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Traffic Analyst

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Traffic Analyst
Alias:
  • PT Cop
Alignment:
Role type:
  • Investigative
Choice:
  • Night

A Traffic Analyst is capable of checking whether or not a player is capable of private communication.

Normal version

A Traffic Analyst is an investigative role; its night choice is to choose a player, and the analyst will learn whether or not there are any players that that player can legally communicate with outside the game thread. (The identity of the people that the target can communicate with is not learned, nor is the content of the communications.)

Note that merely having access to a private topic is not necessarily enough to be able to communicate; there will have to be a second living player in the private topic in question to communicate with. To be precise, the role will give a "can communicate" result on a player who shares a private topic with another living player, and also on roles that can use active roles to relay messages via the moderator (such as Mailman); and a "cannot communicate" result on anyone else. (In particular, a Neighborizer will give a "cannot communicate" result unless they have another living player in their private topic.)

As usual for investigative roles, there are three possible results, with no result being given if the Traffic Analyst's action is blocked (this is a clearly distinct result from "cannot communicate").

In most action resolution methods (including Natural Action Resolution, which is used in Normals), this action will resolve later in the night than any kills; this means that if a player is killed overNight, that player will not show as being in a private topic on Traffic Analyst checks that night. (So for example, if one of a pair of Neighbors is nightkilled, a Traffic Analyst action used on the same night will return "cannot communicate".)

Variations

A PT Cop checks whether a player has access to a private topic. Unlike a Traffic Analyst, this will get "has access" results even on players who are in a private topic by themselves, but will give a "no access" result on a Mailman (who has the ability to privately communicate, but this communication does not use a private topic). This variant is considered Normal on mafiascum.net, in addition to the Traffic Analyst, but must be named "PT Cop" to distinguish the two roles.

Some Theme games have instead checked to see whether a player is actually making use of their private communication, i.e. checking to see if the player has privately sent a message toDay. This version of the role can be fooled simply by staying silent.

Use & Balance

Like a Gunsmith, this role gives unreliable information about a player's alignment; a "can communicate" result would most commonly come from the Mafia's factional communication, but could also be indicative of a Neighbor. One notable difference from a Gunsmith is that a Neighborizer effectively acts as a permanent Framer to a Traffic Analyst (meaning that it will effectively make the Traffic Analyst less and less useful over time).

The biggest difference from most other investigative roles, though, is that a Traffic Analyst becomes useless for finding scum once there's only one scum left; this makes the role useful for balancing even games with no special communication rules, as it has much less swing than a typical investigative role. As such, it's very much an early-game investigative role, compared to a Tracker which is more useful in the late game. Compare the Psychologist, which has similar properties.

Play Advice

Playing a Traffic Analyst is much like playing a Cop; it's just that your results are less reliable. It is, of course, a bad idea to investigate anyone who has claimed (or seems likely to have) a communicative role. Bear in mind that as long as there are two Mafia alive, a "cannot communicate" result effectively guarantees that your target is Town-aligned (or at least not groupscum).

Sample Role PMs

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

  • As a targeted action: you will learn whether or not that player is able to privately communicate with another living player (you cannot distinguish between a player who is alone in a private topic, and a player who does not have private topic access at all). (edit)

Example (simplest form)

Welcome to game! You are a Town Traffic Analyst.

You have the following active ability:

  • Each Night, you may target a player. Assuming no interference with your action, you will learn whether or not that player is able to privately communicate with another living player (you cannot distinguish between a player who is alone in a private topic, and a player who does not have private topic access at all).

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 Traffic Analyst.

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 or not that player is able to privately communicate with another living player (you cannot distinguish between a player who is alone in a private topic, and a player who does not have private topic access at all). 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.

See also

Roles to check whether a player has access to a private topic have been seen sporadically in Theme games throughout the years. The first known use of the specific Traffic Analyst version was by callforjudgement in Micro 690.