The protectors are a group of roles that prevent other players from dying. They are usually associated with the Village team as the main ability of their enemies is to kill at night although it is possible to have Non-Village protectors as well. They are defined as protectors because their main ability is protection.
The main weakness of the protectors are that they are 'hard-to-prove' roles, they are a go-to claim for bad roles because you can't prove your role if you haven't successfully stopped a player from dying, but it is balanced by the fact that they can stop players from dying.
Types of Protection
When a player doesn't die to an attack, there will be some kind of protection involved. There are some kinds of protection that you should know:
This is the most common form of protection and this stops players from dying to direct attacks, namely the attacks used by the Serial Killer and the Werewolves. As a side note, if the Werewolf Berserk activates their ability and their next attack is stopped by direct protection, then the protector(s) who supplied that protection are killed as well as the target.
When a player is not affected by an in-direct attack such as an Arsonist's douse then some form of Indirect protection must've been used. As of now, there are no roles that only protect in-direct attacks and not direct attacks so we call these types of protections absolute as the protection can stop both direct and in-direct attacks.
This type of protection is any form of protection that has an added side effect when triggered. A Tough Guy's protection can be considered as an Activated Protection as the side effect is that the Tough Guy knows the role of the player who attacked him and the other way around for example.
This is the only type of protection that is considered a passive ability. Instead of having an ability to protect others, Natural Protection is an added passive ability to certain roles. Solo Killers have Natural Protection to Werewolves and the Amulet of protection holder from the offline version also has Natural Protection.
All Village-Sided Protectors currently in game
We have only shown the Village-Sided protectors because they have active abilities that identify them as protectors and that their abilities stop killing.
The Doctor is the most basic Protector and their ability is to protect a chosen player at night. It is the easiest Protector to understand. You are notified when you successfully stop an attack.
The Bodyguard is stronger and can save themselves or their target twice. The side effect of their protection is that if they or their target gets hit with a direct attack, the Bodyguard gets hit and is notified that they fought off an attacker. Any further attacks after getting hit will kill the Bodyguard. If 2 or more attackers try to kill the Bodyguard, the Bodyguard will tank both of their attacks and die. The reason why the Arsonist can burn the Bodyguard even with 2 lives is because it is an indirect attack. However, there is a bug which allows them to stop douses against other players, even without their vest on.
The Tough Guy also technically has a shield but in reality, the reason why he survives an attack is because "he is strong". The side effect of his protection is that he is able to see the player who attacked him, and likewise the player can also see him, allowing them to lie and battle with you over who is the actual Tough Guy. After being attacked, the Tough Guy will die to his injuries at the start of the following night. Unfortunately for the Tough Guy, his protection doesn't stop in-direct attacks either so the Arsonist is able to burn him easily.
The Witch is a type of hybrid protector as she can not only they protect people but she is also able to kill one player per game. The Witch's attack is in-direct which means their attack cannot be stopped through protection. Like the Doctor, the Witch knows if their target is attacked but once they save somebody, they cannot save anyone again because they only have one healing potion.
The Beast Hunter and his trap can give continuous Absolute Protection to 1 player when activated. The trap takes one night to activate which is why you can't just stop someone with a trap on the night you place it. If the Werewolves attempts to attack the trap then the weakest werewolf will die. Since the Beast Hunter's protection is Absolute, it can also stop Arsonist Douses and any attack from a Solo Killer, but it will also destroy the trap and notify the Beast Hunter that their target was 'too strong'.
The Jailer can also be considered as a Protector because jailing can stop most attacks and be used as a shield for another player. Usually it is for protecting Gunner, but Jailing is a multi-purpose ability as it also stops jailed players from using their night abilities and allows them to talk with the Jailer at Night. The Jailer's main ability is to be able to talk with their prisoners. Jailer can also execute a jailed player once per game so the Jailer can be seen as a Hybrid Protector.
As a Protector
Believe it or not, you are actually a very important role so if you can hold it in, never suicide. Your presence has a big impact on the game. Your primary objectives involve making sure the important villagers don't die so that they can give information and kill suspicious players if necessary.
It is sort of like playing Rock-Paper-Scissors with the evil roles so try to predict who they'll attack next because not every time will they try to kill the Seer as they will be aware of your presence and most even try to kill you first before they try killing the Seer. It is sometimes worth risking a protection on somebody who you think will be attacked rather than protecting a Seer and knowing that they probably won't be attacked. Of course the werewolves might be smart and may just try risk killing the Seer themselves so be extra-careful when analysing the evil roles' attack patterns.
Not every protector is the same. A Doctor can't just freely claim Doctor because if there are no other protectors in game then they become an easy target. However, a Bodyguard can survive a direct attack against themselves and so the Werewolves won't want to waste their kill on somebody they know won't die on the first try so it is better to openly claim Bodyguard and reveal who you'll be protecting so any other protectors don't waste their ability on the same target. It is an interesting idea to try and bait the werewolves in as a Tough Guy so you can both confirm yourself and give useful information at the same time but the Wolf Seer may have checked you already so a better idea is to make your hints more subtle and bait the werewolves into attacking your target instead.
As a very useful villager, you also have to judge whether it is better to reveal yourself or to stay hidden. Revealing your role makes it harder for evil roles to claim it later and makes the village less suspicious of you but it may be for naught as the werewolves may just get rid of you the next night, leaving the important villagers exposed to attacks. Plus who even claims Doctor out of the blue anyway? It could be a common trend but as of now, anyone that claims Doctor for literally no reason is highly suspected by the villagers so be careful when you reveal. Even if you're actually the Doctor, the evil roles will probably kill you. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't claim at all, you might get lynched or shot anyway for not claiming so if you absolutely have to claim then claim, you are better off dying at night than somebody else taking your role or being lynched.
Dealing with Protectors
It is fairly easy to pretend as a Protector since Protectors can't confirm themselves until they successfully stop an attack, and even then people could lie about saving others. However, if an important villager is killed then the blame will likely be shifted onto you for "not protecting them". If you are looking for another player to frame, frame a protector that you don't want to waste a kill on.
If your attack is in-direct, then it's a great idea to look for players that the Werewolves would otherwise be unable to kill themselves and target them so the Werewolves can make your life easier by then removing important villagers that would've been protected without your input. Alternatively, as a werewolf, if there is a Werewolf Berserk on your team then activating the Frenzy unexpectedly can ensure that another player will be killed regardless of whether they get protected or not. You may even get multiple kills if you bait 2 or more players to kill the same target.