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Universal Backup

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Universal Backup
Aliases:
  • Graverobber
  • Overachiever
Alignment:
Role type:
  • Linked
Choice: none

A Universal Backup is a player who inherits the ability of the first allied power role to die; as its name suggests, it is effectively a Backup that is not locked to backing up one particular role.

Normal version

Being a Universal Backup does not initially give a player any powers. However, as soon as a non-vanilla player belonging to the same faction as the Universal Backup dies, the Universal Backup becomes a copy of that player (losing their Universal Backup ability); they gain that player's role, including any modifiers it has.

If the dying player had an X-Shot role, was a Jack of All Trades, or had a similar restriction on how often they could use their abilities, the spent abilities do not recharge when the Universal Backup inherits them; the Universal Backup will be told which shots were missing, and will not be able to use them themself. A Universal Backup does not, however, learn any information about how the inherited role was used; e.g. they won't know what targets it was used on, and won't learn any results that it gained.

The Normal version of a Universal Backup is self-aware, just like any other role in a Normal.

In a game where multiple kills are possible in a night, it is possible for multiple power roles to die in the same night; in this case, the Universal Backup inherits only one of them, and some decision will need to be made pre-game about which power role will be gained. When this problem has arisen in Normal games in the past, the usual ruling has been that the Universal Backup gains the role of the player who was killed by the Mafia's factional kill.

Variations

Outside Normal games, Universal Backup has been seen as a Hidden ability.

A Universal Backup variant could be designed which could pick up power roles from other factions than the user's. This would be the only way a third-party Universal Backup could be viable. However, this is typically avoided due to swing concerns.

Some Theme games use a definition of "power role" other than "non-vanilla", e.g. because the theme makes vanilla-ness hard to define, or to avoid players picking up abilities like Miller which they're unlikely to want.

Use & Balance

Universal Backup is considered swingier than single-role backups like Deputy or Nurse, but depending on the setup, it can be more powerful simply because it is more likely to back up an ability than a single-role backup.

Thus, its power varies. The game should be designed to be acceptably balanced in the event that the Universal Backup inherits any of the Town abilities that exist in the setup. (Note that this doesn't necessarily imply that the abilities need to be equally powerful; if a Universal Backup gains a role, then one of their allies has lost it.) Bear in mind that if an investigative role is inherited, one Night's worth of results is likely to be lost.

Play Advice

In most cases, there is little reason for a Universal Backup to play any differently from a vanilla of their faction, up until the point they actually inherit a role (at which point they can look up advice for playing that role). You should be less inclined than normal to force claims from players early, because you will provide some compensation if a power role gets eliminated by mistake.

Sample Role PMs

The standardized Role PM for "Universal Backup" describes the passive ability as follows:

  • As an unmodified passive ability: You will inherit the role of faction power roles who die, losing this ability in the process. (edit)
  • As a passive ability with a modifier: You will inherit the role of the nth faction power role who dies OR faction power roles who die on day n, losing this ability in the process. (edit)

Example (unmodified)

Welcome to game! You are a Town Universal Backup.

You will inherit the role of Town power roles who die, losing this ability in the process.

You have no active abilities.

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 (modified)

Welcome to game! You are a Town Odd Night Universal Backup.

You will inherit the role of Town power roles who die during odd-numbered Nights, losing this ability in the process.

You have no active abilities.

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.