In early July, an article popped up on The Douchey DM written by gamer/cosplayer Kimi about acquiring and using accents for your tabletop games. She provides a few links to resources for developing your accents, as well as simple advice that can make the difference between a terrible British accent and… a less terrible British accent. Heh.
But regardless of how poor your impression of a real-life accent is, Kimi hits the nail on the head by saying:
Remember, it’s ok if [your accent isn't] perfect at first, and you really will get better as you go. Hell, it’s an RPG! Unless you are playing a historical game, who’s to say your accent isn’t perfect? Maybe the people from that land over the mountains sound exactly like your bad Jamaican accent.
Another key point Kimi brings up is the fact that people aren’t born with accents; they’re developed based on their upbringing:
Let me say it again, accents are regional, not racial. They are determined by where you grew up and lived, not by your ethnicity or species.
This is a very important distinction that is often overlooked in gaming… and in the media. The stereotypical dwarf may have a Scottish accent, but if he was raised by elves (oh, the horror!) he will sound more like an elf than his dwarf kinsmen. Humans from different parts of the world should have different accents, and drow should not sound like surface elves… unless they were raised together!
Be sure to read her full article. And top o’ tha mornin’ to ya!