February 20, 2015

Town of Salem: A Roleplayer's Fast-Paced Paradise

Thanks to Swordroll  - the awesome KI blogger - for taking pictures when I
was on low connection! Unfortunately, the problem got fixed
soon after, but I got him to play.

A long, moaning wind blew through Salem, willow leaves sticking to the damp house frames. So much dust had collected in the past few days, so much death looming over the area. I'd worked hard to make my living and keep quiet. Night by night, I'd decide who to visit and assist, my wits my only weapons. Of course, I kept sedatives in the household, just in case. Nothing that would stop a raging werewolf or determined mafioso, but...for someone like me. I had a feeling this day would come.

It's awfully ironic to be writing this post at this certain point in time; I am located just outside of Salem, Oregon. But nonetheless, this post has been several days due. Even after having built The Beast, my time has been occupied by a browser-based game (also available on Steam). And let me tell you: If you're a roleplayer, this game is to die for... Especially if you're the Jester.

For my younger readers: This game has foul language! Consult with a parent before playing.




The rules are simple to grasp and complex to master. Twenty-nine roles are distributed among fifteen players in an order determined by the type of game all the players agree to play. The object of the game? Get your job done. There are jobs we're used to seeing, sure, like Doctor, Sheriff, and Serial Killer. And there are more obscure things that take a little bit of explanation, like Framer, Werewolf, and Transporter. Each role has different objectives and different win conditions. How do these conditions get met, you ask?

Death. Death is how they're met.

Town of Salem makes death a very present and equally threatening force. Players have wills to write their suspicions and final words in – ranging from funny, to profane, to insightful, and even vital to the rest of the game – and those appropriate have death notes to leave near their victims, should they dirty their own hands. Depending on who makes it out at the end, whether it be all townsmembers, a single powerful force, or the sneering Mafia, the game is won for a certain team. Each round takes about fifteen minutes to play, unless playing on Rapid Mode, during which it may take less. 

One of the things that makes Town of Salem so unique, however, is the fact that social interaction is a critical portion. There are multiple chatting forums within the game meant to enhance the player interaction to the point of townsmembers getting lynched during the day to the Mafia having secret meetings at night. Sure, this ends up in quite a few inappropriate outbursts at times, but it's also led to reenactments of Attack on Titan or mass covers of “Bohemian Rhapsody” (resulting in the death of anyone who didn't sing along).

What has the fast-paced chatting system of Town of Salem taught me? In a word, tons. In a few phrases, I've learned how to act a role, how to lie, and how to detect even the finest-crafted lies. Sure, I've had my times as Jailor (the only socially interrogative role) where I've gotten tricked into letting a Serial Killer go free, but I've also had wonderful moments like when I took out two Mafia members in one night by using my last Alert as a veteran (I ended up winning that particular game). 



In general, the community is a rambunctious, driven bunch, full of dramatics, hardcore Salem geniuses, and utter trolls. A good mix of the three make for a dynamic game with something for everyone. Because names within a game session are different than usernames, players will cleverly choose names based on a theme and make references to various animes and TV shows throughout the match as they kill off one another. The better strategists work out who's who by observed behavioral quirks and trends within death patterns. In the end, both the smart and the lucky get out alive, but the smarter players are at better odds.

Want to fall into that category? Here are seven tips that I've compiled as and for a newer player.

  1. Put your name, role, and taken actions into your will before anything else. If a Disguiser appears as you, your will may be the deciding factor in the Disguiser getting lynched. Update your will constantly. 
  2. There is a special chat for those who have died to hang out and speculate. Stick around for it! There's a role called Medium who can talk to the dead and distribute important information back to the town as needed. (Note: The Dead Chat seems to be slightly more vulgar than the Live Chat.) 
  3. Are you a killing role? You'd better have a backup plan if you get jailed. At night, you have a limited amount of time to convince the Jailor that you are not a threat to the town. The Jailor has a lot to consider, themselves, so make your case convincing in order to stay alive. 
  4. If you're in the Mafia and you're unsure about whether there's a spy or not, tell your Mafia-mates immediately upon the first night that nobody is to mention names of any sort. Instead, members can target and untarget specific townsmembers and ask for confirmation from the godfather. 
  5. Mafia, cont: Your janitor is a powerful tool. They should work with the Disguiser to make the first tip irrelevant. Otherwise, they should work with the godfather/mafioso to make sure anybody with possible speculation in their wills cannot reveal information to the town. 
  6. Know when and when not to speak. Having a presence in the chat is important as to not be tagged as too quiet, but being too loud, obnoxious, or overly insightful may result in an even faster death. I personally try to say something every day. 
  7. To talk to other players during the day without getting heard, type /w Player Name Message. For instance, if you want to say "SGM is the serial killer" to a player named John Hathorne, you would type /w John Hathorne SGM is the serial killer. 

I play mainly Chaos>All Any rounds for extra mystery. I'm one of the Attack on Titan trend-followers and I'll normally sign onto a session as Jean Kierschtein if I see other fans. Otherwise, I use a variety of obscure names and make a huge presence in the Dead Chat. If you are creating a new account, message me and I can give you my username so that you can list me as a reference! 



“Good afternoon, friend,” I am greeted with, the Serial Killer himself sneering as he utters the very words I mumbled on my first day in this town. He tips his hat and we sit for lunch next to the execution area. I keep my distance, even though I know he wouldn't dare strike in as pure of daylight as this.

“Alphonse,” I stammer back, “I never thought it'd be you.” In return, a guttural laugh. It spells death, for me, but could have simply been enjoyment of the day, in terms of the Serial Killer's twisted mind. “A simple request,” I continue, earning an inquisitive look. Few ask favors of he whose hands are stained with the blood of the town. “I keep the sedatives on the top shelf. Do it quietly. No messes. I was always a tidy individual.”

“Wish granted,” the Killer responded, “See you in Hell.”

The sky grew darker. “See you.”

TL;DR - 9/10 The Jailor in that one round was a jerk...but a creative one. Play Town of Salem here, and get it for Steam here and support the developers! All the player bases play together no matter what they play from. The music is fantastic, too. 

2 comments:

  1. I am addicted to Town of Salem now after reading this a few weeks ago. What is your name on there so I can friend you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Cass! I'm Soultamer, with a capital S. :) Glad you like it!

      Delete

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