A Short List of Mafia Game Roles

This is meant to be an incomplete list of common and not so common roles and modifiers used in mafia games. The intended audience is novice players and novice game hosts.

I’ve probably left out some roles that should be on the list and added some roles that are too obscure given the intended audience. Eventually, a cleaned up version will go into the knowledge base.

Let me know what you’d change, add or delete! Thanks!

Some game roles are specific to an alignment (usually), and some roles can be given to any faction or third party. Active roles are abilities that only are used if the player contacts the game host with the name of the player they want to target with their ability. Examples of active roles are Cops and Vigilantes. Passive roles are intrinsic and don’t have targets. Examples of passive roles are Miller and Bulletproof. Roles can be combined and modified.

Common Roles

Vanilla Townie - The most common town role. The vanilla townie has a voice and a vote, as do nearly all roles of any alignment. The role has no active or passive abilities.

Mafia Goon - The most common scum role. The Goon can carry out the factional kill and has no other night abilities


Cop - Can target another player at night and learn their alignment. The result is usually an “innocent”/“guilty”, “town”/“not town”. Sometimes a cop can detect a third party player, but not always.

Tracker - Can target another player and learn if they visit another player. The tracker learns who their target visited, but not what action they performed on the target.

Watcher - Can target another player and learn if someone visits them. The watcher learns who visited their target, but not what action was performed on the target.

Voyeur - Can target another player and learn if an action was performed on them. The voyeur learns what action was performed on their target, but not who performed the action

Rolecop - Can learn what role their target has. Usually the role cop doesn’t learn their target’s alignment, though some variants of this role get the full role PM of their target (with any other players’ names redacted). A rolecop who targets a vanilla town or mafia goon gets a “Vanilla” result.

Vanilla Cop - Can learn if the player they target is “vanilla” or not. Mafia Goons also return the “vanilla” result. Power Roles of all alignments return “not vanilla”.

Neapolitan Cop - Can learn if their target is a Vanilla Townie or not. All other roles return “Not Vanilla Town”

Hider - This player can hide behind another player at night. If their target is not Town, they die. There are many variations to the role. The most common variation is untargetable: No actions that target the hider will resolve successfully and if their target is night killed, then the hider also dies. Another common variant makes some other actions targeting the player they hide behind also affect the hider. In this variant, if the player they hide behind is targeted by an investigative role, then the investigator will receive information about the hider as well as the target.


Vigilante - Usually a town role. The vigilante can kill another player at night

Poisoner - Usually a scum or 3rd party role, but can also be town. The player the poisoner targets will die at the end of the next day phase.

Vengeful - When lynched, this role can choose a living player in the game to kill during twilight.

Supersaint - When lynched, this role will kill the player who placed the hammer vote.

Serial Killer - This is a 3rd party role with a night kill. The serial killer’s win condition can vary, but the classic (and difficult) win condition is “Last Player Standing”.


Doctor - This player can select another player at night to protect from night kills. The usual variant of this role is not able to self-target.

Jailkeeper - This player can select another player at night and both block the player if they have a night action, and protect the player from night kills.

Bulletproof - This player is immune to being killed. Bulletproof does not prevent the player from being lynched.

Bodyguard - This player can select another player at night, and if that player is night killed, the bodyguard will be killed instead.


Roleblocker - This player can target another player and block any active night abilities the target has.

Jailkeeper (see jailkeeper in the Protective category above)

Commuter - This player can “leave town” at night. When commuting, the player can’t be targeted by other abilities.


Encrypter - this player enables private daytime communication for other players who have outside-the-thread communication. When the Encrypter dies, then all players with outside-the-thread communication lose their ability to communicate during the day.

Neighbor - this is a player who has outside-the-game communication with at least one other player. Their private communication area is called a Neighborhood. Neighbors’ alignments are not known to each other, and neighborhoods can contain players with different alignments.

Mason - This is the all-town version of Neighbor. Masons know that their mason-partners are town. Masons usually have a private thread or chat for communication, but the more significant part of their ability is that they are confirmed town to each other.

