Introduction and Fundamentals
- Reaction score
- Salty Doubloons
'Traditional Mafia' Official GuideWelcome to the Traditional Mafia section! The purpose of this thread is to serve as an introduction to the game of Mafia, as well as provide a compilation of all the important informations. It will cover the core fundamentals and mechanics of mafia in general. In this first post, we will cover three major areas: common terms, alignment, and abilities. Please, enjoy the read.
Mafia is a game generally played between two teams, the Town and the Mafia. The Town typically represents a clear uninformed majority of the players, with each member of the Town being aware only of their own role. Meanwhile, the Mafia represents an informed minority, with each member of the group being aware of their partners. The game is then divided into two phases: Day and Night. During the Day, the Town tries to identify members of the Mafia and eliminate them through a 'Lynch', while the Mafia tries to remain hidden amidst the Town, and at Night, the Mafia kills one member of the Town. This repeats until one faction is entirely eliminated, and the remaining faction is victorious.
Mafia has a lot of buzzwords and terminology, some of which is intuitive and some of which is not. Below is a compilation of common terms within the game.
A Role is basically all of the information provided to a particular player. It is generally comprised of three elements: Character, Alignment, and Abilities.
Ability - An Ability is a representation of some mechanical interaction the player can have within the game. It can be a Passive Ability, which is always on, or an Active Ability, which the player must consciously direct. The latter is called an 'Action' and there are restrictions on how one may use it. A player can have more than one Ability.
Alignment - An Alignment represents the victory condition a player has been assigned. Alignment is also normally indicative of which faction a player is part of.
Character - A Character is the flavor name that a player has been assigned. It either calls back to a particular character within a source material, or represents an original character. It is generally accompanied by flavor, which is often the justification for Alignment and Abilities.
Role PM - A Role PM is a message sent from a host to a player at the beginning of the game which contains the player's Role.
The two standard Phases in mafia are Day and Night. The bulk of the game takes place during the Phases.
Day - Day phase is a stage, normally of varying length of time, in which all players may discuss the game in the designated game thread. Day is also when the Lynch occurs via whatever means it occurs. Because the Town is typically the single largest faction present, it openly dominates the Day, with Anti-Town factions forced to pretend that they are either part of the Town or Independent.
Night - Night phase is a stage, normally of a set length of time, in which players may not discuss the game in the designated game thread. Instead, players with Active Abilities are required to privately contact the host with their Actions for that Night. The host then resolves these Night Actions and posts what occurred during the Night. Because Anti-Town factions tend to have Abilities which can reduce the Town's playerbase, and because such factions are generally aware of who their allies' identities, Anti-Town factions tends to dominate the Night, with the Town left groping in the dark hoping to use their Abilities on the right players.
Twilight - The Twilights are Dawn and Dusk. Twilights typically act as buffers between the Phases, allowing players to discuss the game in the game thread, but disallowing the use of Night Actions and Day Actions. Most games won't need to officially recognize the Twilights with their own writeups.
Dawn: Dawn is the Twilight between Night and Day. It is the period of time between the end of the Night phase and the announcement of what occurred during that Night phase. In most games, it is entirely absent, as the writeup announcing the end of Night is also the writeup that explains what occurred during that Night.
Dusk: Dusk is the Twilight between Day and Night. It is the period of time between the end of the Day phase and the announcement of the Lynch. In a Majority Lynch game, this is the period of time between a majority vote being reached/a hard deadline being hit and the announcement of the Lynch. In a Plurality Lynch game, this is the period of time between a hard deadline being hit and the announcement of the Lynch. In a Monarchy Lynch game, this is the period of time between the King voting/a hard deadline being hit and the announcement of the Lynch.
Claiming is the act of revealing information about one's Role, generally at the request of the Town. A Claim, therefore, is the information that is revealed during this action.
Ability Claim: An Ability Claim is when a player states only the Abilities they received that game, generally accompanied by the Actions they have taken thus far.
Alignment Claim: An Alignment Claim is when a player states only the Alignment they received that game.
