A Townie (also known as Citizen, Townsperson, Villager, etc.) is a player with a pro-Town Win Condition. Due to ambiguity, "Townie" has been known to refer to any pro-Town player who has no extraordinary abilities or simply any pro-Town player. Players who have no extraordinary abilities are specifically called Vanilla Townies (abbreviated as VT). The rest of this article is about Vanilla Townies.
A Vanilla Townie is by definition powerless. Any alteration causes the role to become classed as a different role entirely.
- If a Townie is given a unique name, then it becomes a Named Townie.
- If a Townie's ability to post normally is altered, then it becomes a Post Restricted Townie.
- If a Townie's ability to vote is handicapped or enhanced, then it becomes something akin to Voteless or a Doublevoter.
- If a Townie has any active or passive abilities at all, then it becomes a power role. An exception to this comes if a Vanilla Townie is given a temporary ability by a role like Inventor, in which case it is a Vanilla Townie who happens to have been given an extra ability.
- If a Townie's Win Condition is different from the rest of the majority, then it should be considered a Third Party rather than pro-Town.
A setup that is classed as Normal on mafiascum.net will usually have about half of the players be Vanilla Townies, with the remainder split between power roles and scum. While this is usually considered a good ratio for balance, themed games with a lower percentage of Vanilla players (sometimes even none) are not uncommon.
Use and Power
In terms of balance and how games play out, Vanilla Townies carry two implications:
First, since Vanilla Townies do not have any special powers to aid them, they have to depend on traditional scumhunting methods - analysis of actions, intent, voting, previous posts, etc. - to win. In general, games with more Vanilla Townies place more of an emphasis on the Day game instead of the Night game. Online, the Day game is more frequently won by Mafia factions due to their ability to Night-kill players that threaten them.
A setup where the Town consists solely of Vanilla Townies is called Mountainous. The name stems from the belief that these setups are difficult for Town to win. It is generally accepted that in games with 11 Townies and 2 Mafia, the Town needs one or more Power Roles on its side for the game to be balanced.
Note to Moderators
When all Townies have the same wording in their PM, they can use that information to clear each other in a fashion similar to Best Friends. To prevent this problem it is common to either give all the Town players unique role PMs or give an example of what the Vanilla Townie PM looks like in one of the opening posts of the game. At the very least, make sure the Mafia knows what the wording of the Town Win Condition is.
While the unaccessorized nature of the role can cause players to feel unimportant in the scheme of gameplay, Vanilla Townie is one of the most flexible roles in a standard game. The most practical purpose a Vanilla Townie has is its capacity to draw the Mafia's Night-kill away from power roles via Day play. A Vanilla Townie may also attempt gambits they would not consider if they feared getting lynched or killed with a power role if it failed.