Welcome to mafiascum.net!
Playing Mafia online for the first time can be a bit confusing, so this guide is here to point you in the right direction. If something isn't clear, or we managed to miss something entirely, feel free to ask questions in the forums.
At the beginning of the game, the Moderator will secretly send everyone their role. The Mafia will know each other, while (in the basic game) everyone else will only know their own role.
The game has two phases, the first of which is Day. During Day, the Town must choose someone to Lynch; they are trying to eliminate the Mafia, but the Mafia can lead them astray by casting suspicion elsewhere. Generally, players will vote for someone they think is Mafia (the Mafia will vote so that they seem to be doing this as well, and might even vote for each other to confuse the Town); when a player gets a majority of the votes, they are lynched. Their role is revealed by the Moderator, and it becomes Night.
During the Night, the thread is locked and no one can talk publicly. The Mafia, however, can speak to each other privately to plot strategy and decide who to murder before the next Day begins. In this way, they can silence members of the Town who are threats to them. At the end of the Night, the murder is carried out and another Day begins. In effect, the Town gets to kill someone, and then the Mafia gets to kill someone.
The game alternates between Day and Night until either the Mafia are eliminated, or the Mafia have killed everyone else (or nothing can prevent the same).
The above suffices for a Vanilla game, but most games have roles other than just Mafia and Townie. These roles have additional abilities (which are usually used during the Night, though there are some Day abilities as well). Some more common roles are listed here.
Cop - Each Night, the Cop can investigate one player (by sending their name to the Moderator), and the Moderator will tell them whether that player is Mafia or not.
Doctor - Each Night, the Doctor can choose one player to protect (by sending their name to the Moderator). If the Mafia (or anyone else) tries to kill that player, that kill will be prevented.
Vigilante - Each Night, the Vigilante may kill another player (by sending their name to the Moderator).
Mason - The Masons are a group of players who are confirmed to each other as Town and can talk to each other at Night.
All of these roles are generally Town-aligned.
Serial Killer - The Serial Killer (often abbreviated as SK), like the Vigilante, may kill another player each Night (by sending their name to the Moderator). However, the Serial Killer is not on the Town's side or the Mafia's side. The Serial Killer wins when everyone else is dead.
Multiple Families - On occasion, in larger games there may be more than one group of Mafia. These act independently of one another, and must kill the other group as well as the Town in order to win.
Roleblocker - Each Night, the Roleblocker can choose a player. That player will be prevented from using their Night choice, if they have one. Roleblocker has been known to be a Town role as well as a scum role.
There are many variations on the above roles that will often appear in more complicated games; for more information, visit the Roles page.
Games on mafiascum.net take place on our Forum. This section will provide information for playing games on the Forum.
The first step is registering. To register, simply click the link in the top-right corner of the Forum page, and fill in the information. You will need a valid email address, and when you have registered you will receive an email allowing you to activate your account.
Once you have registered, head to the Queue forum. This is where you sign up for all types of Mafia games. The Queue page contains detailed information on the Queue system. As a summary, here are the six types of games.
- Newbie Games - These games are specifically designed with new players in mind; they use highly standardized roles and contain 6 new/inexperienced players, and 3 more experienced players. These games provide a controlled environment and consistent quality. Newbie games are recommended for players who do not have any experience with forum Mafia like what is played on mafiascum.net. Signups for Newbie Games take place in a single thread here, and are played in The Road to Rome.
- Large Normals - Large Normal games are games with over 13 players that are run with basic roles and rulesets. Each game has its own signup thread (usually titled "Mafia # - Subtitle") started by the Moderator in the Queue subforum; to sign up, simply post that you wish to sign up in that thread. Once the game is full, the Moderator will start a thread in the New York forum. Note that while these games are straightforward, they will take a long time simply due to their size. Make sure you are willing to be committed to a lengthy game before you sign up.
- Large Themes - Large Theme games are games with over 13 players that are based on a theme (such as The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Ancient Greece, Aliens, etc.) or are otherwise varied enough that they cannot be classed as Normal. Because Large Themes can be fairly complex or confusing, they are not recommended for completely inexperienced players. Like Normal games, each has its own signup thread in the Queue. Theme Games are played in Theme Park.
- Mini Normals - Mini Normal games are small games that are run by first-time moderators. Games must meet Normalcy standards and are vetted for balance by a panel of experienced reviewers before they are run. Mini Normal games are a step up from Newbie games in that they are usually larger and the setup is not known in advance, but are still generally tame. In order to join these games, you will need to post that you want to play in the Mini Normal queue. You will then be assigned to the next game that will run.
- Mini Themes - Mini Theme games are games that are based on a theme, but is for 13 players or fewer. While these games do not need to adhere to Normal standards, most of the time they games are advertised in advance so you can get an idea of what is different about them before you join. There are two games taking signups at any one time. To play one, post in the Mini Theme queue saying that you want to play, specifying which game you want to play in.
- Note that any given player can only be in four Mini Normals or Mini Themes at a time.
- Open Games - Open and Variable Open setups are those where either the entire setup is known ahead before players sign up, or how the setup is determined is known before players sign up. Setups are determined by the community and by player signups, rather than by the moderator. There is currently no limit for the number of games you may play at the same time. Signups take place at the Open Game List Thread. Open games are played in the Central Park subforum.
Note that there may be a delay between when you sign up for games and when they actually start. This is common, especially in the Newbie queue where a precise combination of experience groups needs to be represented. Don't panic.
This is a collection of other pages in the wiki that might well be helpful to look over.
Feel free to browse various games around the site too: reading how other players play can be helpful to work out what's going on.