One of my favourite chronicles was a Changeling: the Dreaming game, each session generally had from 7 to 9 players, most of them also played LARP, so there were used to staying IC for hours at a time and chatting. Changeling can easily bounce between a wonderful mix of colourful fun and dark sadness, often intercut with humour that matches the mood. Part of the secret to the fun for that campaign was, after the PCs resolved a bunch of problems I didn’t rush to introduce new plot threads, because they had shown a desire to dig into each other’s history, so. Several sessions later the PCs had a long journey to undertake, instead of redlining (Indiana Jones) or a random encounter to break the trip up and ‘prove’ it was a dangerous trip, instead it was a dysfunctional group road trip; lots of minibus dialogue and herding cat toilet breaks. Sadly most of the players moved away over the years, so were got to play another chronicle, but one of those PCs is still active.
Amongst my old various groups, three of those Changeling players were known for their comedy prowess. How they would sometimes frame their character actions and attire, the little details they would add, in addition to what they said, that did so much of the comedic heavy lifting. Over the decades chatting with those players in particular helped me appreciate more comedic RP, and how to change how I framed a game moment, to try and have more than a one-liner. I generally have to prepare a comedy scene in advance, still not an area that comes easy to me, but with practice I’ve improved a bit. Helpfully Tony Zhou made an Every Frame a Painting video explaining the power of visual comedy vs a one-line presented in a flat way:
Partly inspired by that chronicle, years ago I pondered having LT LARP character of many years become a stand-up comic. I tested some of the material and got a reasonable amount of laughter, granted in part because of how awful a few of the jokes intentionally were. I’d played this character on and off over 13 years by the time I considered it, the character had changed a lot, going from confused human, to part Sluagh, part Fate Elemental. Those plans got postponed as many things happened in game. My current Orion Sphere LARP character is sort of a joke, but I decided against trying to be a galactic comedian; maybe if this character dies… but they are fun to play, so I am not in a rush 😉
Street Fighter RPG
All the groups I’ve played with liked the optional rules for Activation Words. How we use breath is a major factor in exercise, and thus fighting. Grunts and other sound exertions have also been shown to be a factor, but that is a complex topic in real life. Back to SFRPG, character’s channelling their breath into particular sounds during special maneuvers is not too far from reality, for super powered individuals. 😉
The usefulness of energetic yells, kiai in Japanese, is itself a fascinating area of study. Whilst practicing various martial arts over the years I’ve come across a few novel shouts. I was told about my favourite kiai by a friend, one of their Taekwondo partners who would quickly shout “Get away!” whilst doing a front kick, although more like a Muay Thai teep; the speed and anger in that “Get away!” declaration was apparently shocking.
In my experience, Activation Words are generally seen as a fun comedic addition to the game. This is maybe why some of the players I’ve played with have used the old Batman TV series words, or utilised random generators to either use a gibberish word outright, or to modify real words.
Various Gobbledygook or Gibberish languages
Using different maneuver names and tweaking them with random syllables was one method I’ve used. For example the old Warhammer Slaves to Darkness (Realms of Chaos) random daemon name generator was one method I used in the past to make up nonsensical words: rhoouuy phaoq’ wailash ulaa http://www.paper-dragon.com/fantasyland/daemon.html
Angelic/Demonic or made up colours generator https://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=adname https://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=color
A list of different shouts is collected at: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Kiai
I’m tempted to make a decent generator, but that will likely be a bit of work; I guess not a productive use of time. Besides some players are happy with a dull but slightly silly, “No!” for Block, which has been chosen by several groups I’ve played with. Whilst one creative player had all sorts of words, like “Waadooy!” for a fast/springy maneuver, like Jump or Kippup. I shall ask the SFRPG community as maybe someone has already made a list, or even a generator.
Other Peoples’ Answers
Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger
Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en
Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow
Gordon Cooper @Cuparius
Eric Jacobson @viscounteric
John M. Kahane @jkahane1
Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin
This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.