Character Claim: A Character Claim is when a player states only the Character they received that game, and specifically does not state the accompanying flavor, which may provide clues about the Abilities that player received that game.
Counter Claim: A Counter Claim is when a player's Ability Claim and/or Character Claim is the same as someone else's that has already Claimed. The general implication is that one of the two must be Fake Claiming, and therefore is Scum.
Fake Claim: A Fake Claim is when a player appears to Claim, but is actually lying about the information so revealed.
Flavor Claim: A Flavor Claim is when a player states the only Character they received that game, generally accompanied by the provided flavor. This is sometimes erroneously referred to as a Character Claim.
Full Claim: A Role Claim is when a player simultaneously Mechanical Claims and Flavor Claims. This is sometimes confused with a Role Claim, which is less specific.
Mechanics Claim: A Mechanics Claim is when a player simultaneously Ability Claims and Alignment Claims. This is sometimes erroneously referred to as a Role Claim.
Role Claim: A Role Claim is when a player simultaneously Mechanical Claims and either Flavor Claims or Character Claims. This is sometimes confused with a Full Claim, which is more specific.
Safe Claim: A Safe Claim refers to a Fake Claim which is provided by the host. As such, they are generally not at risk of being Counter Claimed.
Lynch refers to the process of removing a player from play during the Day. It is a process that is often controlled by the Town, and is normally their primary method of eliminating Scum.
Majority Lynch: In a game using Majority Lynch, all players vote for whom they wish to be Lynched during the Day. A player is not Lynched until a number of votes equal to a majority of the living players is placed on that player.
Monarchy Lynch: In a game using Monarchy Lynch, only a single player, called a King, votes for whom they wish to be Lynched each Day, and a player is Lynched as soon as they are voted for by a King. The King is generally not a static role; instead, there is typically a role or condition which determines which player becomes the King each Day, and there are normally restrictions in place which prevent the same player from becoming the King twice consecutively.
No Lynch: A No Lynch is when a Day ends with no player being Lynched, either because the players specifically voted for a No Lynch, a deadline was reached, or a stalemate occurred due to no one faction constituting a majority of the living players.
Plurality Lynch: In a game using Plurality Lynch, all players vote for whom they wish to be Lynched during the Day, as with Majority Lynch. However, in Plurality Lynch, whomever has the most votes on them when Day ends is Lynched. In the case of a tie, Day can end either with a No Lynch, with all candidates Lynched, or with one candidate Lynched at random.
Alignment refers to a player's victory conditions. There are three types of alignment in mafia: Town, Anti-Town, and Independent. Town and Anti-Town factions are inherently at odds with one another, and typically cannot win together. Moreover, Anti-Town factions are typically also at odds with each other, and similarly cannot win together; this is technically also true of Town factions, but is less relevant, as it is exceedingly rare for a game to feature more than one Town faction. The defining difference between Town and Anti-Town factions is that Town factions are represented as an uninformed majority, while Anti-Town factions are represented as an informed minority. Independent factions function entirely outside of the Town vs Anti-Town struggle, and can win alongside any Town or Anti-Town faction, given that certain specific conditions are met.
The Town is a core faction in mafia. The Town normally constitutes over half of the players in a game, making it the single largest faction present in most games. For this reason, the Town controls the Day phase, with Anti-Town factions being forced to blend in with the Town in order to survive. Typically, each member of the Town, called a Towny, is only aware of his/her own Role. Thus, while the Town's goal as a whole is to eliminate all Anti-Town factions, each Towny must ferret out which other players are Town and which are Anti-Town in order to achieve this.
The Anti-Town factions are all very similar, differentiated by relatively minor differences in how they are typically arranged, or what abilities they typically have. Anti-Town factions are normally much smaller than the Town, which necessitates members of Anti-Town factions, called Scum, to attempt to blend in with the Town during the Day phase to avoid discovery. However, Scum are generally aware of the identities of their teammates, if any, which gives them an edge in that Scum are not very likely to accidentally eliminate their teammates, and are allowed to communicate and coordinate outside of the game thread, which allows them to employ more complex strategies of deception against the Town. Each Anti-Town faction's goal is typically to eliminate the Town and all competing Anti-Town factions.
