Forums
Guides
Features
Media
Zelda Wiki
Patreon
    Pinned
    Mafia Information Station
    • Welcome! This thread is a complete Index of all the information related to Mafia as it is played on Zelda Universe. Whether you're completely new to the community and looking to understand the game, a developing player wanting to expand your knowledge, or an established veteran finally ready to give GMing a go, you'll find what you're looking for here.

      Index For This Thread

      Newbie Guide
      The best way to learn Mafia is by playing the game, but it's nice to have a rough idea of what you're getting into before your first dive. This short essay was written to introduce you to the game of Mafia as played on these forums and prepare you to enter your first game as quickly as possible. Read this first!

      Overview of Game Styles
      We play mafia (and mafia-like social games) in a number of different ways here on ZU. Once you've signed up to a specific game you might come back to this section to identify important specifics of the archetype, or you might browse this section to see, in general, what sort of game you'd be interested in playing.

      Comprehensive Rules
      A complete and in-depth rule set is vital to running our games in a fair and predictable way... though the rules themselves are undeniably dry. It is recommended that you skim through the rules when you have a chance and return to give them a closer look whenever yo find yourself in a complex situation. Remember that you can always ask your GM if you have a rules question.

      GM Guide
      After you're played at least two games of Mafia locally you can apply to run a game of your own. This guide explains the logistics of becoming a GM and provides a guide for putting together your first set-up.

      Beyond This Thread

      Mafia Plaza
      This thread, in which the community gathers to discuss mafia from a "big picture" perspective, should be your next stop. Introduce yourself to the community and find your place in ZU mafia.

      Glossary and Game Index
      We expand our glossary of terms daily with the Mafia-a-Day calendar project. Just assigned a strange new role in the game you're playing? Unsure what the terms being tossed around in the day thread mean? Chances are there's helpful information listed here.

      Mafia Scum Wiki
      If you're looking for information and failed to find it in our local glossary, the wiki created by the Mafia Scum community is a great place to look. If a role or rule hasn't been used on ZU before, it's description on Mafia Scum will generally be considered "standard".
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens

      Post by Foo ().

      This post was deleted by the author themselves ().
    • Newbie Guide



      Introduction

      A game of mafia tells the story of a peaceful town which has come under attack be a violent crime syndicate. Players are divided into two factions: loyal townies and villainous mafia scum. At first, no player is aware of the role assignment of the other players (although the mafia will quickly discover their own team mates). The game progresses in periods of “day” and “night” - each night the mafia selects and eliminates a member of the town, and on the following day the town votes-to-elect and "lynches" any one player (hoping, of course, to kill a member of the mafia). Eventually, one faction is eliminated entirely and the remaining side claims victory!

      Of course, this is just the beginning. Within the town there are investigative players, given an extra ability to help them sniff out the mafia, and protective players, trying to keep their side alive. On the side of the scum, there may be a powerful godfather running the show or a role blocker getting in the way of everyone else's fun. Third party serial killers make the game more difficult for everybody while survivors just want to get out alive. The roles get increasingly complex as you work your way down the rabbit hole!

      Game of maifa generally have specific themes – players assume the roles of characters from popular media franchises like Ace Attorney, Game of Thrones, Discworld, or (obviously) the Legend of Zelda – and the process of playing in these roles creates dramatic, high-intensity, often ridiculous storylines. A fraction of our games are even played anonymously: players are assigned new ZU accounts and given an opportunity to really get into character.

      Mafia cinematic, surprising, and very often a little stressful. To help you navigate this madness, every game is classified with a "Bastard rating" which indicates the likelihood that the game will totally subvert your expectations.

      We all enjoy it very much, and hope you will too.


      Logistics

      Mafia is hosted in the Community Central section. Mafia games always use two threads - the Game thread, where the game itself is played, and the Hub thread, which is used for sign-ups and chat about the game. The game thread is for active "living" players only - dead players can still post in the Hub, but must refrain from posting any information relevant to the game.

      The first 24 hours of the game are designated “Day 1”. During this period, the game thread is open for all living players to post. The most important action in the day thread is the vote: at the end of 24 hours, the player with the most votes is “lynched” by the town. If you do nothing else in the day thread, it is imperative that you cast your vote.

      The second 24 hours of the game are designated “Night 1”. During this period, the game thread is closed. Some players (most notably the scum) will be allowed to talk privately at this time, but most are restricted to communicating with the GMs. Many roles allow players to take some
      action at night, and each player must inform the GM of their intentions before the night ends. Don’t forget your night action! The third 24 hour
      period - “Day 2” - begins the cycle again, and it continues until a faction has reached their win condition.


      Critical Things to Know: Rules

      A comprehensive rule set is described later in this thread, but Mafia (like many games) is best learned by playing. There are some rules which you must absolutely be aware of before you begin to play a game. Specifically:
      • Communicating game information with others outside of the game is forbidden: this means via PM, publicly or through some other medium (Skype, etc). This includes during night cycles or if you are killed/lynched in the game.
      • You may not quote PMs from the GM: you must not quote information from your role PM, or other PMs the GMs may give you. However, some GMs will allow paraphrasing/leaking your character name, etc.
      • [Voting] is done with vote tags, surrounded in square brackets. For the sake of courtesy, bold your votes and [unvote] your previous selection before [voting] for a new one.
      • You must not use fake tags: tags for a [vote] are used by every player, but unless specifically instructed by the GM, you must not post tags you are not authorised to use. Some roles may use tags and some games may use items with tags; you will be instructed on how to use unique tags by a GM.
      • Editing posts is generally not accepted: while you’re free to edit posts for spelling mistakes, grammar, etc, you must not edit the content of your posts.
      Critical Things to Know: Terms

      The Mafia-a-Day calendar, supplemented with the Mafia Scum wiki, explore the jargon of mafia play. You are encouraged to use these resources whenever you need information. Some of the most commonly used terms,of which every player should be aware, include:

      • Scum: Any faction that is anti-town. The Mafia is the most common example, though Serial Killers fit this description as well.
      • Role-claim: A post made by a player in which the publicly announce their assigned role (not necessarily truthfully)
      • Bussing: An attempt by members of the mafia to kill one of their own teammates and so gain credit in public for "pro-town" play.
      • LyLo/MyLo: “Lynch or Lose” and “Mislynch and lose”. These terms describe the position of the town in the last day of the game. If lynching the wrong person means a win for the Mafia, the town is in MyLo. If the town will lose even if they don’t lynch, they’re in LyLo. In practice, the town is rarely sure which of these situation they are in, but speculation is common.
      • Policy Lynch: A lynch made as a result of a specific policy; notable example is “Policy Lynch inactives.” Policy Lynches are made without obvious bias or game related facts/information.
      • 1-for-1: Any sequence of events which leads to the deaths of both one town player and one scum player. In practice this sort of exchange is almost always in the town’s favour, and the town will often discuss ways to “create 1-for-1s”. A scum player can usually set-up a 1-for-1 whenever they chose (for example, by claiming to be a cop and declaring the townie they want to trade with to be scum) but this is almost never a wise move, especially if the town keeps their cool.
      • Breadcrumbs: Clues left by a player to provide information after they die (or role claim). Breadcrumbing is an essential strategy for some roles, and a useless endeavour for others.
      • RNG (Random Number Generator): A method used by GMs to fill game slots, assign roles, decide the outcome of random abilities, etc. OR A method that may be used by players to decide between a number of seemingly equally valid actions while clearly communicating a lack ofbias. There are many complex policies surrounding this sort of play, andit should always be discussed by the town before it is employed.
      Critical Things to Know: Strategy

      Mafia is a complex game, and their is almost no perfect heurestic. When you're ultimately assigned a role, do not be afraid to go hunting for specific strategic tips or to ask your GM for pointers. Some common introductory recommendations from our community include:

      • Lynch all liars: Liars are scum. They do not help the progression of the game, they actively impede it. They are threats which must be eliminated for the good of the town.
      • Don’t be afraid to lie: This may seem contradictory to above point and it is. But sometimes lying *will* help your goal (whatever that may be) and can be worth the risk.
      • Trust no one. Even the most trustworthy-seeming person can be scum.
      • BE ACTIVE: Players who aren’t active usually get lynched/killed if the town has no other leads. If you have to be absent, leave a note of your absence in the HUB so people will know. Relatedly, don’t spam. Constant random behaviour can be confusing, and often will result in being lynched.
      • Be wary of role-claims! Role-claims can help out, but can also be the death of the role-claimer, or even other players (like a Doctor) due to a process of elimination. Don’t forget, that role-claims can be fake.
      • The Newbie’s Free Day Pass: It’s not really a rule, it just started happening that we do not lynch or kill newbies during the First cycle (Day 1/Night 1) to allow them a chance to play. After the first cycle though, all bets are off!
      Closing Words

      Straight up truth; this is a game of commitment and the amount of work a GM puts into a game is usually pretty huge. When you play you have a team/role where chances are others will be relying on you. Because of this, we need people to commit with activity if you sign up to a game as these games can move very quickly and have high levels of activity.

