Bastard Mod, usually shortened to Bastard, can ambiguously refer to a type of role, a type of game, or a mod who runs bastard games and/or uses bastard roles.
The exact definition of "bastard" varies from person to person according to their likes and dislikes; however, the following traits are usually common.
- The moderator lies to players, either in their Role PMs (as in False roles) or in their revealed information (as in Death Miller).
- The game incorporates significant game-changing mechanics (Cult being a notorious example) that affects players who may not know about them.
- The game incorporates roles that are inconvenient to play with, such as Voteless or Doomed.
A common shorthand definition of a bastard mod game is that it is designed mostly for the moderator's amusement more than that of the players.
Bastard games are notoriously difficult to do well. Most moderators' bastard setups will be imbalanced or not fun for some other reason. This doesn't stop them many moderators from trying to run them, though.
Bastard Mod games should not be confused with bad games, which are self-explanatory. However, the line between the two tends to be dangerously thin. If players called your game "bastard" when you were not actively trying to make it one, you should consider getting your next setup looked over by better reviewers.
On mafiascum.net, several Queue threads require a game with any of the mechanics in the list below to be labelled as "bastard":
- mid-game alignment changes
- moderator lies that cannot be reasonably anticipated (for example, Godfather, Tailor, Miller, Ninja, and mechanics like that are generally fine, but telling someone they are a Reflexive Doctor when they're actually a Paranoid Gun Owner is not)
- secret win conditions
- un-divulged non-randomness in player role/alignment generation
- direct moderator influence during the game
This is best seen as a list of mechanics that are both a) commonly seen as bastard, and b) sufficiently commonly used in games to need a rule against them. (There are some mechanics, such as Jesters, which are considered to be bastard by many players despite not appearing on this list, but moderators rarely place Jesters in non-Open games and thus players are normally forewarned in that situation.)
The definition of "bastard roles" as defined by several players (2012)
LlamaFluff: Bastard probably stops at: Roles that lie to players (death miller included), roles that change or cause alignment change during the game (I exclude Vi's mentor role for this), anything hidden, Jester, Survivor... thats probably anything that truely "bastard" but just about everything else on that list is something that few players want to see in their games and shouldnt be ran without having it be known that they may exist in the game
Zoraster: I'll put it this way: roles aren't bastard. It's never the roles themselves that are the problem. It's that players don't have a reasonable expectation that a role's power or whatever would be used in the game causing them to play under false pretenses. Some roles are far more likely to be bastard (an announced Death Miller loses some of the reason people have ever wanted to use that role). But that doesn't make them bastard by themselves.
Faraday: I don't consider Jester bastard. It's terrible but...not bastard. It goes against the fundementals of mafia I guess, in that lynching scummy people is good but eh. Maybe it's borderline then. Suff like death miller is bastard. Basically anything where you explicitly lie to the players. Cult maybe for alignment changing? (If so then mentor is obviously bastard too). Voteless isn't bastard, just fucking stupid. So my list is fairly short. People just throwing out a lot of bad roles and calling them bastard (Survivor, voteless, framer). But then again those people have different definitions so.
DCLXVI: I think that there are two things that can make a role bastardish, it causes the mod to lie to the players i.e. Framer, death miller or non-normal cop sanities. Or a role is bastard because it drastically changes how people play in a way that is not usually expected Jester/cult. However, if a role that is usually bastard is known to be in a setup, it isn't bastard. For example a setup is known to specifically have a cult, framer, or jester etc... in it would not be bastard because players would be able to anticipate and to take into consideration the effects of that role. So in a way the roles aren't bastard, but the implementation of them is bastardly.
GreyICE: Any role that doesn't do what it says it does. For instance a doctor who is told they can protect people but actually poisons them so they die the night after he protects them. That's pretty fucking bastard.Other things at discretion. But basically if you sit down and go "would 99 sane people assume X and actually Y is happening" you have to assume you have a bastard role. Also snap alignment changes, like a Serial Killer who was told they were town until LyLo, are just evil.