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The rules say that dead elders should keep their Secrets.

The reason that they keep their Secrets is that if they turn out to be evil, it is assumed that they faked their own death and still join the Villain.

But so far, the only way I can see of this ever coming into play is if a player uses Accusation at the beginning of a Showdown and points at a dead elder, who turns out to be evil. Is that it? Are there other possibilities and which game modes are they valid for?

Note: I've played one Basic game so far, so maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I did read advanced rules and didn't see anything about this.

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What you are missing is that the rules are slightly different for Competitive and Cooperative play. In a competitive game, the rules allow each player to accuse a single Town Elder of being evil, thereby showing that the Town Elder faked his death, and subsequently joining the Villain. The Evil Elder will add +1 Combat to the Villain, and will add +1 wound to the Villain (if the Villain is about to take its last wound). Preventing an opponent from winning is a good strategy if you want to win. (page 19)

4. Accusations - One other advantage of investigating the Town Elder’s Secrets ahead of time is that when a player starts a Showdown, each other player may make up to one Accusation of a Town Elder, calling them out as being evil! [...] If the revealed Secrets turns them into an Evil Elder, they immediately join the Villain.

Winning the Game - The first player to fight a Showdown with the Villain, AND defeat it, saves the town of Shadowbrook and wins the game.

In the cooperative game though, dead Town Elders have their secrets revealed immediately. If they were evil, they become Evil Elders and join the Villain. (page 20)

Town Elder Secrets - [...] When a Town Elder is killed, move the Shadow Track as normal and then reveal all of that Elder’s Secrets. Any Keyword Evil Secrets they have immediately take affect, turning them into an Evil Elder instead.

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I hadn't played a co-op game back then, thus more confusion than necessary. Thanks for pointing out the competitive use of Accusation. I now realize one may look at the secrets without revealing them, know the elder is evil, see the elder being killed... and then accuse them to mess with another player's Showdown. –  leokhorn Sep 13 '13 at 8:51
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