      If you drop out of TWO GAMES without notice, the Mafia overseers will ban you from the next 2 games. You may return to the 3rd game, but it will be a "warning" game. If you fail this one with activity, then your ban will be reinforced by extension. For how long will depend on circumstances, though chances are it will be long-term. Please understand that the community leaders will judge these case by case; this is not a hard rule we will be executing with everyone as sometimes, you know, shit happens. We will always be fair regarding circumstances, though understand that works both ways--fairness in the lightness -or- harshness of a ban.
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Lady Sunshine ().

    • Overview of Game Styles

      Over time, we’ve realized that different people are looking for different things in Mafia, and we’ve done our best to expand our offerings so that everyone can play a game which suits their needs as a player. Right now there are three different “lines” of Mafia games being hosted here on community central:

      Large Games

      The feature attraction, the large games (identifiable by the Roman Numerals in their titles, ie. Mafia XIV) challenge 15-30 players and are played out over the course of at least two weeks.

      Large games generally have specific themes – players assume the roles of characters from popular media franchises like Ace Attorney, Game of Thrones, Discworld, or (obviously) the Legend of Zelda – and the process of playing in these roles creates dramatic, high-intensity, often ridiculous storylines. A fraction of large games are even played anonymously: players are assigned new ZU accounts and given an opportunity to really get into character.

      Large games are cinematic, surprising, and very often a little stressful. To help you navigate this madness, every large game is classified with a "Bastard rating" which indicates the likelihood that the game will totally subvert your expectations.

      The variety in large games is enormous, and we hope you’ll find one that’s exactly to your liking!

      Small Games

      A newer way to play, the small games challenge up to 14 players and take just over a week to play out.

      We have the following goals for our series of Small Games:
      • Moderately paced and easy to follow. Player count will be capped at 14 and there will be no day events.
      • Flavourless of flavour-lite. GMs will have the opportunity to "skin" their games as they see fit or stick with a traditional mafia or werewolf flavour, but fluff will not impact the set-up.
      • Minimal GM presence. The set-ups will be procedurally generated with a low target bastard rating so the players control all the action.
      • Focus on strategy. Few "swingy" elements so that the games test and reward solid play
      • Clockwork execution. The games run on a precise and well-understood schedule so as to not interfere with the main line of games.


      In order to meet these goals, small games are not designed by their GMs but procedurally generated by an algorithm there’s more information below.

      Details

      Set-up

      It was decided, early on, that the best way to deliver precisely scheduled, high-quality set-ups for small games was to introduce a system of procedural generation. This would allow GMs to build a balanced game in under a minute and move on to the harder work or organization. It was further decided that, after the first game, the algorithm for game generation would be made public, and it's analysis would become a point of strategy in the game thread. We expect the algorithm to change over time, and look for your feed back, but current games are generated according to the following scheme:

      1) The third parties are established randomly: 50% of games feature a Serial Killer, and the other 50% feature a survivor. If a survivor is included, a two-shot night Vigilante is added to the town.

      2) The town’s investigative role is chosen. One third of games feature a cop, one third a tracker, and one third of towns go without an investigator.

      3) The town’s protective role is chosen. Two thirds of games feature a doctor, one game in six has a town jail keeper, and the remaining sixth of games have no protective role.

      4) A Masonry is created. All games have a two person masonry, including one recruiter, but in half of games the recruiter is weak (will die attempting to recruit scum).

      5) The Mafia is create. All mafia faction include a Godfather. One quarter provide that godfather with a goon, one quarter a roleblocker, one quarter a role cop, and one quarter two goons.

      6) All but one of the remaining slots are then filled with vanilla townies. The last “wildcard” slot is decided by the GM in order to balance the game and keep things surprising.

      Roles

      All possible roles (with the obvious and necessary exception of the wild card) have standard role PMs, the bulk of which were written by the wonderful @Shona. They are included here for your reference.
      Display Spoiler

      You are a Vanilla Townie.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.

      You are a Townie Doctor.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you may attempt to protect one player (other than yourself) from being night killed. You must submit the name of this player no later than one hour before the end of the night via this conversation.

      You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.

      You are a Townie Cop.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you may attempt to investigate one player. You must submit the name of this player no later than one hour before the end of the night via this conversation. You will receive one of the following results: Town, Anti-Town or No Result.

      You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.

      You are a Townie Tracker.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you may attempt to track one player to see if they target any other player that same night. You must submit the name of this player no later than one hour before the end of the night via this conversation. If this player targets another player, you will learn who they targeted, but not the action that they performed.

      You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.

      You are a Townie Two-Shot Vigilante.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      You begin the game with two bullets, and each night you have the option to use one of these bullets to attempt to kill another player. Once your two bullets have been expended, you will no longer be able to kill. If you wish to try to kill someone, you must submit the name of this player no later than one hour before the end of the night via this conversation. You will not learn if your kill has been successful until the day begins.

      You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.

      You are a Townie Mason.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you are allowed to communicate with other Masons in the Mason Chat thread. For your information, the other mason beginning the game is xxx the Mason Recruiter.

      You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.

      You are a Townie Mason Recruiter (Weak).

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you are allowed to communicate with other Masons in the Mason Chat thread. You may also choose another player to recruit into the Masonry. Be warned: if the player you attempt to recruit is scum, you will be killed.
      If you wish to attempt to recruit another player, you must submit the name of this player no later than one hour before the end of the night via this conversation. If successful, they will find out that they have been recruited at the beginning of the day and added to the Mason Chat, and will be allowed to participate in the Mason Chat the following night.

      You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.

      You are a Townie Mason Recruiter (non-weak).

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you are allowed to communicate with other Masons in the Mason Chat thread. You may also choose another player to recruit into the Masonry. Be warned: you have the ability to recruit scum members into this masonry.
      If you wish to attempt to recruit another player, you must submit the name of this player no later than one hour before the end of the night, via this conversation. If successful, they will find out that they have been recruited at the beginning of the day and added to the Mason Chat, and will be allowed to participate in the Mason Chat the following night.

      You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated and there is at least one town player alive.

      You are a Mafia Goon.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you will be able to communicate with the rest of the Mafia in the Mafia Chat thread. You have the ability to perform the mafia factional kill.

      For your information, the other Mafia members are:
      PlayerName: Role
      PlayerName: Role

      You win when the Mafia controls at least 50% of the town’s vote and is under no threat from opposing power roles

      You are a Mafia Roleblocker.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you will be able to communicate with the rest of the Mafia in the Mafia Chat thread. You also have the ability to attempt to block one player from performing their action that night. You will not learn if your roleblock was successful or not. You must submit the name of this player to be blocked no later than one hour before the end of the night via the Mafia Chat thread. As a member of the Mafia, you also have the ability to make the factional kill. If you make the factional kill, you will not be able to use your roleblocking ability that night.

