From Blood on the Clocktower Wiki
"That which issues from the heart alone, will bend the hearts of others to your own."
"You start knowing a secret word. The 1st good player to say this word becomes evil that night."
The Mezepheles offers good players a choice: to turn evil or not.
- On the first night, the Mezepheles learns a secret word from the Storyteller.
- If a good player says this word, either publicly or privately, they turn evil that night. The Storyteller needs to hear this player actually say the word before turning them evil.
- The Mezepheles does not learn if a player turns evil. The good player learns if they turn evil, but not until that night.
- If the Mezepheles is sober and healthy at night, the good player turns evil even if the Mezepheles was drunk or poisoned when the good player spoke the secret word. If the Mezepheles is drunk or poisoned at night when a player would turn evil, the player stays good—the Mezepheles has “used their ability” and may not turn a player evil later on.
How to Run
While setting up the game, write a single word on a piece of paper or on a phone or other device. During the first night, wake the Mezepheles, show the written word, then put them to sleep.
The first time you hear a good player say the secret word, mark them with the TURNS EVIL reminder.
Each night, if a player is marked with the TURNS EVIL reminder, wake them. Show the YOU ARE info token then give a thumbs down. Put them to sleep. Turn their character token upside down. (This shows they are now evil.) The Mezepheles loses their ability—mark them with the NO ABILITY reminder and remove their night token from the night sheet.
Choose an unusual word that would never be spoken accidentally. You can even make one up. The fun lies in the Mezepheles taking a risk to secretly convince a good player to turn evil, not in a good player unexpectedly changing teams.
The Mezepheles tells the Barber that the secret word is “Rumplestiltskin”. The Barber publicly says “This reminds me of the fairy tale where the Miller’s daughter has to guess Rumplestiltskin’s name”. The Barber turns evil that night.
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure that you heard / read the secret word correctly! Ask the Storyteller if you are uncertain. It will feel pretty silly to convince a good player to turn evil, have them say an incorrect secret word, then not turn evil. They'll have a few questions for you after this happens, and none of them will be comfortable.
- Select a good player who is likely to turn evil. If you've played with various players in the group before, you should have a good sense of which players prefer to play evil characters. These players are more likely to want to turn evil. If you can arrange a private conversation with them, just tell them the secret word and tell them that you are the Mezepheles. Hopefully, they will either say this word out loud publicly later that day (so that the Storyteller can hear), or say the word to the Storyteller in private.
- Select a good character who has more of a reason to turn evil. A Fortune Teller or a Ravenkeeper who don't yet have reliable information may be feeling like evil is winning, and are therefore more likely to want to turn evil. Some Outsiders, like the Sweetheart or the Klutz, may be concerned that their ability will be too devastating for the good team, and are therefore more likely to want to turn evil. If you can arrange a private conversation with them, just tell them the secret word and tell them that you are the Mezepheles. If you're lucky or have approached the right person, they'll probably say your word.
- Avoid selecting players who are unlikely to turn evil. If you know that a particular player really enjoys playing for the good team, and tends to dislike the increased pressure of bluffing as an evil player, it is probably too risky to tell them that you are the Mezepheles. Avoid.
- Avoid selecting characters who are getting great information or have a powerful ability still to use for the good team. An Empath that has been learning new players each night, or a Monk that has already protected a player from the Demon, or a Slayer that has not yet used their ability, are less likely to turn evil since they feel that they are a real benefit to the good team.
- Don't wait too long for a private chat with a good player. On the first day, the good team will have less information, so are more likely to feel confused about who is who, and more likely to want to swap to the evil team. As the game goes on and the good team gains more and more information, they are less likely to want to turn evil, because that will be seen as joining the losing team. Also, if you die before using your ability, that's no good. The best way that you stay alive long enough to use your ability is to use it early.
- Instead of having a private conversation with a good player and telling them that you are the Mezepheles, you can try to trick good players into saying the secret word accidentally. By continually saying the secret word out loud in public conversations, a good player may also say this word in response. For example, if the secret word is "watermelon" and you say "I've been eating a lot of watermelon lately. Does anyone else like watermelon?" then someone may reply "Yes. I like watermelon too." However, such conversations may seem stilted to onlookers, and the good team may realise what you are trying to do. Since the Storyteller is encouraged to choose an uncommon to extremely unusual word, this is risky. Also, the Storyteller will need to hear this good player say the secret word, and may not be aware, so the good player may need to say it several times in order for the Storyteller to notice.
- Beware of who the good team is likely to execute today. Even if a good player has said the secret word today (and the Storyteller has noticed), that player isn't due to turn evil until tonight. If you die by execution today, you will have no ability tonight, so that player will not turn evil. You can be sure that they will out you as the Mezepheles tomorrow - and knowing who a Minion is could be enough information for the good team to win. If you think you are likely to be executed today, it is best to not attempt to turn a player evil, and just not use your ability instead.
- If you have some way of avoiding execution, such as a Leviathan or Devil's Advocate being in play, you can come out publicly as the Mezepheles. You can publicly tell the group that you are the Mezepheles and hold "interviews" with several good players who want to turn evil. Until one of them actually does turn evil, they will all be mistrusted by the good team, and any of their publicly revealed information will be untrustworthy. For extra chutzpah, you could even tell the group publicly what the secret word is. This could be the correct word, or a red herring to make it look like a good player has turned evil when they haven't. These strategies have the upside of spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt amongst the good team as to who is evil, but come at the cost of them knowing who the Mezepheles is.
