The Vampire Paradox

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The Vampire Paradox

Postby Randyxpxp » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:47 am

The Vampire Paradox, Classic All Any, and the Power of Collusion


Contents

Introduction
Part I: The Vampire Paradox
Part II: Effective Collusion Tactics
Part III: The Power of Neutrals
Conclusion

Introduction


This thread encompasses a theoretical discourse primarily intended to detail the complex nature of vampires in Classic All Any, the coordination tactics possible between town, vampires, and other roles, and, lastly, the power of neutral roles in general for both town and other roles. Let me clarify here that this text does not cover Coven, and I also personally do not like Coven. I also do not prefer Ranked, but I have played Ranked and am familiar with some well-known Ranked players and their history. I generally only play Classic All Any. For me, Ranked is too town-heavy, too structured, and too limited with respect to the number of neutral evil and neutral killing roles possible, as well as the presence of other roles such as survivor, amnesiac, and vampire. Currently, Ranked Classic does not feature vampires whatsoever, whereas in Classic All Any, vampires are often a feature of the game, sometimes a prominent feature. I was introduced to Town of Salem in 2017, but have only played seriously for the past two months, in which time I’ve accrued about 300 All Any wins, a statistic I only state to clarify that I haven’t only played a few dozen games of All Any. I’ve become a sort of Classic All Any specialist, and, often, I am able to deduce the roles of others fairly quickly, and as such become a target of those who wish to silence observant players in place of those who are significantly less perceptive, more passive, and/or less present. It is not unusual for me now to pinpoint someone’s exact role in All Any based on a slight piece of information, or to at least develop a suspicion of their alignment and agenda. I also make errors, of course, like any other player, and like any other player, I am also subject to pure chance or random targeting, as well as the errors of other players. All of that being said, this thread is primarily meant to address the nature of vampires in Classic All Any, the ways in which players can coordinate with vampires, and, as an addendum, the ways in which players can coordinate with and benefit from neutral roles in general. I would also just note that I do not use vampire scrolls, so this is not intended to benefit a private scroll operation of mine or something like that. This discourse is designed to comprise my personal game theory considerations on this subject.

Part I: The Vampire Paradox


I will begin this section simply and succinctly, and state that, while it may be more comfortable and simplistic for some players to treat vampires as outright enemies of the town similar to the mafia, ultimately, Classic All Any is indeed designed such that vampires can in many cases prove powerful allies of the town, as well as other roles. Note that while I will argue in favor of a generally pro-vampire disposition for town, I do recognize that in some cases, vampires are deadly to town, and are better disposed of in some way than tolerated. There are exceptions to the strategy I detail here. With that being said, let me just describe a brief scenario to illuminate the basic essence of the issue, and more specifically, the critique I mean to outline here. I have observed this kind of scenario in practice before, and have as such seen town hostility toward vampires lead ultimately to town’s undoing, as I have warned players in such cases before.

Let’s say we’re a few days into a game. Some town have died, perhaps a mafia or two has died, a random amnesiac, whatever. There are still a number of town left. In addition, there is, let’s say, a serial killer, a werewolf, and at least two mafia left. Now, with this information in mind, let’s also suppose that, somehow or another, the town identifies a random vampire or two in its midst. Consider this scenario. Fundamentally, we can agree, in this kind of situation, the serial killer, werewolf, and mafia are significantly more dangerous to the town than the random vampire or two. Not only will the vampires merely convert town (up to four vampires) rather than kill them, the vampires can also kill mafia, and furthermore identify night immune targets such as the serial killer and the werewolf. Effectively, the mafia and NK here are mutual enemies of the town and the vampires. This is intentionally designed into the game, and is as such meant to be taken advantage of by perspicuous players who don’t rush to the kind of perilous judgment that some players rush to. In some situations similar to this, I have observed town members place a higher focus on the presence and elimination of vampires in the town than on the presence and elimination of the far more deadly mafia or NK present. Serial killers, werewolves, arsonists, and mafia want to kill town. Vampires generally only convert town, and can be used to kill mafia and identify immune targets, and will only begin to kill town at night when the vampires have a full clan, which, in my experience, is a rather infrequent occurrence. Even when vampires have a full clan, they can deliberately target non-town players, or even, as I have personally done before, allow one or two of their members to be lynched in late game to make room for more vampires. I have personally coordinated with town as a vampire and with vampires as town on a number of occasions to beneficial effect. In fact, I even once, as an experiment, claimed vampire Day 1 and called for tp/lo in exchange for my services as a mafia hunter, and then proceeded to kill at least two mafia at night, convert town, coordinate with town, and eliminate mafia and any NK. I don’t generally do this anymore, but I simply mention that game as an example of the kinds of possibilities designed into Classic All Any.

In contrast to this kind of effective coordination, I have observed many town members and even in some cases neutral benigns who have essentially placed a higher focus on the presence and elimination of vampires than the presence and elimination of mafia and NK. Frankly, in many if not most cases in practice, this kind of anti-vampire disposition is in fact more harmful to town than if the few random vampires in play were instead left alone or even strategically coordinated with. Do consider this. Mafia want both town and vampires dead. Mafia want town to focus on and lynch vampires instead of mafia. This way, mafia can both rid of a deadly nemesis (vampires) and deflect attention and suspicion from themselves. This is not in town’s favor, generally. Town needs mafia dead to win, period. Town also needs neutral killing dead, including serial killers, werewolves, and arsonists. When there are still mafia present, and/or NK, I argue here it is generally unwise for town to place a higher focus on the elimination of vampires as opposed to the elimination of mafia and NK. The simple reason for this is that unless the vampires have a full clan, they will only convert town, and can, again, kill mafia and identify immunes. I would even go so far as to argue that in some cases, it is in some way beneficial for both town and vampires to claim their roles honestly and identify each other during the day so that they can more easily deduce the identity of mafia and NK in the town. This does not always happen of course, and I understand it’s only natural for many vampires to conceal their identities and attempt to blend in. However, regardless of whether a vampire reveals itself or not, I would again emphasize here that in many if not most cases in practice in Classic All Any, it is not in the best interest of the town to focus more on vampires than mafia or NK. Mafia would rather you lynch a vampire than mafia. NK would rather you lynch a vampire rather than them. When the town elects to lynch a vampire or use a jailor’s execute or a vigilante’s bullet to kill a vampire rather than target a suspected mafia or NK, this generally works in favor of the mafia and/or NK as opposed to the town. It is very useful to bear in mind in Classic All Any games that mafia and NK are ultimately nemeses of the town, whereas vampires can relatively peacefully coordinate with and benefit town.

While I have here argued in favor of a general pro-vampire strategy for town, the complex nature of vampires creates a sort of paradox in which, although vampires can benefit town and are significantly less deadly to town in most instances than mafia or NK, vampires ultimately are not town, and two primary problems pose an issue for town.

1) A full clan of vampires is deadly to town
2) Dead town do not benefit from a vampire win

So while vampires can in fact be of some use to town, in the end, vampires do seek to convert or otherwise eliminate town, and their activities and spread in a town can result in both town deaths and game losses for dead town. This is an unfortunate side effect of sorts which comes along with the benefits to town that vampires do bring. What I would emphasize here above all else is that, as I’ve detailed, in many cases, it is not in the town’s favor to focus more on vampires than mafia or NK, who always kill town. Vampires only kill town sometimes. In many games, they only convert, and will often prefer to lynch a mafia or NK as opposed to a town member, whom they can simply convert later or otherwise use. Classic All Any is chaotic, of course, and so the theoretical considerations here are only applicable to the extent unique players can apply them in unique situations. There will not always be vampires, and when there are, there may only be one, or two, or three, and when there are four, the dynamics change, and the vampires become more-so like mafia. Mafia and vampires are effectively two opposing gangs, each of which seek to eliminate the other, but only one of which can convert town rather than kill them. So while some town members have a habit of being hostile toward vampires even when there is only one or two random vampires and multiple mafia and/or NK present, I would here suggest the Classic All Any community instead foster the development of a more strategic, pro-vampire paradigm that recognizes both the benefits and risks that vampires pose and weighs those benefits and risks in comparison to the dangers posed by mafia, NK, and other evil.

Part II: Effective Collusion Tactics


This section is meant to be rather brief, and only details a few possible tactics that town and vampires can employ to collude with each other to dispose of mutual enemies. This is not an exhaustive description of all possible tactics, but only a handful I would like to note here.

Firstly, I would suggest that if you as a town member become aware of the identity of a vampire or two, especially in a game in which there are mafia and/or NK and/or the vampires do not appear to have a full clan, it is generally not in your favor to expose the vampire’s identity as opposed to the identities of mafia and NK. For example, if you’re a lookout, say, and you see a spy visited by a player who was killed that same night and who turns out to be a vampire, and you thus deduce the spy has now been converted to a vampire, if you expose this vampire, and thereby expose yourself as a lookout, you will both detract from the elimination of mafia and NK and place the spy turned vampire and yourself in danger. I actually observed this exact scenario recently, in which I, a spy, was converted by a vampire the night the vampire died, and a lookout (who hadn’t claimed yet) revealed themself as a lookout and claimed to have seen the dead vampire visit me, implying I am now a vampire. Rather than benefit town, what this effectively did is detract from the normal focus on mafia and NK and instead both place suspicion on myself, make me a target of mafia and NK, and expose the lookout’s role. I also happened to be blackmailed that same night, and so I was unable to participate in the day’s discussion, and that night I was killed by mafia and a serial killer and the lookout ended up being killed around the same time and town ultimately lost. Both myself and the other dead vampire agreed in dead chat that the lookout’s decision to out me and themself was unwise, and only harmed themself and town. In that particular game, there happened to be both a serial killer and a werewolf present as well as mafia. Rather than focus on these dire threats, the lookout both exposed themself and cast suspicion on a lone vampire who was effectively pro-town. My main point here is that rather than expose my identity as a vampire and their identity as a lookout, the lookout could have simply kept the previous night’s information to themself, and focused instead on lynching a mafia or an NK, which would have been more beneficial to the town. I’m just a random vampire at that point. We still have multiple mafia and multiple NK to rid of, and this player apparently did not consider the tactical complexities that I’ve detailed in this thread.

This kind of identification of vampires can generally be safely kept secret, and used in the town’s favor. Instead, what a lot of players do nowadays is they get all paranoid about a random vampire or two and this sort of mob frenzy forms where, rather than try to lynch the mafia and NK who are out to kill the town, the town instead looks to lynch some random vampire who could be of some benefit to the town, and even kill mafia at night. In terms of general collusion tactics between town and vampires and other ways in which town can benefit vampires and vampires can benefit town, I would suggest that if vampires have at least two members, it is often beneficial to target suspected mafia at night in order to rid of them early, after which the vampires can begin to spread. Naturally, a few town will probably die along the way, and be unable to take part in the vampire win, but this cannot really be avoided in most instances. If a vampire finds an immune target whom they suspect is a godfather or an NK, the vampire can also, e.g., fake vigilante and claim they shot them, or at least include the target’s immunity in the vampire’s will. I also find that faking sheriff or investigator as vampire can be an effective strategy, and can be used to both lynch mafia and NK and make yourself look like town. This can also make you a target of course, so you’ll want to have tp/lo on you in case you are targeted at night. If you find an immune target you suspect is a werewolf on a non full moon night or an arsonist, you can also fake investigator and try to get them lynched that way. If your accusations prove accurate, this will also increase the town’s trust of you, and will likely make them more favorable of you later even if your identity as a vampire is exposed. Do also bear in mind that when there are other vampires in your clan and other town they can convert after your death, it is often in your interest to be very vocal about your suspicions of mafia and NK since even if you are killed at night, there will likely be other vampires left who can continue the faction.

Other potential tactics include: a public suggestion by a town member for the vampires to bite a suspected mafia that night; saying something along the lines of “Town/vampires vote [X]” to frame that day’s vote as a coordination between town and vampires to eliminate a mutual enemy; misleading a vampire hunter into checking someone you suspect is not a vampire in order to keep vampires alive; converting town who express hostility toward vampires in order to shift their alignment; and generally making decisions that harm mafia and NK more than vampires. I also sometimes deliberately lynch or otherwise orchestrate the death of a vampire hunter, partly to keep vampires safe and partly to keep myself safe in case I am converted. In cases of a full vampire clan, vampire hunters are much more favorable. However, especially in late game situations in which it is clear vampires either have majority or will soon have majority, and especially when mafia has already been eliminated in these situations, it isn’t necessarily a bad idea to kill off a vampire hunter as town.

For town, the basic idea here is to essentially ignore the presence of vampires in day discussion in most instances, to leave them be, let them target mafia, let them find immunes, let them convert, and instead focus on mafia and NK. In some instances, it may even be in a town member’s interest to work with a witch rather than get them lynched, in order to use the witch’s knowledge of the town to find, say, werewolves or arsonists, or even mafia, in a game in which it is clear vampires are taking a lead. As in the case of lynching a vampire rather than a mafia or NK, lynching a witch can also harm town sometimes as opposed to lynching a mafia or NK. Town can still win with witches alive, given certain conditions. Town cannot win with mafia or NK alive. Be careful when you decide to out a witch. You may even find it more suitable to whisper them, tell them you are town and you know they’re a witch but you don’t want to lynch them, tell them you are with the vampires, and ask them to give you information on evil in the town, especially NK such as werewolves or arsonists, who pose a special danger to witches. Town of Salem is not so simple as good vs evil. It’s not black and white. It’s a very complicated, nuanced, arbitrary game in which town can sometimes use evils to its own benefit.

As a final note to this section, let me also make one observation that I find particularly salient and useful in regards to the mafia vs vampire dynamic in All Any. Generally, I am suspicious of those who express a fear of vampires, mainly because, often, this fear is expressed by mafia members who wish to both eliminate vampires and deflect attention from themselves. If you see someone express a concern about vampires, especially in a game in which the vampires do not appear to yet have a full clan, be suspicious of this individual, and consider asking for their role. Often, I would wager this individual will likely turn out to be mafia, or even NK. As a vampire, I often target those who express a fear of vampires, in the hope that this target will turn out to be a mafia member. If you kill mafia as a vampire, this can also make vampires a bit more favorable in the eyes of town. In any case, if someone expresses concerns about vampires rather than mafia or NK, and especially if someone accuses someone of being a vampire and tries to get them lynched, I would advise you immediately be suspicious of this person, and determine their role. As town now, I almost never express any concern about vampires, and, especially in cases in which there is suspicion of both mafia/NK and vampire, I may even go so far as to tell town to ignore vampires and focus on the mafia, since the mafia are invariably trying to kill town.

Part III: The Power of Neutrals


As mafia, and also as vampire and other such roles including town, I often seek to gain the support of neutral benign roles such as survivor and amnesiac, and neutral evil roles such as witch, executioner, and jester. A single vote can mean the difference between victory and defeat. As mafia especially, I find it is quite powerful to have a survivor or two’s vote, and even in some cases to let them know you are mafia and that the mafia would like their support, or to at least insinuate to them that you are evil and friendly with them. In contrast, many mafias are highly suspicious of survivor claims and even outright hostile, and while I myself am naturally skeptical of any survivor claim and am willing to lynch a survivor claim in some cases, many times, it is not the survivor claims, but those who remain silent who pose the greatest danger to mafia, and against whom survivors can be used by mafia or other factions. When the mafia has a survivor, amnesiac, witch, executioner, or jester on its side, this person effectively becomes an extra mafia member. Currently, when I suspect someone is a jester and I am mafia, I will often whisper the person and ask them outright if they are a jester, to which they often give an honest reply in my experience, and at which point they can then be used as either an extra vote or be used to haunt an enemy of the mafia. I feel that many mafias sow their own doom by being either too hostile against neutrals or too passive in relation to them. Even survivors or amnesiacs who express a hostility against mafia can be coerced to side with them under the right pressure. If you have a consort, you may even find it an effective measure to e.g. threaten to roleblock and kill a survivor at night if they don’t lay off the mafia. Threats like this don’t always work, and can even backfire, but in any case, although survivors have a bad rap now, and are in some cases NK such as arsonist, they can also be used to significant effect, and can also be verified by a consigliere. As consigliere, I like to verify survivor claims in order to both confirm them to my mafia and potentially the town, and also get them on my side. This can also apply to amnesiac, jester, executioner, and of course witch.

For vampires and also town, similar possibilities of coordination with neutrals can apply, even with jesters, executioners, and witches, although jesters and executioners are more likely to work with town than witches. If I suspect someone of being a jester as town, especially if I am a jailor or vigilante, I may whisper to the player and work with them, rather than kill them. This is partly out of an affinity for jesters and also out of a desire on my part to use executions and bullets on killing roles and mafia rather than demon clowns. Evildoers can of course pretend to be demon clowns as well, so this affinity of mine has its downsides, but generally if I suspect someone is a jester, I would rather execute or shoot a suspected mafia or NK at night rather than a relatively harmless clown. This is just me, of course.

Conclusion


In conclusion, I’d list a few main points:

1) Vampires can benefit town, and too much focus on vampires can be harmful
2) Vampires can coordinate with town to eliminate mutual enemies
3) Factions are generally better off getting neutral benigns and in some cases even neutral evils such as executioners or jesters on their side rather than being hostile toward them

I don’t like how much hostility towards vampires I’ve seen in Classic All Any. I honestly find it foolish, especially when it’s clear there are likely only one or two random vampires and a number of mafia and other evils to deal with. Every lynch counts. You can only lynch one player a day, and as town, you better choose wisely. Even mafia can be harmed by lynching a vampire rather than a suspected serial killer, werewolf, or arsonist, whom the mafia can’t kill at night. Overall, while vampires are technically not town, they are designed currently to be able to work with town, kill mafia, and eliminate mutual enemies. Vampires are not neutral killing or neutral evil. They are neutral chaos. They create chaos. Sometimes they kill town, but in my experience, more often than not they kill mafia instead. Mafia are always out to kill town in the end. Vampires fall under a distinct alignment, and when handled tactically and perhaps discreetly by town, vampires can prove a powerful ally in the town’s effort to rid of deadlier evils, and may even mean the difference between a win and a loss. Rid the town of vampires and you may find there aren’t enough town left to rid of the mafia or other killers.

- Glazer
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Joacgroso » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:55 pm

Wow, this is a really detailed essay! It's impressing how much effort you (I suppose you wrote it, despite signing it with another name, right?) put into it. The only problem is that looking for a vampire win as town is considered gamethrowing, as you are purposefully going against your win condition, which is killing all other factions. So lynching the VH as town would be reportable and punishable. Althought prioritizing killing killing roles instead of vamps is ok.
Sorry if I have spelling mistakes. English is not my main language.
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Ben4lyfe » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:02 pm

Really amazing work on this. Long but deffo worth the read! Good job :)
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Bodhrak » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:19 pm

Randyxpxp wrote:This section is meant to be rather brief (...)

And then follows the longest part of the essay. :roll:

Tbh, the first section seems to repeat it's point over and over.
The other parts were mostly fine, being mostly examples and further explanations.

Oh and to adress your main point:
I think a lot of people dislike vampires for being a broken design.
You can play pretty much perfectly as town and then one step away from winning you are bitten out of nowhere and you find yourself a lone vampire, now suddenly forced to play against your previous work. A lot of people just hate that 180° turn.
Even if you win as vamp it seems like a stale win and people begging to be bitten are the worst.

Following your advise people should always choose the biggest faction to win, so the most players are happy.
Instead I actually see the opposite, a lot of kingmaking NE or town players prefer to choose a NK win over a Maf/Coven/Vamp win.
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby James2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:09 pm

This is well thought out, but I ultimately must disagree.

The reason why the town is so rightfully hostile to vampires, even more so than other evils. And that is because, while the mafia and NKs represent what amounts to foreign enemies, outside influences that are hostile to the town, vampires represent treason. Whereas the mafia and NKs can only threaten the town via their tactical abilities, the very existence of a vampire poses an existential threat to the town, since the possibility of being bitten turns the town from a united front into a collection of self-interested quasi-survivors. Vampires, by the simple fact of existence, instill in the townies a fear of death that hampers their collective action. Thus it is necessary for the town to eliminate vampires completely, in order to effectively engage in collective self-defense against mafia and NKs.
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Flavorable » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:07 am

-> Moved topic to Strategic Discussion
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby VeronicaMage » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:22 pm

Vampires create degenerate gamestates.
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Randyxpxp » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:41 pm

VeronicaMage wrote:Vampires create degenerate gamestates.


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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Google » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:57 am

W H Y T H E M O N T H N E C R O B U M P F O R G A N G G A N G
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Randyxpxp » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:45 am

Google wrote:W H Y T H E M O N T H N E C R O B U M P F O R G A N G G A N G


Why do vampires create degenerate gamestates? There's your answer.
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Google » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:46 am

Randyxpxp wrote:
Google wrote:W H Y T H E M O N T H N E C R O B U M P F O R G A N G G A N G


Why do vampires create degenerate gamestates? There's your answer.


threads die for a reason y'know
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Re: The Vampire Paradox

Postby Randyxpxp » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:55 am

Google wrote:
Randyxpxp wrote:
Google wrote:W H Y T H E M O N T H N E C R O B U M P F O R G A N G G A N G


Why do vampires create degenerate gamestates? There's your answer.


threads die for a reason y'know


Yes, just like mafia die to vampires town strategically ignored.
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