      For your information, the other Mafia members are:
      PlayerName: Role
      PlayerName: Role

      You win when the Mafia controls at least 50% of the town’s vote and is under no threat from opposing power roles

      You are the Mafia Godfather.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      Each night, you will be able to communicate with the rest of the Mafia in the Mafia Chat thread. As the Godfather, you will return a Town result to Cops and are immune to Night Kills. You also have the ability to perform the factional kill, but you may be seen.

      For your information, the other Mafia members are:
      PlayerName: Role
      PlayerName: Role

      You win when the Mafia controls at least 50% of the town’s vote and is under no threat from opposing power roles

      You are a Survivor.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      You win if you are alive at the end of the game. You can win alongside another faction(s).

      You are a Serial Killer.

      During the day, you are allowed to post in the game thread and vote for a player that you wish to be lynched at the end of the day.

      At night, you can attempt to kill another player. If you wish to try to kill someone, you must submit the name of this player no later than one hour before the end of the night via this conversation. You will not learn if your kill has been successful until the day begins.

      You win when you control at least 50% of the town’s vote and are under no threat from opposing power roles


      Rulings

      The small games invoke the same generl rule-set described in the OP of our Mafia hub, with a few case-specific caveats.

      Mason Recruiters

      In accordance with the natural action resolution system, a Mason recruiter who is killed on the same night they execute e recruit action will succeed in their recruitment. Furthermore, a weak recruiter will never successfully recruit scum. The result is that the action of a weak recruiter should be unambiguous to the rest of the Masonry: if a target is not recruited when it is clear that the recruiter has made an attempt it can only be because that target is scum. This allows the recruiter to act as a weak cop in the eyes of their fellows.

      Scum Win Condtions

      A day which begins with equal numbers of scum (of a single faction) and townies results in an immediate win for the scum.If a hypothetical day began with an SK and a goon then the players would have options:

      1) They could vote for each other. The vote would end in a tie and we'd flip a coin to decide a winner.
      2) They could both vote no lynch and we'd go into the night. They could then honourably decide not to shoot each other and win as a tie.
      3) They could both vote no lynch and we'd go into the night. They could then betray each other and both shoot and both would lose.
      4) They could both vote no lynch and we'd go into the night. One could betray the other while that other was acting honourably and that ass hole player would win.

      In other words, they could accept a coin toss or enter into a prisoner's dilemma.


      Special Games

      Our lines of large and small games provide a wide variety of playing experiences but they still can’t meet all the needs of the community. Sometimes your community leaders will see the need to work around technical issues, explore new ideas, or (most commonly) attract new players to the community and so we’ll introduce a special game in the rotation.

      Since every special game is unique to its circumstances, it’s hard to describe them here. The most common specials are our newbie games, maintained by Dear Leader Malia.
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens
    • Comprehensive Rules


      Section 1: Game areas

      Mafia is a community game, and we need to be aware that community interacts in a plethora of different ways. In order to keep the game fair and true to its intended spirit, we need to curtail that interaction to some degree. The extent to which you are free to post depends on the area in which you are posting, as indicated here:

      Private conversations with the GM:
      You are encouraged to post absolutely anything.

      Official (GM approved) private conversations with non-players (Mentoring, etc.):
      You are free to post anything.

      Official (GM approved) private conversations with players (Mafia's night thread, etc.):
      You must converse in plaintext English (no explicit ciphers). You may not directly quote the contents of your conversations with the GM or with non-players although you are free to summarize these conversations. You may not post fake tags (ie. [tag]contents[/tag]). You may not edit the content of your posts after they are made (minor edits for spelling and grammar are allowed). You may not reference private or semi-private conversations held prior to the beginning of the game without being completely clear regarding your meaning and motives.

      Active game threads (“day threads”):
      The game thread is for living players only, although spectators may post to subscribe. You must converse in plaintext english (no explicit ciphers). You may not directly quote the contents of *any* private conversation in the game thread although you are free to summarize these conversations. You may not post fake tags (ie. [tag]contents[/tag]). You may not edit the content of your posts after they are made (minor edits for spelling and grammar are allowed). You may not reference private or semi-private conversations held prior to the beginning of the game without being completely clear regarding your meaning and motives.

      Hub threads:
      You may not post any information that might be construed as strategically relevant in this thread (where “strategic relevance” is up to the GM's discretion so err on the side of caution). The Hub is for light chatter only. You are free to use fake tags for comedic purposes.

      Unofficial private or semi-private conversations involving players living or dead (Skype, Slack, etc.)
      Players should endeavour to never discuss the game outside of the public eye. Immediate reactions to game events are fine, but please move any protracted discussion to the Hub ASAP. Under no circumstances should two players, living or dead, discuss game strategy in private.


      Section 2: Game Actions

      Votes
      The basic day ability of all participants is the vote, which ultimately determines the player to be lynched. A vote is made with the use of vote tags ([vote]player name[/vote] or [vote]No Lynch[/vote]) and may be undone with unvote tags ([unvote]player name[/unvote]).

      Where necessary, a GM will attempt to take your visible intention into account when interpreting your use of tags. A misspelled vote tag will not disqualify the vote. Forgetting to “unvote” a player will not disqualify a subsequent vote, although unvoting is very much appreciated. As further points of courtesy, tags should be in bold and when a tagged post is quoted the tags should be removed to avoid confusion.

      Days are intended to be played to a full 24 hours. In rare circumstance, the day may be closed early, although this is entirely a matter of GM discretion. Should a player fail to vote over the course of a day, their vote will be cast against themselves.

      Role-associated actions
      Many roles provide players with a unique ability, such as investigating a player's alignment, or protecting a player from an attempted kill. Some of these action take immediate effect, but most are resolved at the end of the night cycle.

      When resolving night actions, we will employ the natural action resolution system detailed on the Mafia Scum wiki. This most important consequence of this system is that a player's death never prevents their night action. Whatever action you chose to perform at night will be resolved even if you don't wake up the next morning.


      Section 3: Game Conduct

      Activity
      In joining this game, you're making a commitment to your fellow players to remain active for the game's duration. As many as thirty other people are investing their time and energy into Mafia, and that's worth respecting. If you find yourself unable to continue to participate, for whatever reason, please just let the GM know. It is no problem at all to find a back-up. It is a much more serious issue to have to be mod-killed after days of unexplained inactivity.

      Role Claims
      Unless otherwise stated, tou are free to role-claim at any time during the game. We will simply warn you that, by the intended nature of our set-ups, early mass claims are likely to do far more harm than good.

      Emotion
      Emotional manipulation is an aspect of the mafia experience. Quite a large aspect if we're being honest. Other players are trying to confuse you, to stress you out, to gain your trust and then throw it in your face.

      If you find yourself on one side or another of this sort of manipulation, please remember that we are here to play a game, have fun, and build a community. Mafia is at its very best when we're doing absolutely terrible things to each other and then laughing uproariously about it a week later. If I ever feel that we're moving away from that sort of situation, the GMs and community leaders will do what is necessary to put the game back on course.

      Mature Content and Safe Posting
      Mafia is not naturally “G rated”. We like to keep things light-hearted, but the narratives of our games have involved vulgarity, blasphemy, drug and alcohol use, occult themes, and the murder of a young child. GMs will include appropriate trigger warning on their posts and expect players to do the same as they see fit.


      Section 4. Participation

      Fair use
      As we move into the era of simultaneous mafia games here on ZU we want to make sure that no player is being unnecessarily excluded. To that end, we're mandating that no player be simultaneously participating in two games at any single point in time. There may be wiggle room in exceptional circumstances but in general you should expect to only ever be active in one game.

      Anonymous Accounts
      In an anonymous game, each player will be given an alternate account that they will post as, in the current Mafia game. The theme of the alternate account/s will be the decision of the administrator. Understand that allowing alternate accounts is altering a four-pointer infraction rule on this forum, and any alteration of rules regarding this community is strictly the domain of the Community Coordinator/Head Administrator, so if any games with anon accounts should occur, it will happen under the close watch of the Head Admin.

