A Doctor is a role that targets a player at Night to protect that player from a single kill made during that Night. They are not told if their protection was successful. Protection from a single kill means that if multiple players try to kill someone, they will not be saved by one Doctor's protection.
Doctors are usually not allowed to self-target.
Not all moderators disallow self-targeting.
In order to prevent Doctors from protecting the same player constantly, some moderators do not allow Doctors to protect the same player on consecutive Nights.
Some moderators cause Doctors' protection to stop all kills that would resolve on the target that Night.
While this is highly frowned upon at mafiascum.net, some moderators will tell players that they were saved from death via a form of protection (i.e. Doctors). Some moderators will even announce who was saved from death publicly at the beginning of the next Day.
In games with kills made during the Day, Day-Doctors have been known to exist. However, Doctors who protect at Night may or may not be able to protect against daykills.
In games with poison, it is up to the moderator as to whether Doctors protect against the poison. If not, occasionally specialized Poison Doctors will be introduced.
- see also: Faith Healer
There are five variations of the Doctor role, typically called sanities analogously to the Cop sanities.
- Insane Doctor: This doctor has 50% chance of killing his patient instead of protecting them.
- Paranoid Doctor: This doctor not only protects his patient but he also roleblocks them. See also: Jailkeeper.
- Naïve Doctor (a.k.a. Quack): This doctor's protection is ineffective.
- Weak Doctor: This doctor dies if he protects an anti-town player.
- CPR Doctor (also a Quack variant): If the patient is NOT saved from death that Night, this doctor kills its patient.
When a Game Moderator uses these roles as sanities, the player receiving the role is usually only told his/her role is Doctor. Sometimes sanity is revealed upon death, but frequently not, leading to ambiguity if a Doctor is killed early in the game.
These "sanities" are very rarely used as such. However, CPR Doctor and Weak Doctor have gone on to become viable roles in their own right, and players with these roles are generally told their full role names.
A Doctor that cannot self-target and protects their target from one kill is considered Normal on mafiascum.net. A Mafia Doctor in a Normal game does not return a guilty result to a Gunsmith (unless it is part of a Jack of All Trades), although this may be different in Theme games, depending on the moderator's interpretation. A Doctor cannot stop a Strongman from committing a kill, nor a Weak role from dying due to targeting anti-town. Protection would also fail if targeting a Macho or Ascetic role, although the Doctor should not be told if this happens, just like if they were blocked.
Use and Power
Doctors exist to deter the Mafia from making "obvious" kills. They can be used as a standalone power role dedicated to stopping obvious Townies from dying, or they can be intended to stop power roles from dying after they claim.
In practice, the latter purpose is far more effective. Doctors are notoriously bad at protecting against Mafia kills when there is no obvious target; they are weak on their own. However, if a power role claims, the Doctor has no reason not to protect that power role. This prevents the Mafia from killing the power role, and that role can go on to safely and publicly aid the Town as well as it can. Thus, Doctors make the game much more focused on power roles and Night actions.
It is very important when including a Doctor in a game to check for broken combinations arising from its synergy with other power roles. Follow the Cop, for instance, arises when it is known in advance that there is a Cop and a Doctor in the game. Another broken combination involves two Doctors in the same setup; they can protect each other each Night and thus become immune to kills for the rest of the game. Because of this, full Doctors have fallen out of vogue in favor of Jailers or simply not including a protective role at all.
It is not unheard of for Mafia to have Doctors of their own in games with Vigilantes, Serial Killers, or even another Mafia. Their power is about the same in practice as that of standalone Town Doctors. Note however that in some flavours, Mafia Doctors do not have guns, and so act as Godfathers to Gunsmiths.
Sample Role PM
- Welcome, [Player Name], you are a Town Doctor.
- Each night phase, you may attempt to protect one player in the game from being nightkilled.
- You win when all threats to the town have been eliminated.