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Rusvul
2015-10-06, 08:18 PM
Hello! I'll be playing a Tiefling in a campaign soon. She was part of a small group of criminals at a young age, they took her in because she was intimidating. From there, she tried to make herself as intimidating as possible, making frequent use of the irrational fear people have of Tieflings. One of the things she did to make her threatening was adopt an Infernal accent. Now, I like to voice my characters as at least slightly distinct from my normal voice (largely because it's hilarious when someone says something metagamey using their in-character voice,) but I'm not really sure how to go about doing an accent for a language that doesn't exist. I'm not really comfortable using a real-world accent for Infernal... For something like Dwarvish or Elvish I might not be, but for a language that is inherently evil? I think I'd rather stick to fiction on that one.

I've done some googling, and the words 'gravelly' and 'melodic' are both attributed to Infernal. I'm not sure if that makes sense, nor how to go about that. Are there any particular speech patterns that would make sense to you guys?

Kane0
2015-10-06, 08:23 PM
I think of Planar Cant actually, which is odd because a regional British accent isn't usually very scary until you have a pit fiend using it.

Eisenheim
2015-10-06, 09:54 PM
Have you ever watched Balcklist? it's on netflix. Listen to James Spader in that for an idea of a way of speaking that just sounds evil. Or go for Hannibal Lecter. Basically, pick a great performance of evil, and try to pick up some of those vocal ideas.

razorback
2015-10-06, 10:07 PM
Have you ever watched Balcklist? it's on netflix. Listen to James Spader in that for an idea of a way of speaking that just sounds evil. Or go for Hannibal Lecter. Basically, pick a great performance of evil, and try to pick up some of those vocal ideas.

Yeah, I think that it's less about an accent and more about being sinister without going over the top.
De Niro at the end of Angelheart, Aragorn Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy... that would be something that I'd pick as being Infernal.

VoxRationis
2015-10-07, 01:59 AM
How low is your speaking voice? Can you do a good approximation of a Goa'uld from Stargate? (Of course, it's not really an "accent" per se, since it's not based on the application of a phonology from a different language from what is currently being spoken, but that's really semantics.) Shifting your voice lower than is typical for even low-voiced humans to use conversationally will make an impression, especially for a female character.

Keledrath
2015-10-07, 09:44 AM
Something to consider is that accents are as much a product of region as language. Americans speak English, as do the British and Australians, but between the three countries there are at least a dozen very distinct accents.

So maybe one devil has a Russian accent (though my headcanon has draconic being Russian, because it makes me chuckle), another has a French one, another sounds Australian (that will really throw your players through a loop). Then imagine they're talking to asmodeus, and he sounds like he's from bloody Texas.

Devils, and infernal, aren't really a single race or culture. And they've usually been around far longer and far wider than would be needed to master multiple accents. Powerful ones should be able to switch mid sentence. Hell, I have a cousin who, after spending a few months abroad, can do that with American and Australian accents.

CombatBunny
2015-10-07, 09:50 AM
Hi,

As others have already said, I think it has to do more with attitude than with accent.

How about Lucifer from Constantine?

That's the best portrayal of Satan I've ever seen in a movie.

https://othemourningstar.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/lucifer-1.jpg

Mastikator
2015-10-07, 10:23 AM
The thing that black metal and death metal vocalists do, but toned down.

GungHo
2015-10-07, 10:44 AM
I usually go with Truman Capote.

some guy
2015-10-07, 10:54 AM
Record your voice and play it backwards.

Mr.Moron
2015-10-07, 11:22 AM
I'd imagine hissing and a clacky sounds would be in infernal. Might come out sounding something like Zagara (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CFX6tQ7L4U), I think. With the extended "S"s and really harsh "K"s.

IZ42
2015-10-07, 11:05 PM
I don't really think you should go for harsh, raspy or metal voice if you're doing a devil. For a demon, sure, a Daemon, maybe. Devils are contractual beings, and need to have mellifluous voices, deep as night and rich as sin, if I may wax poetical, not sound like a 60 year old smoker who just hit up some boron. Devils should maintain icy politeness and professionalism up until they need to NOT.

To expand on Keledrath's offhand statement, the more I realize a Texas Drawling Accent, as opposed to Redneck Twang, would be entirely appropriate for a devil, especially if you imagine am oil tycoon from Texas.

Red Fel probably expand more on this. Hey Red, some people want to be evil up in here. Give em a nice lesson on how to be infernal.

Solaris
2015-10-07, 11:23 PM
To expand on Keledrath's offhand statement, the more I realize a Texas Drawling Accent, as opposed to Redneck Twang, would be entirely appropriate for a devil, especially if you imagine am oil tycoon from Texas.

