Video Game: Town of Salem

Welcome—come to our wonderful town!
A seemingly innocent town... turns vicious at night. Only one goal... survive the Town of Salem.
Tagline from the trailer

Town of Salem is a web game developed by Blank Media Games set in an alternate reality version of the actual Town of Salem, Massachusetts during the Witch Hunts, with gameplay based on the party game Mafia. Three factions are trying to work their way to victory: The Mafia are trying to kill anyone who opposes them, the Townies are trying to rout out evildoers, and the neutral parties, who each have their own agenda. As of now, Town of Salem has 30 roles to play as.

The game is played in two cycles, day and night. During the day players discuss strategy with the townspeople, put together clues, or attempt to lynch someone. It starts pleasantly on Day 1, when everyone greets each other ... Until the night phase, where a wolf howls to announce the day is over and everyone goes home, the music gets more intense, picks up the pace, day comes ... and bodies are lying around.

The game has been released as version 1.0.0 both on the browser version and on Steam. There are several plans in the works, such as a new lobby system, a Ranked Game system, new classes (the Forger, the Vampires and Vampire Hunters), a Trial System to handle badly behaved members, and private lobbies.

Their Kickstarter can be viewed here, and ended March 21, 2014 and their initial goal was reached on March 17, 2014. They had a second one to get the game mobile ports, Steam, and gaming consoles.

You can sign up and play the game for free here. The Wiki for the game is here.

Tropes associated with Town of Salem Roles:

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The Townies are made up of: Bodyguard, Doctor, Escort, Investigator, Jailor, Lookout, Mayor, Medium, Retributionist, Sheriff, Spy, Transporter, Veteran, and Vigilante.

  • Back from the Dead: The Retributionist can revive a dead person only once. They typically tend to revive an investigative role, or a powerful unique role such as the Jailor, Mayor, or Veteran.
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Transporter. In order for their switching ability to be helpful, they have to have a pretty good idea who's most likely to be targeted by the bad guys and who not to interfere with. Knowledge of obscure game mechanics makes them even more effective, such as stalling an Arsonist from igniting by switching their target for the night. However, a Transporter who doesn't know what's going on or doesn't think things through can be a huge liability for the town who prevents useful roles from doing their jobs or gets their teammates or themself killed by accident.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: This is what the Escort does. Your role is described as "a beautiful woman skilled in distraction."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Often a member of the town will have to sacrifice themselves to bring in a win. The Bodyguard role specializes in this, the entire point of the role being to die in defense of fellow town member, killing an enemy in the process. Other town may also do this by declaring their role, giving vital information to the town even knowing they are likely to die that night as a result. An important part of playing Town is realizing that dead town members still win if town wins, and knowing when to sacrifice yourself.
  • "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": Some Jailors will randomly execute a prisoner at night and discover their prisoner was actually part of the mafia. When asked how they knew, some say "I just did" or "I made a guess." Though sometimes this is illogical when some do it only four days in.
  • I See Dead People: The Medium's job is to do this. They can communicate with the dead every night, and relay information back to the town from beyond the grave.
    • They can also invoke this on one person if they die, letting the selected person see them talking to give information to write in a Will or say during the day.
  • The Medic: The Doctor can heal one other person every night, and can heal himself once.
  • Police Are Useless: Downplayed and Averted. The Sheriff and the Investigator can both see the roles of the townspeople, but they can be sidetracked by the Framer from the Mafia's side or Blackmailed to be unable to speak. The Jailor is considered one of the more powerful roles in the game for his ability to hold away any person he likes. This can be used to prevent them from being killed or from using abilities, and can just execute the prisoner if he wants (but if he kills a fellow Townie, he loses his execute ability).
  • Properly Paranoid: Every Townie. There are hidden killers about, and a target on your back ... The one who takes this to the extreme is the Veteran, who can go on watch at night. Anyone who visits him, friend or foe, will be shot dead on the spot.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The Veteran is a classic example of one. If he goes on alert and anyone visits him, night immunities be damned, they'll be dead.
  • Taking the Bullet/Taking You with Me: The Bodyguard can choose to protect someone at night and take the attacker down with him, at the cost of his life.
  • Teleport Spam: The Transporter can do this, being able to swap two people during the night, even himself. Doing so switches all targets aimed at the two, so if one is about to be stabbed by a Serial Killer the other person is instead.
    • The Transporter also has the rare ability to switch himself out with someone who's left the game, is considered dead, but still shows up on the switching post. No one targets a dead person.
  • Theme Naming
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: The Mayor is hidden just like the rest of the Townies. But when he does come out of hiding, he's given more authority than most, counting as three votes for both lynching and for verdicts. Unfortunately, the evildoers also know exactly who you are.
  • Vigilante Man: The Vigilante role, obviously. He's sided with the Townies and can target one player each night and kill them, hoping that he's hit Mafia. Of course, there's no guarantee that he won't shoot a villager. If he does, he commits suicide out of guilt, leaving you with two less Townies.

