D&D 5E Roleplaying the opposite gender

Bladecoder

First Post
Hey,
Im having trouble with something I know a lot of people have trouble with when roleplaying which is as Im sure you can guess... Roleplaying the opposite gender (which in this case would be females). So I was wondering if anybody had any tips or tricks, oh and I should mention that I am a Dungeon Master that gives "voices" to my characters and this is where I am having most of my trouble. Thanks in advance. Leave you tips in the comments.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Zilong

First Post
Do you mean just making your voice sound higher? There's pretty much no normal way around that particular problem.

As for actually making a character whose gender you do not share seem realistic, there is usually not much difference in playing one gender vs another. Typically, unless the setting would dictate otherwise, men and woman are moved or become disgusted by similar things. Various media outlets like to make men and women polar opposites when, I find at least, humans tend to be pretty similar regardless of what they may be packing. All bets are off when you start getting into other species of course, but that is a problem all on its own.

So really, unless there is a specific reason in the setting why a woman might react differently than a man, just think of it as a dude with the same personality and what he would do. Granted, this view comes more from writing fiction and characters for novels than actual game experience, but I like to think the principles of character creation and motivation are the same.

Though, now that i think about it, none of the characters I have played have shared my gender and I've never been called out by other players or Dm's for playing 2d caricatures. So hopefully that means I'm doing something right.
 
Last edited:

Bladecoder

First Post
Well actually I was only refering to the voice, and just speaking in a higher register is what I'm trying to avoid as it seems odd, unrealistic, and some what off-putting.
 

Zilong

First Post
Oh... yeah the voice is a problem. I'd just play it straight and talk normally as the character. No need to throw in that kind of distracting chicanery.

For specific advise anything you can tell us about the character in question could help.
 


Mad_Jack

Legend
The key to playing any character isn't in doing a different voice, but in the words they say and how they say them.
Is their voice forceful or soft?
Are they loud or quiet?
Do they speak clearly and enunciate every word, or do they slur their words or mumble?
Do they sound educated? Or like they've never met a grammatically correct sentence before?

A farmer won't use the same words as a merchant or a nobleman, a sailor would be much less formal and more vulgar than a priest, etc.

For playing a female character, you don't need to look at the differences in how male and female voices sound, you need to look at what a lot of female voices have in common and indicate that. Watch a lot of movies and tv to find characters similar to what you're looking for and copy them. The tone of their voice, how they use it, and the words they choose and how they say them.
 
Last edited:

As Mad Jack says, sounding like a female isn't about talking in a higher voice. It's a different way of speaking and changing the tone and tempo of your voice. Go watch the movie Ms. Doubtfire as an example. S/he doesn't speak in some squeaky voice, s/he talks like a woman :)
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Well actually I was only refering to the voice, and just speaking in a higher register is what I'm trying to avoid as it seems odd, unrealistic, and some what off-putting.

Think how Chris Tucker feels. You could always get an amplifier, microphone, and pitch shifter. Or just do what Zilong said.

For mindset, don't consider the sex. Consider these spectrums:

Assertive - passive
Extroverted - Introverted
Emotional - Practical
 

Mercule

Adventurer
I'm a man with a very deep voice. Not quite James Earl Jones, but not too far off Michael Dorn. It's comically absurd for me to try to do falsetto. Considering I almost exclusively GM, I need to voice women on a fairly regular basis.

My solution, that seems to have worked since my voice changed in the 1980s, is to soften my voice. I don't mean that you should speak quieter. I mean that you need to take the aggressive edge out of it. As a general rule, women don't have as hard of voices as men, regardless of pitch. This isn't universally true, but playing to norms (or stereotypes, YMMV) can help to differentiate things. For purposes of this discussion, it doesn't matter whether societal norms drive gender behavior or the other way around; they are what they are.

Also, remember than non-verbal elements make up something like 60-80% of the communication. Posture, tempo, cadence, etc. are all important. More importantly, they're things that you actually can control. Just be a people watcher. Even if it's just TV and movies, that gives you some ammo that will be effective against your chosen target -- your players have similar frames of reference, in all likelihood. There are a lot of differences and people spend entire careers studying them. Doing a couple quick searches on "gender differences in communication" and "gender differences in body language" turned up a ton of papers of varying length, many of which were pretty short and bullet-point filled.

https://bodylanguagecards.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/gender-differences-in-body-language/ said:
1. Everyone stroke their hair with their fingers – in women, the duration is slightly longer.

2. Men and women will both bite their lower lip in times of stress, lick their lips when sensing dry mouth or attraction, in women though it’s more observable because it is a bit more frequent and sustained.
In men: the signals are simplistic....
In women: Body language is far richer....

http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1521&context=cmc_theses said:
...men and women view the purpose of conversations differently...
...Women are, overall, more expressive, tentative, and polite in conversation, while men are more assertive, and power-hungry...
...women are expected to use communication to enhance social connections and relationships, while men use language to enhance social dominance...
...women use more expressive, tentative, and polite language than men do, especially in situations of conflict...
...women use less powerful speech: they tend to swear less, speak more politely, and use more tag questions and intensifiers...
... men being primarily goal-oriented and result-focused and women being relationship-oriented...

So, the shortcut is to be more deliberate in your motions when portraying a woman than a man. Choose your words carefully, too. Women rarely cuss like a sailor.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
The best inspiration I've found for voicing female characters is Audiobooks. Find one with a male Narrator and listen to how he voices female characters. He's never going speak in a higher voice.

One of my favorites is The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie read by Steven Pacey. He voices a lot of female characters. They sound unique from each other and unique from male voices

You can find it on Audible, or even youtube if you look hard enough.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top