That's a good point.
Redneck Twang would be more chaotic, given their individualist streak. The east Texan accent, however, is entirely appropriate being as this state's about as close as you get to Hell this side of death and they're much more authoritarian than their Redneck kin.

The Bandicoot
2015-10-08, 04:43 AM
Red Fel probably expand more on this. Hey Red, some people want to be evil up in here. Give em a nice lesson on how to be infernal.

Don't you know how to properly summon him?

Ahem....

Red Fel
Red Fel
Red Fel

Keledrath
2015-10-08, 05:31 AM
While that does make sense, I was actually thinking redneck, just because absolute inversion of expectations.

Then again, I run a high comedy table.

But yeah, outsiders shouldn't have consistent accents. They are literally not of our world. Dragons at least live mostly on the material (our shinies are easy to get), and their accents are best inverted (no, dragons don't have Russians accents, Russians have draconic accents)

TheTeaMustFlow
2015-10-08, 06:23 AM
Tim Curry.

Joe the Rat
2015-10-08, 07:35 AM
There are three parts to this:
Infernal Accent
Infernal Inflection
Infernal Speech Patterns
...and then the actual Language, which is what drives all of these.

Consider Infernal. The language of Devils, the ultimate masters of third meanings and ridiculous hierarchies and contractual bindery. Red tape made from the flesh of those who thought they could worm their way out of an agreement, or didn't understand that when they said "your body of knowledge," they literally meant they're taking your brain as part of the deal. It's shop talk for the worst stereotypes of lawyers and martinets imaginable.

Taking these in reverse, Speech Patterns are about big words and complicated structures that confuse people. Why be direct when you can engage in circumlocution to suggest the narrowing gyre of the topic at hand. Don't say what you'll do, just imply that you might do something, and there might be... corporeal receipts of your transaction... and you'll need some towels for cleaning your negotiation tools, which if you would so kindly provide, may reduce the balance due.

Now if you really want to get wonky, eschew the pedestrian lexicon of the mundane algesinist, and exercise quaternary definitions and archaic verbiage. Admix thee pompousterly ill-tailored constructs, and you sound weird and confusing. The Black Speech from Kill 6 Billion Demons is my current go-to for this kind of baroque verbiage. Mayhap more a Abyssal type tongue, but one that captures wrong and weird nicely.

The point to this is that your sentence structure and lexical choices reflect the style of the language.

Inflection: Where you put the emphasis. Which words do you draw out as being important. The ones that suggest pain and payment on the part of others (when being intimidating) or the benefits of this deal you are offering, for a minor amount of soul stealing. If you're good at improv, you can actually make an entire second sentence out of emphasized words. "Please consider lowering your weapons, for I would hate to see further violence that will unfortunately kill any chance of your group and ours reaching a common benefit, if not to part as family." The idea here is to invoke the idea that Infernal is a language of multiple layers, and you are used to saying two things at once. It's like a Cant, only more transparent. Another way to go here is to be very sing-song, or pitch upward through your phrases. This works best if you're the giggling evil as opposed to the mua-ha-ha-ha evil.

Accent: That's the easy one. Something off-putting and foreign is a good way to go, though your choices will depend on your group. Slavic and Germanic are easy go-tos for the not-quite pronounced right flavors from English. But if you want to add a little flavor, put on your best (or worst) salespitch voice. Some of my favorites in this regard are Small-Town Southern Lawyer ("Oh ah assure you, this is ahwull perfectly legal... <grin>") and Radio Car Salesman (Use those sinuses to resound, pitch smooth, and smile the whole time).

Millennium
2015-10-08, 08:02 AM
I'm with you on using accents ordinarily, but for the languages of the Lower Planes I tend to work with speech patterns instead.

Abyssal gets a death-metal grunt. Usually I only use this for the first few interactions to establish tone, and then go back to speaking normally, because I find the death grunt to be hard on my vocal cords.

Infernal is, for lack of a better term, slime. The lower ranks get something on the order of an over-the-top sleazy used-car salesman, while the upper ranks sound more like yuppie-speak. Hades, from Disney's Hercules movie, is a good example of what I mean.

Daemons/yugoloths/whatever speak Abyssal or Infernal -whichever suits their purposes at the moment- but they have their own accent: they speak in whispers. This can sound really ominous, though you have to figure out for yourself exactly what it means to whisper in a death grunt.