The Mafia is made up of: Blackmailer, Consigliere, Consort, Disguiser, Framer, Forger, Godfather, Janitor and Mafioso.

  • Cleanup Crew: The Janitor can clean up the body of the mafia's kill, meaning the town won't know what role he was or what was written in his Last Will.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The Disguiser role functions like this – if the person they select to swap with dies, they swap with them, taking on their name and avatar.
  • Detective Mole: The Consigliere has the ability to see other people's exact roles, unlike the Sheriff or Investigator, and can claim to be a Sheriff or Investigator to keep Townies away from his Mafia friends.
  • That Didn't Happen: The Forger role can completely rewrite up to 3 peoples' last wills, and totally make something up that didn't really happen, resulting in the townies being fed the wrong information. Can go From Bad to Worse if the Medium cannot seance that the will was changed, and the investigative roles are dead.
  • The Don: The Godfather does not kill other townspeople, but can have his Mafioso kill a Townie. Like the Serial Killer, he can't die at night. However, he will take matters into his own hands if he has no one to kill for him...
  • The Dragon: The Mafioso, when there's both a Mafioso and a Godfather. The Consigliere can also fill the role of The Lancer to the Godfather, since their role gives them the most information about who to target for murder, framing, distraction, and blackmail.
  • Evil Counterpart: Both the Consigliere and Consort are Mafia counterparts to the Investigator and Escort respectively. Consiglieres are able to tell roles like investigative Townies, Consorts are able to roleblock others like the Escort. Reinforced by the fact that Investigators are unable to tell the difference between them.
  • Lost Will And Testament: If the Janitor from the Mafia reaches someone who is killed by them, he will wipe out the target's Last Will and role.

The Neutrals are made up of: Amnesiac, Arsonist, Executioner, Jester, Serial Killer, Survivor, Werewolf, and Witch.

  • Already Done for You: Sometimes the town will lynch the Executioner's target without the executioner saying or doing anything.
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Amnesiacs can become a role from a person that has died. They are harmless at the start of the game because they can't do anything yet.
  • Criminal Amnesiac: The Amnesiac can choose to do this, if he remembers he was a Serial Killer, Mafia member, or Arsonist and wreaks havoc.
  • Failure Gambit: Jester strategy revolves around making yourself look as suspicious as possible so the town will think you're a Mafia, Neutral Killing, or different Neutral Evil role with a bad cover story. (Or to be so annoying and unhelpful that they lynch you to shut you up, but this carries a significant risk of getting murdered by one or more of the bad guys instead.)
  • Kill It with Fire: The Arsonist's whole shtick. Once a night, he can douse anyone he wants with gas and chooses when to light them up. The scary part? No night immunity will protect you.
  • Knife Nut: The Serial Killer stabs people.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Getting lynched as the Jester. Yes there's a technique to it, but that gets thrown out the window if you end up murdered on the first night anyway.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: The Executioner's goal is to get a specific person lynched. Their target is always a Town member.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The Amnesiac is a literal example, since choosing a role comes in the form of remembering who they used to be.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Jester's goal is to be hung by the rest of the town. This is one of many tactics people use.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: On every full moon night, the werewolf gains the power to visit someone and kill his target and anyone who visits them. Incidentally, he also can target himself to gain the counter-kill ability to kill whoever visits him on the night of a full moon.
  • Powers via Possession: The Witch class can do this if she possesses someone with a night ability, using it for herself.
  • Serial Killer: Very obvious. The only roles he can't kill are the ones with night immunity like he does, but he can be killed by a Veteran if he visits while on alert.
  • Suicide by Cop: The Jester's goal is to die via lynching. They lose if they're killed at night. (However, being executed by the Jailor or shot by a Vigilante isn't good enough, even though those would fall under this trope otherwise.)
  • Taking You with Me: When the Jester is lynched, he chooses someone to feel guilty about killing them and commit suicide the following night.
  • The Jester: The Jester role. Duh.

