Monday, October 17, 2011

Bob the Barkeep

Having a random bartender in a fantasy world named "Bob" as a placeholder name is frequently considered lazy and uninspired.  Obviously, that's not always true, but that's the stereotype.

But...

What if that trope could be inverted?

For unknown reasons, "Bob" is considered acceptable address for barkeeps.  Since travelers on the road are common, and since they tend to meet bad ends, "Bob" is a way for everyone to maintain a safe emotional distance — the logic goes that if you never get closer than "Bob," you won't notice one way or the other if the person never returns.  There's another story about a famous barkeep named Robert who helped house escaped slaves (much like the tradition of calling British police officers "Bobbies"), but some people think that's just a legend made to fit the tradition.  It is, of course, possible that both tales are true.

It is also considered acceptable to call a barkeep "Charles," "Chuck," or "Karl" for somewhat obscure reasons.  It is sometimes acceptable to call older, female barkeeps "Mom" or "Mum," though this is not always the case, as there is always the risk of calling someone young "Mum."  It is also possible to address a lady who has lost a child as "Mum," thus risking upsetting one's host.  Some female barkeeps also stand by the "Bob" or "Charles" tradition, but for the most part, it is best to call ladies by the appropriate form of address.

Also, it is somewhat insulting to call a familiar barkeep "Bob," as one should presumably be on a first-name basis with the operator of the local pub.

I'm thinking about adding this tradition to my home game, which is why it is listed under the "Crux of Eternity" label.

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