      Note that you may only post in the current Mafia game/hub under the alt account. Posting outside these areas may result in you being removed from the Mafia game. Any rule-breaking that occurs under the alternate account, the punishment for it will occur on your regular account. Doing anything malicious under the alt. account will result in you being immediately removed from the game, and barred from participating in future anonymous games until stated otherwise. If you choose to participate in an anonymous game, you agree that the GM and/or a forum administrator may access your account without warning in case we need to check up on possible rule-breaking. The Head Admin has the right to deny anyone entrance into an anonymous game based on infraction history.


      Section 5: Appeals Process and GM interactions

      There is no formal appeal process in place for a player who disagrees with the way a Mafia game is managed on ZU. In order to create the best possible game experience, we require our GMs and their set-ups to pass a multi-layered checking process and, as a result, our GMs have the confidence of the community leaders and we will not consider overturning their decisions under normal circumstances. As a player, please keep in mind that:

      (a) All of our GMs have played multiple games of Mafia on ZU. The are familiar with the community and its conventions and “talk the talk” of ZU. This limits miscommunication and ensures that both players and GMs get the games they want.

      (b) All of our set ups are vetted by the community leaders in a two step process. Building a set up is a lot of work, and it’s easy for even the most seasoned game designers to miss important little details. Set ups are checked by Liah, Mike, Stryder or Foo and then *rechecked* but another team member to ensure all the bugs are worked out. Fewer than 50% of set ups are accepted.

      (c) All large games are chosen democratically. We will never play a game that a plurality of players didn’t ask for. This provides successfully elected GMs with a mandate to experiment, assuming they have fairly communicated their intentions during the election process.


      Section 6: Penalties

      In general, any major violation of the game rules above will result in removal from the game, although the GM has final say in any rules dispute. If there is reason to believe that a player has broken a rule in a wilful attempt to be removed from the game (ie. a wagon target having themselves killed in order to manipulate the voting process) harsher penalties will be assigned to that player and their team.

      Please note that all ZU forum and all CC board rules continue to apply, and continue to be the purview of the ZU staff.
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens
    • GM Guide


      A note from you Community Leaders: This is a guide in two distinct parts. The second - written by Spagh - details a general approach to GMing a game of Mafia, and is a good read for anyone at all interested in the subject. Even players who never intend to run a game can learn a lot by checking it out. The first part - written by the approval team - looks at the specific procedures involved in running a game here on ZU. It's a little more bureaucratic and not targeted at players but it's essential reading for our GMs.

      ---

      Part 1: GMing on ZU


      If you plan on doing so here on Zelda Universe there are a series of procedures you'll need to work though. Your basic path forward is outline in the following flowchart:

      The process is reasonably straight forward, but some questions do occasionally come up and we'll do our best to answer them here.

      How can I be sure my game will be approved
      Display Spoiler

      Malia wrote:

      Ayo guys

      Right so I wanna talk about A Thing to do with game set-ups. So, for about... uh, 8 - 9 months I've been checking over set-ups for the Mafia community, and I've come across certain things more than once that I've had to flat-out say "nope" to, and as these things are fairly common, it's worth bringing up in general so that people can learn from what I'm about to say, when creating their games for this community.

      One of the most common things I run into when people are creating high-rated bastard games is the idea that creating such a game means you create roles/ideas that make it impossible or near-impossible for players to win. For example, I've come across set-ups with unkillable SKs, or Townies who are destined to die on Night 1 no matter what (and this isn't the same as Shona dying in War of Gods on day 1, because she -did- return later more for a Jesus-rises-from-the-dead gag), or roles where the player is destined to get screwed over in some manner. These aren't okay. Higher rated games =/= do whatever you feel like with roles and/or screw people over so they have no hope of winning. There MUST be a way for the player to win or achieve their goal. You MUST, as a GM, ensure this is possible because you have to remember that you are creating these games for the enjoyment of the community. Higher bastard rated games does NOT mean unfair.

      This brings me into the point of a common attitude I've run into as to -why- people want to create these elaborate, high-stress, impossible-goal games; people often want their game to be remembered for the twists and turns and err-merr-gerd moments, which I can understand having GM'd games myself--I get you want your game to stand-out. But if your reason for "standing out" is so people remember the GMing, rather than the performances of the players, then you're doing it wrong. Because it's, straight up, not about you. The players are not playing against the GM. They are playing against each other. So your set-up must be put together with -them- in mind, and how to maximise -their- experience. I get that we identify Mafia as a high-stress game with a lot of backstabbing, but that should not cross-over into the creation of roles/set-ups in such a way that it takes away from the experience of the player.

      Further, another common thing seen in set-ups are roles that are created with a specific scenario in mind. Like some GMs think "this role would be great because if x happens, then this will be really awesome!" which assumes things are going to go according to plan, and truth is they rarely do in a game of Mafia lol. That kinda stuff is okay in moderation, like you may have an item that works really well under a specific circumstance if the player can figure that out. That's cool. But when we get set-ups where people have several of the roles comprised where they're heavily reliant on specific scenarios in order for them to work, that's a different story. You are leaning far too much on the ideal circumstances to fall into place, and if it DOESN'T, then chances are you're gonna end up with a mess for a game, unhappy players, and prob be stressed as shit as a GM.

      The thing with creating more complex set-ups, elaborate roles and high-bastard games is the bigger you go, the more you venture outside established boundaries of what's already considered standard for a Mafia game, the higher the chance is of you missing game-breakers. I am NOT saying that you shouldn't get creative, because creativity is fine! But understand that with creativity comes a very serious balance of thoroughly understanding the mechanics you are working with, and the more you change things, the deeper you should focus on the players' experience. The point of GMing is a service to the community in that you are creating something that they will enjoy. Yes, this may include high levels of stress because that is pretty much inate with a Mafia game, but serving the community takes priority over being a flashy GM.

      I don't want people to feel like I'm saying you're incapable when it comes to making games. Far from it. I've seen some really original ideas come through that are REALLY good, and some super-clever things that I'm sure will wow the shit out of the community. But what I AM saying is all the above are very common things I've come across in the last 8 - 9 months, and these ARE things that I am asking people to seriously think about when creating a game. As Foo once said to me, and I thought this was, like, really cool Gandalf-type wisdom, "You should create a game that YOU'D like to play." So when you're making a role or whatever, think to yourself, how would YOU feel if you were handed this role? How would you feel if you discovered later, the hidden information about your role? Would you be okay with that? Would you think it fair? If this were you, being handed this role, do you think end-game you would want to vote the GM back in for another game later? If at any point you find yourself saying "Nope" then you really wanna reconsider what you're creating.

      So when peeps be making Mafia set-ups, please consider all I've said above. I am saying this for the community at large, because they are the ones who vote in the games and play through them. I do, I really DO understand that a GM puts a mammoth-sized amount of work into their craft, and I'm not disrespecting that at all, I promise, but please remember that what you create IS essentially for the community, so create and be creative with that in mind.

      Thanks guys.

      What if I want to run an anonymous game?
      Display Spoiler
      You follow the process for creating a large game with a few exceptions:

      1) Know that the community leaders are much more harsh in their vetting of anon games: not only must your set-up be of high quality, but you must also convince us that your theme lends itself to anonymous play and that you can be trusted to manage anonymous accounts.

      2) You will be responsible for creating the anonymous accounts and tracing their use. You must limit yourself to a maximum of 24 players and forward details of the accounts to the administration.

      3) There can only be one anon game on the ballot at the time, which means you must wait for an existing game to move off of the ballot before your set-up can be nominated.

      What changes if a friend and I are GMing together?
      Display Spoiler
      We classify GM pairs as either "equal partnerships" or "leader and support". In the case of equal partnership we vet both GMs equally: each must have two games activity and each must have waited 3 games since last they GMd; each is entirely responsible for the maintenance of their game. In the case of a leader with support, the leader simply follows the process described above.