Tropes associated with Town of Salem Gameplay:

  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Winning a game gains you in-game coins you can use to spend on different skins.
  • Anyone Can Die: In this dangerous and paranoid town, where you can get murdered in the night, or lynched in the day, no one is safe. Most games WILL have a large body count by the end.
  • Asshole Victim: Sometimes the town lynches or the evildoers kill someone out of spite and annoyance.
    • This strategy is frequently employed by the Jester class, members of whom will often be as obnoxious as they can just to get themselves lynched.
    • Irony: Sometimes a player will be lynched for being overtly racist. Generally, the most bigoted person in the room is the Jester.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: "Guilty! Guilty!" Orange has revealed themselves as the Mayor! "Innocent! Innocent!"
  • Bandwagon Fallacy: Often times, the town will vote one person for no particular reason or because of one accusation. Mafia can use this their advantage to trick the town into going with the flow. (See: Bandwagon Effect for a more in depth look at why players do this)
  • Banging for Help: When someone is blackmailed by the Blackmailer, a common tactic is to spam the vote button to signal they can't speak.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: A common problem for the Town, especially in games with newer players, is people being reluctant to claim a role or provide information even when they're innocent. Often, this leads to Jailors, Vigilantes, and hangings killing innocent people.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: In some rounds, the roles that are chosen will effectively shift the odds of winning in one direction. Either there will be a lot of town roles, or the maximum amount of Mafia roles (6) at the beginning of the game.
  • Camera Centering: The game will center the camera on the dead players when they are revealed each day.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities
  • Criminal Mind Games: All killing roles have the ability to leave an anonymous bloody note at the scene of their kills. The villainous ones frequently use this for mind games or to communicate with the town, which is compounded by the fact that they have legitimate reasons to sic the townsfolk on other evil factions, especially the ones that can't be murdered at night.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Mafia are red. Town is green. Neutral is grey in random role selection. Past the basics, the neutral roles get more specific. (i.e. - Jester is pink, Witch is purple, Arsonist is orange, Werewolf is brown, Serial Killer is dark blue and Executioner is still grey)
  • Driven to Suicide: One of the ways to die. It can occur in the following ways:
    • Vigilantes who shoot a town member commit suicide the next day.
    • Jesters who get lynched can kill a live player who voted them guilty. That player will "Die of Guilt over lynching the jester".
    • The player disconnects or leaves.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: Since a Town player has no reason to lie about what they've been up to, catching someone in a lie is usually how the rest of the town determines whether to lynch them (and how a Jailor decides whether to execute them). It doesn't always work; occasionally it turns out that they were an actual townie who had played poorly and then got defensive about it, or were more worried about evil roles targeting them if they revealed their role and expected the town to trust them on scanty evidence.
    • Other times they're a Survivor, Amnesiac, Executioner, or Jester who poses no direct threat to the town (apart from being able to vote with the evil factions) but lied about their role and/or gave the town false leads for the sake of staying under the radar, getting their target lynched, or in the case of the Jester making themself look suspicious on purpose.
  • Dead Man Switch: An ability of The Jester (if he/she is lynched).
  • Didn't See That Coming: Due to the sheer amount of roles and abilities, players can experience this each and every night. Mafia in particular are common victims of this.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A common problem for most players when acting too hastily or not thinking their strategy through hard enough.
  • Dying Clue: A player's will is often used to convey important information to the town, such as investigation results.
  • Emergent Gameplay: Town of Salem is very much a learning game. Players must learn and pay attention through many rounds in order to understand the game.
  • Enemy Mine: Both townies and Neutral Killing roles want to get rid of the mafia, and both the town and the mafia want to get rid of the Neutral Killers. Sometimes two factions may strike brief alliances near the end of the game to eliminate their mutual enemy (most often the mafia and the townies teaming up to lynch a Serial Killer or Arsonist) before turning on each other.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Occurs in "Any" games, when accusations start flying until someone is hanged or someone reveals their role. Also common in longer games, when multiple people have successfully lied and confused the town.