I once tried to voice a female quasit using a combination of the death grunt and the Wicked Witch of the West. I blew my voice out twice just trying to get the sound right, and another two weeks of rehearsing before I was confident in my ability to pull it off while making it somewhat intelligible. But it scared the bejeezus out of my players the first time they heard it. It was awesome.

And that was still easier than Donald Duck, which I've been pursuing for years. My general sound is good at this point, but my intelligibility is still spotty (so is his, to be fair, but mine is worse).

Keltest
2015-10-08, 10:34 AM
In my mind, devils will always speak with a very upper class accent from one of the more refined regions in the setting. They want to sound intelligent and sophisticated. The menace is less in the words and how theyre spoken, and more in the fact that the speaker has absolute confidence in their ability to come out on top. It isn't an opinion, its a fact (at least in their minds), and it shows.

Segev
2015-10-08, 11:25 AM
British, with a hint of sesquipedalian loquaciousness. Not because British is evil, but because it's cultured. See the super bowl commercial about British actors making the best villains for some brief ideas.

You can also go with Spanish (not Hispanic), a la Seņor Senior, Sr. Antonio Banderes as a Casanova villain would also work: seductive and classy. Heck, Catwoman, as cheesy as she was in the Adam West series, managed to make her "Purr" puns feel a bit villainous.

Russian and German also work, because the image of the communist oligarch or the evil scientist on the wrong side of WWII or the cold war is engrained in the Western psyche.

But for infernal, go for a soft-spoken accent, is my advice. Something that you can work menace into without having to raise your voice.


Actually, a good one I can't identify a nationality to would be Clockwork, from Danny Phantom. He's not a villain, but his accent would work for one rather well.

Keltest
2015-10-08, 11:28 AM
British, with a hint of sesquipedalian loquaciousness. Not because British is evil, but because it's cultured. See the super bowl commercial about British actors making the best villains for some brief ideas.

You can also go with Spanish (not Hispanic), a la Seņor Senior, Sr. Antonio Banderes as a Casanova villain would also work: seductive and classy. Heck, Catwoman, as cheesy as she was in the Adam West series, managed to make her "Purr" puns feel a bit villainous.

Russian and German also work, because the image of the communist oligarch or the evil scientist on the wrong side of WWII or the cold war is engrained in the Western psyche.

But for infernal, go for a soft-spoken accent, is my advice. Something that you can work menace into without having to raise your voice.


Actually, a good one I can't identify a nationality to would be Clockwork, from Danny Phantom. He's not a villain, but his accent would work for one rather well.

Or perhaps The Brain, from Pinky and the Brain! he does raise his voice, but his manner of speaking is appropriate.

oudeis
2015-10-09, 12:45 AM
Down-Easter/New England (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obZ7_c4BrDc).

Regitnui
2015-10-09, 01:48 AM
I also imagine the infernal races to have a slight undercurrent of amusement, though for different reasons; devils because they find the idea of mortals amusing ("Oh, but it's quite simple, really") and demons because most of them are just a switch away from launching into a tirade of hellish laughter at the amount of fun they're having.

Rusvul
2015-10-10, 12:19 AM
Thanks for the input, everyone. I've decided to use more-or-less my normal voice, shifted up slightly, using British pronunciation of vowels where they differ from American pronunciation, and pronouncing my R's in a Slavic-Eastern European way. (Because I'm a bad voice actor they tend to blend together.)

The thing about this character is, while she inherits her fiendishness from a devil, (probably?) her mannerisms are more like that of a Demon or at least Daemon. Chaotic Neutral, most definitely. So while some of your recommendations are brilliant, (particularly inserting second sentences with emphasis) they don't really fit the character. Sorry, I should have specified further.

Piedmon_Sama
2015-10-14, 01:46 AM
A prime example of an Infernal accent:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSGkBWYDmrM

Honest Tiefling
2015-10-14, 04:28 PM
Are you up for a challenge? Then I'd say, everything above, and then some! All of the voices!

See, devils aren't your archetypal brutes, they're conniving, cunning and already 12 steps ahead of you from the time you say 'hello' to them. Letting a silly thing like accent get in the way is just plain amateurish. Devils would be masters of acquiring and using the cultural norms of whoever they wish to corrupt to their advantage. Speaking to a down on his luck low class worker angry at the ones he works for? Don't break out the posh accent. Charming your way into a meeting of rich wizards? Probably should sound educated...But not TOO educated, best to pander to them.

So if you can swing it, I would just have the character drop and gain accents quickly, a throwback to a particularly crafty ancestor.

Gracht Grabmaw
2015-10-16, 04:54 AM
Devils are Irish, demons are Scottish.

Keledrath
2015-10-16, 05:32 AM
Devils are Irish, demons are Scottish.

