5E Playing an unintelligible PC

I am preparing to play a character that is inspired by Brad Pitt's character from Snatch, "One Punch" Mickey O'Neil.

How would you play a character whose speech was mostly unintelligible? It sounds fun, but I could imagine it getting obnoxious, both to play and to play with.

The idea is that his nomadic caravan has traveled far and wide, picking up pigeon slang from around the world. Being mostly rogues and barbarians, the tribe is also inundated with thieves cant speakers.

I think I will give him slightly slurred speech and obscure exclamations, both worsening with stress. With intention, he will be able to slow down his speech and annunciate properly.

The build uses a grappler chassis, with Rogue 2/ Barbarian 5. Rogue 2 gets the all important Expertise in athletics as well as Cunning action (Dashing with proned and grappled opponents is awesome); while Barbarian 5 gets you rages (Advantage on Athletics Checks), Bear totem toughness, and extra Attack.

The Tavern Brawler feat as a Variant Human adds a lot of fun role-play value. "Mickey uses the goblin corpse as a makeshift club, and hits the Orc with it", or "Mickey takes the grappled and prone Orc to Suplex City".

What concerns would you have as a player or DM?
 
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neogod22

Explorer
I am preparing to play a character that is inspired by Brad Pitt's character from Snatch, "One Punch" Mickey O'Neil.

How would you play a character whose speech was mostly unintelligible? It sounds fun, but I could imagine it getting obnoxious, both to play and to play with.

The idea is that his nomadic caravan has traveled far and wide, picking up pigeon slang from around the world. Being mostly rogues and barbarians, the tribe is also inundated with thieves cant speakers.

I think I will give him slightly slurred speech and obscure exclamations, both worsening with stress. With intention, he will be able to slow down his speech and annunciate properly.

The build uses a grappler chassis, with Rogue 2/ Barbarian 5. Rogue 2 gets the all important Expertise in athletics as well as Cunning action (Dashing with proned and grappled opponents is awesome); while Barbarian 5 gets you rages (Advantage on Athletics Checks), Bear totem toughness, and extra Attack.

The Tavern Brawler feat as a Variant Human adds a lot of fun role-play value. "Mickey uses the goblin corpse as a makeshift club, and hits the Orc with it", or "Mickey takes the grappled and prone Orc to Suplex City".

What concerns would you have as a player or DM?
Well, I would have you Roleplay your speech, since it will be hard for anyone to not understand you if you do it normally. In the last campaign I played, we had a druid who didn't speak, and used sounds and whistles to cast spells, which was pretty entertaining except the fact that her intelligence gathering was useless. Until the cleric took a level in druid, then it was, she could understand the druid since apparently that's what she was speaking the whole time.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

Draegn

Explorer
You might try using one of the online, Anthony Burgess Nadsat dictionaries or getting a copy of A Clockwork Orange that has a glossary.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
You have already avoided my concern. You made a PC that could be very annoying for the group to play with. Possibly very fun. You gave yourself a way out of the annoying stuff by allowing him to speak clearly enough when collected. As such it sounds like a blast to play with this PC, alongside him and to DM for him.
 
You might try using one of the online, Anthony Burgess Nadsat dictionaries or getting a copy of A Clockwork Orange that has a glossary.
That is a great resource, that I never considered.

I will certainly be peppering Mickey's speech with this slang. I've never read Clockwork Orange. Maybe I'll have to put it at the top of the list.

Thanks!
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Around the other PCs, speak normal since they likely understand your character. But when addressing anyone else, speaking vaguely coherent gibberish. That should keep your character from being too annoying.
 
What concerns would you have as a player or DM?
Your creating a gypsy, or whatever the nomadic gypsies that prance around squatting on everyone elses land in England are called. If everyone in the party is from the same band then communicating with each other is normal conversation. It is when you talk to most NPCs that you will have problems.

Be read for your DM to have most NPCs hate you, refuse to sell to you, and want to chase you off as thieves every chance they get. Also expect impatient members of your own party to tell you to shut up or talk in your place to avoid the irritation of having you dealing with others.

