Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yawp!

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, 
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.
-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Which makes me think of this, for some reason...

Every good action hero needs a catchphrase or battle cry, a yawp that they sound to make their presence known. Why should characters in an rpg be any different? For a GM, a battle cry or favorite saying can be an easy way to quickly set apart different characters as you act them out. An audible hook to affix that character in your players' memories. Besides, coming up with battle cries, epithets or favorite curses is a lot of fun! Probably the best one I've come up with is for a gnomish foreman who can regularly be heard calling "Garl's Nuggets!" a sort of gnomish equivalent of "God's Bollocks"--the god of the gnomes being Garl Glittergold in the standard Greyhawk pantheon.

A battle cry can be particularly potent preceding a dramatic entrance or exit. When one of my players had to leave our game group, I wrote up an exit scene which involved her character (a paladin of a nature goddess) delivering this final power-up speech before charging into an onrushing tide of orcs.

"I am the tempest over the sea. I am the quaking of the mountains, I am nature's wrath! For the glory of Ehlonna!"

It's much more impressive when delivered from the back of a unicorn.

Anyway, enough examples from my stuff that nobody else cares about. To illustrate my point, here are some notable yawps without the speakers identified. How many do you know?

We'll start with an easy one
"Hallo, my name is Inigo Montoya, you kill my father, prepare to die!"

Okay, now for reals.
  1. "Get away from her, you Bitch!"
  2. "Go for the eyes Boo! Go for the eyes! Raaaaugh!"
  3. "Freeedom!"
  4. "Spoon!"
  5. "I am the terror that flaps in the night!"
  6. "By the power of Greyskull, I have the power!"
  7. "Yippie-kai-yay, motherfucker!"
  8. "I am a leaf in the wind"
  9. "I am no man!"
  10. "Oh YEAH!"
  11. "Crom!"
Just one more AtoZ entry to go! Monday you all get your big reward for sticking with me!


  1. Finding the barbaric Yawp is one of my favourite drama loosening up exercises. Everyone comes up with something different ranging from "Onwards into the darkness" to "Eclairs!". "Fluffy bunny scissor monsters" was a bit weird, but I've been looking for a character to use that one with for ages.

  2. Fluffy bunny scissor monsters might work quite nicely if you were playing Mouse Guard, which is a game I've been itching to check out.

  3. Me too on Mouse Guard. I keep meaning to pick it up and have so far failed. Good call on the battle cry.


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