A Roleblocker chooses one player per Night to block from performing his or her night action. The target's night action will not be performed -- that is, the Roleblocker blocks the target's role from working.
Typically, the Roleblocker only stops things the target tries to actively perform, such as Cop investigations and Doctor protection. Passive abilities, such as a Bulletproof player's kill immunity or a Mason's ability to privately talk, are not affected. More simply - if the player has to submit an action to the moderator, a Roleblocker can block it.
A Roleblocker is trumped by roles that prevent someone being targeted at all - for example, a Roleblocker cannot block roles such as Ascetic, Commuter, Hider; or Strongman, nor can they block someone that has been also targeted by roles like a Rolestopper.
In practice, roleblocked abilities are simply considered to have never happened. Thus, roles such as Tracker, Watcher, and Paranoid Gun Owner do not work if they Track/Watch/are targeted by Roleblocked actions.
Players are not told that they are blocked unless it cannot be helped. For instance, a Cop who is blocked by a Roleblocker has to be told something for their investigation result. Normally the Cop is given a message like "No Result". (It is terrible form to simply not give the Cop any result at all and assume that the Cop understands that they were blocked - the Cop may instead question if the moderator forgot about their investigation.)
There is no consensus in Theme games as to whether X-Shot roles' shots are retained or expended when they are targeted by a Roleblocker while performing their action, although it is not considered Normal to refund shots.
Roleblockers have been known to be of either alignment, though Roleblocker is probably the most common Mafia power role. Another name for Roleblocker is "Prostitute" (or anything similar to that).
Multiple and Mutual Roleblocks
There is no consensus as to what happens when multiple Roleblockers exist and target each other (or with similar roles such as Jailkeeper). The prevailing opinion is that Roleblocks are resolved in such a way that conflicts are minimized. The other opinion is that all Roleblocks are simultaneous; thus everyone targeted by a Roleblocker is Roleblocked.
Here are a few examples to illustrate what the differences are, and thus why the moderator must choose well in advance how these kinds of actions would be resolved if multiple Roleblockers are in the game.
- Suppose Roleblocker A blocks Roleblocker B, who blocks Roleblocker C, who blocks Roleblocker D, who blocks Doctor E. If Roleblocks are resolved in such a way that conflicts are minimized, A blocks B, preventing B from blocking C, thus C blocks D, preventing D from blocking the Doctor - in short, the Doctor's protection would have an effect. If all Roleblocks are simultaneous, the only player who is NOT technically Roleblocked is A; the Doctor would be blocked.
- Suppose a Town Roleblocker and a Mafia Roleblocker target each other at Night. Who is Roleblocked?
- Suppose that the Mafia Roleblocker in this example is also performing the Mafia kill. Does the kill succeed?
- Suppose that a Tracker investigates the Town Roleblocker in this example. What result does the Tracker get?
Most moderators opt for arbitrary tie-breakers in ambiguous situations like these.
A Mafia Roleblocker may or may not be allowed to perform the mafia kill the same Night they are also performing a roleblock. (This applies to other Mafia roles as well.) The decision of whether to allow the last Mafioso to kill and use their role at the same time is usually based on what would make the game better-balanced. For example, in Newbie games, the Mafia Roleblocker is allowed to perform both in one night.
Some moderators actually do allow Roleblockers to block passive abilities. However, this is usually only seen in role madness games and often called a Disabler.
Roleblocker is considered Normal on mafiascum.net, provided that blocked X-Shot roles are not refunded and any mutual blocking scenarios (such as those listed above) are planned for during review. Any role that receives results (such as Tracker or Watcher) but is blocked should receive a "no result" message, rather than told their target didn't go anywhere or nobody visited their target. A Roleblocker cannot block a Commuter or an Ascetic role, and cannot stop a Strongman from committing a kill.
Use and Power
Since the Roleblocker can exist as both a town and an anti-town role, its exact use depends on the alignment. In either case, the function of the Roleblocker is to stop suspected threats from performing Night actions.
Generally, Roleblockers are intended to try to stop the Night-kill, or stop scum power roles in situations where they are known. In practice, Roleblockers are more likely to stop Town power roles from working early on, but as the game goes on Roleblockers become much more powerful. In particular, when there is one Mafioso left Roleblockers can be used to confirm players - if the Mafia's kill goes through, whoever was blocked that Night isn't the last Mafioso. Inversely, if a Roleblocker blocks someone and the Mafia's kill disappears, there is a decent chance that the Roleblocker blocked the scum who was performing the kill (though this is not necessarily the case, given that other power roles may have had a hand in it, or the scum decided to not kill anyone as a framing gambit). In summary, Town Roleblockers are almost liabilities early on but become much stronger if they survive to lategame, so they have net positive value for Town.
Antitown Roleblockers are helpful for neutralizing town power roles, even if there is a Doctor or other protective role that keeps the power role from being killed. This is very helpful in preventing Follow the Cop scenarios. A Mafia Roleblocker does not suffer the risk of blocking someone on their side, like a Town Roleblocker does; the only power roles they need to watch out for are the Tracker and the Watcher. Mafia Roleblockers are fairly safe ways to reduce swing and grant the Mafia some measure of protection from the Town's power roles, so they are reasonably powerful for their team.
Historical statistics show that moderators have a large tendency to underestimate the effect that a Mafia Roleblocker will have on the game. For example, suppose you have a setup that is mostly balanced, except that it's susceptible to being broken by a town mass claim. It's reasonable to add a Mafia Roleblocker as a method of defeating the breaking strategy, but this will also cause the setup to become more scumsided, regardless of whether town actually attempt a massclaim or not. As such, you will likely have to give the town an extra moderately strong power role to bring the game back into balance.
Sample Role PM
- Welcome, [Player Name], you are a Town Roleblocker.
- Each night phase, you may attempt to block another player from performing their own action (if any).
- You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.