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Cop

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Cop
T-cop.png
Aliases:
  • Sheriff
  • Detective
Alignment:
Role type:
  • Investigative
Choice:
  • Night
Seer
T-seer.png
Alias: none
Alignment:
Role type:
  • Investigative
Choice:
  • Night
A Cop (or in Werewolf flavour, Seer) is a role that has the ability to investigate players at Night to discern their alignment.

Normal version

The standard, Normal, variation of a Cop can investigate one player each Night; the target is not informed of the investigation. This Cop variant will return results of the form "Town" or "Not Town" (regardless of whether it is named "Cop" or "Seer"; both names are acceptable in a Normal); it cannot distinguish between players who belong to different anti-town and third-party factions.

The results will be "reliable", i.e. guaranteed to be accurate unless some other player's power role interferes with the investigation. If the action is blocked entirely (e.g. by a Roleblocker or due to investigating an Ascetic player), the Cop will get a no result PM (which is distinct from the "Town" and "Not Town" results). However, some roles which interfere with Cop results (such as Miller) will outright produce misleading results (e.g. a Cop will get a "Not Town" result on a Town Miller); interference from a deceptive role is the only way in which the standard variant of a Cop can produce incorrect or misleading results.

Variations

Non-Town players rarely have much use for a Cop, but in multiball games, it may be useful to find members of the opposing groupscum faction, and when there is a Traitor, it may be useful to find members of your own faction.

A very common variation is for a Cop to check to see if a player is a member of one specific anti-town faction, typically the Mafia, rather than checking whether a player is Town-aligned. When checking for a specific faction other than Town or Mafia, the role is normally renamed; "Seer" when checking for Werewolves, "FBI Agent" when checking for Serial Killers or for third-parties in general. Slightly less common is a Faction Cop, who learns its target's exact faction or win condition rather than simply getting a yes/no answer. Alternatively, some moderators give vague "guilty/not guilty" results, where Town are always "not guilty" and Werewolves and Mafia are always "guilty", but where the reply for third-party roles is unknown.

Historically, as a form of weakening the role, it was very common for Cops to be a Cop of unknown reliability, a Cop possessing a Hidden aspect to their role that affected their results as follows:

Reliable Cop
Results are accurate (unless another player's power role interferes with them).
Inverse Cop
Results are the opposite of what they should be. (Once the player realizes they are Inverse, they can produce effective results by reporting the opposite of what they discover.)
Cynical Cop
Sees everyone as non-town (or as a member of an anti-town faction). (Once the Cop discovers their reliability, they may stop investigating, as all results are equally useless.)
Naive Cop
Sees everyone as Town-aligned. (This variant was more common than the Cynical Cop, as its results were less disruptive.)
Random Cop
Results are randomized. (This variant was abandoned more quickly than the others, due to being considered bastard.)

The name "Cop" would be used to describe all these roles interchangeably (and players who got a "Cop" PM might need to consider the potential that they might not be Reliable, although they usually were Reliable, especially in smaller games). Nowadays, non-Reliable Cops are rarely seen, Cops are assumed by most players to always be Reliable, and a moderator who wants to keep the possibility that a cop might not be Reliable will nearly always explicitly say "your reliability is not guaranteed" or "you are a Cop of unknown reliability" in the Role PM. Moderators differ on how non-Reliable cops interact with roles like Godfather that produce false results to Cops.

Because the Cop is a very powerful role, it is frequently used together with a role modifier to reduce its power; in fact, some role modifiers, such as Macho, started their life as a Cop variant before being generalised to other roles. Modifiers like X-Shot and Odd Night are also commonly used to temper its power. (Of course, sometimes a modifier can increase its power, as with the Day Cop.) Some modifiers that are still mostly specific to Cops exist:

  • An Amnesiac Cop functions as a normal Cop, but does not receive the results of its investigations. Those investigation results are sent to another (unknown) player. This has been commonly subverted by making the unknown recipient a Mafioso or a Serial Killer.
  • A Publishing Cop functions as a normal Cop, but its results are presented anonymously by the moderator to the game as a whole. This has been subverted by allowing the Mafia to publish fake results as if they were coming from a Publishing Cop.
  • A Methodical Cop is told that they are Reliable and provides the moderator with an ordered list of all the players when confirming their role. Each night, the cop will investigate the next living name on the list.

The Cop has also inspired a large number of weaker variations (so many that it's probably best to look at the list of investigative roles rather than write them all out), and roles intended specifically to confuse its results:

Godfather
A Mafia role that looks, to a Cop, as though it were Town.
Miller
A Town role that looks, to a Cop, as though it were Mafia.
Framer, Lawyer, Tailor
Roles which, if targeted at the same target as a Cop, will cause it to produce results as though it had different reliability (Cynical, Naive, Inverse respectively).

Use & Balance

Cops provide a way for a member of the Town to confirm someone as a certain alignment. A Cop that lives to Day 3 of a 13-player game can have up to two living investigation results; on top of knowing that it is itself innocent, that makes for three persuasively alignment-confirmed players in a situation where only nine players are alive. Unlike positive results from other investigative roles like Tracker and Watcher, it is notoriously difficult to fakeclaim one's way out of a Guilty result from a Cop.

Thus, Cops are very powerful as long as they are alive. Because (assuming there are no doubts about reliability) they receive unambiguous results that simplify decision-making, they can be used to prop up otherwise weak Towns. As a result, a multitude of roles designed to weaken or replace the Cop (including the reliabilities and derivations listed above) have come forth. If a game contains a full (unmodified) Cop, there will frequently be some counter role on the Mafia side to reduce its power; either something that gives inaccurate results, or a manipulative role that can be used to prevent it gaining results at all.

If a game contains both a full Cop and a full Doctor, there will almost invariably be something in anti-town hands to temper the power of one role or the other, because otherwise the strategy of Follow the Cop is likely to take over the game. Alternatively, it is possible to break up this strategy with a modifier (such as Macho or Ascetic on the Cop, or Simple or Indecisive on the Doctor).

Play Advice

From least forgivable to most forgivable:

  • Do not get eliminated Day 1 while trying to gambit.
  • Do not investigate anyone who has claimed a role that you would not get a reliable result on (e.g. Miller or a third-party role).
  • Do not prematurely claim, particularly Day 1.
  • Do not investigate obviously Town players unless you are out of other options.
  • Do not investigate players who are probably going to get eliminated the next Day unless you plan on claiming during the next Day anyway.
  • Do not look so scummy before you claim that people will not believe you when you do claim.

It is generally best to investigate players you have null reads on, and let the Day game sort out the players that are very scummy or very Townish.

Sample Role PMs

The standardized Role PM for "Cop" describes the action as follows:

  • As a targeted action: you will learn whether that player wins with Town. (You will get "no result" if this action is blocked.) (edit)

Example (simplest form)

Welcome to game! You are a Town Cop.

You have the following active ability:

  • Each Night, you may target a player. Assuming no interference with your action, you will learn whether that player wins with Town. (You will get "no result" if this action is blocked.)

You win if all threats to the town are eliminated and at least one town-aligned player is alive.

Confirm by replying to this PM with a summary of your role.

Example (with modifiers)

Welcome to game! You are a Town 1-shot Loud Cop.

You have the following active ability:

  • Once in the game at Night, you may target a player. Assuming no interference with your action, you will learn whether that player wins with Town. (You will get "no result" if this action is blocked.) Your target will learn that you targeted them (but not what action you targeted them with).

You win if all threats to the town are eliminated and at least one town-aligned player is alive.

Confirm by replying to this PM with a summary of your role.