactly what you mean about making your dialectic ticks/quirks/accents easy to do, that’s a great bit of advice that I’ll be paying heed to. Fortunately for me, I find our British RP quite easy to do, so I shouldn’t have any trouble with the type of voice I’ll be talking with. As long as it sounds natural/convincing and not forced, I’ll be happy.

A funny thought, I wonder how often people’s real accents ever slip out when the heat of the moment takes them, depending on how emotionally immersed the person is during a particularly distressing scene, I’d expect the likelihood of it slipping increases (think of Samwise Gamgee when he confronts Strider upstairs in the Prancing Pony Inn, when he sounds so comically “common” compared to his usual sweet voice :joy:) I’ve a hillarious image in my head of the most dignified and ethereal Citizen of Urizen totally losing their elegance during a really petty squabble, kicking off with a big Peggy Mitchel voice at some greedy trader over the price of a potion.

Joke aside, I’m really glad that there are various accents that some people use in anvil, I’ve always enjoyed hearing interesting accents playing D&D, I’m excited to chat with people IC and hear them all for myself.

“Urizenders”, that killed me @Bradstyley

I like the rationale that explains the slight disparity in your group’s accent to the others’, it fits well and little details like that are what add together to make the whole thing feel like a real world. The sibilance trait sounds really cool, I’d bet it makes certain things you’d say IC sound that extra bit more occult/other-worldly.

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Hello! Soon-to-be new player here as well!

I just came to this topic thinking it would be about non-English accents since that’s my situation :stuck_out_tongue:

So, with your permission, I’d love to expand the matter to international accents and how it is perceived by other players.

It is common to have international players that are not English native speakers - and therefore with all sorts of different accents - playing native characters from Dawn, Wintermark, etc?

If not, do you think that is something foreign players should worry about? I’m quite sure everyone is going to be super polite about it since this community looks incredibly welcoming.

I’m more worried about breaking game immersion…

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Hi @Aysha, great idea to expand the topic to include international accents. You certainly shouldn’t worry about your accent breaking game immersion at all. From my perspective, I’m glad to hear that there will be foreign players like yourself in attendance. I think that because as this is a fantasy setting, getting to hear pleasantly exotic accents like yours while I explore anvil would genuinely improve the experience for me, only making it feel that extra bit more of a colorful, varied atmosphere than it already is.

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Aysha I wouldn’t worry about it, there are a good number of people from various European countries and further afield that play Empire (we had a guy fly over from Texas to play in Urizen at e4 2019), I remember a bunch of French Dawnish and Spanish Freeborn at the same event, it’s considered normal and part of the game and it’s great to have such a cosmopolitan community of players.

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In Varushka there is a reasonable adoption of a generic Russian accent (lots of V instead of W, and Da instead of yes) but that is not part of the brief or required to play in the nation.

Many Marchers adopt a generic British rural accent, but again it isn’t part of the brief or required.

Other than that I can’t think of a nation that has a specific accent associated with it (although I think some Orcs deliberately speak quite gruffly as their character). In all cases they aren’t anything you should do and you shouldn’t be put off playing there if you can’t or don’t want to!

And yeah, I have definitely had a moment of dropping an accent when tired which caused much IC/OC embarrassment and hilarity (thankfully they were a good group of people and once I’d apologised and explained, we had a little laugh about it and went right back to the RP).

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I attempt to use a (or possibly several different) Scottish accents for my current Highborn sea captain character as he just kind of acquired one while I was creating him and then I couldn’t play him without one :rofl:. And as there’s a big group of Scottish players in Highguard whose Chapter is in Necropolis, we’ve settled on saying that it’s a “Southern Necropolis” accent :slight_smile: .

At the same time there’s a big contingent of Scottish players who play in Sarvos in the League, so you get someone with the broadest of Glaswegian accents saying things like “Molto Bene” and other smatterings of Italian. It’s all good fun.

But the trick is to be inclusive as possible and not expect accents because they’re hard to do well and also when you’re tired. Also you occasionally get people being told, oh that’s such a funny accent you’re putting on and they have to point out that no it’s actually their real accent. So I’d adopt a live an let live approach, while being careful not to exclude people from playing a character they want to because they’re worried that their accent is wrong for that nation.

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I always recommend giving a character a different voice to your own, but that doesn’t require a put-on accent. Like others have said, changing your rhythm or volume of speech can go a long way. I like using a voice to distinguish my character from myself a bit, and to make it clear if I’m needing to speak OC.

If you do try an accent, a little goes a long way. If it’s less pronounced, it’s easier to keep up and less likely to appear like you’re doing it for a joke. The easiest thing to do is pick someothing that’s already in your voice, and do it a lot more.

  • For my first character, I cranked my usual voice up to Maximum Leicestershire, described by my partner as “Why don’t you have more than one vowel? It’s just “uh”!”. He used short, simple words and got straight to the point. I was playing a physick but a Marcher Physick, and “We need to suture that laceration” wouldn’t work as well as “‘You got cut, so I’m stitchin’ it. Hold still.”
  • Another one was a jolly Leaguer Bishop who spoke like a slightly posh, optimistic sports coach. Brief sentences! Lots of encouragement! The walking embodiment of Hip Hip Hooray!
  • My current one is a naga monk, who speaks more quietly, slowly, and melodically than me for the most part. I deliberately avoid use of contractions on him, so I’ll always try to say “I am” not “I’m”, for example. I naturally speak quite quickly, so it’s a good way to immediately drop myself into the character’s shoes.

It’s not that a voice reflects where the character’s from in the gameworld, so much as it’s a way to signal who they are.

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I know an Italian Wintermarker, and I have an American accent in Wintermark/Brass Coast.

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@Kai_G You must be the gent I’ve been listening to, on the Imperial War College podcast. Good to meet you. While we’re on the topic of dialect & language, I have to say your diction is bloody brilliant.
Each episode is a case study on how to nail an informative podcast. Clear, collected, concise yet comprehensive. I highly recommend it to any other new players lurking in this thread.

I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I actually modify my speech quite a bit for the podcast. My native accent is a mix of PNW dialect and AAVE. I tried to enunciate as clearly as I can for the podcast so the audio cuts come out a comprehensible as possible.