Mafia: The Mafia is the eponymous core faction in mafia, but is not quintessential in the same way as the Town; it is the most common of the Anti-Town factions, but is more frequently absent than the Town. Members of the Mafia are called Mafioso. The Mafia is almost always in possesion of at least one Destructive ability, often referred to as a Kill, which is normally utilized during the Night phase. This Kill can be a Faction, where any Mafioso may choose to make it, a Static, where a designated Mafioso must make it, or an Inherited, where a designated Mafioso must make it, but if that designated Mafioso should die, another designated Mafioso can make it. This Kill allows the Mafia to have some measure of control during the Night phase, and is their primary tool for eliminating the Town and other Anti-Town factions.
Cult: The Cult is an Anti-Town faction that functions in much the same way that the Mafia does. Members of the Cult are called Cultists. Because the Cult can grow, it normally starts off smaller than the Mafia would in the same general setup. In the place of a Kill, the Cult has a Conversive ability, often called a Conversion, which allows it to recruit members of the Town and sometimes other factions, changing those players' alignment to Cult. The Cult's Conversion, like the Mafia's Kill, can be Faction, Static, or Inherited. However, because of how powerful a Conversion is compared to a Kill, in that it both decreases the size of an opposing faction while increasing the size of the friendly faction, Static Conversion is most commonly used. Likewise, because of how powerful a Conversion can be when used on an informed player, such as one that is part of a different Anti-Town faction, members of opposing Anti-Town factions are normally immune to a Cult's Conversion. A Cult that also inherently possesses a Destructive ability is informally referred to as a Cultafia.
Serial: The Serial is an Anti-Town faction that functions as a sort of one-man Mafia. The Serial typically has a Kill, but because the Serial has no real allies, the Serial is normally made to be more powerful than an individual Mafioso might be. Because the Serial is alone, this typically means that the Serial strives to eliminate all other players. However, like other Anti-Town factions, Serials can still win with Independents as normal, and indeed benefit most from allying with an Independent.
Independent is a catch-all phrase for pretty much any faction which is not inherently Town or Anti-Town. The most common Independents are the Survivor, which wins by surviving until the end of the game, the Jester, which wins by being Lynched, the Lyncher, which wins by participating in the Lynch of a specific player, the Unlyncher, which wins by ensuring that a specific player is not Lynched throughout the course of the game, and the Alien, which wins by surviving until only players it has targeted throughout the game are alive, but there are many more possible factions. The core fundamental of the Independent is that they can win alongside any Town or Anti-Town faction, so long as their own victory condition is met. The victory of an Independent does not end the game in the same way that the victory of a Town or Anti-Town faction does; instead, an Independent that has achieved its victory condition prior to the completion of the game is generally either removed from play as a winner, or remains in play and is announced a winner alongside Town or whichever Anti-Town faction wins at the end of the game.
One's Abilities refers to a set of terms indicating the mechanical interactions a given player can have on a particular game. They are generally intended to allow ease of understanding as to what an ability does, both for the player receiving the Role and the other players when said player either Claims or dies.
Active vs Passive
There are two manners in which Abilities can be classified. The first is by how the Ability is used, whether it actively requires input from the player or is simply passively always on.
Active: An Active Ability is any ability which requires input from the player with the ability. The use of an Active Ability is called an Action. Players are typically restricted on when and how often they can use Active Abilities - the norm is once each Night phase. Active Abilities are generally susceptible to Immunity, Prevention, and Misdirection.
Passive: A Passive Ability is any Ability which does not require input from the player with the Ability. Passive Abilities are typically always in effect. For this reason, Passive Abilities are generally exempt from Immunity, Prevention, and Misdirection. Some Passive Abilities have triggered effects, however, which are not exempt from Immunity.
Nature of Ability
There are two manners in which Abilities can be classified. The second is the nature of what the Ability does, be it something which informs, defends, kills, etc.
