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The Role-Player's Guide - Speaking & Emoting

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Wednesday, 19 November 2008 14:10
Article Index
The Role-Player's Guide
Character Development
Background & Personality
Character Creation
Refining your Character
Speaking & Emoting
Moving in the Game
Role-Playing Out of Game
Common Conventions
Pushing the Limits
Advanced Role Playing
Tricks of the Trade
Additional Resources
All Pages

Speaking and Emoting in the Game

OK, now that you’ve created a character and gotten into a multiplayer NWN game, let’s talk about some of the conventions around role-playing in-game.

Much of the role-playing you will do in-game is going to take the form of typing into the on-screen chat box. NWN has a limited range of “emotes,” physical motions and voice excerpts that your on-screen avatar will perform. These are discussed a bit in the sub-sections on “Emoting” below.

Speech Controls

A key part of the NWN user interface is the chat box, located almost at the bottom of the screen. Text typed into this box will appear in the game once you press Enter.

Note: You can activate the chat box by clicking on it or by hitting the Enter key. The enter key is a toggle; so if you want to get out of chat mode (to allow I for inventory, J for journal, etc), just hit Enter again.

NWN also has a number of different “chat channels” that determine who in the game sees what you type. You can select most of the channels by clicking on the currently selected Chat Mode. In the graphic above, you would click on the word “Talk”. The graphic shows what displays when you click. You can also access all of the channels with command-line switches. Here’s a list of the available channels, and some recommendations on why you should or should not use them while playing in a game of NWN multiplayer centered around role-playing:

ChannelSeen ByColorCommandUsed For

ShoutAll players in the gameYellow/sStrongly discouraged, used sparsely in single-party games as long as it’s in character.
TalkAll players in the general vicinity of the speaker on-screenWhite (no prefix)/tkUsed broadly in non-DMed games.
PartyAll players who are in the same party as the speaker, regardless of locationWhite w. “Party” prefix/pUsed broadly in DMed games so that DMs can follow the conversation. While DMs can hear “Talk” if they are nearby, they are often in other parts of the game setting up encounters ahead of the party. If using Party Chat, you should not exploit it (speaking to a scout 100 meters ahead of the group, for example).
DMAnyone logged in as DMGreen for DMs, does not display for players/dmSending a message to the DM, always out-of-character, such as “My character listens at the door, do I hear anything?”
WhisperEveryone within about 1-2m of the speakerDark Gray/wIn-character whispering to another player.
TellOnly the player specifiedGreen/tp “player name”
/t “char name”
Quotes optional if the name is a single word
Telling another player something in private. Usually reserved for out-of-character comments. Can also initiate by clicking on the character portrait on the right side of the screen, or the tiny character portrait in the chat window.

Some examples of using the command line switches:

  • “/s To arms! To arms!” (result is Shouted)
  • “/dm Do I hear anything” (asks the DMs the question, they will usually respond with a Tell)
  • “/w I can’t believe he wants us to attack a dragon.” (whispers the phrase, could be overheard by anyone nearby)

You can also store spoken commands in your Quick Slots. This is particularly handy if you have a certain phrase you wish to be able to say repeatedly. For example, if you are a cleric, you may want to make a slot of your favorite prayer, like “May the Lord Grolm’s mighty hand guide me!” You do this by right-clicking on the Quick Slot and selecting Custom Text Macro at the top of the Radial Menu. Then you give the Quick Slot a label, the text that appears on the Quick Slot, such as “Monsters!” in the example to the right. Next, enter the command. The command should be the text you want your character to say when you click on the Quick Slot. By default these come out as “shouts”, so be sure to use the switches listed above if you want your Quick Slot to be in Party chat or Talk.

Emoting with your Avatar

While it’s nice to be able to type things to make your avatar speak, it’s also nice to be able to make gestures with your avatar. There are a number of animated gestures that can be performed by any avatar. These are accessed by right-clicking your character and using the Radial Menu | Emote option. Emotes include such things as bowing, saluting, nodding your head, and more. Using these actions can add another dimension to the portrayal of your character. Another handy thing is that these “emotes” can be dragged into your Quick Slots for easy one-click access.


BegMakes a begging gesture. No sound is associated with this emote.
BoredStretches deeply, as if yawning. No sound is associated with this emote.
BowBows, or curtsies if female. No sound is associated with this emote.
CheerPumps a fist in the air, and speaks the cheer sound from the voice set.
GoodbyeWaves a hand, and speaks the Goodbye sound from the voice set.
GreetWaves a hand, and speaks the Hello sound from the voice set.
LaughThrows head back and speaks the Laugh sound from the voice set.
Look FarRaises a hand to shade eyes, as if looking into the distance. No sound is associated with this emote.
NodNods head. No sound is associated with this emote.
PoisonedSways unsteadily, and speaks the Poisoned sound from the voice set.
SaluteSalutes. No sound is associated with this voice set.
Scratch HeadScratches head. No sound is associated with this voice set.
ThreatenRaises a fist angrily. No sound is associated with this voice set.
TiredStretches and speaks the Tired sound for the voice set.

Emoting with Text

The NWN-delivered emotes are fun, and it’s always neat when your avatar actually does or says something, but if you stick with only those emotes, your role-playing is going to be rather limited. Therefore, most role-players use another convention:

Describe actions (called “emoting”) by typing text into the chat box with a * on either side. For example:

  • *leaps into the air to duck the sword*
  • *raises his sword angrily*
  • *cringes in terror*
  • *frowns at Elyssa*
  • *winks at the ladies, playing a jaunty tune on his lute*
  • “Feh!” *spits on the ground* “An elf? How can a bloody elf help us?!” (combines emoting and text in one line)

These sorts of descriptions have become a NWN mainstay. Use them whenever necessary to add flavor to your role. However, it’s important that you only emote things that another player could see! For example, despite the misleading term “emote,” you generally should avoid internal emotions or thoughts that would not be readily apparent to other characters:

  • Willem: *wants to get some ale*

OK, so that’s a noble sentiment, but how do the other players know that? Are they reading your mind?

Quick Chat

All NWN characters are assigned a “voice set”. Most of the voice sets for PCs that come delivered with the game include over 50 sounds/phrases for different occasions. Some of these sounds are generated automatically when you use a Radial Menu Emote. Custom modules available on the Internet also allow you to use NPC or monster voice sets for variation, although these have fewer phrases. Some of these are involuntary, such as the various sounds your character makes when struck in combat.

NWN also has a system called Quick Chat that can be used to activate the various voices in your set. You can activate Quick Chat by hitting the ‘V’ key on your keyboard (as long as your cursor isn’t in the chat box), followed by a letter code for a category, and a third letter for the actual Quick Chat command. The available commands are:

W CombatE ExplorationD TasksS SocialX Feelings

E AttackE Follow meW Pick lockS HelloX Thank you
R Battle CryW Look hereE Search for secretsD YesW Laugh
D Heal MeD Group upS Go stealthyW NoC Cuss
W HelpS Move overC Can doE StopD Cheer
A Enemies Sighted X Cannot doC RestS Something to Say
S Flee A Task CompleteX BoredA Good idea
T Taunt A GoodbyeZ Bad idea
X Hold  E Threaten

For example, to have your player use the “Thank You” sound, type ‘vxx’. (V to activate Quick Chat, X to select the Feelings category, and X to select the Thank You sound.) Note that the chat box must be inactive in order for this to work. Otherwise, your character will end up saying “vxx”.

It’s a good idea to keep this chart handy during play, at least until you have memorized some of the more common Quick Chat options that you use most frequently. It’s also smart to test the sounds in your character’s voice set before trying them in a game. Some of them may not match your character’s personality or the situation effectively.

The DM-Friendly Initiative

One group of NWN gamers has formed a group known as DMFI (the “DM Friendly Initiative”). This group has created a number of custom tools that can be implemented in modules to make them more DM friendly. One tool that they have created is a wonderful “Emote Wand” that gives NWN players access to a number of gestures that are not normally available through the Radial Menu. This device appears like any other magic wand in your inventory, although it has unlimited “charges,” and can be placed into a Quick Slot for fast and easy access during play. For example, you can make your character fall over onto the ground, bow in worship, or meditate. These tools enhance your ability to role-play in game, and I highly recommend them. At this point, many DMs on Neverwinter Connections use the Emote Wands, but be aware that a number of varieties of these devices besides the DMFI package exist, and you may see variants in different games.

Additional DMFI tools include a “dice bag” that allows you to roll skill and ability checks in 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons style and scripting that allows you to “kick off” one of your avatar’s physical gestures just by typing an emote inside asterixes using keywords.

So, with these tools installed, if you typed:

  • Antonio: *sings a little song*

Not only would those words appear above your head, but also your character would also automatically play the bard’s “singing” gesture. This can be done even if you are not a bard!

For more information about DMFI, see the Section on Additional Resources near the end of this document.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2008 15:07