      Are their templates I can fill out for my game?
      Display Spoiler
      You bet! The standard form is:

      Host:
      Theme:
      No. of Players:
      Bastard Rating: /5
      (Madness Rating: /5)

      Description:


      ---
      Part 2: Setting up a Mafia Game


      So, you think you're a wise guy, eh? You wanna step up with the big boys and run the show, eh? Son, I'm gonna show you just how this here works. Capiche?

      Contents

      - The Fundamentals
      -- How the Game Works
      -- Bastard
      -- Role Madness
      -- Themes
      -- Non-Town Factions

      - Balancing
      -- Numbers
      -- Roles
      -- Power vs Power (Creating a Setup)

      - How Do I Create My Role PMs?

      - Final Notes and Tips

      The Fundamentals

      How the Game Works

      Mafia is a game about killing your friends in a variety of different scenarios. What's not to like? Here's a rundown of the rules:

      Most of the players are Townies, whilst a small portion of them are Mafia (also known as Scum). The Townies don't know what anybody else's role or allegiance is, however the Mafia know who each other are. The aim of the game? Kill everyone who isn't on your team. The game runs through Day and Night cycles, each lasting 24 hours respectively. During the Day, all players enter into the game thread and discuss amongst themselves who they want to "lynch". They cast votes and whichever player has the most when the day ends will be lynched (which means killed by the Town). The thread gets locked and the game then enters Night, at which point players are able to perform different actions based on their roles. Also, the Mafia are allowed to privately communicate with each other at night, thus being able to coordinate their plans for the game. At the end of the Night, the Mafia send the GM the name of a player and they will kill them before the next Day begins.

      Players vote during the day using the tags [vote]Spagh[/vote] and can sometimes perform specific actions according to their role, such as [daykill]Spagh[/daykill].

      In addition to this, players receive a role that allows them to perform specific actions, usually at night. A good example of a role is a Cop, who may PM the GM the name of a player each night and, at the end of the night, learn that player's allegiance.

      Finally, there are some games that include Third Party players; that is, players who are neither Town nor Mafia. Such roles could be a Serial Killer that can make a kill every night and whose only goal is to kill everybody, a Survivor, whose only goal is to still be alive at the end of the game, and more.

      For more information, you can go to MafiaScum Wiki, however please note that due to the nature of forums, the mechanics of the game are slightly adapted. Alternatively, you can PM me or ask any questions you have in the Mafia Plaza.

      Bastard

      A Bastard game is a game in which the GM intentionally misleads the players. This can be via role mechanics hidden from the player (Naive Cop, Visitor and custom modifications), alignment-changing roles (Saulus, Cultist, Mentor), roles that redirect actions (Nexus, Bus Driver) false death flips i.e. giving a fake or incomplete role and allegiance description in a deathpost (Death Miller, Janitor) or straight-up lies in the OP (or anything else which could be construed as the GM being dishonest, if you can think of it). How Bastard you want your game to be is up to you but bear in mind that if you go too far, your players will become stressed and stop having fun. You want the players to be fighting against each other a lot more than they're fighting against the GM, if at all.

      Role Madness

      In most games, the vast majority of players are Vanilla (i.e. they have no special abilities tied to their role) with just a few players having roles (usually a Cop, a Doctor and a Godfather). ZU typically hosts the other kind of game, one known as Role Madness. In Role Madness, it's rare to find a Vanilla player. Almost everyone (if not everyone altogether) will have a role with some kind of ability, be it passive or active. While it's not a necessity on ZU to host a Role Madness game, it's vastly preferred to the otherwise Normal counterparts.

      Themes

      Themes are a great twist that you can add to your game. With a theme based on a popular/your favourite TV show, video game, anime, whatever, you can easily work from a set of characters that you like as a base and create your setup around that. It has it's pros and cons, mind. On the plus side, a game with a theme can (note: CAN) be easier to plan, can help engage players and can certainly make things more fun. Conversely, a theme can often be restrictive, offputting to players who don't know/like the franchise you're borrowing from, and some players may overstress themselves by trying too hard to use the theme as a way of figuring out the setup. Take a long and hard think about whether or not you want to include a theme in your game, as it will make a big difference!

      Non-Town Factions

      In large Role Madness games, it's quite popular to have multiple non-Town factions, and there's quite a few to choose from! A non-Town faction is any player/group of players who are not Townies, like the Mafia. If you're going to add another faction other than the typical Mafia, there's a lot to choose from, so let me list a few. The most obvious (though arguably most difficult to balance) is the Second Mafia. This does exactly what it says on the tin; it's a second Mafia family whose win condition is to remove all threats to their family, meaning they have to kill all the Townies AND kill the other Mafia. If you're not feeling a second Mafia, you could go third-party, which is usually a single player alone. They could be a standard Serial Killer or they could be a Serial Killer who is part of a pair, such as the Arsonist or the Psychopath. You could have a Survivor, whose only goal is to still be alive at the end of the game. There's a myriad of choices to expand your game and split the Town even further, so have a look around and experiment with what's available.

      Balancing

      Now we come to the most difficult part - balancing. This is the cornerstone of a good setup; if it's not balanced properly, one side is going to have an advantage that will most likely give them an easy win, which is no fun for anybody. There are two parts to balancing, both of which we shall tackle separately - numbers and roles.

      Numbers

      This is where the rules are relatively set in stone, so let's start with the most important rule there is to balancing in Mafia: NEVER have half of the setup or less be Townies. Why? Well, when half of the players aren't Townies, they can work together (with full knowledge of each other's identities) to lynch whoever they want unopposed (as they'd control the majority vote). The Townies just became so outnumbered that they literally can't win. So don't let the Townies be outnumbered from the beginning (and preferably not close to it either).

      As for the more fluid numbers, this is more a guideline than anything, but I've found it to work well in the past. An ideal figure for total non-Town players is between one third and one quarter of the setup. Obviously this can be toyed around with however much you like, though be prepared to compensate for it with powerful/weak roles (i.e. having a smaller Mafia but with much more powerful roles). Speaking of which...

      Roles

      Finally, the trickiest and meatiest part of the guide. How exactly do you balance your setup so that neither side has an advantage? Unfortunately there's no right or wrong answer, so you'll just have to make do with an explanation of how I do things myself! Let's get stuck in.

      While there are a great many roles to choose from in Mafia, most of them fit neatly into categories. Being able to recognise these categories will help you immensely. The categories that I use are: Investigative, Killing, Protective and Manipulative. Generally, I try to keep a power balance between each faction based on these categories.

      Investigative: These roles are the ones that allow the player to gain information that is not public knowledge. Roles in this category include Cop, Forensic Investigator, Tracker and Watcher. In the hands of the Town, these can allow a player to gain information that may be necessary to secure a lynch on an opposing player and/or gain the trust of the Town. In the hands of the Mafia, these can be also be used to gain the trust of the Town, but can also be a reliable way to pull off a gambit.

      Killing: These roles kill people. Some use guns, some use knives, some use explosions. But they all kill people. Need I explain more? Roles in this category include: Serial Killer, Desperado, Vengeful Townie and Vigilante. In the hands of the Town, these roles provide the chance to kill off the enemy players quicker than with just the lynches. Unfortunately, there is also a pretty strong chance of hitting a fellow Townie. In the hands of the Mafia, these roles provide extra killing power in additional to the factional kill that Mafia already possess, making them a formidable boon. A point of worthy mention is that a way of buffing a Townie Vigilante or nerfing a Mafia Assassin is to give them the Daytime modifier, making their kills only work during the day with an in-thread post. This exposure makes the killers less trigger-happy.

      Protective: These roles prevent kills from being successful on either their chosen target or themselves. Such roles include: Doctor, Bodyguard, Godfather and Bulletproof Townie. The utility in these roles is pretty self-explanatory, so I shan't delve into it too deep. I shall, however, make note that protective roles are typically more powerful in the hands of the Mafia, as they have fewer targets to choose from (especially if they have a Godfather, which is usually the case).

