Monday, 2 April 2012

B is for Blather

As a blogger often musing about role playing games, I have recounted at least once that, just shy of 11 years ago, I decided to sell my game collection. Yet, I held aside one collection of titles: WFRP 1e. WFRP is the game that captured my imagination promising "a grim world of perilous adventure." Moreso, WFRP did not take itself seriously. The tone of the game in 1986 was irreverent and fun.

Many things about the game mechanics of first edition embody this tone, but when I pause, run down the set of 'B' possibilities, the skill of Blather is ever present.

Blathering can be used in almost any situation in order to gain time. Blatherers simply invent a complete string of nonsense, ranting on and on whilst their victims stand dumbfounded, wondering whether the blathering character is insane, intoxicated or possibly dangerous.

WFRP 2e, released in 2006, does not change this wonderful skill, but appropriately adjudicates the actions of the player within the skill test mechanics.

The skill of Blathering in context of WFRP game rules, and very often many others if by a different name, is set firmly in the collection of social skills.

Social skills, the accompanying mechanics and the adjudication vary in games. WFRP takes the traditional stance in the "rules as written" to boil it down to an abstract dice roll versus the Non-Player Character (NPC) subject the verbal assault. The argument for the abstract is a balancing one: if the player is not quick on his or her feet, maybe not even possessing real world social skills—whether timid or just uncomfortable taking the stage—then the dice roll absolves the player of "role-playing it out." A sort of jump cut where the rest of the table is screaming "Get on with it!" Yet, I have often found myself seeking the desire to roleplay it out and ask for bonuses, or penalties, to my dice roll based on my performance. One then is provided the best of both worlds.

And lest I blather further…

Posted by caffeinated at 12:00 PM in d10