Messenger - This is a player with one-way communication in the game thread. Usually a Messenger sends a message the Host along with who should receive the message. The Host sends the message to the targeted recipient. Messages can be (and usually are) anonymous, in that the Host doesn’t confirm who the message came from in the event the message itself contains the Messenger’s identity (“Hi, I’m Player A”)

Negative Utility

Post restricted - The player has some sort of restriction on what they can post. The restriction could be on the quantity of posts, but it’s usually on what a post can contain. Some restrictions may severely limit what a player can say in the game thread.

Treestump - The player can’t vote and can’t be targeted for any night actions. Usually, but not always, the Treestump’s alignment is known.

Miller - The player is town, but if investigated by a cop, will return a guilty result.

Ascetic - The player can’t be targeted by most or all night actions. Often, an ascetic player can be killed, but not otherwise targeted.

Traitor - This is a mafia role. The Traitor doesn’t have outside-the-game communication with the rest of the scum team. There are numerous variations on this role. The rest of their tame may not know there is a traitor, may know there is a traitor, but not the traitor’s identity, or may know who the traitor is. Some traitor roles can be recruited into the main team. Some traitor roles inherit the factional night kill if the rest of the scum team is dead. Some traitor roles can only try to manipulate the lynch after the rest of their team dies. And some traitors automatically die when the last scum player dies, giving Town an immediate win. From a game design balance point of view, making one of the scum players a traitor weakens the scum team. If the scum team is weak compared to the town, adding an additional scum player who is a traitor strengthens the scum team, but less than adding a goon would.

Lightning Rod - This role passively redirects all night actions to itself, including the night kill. In games with a doctor, no kills can take place while the doctor makes night actions.

Nexus - Similar to the lightning rod, this role redirects night actions. Unlike the lightning rod, the Nexus has no control over where the night actions are redirected to. Usually, the Nexus does not redirect the night kill, itself, and will die if targeted for a kill

Lover - This is a role shared by two players. Lovers both die if one of them is targeted for a kill. Lovers sometimes (but not always) know each others’ alignments. And they sometimes (but not always) have outside-the-game communication.

Fruit Vendor - Any alignment can be a fruit vendor, but the most common alignment is Town. The Fruit Vender can send another player a piece of fruit (or another object that fits the game’s flavor) at night. The fruit doesn’t confer any abilities to the recipient. Fruit vendors are usually put in a game to confound tracking/watching/etc. results.

Hard to Categorize!

Jack of all Trades (JOAT) - This is a role that has multiple abilities that can’t all be used on the same night. Some JOATS have an assortment of investigative abilities, some have abilities from different categories (Protective+Investigative+Killing, for instance). Sometimes JOATS can use each ability only once. Some can reuse abilities after all their abilities have been used once. JOATS always have at least two abilities, but can have more.

Inventor - Any alignment can have this role, but the most common variants are town. This role can make items that confer a one-shot ability and send the items to another player to use. Usually, the game designer specifies what the items will be and what they will do, but in some games the inventor is allowed to use their imagination within reason. Being able to design an invention from scratch to fit the current gamestate can have an unbalancing effect, so care is usually taken in designing such a role.

Some Uncommon Roles

Innocent Child - Players with this role are Host/Mod-confirmed town. In some variants, the innocent child is announced by the host at the start of the game. In some variants, the player decides when they would like for their status to be announced by the host in the game thread.

Cult Leader - This player can recruit others into their faction. This can be an extremely unbalancing role, so there are usually restrictions on how many times they can recruit, how many recruits can be living at one time, and there may be unrecruitable players in the game. In some variants, the Cult Leader will die if they recruit a member of the scum team. In some variants, players with power roles who are recruited lose their abilities. In some variants, recruits keep their abilities. This is an extremely difficult role to balance, and also a fairly unpopular role among players. Roles where a player’s alignment and/or win condition can change are considered bastard in some quarters.

Paranoid Gun Owner - This player will reflexively kill anyone who targets them for a night action.

Jester - This is a third party player whose win condition is to get lynched. Sometimes, their win condition is to be lynched on a specific night. Sometimes, they can win if night killed. This is another unpopular role that doesn’t show up often except in bastard games.

Mime - This is a member of a third party faction that wins if all players in the faction are lynched. The traditional Mime team has a roleblock and no other night actions.

Motion Detector - This role can target a player at night and learn if any actions were performed by them or performed on them. The motion detector doesn’t learn what actions took place, and doesn’t learn which other players were involved in the actions.