      Manipulative: This pool of roles is certainly the largest, and is defined as roles that can control an element of the gamestate. Such roles may redirect actions (Bus Driver, Redirector, Deflector), prevent actions from succeeding (Roleblocker, Jailor/Jailkeeper, Absorber), limit or control the informational gain of their opponents (Janitor, Silencer, Framer) or affect votes (Hammerer, Governor, Vote Thief). These roles have a large variety of uses for each side of the Town.

      Redirecting actions, if used carefully by Townies, can not only confuse the opposing factions but can also act as pseudo-protection by directing kills away from important players. Though this can cause obvious problems for the Town, it usually creates a strong air of ambiguity around roles, causing trouble for the Mafia. In the hands of the Mafia, they're not a whole lot more powerful, they're pretty much just there to cause confusion and pseudo-protect.

      Preventative actions are also pretty two-sided; while they are quite useful to the Mafia because they know who their opponents are, without an investigative role to back themselves up, they're simply firing blind. Similarly, most preventative roles don't do a whole lot of good for the Town as they're firing blind.

      Information control roles are by far more powerful for the Mafia than they are for the Town, since the Mafia already have a strong informational advantage. The only real way to counter this for the Town is to include a Masonry, which brings their power almost to the same level.

      Finally, voting roles. These come in two flavours - roles that push a lynch over the edge and roles that prevent a lynch from succeeding. Voting-based roles are typically Town-aligned and aren't commonly used (because ZU uses a weird voting system lol), however they are roughly equal in power for both sides.

      !Bonus! - Bastard Chaos roles: These are roles that you can throw in to fill in some final spots that need filling which will cause havoc or make the game more Bastard (usually both). Roles with unpredicatable results (Inventor, Nexus) and roles that generally do crazy things (Oracle, Motivator). Be careful that these things don't create a situation in which one faction could have a distinct advantage!

      Role Modifiers: These come in all shapes and sizes, and they can really give you the edge when balancing your setup. Modifiers can be added to a role as an additional element that changes how they behave. Here is a quick and dirty list of various modifiers and what they do:
      • Bulletproof: Can only be killed by lynch and Strongman kills.
      • Lynchproof: Can only be killed by factional and role kills.
      • Day: Can only use their role ability during the day, usually in-thread.
      • Deathproof: Can't be killed at all, usually one-shot.
      • X-shot: Role ability can only be used X amount of times.
      • Macho: Cannot be protected from kills
      • Weak: Dies if targeting a non-Town player (while a nerf, this does allow the player to double up as an investigative role)
      • Ninja: Immune to Watcher/Tracker investigations.
      • Naive: They player doesn't know it, but their role never actually does anything. See Naive Cop
      There are plenty more but those are the most common ones so those are the ones you need to know.

      Power vs Power

      In this section, I'm going to walk you through the creation of a relatively simple setup. Each time I add roles, I'll colour them to make it more clear. I'm also going to put this whole section in a spoiler because it's pretty long.

      Example Setup

      For the moment, we're going to assume a simple setup of 16 players, 5 of which are Mafia and 11 of which are Townies. How can this setup be balanced? Let's start by adding in some standard roles that can be expected in most games - a Cop, Doctor and Godfather.

      - Cop
      - Doctor

      - Godfather


      Now the bit where things get interesting, let's add in some flavour. Let's make the Town reliant on gaining information. To do so, we'll give them a few decent Investigative roles. Let's throw a Watcher, a Tracker and a Thief in there.

      - Cop
      - Watcher
      - Tracker
      - Thief

      - Doctor

      - Godfather

      The problem with any faction's strengths is that giving them more roles of one kind limits how many other role types you can give them, creating weaknesses. So at this point the Town has little protection, no killing power and no manipulation. Well, let's make their strengths a bit tighter before we work on that, so we'll add in some roles that give them more control over things. We'll give them a Redirector to allow Townies the opportunity to test roleclaims and a Vote Thief to effectively remove some power from identified Mafia.

      - Cop
      - Watcher
      - Tracker
      - Thief
      - Doctor
      - Redirector
      - Vote Thief


      - Godfather

      We're already running pretty slim with only 4 Townie roles left, so lets' take a look at their strengths and weaknesses. They've got a lot of ways to identify potential Mafia and then actively work to prevent them from doing too much harm, but they have barely any protection and no killing abilities. Let's exploit that. The Mafia don't currently need any protection, as there are no killing roles on the Town's side, so let's not worry about giving them a Doctor. Instead, let's take advantage of the fact that they have little protection and give the Mafia an extra kill with an Assassin, and then a Roleblocker.

      - Cop
      - Watcher
      - Tracker
      - Thief
      - Doctor
      - Redirector
      - Vote Thief

      - Godfather
      - Assassin
      - Roleblocker


      So then, how is the Mafia doing? In terms of strengths, they've got a Godfather who is safe from kills and some investigations, an extra kill and a way of meddling with the Town's powers. In terms of weaknesses, they have no way of gaining information and can't protect themselves (aside from the Godfather). Let's try to resolve that by giving them a Role Cop.

      - Cop
      - Watcher
      - Tracker
      - Thief
      - Doctor
      - Redirector
      - Vote Thief

      - Godfather
      - Assassin
      - Roleblocker
      - Role Cop

      Wow, that is one strong Mafia. They can kill twice, find out roles, block roles AND one of them is immune to the Cop's investigations and any kills the Town has. Well, let's balance it out a little by capitalising on the Godfather's Bulletproof ability (which doesn't protect his team mates) and give the Town a killing role. We'll go with a simple Vigilante for now. We still have three Town roles left after that, so let's try to cover the Town's weaknesses a little more and counter the Mafia's extra kill by giving them another protective role. We'll go with a simple one and pick a Hider.

      - Cop
      - Watcher
      - Tracker
      - Thief
      - Doctor
      - Redirector
      - Vote Thief
      - Vigilante
      - Hider

      - Godfather
      - Assassin
      - Roleblocker
      - Role Cop

      Now we're getting close to finishing. Overall, both sides play to each other's strengths and weaknesses, though the Town are pretty focused down the investigative route while the Mafia are a lot more rounded. We could do with rounding out the Town a bit and making them a little less dependant on each other, so let's throw in a role that can be pretty powerful without relying on other players. I'm tempted to throw in a Paranoid Gun Owner, but with so many roles on the Town's side that target other players, that would likely end up being more dangerous than helpful, so perhaps not. Versatility would be a great boon to this role, so let's make them a Jack of All Trades. They get a bunch of one-shot abilities, but let's keep it relatively simple and give them a kill, a role investigation, a protection and a roleblock.

      - Cop
      - Watcher
      - Tracker
      - Thief
      - Doctor
      - Redirector
      - Vote Thief
      - Vigilante
      - Hider
      - Jack of All Trades

      - Godfather
      - Assassin
      - Roleblocker
      - Role Cop

      One role left for each side, this is where it starts to get tough. The setup is pretty tight (though there is a glaring problem I will address later) so we don't want roles to be too intrusive. Considering the flow of information is important, let's make the final Mafia a Silencer. It's a pretty transparent role, as once they use their ability for the first time their presence becomes very obvious, however it will provide an early advantage for the Mafia and could be very useful in silencing a particularly tricky opponent or powerful investigative role later on. And for the Town? Well, it wouldn't be Mafia if things didn't get a little crazy; let's throw in a Nexus.

      - Cop
      - Watcher
      - Tracker
      - Thief
      - Doctor
      - Redirector
      - Vote Thief
      - Vigilante
      - Hider
      - Jack of All Trades
      - Nexus

      - Godfather
      - Assassin
      - Roleblocker
      - Role Cop
      - Silencer

      And there we have it - a Role Madness setup for 16 players which is well-balanced. Or is it? I mentioned earlier that was a glaring problem, and hopefully you should have noticed it by now - the Mafia have two kills per night and the Town doesn't have a great amount of protection. If this passed unnoticed, there'd be a pretty big chance that the Town would get wrecked before it even started to coordinate itself. So now let's do the tricky thing and try to figure out a way around it.