Investigative: An Investigative Ability is any ability which informs. The most iconic Investigative Ability is the Cop, but other common Investigative Abilities include the Tracker, Watcher, and Thief. Investigative Abilities are generally more useful for the Town than for Anti-Town factions, because Anti-Town factions are typically already better informed than the Town. The use of an Investigative Ability is typically called an Investigation.
Protective: A Protective Ability is any Ability which grants immunity. The most iconic Protective Ability is the Doctor, but other common Protective Abilities include the Commuter, Jailer, and Bodyguard. Protective Abilities are generally more useful for the Town than for Anti-Town factions, because Town are far more likely to be targeted by harmful abilities from which one would want immunity. The use of a Protective Ability is typically called a Protection.
Destructive: A Destructive Ability is any Ability which kills. The most iconic Destructive Ability is the Vigilante/Hitman/Killer, but other common Destructive Abilities include the Poisoner and Executioner. Destructive Abilities are generally more useful for Anti-Town factions than for the Town, as Anti-Town factions generally already know which players are friend and which are foe, and so can use Destructive Abilities more precisely without the risk of friendly fire. The use of a Destructive Ability is typically called a Kill.
Manipulative: A Manipulative Ability is any Ability which misinforms. The most iconic Manipulative Ability is the Bus Driver, but other common Manipulative Abilities include the Framer, Redirector, and Politician. Manipulative Abilities are generally more useful for Anti-Town factions than for the Town, because misinformation is normally harmful to the Town's ability to identify Scum. The use of a Manipulative Ability is typically called a Misdirection.
Preventative: A Preventative Ability is any Ability which blocks. The most iconic Preventative Ability is the Roleblocker/Prostitute, but other common Preventative Abilities include the Jailer and Vote Drainer. Prevenative Abilities are generally about as useful for the Town as for Anti-Town factions, as they can be used by the Town as a quasi-Investigation looking for Destructive roles or by an Anti-Town faction to shut down a Protective or Investigative Role. The use of a Preventative Ability is typically called a Block.
Creative: A Creative Ability is any Ability which augments. The most iconic Creative Ability is the Inventor, but other common Creative Abilities include the Eraser, Graverobber, and Kingmaker. Creative Abilities are objectively more useful for Anti-Town factions than for the Town, as there is no chance of accidentally targeting an enemy with a beneficial Creative ability or a friend with a harmful Creative ability; for this reason, such Abilities must not be given to Anti-Town factions lightly. The use of a Creative Ability is typically called a Gift.
Conversive: A Conversive Ability is any Ability which facilitates communication. The most iconic Conversive Ability is the Converter, but other common Conversive Abilities include the Mason Recruiter, Motivator, and Psychiatrist. Conversive Abilities are objectively more useful for Anti-Town factions than for the Town, as there is no chance of accidentally targeting an enemy with a beneficial Conversive Ability or a friend with a harmful Conversive Ability; for this reason, such Abilities must not be given to Anti-Town factions lightly. The use of a Conversive Ability is typically called either a Conversion or a Conversation, depending on whether the Ability also alters Alignment.
Night vs Day
Night Action: Night Actions are Actions that are used during the Night phase. Night Actions are broken up into three tiers, with a higher tier resolving before a lower tier fires. Conversive, Manipulative, Preventative, and Protective Actions are Tier 1, Investigative Actions are Tier 2, and Creative and Destructive Actions are Tier 3. Tier 1 has special self-interaction rules for resolving when one such Night Action would affect another. First, a self-targeting Tier 1 Night Action always resolves before all other Night Actions. Second, if a Tier 1 Night Action is being affected by another Tier 1 Night Action, the former resolves after the latter, unless the former is also affecting the latter. Tier 1 Night Actions that resolve simultaneously, even if they would otherwise affect one another, do not interact with one another.
Day Action: Day Actions are Actions that are used during the Day phase. Unlike Night Actions, which are generally sent to the host in private, Day Actions are posted in the game thread; they fire and immediately resolve based on when they are posted.