Desperado - This role has a day action. They can target a player for a day-kill, and if the player is scum, the kill is successful. If the player is town, the desperado dies. Some variants of desperado receive a lynch-immunity for the rest of the game day, or a kill-immunity for the night phase.

Reporter - There are several variants of this role, and none of them are very common. The most common variant is essentially a motion detector. They learn if their target leaves their house during the night, but not where the target goes or what they do. Another variant writes some of the day-start flavor. They usually learn who was nightkilled that night after night actions are locked, but before the day phase starts. Another variant has a rolecop ability, and they can use the daystart flavor to anonymously share the result.

Vote Stealer - this player is able to steal another player’s vote. It’s usually a night action, and the vote stealer will control the vote for the next day phase. Usually the player whose vote is stolen isn’t informed. If the vote counts reflect where the stolen vote is moved, the presence of a vote stealer is obvious. If the vote counts look like the player whose vote was stolen was able to vote as they pleased, then the day’s lynch may not go as expected.

Beloved Princess - A negative utility role. If this role is lynched or night killed, the next day phase is skipped, and the game proceeds directly to the following night.

Godfather - once a common role, the godfather has fallen into disuse. When it shows up in a game, it is usually a Mafia Role. If targeted by a Cop, the Godfather will return an innocent result.

Role Modifiers

Weak - A role with the weak modifier will die if they target a scum player. This modifier makes the player’s night actions cop-like in that if they live they know their target is town. Weak players are usually careful to breadcrumb their targets during the days.

X-Shot - this can apply to any role. X=the number of times their ability can be used. 1- or 2- shots are common modifiers.

Odd- or Even-night - This limits which nights a player’s ability can be used.

Night X - this makes the ability a 1-shot that can only be used on the specified night. Night 1 is the most common modifier.

Strongwilled - The players ability cannot be roleblocked or redirected.

Strongman - This usually applies to kills. The role cannot be blocked by roleblocks, redirects, or protections (including bulletproof). Hiders and Commuters can’t be targeted by a Strongman.

Reflexive - This is a passive ability that is triggered when the player is successfully targeted by another player. Paranoid Gun Owner is an example of a reflexive role, but other roles can be made reflexive as well

Day - This modifier makes an action that would ordinarily take place at night be a day action instead. Examples: Day-Cop, Day-Vigilante

DeathThis modifier makes the role attribute take place upon the player’s death. Examples are Death Miller (a town role that flips as scum. Sometimes, the actual alignment will be revealed at the start of the second day after the role-flip) and Death Godfather (a scum role that flips as town. The same delay effect can take place)

Loud - The target of this player’s night action will be informed that they were targeted. Sometimes they just learn they were targeted. Sometimes they learn who targeted them.

Compulsive - The player can’t pass on their night action or defer it. Serial Killers are sometimes made compulsive so they can’t hold on to their kill until late in the game and lull everyone into thinking the extra kill doesn’t exist. Day 1 Compulsive roles are also common, forcing the player to make a target decision with less information than would be available later in the game.

Macho - The player can’t be protected from kills. Macho cops and macho Innocent Children are the most common macho roles. This modifier makes voluntarily claiming the role early less attractive.

Unaware - this is an uncommon modifier, and is considered a bastard or near-bastard modifier because the player’s role pm contains a lie of omission. The most common role that can be made unaware is the miller. The player doesn’t know that they are a miller, and can be caught by surprise if investigated by a cop who gets a “guilty” result.

Unique Roles

Sometimes a unique role is designed based on the mechanics and/or theme flavor of a particular game design. These roles usually only appear in one game, but sometimes a unique role will catch game designers’ attention and imagination, and will show up in future, unrelated games.

Should include Enabler under Uncommon roles.

Friendly Neighbor, Neighbourizer andLyncher can also be included somewhere.

Lyncher is a terrible role. Enabled/Disabled + Informed is a good way to include this mechanic, but essentially nobody should get a role that encourages them to fake a guilty and win that way.

Unless it’s an open setup.

Well, don’t disagree that lyncher is a pretty bad role.

Together we can defeat this evil of Lynchers! Omit it from all the role lists!

Maybe add day healer as the counterpart to poisoner?
Also Firefighter/Arson pair?

Poison doctor. fbi agent and/or psychiatrist with SK, too?