For some reason, this made me think of Australian, and I just pictured asmodeus going "You wot mate?"

Gracht Grabmaw
2015-10-16, 06:14 AM
For some reason, this made me think of Australian, and I just pictured asmodeus going "You wot mate?"

Scouser warlocks/demonblooded sorcerers are pretty hardcore too. Ask anybody who's met John Constantine.

Joe the Rat
2015-10-16, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the input, everyone. I've decided to use more-or-less my normal voice, shifted up slightly, using British pronunciation of vowels where they differ from American pronunciation, and pronouncing my R's in a Slavic-Eastern European way. (Because I'm a bad voice actor they tend to blend together.)

The thing about this character is, while she inherits her fiendishness from a devil, (probably?) her mannerisms are more like that of a Demon or at least Daemon. Chaotic Neutral, most definitely. So while some of your recommendations are brilliant, (particularly inserting second sentences with emphasis) they don't really fit the character. Sorry, I should have specified further.
Hmm. You might look at throwing in a Psycho Switch. Keep your voice as bright and proper as you can manage, then drop into a gravelly snarl when you decide to emote. Like when you switch to death threats, or discuss your longterm plans for world domination, or see a particularly cute puppy.

goto124
2015-10-17, 11:14 AM
Or discard the snarl, and keep your cheerful voice when cooing over your precious puppy.

Which is a large and ferocious three-headed bulldog.

'Look at its cute widdle teeth! You can take out an army in three seconds, can't you? Of course you can, dearie!'

Red Fel
2015-10-21, 09:33 AM
Don't you know how to properly summon him?

Ahem....

Red Fel
Red Fel
Red Fel

Hoo, boy, am I ever late to the party. Things have been Hellishly busy here in, well... You get the idea.

... and rimshot.

Anyway, a few points have already been made with which I want to concur.


There are three parts to this:
Infernal Accent
Infernal Inflection
Infernal Speech Patterns
...and then the actual Language, which is what drives all of these.

This is is excellent advice, and Joe hits it on the nose. The first question is what kind of Infernal being you're addressing. That will determine not only their accent, but also their emphasis and speech patterns.


British, with a hint of sesquipedalian loquaciousness. Not because British is evil, but because it's cultured. See the super bowl commercial about British actors making the best villains for some brief ideas.

This, for example, would make for a great contracting Devil. The kind who will talk charmingly, offer you things, generally be pleasant and your friend. Persuasive and classy.


You can also go with Spanish (not Hispanic), a la Seņor Senior, Sr. Antonio Banderes as a Casanova villain would also work: seductive and classy. Heck, Catwoman, as cheesy as she was in the Adam West series, managed to make her "Purr" puns feel a bit villainous.

Eartha Kitt, delicious villainess. This kind of accent goes beautifully with a seducer. The kind whose voice possesses a certain rhythmic flow, a softness, that lulls you into complacency and agreement.


Russian and German also work, because the image of the communist oligarch or the evil scientist on the wrong side of WWII or the cold war is engrained in the Western psyche.

These are great for commanding voices. Powerful soldiers and warriors on the Infernal battlefront.

I'd like to add another wrinkle - guttural sounds. Glottal stops and deep, throaty h and k sounds. Like Klingon or a choppy Arabic. These sounds create an impression of severity, harshness, and even a certain bestial tone that carries even into civilized speech.

Now, the OP has already spoken, and it sounds like you've got a plan. I'll note for others, however, that a lot of the suggestions that have been offered deal with the more affable of the Infernals - Devils, primarily. Classy British-sounding dialects, soothing Eartha Kitt purrs, and even authoritative German clipped speech all suggest a more friendly and approachable Evil. If you're dealing with the more Chaotic end of the spectrum, you should bring a bit of chaos into your voice.

I'd suggest variety of speech, depending on temperament. The kind of variety that suggests a furious beast beneath the surface, and then periodically letting the beast out. I would suggest speaking from the back of your throat, to give your words a breathier, slightly rattly sound. When your character's temper flares, or you get excited, curl your lip up and breathe more heavily, to create more of a growl. And when the PC truly reaches rage, keep your teeth apart and raise the volume of your voice erratically. (For example, "I will not suffer this insolencwe! You will pay for your insult!") This may result in a bit of spittle - don't cover that up, ride it out, it lends to the depiction. Keeping your teeth apart and breathing heavily will create a less comprehensible, more animalistic noise to your speech, like a snarl. The result should be suitably intense.

Not all accents need to be actual accents. Simply practicing different forms of emphasis of words, or different ways to move your mouth, can create pronounced effects.