As a DM I would ask why you are no longer with your band are they all dead? Were you so annoying your own kind kicked you out or exiled you?

Finally I see your build being very weak outside of your typical tavern brawl. No goblin body club or suplex is ever going to do as much damage as a greatword.


As a side note your character should technically be no more annoying nor limiting than playing a Kenku.
 
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He will start the adventure with his full caravan in tow. I'm sure the DM and I will come up with a reason for him to go on an adventure and leave the caravan behind.

The grapple mechanics are a trade off, control vs Dmg. I have played a grappler before and had a lot of fun. Having a grappler in the party makes life easier for his allies and hard on most (non-huge & ghostly) bad guys. Add in all the non-combat rogue skillfulness and he is a useful alli.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Your creating a gypsy, or whatever the nomadic gypsies that prance around squatting on everyone elses land in England are called. If everyone in the party is from the same band then communicating with each other is normal conversation. It is when you talk to most NPCs that you will have problems.

Be read for your DM to have most NPCs hate you, refuse to sell to you, and want to chase you off as thieves every chance they get. Also expect impatient members of your own party to tell you to shut up or talk in your place to avoid the irritation of having you dealing with others.

As a DM I would ask why you are no longer with your band are they all dead? Were you so annoying your own kind kicked you out or exiled you?

Finally I see your build being very weak outside of your typical tavern brawl. No goblin body club or suplex is ever going to do as much damage as a greatword.


As a side note your character should technically be no more annoying nor limiting than playing a Kenku.
You play in the most antagonistic campaigns ever and if you are the DM of said campaigns then shame on you.
 

Eltab

Villager
If the DM wants to hand-wave your speech mannerism away, because it is too much of a pain to deal with during play, get ready to have Disadvantage on all your CHR-skill rolls.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I had a player that tried out a barbarian that couldn’t speak at all, other than grunts. He got really frustrated not being able to communicate with PCs and NPCs, and within two adventures was moving from speaking only one-syllable words, to two, to speaking normally.

That being said, it sounds like you’re not going the completely unintelligible route, so you may not hit that same wall.
 
You play in the most antagonistic campaigns ever and if you are the DM of said campaigns then shame on you.
No I dont, I am just pointing out that gypsies and travellers are generally hated by pretty much everyone else and there is no reason this would not play out in a DnD campaign. The one example in DnD is the Vistani and the base description of them basically said they were universally hated and feared.

As a fellow player I would quickly get annoyed with a traveller character doing the very annoying Brad Pitt speech pattern from the movie and making every role play situation take five times as long.
 

Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
First I would bounce it off of your GM and fellow players. You're hamstringing yourself so personally I wouldn't have an issue with it. But I know some players/GMs who would be irritated by it, so I would find out what your players and GM think and try to get them on board or meet them half way.

Besides potentially scrapping the idea if it grates on your fellow players, it'll work best if they acknowledge you'll be a support character and they're willing to have more of the spotlight. It's not exactly the same but I tried playing an R2 unit in a Star Wars game and had buy in from the other player. But in play the other player wasn't comfortable with taking the initiative in social situations and we had to reconfigure the party.

Also I think you should approach it with honest expectations of the character's social limitations. I once played a character who never spoke. I knew the character would only be able to communicate in very rudimentary ways (e.g., simple gestures, whistling to point something out, facial expressions, etc.) and would never be the focus during social interactions. I had a blast playing that character--one of my favorites.

On the other hand, my friend once played a gamorrean in a SW game for the challenge of being unable to speak Basic. He didn't fully consider that he would primarily have to play a Snake-Eyes type of silent character rather than the social characters he was used to. In play he tried to play his typical social characters and the game turned into a frustrating subgame of charades for him, then he changed his character.

I think it'll go well if you go in with the appropriate expectation that you won't be doing much social interaction and the other players and GM accept that you'll do a minimal amount of the heavy lifting in social situations. Good luck!
 

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