UPDATE: Cosmic Evil's release changed the effects of two characters: the Police Officer and the Informer.
With the release of Cosmic Evil, two base game characters were rebalanced to prevent certain complex timing issues, those being the Police Officer and the Informant, and cards were included to replace the corresponding character cards in the base game. New releases of the base game will have these new cards as well.
The informer's goodwill ability is now as follows:
Goodwill 5 (1×∞): Leader names the name of any subplot. Then, the Mastermind must name the title of another active subplot.
From a practical standpoint, this is mostly the same, however there are a few situations in which the order of the subplots actually matters (e.g. Cosmic Mythology's Extra-2 effect, which reveals the first subplot at the end of the loop), and this rebalance prevents that information specifically from leaking. This also means that it is possible for the Mastermind to actually have a choice - if the Protagonist Leader names a subplot not actually in use, the Mastermind can name either of the subplots that are active.
The rebalanced ability's wording does present an issue in the event of the protagonist leader naming the only active subplot when using the "First Steps" set. For that set alone, an obvious rule patch is to treat the ability as "Reveal the script's subplot."
As for the Police Officer, the abilities are now as follows:
Goodwill 4 (1×∞): Reveal culprit for former incident.
Goodwill 5 (1×∞): Put an Extra marker on another character in same location. Remove that marker to prevent that character from dying.
This change has two effects: First, it allows the Protagonists to stick a "shield" (so to speak) on a different character they need to protect. Secondly, it means the Police Officer himself can no longer be protected by his own ability, since he is no longer a valid target.
When a goodwill ability is activated, the player activating the ability decides target and intended effect.
The protagonist leader for the turn, when they activate goodwill abilities, decide on the target(s) and the intended effect when there are multiple candidates for the ability. For the original Informer character, the possible targets are either of the subplots (unless the first steps tragedy set is used, in which case it's the one subplot in play). The only input the Mastermind may have on a Goodwill ability is if the character has optional goodwill refusal (which the Mastermind may then invoke, AFTER the protagonist has decided on the target and effect). When the mastermind activates an ability, he decides the target (and effect) himself.
Some other notes:
- For abilities that reveal a character's role, note that "Person" is considered a role, which means the valid targets of that ability include characters that do not have a role in the plot or any sub-plot. It is entirely legal for a protagonist leader to pick one of these characters as the target.
- Boy Student and Girl Student can only have their abilities used on other students. (You'd be surprised how many people forget to check this)
- The AI's ability (see Midnight Circle expansion) effectively grants full control over any one incident to the protagonist leader, which means THEY decide the target instead of the Mastermind. It also prevents the incident from being counted as an event (which is important for some scenarios)
- Goodwill Refusal (mandatory or optional) can be damaging to the protagonist's initial plan, but it does give them information since Goodwill Refusal is determined by the character's role. Goodwill Refusal on the Doctor is particularly powerful for the Mastermind as it gives him access to the Doctor's first goodwill ability as a Mastermind ability.
- Due to rule priorities, the Alien's second ability CANNOT be used on the Key Person, as the loop would have already ended on their death. The original Police Officer's second ability, however, can, since it prevents the death entirely. (The rebalanced Police Officer's second ability can also stop the death, but it has to be used in advance)
- It is perfectly legal for a protagonist to use an ability in such a manner that it causes the loop to end. An example would be using the Alien's first ability to kill the Key Person.