  • Event Flag: A Full Moon at night will trigger the abilities of the Werewolf.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Mafia vs. Serial Killers vs Arsonists vs. Werewolves, with witches having the ability to choose a side. It's not uncommon for games to come down to just those evil roles.
  • Filk Song: Minx and Boyinaband's Town of Salem Rap.
    But when the town goes to sleep,
    You can hear the sound of something devious,
    Of something quite mysterious,
    Lurking in the dark...
  • Flock of Wolves: In the late game, especially if most of the villainous roles are Neutral Killing or Neutral Evil rather than mafia since they don't know who's on their side, you can get situations with five or six people claiming town roles when there are only one or two actual townies left alive.
  • Foregone Conclusion: What happens when a non-killing role, such as a Medium or Jester, is the last one standing against the Mafia or Serial Killer.
  • Fission Mailed: This occurs when the town or mafia think they have taken out the last role needed to win. Usually starts a mass panic in the town, or general confusion in the Mafia.
  • Good Is Dumb: Happens due to there being lots of Townies. It also doesn't help when everyone bandwagons on votes, even for no reason.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: The Dark Forest map sums this up, being the darkest of all the maps and surrounded by thorns.
  • His Name Is...: Investigative roles don't learn their target's role until the night is over, which is too late to write it in their will if they get killed. If they decide to search a target but are killed the same night, their will will probably look like this: "Kitten smells like gas they must be Transporter or Arsonist. gamingdude like to trick people, they are either Disguiser or Jester. Oscar Mike is" Part of the function of the Medium is to get the results of those final investigations by talking to their ghost.
  • Howling to the Night: A wolf howl signals the coming of the Night Phase.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: The abominable snowman seems to be breathing as if in a cold environment, when the map may clearly show it is summer. The werewolf sprite is similar, but without the visible breath. Pets will usually stay in motion, if they are flying.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Every group has one, even the Neutrals. The Neutrals have more broad win conditions, since most can win with anyone.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Many games contain at least one player whose name is an obscenity, often misspelled or lodged in another word to get past the swear filter. Awkwardly generic names like "Yes", "Someone", "He", and "The Entire Mafia" are also reasonably popular. The latter can have minor strategic value, as they add a bit of extra confusion when the town's discussing whether to lynch you or the mafia's discussing whether to murder you.
  • Joker Jury: If the Mafia outnumbers the other players, they can forego killing at night and simply lynch Townies one by one. This is occasionally the only way they can kill their enemies, if the Mafia Killing player is being roleblocked every night or if they're facing a night-immune enemy like a Serial Killer.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: This occurs when the Mafia and the town are deadlocked into a stalemate, and the person who can break the tie has already lost (or, in the case of an Executioner, already won.) An example would be a Godfather and a Mafioso, against a Doctor and an Escort, with a known Jester as the third party. Since the jester is known, no one will vote him. If the escort knows who the Mafioso is, he will prevent any deaths. If he guesses wrong, the Doctor can cover two of the people. Deadlocked, with no way for the Jester to win.
    • An especially nasty one is the Godfather, the Serial Killer, and a winning Executioner. All three are immune to attacks, resulting in a complete deadlock where no combination of nighttime action and inaction will result in a win but any lynching results in someone winning immediately. The Godfather loses to the SK, so Godfather will never vote the Executioner up. The Executioner, who likely needed the help of both of them to win, now needs to decide which of them loses.
  • Magikarp Power: When the Mayor first reveals, they earn little more than trust, influence, and the inability to be healed by a Doctor. But once there are only five people left, the Mayor effectively becomes a daytime killing role, able to single-handedly lynch anyone of his choosing, opposition be damned.
    • Due to lack of information and a large number of players, the transporter role in the early game can't do anything useful reliably. In the late game, however, a good transporter can win the game almost single-handedly against almost anything else.
  • The Many Deaths of You: At first you only died by lynching. But as of update Beta 0.6.0, there are death animations you can buy. The list follows:
  • Mêlée à Trois: Classic mode has Town vs Mafia vs Serial Killer all trying to kill each other, plus the Executioner and Jester interfering with the proceedings. Custom and All Any add two more sides who can't win with any of the others and have the ability to kill their opponents, those being the Arsonist and the Werewolf, and more neutral roles that can team up with various factions.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Tends to be uttered when the town lynches an important official (Sheriff, Mayor, Jailer, etc.) or a Jester based on ultimately false suspicions.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Often invoked to try to catch a player who's been disguised.
