Voice Over NPC Scripts and Clips – Bards
WHO IS BATTLEBARDS
Built off of the tremendously successful Realmsound Project, BattleBards (www.battlebards.com) is the premier provider of the best tabletop gaming specific audio ever created. Through the careful selection of audio project, talent, and tracks, the BattleBards Listing is quickly becoming the gold standard for a new market for gaming music, sound effects, soundscapes, and voiceovers. BattleBards will provide gamers not only world class audio content but the digital tools needed to implement said audio in their games practically.
BattleBards will Buyout one track in full and may offer licenses to promising auditions for listing on the BattleBards platform. Although young, the BattleBards platform is allowing licensed talent to build a fun and lucrative career within the tabletop gaming space.
BattleBards aims to bring a voice to our namesake, the bards of the medieval fantasy world. What’s a bard? The historical context is mixed so the focus here is the interpretation of bards in the gaming context which is a mix of bards, skalds, troubadours, and adventurers; essentially, a person who seeks to delve into epic quests from which to create timeless stories, songs, and performances. They are scoundrels operating as a spy master under the guise of a famous musician, they are a backally orator leading a growing rebellion against a tyrannical despot, they are the masters of the spoken word, they are peerless artists able to use the power of sound and emotion to change the world. The closest movie reference is the character played by Antonio Bandera (Ahmad ibn Fadlan) in 13th Warrior.
In a cooperative storytelling game like tabletop RPG’s, the only interaction with NPC’s (non-player characters; the characters of the world not run by players), which happen with some sort of reliability are either the initial greeting or simply overhearing spoken to another or an audience so, in order to make these scripts as usable at the table as possible, all copies should stick to those situations.
The required minimum deliverables are two (2) “NPC Scripts” and fourteen (14) “NPC Clips”. Additional reads are welcome but not required. For audition purposes, upload all reads as a single file. If chosen for Buyout or License, please separate all reads as separate WAV files (16 Bit, 1411 kbps or higher) and label each.
Because of BattleBard’s interest in including many different reads, we don’t want to post script which serve as audition copy since the creation of your own scripts is a pivotal part of the Gig. When making your scripts, avoid any hard references, meaning, any specific ‘nearby’ names of people and places. These reads are intended to be used in as many different games as possible so these hard references often only serve to limit the use of the piece in any one game. Generalized referenced like “guard captain” or “the castle” are fine as they help to contextualize current people and places. With Bards, there’s a big exception to this rule. Bards are not bards unless they are quoting great people of history, reciting epic poems, retelling of important stories, performing legendary songs, and whispering of ancient legends so making up these are highly encouraged!
Both types of reads are detailed below:
(A) NPC Script: Also known as a ‘long read’, NPC Scripts often run anywhere from 50 to 100 words or more. A more involved introduction, the talent has a great deal more leeway to fully flesh out the character both in terms of both speech and sound design (if any).
NPC Script Example (DO NOT READ FOR AUDITION): “Greetings patrons! I will be your humble bard this evening. Tonight, I will regale you with the songs of heroes born of these lands, your heroes, whose legends spread to every corner of the world! The Stand of Kamtall Battleborn, The Legacy of Tumiel’s Fire, these shall be your companions this night.”
(B) NPC Clip: An extremely short read consisting of anywhere from 3 to 15 words, these clips are meant for maximum flexibility, able to be used in almost any situation with minimal setup or context. There should not be any sound design included on these clips.
NPC Clip Examples (DO NOT READ FOR AUDITION):
“Knowledge is power, stories the conveyance”
“May your journeys inspire my next tale”
“Require the services of a bard?”
(2) Read Diversity
With the relatively large album size for these voice overs, it’s important to make sure your reads stand out. Strive to offer your listener a unique gaming insight that draws attention and provides the Game Master (the person running the game) a differentiated value. Some methods to create those important gaming nuances include:
(A) Interesting Personalities – This should go without saying. Try to give your characters a bit of context and personality. Whether kind, suspicious, malicious, or simply ‘touched in the head’, sprinkling in some memorable characters will help to make the audition pop. Take some time with your characters, give at least some of them a compelling rendition. Often, this is easier to do with NPC Scripts but even NPC Clips can illustrate memorable and interesting characters.
(B) Fantasy Races – Almost every fantasy tabletop game has dwarves, elves, gnomes, orcs, giants, goblins, and dozens if not hundreds of other races, each with their own accents and mannerisms. If you can do character voices, you’re encouraged to pepper in some fantastical races as bards, with their own heroes, stories, and songs!!
(C) Fantasy Professions – Not all bards need to be focused on the bardic profession. Bards can come from all manner of adventuring careers with the most common being rogues but also including warriors, wizards, clerics, and dozens more.
(D) Scenarios – Below are some thoughts as to scenarios for your reads. These are just springboards, please expand far beyond this list with your own:
a. Introducing themselves before a performance
b. Offering to tell a tale of importance to the listener, for coin or simple accommodations
c. Offering bardic magical services
d. Offering to entertain the listener
e. A traveling bard, asking the listener if they know of any good local stories or songs
f. Offering to document the listener’s exploits
g. Offering the listener some advice based on a parable or local tale
h. Offering the listener local secrets, rumors, gossip, and happenings in the area
i. Offering to join the party
(3) Sound Design (Optional)
To help offer a great deal more value to each NPC Script read, you may consider adding a bit of contextual sound design in the background. If your bard is introducing herself and her troupe, there may be sounds of a tavern in the background or a band tuning to begin performances. If your bard is offering his services in the middle of a crowded city, the sounds of that city maybe heard in the background. Sound design is only practical with NPC Scripts as Clips are much too short for background.
Please note that there will be no tolerance for stolen work, so make sure that submitted auditions are original compositions and that you have 100% rights to use and sell any samples or loops you embed.
The most successful VO talent in our experience are those that craft a vivid scene for the listener, paying attention to every detail which often becomes an important element when choosing pieces for gaming. Even more important, have fun creating your own characters as often, the passion you put into your reads come off in the track. If you have any questions, please shoot us over a message through Audio Catch, we’ll try to answer all of it, don’t be shy. We can’t wait to hear how you bring our namesakes to life! Good luck!!!