      There are various ways that this can be done. The Town can be buffed to counter the additional kills by giving them extra protection, perhaps in the form of a Bulletproof Vest (one-shot kill protection) or changing one of the roles to something more powerful, like a Jailor/Jailkeeper. On the other hand, the Mafia can be nerfed, and that's what I'm going to choose to do as nerfing roles is an important skill to have. Nerfing comes in several forms and it often comes down to the modifiers I talked about earlier. The two that come to mind are the Day modifier and the X-shot modifier. But which to choose? Well in this situation, the Day modifier will hurt the most. If they're X-shot (probably one-shot) then they can use their kill without revealing themselves but continue to work against players in-thread during the day. The Day modifier, on the other hand, will expose them to the other players and force them to be very careful with their targets, potentially requiring them to kill off one of their own players. There's no right or wrong choice here, so I'm going to opt for the one that produces a more fun twist for the players and make them a Daytime Assassin.

      - Cop
      - Watcher
      - Tracker
      - Thief
      - Doctor
      - Redirector
      - Vote Thief
      - Vigilante
      - Hider
      - Jack of All Trades
      - Nexus

      - Godfather
      - Daytime Assassin
      - Roleblocker
      - Role Cop
      - Silencer

      Great stuff. Now that the setup is complete, it's your turn. There are three roles in this setup that I've intentionally left ambigious in regards to their specific mechanics - Thief, Hider and Nexus. I want YOU to decide how exactly each othem work. I'll explain what I mean for each of them.

      Thief: A Thief is a role that steals an item from the player they target that relates to their role. Stealing from a Silencer might yield some masking tape, stealing from a Doctor might yield a stethoscope. What it yields is up to you and is as confusing or clear as you want it to be (many different roles could have a gun, but only a Cop will have a police badge), however the part you need to decide on is can they steal the ability from their target? Sometimes a Thief is able to act as a permanent roleblock on their target, literally stealing their ability away from them (note that the Thief cannot then use the stolen ability).

      Hider: A Hider is a role that hides behind a player in order to avoid being targeted by other players. In some variants, a Hider will die if they hide behind a player who is Mafia. Which variant will you choose?

      Nexus: A Nexus will actively reflect anything that targets them and redirect it to a random player (use a random number generator to decide). I've devised my own twists for the Nexus to prevent them from being completely unkillable (and thus can only be lynched). One of these twists is that when I put an action through the random number generator and it lands back on the Nexus again, the action is succesful. The other twist is that when an action lands back on the Nexus, they die, regardless of what the action was (yes, even a Doctor's protection). Which of these three options will you choose?

      Take a good look at all of these variants and tinker around with how it changes the balance of the setup. Some may improve how balanced it is, some may throw it way off. If you play around, you should get a better feel for how balance works and also familiarise yourself with how roles with variants work.


      How Do I Create My Role PMs?


      Now then, this is where it gets a lot simpler. There are many ways to write a role PM, but I've made a pretty simple one myself and it comes in two handy varieties to suit your needs - themed and unthemed! Let's get straight on with explaining what a Role PM needs.

      - Tell the player their Role's name
      - Explain how the Role works
      - Explain the player's win condition
      - Say hello at the start and wish them luck at then end ^_^

      Do-dos and no-gos

      When explaining a player's role, don't just give them a link to the MafiaScum wiki page for that role and don't just copypaste it. Chances are that the role has several variants or you're operating it slightly differently (which is usually the case, since we've translated the format into a forum one).

      Try to avoid using specific terms. For example, when explaining the win condition to a Townie, try not to say "You win when all of the Mafia are dead" as it confirms to them right off the bat there are no other non-Town factions around. Similarly, try to avoid "You win when all non-Mafia players are dead" when explaining to a Mafia, as the fact that you didn't simply say "Townies" but said "non-Mafia players" instead confirms to them that there is at least one Third Party player. Here are some examples of win conditions that reveal no additional information to the players:
      • Townie: "You win when all threats to the Town are removed."
      • Mafia: "You win when all threats to the Mafia are removed."
      • Serial Killer: "You win when nobody is left alive but you."
      • Survivor: "You win if you survive until the end of the game. You *can* win alongside another party, therefore you do not need to be the sole survivor."


      Do not explain tactics, techniques or exploits in a player's role in the PM. How they use the role is down to the player and how perceptive and strategic they are.

      Keep your colours consistent! I know it seems like a pretty simple thing to note, but it can be very easy to miscolour something and such a simple slip up will be ripped apart by the players and used as misinformation to help them try and (incorrectly) figure out the game. If you're choosing to not colour a word in a particular context, be very deliberate with it.

      Themeless Template
      Hello <player>, and welcome to Mafia!

      You are a [color= ][b]role[/b][/color]!

      As a <role>, you <abilities>.

      As a <alignment>, you win when <win condition>.

      Good luck,
      - <GM Name>

      Example

      Hello Link, and welcome to Mafia!

      You are a Townie Sidekick!

      As a Sidekick, you may PM me the name of a player once per night. Any action targeting that player in the duration of that night will target you instead.

      As a Townie, you win when all threats to the Town are eliminated.

      Good luck,
      - Spagh


      The above template will work just fine for a themeless game (provided that you separate the character's name and the role), however if you are choosing to include a theme in your game there are a few things that are good to include. None of these are absolutely necessary, but I find that they help bring a lot more flavour to the game.

      The additional things that I like to provide are:

      - A picture of the character
      - A quote from the character. If they don't have any dialogue or good quotes, you can use a quote from somebody else about the character.
      - A brief character bio. Make sure to not provide too heavy spoilers for the sake of the players and, if possible, explain how the character's bio relates to their abilities.

      Themed Template
      [center][img]character image[/img]
      [i]“Quote”[/i][/center]

      Hello <player>, and welcome to Mafia!

      You are <character>, a [color= ][b]role[/b][/color]! <Character Bio>.

      As a <role>, you <abilities>.

      As a <alignment>, you win when <win condition>.

      Good luck,
      - <GM Name>

      Example

      “Comic Book Fantasy and Reality Avoidance Expo! Where people who really like this stuff can get together to prove they're not geeks!”


      Hello Link, and welcome to Mafia!

      You are Cleft the Boy Chin Wonder, a Townie Sidekick! Standing not-so-tall beside his fellow superhero, the Crimson Chin, Cleft works hard to keep the streets of Chincinnati clean of crime. He still has some good fun while he's at it, though.

      As a Sidekick, you may PM me the name of a player once per night. Any action targeting that player in the duration of that night will target you instead.

      As a Townie, you win when all threats to the Town are eliminated.

      Good luck,
      - Spagh


      Now that you have an understanding of how to write Role PMs, go back to the example setup created earlier and write out some Role PMs for the various roles there as practice. If you're feeling ambitious, you can even try to apply a theme to the setup and incorporate that into your PM!


      Final Notes and Tips

      Before we finish this guide, just a few quick things to mention to you:

      - If you want to find more information about roles, mechanics or just Mafia in general (which you will if you're going to GM), the folks here at ZU use MafiaScum Wiki. Other sources have differing takes on a lot of their roles, so it would be best to not use those sites as to avoid confusion.

      - Virtually anything in Mafia can be tinkered with, so take a look into what people have done to mix things up in past games and experiment with things yourself! Just try not to go too mad (people won't want to play games that are too crazy) and make sure you know that it's going to work before you let anyone play it.

      - If you're struggling to deal with all of this, consider getting a partner to co-GM the game with. It takes a surprising weight off of your shoulders, makes the game more flexible and gives you someone to bounce ideas off of. Sometimes, showing someone else the setup you've made can lead to them noticing a massive problem that you completely glossed over.