  • Only Sane Man: Many dead players assume this, and also accuse the rest of the players of being dumb.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Often used as a defense by the guilty. Or Played Straight with real innocents.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: There are a lot of modern-era (or 19th/20th century, or future) sprites, houses, and maps available both for free and for Town Points, which turns the Puritan-era setting into this. Also, the Investigator's inability to tell a Transporter from an Arsonist (because they both smell like gas) only makes sense if the Transporter drives a car with an internal combustion engine.
  • Random Events Plot: The "Any" game mode is this. While there are real game-programmed statistical probabilities on which roles will come out, an "Any" roles game is just that. It can lead to such amusing scenarios as a town where actual townsfolk are in the minority at the start, or even a town where serial killers and arsonists start with a majority... or, conversely, it can lead to towns with a 'mafia' consisting of just a single member (or even nobody at all.)
  • Rasputinian Death: Any time a player has the misfortune of being targeted by three or more killing roles (or other causes of death, such as a Bodyguard being killed in the line of duty) in the same night.
  • Scripted Event: Despite the many numerous ways that any combination of roles can affect a player, the events will happen the same way. If a player is transported, that will occur before anything else will happen. For Example, X may transport G and B. If the Mafia, the doctor, and the serial killer visit G, they will instead visit B. The Doctor's healing ability will always trump a killing ability. If the Mafia and Serial killer both attack B, they will both be repulsed by the Doctor's role.
  • Shoot the Medic First: When someone announces there is a Doctor, he usually gets unwanted attention. Can also be invoked by mafia members who discover a live doctor.
  • Shout-Out: One of the skins released, the Nurse, looks similar to Nurse Akali from League of Legends, which the developers enjoy playing.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: A Vigilante who shoots a Townie on flimsy evidence often gets this treatment.
  • Spotting the Thread: A savvy townie spotting a subtle impossibility in their cover story has been the undoing of many a Mafia, Neutral Killing, or Neutral Evil player.
  • Strategy Game: How well can you lie, pick your targets, or discern the guilty, and how quickly can you kill them?
  • Take a Third Option: There are several ways that a role can win, especially if said role holds a pivotal vote in the lynching arena. They can swing evil, choose good, or not vote at all.
  • Theme Naming: Whether the players agree on a theme in the lobby beforehand or just jump on a bandwagon during name selection, often a game will start with several players' names following the same theme.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Several roles have things they can only use a few times, such as the Veteran's three Alerts, the Bodyguard's one bulletproof vest, and so on; it's not uncommon for roles to die with something that could have saved them still unused. The Medium, in particular, can contact a living player using a Seance... but only once. It's not uncommon for Mediums to wait to use it until it's too late in the game for it to help.
  • Variable Player Goals: Each role has a different agenda, especially in the "Any" games. This can- and does- lead to internal squabbling inside the game.
  • Verbal Judo: The last couple rounds usually de-volves into this with 1-3 people cross-accusing each other each subsequent day.
  • Villain Team-Up: Some of the neutral evil roles only need to kill those who would oppose them, so they can work with the Mafia or other neutral evils. A Witch controlling a Serial Killer is a particularly powerful combo.
    • The Witch can win with anyone except the Town, allowing them to team up with the Mafia, the Serial Killer, the Arsonist, or the Werewolf. Jesters and Executioners' win conditions have nothing to do with who else is alive at the end of the game, so they can team up with anyone. The Neutral Killing roles such as Serial Killer and Arsonist can't win together, however.
  • Weird Moon: The moon is a full moon every second night.
  • Where There's a Will, There's a Sticky Note: Most Last Wills in the game are used to either have a last laugh with the living or to leave important information about who is who.
  • X Must Not Win: Players invoke this trope in defense of their lives, or to redirect attention to a more dangerous role. Examples would include a mafia or a townie telling the town to go after the Serial Killer instead of a mafia member, since Serial Killers are inherently more dangerous.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Scared players may invoke this trope when on trial or about to be executed by the Jailor as a last resort.

Town wins!