- If there is no Mezepheles in play, claim that you have been approached by the Mezepheles player and told the secret word. Either you will look like a good player that has valiantly refused to turn evil (you will need to pick a player who feasibly looks like the Mezepheles - they can be good or evil), or you will look like a good player that has turned evil (but at least isn't the Demon, so may not be worth executing). Be wary, however, as this will put you in direct conflict with the player you claim tried to give you the word. If they are confirmable, you're in trouble. Also, some players don't like an accusatory/conflict-driven dynamic like this, so be aware of your fellow players as necessary.
- Have lots of private conversations, and tell lots of different players lots of different secret words, all false. This will get you executed if it isn't the final day (as the good team won't likely execute a Minion on the final day), but will also put the brakes on the good team's information for a while. This isn't the best strategy, but you never know what might happen if you really, really need it ;)
- If you are sure that a particular player has turned evil, tell them who all the evil players are, including the Demon. You now have one extra player who will vote for good players, and won't accidentally be voting for the Demon.
- You can test whether or not a good player really wants to be evil by giving them a false secret word in private. If the player pretends to have said the secret word to the Storyteller, then pretends to have turned evil, then requests to know the identity of the other evil players, you will know that they are lying. Give this player false information about who the Demon is, because they think that you think that they are evil. If instead this player tells you that they tried to turn evil, but didn't, you can tell them that you were only testing their loyalty and that you are happy to give them the REAL secret word now.
- Before using your ability, continually tell the good team that you think that evil is winning. Good players who have lost hope are more likely to turn evil.
Fighting the Mezepheles
- If the Mezepheles approaches you and tells you who they are, hinting that if you agree to turn evil then they will tell you the secret word, play along. After the private conversation has ended, tell the group who the Mezepheles is, then good players are unlikely to turn evil, and the Mezepheles ability can have no effect.
- If the Mezepheles approaches you and tells you the secret word, hint to the group what the secret word is, without saying it. And tell the group who the Mezepheles is. If the good team knows what the word is and who the Mezepheles is, then good players are unlikely to turn evil, and the Mezepheles ability can have no effect.
- If the Mezepheles approaches you and tells you the secret word, agree to say that secret word to the Storyteller. Later, have a private conversation with the Storyteller but do not say the secret word. Tomorrow day, pretend to the Mezepheles that you turned evil the previous night, that everything is going to plan, and that you would like to know the identity of the other evil players. If the Mezepheles tells you this, including the identity of the Demon, but you are still good... well, that's an easy win for the good team.
- Pay attention to any players repeatedly using unusual words in public conversation, or players who seem to want to be engaging others in off-topic conversations. If a player keeps loudly talking about their trip to "Timbuktu" or their university lecture on "non-linearity", then you may have found the Mezepheles. Execute them before they can turn another player evil.
- Pay attention to players who have one-on-one private conversations multiple days in a row. They may be players that swapped the secret word on one day, then met again to see if the Mezepheles ability worked.
- If you are a character that can make evil players drunk or poisoned, such as the Sailor, Courtier, Preacher, or the Alchemist, stay quiet about who you are and about the possibility that the Mezepheles may be drunk or poisoned. If the Mezepheles tries to make a player turn evil, but it doesn't work, then the Mezepheles may not use their ability again, and the good player learns who the Mezepheles is. This is a significant boon to the good team. If the Mezepheles suspects that they are actually drunk or poisoned, they will delay using their ability until they think that they are sober and healthy again.
- Use your ghost-vote wisely. With a Mezepheles on the script, the evil team likely has one extra vote, and the good team one fewer. Encourage all other dead players to use their vote wisely as well. This is particularly important in smaller games, where every vote counts.
- Encourage all players to share their information as early as possible, to reveal which character they are as early as possible. The more information that everyone can share, the easier it will be to form a narrative that the good team is winning. If the good team believes that the good team is winning, good players are much less likely to turn evil via the Mezepheles. After all, who would want to join the losing team? It doesn't matter whether the good team actually is winning or not, what matters is that morale is high, and that the good team believes that the good team is winning.
- Let the good team know that a Mezepheles might be in play, and that if everyone stays on the good team, then the good team has the advantage. If all players make a commitment to stay good, then the game continues as normal, except that one Minion effectively has no ability. This might not seem like much, but every little bonus helps.
- If a player's information contradicts itself over consecutive days, you may have found the good player that has turned evil via the Mezepheles. Similarly, if other players' information about this player is inconsistent. Don't assume that such contradictions are due to drunkenness or poisoning. If you think you've found the good-player-turned-evil, keep them alive as long as possible. Let them spread their lies. They are not the Demon, so execute other players instead.
- If all else fails, and you think the game is lost, seek the Mezepheles out and have a chat. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." If you are particularly desperate, brave, foolhardy, or cleverly chaotic, feel free to advertise your intention to join the evil team loudly and often, in the hope of getting the Mezepheles attention.
- If you are approached by a Mezepheles to turn evil but are unsure, feel free to strike a bargain with them: you will wait a bit to see which team you think is winning before deciding whether to turn evil, and in exchange you won't out their identity to everyone unless you later decide to remain good. Any Mezepheles may be willing to go along with any plan that doesn't out them as evil right away. This puts you in a very powerful position: you know who a Minion is, and can choose later on to side with whichever team you think is winning.