      - Be very careful with how you phrase things in the opening post; people will scrutinise every detail of it in order to gain information about the setup.

      - Don't be afraid to invent your own roles! GMs on ZU have done it before and it's worked out really well. If you do invent one, however, try not to make it too complicated (as that's not fun for the player) and try not to put too many of them into one setup (that's a Bastard's recipe for disaster).

      - While there's no particular way to deal with it, be consistent with how you respond to PMs regarding Night Actions. Decide how you're going to react in advance. For example, if a Tracker targets a Vanilla Townie, I would respond with "No Result". If a Tracker was roleblocked, I would respond with "No Result". If a Cop targets a Serial Killer (Third Party role), I would respond with "No Result". The consistency and lack of detail prevents the players from knowing exactly what happened (which is considered a slightly bastard method). If someone is redirected, will you tell them? Will you tell a Tracker that their target was redirected? Will you tell a Doctor that they've been roleblocked? You need to decide these kinds of things before you make your setup, as they will affect how much information the players will have as they play the game and thus will affect the setup. For example, if you tell players that they've been redirected somewhere, that they've been roleblocked etc, it will make an investigation-focused Mafia family suddenly become much more powerful.

      - Since we're playing Mafia on a forum it's not as quick-fire as some people might be used to (traditional games of Mafia usually last about 30 minutes and are waaaaay less analytical) and we have to cater to people in a really diverse range of time zones, so make sure that each Day lasts 24 hours and each Night lasts 24 hours. This will give everybody a fair chance to put in some decent commitment. Additionally, Role Madness games can be quite confusing to coordinate when it comes to Night Actions and you might find yourself writing a lot of reply PMs, some of which will be quite lengthy. To help with this, it's a good recommendation that you reserve the last hour or two of each Night to completing all of this and create a cutoff point for Night Actions. An example of this would be to tell everyone that they have to get their Night Actions submitted within the first 22 hours of each Night and that nothing after that will be counted. This way, you can peacefully clean up everything you need to before it comes time to start the next Day.

      - If you're finding yourself stuck for ideas or would like to see some more examples of how this could all work, I'd highly recommend going to Community Archive and taking a look at some of the previous games there. If you skip to the last post, you'l also find a rundown that explains the entire setup, shows all the Role PMs and Night Actions and usually has a bunch of other cool stuff there. You should also post a rundown like these when your game is finished so that everybody can see what actually happened throughout the game!

      That's it for today ladies and gentlemen. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me or ask someone in the Mafia Plaza for help. Good luck, and happy GMing!
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens
    • A Mafia Player's Guide to Bastard Ratings


      It's a pretty common refrain at this point: a game ends and we end up having a discussion in the Hub about the game's bastard rating and the meaning of bastard ratings in general. I think Jaime's made the same post about 4 times at this point, teasing apart the meaning of "bastard" from a number of other metrics by which a set-up can be judged. I think it's worthwhile to just consolidate things in a sticky and point to it as needed, hence this FAQ. Enjoy!

      Why do we have Bastard Ratings?

      Short answer: In order to help players decide whether a given game will match their particular taste.

      Long Answer: A bastard rating is intended to measure the degree to which you can trust the GM both implicitly and explicitly. For the most part, the person running a game of mafia tells the truth to their players - the game would by nigh impossible otherwise - but Mafia is, by design, a game of mystery and often that mystery is created or enhanced mechanically. Some players enjoy this effect, others do not, and in general it's nice to know what you're getting into when you sign up for a game. This is the far-and-away the most important consideration when talking about bastard ratings: letting players know whether or not a given game is a good match to their own preferences. Referencing the bastard rating for almost any other purpose can be problematic, as I hope to explain here.

      When does it help to cite the bastard rating during game play?

      Short answer: Almost never

      Long Answer: Players will often cite the bastard rating in their attempt to determine whether a given role claim or narrative is believable. This approach is dangerous, and is inappropriately justified based on common errors made by players.

      The first, and most common mistake is to associate either originality or chaos within the game with GM misinformation. In actuality, it is entirely possible to create a 30-person game in which every player has a unique and novel role and to still be a completely honest GM: this game would look very strange and very hectic on the surface but would *not* be "bastard" in the sense in which we want the term to be used. Relying on this interpretation, a player in a game with a low bastard rating will often doubt the stories of players with odd role claims but this is not justified based on the community leader's understanding of what a bastard rating *is*.

      The second error is to rule out various hypotheses about the game state based on how "bastard" they are perceived to be. Towns will often consider a variety of explanations for a given event, assign each a hypothetical "bastard" score and then rule out those explanation in which the score they have assigned exceeds the score given the game. The issue here is that, as GMs, we assign the bastard rating holisitcally - with the entire set up in mind - and not by looking at individual elements and tallying their "bastard points". There are good *philosophical* reasons that towns should be wary of overly complicated explanations, sure, but they have nothing to do with the bastard rating.

      The final and most subtle error involves confusing bastard ratings with the relative power of the roles in the game. Bastard ratings do not *directly* measure power and A-tier roles such as Watcher and Day Vig can by included at any bastard rating. The separation between power rating and bastard level breaks down, however, when we begin to talk about S-tier roles so powerful they break the usual flow of gameplay. A scum faction which does not know to expect the power of a sensor or a reviver may make strategic assumptions which would be entirely valid in a normal game but which fail in the presence of these roles. If this is the case, a GM who does not forewarn players of these abilities is implicitly misleading, as the community understands it, and that breakdown of communication necessarily ups the bastard rating. Players should be aware that when we talk about roles powerful enough to effect the bastard score we're referencing exceedingly rare circumstances and in general they are safe not to associate power with bastard rating *but* should make note of the exceptions which do exist.

      What exactly does each score on our eleven point scale mean?

      When we, as community managers, judge the bastard level of a game we are basically following the process outlined below. We hope you find this outline illuminating and that it helps us all in understanding when and how to think about the ratings we give games.

      Question 1: Does this set up depart significantly from the game as it is usually understood? Does it make use of the bare skeleton of Mafia but then go on to explore totally novel design space? Is it comparable to Mafia of the Rising Sun (no town players) or Mafia XV (significant conversation for all players - including dead players - in private areas)?

      Yes -> Bastard Rating 5.0
      "Sort of, but.." -> Bastard Rating 4.5
      No -> Move to Question 2

      Question 2: Would strategies which are normally considered foundational be problematic in this game? Are there elements which will punish players for relying on the instincts they would build in a newbie game or an open set up? Is it comparable to Mafia IV (significant alignment changes near the end game) or Mafia X (including a player in the mafia faction incentivized to work against the Mafia)?

      Yes -> Bastard Rating 4.0
      "Sort of, but.." -> Bastard Rating 3.5
      No -> Move to Question 3

      Question 3: Do you expect the set-up to generate significant misinformation such that even with complete cooperation the town would have a very difficult time understanding what happened during previous night cycles? Does the set-up include a critical mass of roles which alter the result or direction of other player's night actions? Is it comparable to Mafia II (including two separate mafia factions, a nexus, a busdriver, and a set of items whose function was not given and not easily inferred from their names)?

      Yes -> Bastard Rating 3.0
      "Sort of, but.." -> Bastard Rating 2.5
      No -> Move to Question 4

      Question 4: Do you expect the set-up to generate misinformation at all? Obviously town knows to expect some informational issues, such as those associated with a mafia godfather, but is there an element beyond that which creates confusion town will need to work against to overcome? Is it comparable to Mafia XI (where the Godfather died early, but there was a usurper role which inherited the Godfather's abilities)?

      Yes -> Bastard Rating 2.0
      "Sort of, but.." -> Bastard Rating 1.5
      No -> Move to Question 5

      Question 5: Is there any hidden information in this set-up at all? Do town need to guess as to whether there's a certain role on their side or the scum side or is everything open and pre-understood?

      Yes -> Bastard Rating 1.0
      "Sort of, but.." -> Bastard Rating 0.5
      No -> Bastard Rating 0
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens