The purpose of Town Protective roles is pretty self-evident -- to prevent the Mafia, Triad, or Neutral Killing roles from night killing other members of the Town. There are currently four different Town Protective roles in the game of Mafia -- Bodyguard, Bus Driver, Doctor, and Escort, each of which accomplishes this goal in a somewhat different way:
- Bodyguard. The Bodyguard is a somewhat more advanced protective role, comparable to a Doctor. A Bodyguard visits a player to "guard" that player at night. If the guarded player is attacked, the Bodyguard will intercept the attacker, and both the Bodyguard and attacker will die in a duel. The guarded player, however, will be unharmed as a result of the Bodyguard's defense. While a Bodyguard is very strong because of its ability to kill an attacker, its ability can only be used successfully once -- i.e. success results in the Bodyguard's death.
- Bus Driver. The Bus Driver is a more advanced protective role who is able to swap the positions of two targets that it chooses at night. This ability can be very strong in terms of moving important Town players out of harm's way while ideally moving scum players into harm's way (i.e. forcing the Mafia / Triad to attack one of its own). Because it is able to switch the position of players, the Bus Driver's power should be used carefully or else it may result in Town investigations and night actions being mistargeted, which can be harmful to the Town.
- Doctor. The Doctor is Mafia's most traditional protective role, found in setups ranging from the most basic (only containing Citizens, Mafioso, and a Sheriff) to today's more complicated setups . In its simplest form, the Doctor visits a player at night and will heal that player if he is attacked. When players commonly think of a protective role, the Doctor usually comes to mind first. However, the Doctor has some limitations -- it cannot protect certain Town roles (Marshalls and in many setups, Mayors). Also, Doctors are often a highly sought after target of the Mafia / Trad and Neutral Killer, so it is important that they maintain a low profile and not reveal unless necessary.
- Escort. The Escort is Mafia's traditional role-blocker, also found in many more basic Mafia setups, but also used frequently today. In its simplest form, the Escort visits a player and occupies that player's night / "role-blocks" him, which prevents that player from taking any action. Therefore, an Escort's goal is to target the Mafia / Triad in order to prevent a night kill or some other harmful Mafia / Triad action from taking place. Escorts should be careful whom they target, however, as they will roleblock anyone they visit, whether Town or scum, and roleblocking important members of the Town can inhibit the Town's efforts to identify and kill or lynch scum.
For more detailed information on each of these roles, including but not limited to strategies for playing the role and host setup options, please visit the page dedicated to the specific role in question.