Colorful Language & Roleplaying

After reading probably too much of Richard K. Morgan, I’ve the rather strong urge to use more colorful words in our roleplaying games. I have to admit, I have started rather shy and slowly last session. As you might already know if you’re familiar with a few of my older postings, I’m currently playing a dwarf, who himself is rather well educated and not without social standing, still I have the feeling that dwarven are ideal to turn all swearwords i know (I have to admit, it’s no special expertise of mine) towards giants, kobolds and other enemies.

Then again I think it’s this unbound behaviour that’s a fun-to-play part of a role you’re usually not a part of. On the other hand I think players tend to be highly irritated when you confront them with swearwords and bad slang – I’ve had this problem a few times, especially as dungeon master and especially in Shadowrun. On one hand I don’t feel overly confident when swearing (I’ve always seen this as a weakness and tried to rid myself of it in real-life) and on the other hand it just felt right-away scary when you change your tone ingame and can follow the reactions of your players.

Categorized that means:
1 – No swearwords at all [Polite or not so polite]
2 – Get lost, Damn, Hell… [Selfcentered criticism, maybe a rephrased f*word]
3 – Fuck, Moron, Asshole [Direct f*words, usually for direct confrontations
4 – Whore, Cunt, Son of a Bitch … [Offensive Language]

On a gaming evening my personal guess is, I’m usually down to 1-2, on a bad day I might even go up to three but not for a constant rate of swearwords over the game but more likely for a special situation. In my opinion a good approach would be to prepare swearwords in foreign slang (dwarven, elven, …) like my dwarf is currently using “Beardless” at every occasion if he has a dislike. To the Hells with you – rot in the abyss or similiar things are a great approach to give your character some personal (swearing) touch without the bad touch. Still, I’ve got the strong feeling that I want to try real bad language in one of the next Shadowrun games.

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